Monday 30 July 2012

time for a rant

Ok im going to get this out the way first because it’s top of my what a complete doughnut list and this kind of thing really pisses me off an ultimately damages the image of our sport, if you don’t want to read this then skip this section.

I was browsing the net looking at pike flies (yea sad I know) and I came across this picture below what a disgraceful way to treat a fish , my first thoughts were obviously a trout angler who knows no better but then I was shocked to follow the link to of all things a match angling website that had an article on pike fly fishing now I’m sorry but I can’t think of anything worse that a pike fly fishing article written by a trout fisherman for a match angling website , for one they hate pike with a vengeance and usually knock em on the head , I was intrigued by why on earth this had appeared on this website, so eager to see if I could learn anything from this idiot I followed the link to the full article Jesus I wish I hadn’t  

Now as anyone knows I sell pike flies now and again and to be honest I really don’t care where you get your flies from if you do indeed buy them there are some fantastic guys out there tying flies and there is some absolute garbage out there that falls apart after a couple of fish that are made by trout company’s in Africa (hello arkwrights mill) in fact these things are probably designed to fall apart as Mr corporate fly company wants you to keep buying them I mean come on people what does the guy in a hut in Africa know about pike , I’ll tell ya jack crap that’s what , and this leads  me nicely back to this bone head and his article because then I found this picture
Ok so even the entry level pike fly fisher will have done some digging around on the internet for information on how to rig up pike flies or even asked in a forum somewhere out there in internet land I mean if your embarrassed about asking these kind of questions you can sign up using a fake name and folks are usually very forthcoming in the fly fishing world when it comes to helping newbies out , so really there’s no excuse for the dogs breakfast rig above as anybody would have told him the correct connection to use .
What this jackass has done is simply not bothered his backside and just thought “dhu that looks right” when in fact the clip above will fail at some point that’s 100% certain any kind of pressure from a decent or even smaller jack will just pull this open and hey presto Einstein you’ve got a pike swimming around with a new piece of jewellery even worse if it has taken it deep down unbelievable that this guy is also pluggin his own made in Africa cheap garbage pike flies.
No don’t get me wrong I really don’t care where you get your pike flies from all I’m concerned about is not getting a bum deal from, A-flies that fall apart after a fish , B – getting them from people who know jack about the species as Cleary this nut sack doesn’t know anything about pike or predators so please be carefull out there and don’t listen to some of the tripe that’s written out there especially from this village idiot ,
Now clearly I can’t name companies due to legal reasons but please be very careful when you buy fliesonline . Please feel free to share that picture at the top it’s a disgrace and it’s most defiantly not a pike flyfisher
And so to fishing I had a day out with wonderful fishing buddy and fellow heavy metal nut job conan last week, we have been on about fishing together for a while now and he was very keen to catch his first pike on the fly so I was more than happy to help him out and we finally got out on the water on a fine but somewhat windy day and as luck would have it, it was blowing in completely the direction I didnt want it to but I thought we would still give it a shot and if all else failed I had a secret weapon to try , so the boat was loaded up and we headed to a couple of spots that I knew he would get a fish or two and get him over to the dark side
No sooner had we done a couple of drifts conan was into his first pike on the fly and you can tell by the look on his face he was somewhat impressed at the fighting abilities of these fish even small fish give you a good fight I think he can now see what I was banging on about conan new pb pike 7lb ……that’s another one converted then see ya next week pal
A new spot to try time I think , we had 13 fish to the boat so I wanted to rest the area for a bit so I decided to try a shallow area that leads into a drop off , always a good feature when pike fishing so we headed of and found the spot I wanted , I changed the fly over to a big natural ken capsey tallywacker design although mine had a loose spun deerhair head this thing looks awesome in the water and really creates a whole loada noise and perfect on a slow intermediate line over shallow water   
I tried this fly for a while but seems like they weren’t having it with the big flies so it was back onto the small gliss and glint patterns , strange this place they seem to prefer tiny flies as straight away I had a follow , ok you could argue that the fish was already in area after seeing the big fly swanning about just under the surface but I just think they like smaller patterns here , probably due to the number of sticklebacks in the place that they gorge themselves on who knows that’s fishing nice spot though will try it again , so by the end of the day we had 13 fish in the boat and maybe 30 plus follows to the side of the boat , conan was impressed and converted to this style of fishing , I suspect I may have unleashed a beast there as he left my house he was mumbling about hooks and materials all in all a great day in great company
So here’s the little fish catching machine they were all going crazy for nothing complicated just a small around 4 inches long (small by pike fly standards) well if that’s what was catching them well that’s what I’m going to use, if you haven’t used gliss and glint plus before it’s like sf fiber but a lot softer and I believe more movement than sf , I still use sf now and again and im certainly not discounting it as a material but for my needs deercreeks gliss and glint plus suits me a lot better and to be honest I’ve had more success with it than sf with the predators 
A thorny topic of debate times 2
Ok so just to get the cat amongst the pigeons and purists spitting there breakfasts all over there screens here’s a thing I do when I’m going from one area to another I stick out a trolling fly yes I know I know it bears little resemblance to any kind of living creature but it works ,
What I do is have a spare rod set up with an intermediate line and a trolling fly then I set off to my next location I can slowly drag this behind the boat and a lot of the time I will pick up bonus fish now this sometimes can make the difference between blanking or not and I would rather catch something even if it is a bonus fish on one of these things.
Now ok so not technically fly fishing as a point of order the method is quite simple once under way a few casts to launch the thing sideways away from the boat (not out the back)and strip a good length of your main fly line off . Almost down to the backing then the line will be taken up by the speed of the motor (2 in an electric) and will hoover a few feet of the bottom in 10 ft of water right out the back of the boat, the faster you go the shallower the fly will run the slower the deeper it will run, always have your rod pointing at the fly and your drag set so it’s not going pull the rod from your hand when you get a hit , by doing it this way your other hand can control the outboard so when you do get a strike you can kill the engine and hit the fish in a split second although with circle hooks the fish hook themselves anyway.
*I think this is quite a valid way to catch fish on a fly rod although somewhat unorthodox a method
Debate times 2
Circle hooks yup circle hooks I really don’t understand why more anglers don’t use them for predator flies in this country I mean ultimately they are the most fish friendly hook out there and that’s what we want minimal damage to our prey so I find the lack of use of circle quite surprising, I think the main reason is they don’t look like a “proper hook” in fact fast flies had to give a guy a refund because he said the hook point was bent and simply wouldn’t accept that was the design of the hook , he was even directed to a video explaining the use of the hook but he still insisted that it was a dodgy hook ,
I use circle hooks quite a lot and find they make fantastic fly hooks but it’s going to take a while to change people’s opinions but take a look at the pictures where is the hook position is I have found that this is pretty much standard when hooking fish and isn’t that what you want every time a clean hooked fish that can be realised very quickly and without damage.
Circle hooks come in loads of sizes and various wires from lightweight to the heavy tuna circles (too heavy for pike flies) and the picture below you can see there is enough shank to get enough material on, you know all those times when a fish throws the hook well this hook considerably cuts that lost fish total by a very large margin.

The only down side I found was that they are not really suited to traditional fly boxes and are better in compartment boxes , but this is only a small problem and most people can fit a compartment box in their bags or boxes  give them a try I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised

Diamond hard uv completely tack free still amazes me how good this stuff is, if of course you want something that is still tacky after curing please Google bug bond  
See ya on the water
(Doing it longer than some people have been on the planet in a cave in Scotland)

Friday 20 July 2012

get some

Another great material part 2
Ok so last week I was warbling on somewhat about a very very new material “micro tinsel” well of course the proof of any new material is in the catching, and a friend of mine (ill not say his name in case he gets embarrassed) was heading sea fishing , so I said pop by and ill tie you a few up to try and well the results are below.

Well im kinda thinking that speaks for it as far as the materials fish catching ability’s go 
And yet another great find
Again from the people at castle feathers comes another amazing material which im really loving and comes again in loads of colours this stuff is called blob tails again it’s a material that they blend themselves so I got the small table out and sat in the living room and picked a couple of colours that I fancied and got to work
Small roach type baitfish was the order of the day so I used a peacock back colour and a silver belly colour flash to produce this fly below which to me looks like it will catch pretty much anything that swims if you ask me I think the red eye is very striking on this and a great target point, the eye and nose has a coat of diamond hard around it, this adds just a little weight that I think will give it a fantastic lifelike dying fish motion in the water irresistible I think 
So after making the fly above I was thinking it was looking really nice so I did another couple but this time I added a red permanent marker tail to them which I really do think seals the deal and im highly confident about catching on them
A slight variation on a theme with the fly below but I’ve used a normal white blobtail belly instead of the silver and ive changed the eye colour oh and its twice the size of the others
Below is the 2 colours that make up the flies above with the exception of the white belly above I’m sure you’ll agree that the peacock colour is very nice
Of course with so many colours to choose from it can be hard to think what to make up but if your short on ideas a basic white or silver belly will match up with pretty much anything you put on the back of it so just have a play around and of course the other thing is you can of course just use it in with other fibres such as ep or piketreks body hair go with what you want to do with it you won’t be disappointed

You can see the cool sparkle coming off the peacock above imagine what that will look like in the water  , so below is a small selection of the colours avalible , you can check there ebay shop for further colours , if you don’t have an ebay account just mail em the email is below

Also out and about this week martin smith who caught this rather nice pike on one of my hotcore patterns which he tied up himself great job martin and a fine looking fish
Ive managed to get out and about this week, there was a break in the weather and I had a small window of opportunity to get out and test some flies out to be honest I was unsure how things were going to work out today as there had been a lot of water going in to the loch with all the rain and this can turn the fish right off , but being out on the water at least gave me a chance of fish even if it’s a crazy assed rainbow trout that usually hit flies up here and can give you a bit of sport on quiet days ……
So I headed to a favoured spot slightly out of the wind but just enough to give us a nice drift and cover some water I started with a small roach pattern as the top of this blog post and put a really long line out after a couple of strips I had the fast hit and bang bang bang thump of one of the venues rainbow trout I actually saw it roll just under the surface as it threw the hook oh well , funnily enough a friend of mine has this strange tradition of , if you lose your first fish of the day then it’s time to go home bad karma ……I’m not really one for superstition so I just carried on fishing.

Just as well really as the next perfectly placed fly was hit by a scrappy jack with a whole lot of bad attitude it’s quite amazing what a fight these fish put up on the fly even the smaller ones give you a real run for your money so confidence levels were high after getting fish early on, the weather was actually ok with cloud cover and a slight ripple which meant I could drift around and cover a lot of water a perfect day for predator hunting
Yup because despite my best efforts and after the first few hits and one fish to the boat things turned a bit strange and the fish switched off , anybody who fishes for pike will know that you get these times when they just turn off and although they seem to turn off you can sometimes force them into a strike and what I did was decide to change area so while I was traveling to the next spot I stuck on one of my trolling flies (ok I use the term loosely) now I know trolling isn’t technically fly fishing although I do cast it out on a fly rod before I troll it but I do think it maximises the chances of getting a bonus fish while moving from area to area and it’s not like I’m rowing around all day trolling the things so as far as im concerned its valid .
Well I managed to pick up one bonus fish and by using a circle hook it was caught right in the jaw I’ll do a blog on the use of trolling flies and circle hooks in the coming weeks which I suspect will be an eye opener especially when you see the flies (cough) …. And that was pretty much it for the day I couldn’t buy a bite after this , the reasons why I really don’t know maybe a low front coming through put them off but we didn’t even have a follow for the rest of the afternoon , strange indeed when I was out a couple of days later and had 13 fish in the boat and at least 30+ follows and nips at the fly
Hookeye and fly
A monster superb pike fly kit
Ok if your in the market for a new outfit or looking to upgrade the we can thoroughly recommend the piketrek offer below , I have been using sabers for many years now and would trade it in for anything else join the revolution
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A complete set of the very best equipment available to today's pike fly angler, this outfit is aimed at everyone, whether you are a beginner who wants to avoid the dross or an experienced pike fisher who needs to step-up to some serious equipment.
Entry-level equipment is always a waste of money in my experience as you always end up getting rid of it or storing it in a cupboard, so my own policy has always been to buy the best available right from the start.
Everything in this set has been thoroughly designed, tried, and tested over several years by us lads right here at Piketrek, and it has all been proved to catch loads of pike and provide the ultimate enjoyable fishing experience.
Lightweight and powerful, stylish and effective, totally balanced and extremely crisp to use, this set-up will make light work of chucking big heavy flies around all day long without giving you fatigue or arm-ache! We know....we do it regularly!
Set comprises of the following items, already-loaded and willing to work.....
Pikesaber #10-11 weight four-piece 9 foot fly rod fitted with FUJI guides,
Piketrek Super-Light large-arbour fly reel in Black fitted with backing line,
Piketrek #11 weight-forward floating fly line with nylon leader already attached,
1 x 5 metre spool of Authanic trace wire,
The "Immaculate Collection" set of ten superb pike flies that will catch you pike wherever you go.
 Rod supplied in a cloth bag and a sturdy zippered tube, reel comes already fitted with backing line and floating fly line with mono leader attached, all in a cloth drawstring bag. All you need to do is fit a wire trace and tie a fly on and bang it out! What could be simpler!
The chaps over at predator bite (now fast flies) have some more stocks of my limited edition predator packs these are fantastic value and are hand tied by myself in this country and as with all there flies they are made in the uk  not a mud hut in Africa more should you wish to browse or even purchase some of my art please click the link

See ya all next week
(a cave in scotland)

Friday 13 July 2012

great new material

What a fantastic material
Every now and again you come across a really cool material that’s just perfect for pike and predator flies and a material that is easy to use simple to tie with and simply makes fantastic patterns, well I’ve come across a material that does just that it’s from a company called castlefeathers (contact details at the bottom of the page) who I had the pleasure of meeting at the BFFI and shared a stall with them when I was down doing tying demos for deercreek .
The material itself is called micro tinsel and comes in a massive variety of shades and blends that you simply can’t get anywhere else as they are all hand blended to their spec; I’ve tied quite a few flies with the micro tinsel and im very impressed with the results , ive not however had a chance to get them out on the loch yet due to the garbage weather but I have tested them in the bath and they have a very seductive movement in the water that looks very life like so im well looking forward to getting out with them next week I think in the smaller sizes they will be killer for pike.

All the suppliers for materials in the flies below will be at the bottom of the post with clickable links directly to the product obviously feel free to shop around elsewhere if you so wish (you won’t however get micro tinsel anywhere else), if you don’t tie flies or don’t have the time there is a link to buy them ready tied direct from me in Scotland.

Hook – 4/0 longshank Esox 1
Body – micro tinsel lemon sip
Eye- 8mm yellow
Thread - clear mono
Hook – 4/0 longshank Esox 1
Body – back - lemon sip micro tinsel / belly platinum micro tinsel
Eye – 8mm green
Thread – clear mono
Hook – 4/0 longshank Esox 1
Body – back - lemon sip micro tinsel / belly yellow and pearl blob tail tinsel

Eye – 8mm black
Thread – clear mono 
Hook – 4/0 longshank Esox 1
Body – back - lemon sip micro tinsel / belly platinum micro tinsel

Eye – 8mm white
Gill – red permanent marker
Thread – clear mono
And the game carrys on
So of course you can mix it up a bit by using micro tinsel with other materials here’s a few murdich minnows using micro tinsel

Pretty standard pike sized murdich, I’ve used a lemon sip on place off the traditional flashbou that’s normally used  like in the picture below which is a more common murdich although I’ve ramped the size up for pike .
These flies were originally developed for fishing stripers in the states to great success, they were then taken on board by the bass fishers of the lakes again to great effect and only now are a lot of people realising what a great all-rounder this fly is and the progression to a pike fly is of course only natural just ramp the size up , great fly
A slight deviation on the murdich pattern what I’ve done here is replaced the tail with yellow and pearl micro tinsel (doesn’t show to well in the picture) a little bucktail and the head instead of the traditional chenille used in murdichs  ive used piketreks gatso fibre for the head I think it looks like a catcher  
Continuing on the gatso theme I tied up the fly below a very simple and fast pattern to make with the tail being a micro tinsel called rain forrest really nice colour  
Just how easy is it to use and tie with these new micro tinsels well below is a couple of videos I did using it one is a normal sized baitfish and the other is a larger jackpike

Im sure youll agree a really nice material and so many different colours and variations of the blends there really is a colour for everything you could possible imagine have fun with it im sure youll be as impressed as I was
The guys at castlefeathers also do another fibre called blob tail and again ive been doing some very cool flies out of it ill save those for next week’s blog but below is an example of what ive been doing
I’ve also been playing around with some other materials using more natural fibres and generally having a great time to myself in the cave , the weather been so bad hear lately I’ve simply not been able to get out fishing and the one day It did stop raining for 20 mins I was shopping with the wife ……..:-(     But I have some plans in place for next week  
Hookeye and fly
See ya all next weeks with tales from the vice and fishiness
(a cave in scotland)

Sunday 8 July 2012

back from the british fly fair

Catching up with myself at last
Been a crazy kind of week really you know the kind of thing, you go away for a couple of days and it takes you a couple of weeks to catch up with yourself well I’ve been like that since I got back from the British fly fair, I seem to be at least a blog post behind just now but I’m catching up now with flies and posts thank god
My day of travel started fairly normally and I had packed my bag with an hour left to spare I was going to be tying gliss and glint pike flies on deercreeks stand on the Sunday , the lovely rich Johnson was going to be tying on the sat so it really wasn’t a headache think about what to take , pretty much an overnight bag plus my vice and a few boxes of hooks a few packs of gliss and glint plus and tying stuff , so when the time arrived I jumped on a bus and headed for Edinburgh’s Waverly train station I got there with an hour to spare before I had to board the 13.05 to Birmingham new street this train would drop me at stoke on Trent at 17.00 where nick from deercreek was going to pick me up and would head for some dinner and a beer or 2 all good so far
As I had an hour spare I decided to get sandwhiches and a drink for lunch and just pass the time watching the world go by on a bench at the station and as you can see from below the was quite a lot of world going past including some very confused japanese touristswho stood right in front of me with a map and not a clue how to get out of the station ahhh you gotta laugh , although the state of the train station as they do renevation and building work im hardly surprised they needed a map …………
As with usual on train station concourses in this country I heard some garbled message about something over the station loud speaker system (it actually sounded like somebody speaking underwater) do train company’s not realise this beyond me . Anyway I glanced to one side up at the departure board and saw my train had been cancelled with 5 mins to go before departure, great just great but hey the brown stuff happens and I duly made my way to the booking office, I was going to be tying flies for the deercreek team if I had to hitch hike down there.
So the lady in the booking office threw her eyes up to heaven and gave me a bit of printed paper that told me to go to platform 1 and catch a train to Newcastle upon Tyne then get a special bus service to Carlisle (on the other side of the country) then get a connecting train that would get me to Manchester to catch a train that left 15 mins before I get there , yup folks that’s what the bit of paper said woman at the desk had me on a service that wouldn’t connect with the train I need to get to get me to stoke on Trent to meet nick , I gazed back at the line of people snaking out the door to the info desk and decided to jump on the train and try and work it out as I headed south and if the guard on the train had a problem  well tough I had somewhere to be sue me .

I eventually got to stoke on Trent around seven in the evening where I met up with nick and his absolutely lovely Mrs jen we headed for the hotel where I dumped my stuff and we headed for dinner at one of these fantastically cheap all you can eat Chinese buffets across the road from the hotel where we also met up with bob and sue from castlefeathers and the larger than life and fantastically funny bloke “Keith passant” im pretty sure he broke the record for amount of times back to the buffet jez I thought I could eat or maybe he was just getting his money’s worth , after this we headed to the local pub luckily right next door to the hotel , starting to like this venue .

I staggered back to my room around midnight having tried most of the local brews and switched the tv on but I couldn’t be bothered watching the poltergeist moves so I went to sleep instead

I awoke after an uneventful night’s sleep and looked out the window at a delightful 6.30 am beautiful day outside , ok maybe not but I had a hearty breakfast to look forward to so I headed for the shower and then meet up with deercreeks nick and jen at reception

So onto the venue and the deercreek stand and a meet with fellow pro team member johan put who was tying on tiers row in the next door hall
mr passant arrived on the stall and things quite rightly degenerated into stoopidness as expected whenever he shows up but the venue doors were about to open so we went back in to pro (cough)mode and I set about setting up my tying stuff
one to watch
I also had the pleasure of young Oliver Johnsons company on the Sunday who set up next to me and tied the hell out of a load of perch flies this young man is a fine example to his generation and one to look out for, his flies are very cool and I can’t wait to see what he’s going to come up with in a few years pleasure to meet and share a table with you young man
What was really nice was that all the deercreek pro team had sent patterns over to display and It was nice to see some of ken capseys toothy snacks hanging off the lamp next to me in fact the quality of the flies on that stand were absolutely world class ,
I had a few mins of warm up and tied a couple of gliss n glint plus baitfish up and before I knew it I had an audience watching me and the questions were flowing and there was a real interest from people on what I was doing which was really cool and most people wanted to give it a go so I was more than happy to offer advice and point people in the right direction
One thing I love to do is teach people how to tie , I’m really surprised at how often people say they would love to try tying pike flies but it looks too difficult , actually its only as complicated as you want to make it , I decided I was going to tie only gliss and glint baitfish using 4 to six pieces of material just to show you can make a fantastic looking fly with not a lot of material of even skill , this theory I tested out on nicks wife jen who did a great job of making a small pike fly , no doubt nick will now put her to work making them ……sorry jen

It was also great to say hello to some pike fly fishing associations members who came along and I was able to give a quick lesson to steve Edwards , it’s always great to meet people in the flesh and not just by some form of internet message and an even bigger pleasure to be able to show a few tricks and ties , pleasure to meet you Steve .
Even had a visit from a real fly that landed on my varnish bottle
I actually lost count of the amount of flies I tied and gave away , isn’t it funny that people can’t quite believe that you can get something for nothing these days but I honestly believe that sowing the seed can bring great rewards  . The table was an explosion of flies tying stuff eyes you name it, it was on that table at the end of the day a really cool and fulfilling experience ……………
One surprise was the sheer amount of people buying  deercreeeks uv resin it was the big hit of the show , I did so many demos ,yes it really is tack free here watch this , I had one guy who actually came up with a rival product used on a fly and he said it was still tacky indeed this product was indeed still tacky , the chap said to me he had be given it with the words “it will dry eventually mate” ringing in his  ears,  I’m sorry if you’re going to claim your product is the best out there then providing samples like this to the people who will untimely buy the product isn’t the best plan , happy to say the chap after a demo from me walked away with a fly that was indeed tack free as it says on the tin I won’t mention names to spare there blushes
On a personal note I have to thank nick at for inviting me down to tie with his materials and for him and his wife jen for being just outstanding human beings , this for me is what it’s all about and why I support them as I do  ,  it’s the small companies that have the passion and drive behind their products that make them so good and so lacking in the big companies who care more about the cash than the person buying it , I saw so many times throughout the day nick talking to people and explaining his products no question was too much trouble to answer  it’s a pleasure to be associated with nick and deercreek a great bloke and a great company …………..cheers nick
So with the day at a close I had the pleasure of hooking up and giving a quick tying demo to fellow scot and fellow fly fishing loony conan , it was as we were saying goodbye for now and talking about getting a day after the pike that he said how you getting back to Scotland , it was then I realise I was going to be boarding a train in an hour and have to deal with another horrific journey north with the delays and dishwater coffee , want a lift back buddy .hell yea road trip
The trip back was awesome I mean 3 guys in a car on a motorway all into metal and fly I mean what can I tell ya the perfect road trip im pretty sure that if we had enough time we would have been chucking a few flies along the way as well , I can’t remember a better road trip (well besides a tour I did back in 93 but that’s another story) to give you an example check the video below the whole trip was like this absolutely great fun conan thanks again buddy

Oh of course a quick stop for a burger and a stretch of the legs before we hit the border

And there we go welcome to Scotland and the end of a fantastic weekend (apart from the journey down) I met a whole lot of new friends and had some really interesting conversations with people and most importantly I spread the word on predator fly fishing ……………thanks to all who I spoke too

See ya all soon with hopefully some fish if this rain ever stops
(a cave in scotland)