South Wales & Northern heat Results

It’s been 30 years since Benson & Hedges first held this prestigious International six-man team event and to celebrate this impressive milestone, for this year only there will be a separate ‘wildcard’ final held at Grafham water.

This year a two-day wildcard Final at Grafham Water held on the 18&19th September will see 17 teams who have not qualified for the regional finals will be drawn and invited to take part. A couple of day of chasing Meesy’s shrimpers, what could be better?

Sponsors of the past 4 years, Airflo, have kindly agreed to sponsor both events with some of their top quality fly fishing tackle.

Last weekend saw the first few regional heats take place, Friday 13th at Llandgfedd reservoir (Welsh Heat) and Saturday 14th at Chew Valley (Southern Heat).

Llandegfedd Heat 13th April

Llandgfedd reservoir in south Wales held the first Welsh regional heat. Most of the 36 anglers on the lake managed to reach the target of 4 fish and got onto catch and release. In total 36 anglers took 280 fish giving a rod average of 7.78.

Top angler on the day was Spence Williams of the Welsh Crunchers who caught 16 fish for a total weight of 18lb 1Ooz.

Best Fish went to Rob Honour of Margam Fly Fishers which weighed 2lb 4 3/8oz.

Chew Valley 14th April

Chew Valley reservoir also fished exceptionally well with a high percentage of anglers ‘bagging up’, reaching their 8 fish limit. In total 42 anglers took 323 fish giving a rod average of 7.69.

Top angler on the day was Andy Cotton of Team Snowbee who caught 18 fish for a total weight of 25lb 9oz.

Best Fish went to Ali Munn of BRFFA Emergers which weighed 4lb 14oz.

Congratulations to all teams which managed to successfully qualify this weekend to the next round, and good luck to those who are yet to fish. Keep an eye here for more results over the coming weeks.

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Fantastic Opening Week On Laroussi – 72lb Mirror

Chris Griffiths had a fantastic opening week at Laroussi banking a stunning 72lb mirror plus back-up fish of 47, 38, 48, 45, 40, 25 plus a common of 25lb.  Chris’s comments;

“A 72lb mirror – wow! I still can’t believe it! We arrived at the lake to be greeted by owner, Mehdi, who took us round the lake, gave us some good tips, then left us to it. We had a fantastic week and we will definitely be back every year… we can’t thank you enough for such a great week. I baited up little and often & bright coloured pop-ups worked well. Like Mehdi says this isn’t an easy lake to fish but work hard and you’ll get good results.“

Carp Fishing in France at Laroussi

A Stop Start Winter

Since my last Fishtec blog in autumn, my fishing became very disjointed from October onwards and only really came back to normal in February. The main reason was a succession of health issues within the family, which saw me missing a lot of fishing and only going locally for a few hours when I could get out. Consequently, I was never able to get a proper campaign underway and the results suffered as a result.

The main target of my river fishing was the upper Warks Avon near my home, principally because it is so close and I could be home quickly if need be. Unlike the middle to lower stretches, the chub and barbel of the upper river are fairly modestly sized, 5lb chub and 10lb barbel not being that common, this looked to be the perfect place for a few short coarse fishing sessions. So I made those two weights my initial targets and would go from there. My first few trips produced a few barbel to just over 7lbs and chub to about 4lbs, but the fishing was very slow at times. Blanks were common. Then, in late November, I had my biggest Avon barbel of just over 9lbs plus a chub of 5lb 4ozs ten minutes later. Obviously, these are quite modest fish by Ouse standards but I did feel that I was getting somewhere. Over the next couple of weeks I had another two small barbel, but struck a purple patch with the chub, taking three more five pounders on the bounce. That made four 5lb plus fish in a few weeks and, according to regulars who have fished the stretch for years that is very unusual.

Just after Christmas, I was fishing the lovely crease swim where I had taken my most recent 5lb chub. A large near bank rush bed projects five yards out from the bank, throwing the main flow across to the far bank and creating a really pronounced midriver angled crease. At a steady 5ft depth and smooth gravel bed it is a perfect set up for chub and barbel. I was fishing an 18mm boilie, with a PVA bag of broken boilie pieces impaled on the hook on each cast. My first cast was made around midday but it wasn’t until nearly dark that I had my first serious indication. I don’t count a kamikaze 12oz chub that nearly choked itself on the boilie in mid afternoon! A vicious pull had me on my feet and I soon realised that this was another chub, but what a beauty. It weighed 5lb 7ozs, another very big fish for the Upper Avon. It was my biggest Avon chub by a couple of ounces.

Ten minutes after the recast, I was in again and this time it was obvious that I was connected to a big barbel. That fish gave me a memorable scrap, making the clutch scream more than once, and I was soon netting my first Avon double figure barbel. It weighed 11lb 5ozs and I was absolutely over the moon with it.

After those fish, with all family worries now behind me, I was able to resume my love affair with the Great Ouse. Like waters everywhere, it was painfully low at the back end of the season, and four trips to a stretch where bites are always few and far between, but the fish are big, saw me averaging but one bite a day. And a day means fishing from about mid morning until well after midnight. The previous season I had taken my 7lb 13oz personal best chub from the same stretch, and I was never able to come close to that this time. In all, I landed eight chub, which comprised a baby of 4-12, four more five pounders to 5-15 and a top three of 6-1, 6-2 (featured below) and a 6-6.

Most pleasing was a final session barbel of 13lb 6ozs, my first barbel from the stretch for three years following the attentions of otters.

As well as the chub fishing, I also had two sessions at the perch stretch where my 5lb pound fish was taken in 1999. Sadly, that has also been badly affected by otters and, although there are still big perch to be caught, the numbers have been drastically diminished. Apart from a solitary small perch, all I caught on my lobworms were average chub and a small pike.

I can look back on the season just ended as one of the most difficult I’ve ever experienced, for several reasons, and in some ways I was glad to see the back of it. Now, after two weeks off, I’m planning some tench and bream fishing, commencing next week. The water has produced tench to 11lbs plus and bream to over 16lbs so I’m hoping for some exciting fishing. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Nature’s best bivvy builders

Humans have improved bivvy building from low-tech foliage to high-tech tents, but the animal kingdom has its own master masons, carpenters and weavers to rival and exceed our species achievements.

Read on to discover the secrets of the best bivvy builders in nature.

Beaver lodges

beaver bivvy

Beaver bivvy
Image: Shutterstock

Few animals are as industrious as the beaver. Its lodges often have two rooms; a drying chamber and a family room and entrances are underwater to provide protection from predators.

Before it builds the lodge, the beaver first checks that the water is deep enough; if not, it builds a dam. The animals first divert the stream to lessen its flow and then drive wooden stakes into the river bed. Obtaining timber is no problem for a beaver, its sharp teeth and powerful jaws make chopping trees down, a piece of cake. Once the superstructure is in place, the gaps are filled with anything the beavers can get their paws or teeth into.

Master engineers – in fast flowing waters – beavers build curved dykes that are thicker at the base than the top and angled upstream. Just like us in fact.

Termite mounds

termite bivvy

Termite bivvy
Image: Shutterstock

Long before humans invented air con, the humble termite had it sussed. Relative to its size, this humble insect builds the biggest and most sophisticated structure of any creature on earth.

Termite mounds are constructed by worker insects in the colony by mixing saliva with mud, masticated wood and faeces. The resultant construction is as hard as concrete. Hot air rising inside the mound draws air through the many subterranean chambers helping to keep the colony cool.

Because termites burrow to considerable depths, in Africa, metallurgists analyse the composition of mounds to determine whether or not there are gold deposits lying beneath the earth.

Wasp nests

wasp bivvy

Wasp bivvy
Image: Bigstock

Wasps buzzing around during early spring are young mated queens that have made it through winter hibernation. Mating will have occurred the previous autumn and the sperm stored in a dormant state, inside the female. Awakened from her slumbers the wasp looks for a suitable nesting site.

Once found, she makes a simple paper nest of hexagonal chambers, about the size of a walnut. Into this, she’ll lay her first batch of eggs. Once enough sterile female workers have been born, the queen is free to concentrate solely on reproduction. As the numbers grow, so the nest is enlarged.

A single queen can produce a population of several thousand. Once her sperm supply begins to dwindle, the queen lays eggs that produce fertile male and females which leave the nest in search of mates. So the cycle of life begins again.

Busy bee bivvies

bee bivvy

Bee bivvy
Image: Bigstock

Honey bees colonise caves, rock crevices and tree hollows. They line the entrance with a resinous substance called propolis and hang their wax combs in parallel rows, suspended from the top and sides of the space. Bees move within the hive via small passageways around the sides of the combs.

Unlike wasps nests which generally last for just one season, bees will occupy the same space for several years. To keep numbers at a manageable level, the colony will split. A swarm of bees including a new queen, separates from the hive and flies off to begin again somewhere else.

Spider silk bivvies

spider bivvy

Spider bivvy
Image: Bigstock

Stronger than steel and with built in elasticity, it’s no wonder that scientists are examining the structure of the silk used by spiders to construct their own webs. The silk is produced by the spider’s spinneret glands and several different types can be produced by the same insect.

There’s safety line for abseiling, sticky silk for catching flies and fine wrapping silk. A single spider may be able to produce up to eight different threads. Spinning a web is nature’s way of cutting down the amount of energy expended by the spider in pursuit of its prey.

A considerable amount of protein is expended during construction of a web, but the spider is the ultimate recycler, eating its own web to recoup the nutrients before building a new one.

Scott tackles perch on his recent coarse fishing outing

Targeting your intended quarry can sometimes be mind numbing as fish often become unresponsive. Many reasons cause fish to not feed throughout the day, fishing pressure or plenty of active food source available underwater can sometimes deter fish from feeding on your ‘patch’ its then your fishing tackle needs to be modified or another species could be on the cards.

It’s all about knowing when to move and where. Scott Cordingley explains his preferred method of targeting Carp, Perch and Roach!  Check out his most recent coarse fishing outing.


Fly fishing with dinosaurs – the deadly dragonfly

The iridescent, jewel-like dragonfly looks graceful, beautiful and harmless.

But don’t be fooled, while you’re busy fly fishing, these airborne insects devour everything in and out of the water.

The dragonfly is a dinosaur of the insect world. It has been around as a species for over 300 million years and here’s why: it’s a killing machine.

Enter the dragon…fly larvae

The dragonfly spends up to the first three years of its life under the water as a nymph. But if that makes you think of it as anything other than deadly – think again. The larvae has the mouth parts of a ninja and the appetite of a Sumo wrestler.

Retractable grappling jaws spell death to mosquito larvae, tadpoles and even small fish. It lies in wait – be warned, this clip is not for children or the faint hearted.


The dragonfly larva molts several times before taking on its adult form but just as it’s safe to go back in the water, this raptor of the insect world takes to the air.

For a few short hours, the emerging adult is vulnerable; its soft wings need time to straighten and harden. And then the killing begins again.

Bee warned

With its doubled up wings, the adult dragonfly has the appearance of a biplane but although its looks are vintage, its performance is anything but.

The dragonfly has one of the fastest flight velocities of any insect – reaching top speeds of up to 30mph. It preys on other airborne insects while on the wing, and then settles down to enjoy a grisly feast – like this hapless bee.

While the dragonfly is deadly to other insects, it’s totally harmless to humans – which is just as well. So next time you see one shimmer past you on a summer’s afternoon – relax, some other poor creature is on the menu.

The joys of fly fishing in Spring

This cusp of seasons is so exciting for the river angler. It opens up many more opportunities to get out fly fishing after your itended quarry. The end of the grayling season on the Eden was a little quiet, although there were some outstanding specimens caught.  This is typical year-round now actually, with low numbers of grayling (and trout), but much larger than average fish turning up.  My records show that the average for grayling through 2011 was 35cm, and oddly enough that for trout was only just short of this.  Interestingly, I have caught grayling up to just under 50cm (18”) and trout to 56cm (22”), through the year, and this trend of few, but large fish is persisting in the new trout season.  I have heard from friends on many other rain fed rivers throughout Britain that this is fairly typical, though the situation appears to be rather marked on the Eden.

Many anglers are quite happy with such a situation, but I am not.  The lack of small fish is a sure sign of either excessive predation (mostly by goosanders and cormorants) or farm pollution (mostly by run-off from compacted and ploughed land).  Nonetheless, the fishing is tremendous.  For the last month the large dark olive hatches have been steadily building.  They are currently lasting for about two hours and fish rise continuously for this period, particularly trout.  During the last week or so we have also seen better March brown hatches than I have seen on Eden for many years, so this at least bodes well.

I have fished a size 19 cdc plume tip; usually a yellow quill version.  A pattern has emerged.  Until the hatch gets underway, one is most tempted to fish with nymph, or spider, in the deeper, slower sections.  This has not been particularly productive.  I have concentrated more on very shallow, riffle water, even when there is no evidence of fish.  Invariably, the trout have been there, rising freely to the plume tip, while my experience in these circumstances with a size 18 (on a TMC 2499 SPBL) partridge and hare spider has been, frankly, thrilling.  I think that spidering is a much under-rated approach, as is ‘free-style’ upstream nymphing (without indicator).  It is probably the lack of apparent contact with the spiders or nymphs that put people off; this sort of fishing is rather demanding on concentration, but this is a shame and probably the fault of excessive reliance on duo (nymph under dry) that is the reason for this.

Of course, the easiest technique of all is the single dry fly, and this has been incredible lately on those Eden riffles.  It astonishes me, even now, how big trout can hide in such thin water, or even hold there for so long.  I don’t think they remain there when there is no food, but it is probably most surprising that there is indeed food in these areas for much of the day, and certainly from very early spring until deep into autumn.  The mild weather we are currently having also entices the fish out of the deeper water.  Control is not quite so demanding or important as on the more evenly flowing, smoother glides and drift lanes.  Even big trout will decide in a flash to take a fly, so if it is about right – like the plume tip or small spider – it will usually be snatched away.  The trick is not to wade in too far, if at all.  I have already this last month caught quite a few big fish within a couple of metres of the bank, just by free-drifting the fly with the minimum of disturbance (for which l-to-h is brilliant).  Another point: keep the fly small, smaller even than the hatching flies.  Dry or spider between 20 and 18 will usually be taken preferentially to a bigger fly.  A 19 plume tip is about the right size for a large dark olive, but it is dwarfed by a March brown.  In the summer when the danicas or olive uprights are hatching, I never use a plume tip bigger than a 17, and trout pick it out among the comparatively giant natural duns drifting past.  As a general rule of thumb, if a fly is rejected, change down at least one size.

Right now, with large darks and March browns coming off, and the trout lean and ferociously hungry after the colder months of winter, British rivers are approaching their best, much sooner than most European rivers, or Scandinavia.   It is so worth the fly fisher taking a few days away from the opening reservoirs around the country to fish wild waters and get to the roots of the sport.  Mind you, take care, because once you’ve fished a spring olive hatch on a shallow rain fed river with a good population of trout, stocked rainbows in still waters never quite hit the mark!  Judging by the ever increasing number of anglers we see out on the rivers nowadays, it is clear that there is an avalanche of interest in this special branch of our sport; and long may this continue, because without the anglers, our rivers would be no more than agricultural sewers.

Out today on the Appleby town water and saw a cock grayling well in excess of three pounds (I momentarily thought it was a salmon kelt!) and then noticed clusters of grayling upstream of this giant.  They were spawning, in water not even a foot deep, on an expanse of clean gravel: this is actually a month earlier than least year, which just reveals how mild the late winter and early spring have been.  I left this visual marvel and moved off well upstream to the thin water of the weir, where again the 19 plume tip was taken by half a dozen eagerly feeding wild brownies.  I noticed that for the first time in a month, since the start of the significant large dark olive hatches, there were actually more March browns in evidence.  These are at least as big as an olive upright, and relentlessly hunted by trout.  Hatching off very shallow water – sometimes mere inches – this ephemerid seems rarely to make it down onto the deeper, glide water.  If they do not lift off very quickly, marauding trout are certain to find them. Many of us feel that the historical reverence of danica mayfly feeding, which is so often a disappointment, should really be assigned to the March brown.

By the way, those of you who are comparatively new to the river, might like to consider that the quality of the modern fly fishing rods is such that the line rating standard has dropped to a #3, while we increasingly see #2 weights.  What this means is that we can explore ever-finer technique, with spider, nymph and particularly dry fly, than was ever possible with the heavier tools commonly used even five years ago.  My own personal favourite is the Greys Streamflex XF2 10′ #2, which, with a leader-to-hand rig, is simply the most delicate outfit I have ever had the joy to use.  It has further opened up the potential of particularly challenging conditions for me, such as low, clear water, and trout or grayling feeding selectively on micro dry flies.  Finally, such fine fishing tackle allows the minimum of disturbance, which invariably equates to significantly improved results on the river.

Wild West Waders – aren’t they chaps?

wild west waders

Wild West Waders

Billy the kid, Doc Holiday and Jesse James; just three of the villainous heroes of the Wild West; not very nice chaps, who wore chaps.

Clothing design and manufacture has come a long way since the days when strapping lengths of cow hide to your thighs was the best protection from the perils of nature. But would cowboys be any better off in waders?

Let’s take a look at why fishing waders would have been best – in the West.


rain clouds

Waders for the Wet Wild West
Photo: Dudarev Mikhail/

When it rains in cowboy movies, oh boy does it rain. Imagine yourself in denim and chaps, hardly proper protection from the deluge we think you’ll agree. How much better to be safely ensconced in a pair of neoprene chest waders. Warm even when wet.


waders snow

Waders for the Wild West Winter
Photo: Kender/

When the going got tough and the snow started to fall, the cowboys of yesteryear donned what were called, ‘woolies’, chaps with and outer layer of fleece or angora. They were thought to be the warmest winter wear around. But they didn’t have fleece lined waders did they?


cowboy canteen

Waders for water in warm weather
Photo: Sari ONeal/

Ever noticed how terribly thirsty cowboys get when they’re in the saddle in the middle of the sun blasted plain. There’s never any water and his canteen – well it’s so small – it’s just not up to the job. Waders by contrast are so versatile; when it gets warm, just fill ‘em with water and sip away in the sunshine.

Gun fighting

cowboy gun

Weapon holding waders
Photo: Bobby Deal Real Deal Photo/

Waders wouldn’t be much use against a hail of bullets so you’d still need a six shooter, but ask yourself this: where does a cowboy keep his backup weapon? Yes that’s right, down the side of his boot. Simply put, the bigger the boot, the bigger the blunderbus – wear your waders for shootout success.



Waders for poisonous prong protection
Photo: Steve Byland/

No self respecting cowboy travels anywhere without his ‘pardner’. The reason for this is that when you get bitten on the calf by an angry rattlesnake, your pal can suck the poison out for you. It’s not nice. Wear waders – total protection from poisonous prongs.



Wade in to trouble with waders
Photo: P.Lange/

Still not convinced that cowboys would have been better off in waders? Think about it – you’ve been out on the trail for, oh, hours – you’re tired, you’re bad tempered and you’ve got saddle sores. You’re itching for a fight. There’s nothing else for it – somebody has to die. You tie your horse outside the saloon and mount the steps.

Picture yourself, poised before those saloon swing doors. You’re about to wade in there and put some lead into some poor innocent soul. But how can you wade into trouble, if you’ve forgotten your waders?

Diawl Bach – How to?

The Diawl Bach is a hugely successful fly producing some amazing fish all over the world on a variety of methods and fisheries. As opposed to the Pheasant tail, the ‘Diawl Bach’ (pronounced Jawl Back, with a throaty ‘CH’ sound at the end, and also meaning ‘Little Devil’) is probably the second most used nymph on the fly fishing scene.

This fly can be fished on a variety of methods from forming part of a team on a buzzer cast or on a washing line technique close to the surface. The Diawl can also be a devastating fly fished between two lures on deep sinking fly lines, what usually happens is that a fish is attracted by the lure on the top dropper when pulled, but as it slows down the fish gets less interested and turns away to find something more subtle and foodlike below. A great middle dropper pattern when fishing the ‘Hang’.

The Diawl Bach imitates an emerging, hatching buzzer but can also be taken for a host of other nymphs, tied in many various guises and colours the Diawl is ideal for replicating the hatch of many other waterborn insects such as olives and mayflies.

The variations  on each fly within the team can be endless as each fly serves a purpose in its chosen position: anhcor, sinker or fisher. It’s often that one fly is positioned to fish bedded in weed, or on the shore so that the flies above may be in the taking zone.

This fly is also one of the most varied flies in our boxes, tail and body colours can be changed to give a different shade, while attractors such as coloured ribs and heads can be easily added. Traditionally, cheeks or breathers are added to give that little extra something and bring more life into the fly, Jungle cock is a great feather to add for colour as is goose biot or tinsel. The fly tying drawer is your oyster!

Tying the Diawl Bach 

This fly can be tied in just six simple steps.

1 – Run a length of thread down the hook to create a bed for your materials to be tied onto, and add around 6 strands of red game cock feather as a tail.

2 – Add your body and rib. The easiest way to do this is to work out what your going to be winding up the body first. The peacock herl is the body, and the wire – rib. Tie the rib in first and then lay the peacock on top. What this does is allows the body material to lay flat from the tie in point and is then secured neatly and as tight as possible by the rib.

3 – Wind the herl to the eye in touching turns. This keeps the profile of the nymph slim and uniform.

4 – Rib the body in the opposite direction to the herl. This secures the body in-case of any rips caused by fish teeth. For brighter ribs winding the opposite way also makes the colour more pronounced.

5 –  Tie in the throat hackle. To get the ideal length I usually marry up the tips of the throat hackle with the tail, on top of the hook and then tie in underneath. This roughly gives the same length on both areas giving the fly a great, balanced look.

6 – Finally, whip finish or half hitch and your complete! I tie all my Diawls with a subtle thread such as black or brown, keeping the underneath drab can sometimes give your fly a somewhat longer life as when the body rips after a few fish the fly is still dark and food like, as opposed to when tying with bright coloured thread.

Written by Kieron Jenkins

March Qualifiers

With the Airflo World Bank Masters Individual Competition 2012 off to a flyer, the number of qualifiers for the final is rising by the day. 23 people already have their place within the Final which is to be held at Elinor, 20th May. Well done to all and good luck in the final!

Exe Valley Day 1 -03/03/12

Winner – Peter Simons, 2nd Keith Gollop, 3rd Simon Kidd and 4th Alan Jukes

Exe Valley Day 2 – 04/03/12

Winner – Julie Hooper and 2nd (Husband) Lee Hooper

Exe Valley saw lures scoring early on but soon went more imitative with small buzzers down to size 14 consistently catching through out the day. Congrats to Julie and Lee Hooper who put marriage aside and fought it out to take the top two spots on day 2.

Ellerdine -03/03/12

Winner – Andy Taylor, 2nd Stephen Williams, 3rd Lyndon Ford and 4th Mark Harrison

Ellerdine saw a chartreuse egg and woofta buzzers take many fish. Floating lines with these fished static took most. Bucking the trend was winner Andy Taylor who used a red worm and lure combination on an intermediate.

New Haylie – 04/03/12

Winner – Bobby Quinn, 2nd Kevin Andrews, 3rd James Edwards, 4th Stephen Cowan, 5th Graham Ferguson and 6th Willie Leech

NewHaylie’s heat got off to a flying start with rods bent all round the lake. Lime worms fished on an intermediate with eratic retrieves proved the best method on the day although anglers caught on a wide variety of methods

Straid NI – 03/03/12

Winner – William Maguiness and 2nd Harry McAteer

Straid was a tough heat but small buzzers coming round in the cold wind took the majority of fish. Well done to the two qualifiers.

Blackdyke Day 1 – 25/02/12

Winner – Bart Farmer, 2nd Nigel Tranter, 3rd Chris Huston, 4th Gavin Cairns and 5th Jonathan Shaw

Bart Farmer used a team of buzzers presented static just 3 or 4 yards from the bank and occasionally switched to a sunburst blob and buzzers on a slime line when fishing in to the wind to take 1st place and book his place in the prestigious final. he caught 13 fish on the day across 5 different pegs. He controlled his flies perfectly over the ledge just a few yards from the bank where the fish were patrolling. All the qualifiers used buzzers to a degree with a Neon Damsel also taking plenty of fish.  Chris Huston from Australia caught his fish on a damsel and Woofta Buzzer to take 3rd place and Nigel Tranter preferred a White and Yellow Dancer or sunburst blob with buzzers to take 2nd place fished deep on a slime line.