Scottish Flyfisher

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Tackle Reviews

Venaird No 1 Rotary Vice

This is a well constructed vice with full rotary action and finished in polished brass and stainless steel.
 
It comes complete with a supplied bobbin cradle.
 
Excellent value individually boxed.
 
I have been using this vice now for just over 2 years and have found it ideal for all my fly tying, either from a small size 20 dry fly, buzzer and nymph right up to a full blown salmon fly or tube fly.
 
The rotary action on the vice is excellent and easily manoeuvred to any position when tying your flies and makes it easier for tying in those fussy little bits and pieces that make up a fly.
 
You can purchase the vice from either Veniard directly or through your local tackle dealer 
 
Star Rating – 5* 
Orvis Hydros Fly Reels

There are no other true large arbor big game fly reels out there that carry this drag system performance at this price. It's unheard of until now. 
 
The new Hydros Reel Series features a scaled drag surface that increases total drag surface by model: The larger the reel, the larger the drag surface and the more resistance available to handle larger fish. 
 
Using stacked carbon washers in a totally sealed configuration, controlled by a positive click adjustment system, the Hydros can be fine tuned to handle any fish from a trout to a tuna with sustained and infinitely durable drag pressure. 
 
The large arbor multiplies retrieval rates, eliminates line coil and significantly reduces fatigue during multiple hookups. 
 
Now available in three bold colours with a new easy to handle Mirage-style handle, in sizes I through VI. Large arbor fly reels: power, price, and performance equal perfection. 

The black reel will be great as an all rounder for all aspects of fishing whether in fresh or salt water.  However, the Titanium and Gold Reels look too good and expensive for the job; they would be perfect for just having on display in your tackle and fly tying room.  

Star Rating - 5*

Prolite LED Fly Tying Pro Lite with Magnifier


At last a great item for the keen fly tier. An LED fly tying lamp that is extremely bright and has a wide enough illumination angle for comfortable vision at the tying bench.  You can maneuver both the lamp and magnifier to the best position so that it does not impede you when tying the flies.
 
Comes complete with magnifier, base, and C-Clamp.
 
Features: High intensity lamp with magnifier 60 degree light cone; 140 lumens for plenty of illumination Heave vice base with built in storage tray Mounts to stand 3/8” vice stem C-Clamp for a bench mount.   The pure daylight illumination is great for tying your flies without getting any colour distortion when working.
 
You can obtain this great piece of work from most fly tying shops and websites around the world.
 
UK Price £99.99 US Price $105.99 


Star Rating - 5*

Airflo Ridge Clear Fly Lines

Are you looking for the ultimate in stealth fly lines then look no further. 
 
Having a line that totally blends in with its surroundings, Airflo’s range of Ridged Clear fly lines are the ultimate when it comes to tricky fish in clear water conditions.
 
The lines low optical density is very close to that of water, so just like the fluorocarbon tippet, these lines are almost invisible to fish.
 
All lines are 35yds long and you‘ll need it with the additional line speed that you can generate with the ultra slick Ridge coating – the ridges almost disappear when the line lands on the water – the reduced friction, combined with the original Delta taper allows for easy loading at short range and hero casts when you need them.
 
Available in floating and two intermediate sink rates (0.5” and 1.5” per sec) Airflo Ridge Clear fly lines offer the ultimate solution for top of the water fishing for spooky fish.
 
I have used the 8wt forward lines for well over a few years now and due to the invisibility of the line in the water the floating line is brilliant for presenting a small dry fly to the wily wild brown trout on the lochs in Scotland.  Due to the invisibility of the lines I have had too mark the lines with indelible ink about 15 feet from the tip of the line so that I know exactly the right distance of line left to lift for the next cast especially on the intermediate lines as I have been caught out a couple of times bringing too much line in before re-casting.
 
You can get the lines from any good fly fishing tackle shop.
 
Star Rating – 5*
Hardwear Winter Boots

I bought these boots last year as they were on offer from my local online tackle store - Fishtec. The service from them was brilliant, very fast and very helpful.
 
So, to the boots, first impression was very good, well made and at a great price (£19.99) I've now worn them about 30 times throughout the year whilst out boat fishing on the great lochs of Scotland; standing on the edge of the river and fly fisheries on a wet cold day and can honestly say they are very very comfortable and extremely light to wear.  Plus they kept my feet dry and warm, which is a bonus at my age when my feet get cold the toes start to hurt like mad and very uncomfortable walking the banks. 
 
The main downside I found for the boots is the ankle support, with them being so light there isn't very much support due to the softness of the leggings and whilst not a huge problem for me they might be for some people. 
 
It was very cold last winter with some heavy snow falls and I used them for walking back and forth to work through the snow and found they gripped really well and kept my feet warm.  I did wear thicker winter socks during the colder snaps.  I would recommend that you purchase a size bigger if you want to wear really thick socks or two pairs of socks inside your boots.
 
You can obtain these boots from any good stockists. 
 
They should be £29.99 but you can get them from either Fishtec or from the Glasgow Angling Centre.  They might not be at the top end of the range and expensive, but they are well worth the investment. 

Star Rating - 5*
Greys GRXi Waders and Boots

I have been wearing these waders and boots for quite a year now and find them hard wearing and comfortable even after a long hard day tramping up and down the river bank/river bed.  They also keep you warm when standing in a fast flowing cold river at the start of the fishing season.
 
Even tramping over the various hills and mountains in Scotland to reach the various wild brown trout lochs with all my fishing gear I have found that you don’t feel all sticky with sweaty as you would with some other makes of waders, the sweat just wicks out through the fabric but still keeps you dry when fishing.
 
I would highly recommend these waders and boots to anyone, their not cheap but there again their not on the expensive side.  But one thing to remember when buying the boots, if you’re a size 9; get them 2-3 sizes bigger due to the thickness of the built in wader socks.   I’m a size 9 (UK sizes) in a normal shoe and found a size 12 boot was perfect.
 
You can obtain them through any reputable fly fishing tackle shop or on line.

Star Rating - 5* 
Airflo Outlander Vest Pack 25L

Airflo's fantastic Outlander Vest and Back Pack provides the angler with enough space for everything required for a day on the water. Multiple front pockets house enough room for two large fly boxes and other items, while dual zinger attachments keep fishing gear on hand and ready to use for that all important quick change.
 
The integrated backpack system has enough room for all those not so frequently used essentials, such as a light rain coat, spare fishing reels or drink bottles. The backpack uses an expander pocket to extend the backpack for that bit of extra room, for those days when you just need a little extra gear.
 
Features:  •Capacity: 25 Litres  •Front vest with pockets galore  •Houses all your essentials.  •Zip down fly trays.  •Left and right vertical box pockets  •Mesh pockets on inside and out.  •6 front D rings.  •Zinger attachments  •Gear attachment zones.  •Integrated back pack design  •Double pocket and expander pocket for larger items.  •3 back D rings.  Internal bladder hydration pocket.  •Adjustable one size fits all system
 
I found the back pack ideal for those long walks up the mountains to some of my favourite out of the way lochs.
 
It saved me from carrying too much, all I need to do was put all the fly boxes; leaders and 2 fly reels in the pockets; plus all the smaller items required for a good days fishing; then attaché the landing net to the rear D ring. Added my packed lunch to the expandable back pack and off I went.
 
Star Rating - 5*
Mystic M-Series Rods 

I was asked by the President of the Mystic Fly Rod Company to undertake a review on one of their rods.  
 
I've never heard of them before here in the UK as the company is from America and they produce a fantastic range of fly rods to cover all your requirements, they run from 2 to 8 weights and from a medium to a fast action rod.
 
Conceived on the idea of achieving excellence, the M-Series fly rods are the flagship of the Mystic line. 
 
Using a proprietary carbon graphite material to produce the rod blank, Mystic has refined the perfect combination of graphite fibres and carefully selected resin to produce an outstanding casting, fishing and fish fighting tool. Mystic rod blanks are manufactured to the highest standards of quality control producing a blank that is perfectly balanced. 
 
The uniform spine is critically controlled during manufacturing ensuring the rod tracks perfectly resulting in acutely accurate casts. 
 
But the magic of these rods doesn't just come from using the highest quality materials, but also from the custom mandrel design as well.
 
The M-Series combines outstanding rod blanks with the best components available. Stainless steel snake guides, Hook keeper and tip top Titanium stripping guides constructed with a quad leg design Aircraft-grade aluminium reel seats Knurled and aesthetically pleasing winding check Super high grade cork grips Up-locking reel seat with composite burl wood spacer, two locking rings with nylon locking grips Hand wrapped in black with silver inlay.
 
All rods come with a Lifetime Warranty and are packaged in a Corduroy tube.  

Star Rating 5*+
E-Thrust 55LB Boat Engine 

For those who fish smaller, intimate waterways or event large lochs and need to take a more stealthy approach to your fishing; the E-Thrust 55lb Engine is ideal: it‘s silent, doesn‘t wobble or vibrate and is highly portable (it weighs just 9.7 kilos or 21lb)  

Once you‘re clamped-on it‘s a simple matter of connecting to your 12 volt battery and twisting the accelerator. Off you go! If you‘re into technical details, check the spec below...
  
Features 
 
•SD - Silent Drive design for minimum disturbance  •PTP - Power Thrust Propeller for maximum power  •PSC - Power Saving Concept for all day performance  •AVC - Anti Vibration Construction  Specifications: •Peak Thrust: 55 lbs  •Power input: 12V,110amp (battery not included)  •LCD Monitor: 2 digit  •Bracket: Aluminium  •Quick-tilt gator, 7 settings  •360 degree steering: Yes  •Shaft: Stainless steel  •Weight: 9,7 kg - 21 lbs  •Handle: Telescopic  •Speed control: 5/2 (forward/reverse)  •Propeller: 3-blade  •The E-Thrust 55LB Boat Engine is ideal for: Bigger lakes and inshore saltwater  •Recommended boat size: Max. 3850 lbs/ 1750 kg
 
With the 5 forward and 2 reverse gears; I found this to be a great wee engine for keeping the boat in the catch zones up at the Lake of Menteith and Linlithgow Loch, there was no noise or disturbance as I would normally have with a petrol engine.   All I had to do was give the engine a slight shunt either forwards or backwards to keep in the hotspots.
 
Only slight issue I had with the engine was the length of the aluminium column; you couldn‘t shorten it for stacking away in the car, I had to fold one of the back seats down to get it in along with the battery and all my usual fly fishing gear (which I must admit can be a bit toooooo much at times).  
 
You can obtain the engine from any good online tackle store I got mine from Fishtec 

Star Rating - 5*

Chris Clemes Hand Made Bamboo Rod
https://www.chrisclemes.com/


When I first started fly fishing about 50 years ago my first rod was made of bamboo as I managed to get it cheap along with all the fly fishing gear I needed from an old neighbour; and it was some rod to handle as a small thin spotted faced stick of a kid at 12 years old.   


The last time I had used it was about 40 years ago (where does time go too so quickly) due to it getting a wee bit worse for wear and the tip of the rod breaking off. 


When Chris Clemes asked me to take one of his bamboo rods out for a wee trial for the tackle review page; I still had the mentality of when I was a kid, fishing with a bamboo rod was a nightmare and a bit hard to get used too due to it‘s action.  
 
Boy how wrong I was!!
 
When I first received the Symphony range 7ft 3wt rod it looked absolutely amazing. From the top traditional Red Agate and Black Nickel Snake Rings to the down locking Premium Nickel Silver sliding band;  you could see it was finished off to a very high standard; here was one of Chris Clemes beautiful rods of honey coloured cane with red and black whippings, the cane impregnated and everything about it looking so delicate.  The Symphony rod comes with an extra tip section from the same culm of bamboo and with identical node spacing along the blank and made to a Black Beauty taper.
 
The rod and bag look simple and purposeful. Even the metal rod case looked special.  Somehow the ceremony of unscrewing the silver coloured cap and lifting the heavy cap end off seems appropriate with a cane rod, I suspect I would find it all a little too much, too ostentatious, for a normal bloke like me.  Maybe that's because I knew cane rods are hand-made, that someone spent years learning the craftmanship required to make such a beautiful rod.
 
I couldn‘t wait to get out on the water and give the rod a good try out. 


I suppose I should have gotten myself a silk line for the rod, but I tried the rod out with two floating lines to match the rod weight: a 3 weight forward floating and a tapered floating line.   


I found that the tapered floating line was a lot better and smoother running through the snake rings for delicate presentation of the size 18/20 dry flies I was using on the Peebles beat of the River Tweed and the River Clyde at Abbington. 


You could feel the rod loading really smoothly and casting a line out on to the water to present the fly was a lot smoother than when using a normal modern carbon fly rod, I think this was due to the well balanced layout and make of the rod.    


When fighting a fish the rod handled it extremely well and you could control the fish a lot better without using too much force like you would with a modern rod. 
 

When using the rod I found that I had slowed down my casting quite a bit due to the slower action of the rod, but it didn‘t put me off. In fact it was such a pleasure for a change to relax and really enjoy my days fishing and the surroundings I was in.  For an old man I‘ve never felt so alive and relaxed after a good days fishing.  What a brilliant rod to fish with. 


For the bamboo rod aficionado; this would be a great rod to add to their collection and would have great pleasure for years to come when out on the water casting to some rising wild brownies.
 
Whether it‘s a custom finishing one of the Chris Clemes celebrated bamboo fly rods or commissioning a bespoke build from the start they promise to deliver expert guidance and an exceptional fly rod that will not only serve your own current fishing requirements but those of generations to come. Each fly rod is unique, and the result of cooperation between the customer and their workshop in order to meet your exact requirements.  Chris can make their rods to resemble the actions of a carbon rod with more power in the butt section. 


Starting at £1.500.00 the rods might be expensive for some people; however once held, a Chris Cleme fly rod will be the rod for the true fly fishing enthusiast, as they will immediately understand their pure quality; the balanced weight; the smooth casting action; even their smell. These qualities give these beautifully refined fly rods a substance and character that can only improve the overall fly fishing experience.