Sunday 19 August 2012

on the top

Life on the water
The date was set for a day on the water with newly converted pike fly fisher and fellow metal head conan , so the day before I started to get my boat kit together and I also checked on the weather  which was telling me it was going to be el scorcheo (bloody hot) now when I saw that I was absolutely delighted , why I hear you cry it’s not exactly  the best for pike fishing , well strangely enough some of my best days have been in very bright hot conditions , and I know other pike anglers who don’t fly fish say you do the fish damage in very hot weather as the fight is to long you can’t  get them in fast enough etc. etc.

Well with the range of tackle that’s out there now that’s simply not the case and fish can be bought to the net very quickly without any stress to the fish and to be honest I’ve never had a fish go belly up due to being fly caught so don’t believe what you hear I firmly believe more damage is done by inexperienced pike anglers with dirty great trebles than is done by any fly angler with a single hook but then if you don’t want to harm then then the best thing to do is not fish for them but I suppose that’s a whole another debate.So here is my boat kit stacked and ready to go

Ok I do tend to take way loads of kit with me on a boat probably more than is needed but with loving fly tying i do like to see how new patterns work so I tend to take a lot with me, in the photo above you will see my main boat box, a couple of rods one floating line one intermediate (means I can change quickly if I need to) a large net , well you never know what that next fish will be , and I also have a green day bag which has lunch drinks etc. and some wet weather gear (this is Scotland) and because its going to be well hot I also included a box of subbugs for some top water  crazy stuff, boat partner for the day conan had never had the experience of a pike  hitting a top water  an today looked like it was going to be perfect for it ……..
A box of bugs and some smaller more trad poppers in case I needed to go more subtle but the contents of the box above will catch pretty much anything out there that will take a surface lure my subbugs have taken to clients muskies , largemouths , gts , northerns , stripers even bull trout so they do catch bucket loads and always good to have a few in the box even if you’re not planning a top water trip as you can still work em on intermediate and sinking lines

The contents of the box of doom
To the right hand side I keep a couple of plastic lock boxes with my spare spools and leader material , on top of this is my unhooking gear next to the left is a massive finsport wallet (a present from brother pike jedi ken capsey from Vermont fly guys/pike adventures) this is just stuffed with all sorts of flies , the rest of the bottom of the box is made up of plastic sectioned lure boxes with various material flies by box (one box naturals one box gliss and glint plus etc)  this makes it easier to find a certain pattern if I need it. On top the blue box is clouser minnows and next to it I have a large sectioned plastic box, this contains all my clips and swivels in size order. The small sectioned box on top of that contains prototype flies to be tested , inside the lid I have a large foam sheet that I keep a range of my go to flies on and also it serves as a drying pad , oh and there’s my sunglasses also in the case .

I had 2 outfits for today one was my intermediate outfit (the black butt) which has an intermediate 10wgt shooting head on it, this is an amazing outfit and I can shoot a hellava line with it , some of my buddys have tried it but don’t like it but each to their own , ive tried some of their top notch top of the range stuff but it has yet to feel as comfortable as my saber outfit.
The second outfit for the day was to be a subbug kit, again consists of a pike saber matched with a greys reel and a 10wgt rio pike and musky floating line (ignore the sticker I really should take it off) this throws a bug to horizon lovely bit of kit
To the fishing

When we got there it was like a scean from a movie half expected wallace to come out of the mist well by the time we got up to the spot the mist had really come down and although the sun wasn’t breaking through the surface was very calm so we decide to go with small bait fish patterns on the intermediate line ,we had done well with these before here a few weeks ago so was worth a try to get the scoring card open .
However after a few casts it was clear that the weed had gone nuts in the previous week that we wernt here and was almost a foot below the surface in 6 foot of water so I decided to change us over to subbugs , these are the conditions that they were made for , conan had no previous experience of fishing these big bugs and I think he found it hard to belive that something would hit this atrocity splashing and gliding its way back to the boat (sorry to scare ya pal) this aint no casting size 24 dry flies to easily spooked trout , but after a quick 5 min lesson he got it and I recast and the big bumblebee subbug hit the water with a resonding smack.
 now 2 things happened at this point one was that conan said nice cast I turned in the very same second to thank him and we both turned our heads at the same time to where the bug had come down , at the very same instant we did that a rather large double figure snaggletooth came exploding out the water with my bug firmly clamped in its mouth , the thing was pissed and conans face was a picture as it cleared 5ft out of the water shaking its head like a scalded marlin it  entered the water at a monster rate exploding the surface and then dived deep in the weed and promptly threw the hook , I turned and looked at conan what was standing there with his mouth open and words that id never heard before came streaming out . I just fell about laughing suspecting that conan was now a convert to the jedi way of the top.
That will do nicley
Once I had regained my composure and explained to conan that with topwater pike fishing your lucky to actually get 1 in free to the boat and that sometimes although its nice to get a tophy shot most of the fun is in the hit with this method and with that I chucked the bug out again into the mist , after a couple of pulls this fine fish also decided to launch itself skywards with bug hanging out its mouth , this time I had better control and despite a couple of heart stopping momments in the weed I netted it and broke in to grin subbugin you gotta love it 2 fish 2 casts hell yea .
So after the obligatary photos we got to fishing again and this time conan had a hit about 40 feet out and again the fish cleared the water but unfortunatly the fish threw the hook , which was a real shame as it would have been a new personel best for him I estimated 13 to 15lbs next time buddy ….
Ok so there you have it the bug in question that the scary fish wanted and also what was quite interesting was that I was using for the first time the fastach links I bought from pikeshak , now to say I was impressed with these would be an understatement they were awesome I was using the 75lb ones and I manged to get everything from longshank aberdeens in sizes 1/0 right up to the big 6/0 subbug hooks above ive been so impressed with them that ive now gone completely over to them over the crosslocks as they weigh a lot less also great product .avalible from


Pike are an amazing fish I mean check this fish out , and the bite mark it starts from where my finger is you just never know what the next one will be but hey tere all good to me and on such a sporting method as the fly just cant be beaten
The headz have it

Id been sent some of the new sandeel headz from nick over at deercreek and had tied up a few patterns using gliss and glint plus for a forthcoming bass trip im planning , id wanted to see what these were like in the water and what sort  action they had how the balance of the fly with the head was etc etc so id stuck one in the box to try as being a sunny day I knew the pike would turn off at some point , and as predicted they did turn of so I suck the largest size one on and flicked it out .
Straight away I saw that it fished on an even keel and it looked very eel like and I tought hell ive got it on be ashame not to give it a cast , I was sitting in 12 feet of water so I cast out a long line (these heads are very aero dynamic) and let it sink to to the bottom before starting a slow strip and pause retrive.
 Much to my surprise the rod banged over(I just want expecting that) on the second pause and a lively jack hammerd into it and put up a darn fine display of aerobatics I got the fish in fairly fast and it gave me a fine display of acrobaticts got to thank conan for the shot although he dosnt think it’s a good picture well I love it

Without doubt the pike wanted these they were all over them and not just small jacks , fish of all sizes were hitting them ,I would when tying these recommend putting a thing layer of uv round the head for pike purposes just to give the head a little protction from teeth this you wont need to worry about for saltwater purposes well in this country anyway , needless to say I have ordered a few more packs , if your interested in tying a few up ive done a v simple step by step which you can find here , there is also a link to purchase the headz
Something new to the box of tricks
So as you may be aware if you’re a long term reader of my rantings and this blog, you’ll know that I was having a few design blanks when it came to dna frosty fish fibre, well after my initial success the other day in producing something passable as baitfish that a predator may eat I dived straight in to the challenge and produced a few new things to play with, and boy did they work in fact all the flies in the above picture caught fish on the day and I may add looked bloody spectacular in the water , I can see a box full of those appearing soon .
Oh and incase you were wondering these were all tied on gamakatsu sl12s in size 3/0 and are 4.5 inchs long
So all in all a great day out and the new links I was using from the pikeshack chaps well worth getting, now a slight technical hitch meant that our sister website for predator fly hooks and limited edition flies wasn’t working properly and you may have been getting a message about the site being unsafe, this problem (which wasn’t even a problem) has now been sorted and sorry if you were unable to order anything if you head over now you’ll be able to actually purchase stuff HURRAHH
Today’s blog has been bought to you by 2 screaming mad metal fly fishing loony’s in a boat
These are all hand tied by me in scotland and as with all of fast flies stock it is all uk made none of this economy flies tied garbage you find on the net that fall apart on your first fish, so if you’re thinking about dipping your toe in the saltwater fly fishing challenge or even if you need a couple of saltwater flies for your holidays this is what you need and of course tied by me and used by me these catch fish
(a cave in Scotland)

Tuesday 7 August 2012

swivels and eels

Yup fishing near electricity is dangerous theres a reason those signs are there so do yourself a favour and keep well away from them.
Fluffing for a great cause

The Piketrek Predator Cup
The guys at piketrek are pleased to announce that they will be hosting there first ever Pike and Predator Fly fishing competition at Frisby Water Park near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire on Saturday 20th October 2012.
 The event will be held in aid of two really deserving causes so we hope you will come along and join in on what promises to be a fantastic day out for everyone. There will be lots of prizes to be won and the angler who wins the event with the biggest overall weight of fish caught will receive the Piketrek Predator Trophy and a Pikesaber Pike Fly Outfit worth £275. The angler in second place will receive a Pikesaber worth £189, and third place will get a Piketrek Super-Light 10-12 weight fly reel worth £95.
There will also be another trophy "The Len Spencer Cup" and a tackle prize given to the angler who catches the biggest pike of the day, and we expect this to won with a very big pike indeed!
There will also be a raffle with lots of prizes to be won so everyone stands a chance of winning something!
 Full details are to be found on the COMPETITION PAGE on the left hand column of the website . There will also be notification in the National angling press.
The entrance fee is set at £20 and all entrants will have to pre-book their place so that we do not over-subscribe the maximum field of 50 entrants. Spectators will be welcome on the day and will also be able to enter the raffle held in the Sailing Club after the event during the prize-giving ceremony. Breakfast cobs/rolls/buns etc. will be available before the event starts so there is no excuse for not turning up! The venue will open at 7am and a walk-off watercraft draw will commence at 8am, fishing will end at 3pm. Entry will be open to all, but strictly on a first-come first-served basis to make things fair for all. Please give us your support to make this a success and provide much-needed help to our two chosen causes, Macmillan Cancer Relief and Steps, the charity that provides care for children born with bone and foot problems.

We love the idea of this completion and so far there is also prizes offered from who will be offering some uv kits as prizes, myself from this blog will be offering up some of my flies and the guys over at hookeye and fly will also be offering predator fly tying hook prizes there will be more sponsors to come and a full list will be on the blog before and after the event , if youd like to offer up any prizes please mail me at
A great thing about this event is that if you catch it on a fly it counts and the other thing is it is a very worthy cause so get involved I will be traveling down with some of the Scottish lads and it would be great to meet some folks
Get signed up
 The sand eel is a small eel-like fish which swim in large shoals. They are an abundant and important component of food webs in the North Atlantic.
The sand eel is a bait fish that everyone who fishes in the salt should know. Why? The answer is very simple, because the sand eel often catches more fish than any other bait. Exactly why the sand eel is such a popular pray among the predators in the sea is hard to say. But it is a fact that you can catch almost all species when you have a live sand eel at the end of your line.
What a bloody life being a sandeel pretty much everything wants to eat you not only below the surface but above it as well birds love em as well,
The sandeel is a very effective bait fish for almost all popular saltwater sports fish in Europe from Spain to Scotland, and in the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas. Sand eel is the first choice prey for popular species such as trout, salmon, bass, mackerel, garfish and Pollack. so this is a pattern that you should really have in your fly box not only does it catch loads of saltwater species its also really good for a whole number of freshwater species as well I think its because they mistake it for mabey a minnow of some kind of fry but it certainly does good
The guys over at the internet’s fastest growing online site fastflies  has now a massive range of sandeels made by me so if you want some quality hand made in scotland flies then head over there and take a look

If you’re wondering why I push these company’s well its quite simple really, I truly believe a home grown made in the uk fly is far superior to anything coming out of Africa  and fast flies like the guys at deercreek have home grown tiers make there flies and they actually care about what you buy and what your buying , don’t be fooled by cheap fly by night merchants that sell cheap flies made in Africa or china these flies are garbage , this is why I support home grown industry from good honest likeminded fisherfolk
Not a mud hut or Kenyan fly tier in sight

The cave last week full of sandeels
On the subject of sandeels
For those folks that tie their own the brains over at deercreek have been burining the midnight oil with their design master who they let out of the padded cell every so often and probe the darkest corners of his mind to produce some stunning items I mean we have had their tack free uv which unlike bugshite really is tack free (we saw a fly produced with this stuff at the bffi so we can say that with confidence the stuff is not tack free so don’t waste your time) the awesome looking fishheadz and just when you thought it was safe to go back to the vice they go and produce sandeel fishheadz these photo realistic headz are just too stunning for words.
I received a pack to try the other day and ive only had a short time to play with them as I’ve been busy at my real job but ive managed to sneak a couple out
The fly above incorporates the largest size in the range and has a gliss and glint plus body and a diamond hard tack free coat around the head there is a full step by step over at
This sandeel above has been done with the medium sized head and uses a simple combination of bucktail a little flash and a barred hackle feather easy job and a great looking couple of flies
A full step by step is avalible over at my fly tying site
Avalible from the crazy people over at
Now folks not resting on their laurels and while they had the mad guy out the cellar rigged up to the ideas probe he has come up with these amazing pike sized gliss n glint plus dubbing brushes, now many many years ago even before the big corporate trout companies had thought about pike flies and jumped on the band wagon to make a fast buck I was making bullheads these were big lightweight flies that when stripped and paused had the effect of a topwater glidebait these things looked deadly in the water

I still make these flies now and again and do have a load in a box the trouble with them is that they take a while to produce as there’s a lot of steps to the head so imagine my delight when I was sent this picture by the crazy creek guys dude im so all over these as ill be able to match up some wicked combos can’t wait for these.. of course ill let you know when there available and details ……
So my week so far has been a week of sitting listening to planet rocks thumping heavy metal at the vice and churning out a whole heap of sandeels , next week sees me going back to some monster musky flies for a client , im going to enjoy that , what im also going to do is try and do a gliss and glint bullhead with just the materials I have (not on a dubbing brush) and when I get the brushes ill compare the times taken to make them should be interesting ……
A big well done to my friend from Shetland artist paul bloomer who caught this 20lb+ pike from a mighty Scottish loch this week it’s a really special fish as paul doesn’t have pike up in the islands (although it is trout heaven) so getting down here once a year and catching is great but getting a 20+ is even more special well done mate you deserve it.
Oh and did I mention it was on a pikesaber, the idiot abroad who said it couldn’t handle a big pike can now hang his head in shame what is it with people ….jez, so now in the spirit of millions wasted on the Olympics in London paul gets the gold medal
And from our fellow fly fishing friends who have Tourette’s absolutely f****N outstanding you luckY C*** F****N A********S
On the subject of folks catching fish a big shout out to my friend out in mexico Rhett schober who this outstanding gt on one of my patterns outstanding fella

  And on a final note swivels
Everybody has their own ideas on end tackle I’ve tried absolutely everything out there trust me been there got the t-shirt , if you one of these people that like to only use one or 2 flies a day then tying them on is obviously going to be best for you with something like a jam knot . With flexible wires liken authanic this tying flies isn’t much of a problem these days but if you’re a fly tying nut like me then you want to change flies quite a lot you need a quick change system .

Swivels obviously are the way to go and for many years after a few false starts with various links I settled on the American cross lock , this did me well for a lot of years but this lock did have its limitations as some hookeyes wouldn’t fit on the bend in the clip , so after quite a few years of using these I then was browsing an American saltwater fly fishing site and some of the anglers on there were using the coast lock swivels when targeting larger predatory species on the fly so I ordered some from the states (there were none available in this country at that time) as soon as I got them I noticed they were a lot lighter and after a few months use I was impressed enough to keep using them and do away with the crosslock type

So those have served me very well for many years but still had a few limitations with hookeye size , so then I received a mail shot from the chaos at pikeshak with some new items  they had in stock and I noticed that they had a new type of swivel(well I’ve not seen them before) that looked interesting so they were duly ordered on sunday evening and arrived on Tuesday morning (always outstanding service from pikeshak) so this is the first look ive had and im really impressed so far with the design.
Of course the ultimate test is actually catching fish on them so im now ready to get on the water this week with fellow fluffing jedi and pike convert conan so looking forward to that as the weather is supposed to be good in fact so good I may have to get the subbug rod out happy days
(a cave in Scotland)