Friday 27 April 2012

zig rig my backside

 you know carp anglers in this country sometimes think they invented the wheel the latest craze in this country is a thing called a zig rig , i wont go into the rigs themselves but what you see below is a fly pure and simple its a fly mate , the reason I'm so bloody annoyed is that i had a rather heated "conversation" on a forum with a bivvy bandit who tried to tell me that the things in the pictures below were a specialist buoyant bait, Er no mate they are flies , he continued to bleat on about it until i sent him a link to an American forum where there was pictures of numerous flies like the ones below for carp , and crappies in fact i fished with small foam flies a couple of years ago on lake Champlain for crappies so don't try and tell me this is something brand new mate its a bloody fly end off zig rig my arse

so yet again rain has stopped play on the fishing , don't get me wrong i don't mind fishing in the rain and the odd shower but I'm really not taking a boat out when its going to be heavy rain all day without a break and an 18mph wind driving it into my face isn't my idea of fun to be honest even with the great water proofs i have and I'm really done with soggy sandwich's so I've sat down and whipped a few new ideas out

I'm still on my bloodworm trip for trout and coarse fish so i wanted to whip up a few new ones for the box , above is my box for this purpose everything i could need for coarse fish in one place and to be honest for the coarse fish this is really all i need , and of course its also very portable and i don't need to rummage around for stuff if I'm tying at work or in the living room

when i tie in the living room away from my main desk i tend to only take through what i really need and you can see from the picture above a video box with some foam a pair off scissors and I'm ready to go , i like doing this as it keeps me focused on doing one particular pattern when I'm at my desk ill think as I'm tying stuff mmmmmmm i could do this and that ill just try that and i end up doing 20 different patterns instead of 20 of the one pattern I'm sure you've all been there

so the picture below is where i chuck these little bloodworm's and its only a few Min's from my house and even if i don't catch what a fantastic place to fish I'm sure you'll agree although i cant even see me fishing this with the old 3wgt if the weather doesn't bloody improve and I've just heard that we are going the suffer the worst may weather for over 100 years i really hope there wrong as I'm going bloody stir crazy just now.
some new ideas

i was sitting a few weeks ago watching a video of a guy making a fantastic looking trout fly with a dubbing loop and i was fascinated at how he did it , he made this very cool trout fly using scrap material on his desk , well i thought about this and i just happened to have a few scraps of white and gliss and glint plus and some red angel hair so thought about it and decided to have a go with the dubbing loop and see what i could come up with. and the first try with the scraps produced this fly below not bad with scrap material if i say so myself and a good way to test a new method....

of course there is dubbing ropes ready made out there but there is a problem in the fact that there so bloody expensive there one company that does one dubbing brush (yes one in a pack) which cost around £2.00 UK for one, now excuse me nice as they are if i want to make half a dozen flies that's like £6.00 UK Er no thanks so find a way to make your own is pretty cool
with that in mind and the method working well i went for a gliss and glint plus matrial all the way through perfect for doing a big fly and well impressed with the final result and i worked out you could probably get at least a dozen flies out of a pack of gliss and glint and for a price of £2.69 a pack thats a whole lot better than £2.00 for one brush im sure youll agree
so we now come down to how to do it well ill probably do a step by step next week for it but youll probably get the idea from the pics below ill say now that you could use normal tying thread for this but the reason im using a thick cooper wire is to add some weight to the head this will aid the movement of the fly when you strip and pause it

so after tying in the back end i take a length of cooper wire and then fold it in half and tie the two loose ends onto the hook shank just in front of the tye in point of the back body piece, then you place lengths of fibre inside the loop a little at a time , keep adding small pieces of materials in then tease them out so you have something looking like the above (don't worry if that don't make sense ill do a proper step by step next week)
after you have wrapped it round you end up with something like above I've now tyed in a deercreek dumbbell type eye and I've now made another loop and tied it in , now you can get a view of the wire loop in all its glory , i found its easier to tye in shorter sections of the dubbing loop rather than one long on
I've teased the fibers back so there all facing the back , this is why you don't add to much material clump wise as your head would just be way to big , you then just wrap it round the shaft till you get to the hook eye , i did a quick figure of 8 around the eyes to fill them . so that's just a teaser ill do the full step by step next week enjoy
a quick heads up a friend and fellow tier rich who has started doing his own tying videos and you know its always good to feature other guys work because you never know even if you don't want to tye the fly you may pick up a really tasty tip or even get a new fly idea so click play and check it out

(a very wet cave in Scotland)

Friday 20 April 2012

its in the can

bloody weather
so last week didn't get off to the greatest starts i had arranged a trip with all round top geezer will Shaw from

its was to be a day filled with chucking big flies and will laughing at my casting efforts , will is also a casting instructor (and a bloody good one) in the Edinburgh area for details ,we have always said we would get a day out at some point together and as happens everything fell into place last week for us to get out on the water .
well that was until the weather decided to cock the whole thing up with rain , snow , thunder , lightning bolts , and the hand of weather doom but paid to that , so we rescheduled for today , today came and the weather yet again put another spanner in the works with rain forecast all day along with another not so friendly wind , so another date has been set and we will venture off again soon (weather pending) but hey that's fishing but i am really looking forward to my day with him .....
I've had very little time to do much fly tying due to the kids being off school with holidays so I've only managed to grab enough time to do just a few new patterns with the orange barred rabbit strip i got from
as my last blog post not really sure what i was going to do with it so i kinda just started by chucking a tail section in and that progressed to some marabou in front of that

well of course when i get to that point im just thinking subbug so orange subbug it was to be than so i set to work adding in the orange and yellow deer hair to form the head and once i had reached the eye i had a nice bunch to play with .
i love the trimming process its the stage where you really start to bring them to life i tend to trim them with short cuts that way i can get the shape i really want without risking over cutting and ultimately ruining the head shape take a bit of time but ultimately worth it to get the right head .......

so once the trimming is done your ready to seal the nose

ive started to use diamond hard uv to seal the whipping more and more as it seals it rock hard and no need to wait for the varnish to dry i know the purists will be dropping there custard creams in there cups of tea at the thought of this but we move on and adapt to new ideas in fly tying and this is just another step on that road , of course i shall still be using varnish everything has its place on my desk

adding a couple of eyes gives the bug that unique action that combined with the cut of the deer hair gives it that irresistible action that is uniquely subbug i love this tie and look forward to giving it a few chucks i think its going to raise some fish
so as i do sometime while i was doing the bug i had a thought that i should do one in the same colours but using the new dumbbell crystal eyes from the green eyes version are an ideal match for this colour i'm still in the playground with these eyes and there's loads more i can still do with them so watch this space

 the head shape on this one is different than normal subbugs as I've tied the eyes in nearer the hookeye leaving a longer hair on the top , just another idea im playing with regarding the noise deerhair makes when stripped again work in progress

of course i just had to make a bunnybug as well

team tango lined up and ready for action

and now for something compleately differnt

in amongst all my monster predator hooks bundles of 18 inch hair and assorted other stuff for our toothy friends i have a box , a box that's full of small hooks all sorts from lure hooks for rainbow trout to size 14s 16s 22s oh yes this is a strange box for a predator fly tier to have on his shelf , but the reason for it ain't so strange, as i also fish for coarse fish on the fly mainly roach in the early hours of summer mornings there a willy fish and can be frustratingly hard to catch , which to me makes them worth going for i don't like shooting fish in a barrel i like a challenge

its been a long time since ive had a really small hook in the vice and to be honest i do enjoy it after tying thousands of big predator flies , and once a year i stock up on my roach flies

 the pattern is a pretty basic bloodworm type pattern its about the only fly i every really use for roach if you don't know what a bloodworm is well A bloodworm is a group of bright red, segmented and aquatic annelids which are capable of growing to a maximum length of 37 centimetres. The worms are a common food source for tropical fish because they live in fresh water. Examples of blood worms are sludge worms, the marine proboscis worms and midge larva for my local canal and being in Scotland its the midge larva that we look at copying there really is millions of the things living in the mud and they are a great food source for the local roach, what do they look like below is a real one

a really strange little creature but a very valuable food source in mud filed holes , as i said it does make a very welcome change to every now and again stock the box up and ill spend a couple of hours doing a load of these and that will keep me stocked up for the year , strange thing is i don't know where last years lot has gone as i haven't lost any up trees ill probably find them in a random box somewhere .
but anyway here's my version of them and a fly that really any coarse fish would eat and it and does me well in fact its pretty much the only fly i used to use on coarse fisheries down south and love using them on the canals here , there's a few variations i tie on these and the ones pictured are tied on gold hooks , the reason for this is that sometimes the flash of the gold can give you the advantage and can make the roach hit hard , although on other days it can scare them and they wont go near them ,
i like to keep my options with these flies as i really don't know whats going to appeal to them hook wise on any given day, so usually what i do is fish a 3 fly rig (usually on a fish pimp yea yea i know its frowned upon) with each of the hooks being a different colour when this way when you start catching fish you'll know what hook they prefer and you can change the other 2 flies to the same hook , i know its not rocket science or a proven technique but it works for me and that's all that counts and its also great sport on a 3wgt .
these flies are just the easiest to make all you really need is a flat waxed red thread a single length of red crystal flash (that will do 6 flies) and some of deercreeks new diamond fine UV and that's pretty much it a fly that will catch you fish on any canal in the country
check the picture below and you'll see the difference to the usual type of flies i do for pike , i mean if you look hard enough you'll see the roach worm at the bottom above it is a normal 7 inch ken capsey natural tie and some really big babies above that including the monster muskie subbug at the top

back to the mean stuff
so this week what with the Easter holidays as i explained earlier Ive not had much chance to get at the vice but that will all change come Monday when wife goes back to university and i can get back into my routine , in the meantime i have managed to get some ken capsey (pike adventures/Vermont fly guys) inspired naturals together the fly above and below are the fruits of my labour


 brother ken
 you know over the years brother ken capsey (pikeadventures/Vermont fly guys)in the red hat has made me howl and made me laugh with some of the crazy shit he gets up to , but today brother ken did the best one yet

ya see brother ken now has an iPhone and after not speaking to him via skype video call for a few weeks i told him to get his arse into gear and sort the thing out well it took him another couple of weeks to get it out the box (he ain't the fastest fish in the river ) and another week to get it plugged in , well imagine my surprise when i was sitting doing my emails this morning and the skype video box pops up and its a call from ken , imagine my delighted face when not only do i realise that ken has got his skype working on the iPhone but he is actually sitting on the can while he speaking to me ......i cant remember the last time i laughed so much .
ken then stuck the phone on the dashboard and proceed to take me to work down the very familiar roads near his house and across the winooski river where not so long ago i had a fantastic session with the 4wgt wet wading for bass ahhh happy days , and the bonus i'm sitting here in Scotland and i'm going fishing with ken tonight all through the power of a video call , I'm actually impressed with the quality of the call so i think i may just have to go out and get one and take ken fishing here ................let the madness begin
tight lines
(a cave in Scotland)

Wednesday 11 April 2012

the eyes have it

online ordering
i do order a fair bit of stuff on line for tying and stuff both in the UK and the u.s.a so as i needed to order a few specific items i decided to google what i needed and order from the top of the google pile and see how they stood up -

the items i needed were nothing that would have to be especially ordered by the companys in question so they should be able to stick them in the next avalible post

first up i needed a specfic kind of hook and needed 100 of them so went with uk-hooks as this matched the search query and although you can get cheaper uk hooks does have a vast range and if you need more than one type of hook this is a great site

ordered 3rd April
emailed about my order 10th April
arrived -11th April
to be fair on this it turns out that the payment went to the site owners other personnel account and not his business account therefore he wasn't aware of the payment , this is down to a payment site clitch and not the site itself they were very quick and very helpful and replied within 30 Min's with the problem sorted , great customer service top marks and id happily use them again
i needed some magnum zonker strips so this time i went with simon over at pike shack , simon has a great little site for the pike fly fisher and i also have a link to him in the side bar of the blog so decided to order and see how the process went .

 i placed my order late in the evening on the 9th April and i had pretty much straight away a confirmation email of my order , next day i got the dispatch email. very efficient
ordered -9th april
arrived -11th april
stuff arrived very swifty and would happily use them again top marks
needed a few sakuma manta extras and unfortunatly the main sakuma website dosnt use paypal so i googled it and it came back with this company ,so i checked it out and they had what i wanted so i placed the order

ordered - 9th April
arrived - hasn't arrived as off 11th April (still early days yet) 
so with Easter upon us or just past by the time i post this i had some new product to play with from from the chaps over at deercreek so although my workload at work was quite heavy i will still have time to have a quick play
i don't usually dive straight in and tie something up as soon as I've received a product , i like to maybe sit for a bit and think about the best possible use and applications for what i have in front of me and so it was with these eyes and to be honest I've come up with a few great ideas for these as they are perfect pike size these dumbbell crystal eyes are fantastic

with these i started by thinking id make a standard bait fish pattern and the first thing i realised with using these after laying down the first bed of gliss and glint was that the completely eradicate the need to glue eyes on to the sides at the end of the process which if your doing a lot of flies is a major bonus

 the other thing i really love about these is that the gap in the middle is perfect for adding some weight in the form of lead wire or epoxy having that gap is also great for doing spun deerhair bait fish as you can get the hair right in there perfect

the first finished baitfish using the eyes oh hell yea like them i can see these being very popular , I'm thinking of also doing a dan blanton flash tail whistler type fly with these as well i think that will also work very well (the fly below id tied on a 6/0 gamakatsu)

the subbug application of the crystal dumbells
of course branched upon the use of these eyes for subbugs so here's how to do it , eye position is completely up to you but I've put them in after the first couple clumps of the spun deerhair , I've placed stalk the eyes are connected with as close as possible to the front of the last clump and tied in with a couple of turns of thread pretty much the same as applying dumbbells to clousers and the like

the front view after tying in , you could at this point add a lead wire if you wanted a bit of weight in between the eyes very easy to do.

place your bottom clump of deerhair in between the eyes and add a couple of loose turns of thread to hold it in place , then add in the top colour again between the eyes as you can see it fills the gap nicely just make sure you have a big enough clump to fill the gap

the gap filled , i usually add a little varnish or glue before i add the next piece because the subbugs are designed for pike and adding glue or varnish strengthens the thread and guards against teeth damage , it also means you get a longer fly life as well 

keep packing the deerhair in till you reach the hook eye you should have something that looks like the hairy unkempt beast below , your now ready for what i always find to be the best bit about subbugs which is bringing them to life with a bit off cutting and shaping

the head cut and shaped sub bug style the dumbbell crystal eyes fitting really tight and snug

the finished subbug in all her glory ready to fish , the body is made up from long bugger cape feathers , and bucktail and also has some orvis crystal flash built in , I'm really looking forward to fishing this one as it will ride on the surface darting back and forth left to right I'm sure its going to be a killer

as i was about to publish the above post i got a mail from nick over at deercreek showing a new product they have developed these are going to be on sale very soon and there will be a number of patterns including perch (below) wrasse and brown trout and go up to a fish busting pike and musky sized 32mm , i for one am very excited and cant wait to get my fishheadz , i will of course post as soon as they are available . in the meantime i give you the picture to drool at enjoy

greetings from the cave
(a cave in Scotland)

Friday 6 April 2012

voodoo sex magic

there i was sitting in my living room watching a programme about the Roswell UFO crash and bang as happens with me i get an idea for a fly and just have to go and do it there and then because if i don't ill probably forget the pattern so i dived on through to the cave and set to work on what will be know hence forth as the atomic rooster ,why well i was sitting at the vice after having made a couple i decided to have a coffee so while i was making the drink i thought mmmmmm what will be a good name for it .

 bang into my head for no apparent reason was the old 70s rock band atomic rooster  and the track "Devil's Answer" i have absolutely no idea why that came into my head but the strange thing was that when i went back to the cave i put the radio on and the second track played was "devils answer" now I've not heard that played on the radio for at least 15 years and yet here it was , now  I'm quite a sceptic  but I'm on a trip tomorrow and I'm thinking this is the fly I'm going to use its got to be a sign

the atomic rooster

 as flies go this is really giving me a boner as although i haven't fished it yet i know its  going to have a killer movement a mix of bugger hackles ,buck tail,crinkle flash and nayat hair and tied on a  6/0 gamakatsu ultra point hook and finished with red deercreek gator eyes and a tack free head

slightly different version with dumbbell eyes and I've replaced the the red buck tail the top end of a red marabou feather 

 and in black one of my favourite go get em colours just now , looking forward to throwing it around tomorrow.
my Friend Paul was passing through Edinburgh and he is a mad keen fly fisher and has caught some fine specimens where he lives the only down side is although Paul is a keen pike fly fisher  there  isn't actually any pike where he lives as Paul live on an island called Shetland which is pretty much the end of the world but a stunningly beautiful place and if your a lover of trout well theres 500 odd lochs to wet your fly but none to good for the pike fisher

 so it was my pleasure to be able to take Paul out for the day after the razor gang on the fly , Paul was travelling light so i offered to bring lunch and drinks and anything else he needed , so we arranged to meet at mine at 5.30 am giving us plenty of time to get to the venue and giving Paul the maximum amount of time on the water before he had to leave .
Paul had booked into a hotel 20mins from my house close to Edinburgh airport and an easy enough run to mine so haven given given Paul my address and post code for the sat nav i headed to bed ready for an early start ,
i awoke at 4.29 just before the alarm went off and headed to the kitchen for a coffee and to make the sandwich's for the day , id planted to be outside my house at 5.15 am just in case Paul was early well turn out Paul's sat nav had other ideas

mmmmmm no Paul that's not my street

to save embarrassment to Paul and his sat nav that doesn't know where its going Paul arrived at my house at 7.30 am after taking a very long round trip via the coastline of Edinburgh much to my amusement Paul arrived suitable stressed out and apologetic but as i said no need to apologise these things happen

and so to the water

with the weather being so hot last week i had suspected that the fish may go into spawning mode at any time but it was still worth a cast just in case they wernt , we had had a couple of days of cold weather and a covering of snow and to be honest all that cold water wasn't going to make it easy for us that for sure , but sometimes you just have to fish when you can  and not when you'd like and Paul coming from and island with no pike well i was going to pull all the stops out and try and get him fish in the boat no matter what.

the mobile cave

when i boat fish i tend to have all the all the flies i want or may use on a massive foam patch inside the lid of my box this enables me to get a fly change very quickly i also get a buzz out of seeing the jaws of trout anglers drop open when i open the box in front of them "what on earth are they for they often ask" big trout i always reply i know you should extract the urine from these old game fishers but sometime i just can help myself .

so we fished in my usual haunts and we fished very hard after the first couple of hours i had that terrible feeling that it just wasn't going to happen today usually within the first hour i have a fish in the boat or a least a follow or turn on the fly so far there wasn't even a pluck at a fly , the only thing we could do was carry on casting and off course if all Else fails stick a subbug on 
 we carried on drifting the bay an a sure and steady pattern covering a lot of water when we reached the end of the drift i would take up the oars and row back up to the top of the drift and fish back down in a different lane this has always been a long favourite method of mine as you can cover a lot of water . Paul would cast out and troll the fly behind the boat till we get back to the top of the drift , he'd also opted for a change of fly and he stuck on one of my mcrattletail whistlers for the row back up .
just as well he did really as he picked up what was to be the only fish of the day and thankfully it fell to Paul's rod (i told him i was going to get him a fish today) only a small jack but on a day like this any fish is welcome , the one thing we did notice is that this little jack was full of eggs and although not yet spawned it was a sure sign that love indeed was in the air .

after this we continued to fish as the predicated cloud cover arrived which meant that hopefully the fish would turn on if it was going to happen then it would be from now , i did have a couple of fish follow and turn away half hearted at the boat which always gets the blood pumping 

i decided to change over to one of my favourite flies a black subbug fished on an intermediate line and on authanic wire for maximum movement , as you can see the black subbug looks really like a bait fish in the water how could a fish resist (today quite easily)

by late afternoon the sun had come back out and the snow clad hills had started to show there colour as the snow started to melt releasing lots more lovely freezing cold water into to loch what we needed mmmmm not oh well at least i was getting to try out lots of new flies for movement and shape in the water and i got a follow on one of the new patterns so that to me was all good .

i decided that in order to give Paul every possibility and the best possible chance of catching a fish id put my rod down and take up the oars and row very slowly right around the the edges of the bay letting him cast into the bankside cover that runs all the way round the bay this way he would be able to cover a lot of water and the best possible places to get a fish

after an hour or so of rowing around the edges back and forth we decided with heavy heart that indeed it just wasn't going to happen today so we set off back to base , but although the mission wasn't completely unsuccessfully in the fact that id said i would get him a pike today  which i did although not quite the fearsome beast of the deep a pike is a pike , but i must say Paul was great company and the day passed very quickly and i really look forward to fishing with him again soon the next time he escapes the island 

Paul is also a very talented artist
i really like Paul's work if your interested in seeing some more of his work or your looking for a new piece of artwork for the lodge please take a look at his website you wont be disappointed

a big apology goes out to Friend Brian price over at Vermont fly guys , last time i was over there i borrowed a spool of fluro while out chasing fish , I've just discovered the spool stuck in a pocket of my waist coat , Brian has since forgiven me for my sins and told me to hang on to the spool , i shall of course take him a tin of haggis next time I'm over there by way of apology ......
a fantastic promotion offer
the guys over at are offering a free spool of authanic wire if you spend £25.00 now its very easy to spend that on the site so get on over there and pick up a spool of the greatest development in pike fly fishing

OK so I've received some fantastic new stuff from the chaps over at so ill be playing with this and my next post will have a few new ideas for you to think about
till then have a great weekend
(a cave in scotland