Reel fly fishing lingo

Reel fishing lingo

Know your damsels from your nymphs
Source: Prairie Theatre Exchange

How well do you know your fly fishing lingo?

Avoid a verbal faux pas on the river bank with our – not so handy – guide to fly fishing terminology and some alternative meanings for angling terms. Read on for some good old fashioned misinformation.

[table caption=”Fly fishing lingo” class=”table table-bordered” tablesorter=”0″]
Phrase,Common definition,Fishing definition
Arbor,A place to moor a boat,The centre part of a fly reel – an arbor knot is used to tie the line to the reel.
Beadhead,Someone who takes a small hat size,”A fly with a bead just behind the hook eye – some are sinkers, others floaters.”
Conehead,A comedy alien,A cone shaped beadhead.
Damsel,A maiden in distress,A fly – looks a bit like a dragonfly but smaller and with folding wings.
Eddy,Name of an abdicating King,The edge of a current where the water flow is reduced.
Foul hook,A nasty pirate captain,Hooking a fish – but not in the mouth.
Hemostat,Some sort of thermometer,Forceps used to extract hooks from the mouths of fish.
Impressionist,A 19th century French painter,A fly tied to look a bit like a number of insects. Usually most useful in fast flowing streams.
Jumping rise,Getting better at high jump,A trout leaping from the water to catch an insect.
Knotted leader,A Stressed out PM,Tying different diameter lines together to create a tapered leader.
Lie,The opposite of the truth,Where the fish tend to congregate.
Mayfly,Might prefer to catch the train,One of the most commonly tied flies.
Nymph,A fiesty female,An immature insect.
Overhead Cast,Poor weather for sunbathers,The traditional fly rod cast.
Palming,Ahem,Using your hand to slow the spool of a fly reel.
Riparian,A German with a personal hygiene problem,Something situated on the riverbank?
Scud,A Soviet style missile,A small freshwater shrimp.
Tight loop,An aerobatic manoeuvre,An aerodynamic fly cast
Undercurrent,A tricky conversation with the inlaws,An underwater current
Wet fly,A boxer with confidence issues,A fly fished below the water surface.
Zinger,A burger from KFC,A handy retractable lanyard for keeping fishing tools handy when not in use.
[/table]

If your favourite fly fishing lingo is not on our list, please add it to the comments below.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary

A great weeks fishing with three match wins and a second place in two opens and two club events. One of the features of this time of year is the increase in the number of dabs around and I am good at catching dabs. It’s the years of practice I suppose and my liking for lugworm management. You see, lugworm is not just lugworm and the fish are so well aware that when a storm devastates the inshore sand bars there will be lots of worm and shellfish casualties. Indeed after a storm they invade the shoreline for a feast. BUT and here is the rub. Several tides later and its all calmed down and the marine life that was missed by those first fish is buried etc. It’s in a state of decay and then when a small gale of wind sets up a surf the decaying worm is exposed to the fish. They are totally honed in on decaying rotten worm and have tunnel vision towards it – Fish with fresh then and you will catch fish, but fish with last week’s lugworm and you will catch a shed full, especially dabs.

I always have a supply of frozen worm and shells knocking around for such occasions and recently sticky blacks tipped butterfish and clam came into its own for the flatties. I won the Army Benevolent event fished on Hythe Ranges with 44 fish, mostly dabs, then won my club Christmas match fished at Seabrook with 47 fish in four hours and then topped the week off with a second place in the Grand Parade Open fished at Seabrook with 49 fish. Winner just a few grams in from was Karl Nangle of Grimsby with 37 fish – he found some bigger whiting. Anyway, all in all I am feeling proud of myself because both of the open matches had a very strong field of match-men.

TOP TIP: One of the problems when using sticky lugworm is keeping it on the hook. Well the best method is to sew the hook through the soft worm by twisting the worm around the hook as you pass the point in and out of the worm. This locks the bait around the hook eye and line and prevents it sagging too much. Of course you can always use a light bait elastic as well.

Dabs Folkestone Pier

On the cod front the season promised much and if you look at the highlights it looks much better than it was. Lots of the best anglers failed to catch other than codling and a few average anglers caught lunkers, but on the whole most regions were dire for proper cod from the shore. The boats have done slightly better and it does seem that the bigger fish are just offshore and not coming in unless there is a gale to attract them. Many blame the masses of whiting on which the cod are feeding, they have no need to come inshore. There are calls for the whiting minimum size to be lowered back to 25cm. Whatever, time is running out because most southern regions won’t produce cod after mid January – then its dab, pin whiting and rockling time and only the matchmen are happy. In the North the cod can hang on until February but there too reports for bigger fish are not that good. Cumbria though is alive with codling.

If you read Sea Angler magazine you will have seen my feature on Cramlington matchman, Bob Gascoigne – It makes interesting reading I think, although I would say that wouldn’t I? But Bob raises and interesting subject of clipped versus flapper rigs. Flappers have been my first choice rig for many years and in the past won me lots of competitions and I will explain why. Clipped rigs entail having a bait stop on the snoods to prevent the cast from blowing the worm bait up the snood away from and off the hook point. Thus on occasions, whilst its ok for the big mouthed species who snaffle hook and worm, for those small flatties like dabs it means they can easily take the bait off the LINE without getting hooked. Conversely when you use a flapper rig the bait is forced down the hook and around the point when you cast and the hook is always in the bait. It’s as simple as that, so think twice before using a clipped rig and remember what “Sir” Bob Says – “Clipped rigs for casting show, flappers for match doe!”

The TF Gear S Mag multiplier increasingly impresses me – The thicker diameter main drive spindle prevents distortion and the spool doesn’t lock up even with three dogfish on! During a recent session I fished the S Mag with 18lb mono, filled it to the gunnels and the beauty of the thicker line is that it is impossible to birdnest with the magnetic brakes half on!  Increasingly the beaches I fish are snaggy and 18lb mono and a Bimini twist leader knot enable me to get free from a lot of snags and this save tackle. The trick is using no bigger hooks that size 1 Kamasan B940 which the line and knot can bend out of a snag. OK so I am not fishing for cod, rather whiting, dabs etc with multi hook rigs, but a size1 can handle a bigger fish if required. Thereby lies the seceret to fishing snaggy beaches – If you are after big cod use a single 6/0 rather than a Pennel and fish it on a Pulley rig. For multi hooks, small fish and codling little beats a Loop rig.

Few modern sea anglers would disagree that the biggest improvement in rod construction concerns lighter materials allowing longer lengths. Longer rods are longer levers and they are easier to cast further. Don’t believe the twaddle spouted by some that all you need is a 12ft beachcaster. Longer rods give the lesser skilled and older caster a much better return for their limited power because they bend. That’s not to say you cannot overpower yourself with too much length, but that there are plenty of 15ft models that are light enough for the ladies and pensioners to cast with that will raise their game by a considerable margin with a simple overhead style and fixed spool reel.

Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and New Year. – May the cod be with you.

Alan Yates.

New Airflo Fly Fishing Reel

2012 has seen Airflo produce one of their most beautiful and functional reels to date. The new Airflo V-Lite fly reel will be on sale in the next few weeks, its stunning looks and perfectly tuned drag will literally stop anything which swims! This fly reel has been designed by anglers for anglers, offering looks and performance as standard.

Sneek preview

Available here – Airflo V-Lite reel

Fishing Tackle that will last you a lifetime

I’ve been trying out some new fishing tackle, and been using my TF Gear V8 Distance reel for over a year now, and can honestly say that I’m more than impressed with it! When I’m looking for a fishing reel I need one that can stand up to the abuse of big French carp and English fishing too.

TF Gear V8 Distance Fishing Reel

TF Gear V8 Distance Fishing Reel

I like the smoothness, performance and feel of the reel and most important the light weight of it. The line lay is perfected which helps with those long casts to the horizon, and the gear ratio can cope with any size of fish you have hooked. You can set the front drag from semi tight or as loose as you desire. I love the big reel rubber handle when winding in from extreme distance, as it seems to be no effort at all.

V8 Distance and TSI Rods

V8 Distance and TSI Rods

When mixed with the TSI rods you will have the ultimate tools for catching carp, which is very light weight and a perfect match. I use the 3lb test rods which are incredible thin blanks with a beautiful black carbon finish to it. The TSI handle has a Japanese shrink-wrap covering which gives you a good grip of the rod when playing monster carp.

TF Gear TSI Fishing Rod

TF Gear TSI Fishing Rod

The TSI is an all through action rod which will cast any lead to extreme distances all day long, even with a PVA bag, it won’t let you down. When playing fish this is where the rod comes to life as the rod will do all the work for you and is fantastic for playing fish under the tips; I have never lost a fish when using these fishing rods.

pit 4

So if you’re looking for fishing tackle which will last you a life time and won’t let you down, check out the TSI rod and V8 reel.

pit 5Happy fishing!

Carp fishing in the Margins

How many of us inspect the margins when we arrive at a lake?

You might want to, if you want to improve your catch rate. Fishing for carp in the margins can be extremely productive if you find the right places and apply good angling tactics. How many fishermen/fisherwomen ignore the margins when fishing? They see all that water out in front of them and think that the fish must be out there. I often see anglers using three fishing rods with all of them cast out to the far bank. With so many anglers casting out far it makes the margins a safe place for carp to hang out. In fact, the margins can even be the best places to target the bigger carp in the lake.

Fishing in the Margins

Fishing in the Margins

As long as you’re quiet when setting up your carp fishing tackle and actually fishing, you can take fish from the margins in most lakes. Carp have great hearing and will be able to pick up vibrations from the surrounding bank, so you do need to be as quiet as possible.

Centre Pin Fishing Reel

Centre Pin Fishing Reel

When it comes to margin fishing I tend to use a small 8ft rod and centre pin reel; this allows me to fish in-between trees, and other places where it would be hard to use a 12ft rod. It’s best to wear dark green or brown fishing clothing, or better still, use camouflage clothing, as you can blend into the surrounding. I like to find the more subtle features rather than the obvious ones such as overhanging trees, island banks, etc. I like to look for features like undercut banks, posts or trees sticking out of the water, small bulrushes, bushes, lily pads or inlet pipes all these can be ideal feeding spots for carp.

Carp taking bait

Carp taking bait

I like to use a small float, 8lb fluorocarbon line and a size 10 hook partnered with good quality bait. One of my best methods is to wrap paste around a small boilie, many fish have taken using this approach, as the carp are not wised up to these methods. So as the weather starts to warm up go out and have a go, this is a very rewarding way of catching carp guaranteed to provide a good fight whatever size fish you’ve hooked into.

Landing the Carp

Landing the Carp

All the best and good fishing!

Fantastic result!

Fantastic result!

Creedy Fishing Lakes

I recently spent a day at a lovely water near Exeter called Creedy Lakes, which is owned and run by Sandra & Stewart Tuner. Set in peaceful, picturesque surroundings, these two 18th century spring-fed waters offer some of the hardest fighting carp in Devon. Abundantly stocked with immaculate commons to over 31lbs, mirror and koi carp, together with green and golden tench, making it one of the best big fish day ticket water venues in the Southwest. The main lake is about 4 acres and holds a good head of carp up to 31lb.

On this session I was more than pleased with all 3 fish over the 20lb mark, but the one I won’t forget is the bigger one of them. I knew as soon as my barbel rod had screamed with this fish and I had hooked into it that is was unlike any of the others I had played that day. It played me hard, much more so than the 21lb I had landed that morning. It used its weight to try and hold up in the water and I had no option but to let it play me and take more line off my fishing reel when needed.

After what seemed like a long tense struggle with the fish it was finally by the net but was still not going to give up that easily and was still fighting hard. With a final struggle the fish was in the bottom of the net and already I knew that I had a fair sized carp in there. When I put it on the unhooking mat it became apparent that this fish was not only pretty long but also pretty wide and weighed in at 27lb 3oz. What a cracker of a fish it was and I couldn’t wait to have my photograph taken with it.

I was proud to be able to put this fish back into the lake ready for someone else to catch another day. I know that I can’t expect action like this every time I visit a day ticket water but it is a good feeling when it does happen. I will never underestimate, and neither should anybody else, the success that can be achieved from a day ticket water.

Winter Wonderland

Chew valley lake is now open again for a brief two weeks for Pike angling. Myself and fellow TFG team members Tim, Simon and Steve had been lucky enough to get two boat bookings. The problem was getting there – overnight Bristol had been hit by severe snow storms and one of the Severn bridges was closed. We had a hair raising journey through icy winding country roads and finally arrived at the lodge in one piece. With a hearty full english wolfed down we set out on the 1200 acre water.

The air temperatures were hovering around zero and some of the shallower bays were iced over, the water itself was highly coloured and only 1 degree. Thankfully the wind was not too strong and with our fishing clothing, chill out boots and fleeces we were all comfortably protected from the elements.Things did not look promising as by early afternoon we had not had any action at all, not a sniff to deadbaits or the usual soft plastics and jerkbaits.
As a change of tactic I switched to one of the new cutting Edge Jig fishing rods and bumped a smaller shad back hard on the bottom at a very slow pace. I was rewarded with 5 and 8 lb jacks in quick succession and also a 3lb 8 oz Perch. So the fish were there to be caught.

Late afternoon bouncing a jig over a ledge I landed a Perch of 4lb 1 oz, just as this was returned boat partner Simon had a run on his deadbait and after a good scrap I netted a very fat 19lb Pike for him.


As the light faded the wind completely died leaving a tranquil scene. Both boats were positioned on a drop off slope about 50 yards from the bank. I threw out a bright green grub tail on a jig head close to the bank and bounced it back feeling every contour of the bottom through the sensitive grunt braid and the ultra slim blank. The rod hooped round and I was into a fish, it stayed deep and dived under the boat with brute power. I now realised this was something really big as I had not seen it yet despite really putting on the pressure. With the pencil thin rod bent double I finally I brought it to the surface where it was netted. This was a lump of just over 26 lb and a new PB.

Tim had avoided the dreaded blank and landed a 14 lb’er which had taken a deadbait at exactly the same time as my battle with the big girl. Steve had also had a jack.


All of this was remarkable considering the conditions and a testament to the productivity of the water. The final cutting edge samples had also proved their worth, these will be released in April.

Winter Barbel Fishing

When I was a kid (and yes, I know what you’re thinking but it wasn’t that long ago!) it was generally accepted that the barbel hibernated in the winter. The standard practise was to fish for barbel in the summer and autumn and then hang the fishing rods up until the following June. Eventually, the thinking changed and we began to realise that not only are barbel a good target in the winter, they are also in their best condition. I think it was fishing on the Severn that persuaded people: a few late autumn matches were won with ‘bonus’ barbel caught by legering a big lump of meat down the edge in a flood. Pretty soon anglers started adopting the same tactic in the winter and hey presto we were suddenlty all year round barbel anglers….

Living as I do near the river I often get the chance to play around with barbel baits and tactics. Many years ago I got a new rod for christmas and I was desperate to try it out so, while my mom was stuffing turkey and the rest of the world was opening presents, I snuck off up the river and nailed my one and only christmas day whisker in less than an hour on a big lump of meat. When you know a river really well such things are possible and so too are endless possibilities to try out new fishing baits and ideas. It was on the Severn, for instance, that I invented the new infamous ‘time bomb’ method using an open ended feeder stuffed with pellet groundbait and boilies/pellets – an approach that has changed the way anglers fish the river irrevocably.

The middle Severn was also the place where I played around with boilies when formulating the amino active CSL boilie that is now a flagship product in the TF-Gear range. Amino Active CSL is basically a commercial version of a home-made boilie I had been using for a number of years to catch barbel. Amino active is one of those rare baits that not only works the first time you use it but carries on getting better the more of it you put in over a period of time. That’s because the base mix (food value) of the boilie is naturally strong whilst the flavour label (an essential oil) is very subtle. It’s my experience with barbel (and other species, actually) that baits heavily laced with flavour never catch fish for very long.

People often ask me how to fish the river barbel given the success of pellets. ‘Have the pellets blown?’ they ask. The answer is yes and no. On the heavily fished stretches of river you can forget about using great big halibut pellets on the hook – the barbel have wised up to them. A few small pellets in the feeder or bag (3-4mm) jobs will help to attract the fish but keep the free pellets at a low level and instead stuff the feeder with a mixture of mini pellets, Crunchy Fish groundbait and broken amino active CSL boilie with the edge nicked off (this releases the subtle aroma that barbel will home in on). Using this combination I feel confident of catching barbel anywhere on stretches of river ranging from easy to difficult.

Of course, no bait will work unless you use it in the right swim and in the right conditions. In winter, the conditions that you are looking for are rising or stable water temperatures with the river temperature at four degrees or more. Don’t worry about the colour – I’ve caught barbel in rivers so dirty that visibality is reduced to just a few centimeters. Quite how the barbel manage to sniff the bait out in chocolate coloured water amazes me sometimes but they do.

New approach for the New year?

When winter pays a visit to the lake I’m fishing, the water almost overnight becomes as clear as glass making me pay some thought to the line on my spools. When choosing line I soon came to realise you have to have a good look around as there are so many to choose from. I’ve been using Xline for some time now and I wanted a change so I decided to look at red mist line from TF Gear.

After a fair amount of research on the product and discovering that red is the first tone to disappear in the colour spectrum, making red mist almost invisible in water, I was more interested in giving it a chance and ordered my sample. When it turned up I was very impressed, a nice smooth silky feel to the line and a good knot hold I soon poured hot water into a bucket and dropped the spool of line in there for 10 minutes, getting rid of any memory in the line. Red may not be the first of choices for a ‘serious’ carp angler and definitely goes against the norm but slowly it is tempting more and more of us into giving it a chance, and why not? Changing your fishing tackle can bring great success.

After being convinced to put my waders on and half freeze to death, during a recent winter session, and stand in the lake for that prize picture I was intrigued as to what kind of temperature the water itself was. This gave me the idea of pinching the ray temp gun out of my husband’s kitchen and having a built in laser it has proven to be extremely accurate in the lake each time I go fishing and more importantly each time I have landed a fish. This is beginning to help me build up a good picture of the year to come and hopefully in time to come help determine the ideal water temperature to catch. I’m sure each lake has its own characteristics and differing reactions to differing water temperatures but never the less spending short periods of time researching a water could pay off greatly in the long run.