The best fishing tip you’ve ever had…

Are you a newbie or a seasoned old hand with years of angling know-how? Either way, you won’t want to miss out on these nuggets of fishing wisdom.

Get the most from your fly rod, fishing reel and line with our reader round-up of top tips for anglers.

From technique tidbits to essential equipment suggestions, there are some excellent tips on offer…

Technique

fishing at sunset

Image source: billy1125
Improve your skills and catch big.

“Keep low when bank fishing, your shadow and silhouette will easily spook fish!”
Kieron Jenkins

“Sometimes the fish are right under your feet. So fish close in first, then try further out.”
Angling Times

“Chuck it and chance it!”
Art Powell

“Bait your swim first and leave for a while so fish can feed in confidence hoovering up the freebies, bait some more then cast.”
Team Primal

“When reeling in, and to stop the fly line wrapping around the tip of the rod, keep the tip under water.”
Mart Davies

“You’re not going to catch anything if your rods are out of the water!”
Richard Pickford

“Think like a fish.”
Mark Sephton

“Fish to your own limits and do what you feel confident with.”
David Matthews

“It’s tadpole season so fish zigs just under the surface with a piece of black foam!”
Mark Gaulton

“Find whatever tactic, rig and bait works for you and stick with it.”
Robin Bodney Humphris

“You don’t need to cast 100 yards to catch fish when they can be right at your feet.”
Mike LFC

“A tip I picked up off Dean Kibble this year was to fish my top dropper not too far away from the braided loop on a sinking line, as the line fishes the fly for you. It has certainly worked for me so far.”
Lewis Rumble

“Keep it simple.”
Dean Powell

“Catch fish.”
Terry “Tough Mudder” Pancake

Equipment

fishing reel and float on a old wooden desk.

Image source: optimarc via Shutterstock
What’s essential and what’s not?

“Wear protective glasses at all times when fly fishing a fly. Travelling eighty miles an hour can do a lot of damage so please take care of your eyes folks.”
Sam Gandy

“Add hang markers to your fly lines if you haven’t already.”
Kieron Jenkins

“Or buy the airflo lines with them on – a brilliant idea.”
Chris Jones

“Barbless hooks. Easy to pull our of a both fish and people!”
Lee James

“Wear your hat and glasses!”
Matthew Pate

Practical

Man fishing on pier

Image source: Blend Images via Shutterstock
Don’t forget to apply these practical pointers

“Best tip is rapala knot your boobies – they won’t twist as much, and the movement it gives them is much better.”
Chris Jones

“If a fly takes more than 5 minutes to tie, it isn’t worth tying.”
Gareth ‘Forgie’ Evans

“Applying sun screen is probably, one of the best actions you’ll carry out in a fishing day. Skin cancer, the silent killer!”
Stuart Smitham

“Get a rod licence.”
Toby Wilson

“Tie your own fly patterns.”
Roger Till

“If you hook yourself don’t try to pull the hook out. Push it through so the barb comes out of the skin, cut below the barb and release the hook.”
Malcolm Bennett

“Go to where the fish are, it is much easier to catch if the fish are there.”
Harry Venables

“Location Location Location!”
Mark Magee

“Don’t fish there, lad they took all the fish out last week!”
David Lee

“Always watch the water.”
Bobby Gilert

“Don’t take the misses!”
Barry Carpenter

“I was always told to not fish near the car parks, but to wander along the bank to the empty stretches, that is where you will find the fish. Thanks to Richard Walker and Fred Taylor for the advice, it still works.”
Michael Baldock

Have you got an awesome tip? Share it in the comments below!

Airflo Switch Black Reel Impresses at Chirk

Tom Bainbridge Fishtec Blog Post

“Tom slips a lovely bow into the net in no time!”

After a few dismal competition performances I decided to really get bet to basics in my fishing, I was totally over complicating things chopping and changing every five minutes and I was spending more time faffing out of the water than I was actually fishing.

With this in my mind I decided to venture out to a few small Stillwater fisheries situated around the North West. One of the venues I visited was a stunning fishery called Chirk Trout Fishery nestled in the heart of the north wales valleys close to Llangollen and the Welsh Dee. The fishery itself consists of two fly fishing lakes, a bait pool and also fishing rights on the river Ceiriog that runs through the fishery. One of the reasons I chose this venue was the vast variety of trout the fishery stocked. In both lakes there are Rainbow, Brown, Golden, Blue, Tiger and American brook trout all reared on site. Not a bad variety hey? The lakes are around an acre and a half in size, gin clear, with a maximum depth of 12ft. The fishery is renowned for its prolific dry fly sport, and on my arrival it didn’t fail to disappoint with fish rising everywhere. The weather was perfect with a light breeze and clear skies, so back to basics I went and dry fly fishing was the tactic for the day.

I was adamant to not over complicate things so I went for a one rod set up. I chose the 10’ Sage XP 7# a fantastic rod and great for dry fly fishing. I was also trying out the new Airflo Switch Black Cassette Reel, this reel is fantastic and truly stunning to look at. It accommodates all my lines perfectly and is very light when casting, it’s a fantastic addition to any competition angler, as the unique cassette spool is extremely easy to change lines, and save a lot of time in doing so. Now it was time for my line choice. One thing I was noticing was that a lot of the fish were rising right in the centre of the lake, and for a lot of people they would be out of casting range I had a secret weapon, the new 40+ Expert floating line now with super dri technology. This would be the difference of me catching or blanking. Not only does this line fly out but the presentation and ability to hook up at long range would inevitably help me have a fantastic days sport.

After tackling up and a short walk I started fishing on the left hand side of the main fly lake, casting straight into the wind. I had the beautiful river Ceiriog running behind me and plenty of fish rising in front of me. After just watching the water I was able to pick out a few fish that were rising confidently.

I was fishing 9ft of 6lb Airflo Sightfree G3 to my first dropper then 6ft to the point fly, on my dropper I had a big rubber legged Daddy long legs and on the point I was using a JC Diawl Bach. I would be using the daddy as a sight indicator throughout the day, but was confident that it would take fish too and I wasn’t disappointed. I cast out straight into the wind which was effortless with the 40+ line and let everything settle. After ten seconds I began to slow figure of eight, barely moving the line just staying in touch letting the wind push the line and flies towards me. There was a swirl at the daddy but no take, then the daddy shot under the water and I struck. Fish on!! The first fish of the day was a stunning 1lb rainbow trout and after an acrobatic fight the fish slid over the net with the JC Diawl Back firmly set in its top lip. I carried on fishing this method and took 6 fish within 20 minutes.

Tom Bainbridge Fishtec Blog Post

It then went quiet so I decided to change the point fly to a small immature damsel. The daddy was still acting as a sight indicator and was still attracting a lot of fish. If the fish didn’t take the daddy or got spooked it wasn’t long before the daddy shot under, as the trout had homed in on the point fly. After an hour of fishing I was on 15 stunning fully finned rainbow trout. The fishing was on fire, with trout hammering the daddy and the damsel. After 3 hours of unbelievable fishing I called it a day. The light was beginning to fade and I was overwhelmed with what can only be described as a red letter day. A short late afternoon dry fly session was exactly what I needed to restore my confidence and understand that complicating things is not necessary. I kept the same tactic throughout the day only changing the point fly when it went quiet and it worked unbelievably well, with me finishing on 28 trout returned. The fish weren’t massive but they were fantastic fighters and stunning to look at. A huge advantage was without doubt the 40+ line as a couple of anglers blanked as the fish were out of casting distance but for me casting this line was effortless and the presentation was perfect.

It was an incredible short fishing session at a truly picturesque fishery. Keeping my fly fishing tackle to a minimum paid off, and persistence and patience helped land a lot of fish. The main reason I was catching was that I was constantly fishing. It sounds so silly but not spending time on the bank out of the water chopping and changing helped me land a hell of a lot of fish. Something so simple but extremely effective helped contribute to a real red letter days fishing the dries and nymphs.

Airflo Xceed Fly Reel Review

Airflo Xceed Fly Reel

Trout and Salmon magazine have reviewed the Airflo Xceed fly reel, voting it as one of their recommended reels for 2014!

Most fishing reels that cost less than £100 are die-cast (weaker) and then machines for a better finish. The Xceed is fully machined (stronger) from bar-stock aluminium and has a price tag of only £59.99-£79.99 – Including a range of sizes from 4/5, 5/6, 7/9, 9/11, 11/12 – So you’re sure to find a fly reel to suite your needs. It certainly looks and feels like a reel worth twice the price.

The build quality of this fly reel is hard to fault. It has a rigid and very strong full-cage design. The large and wide arbor provides ample capacity. It’s sealed disc-drag ranges from stream-light to a lorry-stopping break.

It has a no-nonsense looks with plenty of porting (holes) and an attractive gloss-black and silver finish.

Not only is the Airflo Xceed Fly Reel light, it features a satin black and silver anodised coating that provides a finish that is not only aesthetically pleasing but protects the reel from corrosion to provide you with many years of smooth performance.

Airflo Switch Pro Fly Reel Review

Switchimage

We’re proud to announce that the Airflo Switch Pro fly reel has gained ‘Tackle Testers Choice’ by Trout Fisherman magazine! This is where the latest fishing gear is put through it’s paces by T&S’s independent tester Robbie Winram who has been fortunate enough to have tested 1000’s of items of tackle over his 30 year fly-fishing career.

This amazing new fishing reel from Airflo is the complete redesign of the ever popular Airflo Switch Superlite reel. Launched as the Switch Pro, it’s machined from barstock allow and comes in two different sizes. A 7/9 version will easily take 7wt or 8wt fly lines with over 120 yards of 20lb backing, and the 4/6 that will take a 5wt or 6 wt line with the same amount of backing.

Style  and Substance

The Switch Pro fly reel is an incredibly stylish reel. It has a ‘spoked wheel’ design reel cage featuring a black anodised finish with anodised silver alloy highlights that sets the reel off really well. The face plate has been given the same finish and has been heavily ventilated with a series of drilled holes.

There’s a good sized handle with a matching counterbalance weight on the opposite side for a lovely smooth wind. On the rear of the reel is a large scalloped drag knob that is very easy to turn in precise increments and this brings into play a very smooth disc drag.

Each reel comes with four extra spools plus one on the reel and these are made from clear impact-plastic and are a simple push-fit onto the face plate over the rubber 0-ring. There’s only one way to push them on, matching two raised lugs on the spool with the holes on the face plate. When the spool is removed the sealed drag unit is revealed.

Technical Spec

Airflo Switch Pro 7/9

Prices £129.99 | Weight 7.2oz | Spare Spool £7.99 | Width 31mm | Dia 96mm

Airflo Switch Pro 4/6

Prices £119.99 | Weight  6.6oz | Spare Spool £7.99 | Width 27mm | Dia 84mm

Airflo Swith Pro Fly Reel

Pike attack on Fishing lures!

We’ve been trawling the web looking for some exciting fishing footage for your viewing pleasure and have put together a selection of our three favourite pike attack clips!

Lure fishing can be very exciting at the best of times, but using a braided mainline whilst fishing lures can be absolutely phenomenal, but have you ever thought about what’s happening beneath the water? Make sure you have your drag knobs tightened hard on your fishing reels when one of these fearsome looking fish hits your lure!

Airflo Sniper Budget Fly Reel

The Airflo Sniper Fly Reel is an incredible reel at a budget price point.

If you’re putting a fly fishing outfit together with a limited budget, you need not look further than the Airflo Sniper fly reel. At just £29.99 with a FREE Velocity fly line.

The Sniper reel has been designed by top anglers here at Fishtec, to offer fishermen on a tight budget a quality, lightweight fly reel. Boasting great looks and a superb build quality featuring a lightweight frame, the Sniper fly reel can hold up to 100 meters of 20lb backing along with a full 30 yard fly line due to a generous large arbor.

 

Learn to fly fish in less than 30 minutes

Perfecting the art of fly fishing takes years of practice, patience and determination. For those of us with years of experience, it’s easy to forget that we were beginners ourselves many moons ago.

Fly fishing skills were once passed down from one generation to the next. Now, this knowledge is freely available online.

Totalling 27 minutes and 8 seconds, the six videos below make a great introduction to fly fishing. From setting up fly reels to tying a simple fly, here is our crash course in fly fishing.

Choosing the right equipment

Start your foray into fly fishing by kitting yourself out with the right tackle.

How to set up a fly reel

This might be a long video, but it is very thorough. You can’t catch any fish without first setting up your reel.

How to cast a fly rod

The next step is learning how to cast your fly rod.

How to tie a simple ‘Bloodworm’ fly

Fly tying is a craft that many fly fishermen enjoy. The joy of landing a fish is even greater when you’ve made the fly yourself.

How to improve your casting distance

After learning how to cast, you’ll be keen to practice and improve your technique.

How to target big fish

Now you’re ready to go after the biggest fish in the lake. Impress your friends and beat your own records by targeting a whopper!

Once you’ve mastered the basics, these fly fishing tutorials will help you to improve and perfect your fly fishing techniques.

Reel fly fishing lingo

Reel fishing lingo

Know your damsels from your nymphs
Source: Prairie Theatre Exchange

How well do you know your fly fishing lingo?

Avoid a verbal faux pas on the river bank with our – not so handy – guide to fly fishing terminology and some alternative meanings for angling terms. Read on for some good old fashioned misinformation.

[table caption=”Fly fishing lingo” class=”table table-bordered” tablesorter=”0″]
Phrase,Common definition,Fishing definition
Arbor,A place to moor a boat,The centre part of a fly reel – an arbor knot is used to tie the line to the reel.
Beadhead,Someone who takes a small hat size,”A fly with a bead just behind the hook eye – some are sinkers, others floaters.”
Conehead,A comedy alien,A cone shaped beadhead.
Damsel,A maiden in distress,A fly – looks a bit like a dragonfly but smaller and with folding wings.
Eddy,Name of an abdicating King,The edge of a current where the water flow is reduced.
Foul hook,A nasty pirate captain,Hooking a fish – but not in the mouth.
Hemostat,Some sort of thermometer,Forceps used to extract hooks from the mouths of fish.
Impressionist,A 19th century French painter,A fly tied to look a bit like a number of insects. Usually most useful in fast flowing streams.
Jumping rise,Getting better at high jump,A trout leaping from the water to catch an insect.
Knotted leader,A Stressed out PM,Tying different diameter lines together to create a tapered leader.
Lie,The opposite of the truth,Where the fish tend to congregate.
Mayfly,Might prefer to catch the train,One of the most commonly tied flies.
Nymph,A fiesty female,An immature insect.
Overhead Cast,Poor weather for sunbathers,The traditional fly rod cast.
Palming,Ahem,Using your hand to slow the spool of a fly reel.
Riparian,A German with a personal hygiene problem,Something situated on the riverbank?
Scud,A Soviet style missile,A small freshwater shrimp.
Tight loop,An aerobatic manoeuvre,An aerodynamic fly cast
Undercurrent,A tricky conversation with the inlaws,An underwater current
Wet fly,A boxer with confidence issues,A fly fished below the water surface.
Zinger,A burger from KFC,A handy retractable lanyard for keeping fishing tools handy when not in use.
[/table]

If your favourite fly fishing lingo is not on our list, please add it to the comments below.

Reel fishing records

It’s a delight to catch a decent fish. Some of us will have even landed a specimen – one of the greatest joys for anyone who dabbles with rod and fishing reel.

But here we take a look at some slightly different records of the watery world. The biggest the smallest, the rarest, the longest and of course – the weirdest.

Biggest

The biggest fish in the sea

The biggest fish in the sea
Source: Wikipedia

A survivor from the age of the dinosaurs, the whale shark is the biggest fish in the sea. But unlike ‘Jaws’, these gentle giants feed on tiny sea creatures – plankton.

Whale sharks are vast – the largest confirmed specimen weighed over 21 metric tonnes and measured more than 41 feet long.

In Vietnamese culture the huge creatures are revered as a deity. Meanwhile, officials in the Philippines have made whale sharks the fishy face of the 100 Peso banknote (worth £1.50).

Smallest

Seriously small fry

Seriously small fry
Source: Wonders-World

The world’s smallest aquarium measures just 30mm x 24mm x 14mm. The miniature tank (which held just 10 ml) of water was unveiled in 2011 by Anatoly Konenko from Omsk, Russia.

The tank was perfect – complete with decorative stones and plants, but was let down by the stocking. Zebrafish were introduced to the mini ecosystem, though they’re small, they’re not the smallest fish.

That title goes to the Paedocypris fish – a type of carp that lives in the swamps of Sumatra. At 7.9 mm, it’s the smallest vertebrate on earth – surely the perfect occupant for such a tiny tank.

Longest

Sea serpent or Oarfish?

Sea serpent or Oarfish?
Source: Big Fishes of the World

From the smallest to the longest – the Oarfish, otherwise known as King of Herrings measures up to a whopping 56 feet.

When they’re sick or dying, these incredible fish tend to languish in the shallows. It’s thought that ancient sightings of sea serpents were, in fact, oarfish.

In Japanese folklore, the fish is known as the ‘Messenger from the Sea God’s Palace’. Increased numbers of oarfish were observed in Japanese waters during 2009 and 2010. But, as if warned off by the Sea God himself, they disappeared 12 months before the devastating 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oarfish

Rarest

Devil's Hole Pupfish

Devil’s Hole Pupfish
Source: The Unstartled Steppes of Dream

When you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. That’s a slight exaggeration but you have to go a long way to find a Devils Hole Pupfish.

In fact, to catch a glimpse of the rarest fish on earth, you need to go to Devils Hole, an insignificant pool in the Amargosa Desert in Nevada, USA.

If you haven’t already died of heat and thirst, ignore the circling vultures and head for the hole. There you’ll struggle to find any pupfish – they’re less than an inch long and there are only an estimated 35 of them left.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil’s_Hole_pupfish

Weirdest

Moray eels have two sets of teeth

Moray Eels have two sets of teeth
Source: Wikipedia

There are any number of candidates for the title of weirdest fish – but the honour is awarded to….

The moray eel.

They may look friendly, but keep away. Here’s why.

When a normal fish bites you that’s one pair of jaws chomping on your leg (or worse…). But when a Moray eel gets a hold of you, it bites – and then it bites you again with its SECOND PAIR OF JAWS.

That’s right – Moray eels have two sets of gnashers. The first bite gets a good hold so that the second jaws can poke forward from its throat to drag you further in.

Anyone for a swim? The water’s lovely!

Fishing apps to help you reel ’em in

Once upon a time, local knowledge was a closely guarded secret.

But now fishing wisdom accumulated through the ages is available via the super computer in your pocket. Thereby turning anyone with a rod, fishing reel and smartphone into an expert.

Here is our guide to some of the best fishing apps out there, helping you to harness technology and keep reeling ‘em in.

Fish Forecast

Secret weapon - the Fish Forecast app

Secret weapon – the Fish Forecast app
Source: iAngler

This clever iPhone app tells you where to fish, which species to target and even suggests what tackle setup to use.

It combines several key factors impacting on fish feeding and set up patterns, to produce what they think will be a winning strategy. As well as that, the weather forecast and phases of the moon are integrated with expertise provided by angling experts, meaning you need never think for yourself again!

Every day you’ll get three different fishing options that best match the conditions, together with advice about rigs, baits and tactics.

Priced at £2.99, we feel sorry for the fish.

What Fish

Where to find your fish

Identify your catch
Source: iTunes

A comprehensive resource for sea anglers, What Fish boasts a 164 fish strong identification index. Whilst the app will help you to correctly identify your catch, it is much more than just a fish identification tool. You’ll also be able to access useful information such as minimum catch size, specimen shore and boat weights. Detailed maps show where target fish are likely to be swimming.

Add to that suggestions about baits and rigs that work best from different locations such as shore, boat and kayak. And as if that wasn’t enough, there are even recipes so that you can cook your catch to perfection when you get home.

An impressive amount of info for £1.99 and available for both iPhone and Android.

Fish Here

Where to find your fish

Where to find your fish
Source: Twitter

A wealth of information for anglers, you can use this app to save time locating the perfect fishery. Using your phone’s GPS, no matter where you are, you’ll be able to see where the fishing spots are in your area. Better yet, they’re rated so you won’t waste valuable angling time trying to find a decent spot.

The data on offer is comprehensive – with over 2,800 coarse and game venues listed. You can also access the five day weather forecast and lunar calendar and interact with other coarse and game fishing enthusiasts. This encyclopedic app also includes over 1,000 fishing tackle shops.

A serious amount of knowledge to keep in your pocket with member deals and discounts to boot. £1.99 from iTunes.

Carp Lake Maps

Carp Lake Maps App

Carp Lake Maps App
Source: iTunes

Ideal for those crossing the channel to France in search of specimen carp, this app offers clear maps that detail features of lake beds, to help you maximise your strike rate. Whilst it doesn’t have a vast number of lakes as of yet, there is plenty of scope for future inclusions.

Bought individually, the maps would total £54 but the phone app costs just £2.99 and is available to iPhone and Android platforms. Bargain! So if you’re likely to fish any of the locations featured it surely makes sense to download the app. If you’re a keen angler and want to see some new features, Carplakes are looking for new suggestions to add.

Wreck Finder

Discover what lies beneath the watery depths

Discover what lies beneath the watery depths
Source: iTunes

A favourite with us, wreckfinder has been developed by Cornish company, App Future, to help anglers and divers locate wrecks at sea. Data from the UK Hydrographic Office is integrated with Google maps to give the location of 12,000 wrecks in UK and Irish coastal waters. And you don’t even need to have a phone signal to use it either, as all the locations are downloaded with the app.

Where possible additional information about the wreck is included and all co-ordinates can be input into other electronic navigational aids. Your phone’s GPS also gives your location in relation to the wreck sites in your sea area.

A great concept and one we’re sure will be a hit with sea anglers everywhere.

£3.99 and available for iPhone and Android.
Found a fishing app that you think is a star performer? Why not let us know so we can review it?