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Friday, 27 May 2016

Which Floatant For Dry Fly Fishing

A bewildering choice of fly floatants exists these days. In fairness, they all perform well though it’s important to select one for the job at hand. For example, large dries stripped through wave tops on a blustery day can quickly become swamped. Here, liquid and aerosol floatants readily cover the whole fly, providing all-round protection, so they float for longer. While this indiscriminate application might be considered useful for the above situation, trying to treat a specific part of a fly, like an emerger pattern, for example, calls for a very different type of floatant. Naturally, there are countless other scenarios too, which are discussed in more detail here, allowing those who are starting out to make an informed decision.

Very much like liquid floatants, aerosol sprays tend to be haphazard in their application. In many ways  they have a similar use, making them perfect where a fly needs a complete coating. Given this, you might well question whether to use a spray, or a liquid. Sprays are invaluable when you’re afloat, and the boat is bobbing around because trying to thread your fly into the narrow bottleneck of a liquid floatant can be challenging. Conversely, if you’re on an exposed shore in a raging gale, training a jet of spray onto your fly can seem impossible, making liquids your first choice.

Floatant Spray

Mucilin Dry Fly Spray
Dry Fly Powder Shakers & Revivers
Some might consider powders as their first defence when proofing dry flies before fishing. However, they’re far more valuable for reviving tired or sodden flies, especially the more delicate dressings like those comprising mainly of Cul de Canard for example.

Dry Fly Powder
While the shake-type canisters work exceptionally well, it's worth considering those that include a small brush as well, which can be used to probe deep into the base of a hackle or CdC wing to remove any residual moisture.
Apply with a brush

After landing a fish, your dry fly should be thoroughly rinsed with water to remove unwanted slime. Excessive water is then quickly removed with a false cast or two. Pop your fly in the bottle while being mindful to locate your leader in the tiny recess found at the bottleneck (above). This will prevent any kinking in your tippet once the lid is closed. A vigorous shake causes fine particles to dust the fly and absorb any remaining moisture. Often, your fly appears white when retrieved from the bottle, but there’s little need for concern here as false casting to lengthen line shrugs off any excess powder. CDC should be further revamped using the brush to agitate fibres (above image).

Gels generally come in slender tubes, with some form of nozzle, the most obvious being ‘Gehrke’s Gink’. Regardless of brand, generally, a tiny amount of gel is deposited onto your index finger. This is then massaged between thumb and finger to liquefy before anointing the required part of a fly. Rather surprisingly, when applying gel-based floatants the more frugal you are the better, as liberal amounts not only clog up materials, but an oily slick initially surrounds your fly after casting out.

How To Apply Gink
Low riding flies and emergers in particular benefit from gels as specific amounts can be applied to certain parts of a fly, a perfect example being something like a Klinkhammer when you want the body and thorax to become submerged. Naturally then, only the wingpost and hackle should be subjected to any treatment. One thing to be mindful of with gels is they readily melt on warmer days, turning instantly to liquid. If housed upside down on your vest or bag sometimes there’s a tendency for them to leak, which is not only wasteful but messy too. For that reason, it is recommended to store/carry with the nozzle uppermost.

Gehrke's Gink
The idea of liquid-based floatants is to dunk your fly in a bottle of the stuff, before shaking vigorously to ensure a complete coating. Any excess liquid is easily removed by a couple of false casts, which also dries the fly off. As mentioned earlier, in fairness, liquid floatants render the whole fly waterproof, which is all well and good where buoyancy is the order of the day. Such an application is handy when tripping bushy wets through wave tops on blustery days. They are also useful for the likes of Muddler patterns, or deer hair Sedges, especially where a fly that creates disturbance is required and needs to stay afloat for extended periods.
Dry Fly Silicone
Some liquids come with a convenient brush – the idea being that floatant can now be applied to only a certain part of a fly. However, being ultra fine in their consistency, liquids tend to bleed into the remainder of the fly, no matter how diligently you attempt to apply the said liquid. For this reason, try to refrain from using them on any flies that are designed to sit in the surface film, or partially below it.

Watershed is a liquid-based treatment that apparently offers permanent waterproofing to dry flies. Because a 24 hour drying period is recommended, it is best administered at the tying bench way before you’re thinking of heading out. If you prefer to buy commercially-tied dry flies then these should be treated with Watershed as a job lot on arrival. Once a fly becomes waterlogged, it’s a case of drying with Amadou and you’re back in business.

Grease Paste
Silicone Mucilin is perhaps the best-known grease that comes in a fairly solid form. One advantage here is a workable consistency during sweltering weather. Conversely, on raw spring days this silicone can appear like a block of refrigerated lard, making it nigh on impossible to administer. It then requires a fair bit of manipulation between finger and thumb to get the best from it.

Dry Fly Mucilin
Mucilin grease is excellent, especially when treating hackled dry flies, or those dressed using deer hair. Care needs to be taken to not apply in a lumpy form, which only glues fibres together, rendering them useless and often sinking your fly! Once a coating of paste or grease has been applied, using your finger and thumb, gently stroke the fibres in the opposite direction, against their natural resting position (above right). This causes individual fibres to flare out, while also parting any matted hair or hackles.

Mucilin Grease
Although not strictly a treatment as such, Amadou is a natural fungus that – if properly cured – has a soft, pliable and spongy character, not dissimilar to chamois leather. It is highly absorbent and therefore is desirable for removing moisture from sodden flies, especially those consisting of CdC. The main thing is to rinse any fish slime from your fly. Once done, a flick with the rod rids your fly of excessive water. Only now should you place the fly between two folds of Amadou. Take care not to overs queeze here and just be patient by allowing the fungus to blot away any remaining moisture.

It can’t be stressed enough the importance of taking good care of a quality Amadou patch, as once they become slightly damp (mainly due to inclement weather) they deteriorate extremely quickly to the point of becoming useless.

CdC (Cul de Canard) oil is best used to revitalise sodden CdC-type dry flies. The oil works surprisingly well, but only if applied correctly, which is where many budding dry fly anglers go wrong. CdC principally floats due to the feather’s structure when hundreds of tiny interlocking fibres help create miniature air pockets. It’s crucial then to keep CdC flies in tip-top condition, which involves periodically applying CdC Oil.

Veniard CDC Oil
The key is to use this substance sparingly, as too much liquid only serves to clog delicate fibres and compromise floatability. A film of oil smeared on your index finger is more than adequate. This should be stroked in delicately. Administered correctly there will be no matted fibres and the CdC wing should appear no different.

Understandably this treatment only lasts for so long, or until the fly becomes ‘slimed’, due to a hooked trout. In such circumstances thoroughly rinse the fly before drying with a combination of a few false casts and amadou. It’s vital that the fibres are totally moisture free, before you apply another film of CdC oil.
If you would like to know more about floatant and how to apply it correctly please don't hesitate to visit us instore at Glasgow Angling Centre or Edinburgh Angling Centre.  You can also call us on 0141 212 8880 where our friendly helpful staff will happily advise you.

This article was brought to you in association with Trout Fisherman Magazine.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Daiwa New Era SLR Salmon Fly Rods Deal

Embracing Bias Carbon Technology, the NewEra SLR Salmon rods from Daiwa can harness incredible casting energy and can deliver with remarkable precision and feel. The front end is highly responsive allowing the line to deliver loading into a progressive power zone, ultimately, allowing you to cast beautiful loops and with much greater ease and efficiency.

Further down the torque resistance and rigid wall construction of the Bias carbon is where the NewEra really begins to deliver, serving up a variety of important benefits; it ensures a higher power conversion and controlled unloading, it allows for positive line lift and propels each cast with remarkable accuracy. Accomplished design that truly does excel with versatility.

This truly exceptional range of Salmon Fly Rods are made in the UK and have a host of cool features including a unique Daiwa reel seat, strengthened Fuji SiC stripper guides, high grade cork handle, travel tube with compartments and original owner lifetime guarantee.

Now you can get your hands on the awesome casting power of a Daiwa NewEra Double Hand Fly Rod for less, but hurry while stocks last!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

How To Use A Wading Stick

When Salmon fishing, negotiating the current and maintaining your balance is crucial if you want to stay safe.  Using a wading stick will give you a 'third leg' and extra confidence and reassurance, however, learning how to use a wading staff safely, and understanding the advantages and disadvantages is a must.

In this article we outline some practical tips on choosing the right wading staff and offer some safety tips when moving in the water when using as stick.

For Sure Footing, Use A Wading Stick With A Heavy Base
Use a weighted stick at all times, either one where the base is wrapped in lead or one that has lead hidden in its core. This is because the stick can float in front of you when you cast and retrieve fly line. You will also have to untangle line from around the stick. Therefore, not only will an unweighted stick get in your way while fishing, you will also have difficulty getting it down to the riverbed quickly enough through a strong current if you find yourself in need of its support in a hurry.

B&H Flow Through Wading Staff

Thicker is Better Than Thin
Avoid a stick with a slender base because it may get wedged between rocks on the riverbed. If a slim multi-piece collapsible style of stick gets stuck, the worst case scenario is it can be pulled apart when you try to lift it off the bottom. Instead, use a stick with a wide base.

Wading Stick Handle And Cord

Choose One-Piece Wading Staffs
Ideally, use a stout one-piece stick that’s tough enough to withstand the harsh rocky terrain of Highland rivers.

Keeping It Out Of The Way
When you stop to cast, put the base of the (properly weighted) stick across the back of your legs. The current, plus its weight, will keep it there. Do not position the base of the stick in front of your legs because if you stumble there is every chance you will trip over it, making matters worse.

Keep It Out Of The Way
Fitting A Lanyard
Adjust the length of the lanyard so that when your arm is fully extended the handle is in your palm. This will allow you to extend the stick forward sufficiently to give you support when taking a step. If the lanyard is too long you will be unable to easily take hold of the handle. If the lanyard is too short you will not be able to extend the stick properly when taking a step or more, which could be important in an emergency.

Use a Lanyard
Snag And Release
Many lanyards are attached by a metal ring to a clip on the stick. This enables you to quickly release the stick with a sharp pull. Useful when on land, should you want to quickly unburden yourself of the stick, but it could also potentially save your life if you were to lose your footing in the river and the stick were to become jammed in rocks, tethering you in fast-flowing water. At which point releasing the lanyard would enable you to float free.

Quick Release

Hang It On The Outside
Do not wear the lanyard under your wading jacket as it will restrict your ability to reach forward with the stick when taking a step or if you stumble. The lanyard will not slip off the outside of your jacket if it has been properly adjusted.
Wading Staff Retractor

Choose The Right Length
A stick that reaches your breastbone is about the right length. This will allow you to comfortably extend it a suitable distance in front of you when taking each step.

Stick Reaches Breastbone
Make Sure The Stick Is Built To Last
Sticks are immersed in water and often stored in damp conditions where they can corrode and rot. Avoid a stick that does not have a lanyard made from rot-proof cord or fittings built from marine-grade stainless steel, bronze or brass, because over time it is likely to fail.

Thermowade Temperature Sensitive Wading Staff
Wading safely, using your common sense and evaluating the risks at all times will stand you in good stead when Salmon fishing.  Having the right staff will also go a long way in keeping you stable in the water.  As highlighted, knowing how to use it properly and considering the different types will increase your confidence as a Salmon Angler.

For more help and advice on choosing the right Wading Staff, you can visit us instore at Glasgow Angling Centre or Edinburgh Angling Centre.  You can also call us on 0141 212 8880.

This article was brought to you in association with Trout and Salmon Magazine.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Catching Pike on the Fly

Catching Pike on the Fly
Hooking a Pike on the fly is one of angling’s great moments: from the moment that you feel the first surge of power down the fly line to the final cartwheel jump, even smaller Pike will give you an adrenaline buzz that no other style of fishing can deliver. The attraction is the Pike’s speed and power, especially on the initial take, which often is a thunderous hit.

Catching Pike on the fly in the UK is very accessible given that you are never far from water that holds them. All they need is a healthy stock of smaller fish on which to prey and they are happy. Pike will take a fly all year round, but as is the case with most of fishing, you need the right conditions, strong knots and a few more accessories, but it’s not as technical as you may think.

Pike fly fishing essentials
The first thing you should do is research. Ask fellow anglers or friends who go piking where the best spots are. But if you are a bit stuck, or your pals are a bit tight, you can’t go far wrong looking for structure, bridges, inlets, areas where two rivers meet, slack water in bays, off points, reed beds etc, As they are all worth thorough investigation because they are excellent spots for Pike to ambush prey.

All though you have control over where you fish you have no control over the conditions. Water clarity is very important. You don’t want it too clear, especially if the skies are clear too because the Pike can spook easier. You don’t want water that’s too coloured either because Pike won’t see the fly, and all that enticing movement you’re putting into it will go to waste. Somewhere in between is ideal.

The beauty of Pike fishing is that you never know what you’re going to hook into – a 2lb ‘jack’ or a 20lb ‘big mama’. The element of surprise and anticipation fuels your angling spirit. So, make sure that you fish the fly right up to the edge of the water as Pike can appear suddenly from nowhere.
Vision Big Mama 2.0 Flyrod
When it comes to your rod, arm yourself with a 9’rod in either a #9 or #10 weight. Saltwater rods will do but Pike specific rods with a deeper action are a favourite for casting big flies. These powerful rods will also enable you to play the fish hard and get them in quickly for a safe release.
Redington Predator Fly Rod
Reels don’t need to be fancy with expensive drag mechanisms if they have a decent capacity to hold a #9 or #10 Pike fly line plus 50m of 30lb backing. Strong, short leaders of 4-5’ of 20-30lb mono or fluorocarbon are recommended attached to at least 12” of your chosen wire trace.

Rio Pike/Musky Leader Knottable Wire
Experienced Pike anglers recommend 20” of 49 strand knottable wire as it negates the need for swivels or clips which add unwanted weight to the leader.

Redington Behemoth Fly Reel
Investing in a purpose made Pike/Bigfly fly line is highly recommended. These have the right taper make up to make casting big flies much less of a chore. An intermediate is probably the line to begin with but there are other times where a floater or faster sinker will be required. A type 3 or 5 sinker is also useful if you are wanting to retrieve your flies on a deeper plane with a roly-poly retrieve – this can be deadly when the Pike are up for it.
At the risk of sounding too obvious, you cannot go fly fishing for Pike without flies, and the good news is that an increasing number of commercially tied patterns of excellent quality are now available. Dragon, Fulling Mill and Highland are just some of the commercial suppliers of good Pike flies.

Guidline Pike Line Intermediate
Pike fly patterns should have plenty of movement, flash and big eyes, the latter provides that all-important target point for the fish. The best flies have a good profile, like the classic ‘willow leaf’ or extended ‘teardrop’ shape when seen from both the side, above and below. Pike often look up when stalking their prey and flies will be seen, like baitfish, in silhouette – so the shape of the fly, when seen from below, is therefore paramount.
Fulling Mill Dougie's Baitfish Perch
A good Pike fly should trigger a Pike into striking and yet should be easy to cast. It should also look good in the water and have a natural, sinuous movement. A well-tied fly pattern will out fish any other type of artificial Pike lure, its only limitation being how far it can be cast.

Highland Copper Comet Tube
Colours are also important. Flashy, bright flies tend to catch aggressive Pike and are well worth a cast, especially in coloured water. Another thing to consider when fishing in coloured water is to incorporate little rattles into patterns to enhance them and attract the Pike’s attention. In clear water use a natural fly imitation with more subtle colours and tones as they are often more successful.

Fulling Mill UV Flashtail Whistler
Size is not as important as you might think. Small patterns have been known to catch very big fish. Movement however, is crucial in Pike flies so mink or rabbit patterns with a long tail are ideal. Also, try to incorporate a Straggle Fritz body because it pulsates.

Dragon Acrylic Head Pike Fly
Artificial patterns shed water so are lighter and aren't as heavy to cast but they might not have the same movement as fur. The movement of fur is more natural and subtle than any type of artificial Pike lure and it can be worked much, much more slowly without losing its action.

If Pike turn away from your pattern, try a different colour. It often results in a positive take.

Wiggle tails can add flash and vibration to a fly
Pike can be caught near the bottom, midwater in and around snags or weed beds and off the surface. A selection of Pike flies to cover these likely scenarios will suffice. Much of the battle with Pike fishing is finding the fish. Spend your time learning about the water and its features.

Pike will rocket up from the depth and hit your patterns with ferocious speed. When casting big flies, you must slow the cast down and allow the backcast to fully unfurl so that you feel the weight of the fly as the leader extends before making the forward cast.

When a Pike takes hold of your fly you must strike to set the hook because it can very easily let go again. Strip strike hard, and not with the rod. The flexibility in the rod won't allow the hook to set.

As you work the fly’s movement close in before lifting off to recast, be prepared for a super-fast lunge – Pike are built for powerful, short surges. The rest of the fight might be slow and deliberate, but you’ll know you’ve been in a scrap – that’s for sure.

Slow retrieves work well in the colder months and use quicker retrieves in the warmer ones. Vary the retrieve to impart movement on the fly and don’t be afraid to stop the fly, allowing it to sink.

Smaller fish can be unhooked in the water
It’s always worthwhile remembering, although they look fierce, Pike are actually a lot more delicate than you think. Be careful that you don’t let them flap about on hard ground or on the bottom of the boat if reservoir fishing.

A pair of forceps and unhooking mats are essential purchases as they not only keeps your fingers safe from the business end of the fish and keep the fish off the hard ground but having these items will speed up the unhooking process meaning less distress for the fish. When releasing Pike, make sure they can hold themselves upright before letting them go. When you feel the power return to the fish just let it swim off using your hands to gently cradle the fish in the water.

Support Pike when releasing
A general tip that goes for all types of fishing is stay safe! If you are venturing out on a boat or float-tube, please, wear a lifejacket and always let someone know where you’re going and what time to expect you back. Wear appropriate fishing clothing for the conditions. Think about keeping a small packable First Aid kit in your luggage – Pike teeth are sharp, and you WILL get a little raker rash at some point.

Investing in a pair of polarised sunglasses will also aid in your safety, keeping sharp hooks away from your eyes but you will also be able to stop the fish better. 
Pike will take a fly all year round, but you may have season restrictions on your local venue and it’s generally accepted that they’re better left alone when they are spawning in the Spring. Post spawn (late Spring/early Summer) is a good time as they are looking to pack on weight and regain condition after the exertions of breeding. Then you have late Autumn when they are feeding hard in preparation for the leaner cold months ahead. In the Winter, just layer up, go deep and slow with your flies and you should still get some rod wrenching action!

Fishing should be fun and catching big predators on the fly is exactly that.

If you would like anymore information regarding fly fishing for Pike please visit us in store at either the Glasgow Angling Centre or the Edinburgh Angling Centre. Or call us on 0141 212 8880 and our expert staff will be happy to help.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Fishingmegastore Fish of the Month Entry May 2016 - Teith Salmon!

Bill Aitken with a nice Salmon caught from the River Teith!
You can vote for this picture to win on Facebook by selecting it in our May 2016 FOTM gallery HERE and hitting the 'Like' button! Don't forget to share all your favourite entries to help them win too!

If you would like to enter our Fishingmegastore Fish of the Month Competition and have the chance to win £100 to spend at GAC, simply send us a photograph of you and your catch, when and where you caught your fish, and what tackle and method you used. You can also enter instore - just ask any member of staff for assistance. The best entries will be featured on both our Blog and Facebook page! 

Fishingmegastore Fish of the Month Entry May 2016 - Lomond Salmon!

John Bell caught this cracking Salmon from Loch Lomond, while trolling on a very blustery day!
You can vote for this picture to win on Facebook by selecting it in our May 2016 FOTM gallery HERE and hitting the 'Like' button! Don't forget to share all your favourite entries to help them win too!

If you would like to enter our Fishingmegastore Fish of the Month Competition and have the chance to win £100 to spend at GAC, simply send us a photograph of you and your catch, when and where you caught your fish, and what tackle and method you used. You can also enter instore - just ask any member of staff for assistance. The best entries will be featured on both our Blog and Facebook page! 

Fishingmegastore Fish of the Month Entry May 2016 - Scottish Perch!

Michal Wittstock caught this cracking Perch from a Scottish loch using a soft lure and ultralight rod, safely returned after a quick photo!
You can vote for this picture to win on Facebook by selecting it in our May 2016 FOTM gallery HERE and hitting the 'Like' button! Don't forget to share all your favourite entries to help them win too!

If you would like to enter our Fishingmegastore Fish of the Month Competition and have the chance to win £100 to spend at GAC, simply send us a photograph of you and your catch, when and where you caught your fish, and what tackle and method you used. You can also enter instore - just ask any member of staff for assistance. The best entries will be featured on both our Blog and Facebook page! 
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