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This page is for reviewing fly fishing related products. They have either been bought by myself or given to me to try. I have no affiliation with any of the companies and hope to give an honest and informative review of some products.

27 Jul 2017 Troutline Tactical Perdigon Nymphing Fly Line with Colored Tip


Troutline.roRRP 32.99 (Euros) £29.46

Last year I reviewed the Rio Euro Nymph fly line and my conclusion was although I liked the line I did not think it would replace my current system of a French leader. The price tag of £49.99 was not exactly winning me over either. Micro thin fly lines have been around for some time now and a few of my pals refer to them as the Emperors’ new clothes.  Preferring the much cheaper option of a French leader.  The change in FIPS Mouche rules effectively scuppering the use of French leaders over twice the length of your rod. Many competition anglers have turned their attention to these types of lines.

Here is what Troutline have to say about their product:

Troutline Tactical Perdigon Nymphing Fly Line with Coloured Tip is our newest line designed based on latest requests from FIPS Mouche competition rules. This nymphing line is very thin, has 0.8mm diameter and is very sensitive. Practically was developed for fishing with perdigon nymphs but works excellent with very small nymphs like French Nymphs.
The Troutline Tactical Perdigon Nymphing Fly Line helps the fishermen to detect any attack of the fish and is very light in the same time. 
The line has a green-olive colour to remain stealth in all kind of fishing conditions.

Technical Details:

  • special designed for perdigon nymphing style
  • can be used with very  light nymphs and small nymphs at the same time
  • will allow to cast small flies with high precision at short and medium distance
  • the fly line has a  parallel profile for a better sensitivity
  • the line has a beautiful stealth main green-olive colour with different coloured tips
  • 0.8mm diameter of the line

Tip colours:

  • white-orange tip - dedicated for spooky and very clear waters
  • white tip - dedicated for  very difficult  light conditions”

I received the one with the white tip. The line came in a little bag with a card attached with some text describing the line.Tactical Nymph I would normally put this down to advertising blurb, but knowing how much effort Troutline put into their products and the attention to detail I took the time to read through it. Troutline is a company that cares about the end product they are selling and that’s quite refreshing.

As you can see the out of the bag the line comes loose secured with some pipe cleaner. This can be tricky to spool onto a reel and I have come of worse with other lines when doing this. I used the rolled up magazine trick and had a work colleague hold it whilst I reeled it onto a small reel I had spare.  My first impressions were that it was supple and felt nice to the touch, the white tip was bright and would be easy to spy on the water. I attached a 10’ tapered leader that I took about 2’ of the butt section leaving me with effectively an 8’ taper to a mircro ring at the tip.

When I have used this line it has been on various stretches of the River Avon which has been running low and clearish.  Using an 11’ for #3 the line casts nicely and turns over even the smallest of nymphs even down to #22 easily. The tip floats high on the surface and you get good indication from bright white tip when fishing at distance. The tip really comes into its own when under a canopy of trees it stands out really well. It fishes well at close range also although to be fair with the way the Avon is I tended to fish mostly at range.

During testing I found myself in the middle of a lot of rising fish and discarded the nymph in favour of a small dry fly.  Although unwieldy on such a long rod the line was adequate in a pinch for dry fly fishing and I did take several fish like this. Its primary use though is for fishing small nymphs and for this purpose it is ideal.

I really want to not like this line, my French leader is great and over the years it has caught me lots of fish. I have to say though I will be probably finding myself reaching for this for nymphing more often than not. It’s priced about right in comparison with the competition and I would say that it stands up against the big brand lines in quality. If you are not worried about fancy boxes and packaging it’s certainly worth a look at. Youcan check out the line at the shop here.

 

 

16 Jul Greys Strata Hoodie

(Click on the photos for a better view)

Greys Strata HoodieRRP £39.99

Sale Price £19.99 @ Yorkshire Game Angling

I have been called many thing over the years, but a dedicated follower of fashion is not one of those things! The folks at Yorkshire Game Angling sent me one of the Greys Strata Hoodies to try out. The kids fell about when I told them I had gotten a hoodie, anyway to the point. This is what the website description says.

“Relax after a good day’s fishing in this comfortable, cosy hoody in super-soft heavy brushed back jersey. The lined hood features a cool red trim and extra wide drawcord.”

I have owned several Items of Greys clothing including soft shell jackets, shirts and various caps. In short I quite like their stuff, its reasonably priced and of good quality. In my humble opinion if you stuck a Simms badge on some of the stuff it would be three times the price! The hoodie I was sent was a size L (no fat jokes please) there was plenty of room for my ample frame as well as several base layers. The hood is lined with a red trim and has an extra wide draw cord.
It has no front zip and is worn by pullover style and made from 100% cotton. It feels like good quality and close inspection of the stitching showed that attention to detail and quality were shown in its construction. When wearing it the hoodie feels light yet still warm due to the heavy brushed cotton on the inside. If you were to wear this while fishing early morning or as the sun goes down it would keep you warm and not impede your casting.

It’s not all good news though I have a bug bear with the way in which the logo is printed onto the garment. I have fallen foul of this with a shirt where the iron caught the logo and effectively ruined the shirt. Some would say read the label and don’t iron the logo dumb ass! Would it not be much better to just embroider the logo into the garment? The other annoying thing is the instruction not to tumble dry. If I am doing the laundry and the weather is inclement everything goes in the tumble dryer, even my wife has come to accept this as the norm.

Pernickety points I know and it maybe just me but if you are a careful individual who looks after their clothes this comfortable, cosy hoody could well be just the ticket for you. The price that Yorkshire Game Angling are knocking it out for to be quite frank it would be rude not to pick one up. I think it’s going to see a lot of use come those cold winter Grayling days when the pain in your freezing cold ears bites, pulling the hood up over your cap will be bliss.

 

 

19 Jun 2017 Jig Hooks Demmon Competition ST 320

(Click on the photos for a better view)

Jig hooks reviewI've been using jig hooks for the best part of 10 years. You can use any bead on a jig hook. If you use a countersunk bead on a jig hook, it will not fish like a standard straight eye hook, what you will find is the shape of the jig hook is designed to fish/swim head down and hook bend up, and won’t be dictated by the style of the bead. From my own experience slotted do look much better on the hook though.

When I was sent this range of hooks to try there was a small packet of Jig Off Tungsten Beads. I am not the sharpest tool in the box but I assumed that Lucian wanted me to try them in tandem. I tied up a couple of simple patterns a small red tag a little scruffy hairs ear pattern. Fairly generic stuff but I was fairly confident that they would catch fish. At the end of the day I was only interested in their ability to hold fish.

They are very similar to what I currently use but are considerably less expensive. Before they even made the water my Competition Jig Hooksfirst observation was that the Jig Off Tungsten Beads slightly obscured the eye on the #14 that I was using it gave an overall weight of .35g. A similar fly that I had tied using a slotted bead came in at .36g so the difference was negligible. The slotted bead however did not cover any part of the hook eye. This is essential when you are an old fart like me!

Will they catch and hold fish? I have found that I get good conversion rates when fishing with Jig hooks. The only thing that comes near them for holding fish is the Tiemco SP-BL which is fantastic but not cheap. I think the last of the ones I own are decorating the tree line on the river Avon. Anyway they are a completely different profile and I have digressed. These Jig Hooks are great for small patterns and I would use them with confidence. For certain patterns that I need to add maybe two coverings of Tungsten wire to the shank the Hanak Jig Superb cannot be Demmon Fly Hooksbettered in my humble opinion. The STS 920s in size #20 are the smallest I have come across and ideal for tying up those tiny nymphs that score so well on the chalk streams. I would have no hesitation in tying up some of my tried and tested patterns on these hooks. These hooks are fantastic value for money and I shall certainly be getting some more before I start fishing for Grayling in earnest in October.

There is so much choice for fly tiers in regards hooks that it can be bewildering at times. Personally, I think that getting the right hooks is every bit as important as the correct tippet and fly rod. If you want to make savings on your gear I would suggest that it is not done at the bit where the fish are! They can be bought from Troutline.ro.

 

31 May 2017 Wychwood Gear Trap Short Haul Pouch Review


I have tried everything! Waistcoats, too numerous to mention, sling packs, other chest packs and I have even tried stuffing what I need into wader/jacket pockets. Every angler knows what suits him and I have pretty much settled on a chest pack, but I also carry a small day sack with my camera and a bottle of water. This can be a bit of a pain in the backside as you have to keep going back to pick it up. Some days I have forgotten it and found myself having to walk some distance to retrieve it. When comp fishing I was down to a small pouch that would hold a C&F fly box and this was adequate for a short three to four hour session. But for the whole day you may, I do need a bit more kit.

I had been using the Orvis Safe Passage Vertical chest pack and carrying the accompanying daysack. It was adequate but it did have a few short comings, because it is very narrow it protrudes from the body a little further than I would like. This can be problematic in a fast flowing river where you have to be able to see where your feet are going.

Anyway enough of my ho hum issues with luggage what about this new chest rig from Wychwood? I bought mine from Fishers in Edinburgh, but they can be purchased from any Wychwood stockist. The recommended retail for this piece of kit is £64.99 but it can be found on Ebay for £58.49. Like anything else it pays to shop around. This is what the manufacturers say about the product.

“The Wychwood Short Haul pack is comfortable, portable and features enough space so that you can fit in in all those fishing essentials. Constructed from two hard-wearing fabrics, 150D polyester and 600D polyester, both featuring a PVC coating, the dual colour blends in well when fishing and the adjustable straps make for a very comfortable day out.

Comfortable, lightweight padding in specific areas ensure that the pack’s straps don’t cut in, even when it’s full and weighed down with all your gear. As well as the many pockets and pouches, other features include, anodised hook and lock zingers, tool stations, ripple foam fly deck.
Features:

  • Multiple storage compartments
  • Strong and reliable Duraflex Buckles
  • Removable EVA ripple foam fly patch
  • Black anodised, hook and lock zingers
  • Internal pocket carabiner, Internal and external mesh pockets
  • Solid work deck
  • Padded and adjustable shoulder straps - featuring mini ‘D’ rings - for extra comfortable fit and weight distribution
  • Hard wearing, extendable tool clips
  • Moulded Wychwood zip pullers
  • Front and back panels feature small rippled foam for additional comfort and fit
  • Rear ‘D’ ring for net attachment
  • Large front and rear pockets for impressive storage capacity”

 

Right let’s get down to it, I have used this on four outings to the river and on the whole have found it very well thought out. I would expect nothing less as it was designed by an angler. I have enjoyed the extra storage at the front of the pack and really like the large foam deck for making quick fly changes. The zingers are of a good quality and there are two available, I use one for snips and the other for forceps. Currently I am using a combination of different fly boxes from slim line nymph boxes to the tacky boxes and the pack can take several of these. There is also plenty room for all your Whychwood other bits such as floatant, mud and multiple tippets. This all fits in without bulking out the front of the pouch.

On the back is a reasonable sized pouch that can be used for a number of things, a waterproof jacket or a bit of lunch. However, I have found it ideal for storing my camera which is just a little too big for stuffing into a pocket. So once it is loaded up and you have it on your body it is surprisingly comfortable. A gripe with previous systems has been the strap cutting into the back of my neck. All the weight is taken across the shoulders and is well distributed. The material seems hard wearing and is akin to the material used by the Army for webbing.

My one grumble with the pack is where the net attaches. I have mostly used a magnet on the rim of my net with another magnet attached to the neck strap. This allows me to put my hand directly on the handle to net fish. With this system the D ring sits too low on my back so when trying to re-engage the magnets requires no small feat of contortion. This was somewhat annoying and even after my second trip it was a bit of a show stopper! The solution was to attach the net to a strong zinger on the D ring by the handle and the last couple of trips this has worked well. It took a little bit of getting used to but it is starting to feel more natural.

On the whole I am very pleased with the product, the price point is probably on the money and other similar packs can be purchased around the same price. Mostly though I have found other packs just protrude too far out from the body or don’t have the required storage space. I will carry on using this system and if any other thoughts come to me I will add to this review. I hope it has been of some use.

 

26 May 2017 Demmon Competition STS 920

(Click on the photos for a better view)
Demmon Competition STS920I have been completely barbless for a number of years now. I had gained the confidence in them through fishing rivers. I have tried many of the various brands some have been good others not so much. I made the fatal error of tying up hundreds of flies on Fulling Mill Grab Gape hooks only to find that they are easily straightened out by hard fighting fish. After playing around with various other hooks I had finally settled on the Dohiku brand in W12SL, 645 and 302. I have never had any issues with these hooks.

Troutline kindly sent me some samples of the Demmon Competition STS 920 range as well as some of their other types (more to come on those at a later date). I want to focus on the STS920 first though as most of my fishing is being done on stillwaters at the moment. This is what Troutline have to say about the hooks.
“Demmon Competition STS920 BL Fly Hooks is a new hook developed for strong and big fish. The particularity of this hook is the shank - short, to let the tier to make blobs, lake flies, small streamers or to tie articulated flies and to give the maximum mobility in water.
The small sizes like #12 and #14 are fantastic for spiders and other wet flies with short bodies!

Technical Details:

  • Eye - Down
  • Wire- 2X Strong
  • Lenght-1x short
  • Shape-standard wet with special round bend
  • Forged
  • Finish- Black Nickel
  • Point: Long Barbless curved inside
  • Bags of 25pcs”

My first impression was if I had taken these hooks from a packet marked Dohiku I would not have known the difference. When comparing them close up you could see that they share many of the same characteristics’ a slightly upturned hook point and a nice gauge to them. This is ideal for bulky patterns such as blobs and muddlers. They feature a slightly down turned eye and the hook points are super sharp.

On really close inspection you can see there are slight differences in the profile of the hooks. They are both solid well Fly Tying Lindsay Simpsonmanufactured hooks. Having now caught several fish on them I am content that they are fit for purpose. So, why change from the Dohiku? Well the price for a packet of 25 Dohiku hooks is the kingly sum of £4.50 although you can pick them up on offer at £4.25.  This means that before you start lashing expensive materials to the hook its 18p right off the bat. I know it sounds like the Scotsman bleeding out of me, but if you tie a lot (and I do) this all adds up. The Demmon hooks retails for £3.18 for 25 or if you buy 10 packets it works out at £2.66 thats a little over 10p a hook. (converted from Euros). The differences in the two brands are so subtle that the only real decider for me is the price which even armed with my extremley poor maths makes the Demmon hooks a no brainer!

I have a reasonable stock of Dohiku that will probably see me through this season but all in all I think my next order will be the Demmon hooks. You can take a look at them on the Troutline website here.



19 Apr 2017 New FNF Jelly Fritz

(Click on the photos for a better view)

If you are an avid fly tyer I doubt you have not heard the name ‘Jelly Fritz’. This is a material that hit the market last year from Frozen North Fly Fishing. I purchased several packets of the jelly fritz after being sent a sample to try out. The colours were very vibrant and the material was limp and when wet slimmed right down. In short I really liked it and bought the usual suspects colour wise.

Roll on 2017 I get a message from Kevin Porteous, New Jelly! Thinner fibre, narrower. Adjusted how it sits in the core with a clearer fibre. More translucent allowing brighter colours and allowing light to flush through. A softer fibre that is easier to tie with and softer to the touch, a big development with new technology allowing us to create it.
A big claim but would it stand up, it arrived sharpish unfortunately I was really busy and after the quickest of glances my initial thoughts were it looked the same as the original. When I eventually found a bit of time I got it out the packet and compared it like for like with the original. To the naked eye, it looked identical and I thought Kevin had pulled a fast one. It’s when you touch the material that you can immediately feel the difference. The fibres are much softer in the hand and produce a much sleeker fly.

I have now tied in excess of thirty flies with this material and it is a joy to use. I have been very pleased with the flies and they scored well for me on my recent trip to Rutland water. The two flies on the stone one is simply a tequila blob and the other is a FAB. Now the point I am trying to make (badly) is that this material gives a great profile to the fly. When I first showed it to folks they did not even realise it was a FAB. As the material is not yet ready for general release I do not know the retail price although I would imagine that it will come in around the same price as normal Jelly £3.00 a packet. This is comparable with fritz from other manufacturers.

Being a big fan of the original jelly and not to mention the fact I am already heavily invested in the original my boxes being full of flies tied with it. I am a more than a little perplexed, the new stuff really is a big leap forward and is simply the best fritz I have ever used. That does not mean that I will be getting rid of my old stock anytime soon. When the popular colours start to run down though this is what I will be replacing it with!

You can check out the other products from FNF at their website https://www.fnflyfishing.co.uk/


 

22 Mar 2017 Hemingways Synthetic Tapered Peacock Quills

(Click on the photos for a better view)

There are four distinct variations of these synthetic quills, tapered, transparent, holographic and fluorescent. Being a complete fly tying tart I am always on the lookout for new stuff to try. I have tried synthetic quills in the past but found them pretty disappointing to be honest. In fact, I think the bulk of my last purchase is sitting in a drawer somewhere covered in dust no doubt!

These caught my eye when I saw some examples on Facebook tied by Dragoslav Mihajlovic an extremely talented tyer and a source of much inspiration. Toby Merigan from Funky Flyting kindly donated 4 packs for me to try out, two transparent and two tapered.

They come in packs containing 20 quills that measure 10cm in length. To use them you simply peel them from the card and tie them in as you would a normal quill. There it a little play in them making it relatively easy to work with. What I noticed was the amount of waste once I had used the tapered piece and at £2.99 a pack it seemed a shame to just throw them in the bin. I saved the thicker end pieces that may have been discarded and used them to tie up some cormorants. I think they turned out pretty good(fig1). So, getting two flies per quill starts to justify the cost.

I tied a fly last week and received a very valid statement about synthetics “When there’s quills out there I can’t see why you’d bother “. Before using these I would have said exactly the same thing, I use quills from Troutline and find them exceptional, but they have their limitations. You have to take extra care when tying with natural quills. Show me a fly tyer that has not snapped a quill at the point of tying in while wrapping and I will show you a blatant liar! Getting quills with nice wide banding can be a chore with the synthetics you get true consistency. The other real plus with these are the translucent quills can give some really interesting effects depending upon the colour of thread that is used under them.

Of course, the acid test is would I buy them? Well natural quills come in around £2.50 sometimes they don’t pass muster and have been a waste of money. I have had this experience on a number of occassions. With these you know what you’re going to get. I don’t think they will replace naturals anytime soon but certainly worth consideration, the application is only limited by your imagination. I will definitely get round to exploring more of the range.

Many thanks to Toby Merigan for giving me the opportunity to give these ago.

These are available from Funky Flytying , Translucent, Fluorescent , Holographic and Tapered Peacock

 

14 Mar 2017 Hunts Original Products


I was given the full range of Hunts products last year by Steve Cullen who was singing its praises and told me to give it a try. In the past I have used most stuff Gink, Frogs Fanny, Mucilin, Dry Fly Silicone and Dilly Wax. So, I was a little sceptical as to what this would bring to the party. More than a little guilty of apathy the stuff has been in my garage for over six months. A planned trip to Wherewell seemed like the perfect place to give it a run out.


Product Range

The descriptions below are taken from the manufacturers website which I have to say is very clean and easy to navigate around.

Slime & Grime (£7.99) is a tub that contains thousands of super absorbent beads that soak up moisture from your fly patterns, but the will not stick to the fly. It is the perfect solution for removing fish slime from your favourite fly. The beads are non-toxic and will turn from orange to clear when they run out of life.

High & Dry (£7.99) is a pure silica powder with added desiccant. It is perfect for those who prefer shake tubs rather than brush on powder. Ideal for larger CDC and less delicate dry fly patterns. Simply leave the fly on the leader, place the fly in the powder and close the lid but don't snap shut, gently shake for a few seconds and remove. Your fly will now be coated in powder and will sit perfectly on the surface.

Hunt's Original Floatant (£7.50) is a soft powder that will keep CDC flies afloat for longer by providing a protective barrier that works in even the toughest of conditions. To revive flies, simply work the powder into the body and wings of your fly with the easy to use applicator brush provided. Remove any excess Floatant with a few false casts and you are ready to go. It can also be used to coat nymphs, that once underwater, will produce air bubbles that can look like the realistic effect of an emerging insect.

Fluff Dust (£7.99) is a pure silica powder perfect for CDC patterns. Simply place the fly still connected to your tippet into the powder, close the lid but don't snap shut and shake for a few seconds. Remove and your fly will now be coated in powder and ready to fish. Remove any excess by either blowing on the fly or with a few false casts.

Mud (£4.50) Take the shine off your line! Hunt's Original Mud is created by using a blend of natural ingredients, so it is environmentally friendly, mixed in house to create the ultimate degreasant for your tippet. This MUD should be applied to your tippet in order to eliminate any grease, allowing it to sink, and by using MUD in this way you will also reduce any line flash, allowing you get that fly closer to spooky fish.

Before we get to how the product performs I would like to mention the price point. When I first looked into it and specifically looking at the mud I thought it was rather expensive. Orvis Mud retails at £3.99 and this is my usual poison. But when I compared the two containers you receive almost twice the amount of product in the Hunts container so like for like its better value for money.

Frog’s Fanny has been my favourite treatment for a number of years and retails at £8.99. The Hunts equivalent for a comparable size bottle is a pound cheaper. I looked at some other Dry shake floatants and the Hunts products were a £1.00 less. So far, my wallet was winning, but would it do what it says on the packaging?

The first thing was to check it was still in one piece especially the mud! My biggest gripe with mud is that it tends to dry out, subsequently you are dipping it in the river trying to get some moisture back into it. The Hunts Mud was still very moist (even after the extended stay in the garage) and it was easy to remove a small amount to degrease the leader. It did not clump up and a thin workable coat clung to the leader so that you would only notice when you held it up to the light. As the leader landed on the water which was very still it only took a little time to cut through the surface film. So, a big thumbs up for the mud!

I wanted to try and give you some hard evidence as to the quality of the product so did a bit of messing around in my office with it. I used three different types of dry fly a large Jingler pattern, parachute Adams and a little CDC number. As you can see from the photos, the flies started out dry and untreated. I then gave them a thorough soaking in water before applying the various products to the flies.

(Please click on the flies for a better look)

 

 

Overall I was pretty impressed with the Hunts Original products, they performed as well if not better in some cases than the stuff I currently use. My favourite was the Slime and Grime, with not much effort at all it really dried the big Jingler out no problem. I was speaking to Ben Bangham at the recent London Fly Fishing Fair and he suggested that the brush on the original floatant needs a bit of wearing in. He found that rubbing it on the back of your hand softens the bristles and makes it easier for application. Personally, I thought it was OK straight out the bottle but if you are finding when you have bought this product that the brush is a little stiff give Ben’s tip a go.

 Any of the products shown are available Hunts Original.