Fishtec team member Gareth Wilson has been testing a new rod on several stillwater trout fisheries this winter. Read on to find out how he fared with the new Airflo Super Stik MK2 fly rod.
Late in 2017 I was handed a rod to test. It was the follow on for the original Super Stik and one I was keen to put through its paces. Immediately I was impressed with the great cosmetics and the high standards that the MKII has been built to. The addition of a composite/cork handle has increased grip and the olive finish creates a great looking rod at an even better price.
However, a good-looking rod is of little use if it cannot perform on the water. For our first test we took the rod to Lechlade Trout Fisheries. With the goal of seeing how the rod would handle double figure fish. We set up as usual with the Airflo Super-Dri 6ft Mini Tip in a weight forward 7 and single fly. Lures would be the choice for a chilly day in December and some of my home tied flies would prove deadly.
I started off with a Chartreuse Hot Head Tadpole and started fan casting on the top end of the lake casting to rising fish. As I cast into the wind and to a rise close to the island I gave a few quick strips to get in contact with the fly and entice any fish feeding in the area to follow before returning to a slow figure eight. Half way through the retrieve I paused before quickly speeding up the retrieve and bang, fish on! The fight was incredible taking me back and forth along the bank. I had never felt a stocked fish fight this hard and the bend in the rod reminded me of a wild welsh sewin, doing what he wanted and refusing to turn in the direction I wanted. After an incredible fight we finally landed the beast.
This was the start of a good day. We switched to the incredible cat (my own cat’s whisker variant) and cast out. After a few aborted follows I slowed the retrieve right down, just keeping in touch with the fly. This retrieve bought on a savage take from a smaller fish of about 6lb. After a short aerial performance in which the rod absorbed every jump and lunge the fish came to the net. We finished the day with our 6 fish and the rod handled extremely well especially considering the average size of fish was 10lb.
First impressions of the rod where great. With it’s smooth progressive mid-tip action and responsive feel it looked like a great rod for buzzer and nymph fishing. With this in mind, a trip to Ellerdine was arranged. The goal of today would be to test out a team of buzzers and bloodworms and we how the rod would cope with multiple small flies and a slightly smaller but more energetic size of fish. I set up with an 18ft G3 Fluorocarbon leader and a team of 3 flies with 6 ft separating each from the other. The goal when fishing this kind of approach is to let the wind do the work for you barely moving the flies, only retrieving to keep in touch with them.
It wasn’t long before we had our first fish. A lovely 2lbs Ellerdine rainbow. This was followed by another 2 trout in quick succession. I then switched to my Black Mamba V2 lure. This fly is fitted with a Guideline salmon disc, which imparts a wobble but also hinders casting aerodynamics. The rod coped with this fly extremely well, with superior presentation.
First cast along the bank and a few tail nips later I decided to speed up the retrieve. I cast beside an overhanging tree and began to strip and almost instantly had a take from a beautiful brown trout. This fish, although small, was a nice addition and was very silver for a brown. I finished the day with another 6 fish and the rod had shown no signs of weakness.
As a third and final test I decided to use the rod while boat fishing. With all the usual big reservoirs closed, my attention turned to the smaller Gludy Lake. A stunning fishery set in the Brecon countryside with catch and release being the only form of fishing on offer. This leads to some truly stunning fully finned fish that put up an incredible fight. Its clear waters meant that a stealthy approach would have to be taken and the electric boats on site are perfect for this.
On the day we were met with a stubborn easterly wind and temperatures that rarely got above freezing. After assessing the situation, the Airflo Forty Plus Fast Intermediate was the correct choice for the conditions as getting your flies to the cruising level of the fish is incredibly important early season.
The fly that seemed to be getting all the interested was a Shaggy Damsel. Within 30 minutes of putting the fly on I had many takes and pulls and landed 2 silver rainbows, both around the 2lb mark.
We drifted in front of the house situated on the lake and cast into the weed. Suddenly, I had a ferocious take. It bored deep. I thought it may have been one of the brownies that grow on and become incredibly difficult to tempt. The fish started towing the boat taking us out into the deeper water. As he surfaced and turned to go on another run the blue flanks were clear to see, the brown was in fact a big blue trout. After seeing the size of the fish, I gave it respect and if it wanted to go on another run, I let it. After landing the special fish, I was happy with a new PB blue trout of 4.3lbs and with full fins and a perfect tail. This bright blue fish will be one I will remember for some time.
To sum it up, the Airflo Super Stik Mk 2 is a cosmetically pleasing upgrade from it’s predecessor and is more than capable of handling fish of all sizes whilst casting extremely well. The progressive action is user friendly and provides brilliant presentation of a variety of fly sizes and types. The perfect stillwater trout fishing rod in my opinion.
Gareth tested the 10′ #6/7 model. Airflo Super Stik Mk2 fly rods are available April 2018. Each rod is supplied with a quality cordura case and a FREE Airflo Super-Dri fly line. For more info click here.