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!

Choices – April Field Report By Rene’ Harrop

There is much to celebrate as winter advances into spring, especially at high elevation. Here at St. Anthony, Idaho, the snow is now gone and I watch the budding of shrubbery that surrounds a greening lawn in my back yard.

As in past years, these official indicators of a new season represent more than just warmer temperatures and an increase in daylight hours.

While I have been fishing consistently for nearly a month, most of my time on the water has involved probing the lower Henry’s Fork with streamers and nymphs. There is no complaint with respect to these honorable methods and I enjoy them at any point of the year.  But as the days become more comfortable and the variety of aquatic insects expand, so too do the choices that are available.

April Rainbow

April Rainbow

By April, my dependence upon midges and an occasional showing of Baetis mayflies for an excuse to break out the dry rod becomes somewhat more relaxed. Conditions that permit the emergence of plant life from winter dormancy have a similar effect on water born organisms that average larger than size twenty two. Additionally, receding snow at higher elevation increases the variety of opportunities to fish water different than what I have been dependent upon for the past several weeks.

Warm April Day

Warm April Day

Caddis and March Brown mayflies can approach size fourteen, and these are the hatches I anticipate as April progresses along the lower river. While considerably smaller, the reliability and intensity of spring Baetis also increase the likelihood that I will be fishing dry flies on any given day.

Gareth -April On The Fork

Gareth -April On The Fork

Although a drive to Island Park in early April will yield only Baetis action and the likely presence of snow, a return to Last Chance Run always brings additional excitement as the time to be there full time draws near.

Of course, nymphs and streamers will not be forsaken in favor of strictly fishing dry flies because most of the bigger trout will still be found beneath the surface, but in April it will usually be a matter of choice rather than necessity.

April Streamer

April Streamer eater

 

CHALK – A Fly Fishing Film Project

The producers of a new fly fishing film “CHALK” have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their project. The feature-length documentary will be a hymn to the chalkstreams of southern England, examining how an accident of geography helped to shape not only the landscape, but the sport of fly fishing.

The team behind the project have a strong pedigree, consisting as it does of fishingbreaks.co.uk owner and author of The Life of a Chalkstream, Simon Cooper, young filmmakers Chris Cooper and Leo Cinicolo, collectively known as Chalkstream Fly, and the Video on Demand platform FishingTV. The combination of Simon’s huge knowledge and connections, Chris and Leo’s skill behind the camera and in the editing suite, and FishingTV’s experience of making and marketing high quality fishing programmes should make this the definitive film about the chalkstreams, something that will stand the test of time.

Chris Cooper

Chris Cooper

The project arose from an idea that Ed Burgass, FishingTV’s Commercial director, had been thinking about for some time. “The chalkstreams are talked about all over the world in hushed tones, but very few people actually realise just how special they are, why they are, or the important role that they played in the development of fly fishing,” he said. “I thought it incredible that no one has made a film like this before, really explaining all this about Halford and Skues and the importance of the chalk for the water quality and all that.”

However he also explained that he had always felt that if it were going to be made it needed to be done just so: “It had to be really carefully planned, filmed on the right locations, well-funded. Using a crowdfunding model allows us to have total creative control.” Another appeal, according to Burgass, was the chance to engage with the audience.

Chalk Stream trout

Chalk Stream trout.

“Fly fishing, especially on chalkstreams, has a very elitist image, and we want to try to dispel that myth through this film. We want to reflect that anti-elitist message in the way we make this film, which is why we have some really cool rewards for anyone who chooses to contribute, with the chance to actually be in the film – fishing – or to see early edits and give feedback during the editing process.”

The rewards start from just £3 so anyone can contribute, but for those with deeper pockets there are also some fantastic fishing opportunities up for grabs, including a day of salmon fishing on the Hampshire Avon with FishingTV star Rae Borras, on his private beat, and a day of trout fishing with Orvis Ambassador Marina Gibson. These rewards are limited in number, so anyone keen to take advantage should act quickly.

To find out more about the project, please check out the Kickstarter page.

Introducing Hodgman Fly Fishing Products

Fishtec are pleased to announce we are stocking Hodgman fly fishing products for the 2017 season.

Hodgman are an American firm that have been producing premium fly fishing gear since 1838; renowned for their fly fishing clothing, breathable waders and innovative wading boot design, Hodgman offer first class fly fishing gear.

New to the UK for spring 2017, Fishtec have cherry picked a full range of Hodgman products that we feel offer tremendous value for money, with superior quality that only an American brand can offer.

What makes Hodgman garments so special in our opinion is attention to detail. Every product has been carefully thought out with the fly fisherman in mind. Packed full of features, we are sure this brand is going to be a major hit in the UK alongside the likes of Simms and Patagonia. Hodgman equipment isn’t low budget orientated, it’s quality. You really do get what you pay for when you invest in Hodgman equipment and their stuff is clearly built to last.

The following videos are a ”must watch” – our key Hodgman products are explained in detail!

Hodgman product videos:

Hodgman H5 Stocking Foot Wader

Hodgman Aesis Sonic Stocking Foot Wader

Hodgman Aesis Sonic Zip Front Stocking Foot Waders

Hodgman Core INS Wader Liner

Hodgman H-Lock Interchangeable Sole Wading Boots

Hodgman Aesis Shell Fly Fishing Jacket

Hodgman Aesis 3-In-1 Jacket

Hodgman Aesis Sonic Wadelite Jacket

Hodgman Aesis Hyperdry Down Jacket

Hodgman Aesis Softshell Fleece Jacket

The full range of Hodgman fly fishing equipment can be found here.

5 Fly Fishing Blogs To Follow In 2017

In this post we look at five great fly fishing blogs that we feel are worth following through 2017 and beyond…

The world of fly fishing blogging has shrunk a little in recent years, with the rise and increased use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets taking more prominence within the angling scene. There are however some really good fly fishing blogs still around on the internet, including some brand new ones that are regularly updated. Here we present 5 of the best.

1. Land of My Fathers …… A Fisherman’s Journey through Wales

Tony Mair has a mission. To catch a trout from every county in Wales. It doesn’t matter how big or small the fish are; as long as Tony catches one it counts and another Welsh county is ticked off the list.

Tony Mair with success in Rhondda Cynon Taff!

Tony Mair achieves success in Rhondda Cynon Taff!

Along the way Tony meets colorful characters and anglers from all walks of life who help him on his quest, whilst fishing Welsh rivers of natural beauty contrasted with the industrial urban waterways in the valleys of the south. Thoroughly enjoyable, this blog is as much about the people and places as fish and fishing itself.

We highly recommended you catch up on last years posts – there will be plenty more counties to tick off this year, so make sure you do your homework on the places where Tony has already cast a fly.

2. DK Fly fishing – A Nymphomaniac Down Under

Continuing the Welsh theme, former Wales river international Dean Kibble has a new fly fishing blog. Titled ‘A Nymphomaniac Down Under’. This is a reference to the infamous competition fly fishing team Dean was a member of for many years, winning numerous trophies along the way on the UK stillwater scene.

Dean Kibble enjoying life in NZ

Dean Kibble enjoying life in NZ

Dean is quite possibly ‘living the dream’. He recently emigrated to New Zealand’s South Island, with his wife Lisa (herself an avid fly fisher!) As a way of sharing the fishing experiences with the guys back home, this blog was set up to catalogue Dean and Lisa’s adventures in the anglers paradise of NZ.

With exploration and new venues in every post, this great blog captures a pioneer spirit of untapped fishing in a new land. Old habits die hard though – In a recent post, Dean gives us the low-down on how he won his first NZ fly fishing competition. Top angling Dean!

3. The Beardy Bros Fly Fishing

Beardy Neil and Beardy Paul are two brothers on a quest to become better fly fishermen.

The brothers don’t live near to each other, so the idea was to create a blog where they could share and store their knowledge of all the useful fly fishing info they came across whilst fishing and online.

The beardy brothers

The beardy brothers

As a result the blog has grown to became a great resource with no ulterior motive – just pure and simple fishing, with the ultimate aim of improving yourself on the water.

This stylish looking blog has everything from venue visits and fishery reports, to useful non biased fishing tackle reviews, videos and hints and tips. There really is something for everyone here.

Their fly fishing adventures look set to continue for 2017 in style, so make sure you keep up to date with this one, it’s cool.

4. Fulling Mill Blog

One of our favourite fly and accessory manufacturers, Fulling Mill have been running a blog for around two years now. In that time It’s rapidly become one of our most visited sites, with a diverse range of fly fishing subjects in it’s archives.

Fulling Mill flies ready for action

Fulling Mill flies ready for action

From fly tying and the history of the industry itself, to competition fly fishing in the UK, pike and saltwater action this blog has a lot of awesome stuff written by experts from all across the UK, Europe and beyond.

With a new post usually appearing at least once a week, this is one frequently evolving blog full of interesting fly fishing stuff – well worth a look.

5. The Unfamous Fly – Fly Fishing In Scotland and beyond…

A cracking, honest blog from Scotland full of useful stuff whether you fish the river or the lake. The Unfamous fly describes his blog as: ”The exploits of a nobody angler laid bare for all the world to see. The successes,the failures & the fun of fly fishing”

The unfamous fly

The unfamous fly

We can tell you that this is a superb blog indeed, with some seriously good wisdom and experience being passed on for all to enjoy.

Of particular note are the fishery reviews – some excellent info there for anglers living in or visiting Scotland looking for a nice venue. Plenty of Real life tackle reviews make for informative reading if you are  looking for at some new kit. A recent no-nonsense Czech nymphing video made for a very entertaining watch, with hopefully much more of the same ilk to come this year.

Want more fly fishing entertainment? Then why not check out our list of Fly Fishing E-Zines? Free quality online fishing magazines from all over the world.

Obscure & Unusual Flies

Box of artificial flies

Have you got any unusual flies in your box?
Image: Shutterstock

When it comes to fly patterns, the possibilities are endless and the choice can be overwhelming.

So it’s no surprise many anglers stick to tried and tested patterns, but are they missing out?

We asked some of the best fly aficionados to send us their favourite unusual fly patterns. Take a look at these unsung heroes and find a new secret weapon for your fly box.

Crab fly

From Chris Ogborne

artificial crab fly pattern

Mud Crab pattern
Image: Chris Ogborne

“Saltwater fly fishing isn’t all about sand eels and bait fish. At certain times of the year my local estuary has an influx of little shore crabs and whilst many are alive the majority die and come floating in on the tide.

The bass love them and will mop them up in great numbers, so a floating or suspended artificial can do the trick. It’s hardly mainstream fly fishing, but for a short time it can be spectacular sport in the brackish water of the salt marshes.”

Chris Ogborne has represented and captained his country on the international fly fishing stage for over twenty years.

He offers guided saltwater fly fishing and game fishing across Devon and Cornwall. Take a look at what you can expect…

The Clifton

from Nick Hart

clifton artificial fly pattern

The Clifton pattern
Image: Nick Hart

“According to legend, it was tied and used on a day when the fishing was so tough that the Bristol anglers in question were close to throwing themselves off the Clifton suspension bridge!”

“The Clifton can be found somewhere in the depths of my fly boxes and whenever it goes on the leader I am instantly confident. It’s got a bit of everything including the old Stick Fly, a little bit of Viva and the more modern day Cormorant, plus I love that trigger point red/orange head with so much movement. It’s also a top early season pattern and open to all kinds of variation, including adding a little flash to the wing or using a modern synthetic as a substitute for the seals fur head.”

Based in Somerset, Nick has been a fly fishing instructor for over 10 years. In addition to his tuition and advice, Nick offers complete fly fishing packages such as his “River 2 Rock” three day fishing holiday.

Visit Nick Hart Fly Fishing to find out more about Nick’s trips.

CDC Caddis

from Stuart Minnikin

CDC caddies artificial fly pattern

CDC Caddis pattern
Image: Stuart Minnikin

“My favourite obscure fly would have to be my CDC Caddis. It’s a fly tied with a dubbed brown body and two bunches of CDC for the wing, one tied half way along the body and the other just behind the head.

I complete the fly with a few turns of thread dubbed with CDC fibres to give a leggy appearance. I use the fly as a search pattern from early summer through to October and fish go mad for it, however, it must float very high to be effective.

If it starts to get damp and sit down it loses it’s effectiveness and should be dried or changed. It is of course good in a Caddis hatch too.”

Stuart is a fully qualified fly fishing instructor offering guided fishing trips for trout and grayling on lakes and rivers in North Yorkshire. Take a look at Stuart’s full profile here, or visit his website Yorkshire Dales Flyfishing for more information.

Gorgeous George

from James Harrold

Gorgeous George artificial fly pattern

Gorgeous George pattern
Image: James Harrold

“The Gorgeous George is a great Scottish loch pattern fished either as an out and out dry, or a pulled wet just sub surface. It also works well in this part of the world (Norfolk) and can be very effective for Stillwater Rainbows down South.

I like to tie a few slight variations, by either changing the tail colour or dressing it up with an extra hackle or two depending on the level of buoyancy required!

A very versatile and effective fly and one that is always in my box.”

James owns and runs Rocklands Mere Fishery with his wife, Katie. The fishery offers both coarse and trout fishing in Norfolk. James is a GAIA qualified instructor and offers tuition to anglers of all levels, both in the fishery and further afield. See James’ full profile here.

Visit Rocklands Mere Fishery and take a look at the stunning species available in their idyllic Norfolk landscape.

(Rogan’s) Gadget

from Paul Kenyon

rogans gadget artificial fly pattern

Rogan’s Gadget pattern
Image: Norm Frechette

“The gadget was developed by the fly-tying legend Michael Rogan in the 1960’s. Originally used as a seatrout attractor pattern, it’s widely regarded as the first ever purpose designed saltwater pattern.

Over the years, anglers have caught on to the it’s versatility as a pattern. As an alternative to the original sea trout design, the gadget can be tied much smaller as a fry pattern – very effective in deep pockets of stillwater for fry-feeding trout.”

Paul Kenyon and his fly-fishing partner, Geoff Stephens, run Fly Fishing Devon. As registered fishing guides, Paul and Geoff help beginners and experienced anglers alike to make the most of fly fishing on Dartmoor and South Devon rivers.

The Polyfitus Olive

from Phil Ratcliffe

polyfitus olive artificial fly pattern

The Polyfitus Olive pattern
Image: Phil Ratcliffe

“This Polyfitus Olive has accounted for many a Grayling and the odd trout I must say. Ideal as a point or dropper fly when fishing deep faster sections of river as the heavy tungsten bead will get you down to target the fish.”

Phil operates out of the Cheshire area, as a fully qualified APGAI fly casting instructor & fly fishing rivers guide. When he’s not out instructing, Phil’s sharing his experiences and top tips on his fishing diary blog.

Take a look at Phil’s instructor profile, or visit his website to learn more about his casting lessons and guided trips.

The International Secret

from Andrew Cartwright

international secret artificial fly

The International Secret pattern
Image: Andrew Cartwright

“A fly that works well in all sizes and water conditions, it really does seem to glow in a river that the colour is dropping out, caught some very big grayling on it.”

Situated in the Upper Severn Valley at Caersws, Andrew has been fly fishing for more than 30 years. In addition to teaching children and adults in all types of fly casting, Andrew is also available for corporate sessions.

Visit acgameangling.com to book a session, or take a look at Andrew’s blog for the latest news from his fly fishing trips in Wales.

Wobbler Tube

from Rob Waddington

wobbler tube artificial fly

Wobbler Tube pattern
Image: Rob Waddington

“Rutland warden Paul Friend developed his own Tube Fly designed for rudder fishing. The foam body helps the fly rise and fall through the water levels so covering depth. When pulled, the fly stays on the same level as the sinking line, but when left static the pattern rises up.

This up-and-down motion attracts plenty of fish. According to Paul, the foam also makes the fly wobble slightly through the water. Its success rate is tremendous with Paul catching and returning a brown trout estimated between 12 and 14lb from Pitsford in Northamptonshire.

Many of his fishing pals, including Rutland’s Senior Warden John Seaton, have also taken big fish with Paul’s pattern.”

Founder of Rutland Water Fly Fishing, Rob boasts the Silver Award for best visitor experience in the East Midlands. Find all you need to know about Rob Waddington here.

(Harold’s) Grouse & Claret

from Stan Headley

Grouse and claret artificial fly

Grouse & Claret fly pattern
Image: Stan Headley

“This was a very popular fly in Western Isles back in the ‘80s, devised by Englishman Harold Howorth. It’s very effective for sea trout and salmon.”

Stan is a Scottish National Fly Fishing Champion, and has been a professional angler and guide since 1980.

Learn more about Stan Headley here, or you can buy some of his expertly tied trout patterns from Stan’s blog.

Take the Fishtec Fly Quiz

Test your knowledge of fly tying and take the Fishtec Fly Quiz. You’ll need to know more than the basics to score high with these flies.

Five Tips For Early Season Salmon Fishing

With over 20 salmon under his belt last season, Welsh all-rounder Tim Hughes certainly knows a thing or two about salmon fishing. In this blog post Tim shares his top 5 early season fly fishing tips for catching these elusive silver tourists. Read on to discover how best to bag yourself a springer!

An early season bar of silver

An early season bar of silver.

Tip 1: Get deep

Spring salmon like to rest up rather than travel rapidly, due to cold spring water temperatures, so it pays concentrate your efforts in deeper resting areas such as pool bodies and tail-outs. Deep and slow is often the key, salmon being cold blooded need the water to get up above 50 degrees before they start chasing flies higher in the water, but as temperatures increase be aware extra movement can help induce a take so it is worth carrying a streamside thermometer and checking the water throughout the day.

Tip 2: Use a modern Shooting head set up

Years ago spring salmon fishing was a real chore – heavy duty 15 foot 12 weight rods, full double taper sinking lines and a lot of shoulder aching effort was required to fish. Today shorter 14 foot rods teamed up with the modern shooting head lines such as Airflo Skagit compact G2 with one of the T series sinking tips or polyleaders to match the flow regime allow you to cast further, with less effort.

A modern set-up makes salmon fishing so much easier

A modern set-up makes salmon fishing so much easier.

Tip 3: Fly density and colour

Pay special attention to fly weight. Consider how your fly will sink and behave. Heavy tubes made of brass with coneheads are often the ones to reach for in your early season fly box. Large colourful patterns in orange, yellow and black are ones that will show up well in dirtier spring water. If you get your fly to the correct level the takes will come!

My recommended early season salmon fly list:

Cascade Brass Tube
Willie Gunn Feelers Brass Tube
RS Super Snaelda Cascade Conehead
Francis Brass Tube

Early season salmon flies

Early season salmon flies.

Tip 4: Do your research

Choosing the right beat is half the battle. Regularly check the online fishing reports, social media, forums and sites such as FishPal. Look at long term beat records and work out which beats historically do better in the spring. Don’t be afraid to ring the fishery booking office or contact the gillie/river keeper for updates and advice on fish location. Keep a close eye on the weather forecast and as the river starts to drop after a spring down pour the fish will be running – so make sure you get out there and make the most of it; a week later might be too late!

Tip 5: Check your tippet materials

There is nothing worse than losing a salmon due to a dodgy leader. Check and renew your tippet selection at the start of your season. Strong fluorocarbon is my choice spring fish aren’t leader shy – Airflo G3 in 15lb or Airflo Platinum in 20lb is a dead cert for spring fishing.

Spring on the river Wye

Spring on the river Wye.

 

Back On The Sea Trout

Shooting season is over and the guns are cleaned, oiled and put away, time to turn my attentions back to the fly fishing.

The next few weeks is going to be a busy one at the vice for me, replenishing the fly boxes for the new season ahead, not only on topping up my salt water patterns but, on starting a fresh on a new batch of sea trout (sewin) flies.

Sea trout flies

Busy on the vice – Plenty of sea trout flies.

There was once a time I was addicted to sea trout fishing and I spent the best part of twenty years of my life solely targeting these magnificent creatures, with a number of productive rivers right on my doorstep most nights of the week I would be found sitting bankside waiting for the lights to go out.

A magnificent double figure sea trout

A magnificent double figure sea trout – fruit of an addiction.

When I say “Most nights of the week” I mean at least four or five and for a great part of it seven, I really can’t put in to words the effect these fish had on me, obsessed would be a understatement. Holding down a full time job and sea trout fishing is not ideal when you have such a obsession, I would try my hardest to limit my weekday sessions to around 1am but, of course, if the fish were on, my limit would go out the window, many a time I’ve found myself walking off the river and driving straight to work.

As I referred to in a past blog, I achieved about as much as I wanted to on the sea trout, targets were set and broken and I just felt the time was right to move on. After so many years at the game I did start to lose the enthusiasm for it, I was not getting that buzz I once was , It was time for a change and a new challenge. I dabbled with saltwater fly fishing for many years but, the past six years has seen all my efforts directed towards the sport and it’s been a blast!, the enthusiasm I was lacking and the buzz I was missing rekindle……So why the return to sea trout fishing?

A great reason to return to sea trout fishing!

A great reason to return to sea trout fishing…

Salt water fly fishing is so weather dependent around the South Wales coast that many times through a season I get blown off the water, for days, sometimes weeks with a persistent south westerly wind. Although I get plenty of time at the vice to tie flies during these periods my need/urge to be close to water waving a fly rod around, chucking a lure at something fishy is what I crave….I need that fix!

The other reason for my return to sea trout fishing was while fly fishing for mullet in a local estuary last season, the size of some of the sea trout that swam past me at this mark sure got the heart racing a little faster and rekindled some fond memories. They past with in feet of me in no more than eighteen inches of water, I could make out every beautiful detail of them, those spots, that shape, streamlined power, wow! That’s when I decided what I was going to do this year when conditions dictate I can’t hit the surf.

Worth staying up late for....

Worth staying up late for….

I won’t be going at them with the same conviction I showed all those years ago and most of my fishing will be concentrated around daytime/evening sessions, with night time forays limited to the weekends. I say that now but, who knows? With me, when it comes to fishing, anything can happen. Having been out of it for so long I’m really not sure what to expect? All I’ve had the past few seasons from the guys still at it is doom and gloom reports, there’s no doubt about it that sea trout are in decline and numbers have been steadily dwindling for many years despite the great efforts of a select few to turn things around. Anyway, enough of that, could be a future blog.

The water I’m going to be fishing (fishing most) is new to me, not new in the fact I don’t know of it, just that I have never sent a line across it. Why,I really don’t know it’s no more than a stone’s throw from the house. It’s a very intimate little river, boulder strewn with many a twists and turns, weirs, and some deep gorges. As well as the salmon and sea trout that run it there is also a healthy population of wild brown which will provide me with some sport. I’m quite sure it’s going to be a tough nut to crack and honestly don’t think it’s going to give up its inhabitants to me with ease, I’ve so much to learn about it, I could take a short cut and fish the rivers I know so well but, I’m really up for the challenge of this one.

Airflo Airlite v2 rod

Airflo Airlite v2 rod – on test.

I’m also really excited this year to be putting the new Airflo Airlite V2 fly rods to the test. I honestly think Airflo are on to a winner with this new range, which brings back the original blank from 9 years ago with re-tweaked and improved actions for 2017. I simply cannot wait to try them out on some hard fighting Welsh sea trout – watch this space!

Tight lines

Daz

Back In the Game By Rene’ Harrop

While it is still winter here in the Rocky Mountain west, March is a time when I become serious about getting back on the water.

Whether on still or moving water, icing is the most limiting factor for fly fishing during the months of December through February. And while all of our lakes are still frozen solid, the Henry’s Fork is finally ice free.

Back In The Game

Back In The Game.

A stray blizzard or single digit temperatures are only temporary disruptions when the hours of daylight begin to equal those of darkness. However, in 2017 deep snow and tall ice banks along the river’s edge are a lingering impediment to accessing some of the more attractive parts of the river.

Island Park and the upper Henry’s Fork will have to wait for several more weeks but with less than half of the four foot snow depth forty miles upstream, the river near my winter home is providing some much needed relief to a long deprived angler.

Early Brown

Early Brown.

A bright, sunny day may not produce the best results in terms of midge or Baetis hatches but it is definitely the most comfortable time to be on the water. A day without overcast skies will usually find me drifting weighted nymphs in the shallower riffles with a six weight rod or swinging a streamer through the deeper runs with a seven weight. However, I look forward most to a day that shows promise of clouds and a temperature above 40ᵒ F. Dry fly fishing with my favorite four-weight is what I think about most through the months of deep winter, and I need these conditions to get back into my favorite game.

Although a rainbow approaching nine pounds in weight came on a March day many years back, most fish taken at this time of year are relatively modest in size. And with trout activity slowed by cold water temperature, a group of crossing whitetail deer may be the most interesting event of the day.

March Rainbow

March Rainbow.

While catching fish is always the primary objective, I am happy to again feel the push of the current on my legs and the presence of a good rod in my hand.

The river holds the smell of a spring not yet arrived but drawing near and the sound of its movement speaks of life.

Most of all, my mind is filled with all that lies ahead in a new season and the comforting knowledge that March is just the beginning.

Just The Beginning

Just The Beginning…