What is the Wychwood Competition Drogue and Clamps kit?
The Wychwood Competition Drogue and Clamps kit is a very smartly packaged collection comprising a competition legal drogue with dual arm lines, a set of C drogue clips and a pair of drogue clamps and a storage bag.
This dual-arm drogue can be attached to the side of any fishing boat to slow your drift when loch-style fly fishing. This is the standard mode of fishing on large reservoirs, and the allowed method for competition rules fly fishing events when anglers are not permitted to fish from the anchor.
There are strict rules in international fly fishing regarding the size and configuration of the drogue and this one satisfies them all, hence the name. It comprises a 25ft2 competition-legal parachute made of a canvas-like material, two 6.5m rot proof guide ropes, a pair of carabiner-style C clips to attach to the boat, a pair of drogue clamps and a carry bag.
Why do I need a drogue?
When loch-style fly fishing you drift broadside to the wind. You line the boat up horizontal to the wind and let the wind blow your boat down the lake. As trout in lakes using swim and feed up the wind, your flies are constantly drifting over fresh undisturbed water, so you cover and catch more fish than when fishing at anchor.
The drogue is needed to slow down your drift. Without it, the boat would move too quickly and you'd struggle to get your flies to the right depth under certain conditions. It's not required all the time, but you will find that it massively improves your chances whenever there is more than a gentle breeze. It can also be used to make your boat drift in a certain path along the reservoir, loch or lake, allowing you to cover a specific area without the need to use oars or your engine.
How do you attach the drogue to the boat?
If your fishery installs drogue rings on the sides of its boats you can attach the carabiner-style clips directly to these. If there are no clips, you can use the drogue clamps to attach the drogue to the sides of the boat. If you lose a drogue clamp, you can still use the drogue, even if there are no drogue rings on the boat, simply by tying the lines to the seat boards in the boat.
What are the benefits of drogue clamps?
The main advantage is that the drogue clamps can be attached to any boat, but they also make it much easier to control the drift of the boat. Since you can effectively steer the drift by shortening one of the drogue lines, you can make the boat go exactly where you want simply by wrapping a few turns of the rope around the drogue clamp handle.
Are the drogue clamps easy to use?
The drogue clamps are actually very easy to attach. George, aged 10, can easily attach and un-attach them himself. There's a ratchet type mechanism within the clip, so the harder you squeeze the tighter the clamp grips to the edge of the boat. They're also very easy to take off, as a plastic push button on the clamp releases the ratchet making removal very simple.
How does this kit different from the Wychwood International Para Drogue kit?
The Wychwood International Para Drogue is fairly similar in overall design, but has a small hole in the centre of the parachute and isn't provided with drogue clips or a carry bag. If you fish at a fishery which installs drogue rings on its boats, you might well prefer this version, which is a bit cheaper. However, the Wychwood Competition Drogue is a better overall package and more versatile as it can be used on any boat and steering your drift is less hassle.
What's this drogue like to use?
Like the Wychwood International Para Drogue we use at Llyn Brenig, this is a really effective drogue. This one was George's birthday present bought for use in his first loch style fly fishing event to international rules - the England Youth Fly Fishing National 2018. It worked really well.
It's easy to attach and remove, it lets you control your drift more easily by wrapping the lines around the drogue clamp handles and it comes in easily when moving between spots. Boat control with this was excellent and it helped George fish really well.
How much does it cost?
The Wychwood Competition Drogue and Clamps kit costs around £44.99 and comes with the drogue, lines, C-clips, drogue clamps and a carry bag. If you only need the drogue bit, you may want to consider the cheaper Wychwood International Para Drogue instead, which costs just £26.99.
Available from: Amazon