Fly Rod Eyes Explained

Ever wondered why your fly rod rings are set up the way they are? Does it really matter what sort of guides you have? Our blog explains all!

Fly rod guides can have real effect on casting and fish playing performance. Most anglers never pay attention to the eyes when making a rod purchase, but they should – because eye configuration and quality can make a big difference to your fishing.

Fly rod guide types

You will find three main types of rod rings on a fly rod.

At the butt end you will always find a stripping guide. This is the largest eye, with a wide diameter to allow line to shoot through it easily on the cast. They tend to be manufactured with a ceramic insert to reduce friction. They are built to handle the energy from the power generated in a stiff rod butt section. On higher line rated rods designed for distance or throwing large flies, you will often find two stripping guides. If you intend to do a lot of distance casting, then a rod with two of these guides is a must.

Stripper guides

Typical stripper guides

Snake eyes are the most commonly found guides on a fly rod blank. Basically these are simply twisted pieces of wire; designed to help your rod flex and your fly line flow through them unhindered. Made of chrome, stainless steel or even titanium, the standard double snake guide is very lightweight and a favourite the world over.

Double leg snakes

A double leg snake eye

Theses guides will be spaced at an optimum distance apart to allow for smooth flexing of the rod and for good line flow. The diameter of snake guides vary, according to what the rod builder had in mind for the performance of the rod.

If large diameter guides are used, this helps with shooting line for extreme distance; however some line control is lost in the process which can affect presentation and accuracy. Narrow eyes allow for precise control of the cast and better loop formation, but distance is harder to achieve. Most fly rods are built with their guide diameters as a nice balance between distance and line control.

Single leg snakes are also very popular on UK fly rods. These reduce the weight further by having just one leg that requires whipping to the rod blank – thus reducing the quantity of rod epoxy and thread needed to attach them.

In the UK most fly rods sold feature either standard double or single leg snakes, bucking the trend from heavy, narrow, lined ceramic eyes that were very popular a decade or two ago.

Single leg snake

Single leg snake

The tip eye (or tip top) is a vital guide that is fitted to the end of your fly rod. They are especially important as they are the most prone to wear, and need to transfer casting energy at the thinnest part of your rod. So they need to be of superior quality and just the right size for best performance.

Hayfork tip eyes

Hayfork tip eyes

Hayfork tip eyes are the most common, but there are also round tip tops available. These reduce friction because there is nowhere for the fly line to catch or get slowed down in. They are used by some of the top manufactures such as Sage.

In addition to the three main rod eyes described above, keeper rings are generally found just above the rod handle. These are usually just a simple looped piece of wire, placed to accommodate your fly.

The addition of a keeper eye on a fly rod is for convenience – it will help you resist the temptation to plant your fly into the cork handle, or onto the stripper eye and risk damaging the lining. Several modern fly rod manufactures have taken to leaving the keeper eye off their rods –  a trend that some may find annoying, or may not be bothered by. But, it’s something worth considering and checking when making a purchase.

Keeper eye - with or without?

Keeper eye – with or without?

Remember the more you pay for a fly fishing rod, the better the guide quality and overall thought to rod ring size and their placement is likely to be. These little differences can make a rod massively easier to fish and cast with. Be warned that on cheaper rods chrome snake eyes of poor quality can get grooved, or even corrode within a season or two. The old saying ‘buy cheap buy twice’ certainly rings true when it comes to fly rods and their guides.

Airflo Stormbox Competition Tackle Boxes

The Stormbox by Airflo is the ultimate fly and tackle storage system for the boat angler.

Fully waterproof, durable and shock resistant the Stormboxes have rapidly become a firm favourite of boat based competition and pleasure anglers throughout the UK and Ireland.

A large central compartment swallows up multiple fly lines, spools, fly boxes and leader material with ease, whilst the strong bash resistant ABS plastic construction will keep your gear safe and sound in the boat, car and on the jetty whatever the conditions.

The Airflo Stormbox is available in two sizes:

Large (55.5 x 42.8 x 21.1 cm)
XL (59.4 x 47.3 x 21.1 cm)

The larger XL model has wheels and an extendable handle.

Many Stormbox owners are turning to the services of Andrew Barrowman, who is providing high quality custom ‘Foamtex’ interiors built to whatever specification the customer requires. Some examples below show Andrew’s excellent handiwork.

Airflo Storm boxes with custom inserts

Airflo Storm boxes with custom inserts.

Customise your Airflo Stormbox interior!

Customise your Airflo Stormbox interior!

For more details on obtaining a customised interior for you Airflo Stormbox, visit Andew’s new Foamtex Facebook page here

6 Summer River Fly Fishing Tips

At this time of year fly fishing rivers becomes increasingly difficult; with low water conditions and increased daytime temperatures mainly to blame. Throw in high angler pressure throughout the spring months, and you have some truly challenging fishing by mid summer.

With that said, it is still possible to make some decent catches even when the river fishing is rock hard. The following river tips should help you keep on catching all summer…..

Stealth will bring you results....

Stealth will bring you results….

1. Stealth. A common sense tip, but often overlooked. Trout are wary creatures at best and with a river lacking in flow they are even more attuned to the presence of predators. A clumsy slip of the wader boot on a slimy rock will often spook a whole pool. So really take your time when approaching the water and if possible avoid unnecessary wading.

2. Walk the river. It really pays to go looking for fish when the going is tough. Walk the banks quietly and look for signs of fish rather than charge straight it. When river temperatures are warm in summer fish tend to be much more clustered together in refuse areas that offer extra cover. A tell tale rise or splash can give a tightly packed pod of fish away, saving you wasting time fishing empty water.

Walk the river to find fish

Walk the river to find fish – a trout that gave itself away with a splashy rise

3. Fish the faster water. In low summer flows fast water offers fish cover and oxygen, as well as helping mask the sound and vibration emitted by the angler. So It can pay to solely concentrate your efforts in rapids, pocket water and necks of pools when the river is fishing poorly during hot weather. Such areas can be fished effectively with a french leader, a method very much suited to spooky fish.

Look for fast, oxygenated water

Look for fast, oxygenated water when temperatures are high

4. Minimise your false casting. I often see too many anglers making false casts that they simply don’t need to. Less false casts equal less shadows and line flash that will alert spooky low water trout. A short head weight forward fly line such as the Airflo Super Dri Xceed is designed for quick rod loading, and will help reduce false casting. Also try and make your false casts lower down, at a side angle where your cast will intrude less into the cone of the trouts vision.

5. Use a long leader and scale down. The lower the water the longer the leader. Don’t be afraid to fish a 20 foot leader length on a low river. The further away from your fly line the fly is, the better! A clear floating Airflo light trout polyleader combined with a supple, thin diameter co-polymer such as the superb Airflo tactical allows you to achieve great turnover and subtle presentation at range.

6. Make the switch to low light conditions. Early or late can be the answer during heatwave conditions. From Mid Summer onwards trout in warm water tend to switch to surface feeding at last knockings and through into the night, when water temperatures fall and food sources are more abundant. Likewise crack of dawn fishing can produce good fishing, especially on nymphs, where trout remain in the faster shallows briefly before the sun rises.

A fish captured at last knockings...

A fish captured at last knockings…

Does Fly Colour Matter?

Fishtec fly colour header

Fly colour can make a difference

Do fish respond differently to different fly colours, or is it all in the eye of the angler? Dominic Garnett applies modern logic to that age-old question: fly-colour.

“They want something with a hint of green in it today!”

How many times have you heard anglers at your local fishery make such a claim about the flies that catch on any given day? It happens too often to be pure coincidence, but how much of this is down to the anglers as opposed to the fish?

I’ve fished with a great variety of people. Many of them swear by certain colours, others are skeptics who claim that colour is not terribly important. But who is correct? And if it really does matter, which are the best colours for fishing flies? With a little science and plenty of my own trial and error, I hope I can provide some useful tips in this blog post.

How do fish see the world?

Fly Colour - Fish Shadows

When fish look up, they often see shadows and shapes rather than distinct colours.Photo credit: Dom Garnett

Don’t assume that fish share your opinions on what’s attractive or edible-looking! Perhaps the easiest trap for anglers to fall into, is to see the world through their own, all too human, eyes. But how do fish see things? This varies massively according to factors like light levels, depth and water clarity.

As humans looking down into watery worlds, it’s fair to say we get a very different view to that of our quarry. Fish, especially those like trout, which feed on insects, tend to look up for food. They probably don’t see a wide array of colours but instead see prey silhouetted against the light of the sky. Perhaps this is why black remains one of the most effective of fly colours.

Fly tying has always used colour to play on the natural curiosity and aggression of fish. By contrast, natural prey like freshwater shrimps and various nymphs tend to be dull-coloured greens and browns. Whether it’s a subtle, shiny rib or a bright red tag on a fly, there’s value in creating interest and grabbing the attention of your quarry; nature has the opposite objective!

As a good general rule, I tend to pick dull colours and subtle flies for wild fish, and go with brighter colours and larger patterns for more aggressive stocked trout. There are also times when I turn the rules on their head. Where stock fish have been peppered with bright lures, a dark fly can bring the bites back, just as a bright, gaudy lure might produce a sudden aggressive reaction from a wild fish that has refused more natural-coloured flies.

A question of depth

Fly colour guide - depth

Fly colours become dull over depth and distance

The visibility of our flies can change quickly no matter where we’re fishing, but it’s especially true for anyone who fishes in deeper or larger waters with sinking lines.

Fish can indeed see a range of colours (their world isn’t black and white). However, scientific studies show that the colours in their visual spectrum change as depths increase. Below 40 ft, all colours appear dull or greyish. Reds and oranges are the first colours to “disappear”, followed by yellows and greens, while blue and black flies and lures tend to retain their colour best at greater depths.

The “bottom line” is, while we might confidently use flies with a little or a lot of red or yellow in the upper water layers, black and blue flies might be better choices for fishing at great depths, or when the fish have to home in on our flies from distance.

Water Clarity

Fly colours - clarity

A hint of contrast is a classic ploy to make flies stand out; this fish was fooled by a drab Cruncher enhanced with a brighter thorax.Photo credit: Dom Garnett

Depth isn’t the only consideration, water clarity matters too, which is why red and orange flies can be a bit of a lifesaver in some circumstances.

A classic example of this is when otherwise clear lakes go greenish in hot weather, due to algal blooms. One of the best tips I ever got for fishing these waters came from Steve Cullen, whose thoughts on the subject really grabbed my interest as I struggled on a real peasoup of a lake. At first I wondered whether the fish would accept the bright red and orange versions of standard flies he recommended. However, my local brown trout found them very appealing indeed. You would think that the loud colours would spook wild fish, but perhaps where clarity is poor they’re less cautious.

Another common scenario is water which, often due to acidity, looks peaty or even black. These waters are common in places like Scotland or even my favourite Dartmoor lakes. The fish will still pick out a range of flies, but one thing you notice about so many of the classic loch-style patterns is the way in which they use two contrasting tones, or even three or four colours. This is not purely decorative, but helps fish pick them out in the “stained” or blackish water.

Light Levels

Fly Colours - Light levels

Waves, cloud and the position of the sun will all affect light levels.Photo credit: Dom Garnett

Light levels vary according to the time of day, the position of the sun in the sky, weather conditions and the effect of wind and waves. As light penetration changes, so does fishes’ colour perception and visibility, making flies that combine two or more colours easier to pick out than monotone patterns.

As a general rule, black and dark flies with perhaps just a touch of brighter contrast or sparkle, tend to be universally useful. At times it can seem counterintuitive, but even when it’s dark, black works; sea trout anglers fishing the silly hours of the night still catch on jet black lures. Equally, on bright sunny days when the conditions have looked all wrong, I’ve found pike flies in black to be blank savers.

Another consideration we’ve not discussed so far is reflective materials. Using flies with a bit of flash in sunny conditions can certainly work to provoke fish, particularly with predatory species, but perhaps the biggest revelation for me, has been the use of ultraviolet (UV) reflective materials in low light conditions.

Special modern tinsels and dubbings will reflect UV light even on a dull morning or at last light. I once considered these special flash materials to be a gimmick, but these days I use them with great confidence in any low-light or depth-fishing situation, whether it is a UV rib on a nymph or a dose of UV tinsel in my predator streamers. Give it a try!

For a quick, simple and visual guide to fly colours use our infographic below:
Fishtec fly colour guide

For a full choice of Caledonia Flies as shown in this guide, visit our fly fishing tackle shop online.

To embed this infographic on your website, simply copy and paste the code below:

Modern Stillwater Flyfishing Tactics Volume 3

It is every anglers dream to catch more fish and this feature length DVD produced by Airflo and Trout Fisherman magazine will help you achieve this!

Originally available with the May 2017 issue of Trout Fisherman, the UK’s leading competitive anglers Gareth Jones and Iain Barr turn their attention to bank fishing on Graham water for killer shrimp feeders and then enjoy a productive session on the small stillwater paradise of Ellerdine lakes.

This MUST WATCH feature is stuffed full of invaluable fly fishing tips, tackle and techniques. And it’s totally free to view on our YouTube channel!

Airflo Fly Fishing Tackle Videos 2017

Looking for new fly fishing tackle? Then these product videos from Airflo could help you decide. With waders, bass bags, fly rods, fly boxes, vests, clothing and of course fly lines Airflo have every base fully covered for the 2017 fishing season.

Airflo sales director and UK stillwater expert Gareth Jones gives each new product a short video review on this post – watch on to discover more!

Super Tuff waders Airflo have been supplying waders to the market for many years and time and again they have been asked for a super durable work horse wader. The result is the Super Tuff PVC wader.

Mesh bass bag This essential trout fishing accessory is guaranteed to keep your catch fresh throughout the day by the process of evaporation; simply dunk the bass bag occasionally into the water and your catch will not spoil during the heat of the day.

Grippa silicone fly box The ultimate pocket fly storage system. The double sided slim-line polycarbonate body is durable and shatter-resistant, and fits discreetly in a waistcoat.

Airflo Forge fly line With all the fly lines on the market today, it’s often a case of where do I start when it comes decide the correct taper, coatings, cores, etc for your floating line.

Defender Fly fishing clothing The new Airflo Defender waterproof fishing clothing offers outstanding value for money. Finished in stunning two tone olive with contemporary design and fit, this range will make you look good on the bank as well as providing superb performance.

Airflo Airlite V2 rods The original Airlite rods were nothing short of sublime. The perfect blend of modern lightweight graphite and components made for a breathtakingly smooth yet powerful action, leaving the fly fisher feeling in total control of every glorious cast! Bringing back the Airlite is like welcoming back an old member of the family.

Outlander Covert vests – Adding to Airflo’s hugely successful Outlander range, the new Covert Mesh Vest and Vest Backpack utilises a modern highly effective digitally developed camouflage pattern help break up the anglers outline giving the ultimate in concealment and stealth.

Delta fly reel The Airflo Delta Fly Reel gives the angler a lightweight die cast aluminium frame, high quality fly reel with great looks at an unbelievable entry level price all in one package. One of the best value for money fly fishing reels available.

Freedom by Rene’ Harrop

For a fly fishermen living at high elevation in Yellowstone country, the arrival of May is like the release date from a prison sentence.

Whether through biological management measures or restrictive climatic influence, many attractive trout waters are not available for fishing until the flowers bloom and migrating birds have returned for nesting.

Henry's Lake Cutthroat

Henry’s Lake Cutthroat

On the Idaho side of the Park where I live, all but the Harriman Ranch will be relieved of seasonal management restrictions by the end of May and the same applies to any water that remained iced over prior to that time.

Across the border in Montana, opening of the general fishing season occurs about two weeks earlier than Yellowstone, which for most park waters is Memorial Day Weekend.

May - Henry's Fork

May – Henry’s Fork

With the road to another summer now clear I can turn full attention to the most serious business of life, which is fishing. With fly boxes fully restocked and all other tackle items ready to go, freedom is obscured only by the move back to Island Park from our winter home on the lower Henry’s Fork. Once completed, I am virtually surrounded by more temptation than even a disciplined man should be expected to withstand, and I have never been especially strong in that regard.

Sheridan Morning

Sheridan Morning

From our cabin, the Henry’s Fork is nearly within casting range and rivers like the Madison or Fire Hole are less than an hour away. Rested still waters like Henry’s, Sheridan, and Hebgen do not make my choice easy on where to spend any given day, and I have been known to hit as many as three of these irresistible fisheries between sunrise and dark.

Nice Loop On The Fire Hole

Nice Loop On The Fire Hole

I spend six months of each year living in this mountainous dream world, and May is just the beginning.

Halliford Mere Trout Fishery

In this blog smallwater specialist Stuart Smitham visits Halliford Mere trout fishery, situated on the outskirts of West London. Read on to find out more about this interesting venue and how the fishing was.

Where it all started for us. I was posted to Hounslow in or around 1998 for public duties and by chance had heard of a small fishery, offering trout fishing on a Catch & Release ticket. Situated near Heathrow Airport and near the bustling M25 and M3 motorways, this venue was a gravel pit. It’s stones and gravel no doubt used to build the surrounding road ways, that are now a familiar feature in our day to day lives.

Halliford mere fishery

Halliford mere fishery

Some months ago, I was chatting with my good friend Michael Valler, when he mentioned he wanted to try another trout fishery, so I put Halliford Mere forward as a choice of destination for a future day trip. I phoned the fishery on the 25th April and spoke to the owner/ manager Bill who runs the fishery with his brother Gerry. They also run the very successful restaurant which won a Les Routiers award for Venue of the Year 2017. With a full a’la Carte menu and Seafood, you could be spoiled for choice.

With around 15 acres of fishing and utilising four lakes, this fishery has a lot to offer, for a slim £20 C&R ticket. Three of the lakes offering up and Perch & Trout fishing and Lake 4 is a predator lake with some very large Pike lurking the depths. One thing is for sure, we’ll have to work hard to get a fish to the net today, as the sun starts burning the low cloud away and the all too familiar sound of jets streaking to sunnier climes. Having gleaned some info from Bill on the previous Tuesday, we arrive on Saturday having travelled the short journey from Michael’s house.

Mrs Valler isn’t keen on us losing weight today, so she has put a snack bag together to feed a small Army. We have lots of flies to try, so as we drive in the fishery we park up and go to meet Gerry in the restaurant and pay for our day tickets. There’s a chap on the main lake, trying to tempt fish that are on the fin, in the lake centre and they’re having none of it. Some of these look like lumps, plus there are brown buzzer coming off, right now?

Gerry gives us the run down on the lakes and some idea on depths we can expect, stating the main lake is around 22 feet, so I get some idea leader length? We get to the car with fumbling fingers and hasty tackle ups. Some of the better casting points on the main lake are already being used, so we opt to wander off to Lake 2 for a sniff around. There’s a regular here who feeds us some info on what he fishes, then tells us about the 30lb Pike he lost on the main lake the other week. Now a pike is one thing, but a 30lb pike is quite something else. We start a wander, to find feeding fish and end up walking past the houses that back onto the main lake and lake 2.

Ending up directly opposite the chap we just spoke to, Mick has the Airflo Super Dri Bandit, 10 feet of 7lb G3 tippet and a single black buzzer with a gold rib and red tag. He’s also using and airlock indictor, which float really well and can be adjusted up or down the leader, without affecting the leaders strength. Me, I opt for Super Dri Mend, which is a great line for supporting heavy flies, being slightly thicker and is Hi Vis in the sharp sunlight. I have 14 ft of 7lb G3 and I put a dropper on, around 5 feet from the fly line tip. A #14 Black Mirage Cormie on the dropper and a Pearly green buzzer on point.

From our area on a spit, we can see fish moving and smashing buzzers coming off on a wind ruffled segment in the middle of this water. Try as we might, we get nothing so opt for some fun. There are fish moving with a rod length of us, so Mick now puts on a green beaded shammie and I have a red beaded one to try to get a reaction. Mick makes a cast and starts moving his lure in toward us. I leave mine static. Mick makes re-cast and starts talking to me, when he misses a hard pull and starts cursing! I then miss a take too. Serves us both right for not watching eh?

Missed take!

Missed take!

We continue this for a while and see more fish starting to rise to buzzer. We make a bold move up to Church Bay on Lake 3, after getting some hot info from our friend, but when we get there, there’s a lot weed and the banks side fringes are choked with weed, so we wander back to the main lake. After a few tentative casts into some very dark deep holes, we can hear our bellies talking, so a brew and some scotch eggs are very welcome. Re-energised we start a cast and peek around the bottom of the main lake near the road in.

Mick now has an Olive Damsel knotted on with a silver Tungsten head and silli legs trailing off it. I have changed to 17ft of tippet and a single tanksie lure, in black and green with a black 4mm brass bead at the head. I can hear this whistling past me as I cast, so I check the position of my glasses before starting the retrieve. I am fan casting in short and medium length shoots and spot a faint shadow on right heading for me. I stop retrieving and regret it straight away! A brown of around six pounds just sidles by as I’m left pulling line in, to make a re-cast in front of this beast. Nothing?? We move to the opposite side of the Lodge and restaurant and some other chaps are trying to tempt the trout in the lake centre. These fish have seen a line or two before and are out of my range, because we have restricted back cast room with hedges and trees.

Moving up a peg, I can get a line out and miss what I think was a fish. Then bring back some weed about three-foot long. With weed choked lake fringes at the top end of the main lake, we wander again. As we walk into what looks like a secluded section on lake 3, Mick heads for a point and I make for some tree covered bank, that offers an opportunity for challenging casting. I now have about 18 feet of tippet and a Yellow hot body with a white tail. This little gold head works well and has a fluttering action in the tail. Second cast to the far bank and I lock up, the see a small brown around 2.5lb spit the hook and give me the fin. Gutted yet ready again, I make another cast to the same spot. I watch the fly come back then see the flash, Instead of waiting to feel the hit, I line strike straight down chopping my line hand away. That’s when the rod tip comes to life.

Winning combo. Hot body and G3

Winning combo. Hot body and G3.

That was some take, so I ask Mick to pop a few picks off while I play the sprightly Halliford Bow. After a few snaps it streaks back down into the dark water. I lengthen my cast and shoot about 40 feet of line under the trees. Success straight off and Mick comes over to see the hustle and bustle, as a hard-scrapping bow sparkles the water surface with a splashy head thrash.

Into a fish...

Into a fish…

Mick moves ahead of me and starts small casts into the margins. Most of my fish are deep but just visible in the gloomy water. Mick misses a take and so do I. This little hot bed area is pretty cool with lots of activity. I miss several takes because I’m watching Mick then glancing back and catching the pluck on the my fly.

We move to a point which is a great area for casting a long line. I start joking with Mick about getting a smiley pick with a fish, when he locks up! He is well chuffed and fights this fish hard. Rod bent and smiling like a Cheshire cat, he just releases the pressure on the hook hold slightly. Just enough for the feisty bow to slip the hook as Mick is ready to net it. Supremely gutted, Mick checks is rig then changes his leader to about 12 feet long and casts out. I make a long cast with the hauling zone outside the tip ring. That’s over 60 feet of line out, then thump thump and my rod tip starts dancing. What a hit that is! I start gaining line then lose it again? I’m now thinking big fish, so play it safe and gain line slowly. The fish is coming in, so I reel in the line on the deck and gain the upper hand. My line banding is shooting in and out of the water as we both try attempt the battles wits. Then it pops the water surface in a splashy scrap and I slide the net under. What a tussle and this fish is around 2.5lb so nothing massive, but a nice tail explains the fights all to clearly.

A fine Halliford mere bow'

A fine Halliford mere bow’

I rest on the peg as my toes are killing me! Before anyone says anything, I don’t have feet like a hobbit. Because the points of the lakes are slanted, you end up pushing your feet into the front of your boots. Hence me taking a rest Lol. I encourage Mick to watch his line, he is fishing one of our fave flies, the techno cat. A Cats whisker with a red bead head. Mick is using the FTA method and makes a long pull, after some plucks and stops, then just brings the fly back to the surface and misses a splashy follow and take.

I tell Mick to make a long cast near the reeded far bank. He is about to start a retrieve when I stop him. I tell him we don’t know the depth there, so let it sink few seconds more, then make a pull. As soon as he starts the pull, he gets hit and the fish spits the fly at the surface! Unbelievable or what? He makes another cast just to the right of his last cast and the banded starts juddering? Mick strikes and he is in!!! Keeping up pressure with no let up, I give Mick my net as I’m shooting pics off like mad. He leans down and pushes the net out and this bow pops the hook!! You couldn’t write this could you?? Don’t answer that.

One that didn't get away

One that didn’t get away

As the afternoon starts ebbing away, we both realise that time is not on our side. We have to negotiate the M25 and M3 again, but this time when everyone else is driving on it? We have the last, last casts and walk toward the lodge at 4pm. Catching Gerry at the lodge and Bill who looks very dapper in readiness for an evening in the restaurant. We tell them about the Brown at the bottom of the main lake, then find out that they haven’t stocked Brownies for a few years, yet we’ve seen two??

A good day and one Mick will remember as the day that could have been? I would have loved to see Mick with a fish in his hands, but that was not to be. From my perspective, a nice fishery with £20 for a C&R ticket. Dark water bright fly worked a charm for us. It did take a while to cotton onto the ideal method, but it was good fun trying different approaches and tactics.

Super Dri Mend came through again for me. It just floats like a cork and shoots really well, even with heavy flies. G3 came up trumps! Zero breakages, even on the hard pulls and lunges. Impressive

So, if your ever in London and stuck for a place to wet a line, give Bill & Gerry a buzz. Take the Mrs and enjoy the evening stroll after your meal. Whatever you think of Halliford Mere, all I can do is give you a flavour of what we enjoyed on our day. Lets hope yours is, as enjoyable as ours.

Best regards

Stuart

An Emerger For All Seasons – by Steffan Jones

Large Brook Duns are a big meal and one that any self-respecting trout would reluctantly refuse, as each morsel provides substantial sustenance.

The Large brook dun

The Large brook dun.

As a rule, they do not hatch in the middle of the river and you are more likely to find them in greater numbers closer to the bank or in back eddys. Should you have a current deflection from a stone however, then this will often push the duns out into the stream and towards the trout. The trout will often locate themselves around such deflections, becoming known as likely ambush points and strong feeding lanes. The brook duns will also bring up the wiliest of trout that often hide underneath banks or bankside vegetation, as the trickle of duns may be strongest and most concentrated in such areas; always pay attention for small, unenergetic rises as they are often the largest fish.

The duns often try and scurry across the water’s surface towards the bank after hatching, often climbing up onto rocks after doing so. As such, the adults themselves can be a problematic food source to hone onto for the trout, as they escape before interception. This makes the emergers or cripples a securer meal and a better food source, often favoured as a result.

Signs of Brook dun emergance

Signs of Brook dun emergence.

No need to get complicated with a pattern to cover such eventualities. Indeed, the same pattern dressed in different sizes will cover a myriad of different olives and will see you right throughout most of the season. The important of the pattern to me is that is signals to the trout ‘eat me; I’m not going anywhere’. If they invest energy into intercepting an object they want to be rewarded as a result, so don’t make them question the investment in the first place in order to maximise your chances of interception.

No need to get complicated

No need to get complicated.

For this, I prefer to fish my emergers with the buoyancy placed out the front of the fly; fished over and beyond the eye, rather than up and over the body. This allows more of the fly to be fished in and under the surface, with only part of the thorax and ‘wing’ fished on and over the surface. I understand and appreciate that this does not follow the natural, as the wings to not emerge first nor do they protrude forward. However, outside of this observation I have not found the trout to question this unorthodox style and I believe the benefits outweigh such semantics.

An emerger for all seasons

An emerger for all seasons.

Tying instructions/ingredients

Hook: Partridge K12ST for the large patterns as it’s a longer hook, then Partridge K14A for the smaller patterns

Thread: Veevus olive (C12) in 12/0

Tail: Coq de leon; don’t go crazy, 6-8 fibres will be ample. Take the thread behind the tail once to help prop and elevate it slightly, preventing the tail from getting wrapped and hindered on the hook bend.

Body: Stripped peacock quill; colour to suit. Golden olive here. Or, try the Magic Quills, which are transparent, adjusting the colour of the base thread accordingly. UV resin over to help protect the fragile quill.

Body2: Between the quill and the thorax place two turns of oval mirage tinsel. UV resin over this too, to protect the tinsel from the trout’s teeth. I believe this tinsel provides a little strike point, but also emulates the air pocket created during the emerging sequence of the natural. It is worth, however, dressing a few without this, just in case you find  some particularly picky fish.

Thorax: Fox squirrel; this can be thick to dub. Chop the fibres a couple of times to shorten the fibre length then dub onto the thread after adding some tacky wax to aid the process.

Wing: x3 plumes of natural CDC (adjust amount and plume size according to hook size). Pulled over the thorax and tied shuttlecock style. Make sure to dress a thread base between the eye and the plumes at the head, to help prop and elevate the plumes somewhat, which, in turn, helps counterbalance the fly and force the body subsurface. Also, when drawing the cdc over the thorax do so by drawing from the tips; this will allow a few loose fibres to escape and trail back over the body of the fly.

A victim of the Steffan Jones emerger

A victim of the Steffan Jones emerger.

Steffan has been guiding at home and abroad for well over twenty seasons now. If you would like to arrange a guided trip please visit www.anglingworldwide.com for more details.

Top Ten New Fly Fishing Products

fly fishing tackle

New tackle to get your season off to a flying start

Which new fly-fishing products are turning heads and winning rave reviews as we enter the new 2017 season? Here is our quick guide to some of the best tackle out this year.

Reel value from Vision

fly reel

The Vision Deep Fly Reel

While it is easy to be wooed by the bling on show in any selection of modern fly fishing reels, those that give top performance and good looks at well under £100 are a rarer beast. Which is why we think the new Vision Deep Fly Reel is sure to be a big hit with anglers across the UK. Strong, light and with a high capacity, they also feature quick release spool system and a smooth, reliable drag. Find them in sizes from 5/6 to 11/12 at Fishtec from just £69.99.

Slick fly fishing accessories

scissors

Dr Slick XBC Accessories

Blending style with top quality, the new Dr Slick XBC Accessories are sure to win fans and wow those already in the know. When it comes to trimming knots, unhooking fish or debarbing flies, these new tools really excel, while the funky designs are sure to earn jealous glances from your pals! Get some on your zinger for the new season from £5.99 up.

Sure to polarize opinion!

sunglasses

Lightweight glasses with polycarbonate lenses

Fish spotting specs come in various guises these days, but few combine top quality polarization with style quite like this. Funky yet functional, these Tetra White Frame Polarising Glasses from Bolle (£99.99) would make a great buy, or indeed an eye-catching gift, for any style-conscious angler.

Waders to combat wear and tear

waders

Airflo’s Super Tough PVC Chest Waders

Are you one of those anglers who likes tackling the rough stuff? For anyone who puts their waders through a real test every season, the rigors of rocks and undergrowth can take their toll. Hence we like the approach of Airflo’s Super Tough PVC Chest Waders. Double stitched seams, reinforced knees and other features make these a tougher breed for the angler who doesn’t do manicured fishing. Taller folks will be pleased to see that they go up to a size 13, while the price is also very reasonable at just £79.99 to Fishtec customers.

Fly lines that deliver…

flyline

Greys Platinum Stealth Flyline

It’s always good policy to renew your fly lines every so often. Should you be looking for brilliant performance without breaking the bank, however, the new Greys Platinum Stealth Fly Lines are worth every penny. Already Trout Fisherman award-winners in 2017, they are super slick and perfectly tapered for easy casting, while the dual-colour finish is ideal to avoid spooking fish. Sure to be one of our best sellers this year, find them at Fishtec for the excellent price of £34.99.

Top notch wading jackets from Vision

Lohi jacket

Vision Lohi Jackets

For anglers who often get immersed in their local water, a quality waterproof jacket is a must. But with high street brands seldom cutting it for this type of use, perhaps it’s time to treat yourself to something built-for-purpose? The new Vision Lohi Jackets (£219.99) not only look the part but perform beautifully. Totally waterproof and breathable, they’ll keep you dry and comfortable for many seasons to come. Great quality and durability, in sizes M-XXL.

Take wading and walking in your stride

wading boots

Scierra X-Force Wading Boots

If you’re someone who often walks a fair distance in a day, typical wading boots are not always ideal. With trekking style soles that will tackle rough terrain on land as well as the river itself, the Scierra X-Force Wading Boots (from £169.99) look like winners. Reinforced toes and soles, along with superb ankle support, further add to durability too.

Fly fishing wear with classic appeal

jacket

Snowbee’s popular jacket

Ok, so it would be a little disingenuous of us to call Snowbee Prestige clothing completely “new” after several years of popularity. But you would struggle to fault the current range in terms of sheer comfort and practicality. Innovative, breathable designs are matched with traditional good looks and sound value throughout, from jackets to bibs and braces.

Get a “Grippa” on your flies

fly box

Airflo Grippa Silicone Fly Box

We all love a good-looking fly box, but the new Airflo Grippa Silicone Fly Box (£14.99) is one that stands out for other reasons too. Durable, shatterproof and water resistant, its silicone fly slots will never wear out, while it is also slim enough to be stowed away with ease.

All Weather Winners from Simms

bib and brace

Simms bib and brace

If you’re the type of angler who needs to feel comfortable in all weathers, all year round, the new Challenger Clothing from Simms sets an uncompromising standard in 2017. Available in both subtle and higher-vis colours, the new Challenger Jacket (£249.00) and Bib and Brace (£199.00) offer unrivalled quality to tackle the very worst of the British climate. Thoughtful features such as fleece-lined pockets and draw cord adjustments add an unrivalled level of comfort to keep you focused on the fishing rather than the weather.

Catch the latest products and best tackle deals from Fishtec…

Did we miss your favourite new product? Or perhaps you were looking for something completely different? Fishtec stock a huge range of the best fly fishing gear, from great value starter outfits to top of the range rods and tackle and we always welcome your product reviews and queries of all kinds.

Keep an eye on the Fishtec Facebook Page for our latest fly fishing news and current tackle deals!