Friday 24 June 2011

friday fly cook and other fishy storys


"its a perch Jim but not as we know it"

hook - bloody sharp

body - white shinny synthetic stuff

back - olive shinny synthetic stuff

yellow red and black bits - super dooper perm marker

eyes deer creeks super dooper real life ones

OK so my trip yesterday evening was to really get a hard fighting fish to test the drag of my newly purchased piketrek fly reel (see yesterdays post) so here it is rigged and ready to go i was determined to test this to the limit ...

the loch has a micro climate of its own i kid you not as we drove there it was a beautiful evening when we got there it was spitting a bit of rain by the time we loaded the boat and headed out as you can see it was pouring down so it was hoods up and tough it out .

5 minutes later and the picture below shows just how much of a micro climate it is crazy place , i half expected snow 5 Min's later but the sun stayed out and the wind picked up again but you can normally find a sheltered spot although tonight the wind wasn't bad enough to head for cover , and as the evening drew on we knew it would probably die down completely

we fished for around an hour before i hit into a fairly reasonable jack pike that put up a right account for itself and really did test the drag system these fish really do pull hard and just don't give up i tightened the drag almost to the limit and the rod doubled and the drag did exactly as it says on the time i must say i was bloody impressed , of course ultimately longevity is the thing with drag systems and i plan on using it quite a lot

thing had slowed down quite a bit after another downpour so i decided to switch over to a bigger flashy pattern in the hope of just getting a fish annoyed enough to snap at the fly even though it wasn't particularly interested in a meal but sometimes if you keep casting in the same area you'll no doubt annoy something enough that it want to play hard fish ....


well in this case it was a rainbow trout that got annoyed with this crazy ass ed big shinny thing that was in its mud hole and it promptly attached itself to my hook ,again these fish in this loch are fin perfect fighting speed machines and even though this one was only 4 or 5 pounds it really went for it , funnily enough it threw up a very long spine so had obviously been feeding on other fish although i don't know what as there was no skin left on the bones obviously i had the encounter with the big ferrox the other day and obviously the fish in here seem to be taking a liking to smaller fish perfect for the predator fly angler ...........

we decided to head over to an area that has some weed on the surface and fish around that , both of us have had fish from this area before so we set up and i cast a line and it fell a bit short of where i wanted it , i.e inch's in front of the weed bed so i stripped back (slowly) just in case and then recast , unfortunately i missed judged the cast and overshot the mark and ended up right in the middle of the weed bed , bugger stuck fast .

i did however think i may be able to point the rod at it and pull it out i applied steady pressure and the crack the running line parted from the head section oh FFS we had no choice but to motor over and retrieve it by hand , the fly was stuck in a top weed so grabbed it and retrieved it funnily enough it actually broke behind the joint so still fixable because believe it or not i only lost a few inch's of the running line .....

OK so that was somewhat unfortunate but hey it happens , so i changed reel (remember the spare spool thing i was talking about yesterday) so i loaded up an airflo t7 with a Rio striped bass intermediate and chucked on a perch pattern (seen that before somewhere) made from sf fibre and slink n flash and tied on a gamakatsu sl 6/0 , so while i was messing around with that we decided to head for another area with slightly deeper water

we hit the spot and threw the anchor out and started to cast the first cast i had a couple of tugs which was encouraging but nothing solid so i decided to switch down to a smaller fly (the perch is fairly big) i decided that it it may be smaller jacks nipping at the tail end so i went down to my version of a Dan blantons flashtail whistler , i clipped it on and fired out a long line , just as i did i heard a splash at the side of the boat i looked down and then realised that it was my reel spool the frame was still on the rod , oh really give me a break 2 major f**k ups in a day .


as you can see from the picture below my backing showed the way to where my line was , i cursed a couple of times and Stevie said to me "hope you've tied the backing on" well i always do that but as soon as Stevie said it i though shit did i tie the backing on well after 5 Min's of carefully pulling up the backing by hand i felt weight and it stayed till i got it back in the boat i had done what i normally do and tied the backing to the reel what had happened well i hadn't tightened the locking nut down properly , the first cast had loosened it the second had made it come off, that's a lesson well learned ........

so with that i was surely due a little luck so i whacked the fly out again and was rewarded with a small jack , oh well looks like my theory was right and it was just small fish in the corner , with that we up sticks and headed back to the most productive area of the loch to see if we could prise a few more out before sunset , sometimes its worth taking a chance this time it didn't work in our favour but do the same thing again the next day and you could hit gold that's fishing for you

so another area and the wind has died done a lot so we fire the fly back out , Stevie my boat partner has a couple of follows from small fish i decided to take thing a bit easier so i sat on my butt and took a couple of easy casts counting the line down to explore different depths as i sat in the zone counting down i felt a whack on the back of the head Stevie had cocked up a cast and got me a cracker if i wasn't sitting down i would have got it in the butt ...ouch

so will no fish for a few hours (don't you just hate those quite periods) we decided to hit a few spots but to no avail we decided to give it till 9 pm (about an hours fishing time left) and Stevie also suggested that we hit an area that we hadn't fished before , so we hit the spot and bang second cast in a channel between the weeds i hooked up what would be my last fish of the day a feisty spirited beastie it was as well.........happy days

and so with the setting sun that was it another trip under the belt

stay tuned for some great adventures and again if your heading out be safe , and tell somebody where your going and what time you'll be back it does make a difference


(a cave in Scotland)

Wednesday 22 June 2011

the tug is the drug

i received today an awesome new reel (yes i paid for it) from the lads at piketrek the guys there really know there stuff , and when i was told there was a new purpose built fly reel coming into there stable i knew it would be a good quality and great value product and i wasn't disappointed when i took the plunge and got one and the one thing that struck me straight away was how light the thing was , i have flies that weigh more , well OK maybe not but it did feel incredible light maybe it would heavy up a bit when i go some line on it

so i loaded the reel up with a Rio outbound short (intermediate line) and despite the spool looking quite shallow it took it and the running line and some backing with space to spare i was impressed , what i was also impressed with was the fact it was still lighter than my airflo t7 10/11 which has been my workhorse reels for many years in fact even with the line on it was still lighter than the airflo without a line on very pleasantly surprised .

the other thing i liked was that the drag was similar to the airflo in the fact that its an easy to operate size not small and fiddly its pretty much the same size as the one on the airflo I've set the drag to a few different setting and tied my fly line to my son and got him to walk gently up the garden and I'm very impressed with the smoothness of it and to be honest it felt like i was using the t7 drag the reel itself uses aircraft grade aluminum and can take up to an 11 or even a 12 wgt line , this without doubt is a serious bit of kit and blows a lot of similar priced reels out of the water , the only down side for me is that there is no spare spools available for it , but this is being worked on , fantastic bit of kit

so i headed off last week and was having a lovely fish when we decided to go into to the lodge for a cuppa and a leg stretch , and got to chatting to the owner about flies and stuff and he mentioned he would like a big perch fly hmmmm hang on Ive got a few ill go get one for you , so i trotted off down to the boat to get one and he was suitable impressed and asked me to do 10 for him absolutely no problem here's the shoal ready for him

so having done perch patterns for my client i then sat down to check some emails when skype started singing its song , it was Friend and super Vermont fly guide drew price from guide service now I've been having a few skype problems so it was good to catch up with him and get some inside fly info and what he was telling me was go heavy go flies that get down to the bottom in amongst the ambush points for the preds .

well red rag to a bull and i went with a big yellow perch pattern you see below , yellow perch are pretty much the same as our European perch except there yellow and they also but up quite a fight on a 6wgt so i came up with the fly below , what I've done is tied big dumbbell eyes underneath where the eyes are so the provide the weight and are quite hidden , the eyes are big because sometimes i think they make a great strike point for predators , although this theory is totally unproved and there camps for both arguments there , anyway I've finished off with a coat of UV resin around the head this gives a fantastic overall shape in the water and also helps with the action

still doing some prep for my up coming USA jaunt and i did OK on yellow and black flies for smallies last year so tying up a few more just to top the box up , i have a better idea of what i need for this year so i wont be taking as many flies , besides i can always tie up at kens if i have a flash of inspiration cheers brother

these are tied on tiemco tmc811s i was turned onto these by ken over at pike adventures great hook for small bait fish or clousers and very sharp

see you all soon and wherever you are cast safe


(a cave in Scotland)

Friday 17 June 2011

nice dental work

so finally i get a few days of work and by good fortune friend and fishing buddy Stevie was of as well , so we decide to hit a local water , the alarm was set for and i even had an early night , unfortunately i had some horrible heart palpitations at 3.30 am which menu i couldn't get back to sleep (probably the excitement of the trip) so i was well ready for when Stevie turned up .

its really a crazy place to fish this , it can be bright sunshine 5 Min's away from here yet the loch itself could be having its own snow storm crazy place with its own micro climate but still beautiful peaceful place to fish

so having set up the rods and managed to not break anything and stick bits of rods in our hands we set off , my plan for the day was to use an intermediate line and large light flies so i could search the water at various depths the main depths we would be fishing would be around the 4 to 12 foot range the bottom is pretty uniform with nothing much in the way of features so we started by just drifting slowly for a while we started in around 5 foot with the water fairly cloudy and within a few casts id hooked the first of the day , and man did it go bloody thing was on steroids and just did not give up plenty of aerial aerobics from a very annoyed predator great fun

first of the day always a good feeling that after that 1st fish even if you don't catch another at least you haven't blanked

so we fished around for a bit and fishing partner Stevie also had another hard fighting fish which put a smile on his face , we fished around for a while with only the odd pull and dropped fish , we then decided to anchor up in various spots for the rest of the day , sometimes it better to anchor up and fish an area for 20 Min's then move a bit and anchor up again and fish around the boat this way i believe you cover way more fish than drifting , sometimes you can cover the same fish 3 or for times while anchored and then it while hit your fly on the next cast if your drifting your covering a fair bit of water but are you missing fish only my view .

nice dental work

its interesting to note that we were catching fish and getting nips on the fly when the sun came out as soon as the sun went and it got cold the fish stopped but i noticed there was more trout rising as the sun went behind clouds , but on other days i know Stevie has caught fish when its been raining up there (who knows why i suppose that's why it keeps us on our toes) but we didn't when it rained this time funny old place ,

saber power

so the sun came out and a change of fly (id been fishing big flashy patterns) i decided on a smaller blantons flashtail whistler just to fish that bit deeper well first cast and i had a fairly fast retrieve and i had a quick nip at the fly as it was around halfway back , i cast out past the same area again and f**k me i had a follow from the biggest brown trout id ever seen this thing was a huge ferrox it turned right at the boat and i got a good look at it just under the surface i swear this thing was the size of a 25+ lb salmon only a lot deeper this thing didn't get that size by eating bloody buzzers that's for sure i was quite shocked at the sheer size of it and trust me I've seen a lot of trout and salmon growing up on the river tweed this thing was a monster ....

after i had calmed down we continued in the same area and i managed another one on the whistler

this was to be my last of the day despite a couple of missed fish , Stevie however managed to catch a mad rainbow trout i think the fish thing the flues are minnows or sticklebacks or something , i don't catch a lot of rainbows fly fishing but Stevie does and this fish was absolutely nuts and gave him a good run for his money
so altogether i had 5 hard fighting crazy pike to the boat i think Stevie had 6 and the rainbow not a bad day out , OK no big girls showed but big fish for me isn't what its all about those fish in the 6 to 10 lb range really give you a fantastic fight and to be honest id rather catch fish like that all day and if a big girl comes along then that's just the luck of fishing its just good to be getting out there doing it with great company ............till next time I'm happy


its the dogs danglers

i did a review of this wire a while ago and put it through its paces with knots etc , well yesterday i put it through its paces with toothy fish well after half a dozen fish the wire was still like new ,not a mark on it and ready to fish again , this stuff is quite incredible it ties just like tying up a soft braid I'm a total convert to it . OK you may say its bloody expensive but here's a few facts

5m = 16 feet

OK so if you use a trace of 12 inches that's 16 traces ,so that works out at around 62.5 pence (around $1.21) per trace , so that's just over 5 UK pence (8 cents) per inch of wire , so if you say need to chance the first inch of your trace after 30 fish (going on reports) that's 30 fish per 6 inches of trace = 180 fish per trace (presuming your going to say i wouldn't fish with less than 6 inches of trace)

so that's 1080 fish per £10.00 ($16.12 us ) 5 meter spool
tell me that ain't great value for money

of course there's a lot of variables on this but i guess you see where I'm coming from go get some and see the difference click the picture above they also do 10 meter spools but you need to mail em ....



big go get em to buddy's ken and Brian who are fishing the lci out on Champlain this weekend , the big difference is that ken and Brian are going to be doing it with the fly rods when most will be chucking plastic go get em boys cant wait to see how ya do

so hope you all have a good weekend if your out and about hope you get a few


(a cave in scotland)

Wednesday 15 June 2011

3 day weekend

i work hard sometimes i think i work too bloody hard so now the summers here threes a lot of groups at my work who have finished for summer so that means I've been presented with a few days off , which let me tell ya is like gold dust , so I've grabbed the opportunity and am heading out in the big blue yonder and wet some fluff and let me tell ya I'm bloody glad of the opportunity to get out

so the patterns ill be using will be pretty limited as if i cant hook up on these then i may as well go home , perch patterns and red and white flashy patterns should pretty much cover it

with that in mind I've actually managed to reduce my boat box by half as well all I've really done is shifted a few flies into different boxes and some of the smaller patterns i don't really need for this trip , so I've cut back on loads , i do like to cover all my bases on trips and like to have the right pattern for what ever the water throws up i mean if i see a load of roach taking to the air with a predator in tow I'm more likely to switch over to a flashy pattern fish just below the surface than a deep fished clouser if you see what i mean , so i like to have all the bases covered .

when i do big flash flies i pretty much always used flashabou because that was it , that's what you used for these flies , but although there is no doubt these flies catch fish but the down side is that they don't last very long with predators teeth . I'm now thankfully to say i don't do that many with flashbou these days due to the massive range of synthetic flashy materials out there you can now tie something just as good if not identical to these flies but the fly will last 3 or four time longer and the new synthetic flash materials are cheaper than flashabou so for the regular angler its way better value .

the 2 flies above are very different in there main body material the top flies body is made from flashabou the bottom is made from spectrum flash fibre in silver now i think a few things here

1-you get a better body shape (both are tied in the same way)

2- the spectrum lasts at least 4 times longer in action

3- its a lot bloody cheaper than flashabou

4-its easier to tie spectrum
5-spectrum retains a better shape in the water

of course I'm not saying ill never use it again everything has its place and if your happy in using what your using then you wont want to change but all I'm saying is give it a try , i seem to have gone off on a tangent there yes I'm still going fishing.

it has to be said i do carry quite a few perch patterns in various shades , colours , and sizes and i just cant help making them and off course in Scotland threes usually perch in most pike waters so always a good plan to have a few .........

so hopefully unlike last time ill get out and the weather will be good this time unlike the hurricane the disposed of the last trip here's hoping


(a cave in Scotland)

Sunday 12 June 2011

125 not out

let me tell ya a story , i went over and fished with ken at pike adventures last year and it was a blast , most of the time we were on the water like 4am and off by midday simply because of the heat so that left us the afternoon to drink beer and dick around tying flies , the fly below was the first i tied for ken showing him a method of tying with ep fibre of course i gave him the fly and here it is below in a picture from a skype call yesterday 13 months after i had tied it .

so whats so special about it , well ill tell you what , the fly above rocks big style not only has it caught fish let me tell you this fly has caught caught ken 125 fish yes 125 fish on one fly and its still good to fish the hooks still sharp and it was still pulling them in yesterday , tell me that's not the dogs bollocks or what , well that's the quality you get when dealing with people who know what there doing that Mr f mill of course you don't want them to last because people wont need to keep buying them , trust me folks go local go cottage industry for your flies its the only way ......oh please don't mail me i don't tie commercially anymore but i will put you onto some trusted fellow fly fishers if you need some doing

so when i get there in July ill be tying another for him and this one will be going into retirement in a frame that is of course as long as the daft redneck don't put it up a tree or something

e.p bait fish on a 4/0 manta

crap picture but I'm at work so it will have to do , this is one of many bait fish I'm tying up just now for the VT trip , these things will catch anything that feeds on small fish but I'm mainly wanting them for the pickerel ill be spending a day chasing

of course when chasing pike and predators its always worth having a few natural match the hatch patterns to play with if things get tough so the natural bait fish becomes a yellow perch with the aid of a few marker pens

so the picture below shows 4 ep bait fish the top two are just white body's with a mullet 3d fibre as the back colour the 2 below are the same pattern but with pen added just goes to show how you can completely change a flys look just by adding some colour or stripes , you get a whole different look no doubt a few more will appear over the next week or so

well with my last trip cancelled because of the weather I'm happy to say i got a rare day off work this week so I'm going to be putting some fly in the water , its a hard job sometimes balancing stuff i had to work crazy long hours last month to pay for the flight and this month I'm doing the same to pay for the tons of cosmetics and stuff to bring home for the wife and kids oh and maybe some bit and bobs from troutfitters .............:-)

laters brothers and sisters of the fluff
(a cave in Scotland)

Wednesday 8 June 2011

a weeks gone where

I'm quite astounded to be honest , i really don't know where this week has gone , i have been kinda busy at work and managing to get a few flies prepped for my USA jaunt , in fact I've just stopped of in orvis on my way to work as i needed some more of my favorite hooks (when I'm feeling rich) the gamakatsu sl12s its just an outstanding hook for some patterns end of , so ill be getting some musky flies tied tomorrow

muskies in lake Champlain have a chequered history and much to long to be going on about here if your interested in the history of the Champlain muskies and the ongoing work carry on reading if not skip down to the fly pic
Missisquoi River Muskie Restoration is Underway
WATERBURY, VT – The muskellunge, a famed and highly-prized sport fish, may once again establish residency in the Missisquoi River, thanks to cooperative efforts yesterday by the states of New York and Vermont. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department gave its recently-established muskie restoration effort a boost Tuesday when it stocked 250 four-month old muskellunge in the Missisquoi River Delta. The fish were donated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The muskellunge is a unique Vermont natural heritage species. Lake Champlain and the Missisquoi River are the only locations in New England that historically had a native muskellunge population. Local people, especially residents of Swanton and people of Abenaki descent can remember stories of their ancestors fishing for and catching big muskies in the area.

Muskellunge were native to Lake Champlain’s Missisquoi River and Missisquoi Bay but the population that last existed upstream of the Swanton Dam was apparently lost in the late 1970s following a chemical spill that occurred on the upper river.

“The muskellunge has a unique role as Lake Champlain’s apex aquatic predator among the lake’s fishes,” said Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Wayne Laroche. “It also was important historically on the lower Missisquoi River as an almost mythical large fish that was present but very difficult to catch.”

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department recently completed a genetic assessment of a very small number of muskellunge caught since 2005 in the Lake Champlain Basin.

“In the last couple years, anglers have reported catching an occasional muskie in the lower Missisquoi River and Missisquoi Bay,” said Shawn Good, Chair of the department’s Muskellunge Team, and the fisheries biologist leading the restoration efforts. “Through a very successful outreach effort, we were able to work with local anglers and taxidermists in the Swanton area and obtain tissue samples from a number of these incidental muskie catches. Genetic analysis of these tissue samples reveal the muskellunge anglers have been catching in the area are not from the original native strain.”

“The muskie that anglers have been catching in the Missisquoi came from the Great Chazy River in New York, as their genetic makeup is identical to the Lake Chautauqua-strain muskie the NYDEC have stocked there for many years,” said Good.

Good says they now know some of those fish make their way down the Chazy and out into Lake Champlain to the Missisquoi Bay and River.

There are also a small number of muskellunge in Otter Creek. These fish originated from Pennsylvania following a Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department stocking effort more than 20 years ago.

The department’s genetic work also showed that the state record muskellunge, a 38.22 lb. fish caught in the Missisquoi River in September of 2005 by Chris Beebe, came from fish stocked by the State of New York in the Chazy River.

Source: Department of Fish and Wildlife
i myself have spent the past 6 or so months of this year researching locations and fly types colours etc , so when i hit the ground in the states in July myself and ken will have a bit of a head start on tracking down these elusive VT predators and we will be spending at least a couple of days chasing them , they ain't called the fish of a thousand casts for nothing , OK so your thinking nearly 5000 miles dude you crazy , well no not really you see there is always by catch while fishing for them , bass , northerns etc so I'm happy to go hunting and I'm there for 2 weeks so its all good

a musky fly yesterday refused to give a statement

make no mistake this is a big fly a fly that really gives em something to chew on complete with epoxy head top give it a very slow sink and draw action , i know the colour is right i can feel it in my bones

to give an idea of size the fly is laid on a dinner plate next to a knife and fork i guess you get the picture when i say I'm not messing about with small flies on this one and this colour combo has already landed musky via a Friend i dropped a few to last year so I'm halfway there but hey nothing is certain in fishing they may want something completely different but that's the fun of it
another one of my targets is smallmouths ,now i have to admit that i find these fish the kamikazes of the fish world , they really don't give up ever and they fight like stink brilliant fish . the bigger ones i caught last year all took smaller ep bait fish patterns so i reckon the same type of fly but done in gliss n glint plus will really have them hanging of the hook this is one part of the trip that I'm really looking forward to got to love those smallies

of course no trip to the land of big burger and would you like to super size your fries sir would complete without chasing some large mouth bass on the surface that really does get ya going , bloop bloop bloop WALLOP bucket mouths are cool to catch , even when you don't hook em its still a blast although how they manage not to get hooked is beyond yours truly maybe I'm missing something but i did land plenty last time and learnt a few tricks .

I've decide to give them a super sized surface snack (below) made by a great new method , that i showed ken over at pike adventures on skype video and he was like oh very cool method as it involves rattles and a few other key ingredients which I'm not going to go into as its going to be the winning fly on the ditch pickle (sorry Brian) this fly is really a mover and a shaker and yes Brian ill leave ya a few fella but till after the pickle ...............

so with that I'm buggering of to play with some more materials

later folks


(a cave in Scotland)

Friday 3 June 2011

friday fly cook

a tasty predator treat

overall length 7 inch's
hook- 6/0 oshaugnassy (piketrek)
thread - clear mono (piketrek)

eyes - 8mm gator eyes (deercreek)

belly - white slink n flash

back - olive sf fibre

inner core - red ep fibre (any synthetic can be used)

Wednesday 1 June 2011

bowfins in july

ive just booked my flights for my trip to the usa in july

this is what im going on

chasing species like bowfin on the fly

they have a mouth full of hardware and one things for sure with a mouthfull like that

i wont be holding it like this

back to the vice i need stronger hooks