Wednesday 27 February 2013

back to the bench

(blog views this week 6,211 thanks folks)

Cold days and freezing nights

well the weather still continues to play havoc for me in fact the only time this week that was half decent for a chuck I was working and coupled with the fact I caught the most extreme version of man flu which laid me out for a week and I had to take a week to recover and even now 3 weeks on I still have the tail end of it never been so ill in all my life to be honest and women say we put it on ….............

 so I was pretty much bed bound and feeling crap for a week I didnt even tie a fly that week (now you know I was ill) , when I did eventually arise from my sick bed I turned on the tv and looked in disbelief at the garbage on the tv , I found myself with the stark choice of either tying a garbage looking fly while im not at my best or watching this rubbish , of course I choose the fly option so that was pretty much me back on the road to recovery , and thought did pass through my head that there is millions upon millions of people around the world who fish in one form or another for thousands of different species why on earth is there not a 24/7 satellite channel for us , I know in the states the situation is a bit better (when I was over fishing with ken I was having breakfast while watching a bass show) but wouldn’t it be great to have one channel that all the networks could pick up and show on one channel , I dont know but if your anything like me I will watch any kind of fishing show no matter how bad , food for thought there I think .


 sounds like a dodgy film title but no conan has a nasty habit of spiking himself on my hooks im not quite sure how he does it to be honest as he doesn’t manage to do it on size 24s although to be fair he has just got new glasses so maybe this will be a thing of the past now hes got a nice pair of new glasses so hopefully that will be a thing of the past  

 so we had to cancel one tying day due to me being sick so the following week we hooked up for a days tying and as normal I provided the material the destroyer provided the doughnuts , the blur In the background is in fact my son who was off school on holiday that week and as soon as doughnuts was mentioned he came bounding through at a rate of knots hes never seen a box full of doughnuts before so he was quite excited and hes always asking when uncle destroyer is coming to visit ….....looks like were busted


 so it was nice to get back to the vice and before the destroyer arrived I warmed up with a couple of vermont fly guys inspired naturals just to get back in the swing of things I do love tying with naturals and especially deer hair once you get it down with deer hair you’ll find you’ll really enjoy tying with it and theres so much you can do with it but I think ill save that for a later blog very interesting subject


 it had to be done me and destroyer are loving the DKHB fly its just one of those patterns where you just know its going to catch and we decided we really needed some classic colors to add to the ones we did a few weeks ago , these are big flys tied on 8/0 surgical strikes the hook point sits around halfway back so hopefully cutting back on missed takes due to short strikes and leaving plenty of room for materials , I also love the large dumbells which come from hareline and are ex large and recessed allowing you to put an eye in , the other thing I love about these is there are made from aluminium so they weigh hardly anything even in the large sizes , the advantage is that even with a lot of material these sink very slowly so you can track them back in a straight line at any water depth love them and looking forward to putting them on the watery dinner plate shortly
 another classic color more of a perch theme going on here you just got to have a few perch type patterns in your box work well on most venues in the UK , of course with the dumbells being tied on top of the hook shank ,of means the fly will fish hook up so you can get it right down on the deck with it very rarely snagging up  

 if you havent tried this style of fly yet you really should as the dumbell really adds so great action to the fly strip and pause or figure of eight are both great ways of fishing this style of fly and of course you don’t have to make monster sizes in this you can really scale it right down to size 1/0 they all work give em a try

 I swear I only went into orvis on my way to work for a pack of flashbou and while I was in the tying materials at the back of the shop chatting to the ever knowledgeable will of sexy loops (I was grilling him about lines he answered all my questions without taking a breath top man) when my gaze fell upon a hook sharpener you know its just one of those things I completely forget about until I need it and ive lost count of the amount of times ive asked a fishing partner if they had one and they hadn’t (obviously same school as me) in fact this happened last trip with the destroyer so it was still fresh in my mind when my eyes fell upon the £8.50 hook sharpener, expensive well maybe but with orvis gear you know your getting something of quality that’s going to last for a bit and I just bit the bullet and bought it , I just hope I don't lose it in my cavernous boat box or over the side of the boat but that's it bought anyway


so while I was plucking the sharpener off the shelf my eyes caught sight of a chartreuse color bucktail on the end of the the display rack and funnily enough I needed some chartreuse bucktail (I swear the people at orvis see me coming and put stuff in spots where they know I visit when there) so I decided to pick 2 packs up as I knew id go through it fast , now above you can see the labels are exactly the same price label etc everything is the same 

 but it wasn't till I got home that i realized that despite the labels and colors on the label stating they were the same they were in fact different shades as you can see from the picture above , not a complaint really but I may not have noticed this if I was tying for a customer , let me explain .

I have a few regular guys that buy a specific pattern from me and they stock up once a year on those patterns now one of these chaps actually has a bucktail baitfish in a specific color that incorporates chartreuse's (its his pattern so I wont show a picture or the recipe) but he catches plenty of fish on this pattern so here’s the dilemma , hes getting low on his favorite pattern so I tie a load up for him he gets them and when he compares them to his original he sees that there’s a difference in color to his favorite pattern although it probably wont make a difference in his catch rate I think it would maybe effect his confidence as its not in his favorite color , so although I may not have noticed the slight difference in color while I was doing them I would have to get one of the original flies back to try and match the bucktail , so how did the slight change in color happen did they change suppliers or dont they have a specific color chart and recipe to do them to , or maybe im just reading to much into it and actually 1 or 2 shades dosnt make a jot of difference to the overall effect of the fly  

 chartreuse , off chartreuse , fluro green or something else


 just before I went to my manflu sick bed for a week I started on a new gliss and glint pattern but above was pretty much as far as I got before I could do no more , ill get round to finishing it sometime soon if I can remember what I was going to make oh well

 so when I did get back to vice it nice to start with a couple of really simple gliss and glint baitfish patterns , its kinda strange the more I tie with gliss and glint the less materiel I use on them and the better the fly looks and lightweight my god the hook actually probably weighs more than the amount of material on the hook which actually creates a better movement in the water than an over stacked fly , in fact if you look closely at the fly below you should be able to make out
the hook shank through the material that’s how little material im using in these ties at the moment and of course the bonus of that is that you get more flies out of a pack for your money as well as an outstanding looking fly

prep for the new season
 the foam in my boat box is looking somewhat like a dart board so with the new season fast approaching I splashed out on a new bit of foam for the inside lid

 nothing subtle just cut it to size and stick it on the back of the old bit job done off course it will need changed I think this time next year , really the foam in the back of the lid is just a place to allow your flies to dry out and keep your favorite patterns handy , although I take a load of boxes full of flies I can pretty much carry all the flys im going to use on the foam but as anglers we like to be prepared and im no different I hate going out on the water and thinking wish id bought x fly with me , ive tied so many cool patterns this winter I think its going to take me a couple of weeks to try them all , ahhh for the love of fly fishing

 had a fair bit of work to catch up on well I was around a week behind my fly orders luckily id mailed the customers who I was going to have to delay there orders for a week but they were cool about it and most said they couldn’t get out anyway because of floods and snow and pretty miserable weather so it all worked out good and there was no problems except finding enough hours in the day to do all the stuff I needed but im up to date now just got an order of subbugs to finish
tomorrow and im back up to date bloody illness is an awful thing I mean you cant really get someone else to do it can you .

 Ive also been busy getting some new stock ready for delivery to so if your looking for some new flies then head over and check them out ill be adding a whole lot more new patterns over the next few weeks and months and of course they are also the home of authanic wire the best trace material out there


 ever since ive known brother ken (Vermont fly guys) and that’s a fair few years now and we have always exchanged what we call care packages that can be anything from hooks to fly tying materials to dvds or in my case ken sends me my beloved rosies Vermont beef jerky in every pack (none better) so when the brother got a new vice, he said I could have his old renzzeti vice , holy mother of god seriously that is awesome as I had tied on it when I was last over and was very impressed with it but unfortunately my budget couldn’t stretch to that being married (married anglers will know where im coming from) now not only that the bro also got me a new pair of my favorite crocs which I cant get here in camo add to that some USA fly tying and American angler magazines and to top it of it got past customs without any duty needing to be paid so I got to brother you have surpassed yourself in generosity this time bro ….........

but it works both ways and shortly theres something really special heading to brother ken(he collects old tackle) in the form of a very early 1900s wooden hardys salmon fly rod that belonged to the duke of roxburgh and was used by him on the world famous river tweed man the story's and the fish this rod has caught is something else , I got the rod from my father who was a butler at the castle the duke lived in he was given it by the out going butler who was retiring it was in turn given to him by the duke of roxburgh so a real special rod heading his way along with some magazines hooks and a few over things enjoy bro …...

 im going to throw something out there for you to think about regarding famous TV anglers (more in the UK than anywhere else) now im going to tell you a little story , I once had a membership on a very exclusive pike and catfish venue in the uk and I once spent 2 days on there chasing catfish and pike with shock horror bait . Now over those 2 days I had a pile of pike up to around 20lbs and I also had a near 30lb catfish a great couple of days fishing and I also had a few on the fly rod which I used to take with me. So we packed up in the early morning of the 3rd day and headed home .

I received a phone call later that day from the venues bailiff saying that a very famous tv angler had turned up with a film crew to record a program on pike fishing , the unfortunate personality had chosen my spot to fish and proceeded to catch bugger all in the end he took a lure rod and wobbled a few baits from a different spot to catch a few for the program .

Now this got me thinking about this and here’s the thing there’s a lot of hero worship in the UK with regarding guys that catch a lot of big fish for the TV and they can do no wrong best angler that there ever was etc etc but what people sometimes forget is that for the 1 hour program on the TV they may have fished anywhere up to 3 weeks for those 1 or 2 big fish and it dosnt show the hundreds of small fish that they caught trying to get that big fish and you know as my story above shows that if you have access to the same privileged water as the tv personality’s you to can catch the same fish and ive also heard on the grapevine that some fish are actually caught by crew members or even days before the TV people show up and are retained until needed a very shady area indeed no doubt the truth will come out sometime .

I’m not criticizing these anglers or program as I do enjoy watching them and there’s very little good angling on tv these days I mean I really wish these people rather than chasing x species of fish and do or die till that get specimen size fish would show rigs technique and general watercraft to catch whatever species they were chasing, this would be a lot more helpful for people coming into the sport than a whole program to catch just one specimen fish.

However there is some very good program out there one being UK angler Jeremy wade in search of myths legends and beasts of the water which are very well made and don’t patronize the person watching it highly recommended viewing and with no pretense if he don’t catch it he don’t catch it but its bloody enjoyable watching him do it .

 The green factor
 yup robson green he of extreme fishing fame some anglers love him some anglers hate him me I find him very funny to watch its just like watching your mates home made fishing road trip video OK he’s a Geordie but don’t let that go against him , he actually makes great fishing programe and he does stuff that you’d never see other celebrity fishers do and the other thing is he’s actually quite a good fly fisher love him or hate him his program are very funny if you take them tongue in cheek I think hes on around his fourth or fifth series of extreme fishing show on terrestrial TV and that is no bad thing he must be doing something right just I mean how many other famous anglers would walk out of an Alaskan river river in winter naked except for a salmon covering his family jewels because he lost a bet with his guide if you see him on the bank though just dont mention his number one single .

See ya all soon folks
(a cave in scotland)

Tuesday 19 February 2013

pike fly fishing association , a statement


just to clarify a few things

this morning on checking the facebook page for the pike fly fishing association I came across 2 posts from club members who couldn’t access the forum. on checking the club forum I found the following statement from peter jones the clubs founder .

Hi I have been reviewing the membership of the pffa and it appears that we have more followers on facebook (356) than actual members of the club. It would also appear that most people and business use facebook to sell their product or run some kind of organisation. I feel that for the club to exist in some form or other the best option would be to have membership free by joining the closed group on facebook. Using facebook we will be able to capture a wider audience and promote pike fly fishing and pike care and conservation aswell as the club itself. Exiting members will be able to join the closed group ,and access this forum until December from then on all things pffa will be conducted on the facebook closed group. I will continue with the club website as there is important and useful information on there for those starting pike fly fishing. I will continue to organise the fenland charity event each year and promote the club at various game fairs etc through out the year.

This change will take effect from today.

I would like to thank everyone who has supported the pffa in its old form and look forward to your support in this new venture.

Peter J.

on checking the forum settings I saw that the forum was closed shortly after this , this was not my doing I only knew of the problem when I logged into the clubs facebook page today, please remember I was not the only one with admin ability’s on the club forum so all you see is not black and white .

People also often said that posts disappeared , I did not remove any posts or topics on the forum unless asked to , my main job on the forum was to activate new members and watch for inappropriate posts I.e swearing and general 18+ stuff and remove it , or if a member didn’t like something on the forum I had to along with others review the post before action was taken I merely followed orders nothing I did was on my own back except for the afore mentioned topic .

I have been a member of this club since the start and in the last few years I have taken a ridiculous amount of abuse for doing what I was asked to do by others, most of the time I just shrug it off im not into politics and it should be kept well out of fishing but I have taken a lot of flack for the deeds of others and now enough is enough.

The whole point of this club was to promote the sport of fly fishing for pike and the good practice of pike handling , gear etc , I will continue to do this through other means

im not going to name names as I have way better things to do but im no longer going to take abuse because of the decisions of people in the shadows there is a whole lot more to this but im not going it as it would embarrass certain people and that’s not what im about .

I will also not enter into any kind of debate about this statement this is what it is im done and outa here

go fishing , enjoy life

Monday 4 February 2013

would you like to see my flies

ok so with the lack of fishy action I thought id update a few of my favourite pike fly patterns enjoy , and of course if you want any just shoot me a mail  

fried alive
this was really the surprise hit for me in late 2012 I originally made it to imitate sticklebacks on a local water and to try and get the attention of some chunky perch , but it ended up being a killer for pike me and the destroyer hit so many preds with these it was beyond belief and its only around 3 inch’s in length  

 gliss and glints
the material of 2013 absolutely amazing stuff gives off just the right amount of flash without being too in your face so many different things you can do with this stuff big , small , saltwater , even nymph bodies and loads of very cool colors never go out without some of these in my box

the flies above are big bucktail monsters these have specially weighted heads to give them maximum dying fish predator attraction I only made these towards the end of last season so haven’t really been able to give them a fair crack of the whip yet , but they were very cool when I tested them in water look forward to using them when I get back on the water

(the deerhair equivalent of a nuclear explosion)
why well because it does that much damage , hell yea it does first time I used them last year I had 3 mid size 20s hit these on the surface one of these fish hit the destroyers bug as I was teaching him how to use them his facial expression is one that will live with me for a long time this year mate this year  

The subbug ain’t just a surface fly for summer hell no , it can be used mid water on intermediate lines or one off my favored methods is when things are really slow is to stick on a lead-core line and inch it just off the bottom , this can result in some spectacular and savage takes just pinch them along the bottom very slowly and get ready for the smash  

the simplest flies are sometimes the best and still out fish most other patterns the simple marabou streamer was pretty much the go to fly for me in the early days of pike flies and it still holds the record for my biggest pike on the fly (a 25lb river fish and actually my biggest fish last year as well) if you have never tried marabou streamers before then check the video page out above , one thing id recommend though is get the best quality marabou plumes you can afford this makes all the difference to your fly in the water if you get marabou that’s threadbare and short your fly will look and fish awful , but when times are tough always worth a try with these  

I still love fishing and tying with naturals , these above I fish right on the bottom and fish them strip and pause so they rise up and drop to the deck , of course the dumbell eyes tied on top of the shank mean it fishes hook up every time ,again a great fly for when the fish are not that active and the long flowing metz tail can sometimes prove irresistible

another monstrosity of a fly but fishes like you wouldn't believe , a few more folks are getting the picture with black flies there seems to be a psychological block with anglers “I cant use that the fish wont see it” trust me they can and on those summer days when the waters green with algae these flies will out fish any other color out there try it out what you got to lose  

the humble bunny bug , I have had a love hate relationship with this fly ive never been able till this year to catch bloody fish on them (I still think that was a fluke) and ive been playing with various ways of pimping them up above being one such pimp ill have another bash this year with em see if I can get my confidence up with the things as I know a lot of people do really well on them in fact I know one guy who has only bunny bugs in his box so gotta be something in it. 

Sometimes some of the best flies come when tinkering around doing nothing in particular , infact the fly pattern above came about like that I was just sitting doing some basic bucktail patterns when I thought mmmmmm this may look good with a saddle hackle along the side then I decided to top it of with some peacock herl and bang a cracking bait fish is born I really like this pattern


ok so first up DNA ain't cheap and to be honest if your using 2 packs you’ll maybe half a dozen of the flies above out of the pack , and that's tying them sparsely but they just look so dam bloody good and off course mixing a few strands with other fibers works really well also loads you can do with them there is a video of me tying these on you tube somewhere just look up mcfluffchucker

another slim profile baitfish , this time with orvis superhair , these were supposed to be heading to a guy in the states (who shall remain nameless) but he wanted sandeels for stripers and was delighted at the flies however he sent me an email some weeks later saying he had packed in fishing and was going to live in a tent just on the perimeter of area 51 in Nevada so he could be first on the space ships when they came back to earth , he did say he would honour the bill and pay it , but as I explained to him I thought the chances of fly fishing on some remote planet inhabited by little grey men was not a sure bet and id just keep them (I mean if they had fly fishing they wouldn’t need to leave there planet would they) true story folks

so these flies actually turned out to be quite good for jacks so fun was had and they stayed on the planet  

gliss and glint plus flies continue to dominate my boxes just now simply because they look so bloody good in the water , seriously I don’t think I could go out on the water without a few in the box  

nick the Greek and the mad scientists at the costa del Athens in Wales continue
to pass out some bloody good colors in this stuff and im now finding myself going nuts as to what to tie next as there is so many great color combos you could do with the stuff even using just one color like above and some perm marker you get some fantastic looking patterns.

You know when you get stuck for ideas or colors what you could do is do a google image search for jerkbaits and glidebaits and have a look at the color combos and just replicate them in a fly once you've done one you’ll find you’ll have the ideas flowing again

 perch patterns are extremely popular in Scotland for pike mainly because in a lot of places its the main food source so look in most fly anglers boxes and you'll see some form of perch pattern fly I have tied up loads on the past but the ones above are my favorite big perch gliss and glint patterns tied on 6/0 pike streamer hooks and the use of a round plastic eye gives it great movement in the water ive also played around with marker pens on the tail of this one , seen someone do this somewhere and though it looked quite cool so incorporated it into mine.

I still really enjoy tying with ep fibre and of course everything has it place in the tying box you can produce so cool patterns with it and although you may not be able to see it in this picture you can also custom blend it to what you want (ive done the back on this one mixed the belly color with olive for the back) im still playing with mixing colors and coming up with some cool results stay tuned 

back in the day when I were a lad 

well actually back in the late 90s, I had a chap from Cornwall mail me asking if I
could make up a few patterns to his spec for saltwater fly fishing more than happy to oblige I set to work on his drawings and what you see above and below was the result , my customer was delighted and ordered a dozen of each and from that day to this I get an order from the same chap same time every year , there has however been a few times he’s ordered twice in a year im guessing that he fish rocky ground a few times but they must be working for him

marabou and metz squid

this was another fly I did for that salt and it looked cracking in the water although I never had it in action in saltwater I can say I caught quite a few jacks with it . Go figure


you know it makes sense

 ok thats plenty
OK so ive seen this kind of picture quite a lot on the net lately I mean come on your fooling nobody and your just making yourself look stoopid and just imagine if you do catch that big fish nobody’s going to believe you are they

tight lines
(man flu in the cave)