Sunday, 29 August 2010


Recently RR on his blog, ‘The dry fly expert’ advised on the benefits of stealth and wearing clothes that would not spook the fish. ‘Jeep socks’ read this and immediately went out and bought the ideal motor to fit in with this philosophy. We decided to give it a try…

I was picked up by Jon.
Bone was already in the cab of the new ‘van’. I nearly sat on his knee as his camouflage was so effective.
What a motor! All the ‘MOD’ cons including Morris Marina heater, Morris 1000 window winders and quarter lights, Allegro door handles and a number six fag butt in the ash tray.

The Lion Tamers
It is no wonder I catch, I am the one who is the most difficult to see!

After chucking the gear in the back and forgetting my wellies in the excitement, stopping at our favourite newsagents for water, a few photos and  debarbing pliers from the ‘Tool Box’ in Werrington, we set off.

(The pliers are excellent value at £2. Go and see Paul at the branch in Leek).

The 'Deliverance' with its 3litre Perkins diesel, coupled to permanent 4 wheel drive roared its way through the clouds and rain up the hills towards Errwood Reservoir; our newly found gem just north of Buxton. I got our excellent value tickets from Woody at his wine shop yesterday.

Arriving at the reservoir the weather was nothing short of shite. Now I don’t normally swear on my blog but this was shite. A horizontal wind with lashings of rain and bloody cold to boot.

Being hard, turning up in the ‘Deliverance’, in full camo and coming from Stoke we went for it!

It was hard, very hard. In the 4 hours we were there, I, the lucky one was the only one to catch. I am King of the Reservoirs after all! I fluked one on a sunk daddy, lost a nice brown on a lure near the net and missed one on a Shipman’s. The casting wasn’t too difficult but it was so uncomfortable and cold. So three takes between us in four hours!

We retired to the pub.

We were joined by  Deano, he's on the Wye tomorrow!

On the way back, we had to turn right at Werrington. Guess who flashed us through?

Lord Rocher!!! He did not know it was us but I watched him laugh his head off as he suddenly recognised the mighty Lion Tamers in the cab!

A great laugh and a great day, apart from the fishing…

Jeep Socks ran me over on Bonehead's insistance because I was the only one with the skill to catch!

Bl..dy windy on Errwood

Monday, 23 August 2010


No not the river Sow but Stoke on Wye plus Trugg and a super day on the river Wye.
Keeping it short again.
We met up and filled the Peacock. Some had tea, some had coffee; we had a pint!
Discussed tactics, Trugg had already emptied the river with his morning session so things looked good.
We split up. Not a bad idea considering there were nine of us.
The Lion Tamers headed for the fisherman's car park and aren't we glad we did.
The river was low which surprised me given the rain we had had recently but today the weather was superb and within a few minutes Bone landed his first fish of the day, a nice little brownie that fell for a sedge.
I wandered upstream and managed a few grayling and rainbows plus a little brownie all to a sedge. I must admit going through my fly box to try and see what they were taking. It was definately not sedges but that was what won in the end. Some pools I got a take every cast, some none! Once again shed loads of missed takes but what fun. Sneaking around with your head down, tangled and caught in the undergrowth.
Saw a grass snake! Also kingfishers darting up and down. Bet they are on the second nesting.
Wandered back to Bone. He too had a great afternoon with some great sport on his home tied invention.  I can not describe it but when he showed it to me it looked as though it would do the business.

Jonny 'jeep socks' netting a nice, very nice grayling.

It's great to catch on your own flies and we don't buy shop bought anymore.
Jonny 'jeep socks' had done well too with the 'longes't fish of the day.
Went for some snapping and a pint in town and met up with the rest of the 'posse'.
The final part is the icing on the cake for me. Nine guys; catching and helping each other out.
Dean managed the best fish of the night. A brownie estimated at 5lb.
Anyway I have joined.
Is it worth it? Well you could do the maths based on the day ticket price but I don't look at it like that.
I cannot compare the Wye with other top rivers in this country as I have not fished them. But looking at the beats of the Test and Itchen at £300 for a day, targeting stockies...well no contest really.

Sod the jeep socks... that's a pretty good grayling

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Somewhere over the rainbows

Completely un-retouched. As Brian and me were walking back to the car we saw the biggest rainbow of the day. Is that guy standing next to a pot of gold?

Anyway a short blog for once. Woody got in touch as he wanted to try his newly purchased Dawson's olives in a posh box from Farlows. Check his blog. The venue was Errwood Reservior...Brian was coming too.
From our chat it was plainly obvious that Woody was on a mission. Just as Glen Pointon targets an individual fish and won't rest until he catches it, Woody had targetted a shoal. So we had to go.
Met Brian for the first time at Woody's shop to purchase tickets. Brian produced a foam block full of the most exquisitely tied flies and gave them to Woody. I had a really close look. What a tyer! What an inspiration for me. "Got to do better!" I told myself.
After a half hour drive through the usual low cloud base, we discussed all things trouty while tackling up.
I decided on a big daddy as that is what worked well last time. We could see a few rises, even though the car park was 200 yards from the waters edge. Brian agreed and followed suit. Woody tied on the Dawson's!
Within minutes I had a take. Missed! Then an almighty take. Missed. Checked my fly but the hook looked ok.
Then landed one, then another, missed a load, got broke off, three came off. 
 "As soon as I saw you, I thought you had a lucky face," Brian commented. If only he knew me better!
I then had another before Brian, after missing a fair few himself, hooked into one that gave him a right run around.
It went dead. We noticed some fish supping and some small empty buzzer cases so I put on a Shipmans and 1st cast it was hit like a train. I thought I had cracked it. Indeed, I had another come off on the next cast. Brian then hooked into another and almost immediately I was in again. We were both playing fish side by side. It was like Trugg, Dave and me the other week on the Wye. Dave (Woody) was by this time spitting feathers and threatening to go to the Wye that minute. Woody had changed to the daddy a while back and was fishing exactly the same but had not had a take. This happens on a still water. Bonehead and me know this feeling so well; The guy fishing next to you or in the same boat gets all the action while you scratch your head in disbelief.
I gave him a Shipman's to put on a dropper and wham! He landed a  nice fish that took his daddy! So much for my advice!

Dave packed up and left Brian and me to try different tactics until after about another hour, and with no further joy, we too went home. Interestingly we tried buzzers under a yellow indicator and both had our indicators walloped! What's all that about?
We all caught but it was clear to a man that our first love is the rivers.
One recommendation: Use a line tray if you've got one. It is rather gritty/muddy when the reservior is as low as this. It is millstone grit and will knacker everything it gets into. Sealed bearing reels only.

A great few hours fishing. It is super value. Roll on Sunday. Stoke-on-Wye! (plus Trugg).

Fishing on the moon!

 Notice we have all taken a leaf out of Bone's book and brought seats with us. Check out the old dry stone wall in front of Brian! That's Woody in the background on the hemp and casters

Friday, 13 August 2010

Mayfield and the Manifold

Bone managed to get a day off. We decided we would have a couple of hours on the Dove. Checked  in and looked at the result Trugg's exploits the previous evening. WOW!
It was not the best of weather and we had a good soaking. Bone was winding me up again about my fear of wading and angry bulls. He is supposed to be my mate. "He's looking at you!" he kept saying.
Nothing much rising but I was up to my usual trick of late, by missing takes which were hard to come by. Went through my fly box as there was one particular fish that was rising occasionally but did not want to know. I spent far too much time on this fish. I now have a score to settle with him.
I did manage a very nice grayling and better still up to my nuts in water! I'm getting there!

We nipped up to Hulme End, only because I wanted to try out my new 6' rod.
After a quick pint in the Manifold Inn we wandered down to the river only to be confronted with a red coloured mess. The rain had soon got to this piece of water. My dark side said to me, "you need worms."
Not expecting to catch anything in the conditions, I said to Bone, "I'll just have a couple of casts to try out my baby rod." I put on a #14 ltd so it would be visible and to my total disbelief it was nailed by a tidy grayling first cast!
Second cast I hooked a nice trout which soon came off and then had this little baby. Oh well, baby rod, baby fish!

Size 14  ltd

Bone had a baby trout on his grown up rod.
We'd had enough by this point but did enjoy ourselves.
Things look good for the Manifold with the juveniles showing.

Thursday, 12 August 2010


Appart from being hassled by some angry cattle. We had a great day! Never trust a mother with child! They've got massive horns and the field is also full of adders dangerous spiders and nettles

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Commo's Highland Dram

Woody got in touch earlier in the week asking if I fancied a day out on Errwood reservoir which is in the upper Goyt valley just outside Buxton. I couldn’t make the Wye on Thursday because of the dreaded dentists. So we arranged to meet up today to try the place out.

It is £15 for the day and you are allowed to take 3 fish inclusive of the price. You can practise catch and release when you like but if you kill three fish you have to stop fishing. This seems excellent value when compared to many other stillwaters. Tickets are available from Woody’s wine shop in Leek. A fine selection of top quality wines, and all sorts of whisky are offered at this fine establishment. He also has a bogof on white lightning at the moment if you are quick!

I had tied up some Ltd sedges for Woody as his stocks were seriously depleted and he fancied giving them a go on the reservoir. I was also looking forward to the bottle of rare vatted malt scotch he had ready for me in appreciation for the Avatar and the sedges.

We met up at his shop. Bone and I had arrived in style. His escort van was so full of grout and tile cement, I was wondering how it would cope with the hills we were about to traverse.

I think Woody realised this and offered to take us in his van but we weren’t sure as to what time we would be leaving so didn’t want to restrict Woody to our timetable.

We did eventually manage to get there. I was shouting encouragement to the over worked escort diesel as it screamed up the hill towards the Winking Man in second gear. Bone wanted to take a run at it  but with Sunday drivers in front we had to go all the way up at 10mph. I think Woody, following behind must have wondered what was going on when Bone held back to accelarate down hill before hitting the climb to Ramshaw Rocks as to gain as much momentem as possible.

We tackled up, Dave presented me with my own personalised whisky, complete with glass, I presented him with the Ltds and we discussed tactics.

It does not get better than this! My very own personalised whisky.
Commo's Highland Dram. Number 1 of 1. Top Bloke.

To be honest we didn’t really have a clue. When you fish somewhere for the first time you usually have to experiment. So sensibly we went for different options. The weather was overcast with only a slight breeze. The reservoir was low.

I decided on a nymph underneath a suspender.

Bone went straight for the suspender only.

Dave (Woody) went for a team of three wets.

As we left the brothel we decided to fish.


We wandered down the ‘bank’; I say ‘bank’ because it would normally be the reservoir bed. It got very muddy at the water’s edge and wellies are a must. We soon understood why wading was not allowed. No not your usual H+S but the drop offs are bloody lethal. It can drop 80' in one step. A very sensible rule by the club. The water was clear with a moorland peaty tinge.

After about an hour of no action, the odd rise here and there, Dave and me witnessed a fish take a feather way out in the middle of the lake. I said that I thought a big terrestrial might tempt one, so on went a daddy.

I nailed one only a few minutes later. Yes! No blank for me today.

I lost another shortly later and missed a few. Top tactics, I thought.

Woody showing off his long rod while cursing my flies.

It went dead. I thought they might be circling so after a change to a suspender with no success I tied on a big black daddy. Even a Stevie Wonder rainbow would see this! This was snaffled and I landed another. Dave then landed his first on a cdc and then consulted ‘the oracle’ (Glen by phone) and was told to try an F fly. He had a take almost immediately but missed it.

One of the club committee lads joined us for a chat as I was just into my third. I put it back as I wanted to fish on for a while. Bone said, ‘you would have knocked that if the bailiff wasn’t looking.’ I’ll get him back.

Dave was taking advice off the committee bloke and put on a horrible looking lure he had cadged off him. Can you believe it?

He even borrowed a rod off me to punch it out, and 16 foot of my fluorocarbon for his leader. (Ha Ha). Has this man got any of his own tackle! He even moaned at me that the leader would not sink, the rod was not suited to his line and that my flies were crap. He even used my mud even though he only had to look down!

Well something must have worked because his lure got hit and he soon had a nice rainbow in the net. I was so impressed with his skill at catching a trout on a pike lure.

Woody 'selling out' and stripping lures. Can he really be trusted on The Hadden Estate?

We wanted Bone to catch. For some reason, and it is down to luck on a place like this, Bone hadn’t had a take. On went one of my suspenders, in black. In the sludge it took me ages to get them off! I don’t know why he chose this but after missing a beauty he soon broke his duck and hooked his first of these hard fighting fish, which I landed for him.

The evidence of many a 'Commo Shuffle'

It was nearly time to go home and although I had caught three, I had put one back and so needed another to complete my limit. A take missed while shouting abuse at Woody for using lures and how I was proud to have taken mine off the top, cheesed me off... A couple of minutes later I didn’t miss and I had to stop fishing. My three in an identical Morrison’s bag as Woody’s.

Bone borrowed my rod as it still had the deadly Commo daddy attached and he proceeded to land two in the next half hour. I had to sit and watch.

Bone casually playing a rainbow. "Don't bother getting up, Bone. I'll land it."

 We eventually called it a day with the freezer awaiting our catches.

We had the usual pee take and other great banter.


If you want to fish a Stillwater in superb scenery, with the chance of a really good fish, they run to high double figures, at a very fair price, get on up there!

Thanks Woody and Bone for a great day.
River for us next time though!

Where's your keepnet? Bonehead!

PS Have gutted my fish. Nothing in one, a cased caddis in another and  crushed kitchen foil in the other. That one would have never have digested that, surely?
So much for 'matching the hatch'.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Wolfscote dale and root canal

Bone had switched his day off so Friday it was. We decided to return to Wolfscote dale as this was our first ever river venue and the day I decided we were wasting our time until I sought advice.

I have had a bit of experience since then. Fishing days with John Tyzack, Glen Pointon, Mick Martin, John Colemans, Dave Wood and a couple of chats with Richard Ward have all helped me understand how to catch fish.

I have to say I was not at all looking forward to the day ahead. Yesterday I had root canal treatment without anaesthetic as the dentist said the tooth was dead. Luckily she was right but I have never experienced 15minutes of hard core drilling without hitting the ceiling.

Today I was in agony. If I had known the pain to come I think I would have gone for the extraction option.

I was feeling miserable, it was raining, I was dreading the bill for repairs to my son’s car (in the garage for 3 weeks) and can honestly say if Bone had called it off I would have been most grateful!

Anyway, bang on 9 I could here the sweet roar of Bone’s none turbo escort van complete with 1 air bag but plenty of discarded fag packets to cushion a blow coming down my street. No diesel in Bone’s so we went in mine.

We popped into the newsagents to pick up Bone’s trout magazine.

I glanced at a page full of crazy flies and told Bone what I thought of them.

Bone sensed my mood wasn’t too good and we drove towards Hartington in a strange silence.

We tackled up in the drizzle without the usual buzz even though we new we’d have the whole stretch to ourselves due to the weather. We hung our fobs in the checking station and had a look at the previous anglers’ returns. Ones and twos but reports of a 1 1/4lb grayling a few days ago.

Bone selected a pool and missed a couple of takes almost immediately.

I began to cast half heartedly towards a likely look in spot and I perked up as my new rod and reel felt really good. I have already blogged the Flextec and even I can feel the quality.

I soon missed a rise, lost one and decided to wander down to the lower limit. A gale was blowing up the gorge which further irritated my tooth. I had a chat with a professional photographer on a landscape shoot who turned out to be a keen fly fisher himself. I was just hoping he wasn’t watching me but as I walked upstream, having a cast here and there, checking for folk on my back cast he was always in view complete with tripod, camera pointing in my direction!
I spotted the first natural rise I had seen all morning. Looking at the aspect of various trees and plants I decided I could just about manage the cast. I was pleased with my false casting and judging the range and distance let it go. A gust of wind caught it and my fly landed about 10 foot behind where I had seen the rise. Splash! A daft trout took me sedge. So I hadn’t blanked after all.

A lovely little browny complete with LTD

I wandered up to Bone who had also nabbed one. We sat watching a few rises on a pool and I managed a small grayling. Watched Bone miss a couple too.

Interestingly, I had three takes to a foam beetle which I failed to hook. I figured the wind would have blown all sorts into the river and in the absence of a hatch I thought it worth a go.

Although I didn’t catch many, I now think a lot more about my fishing and how to approach different pools. I would say the conditions were very difficult today. A low and clear river, no real insect life, few rises and a blustery upstream wind to contend with made the fishing a challenge and without my new found confidence I know I would have had a blank.

We decided to call it a day and called in the Manifold Inn for a pint of excellent Titanic bitter.

My tooth felt much better.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Lion Tamer's real history

Thought it was time I came clean. Have you really got half an hour to spare?

My story begins back in 1999. The crossroads of my life.
Bankrupt, although no fault of my own, I had split with my wives, a mistress and several girlfriends. I also had two wonderful children who, I finally thought, deserved so much more.
Penniless, I decided there must be more to this pathetic existence.
Wandering through Leek in Staffordshire, visiting the local wine shop for a hopeful tasting (no joy there then) I called in to one of the Town's fine charity shops and found an epic publication by Rapala Napala: ‘The Threads of Fortune’.
In it, ‘Napala’, who was apparently a ‘Zhou Zinga High Priest’, explains that life is all about balance.
Balance was something I didn’t do.
Even when walking over flat ground I would fall over very easily; although fit, I was as physically stable as Bambi on Ice
But... I was enthralled with his teachings.
Not only had he explained in a logical way the traditional beliefs of the Chinese ‘Yin and Yang’ philosophy of life and food but also how this could be adapted to all faiths and creels.

I decided that I must learn more.

I joined a local thought club; ‘The Thinkers’ who met up once a week at the local WMCA. However, after being forced to chew nutmeg I ended up with many ailments and sore areas.  I became very disillusioned with this group as I think they had an alternative agenda that I was not 100% happy with.
So, bag packed, no GPS, no map, no idea of the language difficulties I might face, I cashed in my ‘air miles’ and booked a one way ticket to the home of the  'Zinga’ people of Dingi, North of Katmandu..

I did not intend to stay long but after all, where better a place to start my adventure? This was where ‘Napala’ had recently opened a balti style restaurant, financed by the royalties from his latest book; ‘The wonders of curry’. I thought this to be the ideal starting point on my quest for eternal happiness.

I never did meet Rapala Napala but did enjoy the local hospitality, as one would expect from a tribe of courteous Tibetan nomads.I was not sure they liked me at first. Indeed, I would often awake  from a sublime, green tea and other substances induced sleep only to find a note informing me that the restaurant had moved 30 kilometres through the unforgiving and forboding  tundra over night.

Eventually accepted by the elders, I spent the next two years in their friendly company, learning the language, hunting, fishing, riding, martial arts (pink belt) and generally becoming comfortable with their ‘ways’.
It was interesting that they used a strange device to make tea. A kerri kettle they called it, and they only used wringta tea bags.

The time came when I was expected to take a wife. Now this might sound fairly simple to a westerner but no man can take a wife in the Tibetan tradition without the means to support her and the potential family; I had to learn a trade.
I spotted a sign. 'Fry tyers wranted! Only the best wranked in the world appry'

Well although not suitably qualified, I could knock up a half decent straggle nymph so decided to apply.

'Ca U Ty LTD sedge? was all I heard, as I was continually whipped with 7'6 bamboo#4
Not having a clue what this meant, I left, leaving my unfinished tups indispensible variant, later copied by some clever bloke from Bakewell. At least the local goats were happy.

I looked further afield. This was going to be tough. I did a stint on the old drums but aparently I sent out filthy messages while doing a paradiddle.

I was not a very good horseman either; neither could I cook the exquisite, fragrant dishes of the area. I needed something else.

The ‘Zhou Zing’ are masters of Medicinal Art. For hundreds of years, indeed since the Ch’in  u  Dynasty, they have carved beautifully crafted artifacts in jade, bronze, ivory and lacquered wood to promote wellbeing and bodily harmony.

Being a fairly competent artist myself, I decided this was the area I was most capable of mastering.

To begin with I was taught to grade raw materials as to their suitability for carving.

This was an incredibly complex grounding to my further development. One soon begins to appreciate the grain structure of not only the finest jade but also various stones and pebbles tortuously gathered from the foothills of the magnificent Himalayas.
It was here I first met 'Bonehead', a relic of the 70's Roots rock reggae craze. He was just  tiling the floor of a  mountaineering tent at base camp 3. After grouting, and while listening to some crackly am station on his recently found wind up radio, he showed me how to tickle minnows out of the clear, bubbling, icy cool streams that flowed from the mountains above. Eventually, and after promising to meet up back in the UK, I bid him a fond farewell  after having two fingers amputated due to frost bite.

However to his credit, Bonehead did point out that it is the alignment of the grain, colour, shade and shape that influences the suitability of not only beauty but also the therapeutic value of these basic rare earth minerals. Yeah, I thought!

Another two years passed, many, many skills were learned and eventually I was allowed to whittle away on off cuts until finally I was given a place on the ‘MASTER BENCH’, an honour indeed. At break my female Tibetan partner and I would often pop a vice on to the bench when no one was looking and try and break the 'Law' and do a couple of double badgers there and then. We never broke the Law but suitably impressed I have since bought the cheaper Snowbee version. (sorry, this is a fly tyers attempt at a joke)

Life seemed good and satisfying. Could it get any better? Maybe a stroke of luck? Would I be allowed the pick of the Shaman's daughters?

One day, while excavating a new vein of ‘Fujian Agate’ from behind on the outskirts of Kuntung, my pick became stuck between two layers of the dark coloured igneous schist I was exploring. I could not understand it; was my pick wedged or trapped? No! It was in fact held fast by an incredible magnetic force emanating from the vast, then unknown strata I had struck.
It soon became apparent as to the good fortune I had brought to the village.

My primitive pick had hit pure ‘Hematite’or Heamatite (up to you ), a variety of iron ore, so magnetic; it has  the capability of changing the molecular structure of cobalt! I think I read that somewhere in the Observer's book of Cobalt.

The mother lode was so huge and perfectly aligned; I knew we had the basis of a range of products that could benefit mankind for the foreseeable future.Would I be able to import to the UK avoiding VAT? Only one man knew the answer. He knows who he is. Even with the threat of death I would never name him. He does however, have a tree named after him in Bakewell; 'The Sedge Tree', because of the amount of flies he plants there on his back cast.

My Tibetan hosts awarded me the title: ‘Ching Yuo’ (the man of change and fortune) and I was now a fully fledged ‘Shaman High Priest’, my qualification inscribed on tortoise shell and blessed for eternity by the monks of Loyang.

My new stature also gave me the power to influence the positive benefits of any jewellery constructed from heamatite, by act of willing and prayer.

The rest is history.

Here is the sales talk. Go away now if you want to save your hard earned cash!

So welcome traveller, your path has led you to my online refuge and my fabled magnetic jewellery; I am the glorious Mystic Tony. Here you will find many treasures of mother earth and the ancient powers they hold within.

Myths and legends help us make sense of the world. My jewellery designs harness the teachings of mystical myths and legends passed down by monks, druids and shamans through the ages.

My premium stainless steel range contains only the strongest, tested neodymium magnets in every link, as used by renowned therapists throughout the world. By utilizing the natural energy of magnetism, jewellery with unique geometric arrangements and designs can have scientifically proven healing properties.

The gemstones and representations I use in my jewellery are not only spectacular fashion pieces but they are Talismans that draw mythical energy from legends and mysticism to energize your desires and elevate your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.

Please feel free to explore my jewellery and let healing, guidance and beauty energize your soul and bring you to life!

Sorry, website down at the moment but...

Listen...I've got a shed load left at 20p each. Will do 6 for a quid. Make great stocking fillers come Xmas RRP £16.99 each!

Monday, 2 August 2010

A bargain reel


The new Flextec Aerotec (couldn’t be anything else could it) 3/4 #

Got one, only because it looked nicer than the excellent larger Caimores that are very similar and not available.

Now I can start to speak from experience. With a modern rod you can not really look into the engineering. Sure, you can look at the quality of the fittings, spec etc. But you have to take it out for a test drive or two. A reel is a bit different.

In coarse fishing, I used most modern reels. The Shimanos were without a doubt the best and I foolishly sold them in favour for some high tec reels that had obviously never been field tested but had nine million bearings in them and gold plated bail arms. The worst design but the best engineered and looking reels I have ever owned. Make this a lesson folks.

Now I’m going to make a very controversial comment about fly reels. In all the years I have been fishing I have only had two fixed spool reels break. One was an Intrepid and the other was an original Cardinal 66. But they were relatively complex compared to a fly reel which is based on a simple centre pin after all. Surely fly reels can’t let you down.

Well! Either stick to cheap sub £20 models that will never let you down or be very careful.

In the last year I have had so much trouble with top aluminium jobs, not one but two that I have finally got rid. Daft faults to do with the reel removal mechanism. But lost me fish on the reservoirs all the same.

About 8 months ago I bought two Caimore aluminium reels to replace the rubbishy expensive ones. I have to say they are faultless. I then bought a small version, once again; faultless.

I also had problems with a medium priced reel from a well known manufacturer. No it did not go wrong but once again poor design let it down. Line trap this time.
I was with someone recently who was using a faulty top of the range reel and the clutch had gone. Fancy that, you have worn out the clutch on a reel! Oh bliss!  Sadly, this again was a manufacturing error.

So, I needed a new reel as a backup to my 3/4Caimore. Actually not a back up. I had 4# line on the Caimore and had just had my little 6 footer off Steve Parton for the Manifold that I needed a 3 weight for. I had no intention of using the line trap model anymore.
I was going to buy another Caimore or spare spool but my model had been discontinued.
I then came across the Flextec Aerotec which seemed to have the same spec but with spare spool.
Bought it off EBay for £51 including postage. Very twee, very well made just like the Caimore but smaller. Great clutch if you use one, and I do! Showed it to an engineer friend who was amazed at the quality. Had to use mono for backing as this is a little reel but what the heck.

On went a 4# on one spool and a3# on the other. Clutch had a great work out at Bakewell and it is quiet too.

Brilliant reel for the price.

A review

I'm far from qualified to do a tackle review but I think I am totally within my rights to publish my thoughts on products I have purchased and used.

So here goes: The Flextec Streamtec 9ft #4, four piece rod rated at fast/medium.

I was told to buy a nine foot rod by my new found friends. I have a Steve Parton 8ft 6 which I have been using everywhere. It casts ok, it is well made and is built on British carbon in England.

I needed a back up, so a 9 foot it was.
The rod I was recommended to buy was a Grey’s streamflex but this was well out of my price range. So I had a look around.

The Airflo streamtec and Flextec streamtec caught my eye. Both 4 piece, like the Grey’s.

Now the Airflo sells for a realistic £100. The only trouble with that is that in 12 months you know it will be about £70 when they sell it off, as the ‘new’ model has arrived. Just like football tops I suppose. But definitely one to consider as it had a ‘best in test’ in a leading magazine they advertise a lot in…mmm.

The Flextec is imported by Tacklediscounts, a company I had used in the past with total satisfaction. But I had never bought a rod or even a reel off them.

The problem these guys have is that they eBay the rods and reels at a greatly reduced RRP. This instantly gets you suspicious. RRP means nothing. On the other hand the RRP was the same as the price for a Grey’s and I suppose it has to be; to make it look the equal. Also, if you buy one at a much reduced price on eBay you can brag to certain gullible mates how you saved so much money. So maybe their strategy worked on me. You also get a lifetime guarantee which is worthless really at these prices. But fair do’s others do the same. Might as well buy another when it is out of its normal guarantee.

I was also impressed with the eBay feedback and also the spec of the rod including its low weight. I was not looking forward to holographic logos however.

I worked the net and found conflicting reports including someone who said the rods were made in the same factory as a very famous make. I suppose most of them are these days. Like makes of beans really. You wouldn’t move for bean factories if they were all processed in different places! So after weighing it up I thought I’d get one.

Buying is a piece of cake if you are canny with eBay. Decide what you are willing to pay, look at what previous folk have bought them for, put in your bid and wait. With a re-occurring product, you’ll get one eventually. And I did.

So for £69 including postage I was the proud owner of a bag of you know what or a genuine bargain.

Next day delivery saw me opening my parcel. It was like Xmas. Only the shape gave away the clue to what might be inside.

The rod tube blew me away with its quality. At least £25 worth. Now that’s called first impressions. On the downside, I thought that I had now bought a £45 rod. Take the VAT, carriage and profit off, I then thought I may have bought a £20 rod. Oh bugger! But it looked good, very good.

I took it yesterday to the Wye and I have to say I was knocked out! It suits me perfectly. I used a new Flextec reel and a line I had knocking about but never used before.

The Flextec Streamtec seems rather marvellous value to me. It is less than 3oz, it did not snap, felt great to cast with and had a feel at the top end, can’t describe it, which helped to put my flies down very gently. It is beautifully finished (no holographics on this model) and it also subdued some really nice fish which is surely the proof in the Bakewell pudding. The large rainbow in my previous post (estimated at 5/6lb) was caught with a length of stroft 0.14 leader (gut) which I had forgot to upgrade for the town stretch, so that says something

The new rod had a very testing first outing. If I had paid £200 and it had a top brand on it I would have been more than pleased.

Biggest problem is that this is not now destined to be my back up rod. But on the plus side the hand built Steve Parton job deserves a rest.

Where’s me cheque. Tackle Discounts?

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Wye Wye Wye delightful

My third visit to the Wye.
Jon picked  Bone and me up and off we set, full of expectation, excitement and anticipation of the day ahead. I also wanted to find out if my new Flextec 9' #4 streamtec (back up rod) was a rip off at £61.50  (ebay) or real value for money. (a review to follow).
We arrived at the Peacock just after 12:00 and instead of the customary cup of tea, Bone persuaded us to partake in the Carling. I don't normally do this prior to fishing but what the heck, it might make the casting sweeter. Glen was going to join us later in the day.
We began on the lower stretch, which was running a little low and gin clear. We sorted flies and decided on the sexy sedge patterns I had tied up in the week. There were a couple of rises in the pool I was fishing but nothing doing on the sedge. A change to a Griffiths... and immediately had a small grayling.
 Jon also had a grayling and a chat with a nice gentleman who also informed Jon that the fish could see his gut. Jon took the advice and is now on a diet. A couple of rainbows later we decide to move north above Bakewell.
We had the shock of our lives when we parked up. The river was up; well up, running fast and chocolate brown with alll sorts floating down. I was really confused! Had we taken the wrong turning? Had we gone through a time warp and ended up on the River Churnet 30 years ago? No! There could be only one reason for this and I thought:  "Must have been a heavy storm up Buxton way and wow! It must have been a right deluge". Boscastle sprung to mind.
I rang Glen, he rang Jan,
Jon, Bone and me walked downstream. The river was totally unfishable.
We then decided to drive in to town and grab a bite to eat and maybe call it a day, we were so dissapointed , to say the least.
However, we cheered up a bit as the town stretch looked as though it could be fishable later, maybe when the crowds had gone. We had delicious fish and chips and watched the trout being fed by the tourists and these fish did not look remotely bothered by the extra flow and colour. This is a very slow stretch and would be less effected anyway, except maybe for fly life.
We could not fish at this point in time as there were too many people about and the rest of the river was a bit of a torrent. So we went for a pint

Bone and Jon enjoying a 'Farmers Blond'. We couldn't think of a better way to wait for the river to fine down.

I then got a call from Jan to say that a guy with a lake upstream had decided to release some water. Obviously this was not the fault of the Haddon Estate but Jan still offered us a free days fishing in compensation. He also said that the flow in the river would drop and it could  be very fishable later on in the evening and we could stay. This, in my opinion is top notch customer service!
So we made our pints last!
As the tourists began to melt away we got tackled up.

Glen joined us, Richard Ward popped by for a chat and both Jan and Warren paid us a visit.

How glad we were that we stayed! Jan was spot on! Electric fishing once again. I even got a round of applause from a few onlookers after landing a huge rainbow that gave a super account of itself.
We had many, many good fish!

A rather large Wild River Rainbow on my own sedge.  CommOOO! and the 'cheap' Flextec worked perfectly.

Please take a large net with a decent handle if you fish here. Forget the river scoop, just not suitable. Make sure the fish recover before they finally go. I am also buying an unhooking mat.

What a day! Again, super fishing, great company and being looked after so well was a real bonus!