Wednesday, 21 November 2012

a big wet blueberry doughnut

had to be done sometimes I just get the urge to tie something that takes a stoopid amount of time to make ill sit at the vice for bloody ages making a single fly for no other reason than I had an idea well I just had the idea that I wanted something in natural but I wanted it not only big but I wanted it with plenty of movement and to act like a dying fish when stripped , I had the idea in my head the night before while watching some tediously boring cooking programme on the TV , well I wasn’t watching it the wife was ive no idea why as I cant remember the last time she cooked me Caramelized pears with Braised pork loin starter followed by Roast of lamb with a home made balsamic reduction followed by Steamed Lobster
Filet Mignon Roasted duck with raspberry glaze and finishing of with a nice Cheese soufflé and all cooked and ready to eat ten mins after walking in the front door like this woman on the tv has done anyway it must have been the lobster that set me about thinking about fishing flies and I only had another 15 mins of this cooking show before scooby doo came on so with the pattern in the drawer in my head marked “tie tomorrow” I watched scooby and went to bed  

in the morning the pattern was still buzzing about in my head so I had breakfast and headed to the vice where after an interesting couple of hours I came up with the patterns above and below kinda based loosely on a flatwing and a deceiver I think it came out ok but of course the test is getting the 10 inch beast wet (more on that later)

the pattern
hook - 6/0
tail – chartreuse/white saddle cape
belly chartreuse/white bucktail
feathers – a combo of metz and grizzled cape
eyes - deer creeks crystal eyes

me and Conan the fly destroyer had arranged a pike trip on wed and a grayling trip on Friday these would be wading around jobs and no boats involved at all (well the boats are off the venue for winter anyway but I can still fish from the shore) so it would be a travel light job 1 rod waistcoat a few packs of flies (that took a while let me tell you) and I would only have to change the rods and flies although Conan was going to be providing the grayling flies for Friday I was actually quite excited  

so above is my kit for the pike trip nothing to flash and as regular followers of my blog will know choosing just a handful of flies for a trip is a bit of a daunting task , but I pretty much knew the colour schemes that I needed and being quite cold I wanted flies that I could fish very slow but still have plenty of movement the seed was set.


there’s some strange sights in Scotland (not just me and the destroyer) its getting to be a bit of a fishing tradition Conan brings blueberry and lemon curd doughnuts on our fishing trips we firmly believe a couple of doughnuts around lunch time gives you that boost you need to carry on chucking big flies into the evening well that’s what Conan says anyway and who am I to argue with a man who truly knows his doughnuts. 

Every wondered what a fly reel looks like that been submerged for years well while I was down looking at the water I found this which a trout angler had obviously dropped in the water strange there was no line on it though hope he hadn’t just bought it and dropped it in the water ouch that would have hurt the wallet


fellow fly enthusiast and up and coming young jedi pike fly fisher conan the fly destroyer has started to tie a few of his own patterns and is slowly filling his spanking new fly box although the chances of it staying sparkly are not very good to be honest and im pretty sure those lovely bits of fluff in his box will a bit battered by this time next year and im sure he will have a few more boxes as well its a downward spiral this game

so we arrived at the loch and what a horrible day it wasn't raining very hard but it was that fine famous “scotch mist” its almost like a fine mist but bloody soaks you right through pretty unpleasant to fish in and not my most favored fishing conditions to be honest but we were here and ready to give it a go more chance of catching something if you have a fly in the water rather than sitting on the couch at home so we donned wet weather gear and headed into the water 

the water levels were down by around a meter so we had pretty good access to 90% of the areas we cover by boat on here in fact the picture below where conan is standing I take quite a few that very spot but bugger me it was cold in that water the water was also fairly clear so I was able to go through a whole heap of fly colours although mainly green and olive and work them really slowly , ive found In cold conditions the pike don’t like to expel a lot of energy chasing food but if something comes close enough it will take it as an easy meal and that’s the trick of winter fishing , yes you can catch them on the fly but it can be a bloody hard road but it can be done , perseverance is the word for winter and besides every time you fish a day in winter its a day nearer springtime but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t catch still better being out there trying and if it does get to cold for you there’s always the vice to fall back on and boxes to fill

at the top of the page I had tied a couple of monster flies well mission was a complete success , now its not very often I blow my own trumpet but this is the most life like fly ive ever made it hangs in the water perfectly when stripped it glides from side to side like an injured baitfish when short stripped it hangs on its side on the pause and really does look like an injured fish although the pike didn’t think so today kept me entertained for a while just watching it even doughnut boy was impressed I think I maybe onto something........

look into the sky point your saber and you will be blessed by lemon cured doughnuts  

I continued to wade the sides right up the point in the distance casting as I went fishing really slow with the occasional quick tweek to add some life to the fly and create that trigger point that can force a predator to reaction strike but to be honest I wasn’t feeling confident at this point , there was a lot of water flowing into the loch from the hills this is always a good way of keeping them off the feed , I never do that well in prolonged periods of rain dont know about anyone else .

Results today were

fish 1 - dave 0
fish 1 – conan 0
1 lost fly
1 lost fly line
soaked to the skin
sore feet
sore back
fell in a swamp
cracked wheel rim
not enough doughnuts

all in all not too bad a day really oh talking of doughnuts Conan decided to try some voodoo magic and changed into his lucky Mr doughnut outfit , but it didn’t work  

 below is the result of being out in scotch mist the stuff gets in no matter how trussed up you are in waterproofs

we were due to go grayling fishing on the Friday but after a phone call on the Thursday it seems we had both fallen foul of the cold and wet and were both feeling a bit crap after out soaking and the river was also starting to flood so we but the grayling trip on hold again roll on bloody spring , we have some great targets for next year including a lot of chasing new personal bests and new species on the fly for the fly destroyer in the mean time I think ill be spending a bit of time at the vice …...

really happy to say the crew at predatorbite have updated there website and is now all predator flies only and saltwater patterns this is going to be a great resource for those that don't have time to tie there own book mark the site and keep checking back for new patterns and updates .

You may also notice ive started to add a few sections at the top of the blog in the form of click able tabs , the first is a basic guide to pike fly fishing kit , the reason ive done this is because I get a lot of emails from folks who are interested in pike fly fishing but don't know where to start , now I like to reply to everybody who emails me but im sure you'll understand it takes a while to reply to everyone so ive put this up as a quick reference page to those who wish to have a go , now the gear that's in there is the gear I use and am happy with there is obviously a lot of different brands out there but this is just what I use , I will be adding a few sections over the coming weeks including methods and flies to use so please feel free to share these

heres to spring
(a cold cave in Scotland)

Friday, 9 November 2012

lets all get dressed up as sausage rolls

Hello the 200
OK so ive made 200 followers and I have thousands of people from all over the world visiting my blog , ok I know probably 10% are spammers trying to post comments about buying cheap uggs (do they do them in camo) Viagra (im married I have no use for such things) or a new Russian girlfriend (mmmmmmmmm) and threes 5% who are Nigerians or Kenyans trying to sell me 100 of my own patterns for a dollar a dozen and the other 5% arrived here while looking for adult material (fluffchucking apparently shows up in porn searches (now that’s scary maybe its me in my camo oh please god no I hope not ) .

so that still leaves if my maths is right and my visitor stats 80% of visitors who keep coming back to read the blog and actually either enjoy what I write or just get a good laugh out of my inane musings but whatever im still actually very humbled by the people that do visit the blog and I thank every one of you because all I am is an average guy who loves what he does and enjoys passing that knowledge on and I have no need to become a big shot or household name so if your still with me dear reader I thank you for your company in my sometimes crazy world ..
life is salty
oh indeed this week the fly destroyer had wanted to take me chasing the lady of the stream (the grayling) on his local river , I was well up for this as I haven’t been grayling fishing since I was a kid on the river tweed where I had the honour of catching a 4lb fish one summer during the school holidays , in fact back then the grayling was regarded as vermin in the tweed as It apparently ate all the trout eggs (surely there would be no trout in the river if that was the case and the tweed would be full of grayling) and they were to be knocked on the head and thrown up the bank , well even as a kid I refused to do this which got me into no end of trouble with the kelso angling association but time changed and now they are highly prized as a sport fish thank god
So I dugout my 5wgt and sorted my vest and a few flies and I was ready for the off the next morning well that was until conan texted me in the afternoon saying the conditions we garbage and the forecast not much better so I decided to take him saltwater fly fishing as the tides were perfect the next day and conditions looked good , so I changed over my vest dug out some clousers and sorted some heavier leaders and dug out the 7wgt salt rod .

I woke up the next morning to find the weather had completely changed and it was blowing chunks down the east coast which is really not ideal for fly fishing and especially for fly fishing in the salt , I wont take chances with the sea you got to respect her end of , so the phone call was dully placed and we decided conan should come over for some more tying lessons and that was how we spent the afternoon not ideal but still good fun .

So I set about showing conan how to use dna to create a lovely sparkly baitfish and as seems to be the norm he picked it up real quick and his first tie looked fantastic, although he doesn’t think so and thinks he needs more practice but the fly he produced (on the left) was every bit as good as mine on the right .
As you may be aware conan has come from a trout background and ties some of the most amazing trout flies ive ever seen , and this is great because he already has the basics tying trout flies but when you go from a size 24 trout hook to a size 6/0 pike fly hook thats quite a leap and your confidence can take a dip if your not used to it but the thing is persevere and have faith in the flys your tying I know id fish with conans any day , the one thing ive noticed over the past few sessions with him is that hes really starting to get the idea that less is more with synthetics and since that has clicked into place he is really starting to produce some stunning flies and the thing is as ive said before I did exactly the same thing many years ago keep up the good work pal subbugs next week

some of of our other ties from the day
so ive had a few days away from the vice had the dreaded man-flu so been mostly sitting watching crap man tv ,(thank god for ghost hunters ,paranormal files ,and jamies 15 Min meals OK I lied on the last one) but feeling a bit better today I hit the vice to tie up some of my DNA – FILF baitfish I had a request from nick at deercreek for some and I was happy to help ….......
DNA is a lovley material to tie with one you sus it out and you can produce some incredible looking baitfish with it but the stuff is bloody expensive for the amount you get in a pack the one thing I tend to do is make multi use bait fish one of those patterns that you can use anywhere in fresh or saltwater the ones ive done for deercreek are 7 inch s and although ive made them mainly for pike they will fish just as well in the sea so if you fancy getting you hands on some of these below get over to next week but be sure to be quick as they will be gone fairly fast or if you want to reserve one give him an email through the site


of course I had to sneak an extra tie into my own box did mine with green roachie eyes look forward to giving this a swim if I ever manage to get out again this year , the weather again stopped our river trip this week but we have some plans laid down for next week for the big green snaggletooths and hopefully get conan his first double before the end of the year that would be a blast
remember there a full range of my flies tied by me over at fast flies site here

im working at my normal job this weekend so the vice will be a bit quiet if you unlike me are luckily enough to be out and about this weekend have fun and hope you catch and remember even if lifes getting you down it will never be as bad as turning up at an angling event dressed as a sausage roll
(a cave in Scotland)

Saturday, 3 November 2012


Road trip and other stories

firstly apologies for the slight delay (actually a week and a bit late) on the blog post this was due to leaving my camera in conan the fly destroyers car and not getting it back till today .

So we had arranged to travel into the badlands of England to fish piketreks competition on the 20th and the reason we decided to fish it was there was the chance of a couple of species we don’t get in Scotland I.e. chub and zander and also it was for a very good cause and well any excuse for a fishing road trip.

First things first though the destroyer wanted to get some practice in on tying predator flies although conan ties his own quite outstanding trout flies he’s not really had much experience doing monster flies for pike well even a 1 inch pike fly is a monster if you come from a background of tying on size 22s but he’s had a couple of lessons from me already and hes coming along in leaps and bounds and producing already some bloody nice flies to be honest , but he still wanted a few more lessons and I was glad to help (mates rates of course that’s the blueberry doughnuts sorted for the trip)
the fine art of a simple maribou fly
we have lately been tying up with a lot of synthetics so it was nice to go down the natural materials route again especially after the success of the last trip with the my biggest fish of the year coming on a weighted maribou streamer of course teaching conan is a breeze once ive shown him a method he pretty much picks it up straight away and produces an almost perfect replica (unlike kenyans) I suspect next season there will be quite a lot of these in his box

the art of synthetic pt 1
one thing conan really wanted to nail was tying with synthetics because everybody falls into the same trap with it and that is tying it too thick and even when it first appeared in this country I did the same , well to be honest at that time there was no step by steps out there to help pretty much all you had was a picture of a saltwater fly and a clump of you chosen colour in your hand and that’s it now get on with it and although after a few attempts I came up with some passable looking pike snacks but they were now looking back made with way too much material , so now we have reached the point where as you can see from my fly above pretty much translucent baitfish I mean you can see the hook shank through it which is really what you want , so conan had I think fallen into that same trap as most of us did when we first started with synthetics so it was great to be able to show him how to do it. So the first one I approached with him was ep fibre the very first synthetic I used for pike flies way back when it first appeared over here yes folks I have been doing it that long.

The boy did good
so after just one lesson and 1 fly here’s the result and I tell you you’d struggle to match the tier to the fly if you didn’t know , well I can tell you conans is the top fly id say he’s pretty much nailed that , you see how easy it is when somebody shows you there’s no such thing as stupid question if you don’t know the answer (of course that doesn’t apply to ken capsey who lets face it has asked some pretty dumb ones in the past but he is a redneck so I guess we can let him off) so if I can help people not to make the mistakes I did when synthetics hit these shores then that’s job done

conan was very keen on using gliss and glint plus from as he had seen these patterns in action and what they look like in the water (unfortunately no camera has yet managed to capture that) and had seen me tying with it at last years British fly fair so he was keen to get that nailed as well the material itself sits nicely between ep fibre and sf fibre which you may have used before as gliss is not as soft as ep but not as stiff as sf so you can get some pretty fluid moving baitfish out of it and its also a lot bloody cheaper that the afore mentioned products but there’s a place for most materials just some are better than others , a good afternoons tying lesson was had and it was time to get stuff ready for the trip .

Travelling light

as there’s no boats involved on this trip I scaled stuff down a bit and only took around half my boxes taking only flies that I knew would do the business and let me tell you it took a few days to sort that one out as I needed to combine not only flies for pike but also for perch , chub ,and zander it took me a while but I got there other that in the picture above I took a couple of pikesabers (one to use and a spare) and a net and that was pretty much it so with Friday fast approaching it was time to hit the sack in preparation for the 5 and a half hour journey south

the long road

so the morning came and conan had arranged to pick me up at 10am as he had a doctors appointment and I needed to wait for the postman to get a prize from deercreek for the comp , as it happens conan didn’t pick me up till 11am as he had his appointment time wrong then had to wait ages to be seen but it was all good as this gave the postman time to arrive (10.30) and me a chance to make sure I had everything before we left .

Everything being in order and now sat in the hairy one car we headed south , now the picture above is heading down towards the border around an hour from Edinburgh and look at those lovely clear roads as soon as we got into England the road turned into pretty much a giant long car park maybe it just because England’s got some many more city’s crammed into it so there’s more need for people to travel to each others towns therefore creating the awful traffic situation we found ourselves in , oh well we wernt in a hurry so not a massive problem and besides gave us more time to eat the in car doughnuts

We planned to get to the hotel (in the middle of nowhere) a couple of hours before dark then head to the venue (about 5 miles away) and fish around an hour into dark then head off and get some food in melton mowbray (yes conan there is such a place its not made up to sell pork pies) but sometimes the best laid plans can go a bit to pot through no fault of your own

as we passed stoke on Trent on a duel carriageway a car passing us spat up a stone and cracked the window , one of those things and nobody’s fault so with little choice we carried on to the services at derby where we surveyed the damage and hell there was a kfc there as well (no we didn’t indulge we were still full of doughnuts) turns out that we were safe to carry on to the hotel as it was only around 60 odd miles from where we where so we carried on at a steady rate trying to avoid potholes and bumps in the road …


our original plan was to get checked into the travelodge a couple of hours before dark ,then go and show conan the venue , I used to have a membership here when I lived in derby many moons back so I knew the venue quite well and the plan was to give him a walk through and show him some spots and features then head into melton for some food then back to the hotel to have a beer and some fishing chat, but with the cracked window and some trouble finding the hotel meant we didn’t get there till after dark so those plans were also sunk but not really a problem .

I had a few things to finish of on some flies so I broke out the diamond hard uk and got on with it while we had a cup of coffee and a replan for the evening ,we decided just to head straight into melton and find some food ,so we headed of and took around 20 mins to get there and about another 2 hours to find somewhere to park , ridiculous that we had to drive round for hours to find a parking spot everywhere we looked there were no parking signs we eventually just parked outside a shop and hoped for the best luckily a few shops down there was a nice looking Indian restaurant and also very cheap and the guy said there was customer parking at the back of the building , that was enough for us .

I opted for a tandoori selection with popadoms and pickles and a selection of fine indian breads conan had something that I really could even pronounce let alone spell but it was made with lamb , what was funny was that being a friday night everybody was out dressed up in the finery with works nights out and people having romantic dates over candlelight meals then there was was me and conan dressed in our fishing gear not giving a single one we did get a few looks and shaking heads from the waiters but the food was great and hit the spot no doubt next time we go back there will be a “NO SCOTTISH FLY FISHERMAN” on the door cant think why though

after this we headed back to the hotel (worryingly in the middle of nowhere ) funnily enough it actually sits on the famous fosse way one of the oldest roads in Roman Britain road runs from Exeter (Devon) in the South to Lincoln (Lincolnshire) in the North, forming one of the main routes in Roman Britain. But I bet they found there hotels and inns a lot easier than we did on the way back we actually thought we were going to run out of fuel looking for it but that’s a whole other story . We eventually got back to the hotel in one piece and as we had booked a family room (saves money) so there was only one double bed and a sofa bed , so to keep things fair we flipped a coin and conan got the bed I got the couch so we both settled down and agreed on a movie that was showing (rocky 5) but I was so knackered I fell asleep pretty quick and before we knew it it was 6am time for coffee and out the door …

on to the competition

the competion has some fantastic prizes on offer and we even had a sponsor for the food after the event so awesome sausage rolls and bacon rolls for breakfast went down fantastic , I bought down a voucher for a days guided fishing on

private trout fishery with me from authanic wire at there was some hook and fly packs donated by the lovley chaps at and a fantastic selection of eyes and diamond hard uv from the ever generous nick at and in this day and age its great that small company’s step forward and provide a few prizes so please go check them out …....and for those companies who didn’t donate prizes to the raffle for charity shame on you

my favorite spot of the whole day
(Conan just out of shot stuffing sausage rolls down his fizzog)

so suitably full of sausage rolls and bacon rolls and enough coffee to keep us going for a week and we finally set out , conditions were good on the lake although the river was blown out so a slight change of gameplay was called for and we had planned to hit a few spots that I knew of and had done ok on before, so I tied and a “gliss and glint fat boy buster baitfish” and we hit the 10 min walk to our starting point

we hit the spots and started casting around almost straight away I had a hit but failed to connect so I covered the area for a few casts and then moved on a few yards leapfrogging with conan as we went I had a further 2 hits in the space of around 10 mins one being right close to the bank and silver (zander maybe who knows) but again it didn’t connect this was getting a little frustrating

so I scaled down to a smaller fly this usually works for me if the fish are taking short so after about 30 mins absolutely nothing was happening for me or pretty much anybody else although id seen one chap land a pike of around 4lbs but obviously the underwater dinner bell hadn’t run yet then after another cast me fly felt a bit strange in the water and then I saw why I had hooked a watersnail , now the competition rules say that if it takes a fly is classed as a predator well this was caught fair and square so I duly recorded it and had it witnessed to much head shaking surley a fish would follow soon

ok so after another move further round the lake and to add insult to injury a large swan mussel decided to take a liking to my fly as you can see it is hooked fair and square so again this was duly photographed and witnessed as it had in fact taken my fly fair and square to much hilarity from the cream of British pike fly fishing on the pegs around me .

By this time id spoken too a few anglers who had passed andf stopped for an informal hello hows it going and it seems that very little was actually coming out although a 13lb fish had come out to a local fly fisher who fishes the venue all the time (knowledge is everything I guess) but nobody else was doing anything so there was still a chance

as I said the before the river was pretty much blown out by recant rains and was carrying a lot of colour although this didn’t stop some people from trying to get one out by any means possible even cheating by fishing off the bridge mentioning no names (Richard todd lol) the river had it had been its normal flow and colour would have produced quite a lot of fish so that was half the battle plan scuppered …..oh well

this venue has some great backwaters and cover spots but its a hell of a job trying to get a fly into them but hey who dares wins and I had no choice as thing were getting desperate and there was only an hour left to fish so I tried my damnedest to get one out and if it meant a 50% chance of getting stuck up a tree then id just have to try it real bloody commando type fishing this . But still to no avail and not even a touch of the fly I was seriously realising now that the fish were simply not having it today and ive had days like this before , in fact I remember fishing with Ernie firth on a midlands reservoir from a boat and sight casting to fish in shallow water in fact I was getting the fly right past there noses and they showed no interest at all it was like they were sleeping in fact at one point I had a big 20lb plus fish rise up from deeper water inches behind my fly ernie spotted it but what he didn’t spot was the fish underneath it that dwarfed the one following my fly at about 8 ft depth they both stopped and sank back down out of site , that is one vision that still haunts me to this day , im sure we have all had those moments before …..

so with the dying mins of the comp left we headed back to the sailing club and there met with the other competitors and it seems we wernt the only ones to struggle today I mean we had some of the best names in British pike fly fishing here today and everybody said it was tough but hey thats fishing for you , but it was great to take part make some money for a great cause and meet loads of new people and some old friends for some great banter .

My self and conan the fly destroyer decided to stay on till dark , as the comp finished at 3pm and there was an hour for the prize giving raffle and food so with the sunset hour upon us which we know can be a great time for predators we decided to throw a few around into dark but still we didnt do anything worth a try though.

so with heavy heart we called it a day and headed back north finally getting back to Scotland sometime just before dawn of course stopping at a motorway services for a burgerking im not quite sure what kind of voodo motorway burger magic makes you stop at 2am for an £8.00 burger but we did bloody tasty actually …...hey there’s always next year
I have to give a big shout out to the lads at and especially uncle greg and scalsey who really looked after everybody fishing the event boys your stars , well done on a cracking event see ya next year
 see ya next year frisby great venue not easy but great venue with some fantastic staff

oh and one last thing folks .

(this is the only one I could publish on a family friendly blog
the other pictures involved bananas and a face mask
next week me and the destroyer will be doing something completely different
take care and stay safe folks
(a cave in Scotland)