Switch Rods for Salmon

Rene's Last day of the season Salmon

Rene’s Last day of the season Salmon

Well, the end of the general trout season is here and over the last few weeks I have been doing a spot of fishing for salmon on the Tywi. There was a rise in water over the weekend of the 5th and 6th of October so a good opportunity to try for a salmon, and try out my new Airtec swtch fly rod.

I have been using this rod paired with an Airflo V-lite 7/9 reel, a fast intermediate line and a 5ft polyleader. I have to say the setup is balanced and fishes very well, casting wise it’s better than I expected, not having used a Switch rod before. Mostly fishing doubles and needle tubes, the fly line helps carry these heavy flies a long way.

On the Saturday, I managed a day on Golden Grove and on my first run through, hooked into a small Sewin which was returned safely around the 1.5lb mark. I was halfway down the pool on my second run through when the line just stopped dead, lifted, and the line forced it’s way up river. After heading upstream the fish came clean out of the water almost somersaulting resulting in a thrown hook. A clean looking salmon around 8/9lbs in weight. No more salmon hooked that day but did land a few small Sewin.

Sunday’s fishing started well with a couple of small sewin on size 10 doubles, in just a couple of hours. After fishing just quarter of the way through a pool after lunch my line tightened up and everything went solid. As soon as I lifted the rod, I knew immediately that it was a really good fish. After a few solid head shakes and hard thumps on the line, the fish turned and took off down river and was stopping for nothing, my fly fishing rod was doubled over and not even the hardest settings I dare to go on the V-Lite was stopping this fish. There was room to go down river after it, but it was going around the bend and heading towards an underwater snag. Then, the dreaded feeling of the hook pulling out, and a deep sinking feeling, I was gutted. It was a great tussle though and not the first, or last time a salmon will do that to me.

The night before the last day of the season saw some torrential rain falling in the Tywi valley, the river was likely to rise, hopefully not too much but the water at Golden Grove was perfectly fishable even with the water pushing with an extra half a foot of water. I fished the same setup, but without a polyleader, a size 9 Salar Double on the point and a size 10 double on the dropper. There was some colour in the water so the larger flies would hopefully help visibility.

Fishing the same pool as I had lost that fish in the previous week, the line once again tightened as I proceeded around half the ways down the pool. A slight lift of the rod was all that was needed and the fish was on. Fourtounatly for me, the fish didn’t head for sea and stayed well behaved lounging around the pool. A good, strong fish but up a great fight before I managed to get it in the net. A salmon of around 10/11lb which was released and went back strong. I hooked into another fish briefly later in the day and saw quite a few Sewin going through but that was it for me.

A cracking way to end the season and i’m looking forward to the 2014 season already to try some of the new fly fishing tackle from Fishtec, along with giving the switch rod a real good go.

Cat Cubie Casts a Fly Rod

Cat Cubie, Scottish television weather presenter currently working for BBC Scotland opens the official Salmon fishing Season at Dunkeld, Scotland January 15th.

Along side guest presenting and writing for a number of different broadcasters, ‘Cubie’ hosts her own show on Real Radio and writes a weekly column in the Evening Express. As an experienced event host and compere, Cat accepted the invitation to cast the first fly rod on the Tay this season. The symbolic opening ceremony is the start of the Salmon Fishing Season on the Tay where hundreds of anglers meet in anticipation of the first Salmon of the year .

When Cat’s not behind the camera or microphone she loves to play in the Scottish Highlands – Skiing and walking along some of the most beautiful scenic paths and ridges. The Scottish Weather woman also enjoys heading to warmer climes to scuba dive or trying her hand at more unusual hobbies like circus skills and fly fishing, among other outdoor activities.

Reports all around the river are showing  that opening day on the Tay was worth braving the cold. A number of fish were caught on a range of fishing methods; being so early in the season anglers who fished lures and spinners seen best results.

Below is a perfect example of a 21lb Tay Springer, caught by Gordon Nicoll.Salmon Tay Opening Day


No fly fishing in Yemen

The film, Salmon fishing in the Yemen has netted over 10 million dollars at the box office, but if you think that a spot of fly fishing in Yemen would make a nice holiday, think again.

Salmon fishing in the Yemen tells the story of the romance that develops between a fisheries expert from the UK, played by Ewan McGregor and the employee of a fabulously wealthy Yemeni Sheikh – Emily Blunt.  The brief is to introduce salmon to the wadis of the Yemen so the Shiekh can fish for them.  Love triumphs in the end – as do the salmon fry but in this case, fiction does not mirror fact – and here’s why…

Since the release of the film, the Yemeni tourist board has been bombarded by people wanting to pack up their fly fishing equipment and jump on a plane to this oasis.  However, there is no such fishery – and even if there were, travel to Yemen is considered by the foreign and Commonwealth Office to be a very bad idea indeed.  The British government line is, all travel to the country should be avoided and those already there should leave.

More terrorists than trout

more bullets than trout

More terrorists than trout
Source: Arthurrh

Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East.  Since 2009, hundreds of people have been killed and as many as a quarter of a million displaced by fighting between government troops and rebels from the North of the country.  Despite a truce in 2010, the following year, the Arab Spring, saw new unrest and the president toppled.   The resulting power vacuum has allowed Al Qaeda to increase its influence in the Yemen, and despite the regime’s attempts to fight back, the country is now considered to be a haven for terrorists.

In fact just this week, the CIA foiled a plot by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, to detonate an improved version of the underpants bomb worn by Nigerian terrorist, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab that failed to go off properly in 2009.

Go to Yemen and you risk being kidnapped by armed militia and sold to Al Qaeda, which is a great shame because Yemen is a country of immense, historical and cultural importance.

More skyscrapers than salmon

Shibam, Yemen

More skyscrapers than salmon
Source: Jialiang Gao

Part of the ancient spice route, Yemen is at the confluence of Africa, the Middle East and Asia and according to legend, was the home of the legendary Queen of Sheba.  No less than four world heritage sites are in Yemen – including, the walled city of Shibam.  Known as the ‘Manhattan of the desert’, the city dates from the third century AD and is thought to be the first example of town planning based on the principle of vertical living.  Some of the mudbrick buildings are eleven storeys high and are thought to have been built in this way to protect residents from attack by Bedouin marauders.

While fishing of any kind in Yemen is firmly off the agenda for the time being, an improvement in the security situation could see anglers flocking there – but to the coast rather than the rivers.  Piracy aside, there are some 200 or so Yemeni islands in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, offering the prospect of rich sea fishing for anyone brave enough to go.


Iain Barr February fly fishing Blog

With December frozen out and me suffering with swine flu, it was good to get out in January for some well deserved fly fishing.

I headed for Palm Springs salmon fishery, where salmon up to 40lb are swimming about! I tackled up with my #8 enigma and a Di7 #8 Airflo 40+ Expert fly line. With Salmon of such colossal weight, I fished 15lb SightFree fluorocarbon.

The order of the day was to fish deep and slow as the lake was still half covered with ice. Several early takes were missed until a lively grilse-like salmon grabbed hold! After a short fight it was landed, giving the rod a good bend in the process.

I was there with Sky Sports and had promised them a 30lb+ Salmon but things were not looking good. I constantly swapped patterns but I couldn’t find a rhythm, and concluded that over 2 weeks of solid ice had affected.

I had done the closing shot with Sky and they started packing up before heading back down the A1. I could see this big fish cruising just a few feet down. Now, it’s important to be able to cast quick and accurate, and the Enigma fly rod allows me to just do that. This ability of the rod is why it’s my first choice; I can hit fish instantly with precision.

The fly had just landed when the water erupted and the fish was hooked. A 30 minute fight followed before the fish I had promised the cameras was landed, a 33lb pure bar of silver! It’s fair to say the rod was doubled over, but what an enjoyable fight!

Iain Barr February recommended fly sets:- Small Water Selection; UV Dancers; Essential Boobys; Stealth Buzzers #12