World Wide in Waders

Exploring new countries and cultures is great for the soul, expands the mind and broadens your horizons.

There are some truly stunning fishing spots to find around the world. So pack your suitcase and set off in search of the planet’s most exotic fish and beautiful spots.

It’s time to get World Wide in Waders and put the fly(ing) in fly fishing.

Labrador, Canada

Canadian lake

Wish you were here?
Source: Wikipedia

So it’s named after a chubby dog, but nobody cares about that once they’ve gone fishing there. Few destinations in the world can rival the rivers, lakes and ponds of eastern Canada for fishing.

Set against the stunning landscapes of this Canadian wilderness, you’ll be fishing for wild Atlantic salmon, trophy-winning trout, northern pike and much more. And if that wasn’t enough to pack up your waders right away — it’s common to catch fish up to 8lbs in weight.

Just keep an eye out for bears.

The Amazon Basin, Brazil

fly fishing on the Amazon

Wild and wonderful – fly fishing on the Amazon
Source: Matt Ireland

Yes, the Amazon.

Quite an adventurous location this one, so only thrill seekers need apply. This is the largest freshwater system, and the largest rainforest in the world – so you’re well and truly in the wild here.

The fishing REALLY needs to be worth it then, eh?

What this unique area offers is unique types of fish. There’s plenty of Peacock Bass waiting for you to come and have a go with your fly-fishing skills.

For more of a challenge, try to keep up with the speedy matrichana, or brave the white water rapids to fish for a pacu.

Just watch out for the ‘over-friendly’ piranha.

The Alta, Norway

The mighty Alta

The mighty Alta
Source: Wikipedia

Norway is the home of the mighty fjords, mightier Vikings and The Alta.

The Alta is an awe-inspiring location far inside the Arctic Circle, so expect it to feel quite fresh.

Not that you’ll be taking much notice of the weather, as the salmon in this area are seriously big and there are lots and lots of them.

In fact fish have been caught in Norway that far exceed the British record of 64lbs for a rod-caught fish. Every August and September the area boasts some of the best salmon runs in the world — time to bring out the waders.

Cuba

Fly fishing Cuban style

Fly fishing Cuban style
Source: Where wise men fish

Cuba is high up on the list of holiday destinations for many people.

In this unique and vibrant place, you’ll find 1950s cars, big cigars and friendly people (when you’re not out fly-fishing).

Yes indeed — saltwater fly-fishing in and around Cuba is pretty remarkable for bonefish and the migratory tarpon. The pristine and wader-friendly inshore flats also benefit from a well-enforced protection policy. So fish populations are abundant and won’t shy away from having a go at your fly.

New Zealand

Clear waters in New Zealand

Clear waters in New Zealand
Source: Poronui Hunting

The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy awakened the world to New Zealand.

Both North and South islands boast crystal clear waters, which are teeming with brown trout and rainbow trout.

It can be quite a challenge to land a fish in these waters, as the water is just so clean and clear. This allows the fish to spot any danger well in advance, your casting has got to be perfect if you are to stand any chance.

Home sweet home

Good old British weather

Good old British weather
Source: Inshore Fishing Adventures

When you return home from your worldwide wading expedition, the best way to relax is by visiting your favourite fishing spot — oh, how you have missed it!

From Cornwall’s rocky coastline to the lochs of Scotland, we do all right in the UK for fishing spots too.

Waders of the lost art

New to wading?  If you’re leaving the safety of the riverbank for the first time, here’s how to do so safely and in a way that won’t spook either the fish or your fellow anglers.  

Read on for our brief guide to the art of wading.

safety

Stay safe whilst you wade
Source: Rods on Rivers

For safety’s sake, you’ll need a belt to keep water out of your waders, a staff for balance and to test the ground ahead, and an inflatable wading jacket.  A whistle on a lanyard worn around your neck will give you the means to raise the alarm should you need to.  Only leave the bank when you’re fully equipped.

The buddy system works.  Where possible always fish with a friend or at least make sure someone knows where you’re going and when you’ll be back.  That way if you have a problem, there’ll be someone to get help.

Planning

buddy

Remember: There’s safety in numbers
Source: Papa Bear Outdoors

Examine the conditions very carefully before you enter the water and while you’re wading.  Scout out your route before you make a move and always work out how you’re going to get back to the bank. An easy wade downstream in a fast flowing current may be almost impossible to navigate in the opposite direction.

Without seeming to tempt fate, plan ahead for falling in.  If you do take a swim, lie on your back with your feet in front of you.  Bend your knees to trap air in the bottom of your waders and float feet first so you can fend off obstacles.  Backstroke to your planned point of exit.

First steps

safety

If the water looks unsafe, stay away
Source: Zastavkis

The location for your initial foray from the bank should offer easy wading.  As you enter the water, use your staff to test the ground ahead of you.  Keep your feet widely spaced and your body sideways to the current.  Give yourself plenty of time to get to where you’re going.  Shuffle rather than stride.

Plant your staff upstream and lean your body in the same direction.  Move forward and sideways, preferably moving slightly downstream.  To move backwards – if you can – turn around before doing so.

To move to a new mark, it’s usually best to leave the water, walk along the bank and then re-enter the river close to the new fishing location.

Wade within the limitations of your experience and physical ability.  Conserve energy and make sure you’re warm enough for the conditions and water temperature.

Priorities

waders

Put your safety above all else
Source: Fly Rod Reel

If you do get swept off your feet, your safety comes first.  If you can, shove the butt of your rod down the front of your waders or into your belt.  But don’t die for the sake of saving your fishing tackle – always put yourself first.

Do take some dry clothes.  At least that way, if you take a dunking it doesn’t mean the end of your day’s fishing.

Wader belt
Assess conditions
Develop a plan
Execute with caution
Retreat if necessary

Airflo Airtex Chest Waders Trout Fisherman

“Tackle Testers Choice”

Airflo Airtex Waders - Trout Fisherman Tackle Testers Choice

The Airtex waders, which replace the old Delta designs, come in standard chest and also zip-front versions. They do away with the secondary outer layer of material running down the leg and also have a more snug fit around the legs and the ankle with a contoured cut and articulated legs. They are made from a three-layer Finetex material that is not only waterproof but very breathable so keeps body moisture to a minimum even when you are on the move.

All the inside seams are fully taped. These chest waders have built-in stretchable gravel guards made from a very tough and abrasion-resistant fabric. The guards have a rubber grip strip on the inside edge and a metal lace hook for a secure fitting to the boot. The neoprene feet have a contoured fit so are very comfortable and again they are fully taped throughout. There are three integral belt loops to accommodate an adjustable and detachable 1.5-inch wide webbing belt with a quick release bayonet fitting.

At the top of the waders is a set of elasticated, adjustable and detachable braces with male and female buckle at the front so you can’t get them crossed over or twisted. The waders are a two-tone color with a less spooky brown from the waist down and a tan colour on the top half.

On the standard Airtex chest waders there is a large front pocket that is accessed by a water-resistant YKK zip. On the zip-fronted model there is a RIRI waterproof zip, which runs from the crotch to the top and two smaller chest pockets with zip access. The zip front waders come in sizes M-XXL while the standard waders come in these sizes plus medium and large king. The standard chest waders cost £179.99 and the zip front waders are £229.99 and these prices include a pair of the Airtex wading boots.

The Airtex Wading Boots are incredibly light – the pair of sizes 10’s I had for review weigh in at just 2lb 7oz – But they don’t compromise on build quality. An important consideration when buying wading boots is how rigid and effective the toe box is, and on these boots it’s stiff enough to withstand a good amount of water pressure. This reinforced toe section is also ideal for kicking about on the lake or river bed.

Airtex Wading Boots - Trout Fisherman Tackle Testers Choice

I have quite a wide foot but didn’t feel restricted in these boots and could wiggle my toes in relative comfort. The synthetic uppers are hard-wearing and quick drying and there is a protective rubberised section around the rand, toe section and heel for extra durability. There is also a definite increase in padding around the angle that not only offers good comfort but great support as well. There are four sets of metal eyelets plus two sets of quick release hooks for the laces.

The boots are available with either a felt or Vibram sole and I had the Vibram one to review. Although it is not a heavily cleated pattern it gives excellent grip over a wide range of terrains encountered on stillwaters such as mud, grass, shingle and dam walls. You could use Airflo’s wader stud kit (£9.99 for 30 studs) to increase grip for river fishing conditions.

These Airtex wading boots come in sizes 7-12 with felt sole and 8-12 in a Vibram sole. I think these are Airflo’s most comfortable waders and boots setup to date and offer excellent value.

Written by Robbie Winram.

Fishing boot camp – fitness for anglers

Any angler knows that fishing can cause wear and tear on the body.

Periods of relative inactivity interspersed with flurries of intense effort can result in injury, as can the repetitive motions of casting and retrieving. Physical fitness can really help you up your game and keep you healthy too.

So kick off your fishing boots, clear some space in your bivvy, and try some of the stretches below while you’re waiting for a bite.

It’s all about posture

The evolution of fishing

The evolution of fishing
Source: Zazzle

How we stand when we fish has a major effect on the muscular balance of our bodies.

When standing, most anglers tend to rest more of their weight on one leg, with their pelvis rotated forward. Holding a fishing rod is a shoulder-rounding stance and gazing down at the water places a strain on neck muscles.

In short, fishing puts your body out of balance.

Bend

Making it look simple

Making it look easy
Source: The Mommy Files

To counteract the stresses that fishing puts on our bodies, we need to stretch in such away that unlocks tensions in muscles and joints – particularly our backs. One exercise that’s very useful for anglers is the ‘superman.’

Not only does it release tension in your lower back, it strengthens core muscles too. Lie on your front with your arms stretched out in front.

Keeping your head in a neutral position, lift your arms and legs clear of the floor. Hold and slowly release.

Added release for shoulders and neck can be incorporated into this exercise by bringing your arms back so that you resemble an aeroplane. Not sure? It’s easy – babies do it all the time.

Pain in the neck

Lateral neck bend exercise

Lateral neck bend exercise
Source: DIY Health

Fishing puts a strain on your neck, so make sure that you stretch before and after fishing.

The lateral neck bend is a simple exercise. Look up – look down, look right – look left. Bend your head towards one shoulder, straighten, then bend toward the other. Keep your shoulders relaxed and in a neutral position throughout.

You can do the exercises at any time so make sure you take them fishing with you. Take your time to perform the movements slowly and smoothly.

Lunges

Hold for 30 to 60 seconds

Hold for 30 to 60 seconds
Source: SweatNSass

Lower back problems affect vast numbers of people. The human body wasn’t designed to sit down for hours every day.

Enforced immobility is a major problem in Western society – but to ensure you remain fit enough to fish – there are steps you can take.

Simply take a step forward, lower your back knee and at the same time push the front of your hip forward. Only bend as far as you find comfortable and always stop if you feel pain.

With this exercise, it is important not to bend your front leg beyond a right angle. Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds before slowly straightening. Then swap legs and do it again.

Core strength

The plank exercise

The plank exercise
Source: Get Fit Get Healthy

A simple exercise for improving core strength is the plank.

Pay great attention to getting the pose right and you’ll reap the reward of this very effective exercise. Keep your knees locked and your legs straight.

Your hips should be level at all times. As you tire it’s tempting to let your back sag. Don’t.

It’s far better to let your knees drop to the floor and do a modified stance. Your head should be in a neutral position and your upper arms at right angles to the floor.

Hold the position for as long as you can – it’s great for your core, back upper body and legs.

Forearms and elbows.

Never stretch further than is comfortable

Never stretch further than is comfortable

Winding the handle of your reel and casting are highly repetitive motions that can lead you to develop tennis elbow. This is a very painful condition that can take all the fun out of fishing. Keep your muscles and tendons supple by performing this easy stretch.

With your arm out in front of you, gently bend your hand back. Hold and release. Now take the same hand and bend it in the opposite direction. Repeat several times on each side.

Never stretch further than is comfortable. It’s much better to repeat the exercise two or three times a day than try to make big gains right away.

Practise little and often and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much more reeling your elbows and wrists can take.

How fishing boots can save your feet

Happy Feet?

Happy Feet?
Source: Allianz

Trench foot is a particularly nasty affliction of the feet caused by prolonged exposure to cold and wet conditions.

But if you think trench foot isn’t a risk for anglers, think again.  It can take as little as 13 hours to develop what amounts to a serious medical problem.

Read on to discover how good quality fishing boots could literally save your life.

It’s only mud

Stuck in the mud

Stuck in the mud
Source: Wikipedia

As every angler knows getting wet and muddy goes with the territory, but you do need to pay attention to your feet. In temperatures below 16 celsius, if your feet get wet, you’re at risk of developing trench foot.

The boots themselves are partly to blame, because all footwear restricts circulation. But how you look after your feet is key.

This is particularly true if an angling trip is scheduled to last more than a single day. Make sure you know the warning signs that your feet are feeling the strain.

Symptoms

A professional opinion

A professional opinion
Source: Web MD

The first sign of a foot in trouble is likely to be tingling, or perhaps an itching sensation with pain, swelling and cold, blotchy skin. You may notice areas of redness or blueness indicating blood circulation has been compromised. Alternatively, you may experience numbness or a heavy feeling in a waterlogged foot.

Later on, once you’ve warmed your foot, is the skin suddenly very dry? And are your feet uncharacteristically red, swollen or painful? You may have chilblains but if you’re unlucky – it could be trench foot.

Untreated, trench foot can worsen beyond the point that swelling and blisters develop. Infection can set in and interruption to blood circulation can cause skin to die. At this point there is a significant risk of gangrene.

While you’re unlikely to let a case of cold, wet feet deteriorate to such a degree, it is worth being ‘foot aware’ to prevent very painful and perfectly preventable after effects. If you are worried you might have developed trench foot – seek medical advice.

Prevention

Keeping his feet dry

Keeping his feet dry
Source: Stueby’s Outdoor Journal

The best way to stop trench foot in its tracks is to keep your feet warm and dry, also avoid footwear that’s too tight or too loose. Good fishing boots are a must.

But if your feet are likely to get wet, make sure that you pack plenty of dry socks and change them frequently. At night, when you’re tucked up in your bivvy, always check your feet over and treat any blisters.

Leave wet boots and socks off at night, this will give your feet a chance to fully recover, in time for the following days fishing.

Trench warfare

Trench Warfare

Trench Warfare
Source: Soc 11 Eh!

Trench foot gets its name from the appalling plight of soldiers during World War One. Men fought for days and weeks in thick mud and standing water. At its peak 20,000 soldiers had diseased feet, and over the course of the war the condition affected a staggering 74,000 allied troops. Some of the soldiers suffered gangrene, amputation and even death.

Combattants in wars as recent as the Falklands have been dogged by trench foot. In the civilian population, festival goers, anglers and hikers have all been affected. But by being prepared and knowing the signs and symptoms – you can stay one step ahead.

Fishing without waders

Most anglers entering the water do so in a pair of waterproof or neoprene waders – but not always.

One of the more unusual fishing methods means getting your feet well and truly wet.

Floundering

Floundering About

Floundering About
Source: Wikipedia

Flounder start off swimming upright and have their eyes positioned on either side of their heads. But as they grow, they not only flip over onto their sides and head for the seabed, but one of their eyes actually migrates, so that both end up on the same side. Catching them is a popular winter sport for sea anglers – although flounder have been found as much as 30 miles up river.

One way of catching them is with rod and line, but another method involves taking off your waders and sloshing about in the shallows.

Feet are one of the most sensitive parts of the human body, and are home to thousands of nerve endings. Use these to locate your prey. You’ll feel your flounder wriggle under your foot.

The challenge is to avoid the temptation to scream and jump a mile in the air. Instead – keep absolutely still. Slowly reach down and take a firm grip of the dinner plate sized fish under your toes, and hey presto – that’s dinner for one.

Competitive Flounder Tramping

Tramping for Flounder

Tramping for Flounder
Source: Scotland for Animals

Until recently, treading on flounders was a competition sport. For over 40 years, the Grande Internationale World Flounder Tramping Championships was held in the chilly River Urr in Galloway.

Waders from across the country and beyond would congregate to see who could trap the most fish with their bare feet. The winner received £150 and three bottles of whiskey.

The contest was cancelled back in 2010 due to health and safety concerns and the difficulty in obtaining affordable public liability insurance.

Occupational hazards

Beware the Weaver

Beware the Weaver
Source: In Search of a Norwegian Blue

It’s unfortunate that Britain’s only venomous fish shares some of the same muddy habitat as the flounder. The weaver fish has spines protruding from its dorsal fin which inject a protein based toxin into the foot of anyone unfortunate enough to stand on one.

The pain is extreme but easily cured. Simply plunge the afflicted foot into water as hot as you can bear – and wait for the pain to die down.

Needless to say – beware of wading in areas where the tide runs faster than you can retreat, or where you’re likely to be cut off.

How to Repair Leaking Waders

waders

Repair minor damage to your waders at home with a few simple tips.
Image source: Simms

There’s nothing worse than your chest waders leaking. That moment you feel the cool, slight trickle of water seeping in you’re instantly put off your game. All you can think about is how cold you’re getting and the amount of water that’s quietly filling your waders at a rate of knots.

Here at Fishtec we have created the best wader repair kits for permanent fixes or for a temporary fix on the side of the river.

How do I fix my leaking waders?

First of all, if you can’t find an obvious rip or tear you’ll need to need to find the source of the leak. Airflo Bloc-it leak detector will help you locate the smallest of pin holes in your breathable waders.  This spray should be applied to the inside of a dry pair of waders to reveal any pin hole leaks. Once the leak or leaks have been detected they can be patched with our Block-It wader repair.

Airflo block it leak detector

The Airflo Bloc-IT Wader Repair glue has been formulated to provide a permanent and flexible repair to nylon, neoprene, rubber, nylon and breathable waders. This glue can be applied with ease to any material using a pair brush or flat edge to perform a fix to ripped or leaking waders. Also great for repairing torn fishing jackets, this wader repair glue is the ideal remedy to seal a leaking foot, seam or hood!

How to make a temporary fix

Airflo Block It Wader Repair

If you find a leak in your waders, it usually means you’re already out on the water and you’ll need to wait for your waders to dry out before a permanent fix can be made. Airflo’s Bloc-it emergency repair patches have been designed to create a temporary fix to any leak that may spring up. These emergency repair wader patches are the ideal remedy to block out water until a more permanent fix can be applied. We recommend the Bloc-It wader repair for a solid, waterproof bond.

Airflo Block It Patches

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary

I’m just back from Portugal where I spent a week with my old friend Clive Richards fishing the many rock and surf venues around Cape St Vincente. Hairy cliffs and huge Atlantic sea were the order of the day and with the wind blowing the fishing was difficult. Our guide informed us that 15 anglers had been killed in the previous months of the year and after visiting some of the venues I can see why. However, it’s a fantastic fishing destination and I can’t wait to go back and catch that giant bass, because I didn’t manage it this time and instead made a meal of the bream family catching golden, black and the local sargo. More about the trip in Sea Angler magazine in the New Year.

 Algarve-Portuga-fishtec

Sea fishing back home has really picked up, the cod season is getting underway and has been well and truly christened with a 13lb cod coming off my local Admiralty pier at Dover to Ashford angler, Keith Hopson. There have also been a sprinkling of 3lbs and the odd fish to 6lb plus the usual hoards of whiting and fewer dogfish which is a plus for the codders although the match anglers just love them. Its now that the weather starts to change for the better, or the worst, depending upon your perspective. I personally love the dark mornings and evenings, the cold and most of all the departure of the feathering hoards and part timers. More room on the venues for some serious fishing and it’s a time when the Tee shirt brigade just can’t hack it!

Wind chill and stair rod rain are perhaps the two most difficult aspects of winter sea angling to combat and I make no excuses for giving the TF Gear range of fishing clothing and shelters a plug. You just cannot fish with a good fishing suit and the two-piece Delta Marine suit really is the best I have worn, its waterproof and warm and provided you do not put it through the full washing machine cycle too many times will stay so! But I could not really fish without a shelter (when I do neoprene waders are a must) Fortunately most of my local venues are short tide beaches where a high water mark shelter solves all the problems and the Hurricane beach shelter keeps me dry. But for those low tide venues I still use a brolly with the Force 8 which has wings a really roomy shelter and the hardware brolly ideal for lots of moves up and down the beach when its showery. Pier anglers should check out the Hardware fishing shelter because you can place your tackle box and bucket etc inside it to keep it down when fishing piers and promenades where shelters are difficult to erect or brollies are holed when the wind rubs them against walls and railings.

My biggest news this month is that my son Richard won a bronze medal in the World Sea Angling Championships fished in Holland. This event organised by CIPS (The Confederation International de la Peche) is the true World Championships and not like some just a competition with the world name. Teams are selected and in the case of England they are selected by the Angling Trust.  The UK anglers did particularly well this year, perhaps because the fishing in Holland is similar to ours with special congratulations to Alan Price of Kinmel Bay in North Wales on another World gold medal and to team Wales for finishing with a silver. Alan has adopted the Continental style of fishing completely using a fixed spool reel, long tippy rods with light lines and small hooks. Richard too is very into fishing continental style having fished as a junior international in Europe. UK shore angling is moving towards the Continental style as the shore fishing declines and that’s why more and more long rods are available. I foresee heavy shock leaders becoming a thing of the past as our anglers adopt softer longer rods, micro braid lines, fixed spool reels and overhead casting styles, especially for competition fishing. Checkout my Delta All Round three piece Continental style 15 footer on the TF gear website – That’s what I caught all my bream on in Portugal, although I also use the now extinct Fox Nemesis and a similar model is on my mind for the TF Gear rod range!

The full result of the CIPS World Championships was:

MEN

Team.   (16 teams)

1st Holland 14 points

2nd Wales 15 points

3rd Ireland 21 points

4th England 22 points

5th Italy 22 points

 MENS INDIVIDUAL

1st Alan Price 52 points (Wales)

2nd Mohamed Larbi 67 points (Tunisia)

3rd Richard Yates 69 points (England)

LADIES

1st Holland    11 points

2nd France 15 points

3rd Germany 18 points

4th England 19 points

5th Spain 20 points

 LADIES INDIVIDUAL

1st Cindy Gambier 17 points   (France)

2nd Janet Verlinde  27 points  (England)

3rd Christelle Oosthuizen 38 points (South Africa)

Finally, details are available of the Irish Winter Beach Festival which is being fished on January 24/25/26, 2013: Venues are the Wexford beaches. First prize is 1000 Euro and a full accommodation package is available at Sean Ogs, Kilmuckridge. The man to contact is Warren Doyle Tel: +353 (0) 12828769 E Mail: warrendoyle@iol.ie

Alan Price Wales gold medal (team second silver)

Alan-Price-(team-Wales)-gold-medal fishtec

Richard Yates England bronze medal (team fourth)

Richard-Yates-bronze-medal fishtec

Fishing boots football off top sport spot

football field

Fishing is more popular than football

The new football season is upon us, and it’s all to play for.

But if the thought of watching a bunch of millionaires kick a ball around turns you cold, or if listening to the waffling Gary Lineker makes you reach for your fishing boots, don’t worry; you’re not the only one.

In fact, this seemingly football crazed nation is not, as it turns out, quite as crazed as you might think.

Most people can name a team they follow – at least in principle. Many take a keen interest in the football premiership. But when it comes to participating in this most ubiquitous of sports, it turns out that we’d rather go fishing.

Yes, that’s right, a study by the Countryside Alliance has found that more people go fishing, than play organised football.

Fishing continues to grow in popularity

fishing by river

Enjoy the peace and tranquility of the countryside whilst fishing

For confirmed angling addicts, this will come as no surprise. But the growing popularity of angling owes much to the efforts of the bodies that control our rivers. Thousands of projects to improve river ecosystems, better environmental controls and partnerships with farmers and businesses have done much to improve the quality of British rivers.

Thanks to the work of the Environment Agency along with thousands of volunteers and charities across the country, our waterways are now some of the best in Europe. Salmon, otters and water voles are returning, in numbers, to stretches of water they long ago abandoned.

The peace and tranquillity of the countryside is key to the quality of the fishing experience, and with thousands of miles of riverbank scheduled by the for improvement by Environment Agency, things can only get better.

Fishing is fun for all the family

family fishing

Why not take the family fishing for the day?

Just as organisers of the wildly successful British Olympics, have focused on getting young people interested and engaged in sport, so organisations like the Countryside Alliance are going to great lengths to get young people fishing.

Fishing for schools, is a programme run through the Alliance, and headed by angling legend, Charles Jardine. The scheme engages kids who may not thrive in the classroom, by giving them angling instruction.

Currently underway too, is National Fishing Month, a campaign to inspire families across the country to take up fishing.

Such efforts should be roundly applauded. An appreciation for the natural environment, gained at a young age, will last a lifetime, helping to protect our wonderful rivers, for future generations of anglers.

Nature’s best waders

Waders are among the most enigmatic of British bird species.  They inhabit the marshes, estuaries and coastal fringes, their mournful cries filling the chilly, dawn or twilight air.

To spot some of them, you’ll have to get up early, or be lucky at dusk.  So lets find out which of our feathered friends, you can hope to spot whilst out and about in your fishing waders.

Curlew

curlew wader

Curlew
Photo courtesy of Duncan Brown

Found right across Northern England, Wales, Scotland, and with concentrations in the Thames and the Wash,  the Curlew is the biggest of the European waders.

You’ll know it instantly by its haunting call.  Spotting one might be a little harder because this long legged bird is well camouflaged for its life on the mud or moors.  A long down curved bill is perfect for feeding on worms, shellfish and shrimps.

You can see a curlew at any time of year but they breed between, April and July and are most numerous in coastal areas in the New Year.  Want to hear what one sounds like?

To listen now click >> Curlew call

Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher
Photo courtesy of John Haslam

You’ll find Oystercatchers nearly all around the coast of the UK, but they love estuaries. The rich feeding grounds might seem a bit dank and smelly to us humans, but to wading birds, they’re a well stocked larder.

Oystercatchers thrive on worms, cockles and mussels and thanks to their distinctive plumage,you shouldn’t have to look too hard to see one.  Black back, white belly, with pinky red bill and legs, this is quite a chunky bird, and one which gathers in numbers in the major estuaries.

To listen now click >> Oystercatcher call

Avocet

Avocet
Photo courtesy of Britta Heise

The striking black and white wader is the emblem of the RSPB.  This bird actually became extinct in Britain in around 1840, but was reintroduced in Suffolk in 1947.  A truly inspiring example of a successful conservation program, you can see an Avocet in the marshy lagoons of the East coast of Britain and in the winter, in Devon and in particular, the Exe estuary.

The Avocet’s long, elegant, upturned bill, allows it to sift through the mud for delicacies like, larvae, small crabs and delicious worms.

To listen now click >> Avocet call

Grey Heron

Grey Heron
Photo courtesy of Claude Robillard

There’s something quite enchanting about the heron, and its not hard to see why it has a place in mythology, as a messenger from the Gods.  Herons are masterful hunters, feasting on fish, amphibians and even small rodents.

They can be found in any aquatic environment and although they love to wade the waters of the estuary or creek, you could be lucky enough to see one by your garden pond, though you may lose a few fish as a result.

To listen now click >> Grey Heron call

Little Egret

Little Egret
Photo courtesy of Frank Zed

Smaller cousin of the great egret, the little egret is interesting because it is a European interloper.  This wader has been gaining ground in Northern France and in the late eighties, fluttered its way across the English channel.  It has distinctive yellow feet and sports an elegant white plume on top of its head.

To see one, visit the coastal marshes and estuaries of Southern England, from East Anglia to the tip of Cornwall, this is one foreign visitor that’s here to stay.

To listen now click >> Little Egret call