Airflo Airtex 2 Wading Boots Review

In this guest review fishing instructor and qualified guide Ben ‘Fly Guy’ Fox takes a look at a wading boot for all situations – the new Airtex 2 from Airflo!

With the latest Airflo kit impressing anglers up and down the country, including myself, I was pleased to get the opportunity to test out one of their latest additions, the Airflo Airtex 2 wading boots. Building on the excellent design and functionality of the original Airtex boots the new boots are a great example of modern features and materials.

Airflo Airtex 2 Wading Boots

Airflo Airtex 2 Wading Boots

When choosing wading boots it’s important to consider design and functionality.

Grip: The boot is the anchor you look too to keep yourself safe while wading through fast water, on slippy rocks and all manor of substrate. Do these boots do the above? Simply, yes. The boots have good strong stable soles (I had the Vibram) which offered good grip on the multitude of substrate I trekked across on my test session.  I had added Kold Kutter studs, available from the Fishtec website, which I would recommend doing as they do help grip on the trickiest conditions underfoot.

Support: When on your feet all day covering different gradients and often long distances its import that your boots support your feet, particularly the soles and ankles. I had no fear of going over on my ankle, thanks to the high sides, neoprene padding and strong rubberized heal and lower sides. As for covering long distances, after walking miles of river in them my feet didn’t ache, something that has often happened while wearing other boots or boot foot waders.

Cost: Built to last with top quality hard wearing fittings and materials were some boots fall short, the Airtex push the boundaries of what can be offered for the price point. I think they are great value for money.

Tough laces and corduroy eyelets will last a lifetime

Tough laces and corduroy eyelets will last the boots lifetime

Features:

Tough laces and corduroy eyelets should last the lifetime of the boot and the robust abrasion resistant outer ensure that it will be a long one.

Options to cover a wide range of foot sizes and with felt or Vibram soles available there’s a boot for all in the range.

Light weight despite the hard wearing components. Making them easy to walk in.

Drainage – wading boots can’t hold water for any length of time as the weight would become difficult to manage, drainage holes at strategic points allow this to happen quickly on the Airtex V2 boot.

Superb grip in slippery conditions guaranteed

Superb grip in slippery conditions guaranteed

To summerise: I was very impressed with the Airflo Airtex 2 boots. As a guide I rely on my gear to get me through both my own fishing, fishing with clients and competitions on running and stillwater. These wading boots will carry me through all conditions and situations and I recommend them to anyone looking for a high quality well priced boot that will last.

Airflo Airtex 2 wading boots retail at £119.99. They are available here.

About the author: Ben started his fishing career aged just 7. Progressing rapidly from coarse fishing, Ben soon became proficient at fly fishing and has taken part and triumphed in numerous competitions. He has represented England at youth level where he has 2 caps.

Ben Fox with a magnificent fly caught pike!

Ben Fox with a magnificent fly caught pike! Source Ben Fox Facebook page.

Based in Yorkshire but operating throughout the country, Ben spends his time as a qualified fishing guide and as an instructor with Fishing 4 Schools. Should you need quality angling coaching or a guided service be sure to check out Ben’s website here.

Top 10 Christmas Carp Fishing Gifts for 2018

Stuck on what to buy a carp fanatic for Christmas? Read on - we've got you covered.

Stuck on what to buy a carp fanatic for Christmas? Read on – we’ve got you covered.

As the festive season approaches, carp fanatics all over the country will be hoping their families forgo the socks and chocs for angling Christmas presents.

Here are ten items to add to your wish list this year, from bargains at well under £50 to top of the range tackle, clothing and accessories. Start dropping hints early…

FishSpy Camera

Fishtec Fishspy Camera

BUY: FishSpy Camera from Fishtec – £129.95

Once upon a time, castable underwater cameras were the stuff of science fiction, or hideously expensive. Not any longer! Get a different view of your swim with this brilliant FishSpy Camera. As well as being fun to use, it’s a great way to find features, check your rig or even watch the fish close in on your feed! There’s some sample footage here if you want to see more.

For a limited time only: FishSpy camera’s are being supplied with a FREE carry case and a FREE device stick.

Korda Mini Rigsafe Combi

All those bits and pieces of rig that carp anglers love to carry have a nasty habit of getting lost on the bank. This tidy rig board plus accessory box comes in handy to store all your crucial components in a small space. An excellent product to keep everything safe and organised!

Prologic K3 Bite Alarms

Prologic K3 Bite Alarms

Prologic K3 Bite Alarms

While the typical bite alarm has fallen steeply in price over the last few years, it still pays to invest a little more and buy quality. Three super-reliable alarms plus a receiver is great value at £199.99 with this superb Prologic set. Great performance for the mid range budget-conscious carper.

TF Gear Banshee Carp Rods

Fishtec-carp-rod

BUY: TF Gear Banshee Carp Rods – from £29.99

For beginners to carp fishing, or perhaps for a keen angler who wants to add a marker or spod rod to their set up, you won’t find better value than the TF Gear Banshee. Correct! You get twice the rod for your cash. Hundreds of happy customers will tell you the Banshee is a great carp fishing rod, with prices starting at just £29.99. Check out the options here.

TF Gear Airflo Bivvy

Is your bivvy looking tired or falling to bits? The cooler months are no time to be without a reliable shelter on the bank. This TF Gear Airflo MK2 Bivvy performs effortlessly well, with amazingly easy “air poles” for rapid set up, and rigid, dependable performance in the worst of weather.

Ridgemonkey Compact Frying Pan

Here’s a clever idea from Ridgemonkey. It’s a shallow “breakfast” pan in four sections that changes to a deeper pan with a single flip. It’s also durable and super portable. Whether you’re knocking up a breakfast fry up or a curry on a cold night, this space saver is just the job. Click here to order.

HD Waterproof Action Sports Camera

For those who fancy some underwater filming without breaking the bank, this little waterproof sports camera has specifications well above its price tag. It has various settings from 1080 pixel / 25 frames per second film, to stills and time lapse options. Add fittings such as a head mount and selfie set and you have a very versatile camera in the style of the classic GoPro, all for well under £50!

Trakker Waterproof Thermal Core Multi-Suit

For anglers who brave the worst conditions, a warm, comfortable all-weather suit is a must-have rather than a luxury. With features such as reinforced knees and seams, along with fleece-lined pockets, this Trakker Multi-Suit will keep you toasty even when the elements are fierce. A great gift for any fishing fanatic prone to catching colds or staying out too long in the wet!

Jag Hook Sharpening Kit

Carp anglers often get fussy about the sharpness of their hooks, and for good reason. The chances of a hooked fish are greatly increased by having a “sticky-sharp” point as opposed to a less than keen edge. This special Jag Hook kit has all you need to hone rigs to optimum efficiency in one tidy pouch, bringing even tired hook points back to their best.

TF Gear Heavy duty carryall

 

TF Gear heavy duty carryall

TF Gear heavy duty carryall – £54.99

With most carp anglers carrying a fair bit of kit for longer sessions, a tidy way of keeping it all in good order is a must. Designed to hold various accessory cases perfectly, this TF Gear carryall is built to last. Packed with well-thought out features it has an extra long pocket for rig storage and space up-top for your buzzer bars.

But if you still can’t quite decide…

Last but not least, if you can’t choose between these carping Christmas present ideas, why not buy some Fishtec vouchers? Available in multiples of £10, they allow anglers to choose their own treat. Available in paper or digital versions.

Whatever gifts you choose this year, we wish all you tight lines and a very Carpy Christmas!

Airflo Airlite V2 9’6” #5 – Trout & Salmon Magazine Tackle Review

”A dry-fly dream”

Airflo’s Airlite V2 range is not new, but this 9ft 6in, 5wt is. The rod has been designed by Airflo’s sales director, the highly respected competition angler Gareth Jones, especially for delicate dry-fly fishing on stillwaters. It punches well above its price tag.

Airflo Airlite V2

Airflo Airlite V2 9’6 #5

What initially feels like quite a fast action oozes feel and depth when loaded and it delivers an incredibly stable casting loop. Casting with it becomes second nature, as does turning over a team of flies with pin-point precision. The progressive, smooth action is a delight.

We fished with it from the bank (with very little clearance behind and background snags) and it delivered a Lee Wulff Triangle Taper 5wt floater with ease, while on a boat the rod’s wand-like quality is unlocked: it effortlessly lifted a team of flies off the water, roll-casting
over both shoulders with fast, snappy changes of casting angle.

When playing a fish under the boat, with this rod you just know your tippet won’t break.
Give your cast some welly and you’ll be amazed how little, if any, fly-line is left on the reel. The rod’s that versatile.

The reason for adding this model to the V2 line-up was to meet the needs of specialist light-tippet fishing – a rod capable of absorbing a fit rainbow’s turn of pace on tippets down to 6X (3lb-3.5lb). We know it works on rainbow trout up to 5lb taken on a single dry-fly…

Gareth’s inspiration comes from his trips to Lough Corrib where light tippet fishing for big, wild brownies prompted the search for a suitable tool. If a rod is good enough for such technical lough fishing, then frankly, it’s as good a stillwater dry-fly rod as you will find.

Our only niggle is the lack of a keeper ring, which many anglers like. The green wooden reel seat, with a secure nut, was reliable on a day when the rod landed a bag limit of Eyebrook reservoir trout.

For the reservoir or loch/lough angler looking to discover the benefits of a lighter dry-fly outfit, this rod is all you need.

Airflo Airlite V2 fly rods are available here.

Airflo Airlite V2 9'6 #5

Airflo Airlite V2 9’6 #5

Article reproduced with kind permission of Trout & Salmon Magazine.

New Daiwa ProRex Predator Fishing Tackle

Late autumn is traditionally the time when predator fishing begins with a vengeance. Water temperatures have cooled down, bait fish are beginning to shoal up and pike, zander and perch are feeding hard in readiness for winter. To take advantage of this bonanza, all you need is a good set of predator fishing equipment.

For autumn 2018 and on Fishtec are stocking the new ProRex range of predator fishing tackle by Daiwa. We believe this range offers superb value for money, whether you are looking for a rod, reel, luggage or a complete set up. In this blog we take a closer look at the new ProRex items being stocked by Fishtec.

Daiwa ProRex spinning rods – From £54.99

At last, a versatile range of lure fishing rods for almost every predatory species you can think of; pike, perch, trout, zander, sea bass, salmon, saltwater species – you can catch them all. Available in 6, 7, 8 and 9 foot options, with various casting weights through the range from as little as 7 gram to a whopping 80 gram.

What does Daiwa say?

”This Prorex rod series offers very lightweight and at the same time fast action blanks. Each rod action has been particularly adopted to suit the requirements of casting all sizes of shads and plugs; hence their crisp and tensile feel. However the HVF fibre blank features an astonishing handling and loads over the whole tip section during casting – perfect for long distances. X45 bias construction reduces torque assisting higher accuracy a smooth bending curve is realised thanks to V-Joint. The Prorex rod series combines latest rod technology with a classical design at an exceptional price-performance ratio.”

What we like

The blanks are very slim, sensitive and transmit a lot of feel when fishing a shad or bouncing a heavyj jig back. Importantly, the handles are made of cork which gives them a really nice feel in cold and wet weather. Eyes, finish and reel fittings are all top class, making these rods brilliant value for money.

Daiwa ProRex XR lure rods – from £99.99

The big brother of the ProRex rod range, the XR offers even more performance with the latest technological innovations from Daiwa.

What does Daiwa say?

”The Prorex XR rods offer the very latest in blank construction thanks to exclusive DAIWA technology. Lightweight and extremely fast each features outrageously pleasant handling, enabling you to use for longer periods without fatigue. The sensitive tip action ensures an optimal lure presentation, perfectly buffering lunges and head shakes during the fight, reducing the risk of hook pulls. The use of HVF nanoplus carbon creates a more lightweight and at the same time tougher blank. The result is a quicker recovery enabling long distance casting, with large levels of power in reserve. X45 bias construction also reduces rod twisting during the cast, thus assisting accuracy and increasing power conversion. In addition the V-Joint spigot guarantees an even bending curve. The original Fuji TVS reel seat ensures a direct contact to the blank for optimal feel and lure control. Award winning Prorex XR rods offer an outstanding price-performance ratio”

What we like

The blanks are noticeably fine diameter, and the power to weight ratio is simply incredible. The reel seat is a top of the line Fuji, while the Fuji alconite line guides offer unparalleled line flow and protection from braided mainlines. Featuring Daiwas unique moveable hook holder, these rod are nicely finished and for the angler looking for a premium lure rod are a fantastic buy. A comprehensive range of lengths and casting weights means there is a model for everyone.

Daiwa ProRex spinning reels – £119.99

A good rod demands a quality reel and once again Daiwa (some would say the masters of the reel world) have come up trumps with a superb predator fishing reel range. We stock two sizes, 2500 and 3020.

What do Diawa say

”The Prorex reels are designed for hunting predators, particularly pike. They are a large capacity, quick ratio reel featuring an aluminium frame and an ATD carbon drag.”

What do we like

Solid, smooth with full aluminum construction throughout these are great reels. It’s best not to skimp on quality when selecting a reel for hard fishing predator fish and this one is built to last. The drag here is slick, firm, has no start up inertia and is easily adjustable. A total of 9 ball bearing make this reel a reel pleasure to bring in your line or a fish with. They are suitable for a wide range of species, as well as pike.

Daiwa ProRex lure bag – £49.99

The perfect piece of fishing luggage for carrying your lure collection, or end tackle and traces.

What do Diawa say

”This bag offers plenty of space for the storage of lures and supplies. The bag includes 3 big tackle boxes of the common size 36 x 33.5 x 5.5cm. The bags rubberized bottom prevents the intrusion of moisture from below. Both front pockets offer space for the transportation of smaller boxes for jig hooks, swivels etc. The padded shoulder strap ensures carrying comfort even if the bag is fully loaded and thus heavy. All of the bag’s outer material is water repellent and restrains short showers without soaking.”

What do we like

It’s fairly compact design means it is portable and not too heavy. The free tackle boxes are a nice touch, and there is plenty of room in the side pockets for all of your lure fishing tackle and accessories. The material is very heavy duty and looks like it could withstand the worst of the UK weather plus stand the test of time. A comfortable shoulder strap makes carrying it very easy.

Daiwa ProRex Landing net – £39.99

After all the hard work of getting your quarry to take your lure loosing that fish is simply not an option. To ensure your hook-up ends with a happy capture a decent landing net is a real boon. Enter the ProRex net.

What do Diawa say

”The Prorex nets feature an aluminum frame of 1.3 cm in diameter, light and strong. Their sleeve has grip EVA high density logo Prorex. Depending on the model, the frame snaps and / or withdrawal and the handle is telescopic or slides in the head to save space.

What do we like

Generously sized at 70cm x 50 cm these nets can accommodate good sized predator fish. The frame folds up, allowing for easy transportation. The extending net handle and rim is made of a super strong yet light weight aluminum material. Most importantly, the net mesh is made of a modern rubber composite, which is incredibly fish friendly and resistant to hooks, enabling you to get on with it without risk of snagging your gear up.

THE FULL RANGE OF DAIWA PROREX PREDATOR GEAR CAN BE FOUND HERE.

New Airflo V2 Fly Fishing Reels In Stock

We recently had some exciting new fly reels land in our warehouse – the new Airflo V2’s. These reels are the follow up to Airflo’s successful V-Lite range of fly reels, which we sold in high volumes for many years.

Nicely finished in silver, red and black, they are a fully machined fly reel range, made out of a solid aluminum block that has been cut to exacting standards.

Airflo V2 fly eel full set

Airflo V2 fly reel full set

On first impression, they are a fantastic looking range of reels and appear to be incredibly well built with a solid disc drag. The drag itself is completely sealed, allowing them to be used in saltwater environments with no danger of failure. Construction wise, while a fraction heavier they are just as robust and well screwed together as the old V-Lite’s, and like their predecessor provide plenty of backing space thanks to the deep V shaped recess found on the spool.

Surprisingly, the prices are pitched lower than the V-Lite, offering a way into the premium quality reel market for anglers on a lesser budget.

Prices start at just £109.99 for the 3/4 size. Other models include the 5/6 at £119.99, the 7/8 at £129.99 plus a 9/10 and 10/11 for the double hand and switch fly rod users priced at £139.99 and £149.99 respectively.

The Airflo V2 fly reel has a fully sealed disc drag

The Airflo V2 fly reel has a fully sealed disc drag

As an introductory offer, they also come supplied with a FREE Airflo fly line – the Super Dri Elite in the case of the trout models and a Scandi head for the double handed sizes. This makes the package as a whole incredible value for money.

With a model for everyone, the Airflo V’2’s quite simply represent the best value fly reels we have seen for many years! Get yours today.

 Premium performance and good looks
 Fully machined aluminium construction
 V cut spool for extra backing capacity
 Strong, fully sealed saltwater proof drag
 Sizes: 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, 9/11 & 10/11
 Prices from £109.99 to £149.99
 FREE Airflo fly line included

AIRFLO V2 REEL TROUT MODELS ARE AVAILABLE HERE

AIRFLO V2 REEL DOUBLE HAND MODELS ARE AVAILABLE HERE

Airflo V2 fly fishing reel

Airflo V2 fly fishing reels represent brilliant value for money

Airflo Covert Compact Fly Vest Review

Looking for a new lightweight  fly vest that is comfortable and full of storage options? We might have found something for you. In this review Fishtec blogger Stuart Smitham takes a closer look at a vest he has been using for some time, the Covert Compact from Airflo.

Having used the original Airflo Outlander vest back pack for some years, it was good to see it have a freshen up, with some innovative digital camo. Ceri Thomas at Fishtec, hinted of another new addition to the range, called the Covert Compact vest. I’ll never forget Ceri’s apt description, “It’s a fishing bra with two chest pack’s”.  In truth, it’s a lot more than that.

I’ve had mine since March this year, so I’ve had time to make an accurate assessment of it. Once you see it you’ll see why it’s attributes become easily visible.

In general the Covert Compact has a generous pouch capacity, not only on the front two, but also the back. A lightweight system in digital camouflage. The philosophy of a one size fits all, works here for sure.

The Airflo Covert Compact fly fishing vest

The Airflo Covert Compact fly fishing vest

Looking at the vest from the inner most out, the padded areas offer a great stand off from your clothing, so allowing air to circulate between the vest and your body. Wide shoulder pads, much like the vest back pack, help spread weight distribution. The mesh back is great for two reasons. (1) to help keep you cool and (2) it allows you to wear a day pack with ease. A plus plus from me, particularly if your hiking and dumping waterproofs inside.

There’s a D ring in the top of the mesh yolk which is well stitched and will stand up to the endless pulling that I do on my net magnet.

Padded areas and D rings are a nice touch!!

Padded areas and D rings are a nice touch!!

The pouches on the front are very spacious, with split storage. They differ slightly as the right pouch has a velcro with fly patch. On both of them there’s a small inner pocket on the back wall, for small items and then a larger storage area. This will easily cope with fly boxes, spare tippet and a small water bottle. On the outside are two smaller pockets for tippet, nips, floatant and so on. The front pouches clip together for a secure fit, and you can also use the side straps to tighten it all up for optimum comfort.

The front pods and the back pouch of the Covert Compact vest

The front pods and the back pouch of the Covert Compact vest

The back pouch has rod tube straps on the underside (rod tube not included) which is a neat touch. On the inner are two small pockets on the back wall, for things like spare glasses, sunscreen etc. The main storage area here is large enough for your large fly boxes, snacks, drinks and even a lightweight jacket.

The construction and build quality on the Covert Compact is something else. Good stitching and quality zips that will stand up to heavy abuse. Overall, this is a well thought out piece of kit, worthy of joining the Outlander range of fishing luggage. For more on the Outlander range, visit the Fishtec tackle website. Best regards, Stuart.

Stop press: Covert Compact Fly vests are now just £34.99 (rrp £49.99)!!

AVAILABLE HERE

TF Gear Night Fishing Products – Bivvy Light and Head Torch Tackle Reviews

With summer at it’s peak night fishing for carp becomes a necessity. It’s always best to have reliable lighting systems on hand for success.

Here carp fishing guru Dave Lane reviews two best selling fishing tackle products, the Night spark head torch and the Night Spark bivvy light from TF Gear.

Dave Lane Night Fishing

Dave Lane Night Fishing

The TF Gear night spark bivvy light is a brilliant accessory for night fishing. It also doubles up as a power supply for your mobile phone! In the video below, Laney explains all.

Simply the best value head torch we have ever seen. Dave Lane talks through the Night Spark head torch. Available for just £14.99.

A full range of night fishing lamps, bivvy lights and head torches can be found on the Fishtec tackle website. Check them out here.

FishSpy Camera Videos by Carpology Magazine

The latest FishSpy underwater camera videos by Carpology magazine!

Discover how a FishSpy marker float can drastically increase your catch rates by allowing you to explore and check underwater features.

In these two videos Dan Whitford of Carpology explains how a FishSpy camera has helped him on his syndicate carp fishing lake, as well as for bait checking and discovering feeding areas.

July 2018 FishSpy video

May 2018 FishSpy video

FishSpy camera’s are £129.95. They are available from the Fishtec Tackle store here.

Dave Lane on using the TF Gear Airbomb for floater fishing

As soon as I saw the very first Airbomb prototype all those long months ago, the first thing that came to my mind was floater fishing.

Apart from all the other obvious advantages of being able to present a spread of bait, regardless of the depth or range, floating bait presentation was the one I really wanted to try out.

Apart from close range catapult baiting or relying on the wind to drift floaters out into the ‘zone’ we had always had to suffer the ill effects of a huge great splash as our spod type devices crashed into the surface right where the carp were feeding. Obviously, this was always a major disadvantage, particularly if the fish were a bit cagy and it was always a gamble as to whether they would return and continue to feed afterwards.

Dave Lane casting the TF Gear Airbomb

Dave Lane casting the TF Gear Airbomb

With the Airbomb you can stop it in flight well short of the ‘feeding zone’ and the baits will continue their flight, landing with the minimum of disturbance right where you want them to.

Recently, on an impromptu trip to the Water Park for a breakfast with the family I had the perfect opportunity to try it out.

The fish were all cruising about behind the café on the main lake and I had all the floater kit in the back of the truck.

I simply fed the swim with the Airbomb before ordering my breakfast and let them get confident while I filled my own face with eggs and bacon. Once I had finished and the fish had cleared up most of the free offerings I was able to keep feeding floaters right on top of them and they just kept on eating them, which was the perfect scenario.

Using a heavy controller to cast way beyond the carp, I then teased it back into position and was soon hooked into a lively mirror of around twenty pounds.

That fish fought like crazy and it was a good five minutes before I got him anywhere near the net, during which time most of the feed had been demolished and the fish were starting to drift off, so I asked Dee, the wife, to have a go at Air-bombing some more out there for me while I was trying to net the fish.

Floater fishing success with the TF Gear Airbomb

Floater fishing success with the TF Gear Airbomb

Despite never having cast one before she had mastered it by the second cast and I just knew there would be another chance in the offing if I was quick.

With the mirror dealt with and the fish still having it out in the lake it didn’t take too long to get a second bite at the cherry and I added a lovely common carp of a similar size before heading for home.

It was every bit as effective as I knew it should be and I can’t wait for the next opportunity to give it a go.

Dave Lane

 

River Fly Fishing for Beginners: 10 Top Tips

river-trout

There are few fish more beautiful than a wild trout.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

Ever fancied fishing your local river for trout? Whether your usual diet is stillwater angling, or you’re a coarse fisher looking to try something new, you’re in for a treat. In fact, contrary to what you might think, there’s a heck of a lot of water available these days. Much of it is also cheap and lightly fished.

So where do you begin? While it’s a different game to stillwater trout fishing, it’s not rocket science to get started on a stream. Here are Dom Garnett’s ten tips on essential tackle and wild trout technique, before you wade in:

1. Where can I find affordable fly fishing near me?

urban-trout-fishing

Urban fly fishing is sometimes free of charge!
Image: Frazer McBain

Don’t assume all river fishing is exclusive or expensive. Chalkstream fishing can cost a bomb; but much of the rest is cheap as chips. Smaller local clubs are one excellent source. Various token and passport schemes are another, including the Westcountry Angling Passport, Wye and Usk Passport and Go Wild in Eden.

If you don’t mind a bit of accidental company, there are also some fantastic urban locations with free fly fishing on your EA license. Fishtec blogger Theo Pike’s book Trout in Dirty Places is well worth a look for ideas.

2. Which fly rods are best for river fishing?

feather-light-fly-fishing-gear

Feather-light kit is a joy to use; but start with simple, affordable gear.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

So let’s cut straight to the basics and look at simple tackle for river fishing. For small to mid sized rivers, I would go for a short (7ft – 8ft) light trout rod with a weight rating of 3 – 4. This length is ideal for small stream with lots of tree cover or slightly cramped conditions.

You needn’t spend a fortune. In fact, the Shakespeare Agility range is awesome for the money, starting at less than £60. Alternatively, Airflo’s River and Stream Starter Kit has all you need for just £69.99.

For larger rivers, a longer rod has advantages. If it’s relatively open, with bigger glides of water and more space, a 10ft rod in a 4 weight is what I tend to use. It just gives me that little bit extra reach and control.

3. Reels, fly lines and leaders?

Leeda Profil Tapered Leader

Stock up with a few tapered leaders. Costing less than £3, they’ll help your casting and presentation.
Featured: Leeda tapered leaders from Fishtec.

A reel with bling is not terribly important, so I’d suggest you choose something that’s good value for money and functional. Cash you save here should be invested in a decent fly line instead. Go for a floating, weight forward fly line to match your rod. Airflo Velocity Lines are among the most competitive, from only £19.99. If you have a bit more to spend, or you’re looking for ideas to add to your birthday or Christmas wish list, Cortland lines such as the Classic 444 are excellent.

Next, you need some leaders. The “leader” is the length of mono that goes between fly line and fly. Tapered leaders (3-4lbs strength) are best for ease of use – designed to help turn the fly over and make your cast land neatly. These tend to come in 9ft lengths, which is ideal to start with. You can use much longer leaders for shy fish and open water, or indeed a bit shorter for bushy streams, but 9ft is a good start.

You could also get some finer line (say 3lbs or so) to use as “tippet” material. In simple terms, the “tippet” is a couple of feet or so of lighter line that goes between your leader and the fly. Not only is a final section of finer line harder for the trout to spot, it also means that if you get snagged you only lose a little bit of line.

4. Other essentials for river trout fishing

trout scoop net

A trout scoop net has ultra fine mesh to protect delicate fins.
Featured: Airflo’s Streamtec Pan Net (above) is a good choice for just £12.99.

There are a handful of other things I wouldn’t be without for river fishing. One is a pair of waders – a must if you want to reach the best spots. A simple, functional pair will do just fine.

Another must is a pair of polarising sunglasses, which protect your eyes and make fish spotting easier. Again, you don’t need to spend a bomb (I usually spend about £20 because I’m great at losing and breaking them).

I’d also take two simple products to help your lines and flies float or sink: a tub of LedaSink and a tub of Muclin.

Finally, I like to use a wading vest to store odds and ends, because typical fishing bags are a pain when wading and I like to keep my arms as free as possible! You might also grab a portable scoop net to clip to your back.

5. Suss out your river

trout fishing in strong current

Don’t fear the flow: trout love current and oxygen.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

It’s tempting just to find a river and start casting. A better plan is to watch the water for a while and enjoy slowly immersing yourself in the little world that is a trout stream. To start with, smaller rivers and streams are easier than the bigger waters. The fish here can be spooky at close quarters, but it’s much easier to find them and suss out the best places to fish.

See if you can spot rises, fish and anything that’s hatching, along with any features you think might hold fish. Beginners quite often like to fish where the water is slow or even slack, because it’s easier fishing. However, trout prefer the flow. It brings their food to them and provides oxygen rich water. So while they like obstructions like boulders, submerged bushes and other little sheltering spots, they also like to be near the current, where insects that hatch or fall in are carried towards them.

One tip I often share when guiding is to watch bubbles and little bits of debris on the surface of a river. These will take a particular path, like a mini conveyor belt, indicating exactly where the current tends to carry the things trout feed on.

6. Be stealthy

quiet trout fishing

Keep a low profile whenever possible.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

Whether or not your first attempts are successful, river trout will quickly teach you the need for stealth and caution. They tend to be shyer than stocked fish, and the lower and clearer the water the more this is the case. As a rather tall and sometimes clumsy human being, I’ve learned this the hard way!

Always wade slowly and carefully, avoiding sudden movements that send out too many ripples. It’s a balance between getting close enough to catch the fish, but not so close they bolt for it.

Beyond obvious things, like not casting a big shadow or stomping about, try wading and casting upstream. Trout will naturally face into the current (upstream), so if you approach them from behind, or from “downstream”, you’ll get closer to them without spooking them.

7. Make your casts count

You’ve found a nice looking spot and perhaps even seen a fish. Now comes the moment of truth. If there’s space, you might manage a standard, overhead cast. If it’s cramped, a roll or side cast might be needed. Side casts are especially useful to get your fly line under trees and make the most of limited space.

Another golden rule is to make your cast land as gently as possible. If everything splats down on the water, the trout are likely to spook. Aim as if you were casting just above the water.

Perhaps the most common beginner’s mistake is to have too many casts. Rather than thrashing the water, it’s much better to watch carefully and make just one or two careful deliveries at a time. There’s no rush, and one good cast is worth ten poor shots.

8. Get a handle on local hatches

insects to inspire flies

Start to learn what insects hatch on your favourite rivers and streams.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

Identifying fly life is something that can scare or baffle newcomers to fly fishing. Indeed, read some of the more obsessive articles and you might think you need a doctorate in bug life to catch fish. It isn’t true. In fact a lot of the time, you’ll catch on “general fit” fly patterns if you present them naturally.

Of course, it’s always going to be helpful to get a rough idea of what’s hatching. It’s fun too – and you can do it at your own pace, one or two species at a time. Latin names and pedantic amounts of detail don’t matter – but do try and get a rough idea of the size and colour of what hatches. The Pocket Guide to Matching the Hatch (Lapsley and Bennett) is a lovely pocket sized guidebook for under a tenner that will get you off on the right foot.

9. Stock up with some proven river flies

River fly patterns can quickly get confusing, so keep it simple to begin with. If you’re used to stillwater fishing, you’ll find the flies a lot smaller and more realistic (typically sizes 14 to 18 are best to start with). I would take a simple Klinkhammer Emerger in a few colours (an excellent and easy to spot floating fly), along with the F-Fly and perhaps a few little Caddis. As for nymphs, you cannot go far wrong with a beaded Hare’s Ear and a Pheasant Tail Nymph.

10. Simple tactics to catch a fish

a day on a trout stream

Time well spent: little beats a day on the trout stream.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

If you can see fish rising now and again, you could start with a dry fly. Watch carefully and try to see where the fish is coming up from (the rings at the surface or “rise forms” will travel with the flow, so the actual trout could be another few feet away). Do the rises keep occurring in the same place?

Much of the art of successful river fishing is sussing how to make your fly look natural. Hence much of the time, the angler will aim for “dead drift” (i.e. letting the fly moving at the exact same speed as the current, just like a real one that was hatching or had fallen in). To get this just right takes practice. You’ll need to watch the current carefully and keep picking up the slack fly line after you’ve cast, so you don’t have yards of the stuff dancing about on the water.

If nothing is rising, or you are struggling to get the fish to take a dry fly, then a sinking nymph is the best way to catch. The easiest way to do this is to use the so-called “New Zealand dropper”. All this means is taking a buoyant dry fly like a Klinkhammer or Caddis, and using this to suspend a sinking fly. All you do is tie a little light mono (say 40cm or so of 3lbs line) to the bend of the dry fly hook, and then attach your nymph to the other end. When the trout takes the sunk fly, the dry fly will pull under. Time to strike!

Hopefully, that first river trout will be a magical experience to make your rod bend and your heart race. It might be a fish that leads to a slightly lighter wallet and a lot of happily lost hours on running water; but you really can’t put a price on something as delightful as a day on a trout stream.

Tackle up for river fly fishing: quick checklist

Further reading and more from our blogger….

We hope these tips help you to approach your local river with confidence and catch that first wild trout. Obviously there’s a lot to learn, so do take it steady and move at your own pace. Books, articles and lots of practice are sure to help- it’s also well worth keeping an eye on the Fishtec Blog, and the Turrall Flies blog, which Dom also contributes to.

For a real head start in fly fishing on rivers, another excellent step is to book a guide. With a qualified instructor you could learn more in a day than you might in many months on your own. Dom offers guided river trout fly fishing in Devon and Somerset, along with sessions for coarse fish right through the year. Find further details, along with his books, further articles and more at www.dgfishing.co.uk