TF Gear Thermo-Tex Gilet – Tackle Review

TF Gear Thermo-tex Gilet

I’ve been using the Thermo-Tex Gilet for around 7 months now. It’s remarkably lightweight when you take into account its tremendous thermal abilities. It’s extremely comfortable to wear too and allows plenty of freedom of movement, which to me is a real plus point. There is nothing worse than feeling like you’ve got a straight jacket on, even if you do need one!

On several evenings when I’ve been wearing this gilet from fishtec, I haven’t felt the need to pile on the usual extra layers of clothing. The gilet is superbly warm, which for some reason surprised me. I guess mainly because it feels so lightweight but that definitely belies its impressive thermal abilities. Certainly an item im glad to have in my coarse fishing gear right now.

It’s well made and I like the fleece hand warmer pockets, they keep your hands much warmer when that cold winds blowing. They also allow room for those odd bits and pieces anglers like to tuck away into every nook and cranny. There is also a side pocket next to the zip which is very useful for a mobile phone.

Overall I’m very impressed with this fishing jacket and to coin a phrase, feel that it does exactly what it says on the tin. It will be coming with me on all of my summer and winter sessions in future. It’s ideal on those summer evenings and mornings when you just need something a little extra over a shirt and in the winter it makes an excellent and very important under layer for when it gets really cold.

The TF Gear Thermo-Tex Gilet is available for just £29.99.

Airflo Super-Dri Elite WF5F – Customer Review

Super Dri Elite Fly Line

Airflo Super-Dri Elite

With many Super-Dri fly lines back in stock, anglers all around the country are spooling up their fly fishing reels and trying out these new floating lines. Lindsay Cargill has put both the Xceed and the Elite through their paces. See here for Lindsay’s previous Xceed fly line review.

Lindsay recently purchased a WF5 Super-Dri Elite from the range, here’s what he has to say about our go to trout line.

First Impressions

Out of the box I loved the colour of this line, a pale Olive – easy to see on the water but still had that element of stealth. The ‘hauling zone’ is a yellow colour with the running line back to Olive, all very visible and I find it useful for knowing where the head is in relation to the rod tip as well as for judging distance. Like the Xceed, thin welded loops provide practicality without bulk. The line has no noticeable memory that I can detect.

Performance

Unusually for me my first outing with this line saw me fishing upstream nymphs instead of my usual dry fly due to unfavourable conditions. The line cast beautifully on my Helios 2 905 Tip Flex and the weighted nymphs turned over with ease. The high floatability of the line at the tip meant I could see takes and lift straight in to fish lying in 3 to 4 feet of water. However, fishing a single dry fly, my preferred method, this line is the best line I have used, enabling me to get consistently tight loops and good line control in the air and mending on the water. You can lay back, push it and it responds. I absolutely love it.

Verdict

This will be my ‘go to’ line in 2014 and I can envisage me fishing with it 90% of the time in either a #4 and #5 depending on conditions. At the introductory price I paid it was cheaper than some so called budget ‘good value’ lines which in my experience don’t even come close to matching the Airflo Elite in either quality or features, not to mention floatability. Don’t believe the hype ? That’s your choice, but also your loss!

Airflo Ridge Clear Intermediate Fly Line Review

Airflo Ridge Clear Fly Line

Over the years I think you will all agree that Airflo with the progression in line technology, now offer some of the best fly lines on the market. One of the lines that I have recently had the pleasure of using was the Ridge Clear Slow Intermediate.

Truth is told one of the reasons I bought this fishing line was the fact that I don’t actually own any clear fly lines, but also I have seen and heard some very good reviews by the general fishing public and some fishing forum posts.

First impression of the line was actually how clear the fly line was. There has been numerous attempts from other fly line manufacturers to make a “clear” line, but once they come from production they turn cloudy and not clear at all. However, this line was CRYSTAL CLEAR and already I could see the benefit of using such lines, so I took it outside to the casting pool and just lay about 5 feet of the line on the water.

I was very excited to try out this new fly lines so on my first trip, with it in my arsenal, the conditions were not the best but I tried the line all the same. Being that the line is one of the Ridge Series the casting was, as you would expect flawless and run through the guides of the rod perfectly. The performance whilst the line was aerialised is perfect and I felt completely in control, at both sort and big distances.

It wasn’t long before I was hooked up to my first fish and with a nice clean hook up and easy contact this line made the experience more personal. As I was having so much fun using this line I decided to use it all day and if I’m honest it was one of the most enjoyable days fishing I’ve had in a long time.>

If you are looking for a nice line for light buzzer work and in the top 6 inches of water when stealth and precision is needed then I would suggest the Ridge Clear Slow Intermediate.

See more infromation here from Tim Rajeff:

Airflo Streamtec Nantec 10 #3/4 Rod Review

airflo streamtec nan-tec

‘Trout and Salmon Recommended!’

Having now spent an entire season using this rod on my local Welsh rivers and somehow managing to land a fair few trout and grayling on it, I now feel qualified enough to give a proper review on this rod… not one based on a five minute session using  the casting pool out in front of the office!

This particular model has been designed for modern nymphing techniques, primarily with a French leader, an indicator or a heavy bugging set up. The action is perfect… parabolic enough to flick a French leader with microscopic nymphs right across the river, but still able to pitch out a team of heavy 4mm tungsten beaded jigs or czech nymphs at short range into a heavy flow.

It also excels at playing fish as it flexes from tip to butt under load, so you have no worries about hook pulls in fast water or breaking off on light tippets. It’s a really fun fishing rod to use, you do get a great fight off almost anything half decent due to the soft playing action. However the power is there when you really need it , I managed to land a cracking wild brownie of 3.5 lb in a really heavy flow without breaking into too much of a sweat!

Although it’s a nymphing rod I’ve also used it with a 3 weight line casting dries at long range on big flats.  It’s a very accurate caster for a 10’ footer and capable of producing some really sweet tight loops. When you are up to your armpits in the drink that extra length does really help, allowing me to keep the back cast high off the water and above the surrounding nettles.

What amazes me is the performance for the price. The ultimate river rod in my opinion was always the Sage SLT, a crisp, accurate casting rod which is light in the hand and performs with excellence. The Streamtec doesn’t have the hefty price tag of the SLT, but upon comparison in fishing situations there is hardly a difference other than it’s weight! The finish is great and well thought out, the matte non-flash blank and understated wood effect reel seat giving it a classy feel. The cork handle is also top notch for a rod in this price bracket… its only £109.99 !

This rod was so good I also invested in the 7’6 #3/4 model.  This has also been a real peach of a rod. It’s the perfect toy for tiny brooks and mountain streams, being really soft, but still extremely responsive.  It’s been fantastic fun tussling with 8 inch browns which do punch well above their weight on this little gem.

There are some competitor’s rods on the market for more than twice the price; in my eyes they are no better both in terms of finish and performance… all I can say is get one (or two!)  of these for much  less than the same money.  They are an essential purchase for the modern river angler, along with the new Super-Dri fly lines!

View the Airflo Streamtec Fly Rod range from Fishtec

Airflo 12ft Slow Intermediate Mini Tip

Back in the summer Robbie Winram reviewed the new series of Airflo Mini Tips fly lines, I said that there was one more to come to complete the range and here it is – the 12-foot slow intermediate.

Airflo 12ft Slow Intermediate Mini Tip

With seven different mini tips already available from Airflo, does this model offer anything different? Well for a start it has a 12-foot slow glass tip which is fused seamlessly to the main floating line and it sinks at half an inch per second. This coupled with the impact taper which has a relatively short front and long rear taper make for a great casting line at close, medium and long range.

The six-foot slow mini tip version is already a favourite of mine for the washing-line method but the 12-foot is great for anti-wake fishing in flat, calm conditions. The sink rate is so slow it gives the impression you are fishing sub-surface, however it is sinking all the time. But once under the water there is no disturbance at all, great for really spooky fish. Use it with a degreased co-polymer leader and you can slow it even more, keeping your flies in the taking zone for as long as possible.

Another technique it excels at is dibbling wets or damp dries through the surface when fishing loch-style drifting. No matter how wild the waves become the slow glass tip will track back perfectly towards the boar just anchored beneath the surface. So often a floater is pushed and blown all over the place, but not this line, its perfect for the job. What’s more the takes are a lot more positive as the line is anchored in the surface and the low stretch core take care of the rest.

Traditional loch-style short-lining in a good wave when the fish are up in the water is a whole lot of fun with this airflo fly line and whenever these conditions present themselves I know what I’ll be reaching for.

The fly line has an opaque olive tip and a sky blue running section and is available in WF6F, WF7F and WF8F.

Reviewed in Trout Fisherman Magazine Issue 440

 

Airflo Competitor Fly Box

With anglers all around the UK getting more and more into competition fly fishing there is what feels like, a need for hundreds of flies to see you through any fishing situation.  An anglers box is usually littered with blobs and boobies in tens of colours and slight variations. Nymphs and buzzers become plentyfull in all different kinds of weights and sizes. Dries are tied to exact specification with an added hint of glint or sparkle.

Question: Where do all these flies go?  Our answer: Airflo Competitor Fly Box

Airflo Competition Fly Box

Airflo Competitor Fly Box Full

By keeping all your flies in one place your fishing tackle box or bag will be kept organised and so will your flies. You often see anglers sifting through box after box looking for that perfect fly, by using the new airflo competitor fly box to store all your fly patterns, variations can be arranged and colours can be kept separate. We’ve all had the problem when you put a white fly next to a black fly and the marabou or fritz from the black runs, destroying all flies around it.

With a capacity of over 1000 flies, this four sided fly box will cater for anglers fly selections and the rubber seal will ensure the box stays fully water tight and the content remains in perfect condition. Large palm sized black clips lets the box be opened and shut easily in the coldest of weather.

Airflo competitor fly box

Empty view of the comp box

One of my favourite features is the colour, not only does it look stylish in white (very Gucci) but also the colour reflects heat. Reducing the heat the box takes in when left on the bank or on top of the fly fishing tackle box will ensure that the adhesive bond between the plastic and foam will remain in-tact. The problem with previous fly boxes from all manufactures was that most were produced in black, the black plastic would attract heat and the glue holding the foam to the box would often melt causing the foam to bend and flies to fall from the slots. Not any more!

Airflo fly boxes

Dimensions – 28 x 21 x 6.5cm

The Airflo Competitor fly box retails at a very reasonable £24.99. The box is very good value for money with its vast capacity and solid, water-resistant construction.

Check the box out here – Airflo competitor fly box

Airflo V-Lite – Anglers Review

Towards the end of 2011, my good friend Mike Green and I were contemplating where we would travel during 2012 for our annual destination trip, and without me listing half the contents of “Where to fly fish before you die”, it was agreed we would try the East Cape of Baja California Sur, to hopefully land a Roosterfish off the beach on a fly. I’ve always admired this majestic fish, it’s sleek lines and the distinctive dorsal comb, and a picture for the photo gallery would be great.

During the early part of 2012 I booked our guide, our accommodation and the flights to get us there. (It ended up being a two and a half day journey thanks to the greed of British Airways who had in fact over booked the flight, meaning we actually lost a full day of our trip)

Once you’ve got a trip booked, it’s amazing how quickly your attention turns to your gear. Even a very basic list from the guide confirming rod weights, fly lines and the obligatory “decent reel” makes you start to build an armoury in your mind. I own a couple of fly fishing reels with the now common sealed drag, so I was most interested to read that during the spring, Airflo were poised to release a new reel with their first fully sealed drag.

After an exchange of e-mails with my contact at Airflo I had purchased the new Airflo V-Lite reel and it was on its way.

As a bit of a self confessed tackle junkie, I’d already admired the prototype in burnt orange, having seen some great pictures of it alongside a wild brownie and the mere idea of this in a 12 weight in black and silver had me considering the backing I thought might suit it. As luck would have it, I had 250 yards of red 60lb gel spun which actually fell short on the spool of where I expected given the claimed 200 yards of 30lb dacron.

After picking the reel up for the first time you notice instantly that the reel is far lighter than anything else in the sealed drag class or indeed any other class for that matter. Its frame has a matt black finish with aluminium exposed silver spokes. Upon further inspection you notice the distinctive drag casing in a deep red colour which houses a smooth and positive drag. The overall width of the reel is moderately wider than conventional reels, but it needs to be as the claimed backing capacity I feel would fall slightly short of that required for a twelve weight line. The reel has a v groove spool as with the older Airlite model and on the first few revolutions of backing you wonder if the line is laying correctly. Even when the reel was full of backing and a wf11 intermediate line went on, I was still surprised how light the reel was.

For the first day’s fishing, and a chance to try out the V-Lite, I swapped over to a Di7 equivalent and we were encouraged to take a boat offshore to find one of the huge shoals of football sized Tuna. This worked for a number of reasons. I for one, had never caught a Tuna on the fly although I’ve long been assured they’re great fun on a fly rod, it was a golden opportunity to get into the backing on the V-Lite!!

We were told the run out to the Tuna ground was about 40 minutes. Let me set the scene for you. On the Baja peninsular, the most economical boat fishing is in a panga. This is a 24 foot centre console with a 150 Yamaha outboard. Its a fibre glass body with lots of movement and most of them look like they’re 30 years old. The ride isn’t comfortable and on this particular journey we were 12 hours away from a storm which turned into a twister the next day. After an hour we still hadn’t arrived and the rough ride left us with not a stitch of dry clothing on either of us, Mike and I looked at each each dripping wet and just shook our heads before the glum faces turned into two grown men giggling like little girls. By the time 90 minutes had passed we eventually found the tuna. They were smashing bait on the surface flying in all direction, leaping out of the water and generally creating a foam like surface on swells of dark blue water. The captain confirmed there was a mixture of yellow fin and skipjack. Mike and I selected some blue and white 5 inch deceiver patterns, cast our flies into the school and stripped like mad men. Before either of us had even reached the head of the fly line the line was torn out of our fingers and in the blink of an eye the V-Lite lit up as yard after yard of backing flew out of the rod tip at lightening speed. For those of you who’ve caught Tuna on the fly you’ll understand what I’m referring to, If you haven’t then imagine tying your line to anything moving away from you at 50 mph and this will give you an idea.

The V-Lite impressed me immediately. There was no start up inertia and the textured drag knob was very easily adjustable which proved important playing hard fighting fast moving Tuna. The reel felt smooth and balanced as the backing left the spool and the whizz of the drag gave a sound to assure confidence in it.

Once the Tuna had taken nearly 100 yards of backing I was ready to see how the V-Lite retrieved line. Again, the lightness of the reel meant I could crank the handle with speed and before I knew it the line was back onto the spool. After a short 7-8 minute fight, Mike was first to land his fish, a fit and impressive 12lb yellow fin. I took a minute or too longer claiming I had a good one on and as it came to the boat I was surprised to see it was smaller, about 8lb’s.The captain confirmed that pound for pound, the Skipjack is one of the hardest fighting fish, and that was what I’d landed. Mike and I went on to land another dozen or more Tuna and really gave the V-Lite a good workout.

The next day we dedicated our attention to the prize quarry we had travelled all the way to Baja for. The process is relatively simple. The Roosterfish patrol the water just behind the wash where they are waiting to ambush the baitfish that sit close to the shore. The Rooster fish fly into the shallow water at high speed, eat and then disappear, not very sporting really. Our requirement to get a shot at hooking one of these fish was to ride an ATV on the beach, spot the fish, jump off the bike, run ahead of the fish (which I’ve confirmed swims pretty quickly) and make a perfect cast infront of it and start stripping. Mike said you only have to have 3 things to catch a Roosterfish, 1. Eagle eyes, 2. To  be a terrific caster and 3. To be able to run as fast as Linford Christie.Sound easy? Yeah, you guessed it isn’t. After getting a few shots on day one we left the beach fishless vowing we’d be back the next day with renewed enthusiasm.

Mike spotted a fish early on during day 2 on the beach and after sprinting up the shore line, which is great for anyone who hasn’t sprinted since you were at school, he made a cast, stripped and hooked into his first Roosterfish. Again, the V-Lite had it’s drag tested, this time on land and a now more powerful fish to test the drag with greater pressure. Mike said straight away how good the reel felt under pressure. Mike doesn’t mess about playing fish and has been known to boat a tarpon over 150lbs in less than 20 minutes on a fly rod. After it’s first run, Mike had the fish close to the shore and was ready to bring it in on the next wave. He was keen to use the V-Lite for the rest of the trip, a testament to how good it felt, and how it played fish on the drag.

I have to be honest in my findings and say that the V-Lite isn’t perfect. Against some of my other 10/12 weight reels, the V-Lite has the smallest diameter. I did attempt to load a floating line on the reel and as I approached the end of the running line the line was starting to touch the frame. I would guess that if you wanted to use a floating line you may only get 150 yards of backing onto the reel which is perfectly adequate in the UK, but you need that much as a minimum just for bonefishing with an 8 weight. The other thing I noticed about the V-Lite is the quality of the anodized finish. It looks more like a light powder coating and after a day on the boat the reel had sustained a few scratches in only a couple of hours, something I dont have on reels 3-4 years old.That said, reels are there to be used so if you don’t mind a few scratches then it’s not a big problem.

In summary, and given the cost of the reel, which I have to add is less than half the price of the next sealed drag on the market, the V-Lite is indeed a great reel. It doesn’t have the finish of some of its competitors and it’s slightly smaller but if you wanted the perfect bonefish reel at a great price that will balance a 9 weight rod, then the V-Lite could be your perfect partner.

Features – 8

Value for Money – 10

Performance – 10

Build Quality – 9

Finish – 7

Functionality – 8

To view more information on the V-Lite take a look > Airflo V-lite  reel : From £99.99

Review and post written by Ryan O’Dwyer.

Fishing Reels with Added Bling

Airflo V-Lite reels from £99.99

NEW for 2012 Airflo’s top of the range V-lite reels that have just landed in the TF Office. There are four models, 3-4, 5-7, 7-9 and 10-12 and i decided to concentrate on the two most popular sizes with stillwater anglers, the 5-7 and 7-9.

These fishing reels are tooled from quality aerospace alloy and have been given a black anodised finish. The back of the reel cage has added silver highlights which creates quite an individual look. Both the reel cage and spool have been heavily ventilated to make them as light as possible (the spool on the 7-9weights just 52gr) while at the same time keeping their strength and integrity intact. This ventilation, especially on the spool, allows the line and backing to dry out quickly and with V-shape in the spool the line drops neatly to the centre of the reelm so you dont have to use your fingers to level wind it on.

The reels have been machined to very high tolerance and there is no movement between spool and reel cage. Spool release is by way of captive nut although if you pull hard enough it will come off, something to be aware of. Once the spool is off it reveals a totally sealed drag unit making the reel ideal for saltwater use as well, especially in the larger sizes. The drag itself is smooth and very effective and can be set in small increments via the drag knob on the back of the reel cage. If you are looking for a reel with the power to stop hard-running fish then this drag wont let you down. It can also be loosened off completely and will not overrun due to a click mechanism on the ‘line-out’ and ‘line-in’.

The 5/7 model will match up perfectly to a small stillwater outfit or for top of the water tactics on a reservoir, while the 7/9 would be ideal for reservoirs and larger, harder-fighting fish.

The reels do represent very good value for money, and are light and powerful with good line capacity. A bit of bling is your tackle bag without being too over the top!

The 3-4 model weights 159gr and costs £99.99, while the 10-12 reel weights 240gr and retails at £139.99.

Printed in the July 25 – August 21 issue 434 of Trout Fisherman Magazine.

Click here Airflo V-lite Fly Reel to view

Airflo Outlander gear bag review

This bag will keep your fishing tackle protected. Part of the Airflo Outlander Luggage range, it is made from a very hard-wearing synthetic fabric, which feels soft to the touch. This material has been backed with a waterproof PU nylon to make it water-resistant and the bottom of the bag features a durable and rubberised waterproof base that protects it and keeps the content dry.

The bag is simple and well thought out with one big compartment for the main storage. It comes with a set of removable dividers that are held in place with Velcro fasteners. This means you can quickly and easily customise the space to your own requirements. The top of the bag is wired so zips open in a perfect rectangle, giving easy access to the main compartment and the bag’s pale blue lining highlights the content.

the are a further either external pockets of various sizes with another two on the inside and the bag has two carry handles and an adjustable and detachable padded shoulder strap. Teh robust zips have pull tags and all other fittings are quick-release bayonet clips.

Measuring 16in x 11.5in x 11in this would make an ideal tackle bag for the roving angler, or even an overnight travel bag.

Click here to view the Airflo Outlander gear bag and its features

 

Outlander Fly Tying Kit Bag

If you’re honest with yourself, how much of the fly tying materials you own gets regular use? How many necks and capes have you purchased that rarely get looked at, let alone a hackle selected and actually used? How many spools of thread do you own that never even come near to a bobbin? You probably don’t even know which beads, shell backs and hooks you actually own!

It’s not about ‘needing’; it’s an uncontrollable force that compels you to want more. As most fly tiers know, the range of materials you accumulate just continues to increase. As a result, travelling with fly tying equipment can be a frustration. Whether tying at shows , club demonstrations, teaching fly dressing or just fly tying away from home, there usually comes a time where you just cannot find that specific pack of feathers or that particular skin. Having tried for years without, it seemed time that I invested in a bag designed for the purpose of carrying materials – and the ‘Outlander’ bag from fishing tackle supplier, Fishtec, has been a huge step forward.

 

This is a well designed and sturdy bag. Well made with stitched seams, you have every confidence in it keeping you kit safe. It’s pretty big too: 50cm x 40cm and with good depth. A clean, neat design, the bag looks good with its brown fabric exterior and tertiary coloured motif. With an external, zipped pocket, it certainly looks the part from the outside.

Open it up and you are presented with a range of storage wallets. I must confess that filling the bag was really quite therapeutic – like a spring clean and a chance to really question ‘when did I last use that?’. At either end of the bag there is an open space for materials with a fabric cover. I found this perfect with one end holding a range of capes, necks and game skins. I could easily fit a couple of dozen of these in this area. The flap then pulls over and everything is secured with an adjustable strap and buckle clip. The other end houses rabbit and squirrel skins and a range of dubbing boxes. The pull-over flap on one side is actually a breathable zipped bag. Ideal for bulkier boxes of hooks, UV torches and beads.

In the middle of the bag is a large, padded dividing board with 4 toughened plastic, zipped wallets on either side. Each bag can hold a good amount of materials. I chose to divide my materials up: for example specialist feathers, Coq de Leon, Shell backs, Synthetic strands, Wing post materials etc.  Usefully, this whole middle section is held in place by a tough Velcro strip – and therefore it can be lifted completely out of the bag.

A padded bag is also secure along the main bag’s Velcro spine and this is ideal for storing your fly tying vice safely. The range of pockets on the outer skin of this padded section is perfect for holding packs of hooks and magnetic hook boards. Each section of the whole bag seems to lie neatly upon the next.

There’s easily enough space to house a few spools of thread and your tools too. Longer feathers, such as ostrich, peacock and pheasant tails centres can fit in the bag. In fact, it holds a surprising amount of kit.

I travel a lot with my fly tying materials. Whilst this bag hasn’t yet been overseas with me, I have every confidence in its design. A tough and reliable design, I have no hesitation in recommending it. The fact that you get change from £50 make it a no brainer! Highly recommended.

Outlander Fly Tying Kit Bag – Click here to view

Review Written by Dave Wiltshire – http://davewiltshireflytying.blogspot.com