Tuesday 27 August 2013

life through a lens and other fishy stories

Life through lost lens and other fishy stories
It’s been a funny old week; it’s been the last week of the summer holidays for the kids so I will have a lot more in front of the vice time once I get some peace to do stuff, in the meantime I've been updating a couple of patterns for the www.predatorbite.com range not that they needed updating the flies were perfectly awesome but there’s always times when there’s new martials available or new ways of tying stuff and that was the case with the 3 patterns below 

Portmore firetiger – this I've used a slightly different shading on the back color which I think makes the stand out a bit better and I've also used a gliss and glint plus on the belly which adds a lovely flash to the belly, I've also thinned out the shape a bit and I must say it looks absolutely great in the water 

 Portmore perch – not much of a change here except the addition of googly rattle eyes instead of normal epoxy eyes , the addition of googly eyes actually stops the fly falling too fast through the water as air in the googly eyes means that they float so with the weight of the hook and material when wet you get a far better movement in the water

And finally the flashback roach pretty much all I've done with this is changed the material for a tougher material and one which keeps a better shape in the water so it’s really just a case of evolving the patterns rather than changing them completely and also don’t forget sometimes material colors and be discontinued  .

Commercial made subbugs 

Well actually I don’t make commercial amounts of my flies I do them in very limited amounts and I also limit the number of places that sell them to only a couple of places this way I keep control of what I make and the builds and most of all there not getting made in bloody African tying houses , I really can’t stand those sweat shops  and the rubbish they produce I mean in this day and age there’s really no need to buy this garbage that falls apart after a few fish buy local folks support your local fly tier and I really can’t imagine a subbug being made in one of these places , the thought just makes me sick so I supply limited amounts of my flies to places I trust so if something’s sold old keep checking back to the site as I’ll be in my cave making a few up for them ………talking of subbugs

www.Predatorbite.com have been at me for a while to make subbugs for them, so I've agreed to supply them a few classic colors the first up is a classic chartreuse color which is a killer pattern .

When I say a few I’m talking half a dozen a time here as these take around 45 mins to an hour for each fly so get em while there hot this particular subbug pattern is exclusive to predatorbite and there isn't a massive amount of stock so really get in there, of course if you need to know more about the subbug here’s my dedicated website for them

And if you'd like to purchase any flies please head over to www.predatorbite.com

On the water 

Miserable sod Mr destroyer you look like you've just dropped a £350 quid camera lens in the water oh hang on you have just lost a £350 quid lens in the water haven’t you …….yes folks the destroyer while getting his stuff ready had a slight accident when his lens actually jumped out of his box rolled across the dock and dropped into the water with a sickening kersplash , of course I was fully sympathetic to the destroyers plight and didn't laugh once , I did however offer to go in and wade at the edge of the dock to see if I could find it (the destroyer had badly blistered his feet on the saltwater trip last week so we didn't want an infection getting in) actually this was the second time I’d have to go in for an item of the destroyers lost gear I think it’s just easier for me to do it as I usually wear shorts and crocs when fishing but trust me if something goes in when there’s ice on the loch he’s on his own…….

I however was very happy; I was back on the water with just a box of subbugs and ready to go I was however convinced id taken a picture of a ufo in the background of this shot it was now the destroyers turn to laugh

Although he wasn’t laughing for long as a low flying subbug on a fast sinking shooting head line took his hat off, I usually don’t cock up casts and im very rarely a danger to my boat partners it was just one of those casts that the wind suddenly changes direction just as you power the line forward luckily no harm was done although the destroyer did think he was about to be flung out the boat head over heels and actually the back of his head did smart a bit , really don’t know what he was moaning about he got his hat back and I gave him a blackcurrent doughnut as compensation and did mention that I was going in after his camera lens later after all 

Fishing wise well we were expecting good things and although I was off to a good start with a lively head shaking jack on a subbug they just can’t get enough of the bug crunch 

Just love summer pike stunning colors and a really bad attitude, there’s an old school of thought out there that you shouldn't fish for pike in the summer as they can go belly up after a fight , well I agree that a prolonged fight in the summer is not good for the fish but with the right gear you can get fish in very quickly and I've never had a pike go belly up on the fly in fact I've seen a lot more damage to fish with treble hooks than any single hook or a 9 wgt fly rod and of course if you fish with a a 6wgt for pike of course besides being an idiot you’re never going to get a fish in quick enough especially in summer , look at it another way you wouldn't go bait fishing for pike with a roach pole would you …….so in other words fly fishing for pike in summer isn't an issue just get them in quick with the correct gear
Nasa we have lift off 

Another pike another subbug this one was the destroyers and put up a fantastic fight with some great Ariel acrobatics and took his mind of his lost lens for a second 

And then things changed, we were seeing a few fish feeding on sticklebacks but then they seemed to drop off and we got nothing more not even a half-hearted stab or miss at a fly I thought something was up as ive had this before, usually on the onset of low pressure which seems to turn the fish completely off up here on the fly

And right enough we had this awful looking sky come over which killed it , the thing ive found is that once a low pressure comes in the fish will again become active but it can take a while for that to happen but we merrily carried on fishing in the vain hope that we could annoy a fish enough to take a swipe at a fly , but despite our best efforts we called it a day around 8pm and decided to go and get his lens or more is the case id go and get it ..

Which is why hes probably smiling, the lens was duly recovered and I got wet up to the crown jewels the water was actually a lot colder than I thought it was and I was really glad to get back out although I suspect the smell of the loch on the destroyers soaked car seat may take a while to shift laughing me never.

A great day out 

My local water which is very private and not open for the public is hosting a pike fly fishing open day in the prime month of October, this will consist of bank fishing, pontoon boat and float tubes only there will be big fish prizes for each discipline including a very special prize for the biggest fish of the day of a year’s membership for portmore , awesome
 So if you fancy a great day out in like-minded company then mail predatorsonthefly@gmail.com if you’re coming from further away and need advice about location or accommodation or would like to arrange other fishing in the area then please use the same mail address 

Articulated thinking

Theres no doubt there’s a buzz around with the articulated fly called the game changer and with due cause it’s a cracking little pattern so when I tied one a few weeks ago and had an 8lb fish pretty much on the first cast and first tug of the line so there was obviously something about it and from would I could find out they were actually trout streamers , so me being me I wanted to play with the pattern and make a few bigger pike / musky patterns 

When I say big I’m talking size 6/0 hooks here and these one like the one above is an average of 6 to 7 inches long , of course I could do them a lot bigger and I will but I wanted to get the method correct first and after much head scratching and a little bit of scissor wielding and a bit of trimming I came up with something I really liked and most of all would have confidence in fishing because as we all know having confidence in you fly is half the battle with pike 

The articulated part of the fly only actually has 2 moving parts the tail section and the section behind the tail the 3rd shank is actually attached to the hook shaft still very flexible as you can see from the above picture 

Something in uv chartreus and an olive marabou tail I suspect this will do good on my local and with the same flexibility as the other fly above it, 

The original articulated flies I believe used a very fine straggle fritz , great for trout and smaller species but not for bit as we really need them to have something to sink their teeth into so i started by using gatso fiber from piketrek  it has nice long strands and plenty of colors and very easy to trim to shape 

One of my favorite colors of gatso “peacock bass” nice shades of green and silver and topped off with a deercreek  8mm red eye and a tiny bit of bucktail for the tail again on 3 sections of wire and trimmed to shape and you have a lovely looking bait fish  that to be honest I think will catch fish anywhere in the world.
The gliss and glint factor 

As I was making these flies I was also running through my head what other materials I could use and although there was a few that came to mind of course I thought gliss and glint plus from deercreek so I whipped a quick one up in perch although im not 100% happy with the build just a little hiccup in the color placing it’s still I think looking good and ill play a bit more with the gliss and glint and the articulated ideas
How does it work?
Below you'll see a series of pictures that represents how the fly works in the water  

1 – Fly lands on the water
2 – Fly starts to sink (tail raises up)
3 – as you start to strip the fly levels out
4 – When you pause the front starts to sink down and you get a broken back look
5 – Strip again and the head rises up
6 – when you come to the end of the cast, let the fly hang in the water and then tap the rod tip (a slight jerk on the wrist) this will make the fly go into dying fish mode pic 7 and 8, this can be deadly and can get you extra fish as they will appear from nowhere and crunch it exciting stuff in clear water, although I’ve only seen it on video when muskys come right up behind the fly to the boat I really think this could convert those follows into strikes , I think I’d better send one to brother ken in Vermont to try out .

I’m not fishing this week so I’ll be doing lots of vice time so I’m guessing there will be a few articulated flies come out the vice this week and no doubt a few will find their way into the destroyers box

See ya all soon
(a cave in Scotland)

Sunday 11 August 2013

Subbuggin 36 not out

Subbuggin 36 not out

a battered and tattered 2 season subbug finally lost an eye after a particularly savage attack from esox over the past couple  of years (yup designed to last these baby's) so I decided that rather than put it into retirement (the body was still sort of OK) id just spruce it up a bit and stick a couple of new eyes on 

So after gently cutting behind the eye the tattered remains are put to one side and a small amount of five min epoxy is mixed up and placed were the old eyes used to be, then is just a case of putting the new ones on and holding in place until the epoxy cures

And there you have it, as good as new (well sort off)

I actually added a little more epoxy at the front of the eye as a bit of an experiment weight wise and to see if it would make any difference in the action when fished (but more on that later)

Talking of subbugs I had a large order of subbugs to do so I hunkered down in the cave with some planet rock radio and got stuck in , each bug takes approximately 45 mins to make as I never rush them and I make each turn of the thread bombproof and I mean lets face facts if you buy a spun deer hair fly from an African tying house they will not last more than a few fish I know ive seen one fall apart after 2 fish , esox really go to town on subbugs so you need to really know to protect the tie on every single step of making them which is why they take so bloody long but it is a labor of love if the truth be told and the winning color this season , well ill let you guess from the picture above J


I had a friend down passing through the neighborhood and I owed him a day on my local as the last time he was on it was bloody cold and miserable and the wind was really not being very nice at all , so we planned a day and hit the water , I have also decided that im going to be using subbugs for pretty much until October at least as I have a lot of new ideas for them so I only grabbed my top water box (yes there’s a couple of poppers in there but they have now been taken out the box) and because quite frankly they are a devastating pattern .

This is ideal bug water getting them in about the weed where the predators lurk and when the hits come they really do come hard usually with a massive splash of a vicious take you really have to witness these things hitting bugs on the surface quite incredible heart stopping action .

Paul my friend was obviously pleased that only 2 casts in this one hit the subbug on the surface, this was one of 7 or 8 fish he he caught and at least ten throwing or missing the fly on the surface, I think altogether we had around 36 fish hitting the subbugs it was quite manic heart stopping sport and fantastic fun you just cant beat it


I used only 4 subbugs that day in the colors you see above, and yes there’s 2 black ones as one has a stinger hook (I was trying to convert some of those short strikes into fish in the boat) the small articulated fly was in the box and I had it on at the start of the day but I find it hard to fish anything else when I have subbugs with me, so it only got wet for around 10 mins 

Subbug pike crack , they just couldn't get enough of that crunchy esox crack great seeing a pike clear the water after one of these …..


Not as far fetched as it sounds to be honest , the pike were striking sticklebacks on the surface and I had just pulled my line in ready for another cast when I decided to take the picture above , my target was actually behind the ring where there were sticklebacks on the surface but as I took the picture a pike stuck its nose out of the water and took a gulp of bait now in a flash my mind went back to my last days fishing with brother ken on lake Champlain when a largemouth bass had struck a shoal of small baitfish behind the boat .

That time id been in mid cast with a crease fly and id let the fly drop right on the ring on the back cast and hooked the fish so I thought this aint no different if I can get a fly on it while its still there ive got a great chance of actually hooking it, so in a split second id dumped the camera and cast a subbug right on top of it first pull and bang it was on in a flurry of spray, teeth grinding, and general bad attitude. 

Being hooked so close to the boat it took off like a rocket. But the trusty pikesaber did the job yet again. And funnily enough on the repaired subbug I spoke of at the start , now Paul had more fish than me today but he was using a method id not even thought about for subbugs before so im going to play with his idea next week and with his permission ill write about it in the next blog , but if he dosnt want it shared then that’s cool but it’s a really interesting concept ……..and it works

In the boat after a short fight and released to fight another day a stunningly marked Scottish predator that fought like an Atlantic salmon just gotta love em 

 So as the sun started to go down the fish completely turned of and myself and Paul decided to head back to mine for a cup of well earned coffee , I have to also give a massive shout out to Paul who also bought me some black country *pork scratchings and and 4 bottles of banks bitter you’re a star mate and they were awesome thanks again.

 *for my American readers who may not be aware of what pork scratching are heres a link


Poor destroyer was in despair at two doubles coming to the boat when hes so tantalizingly close to getting his first double figure pike (this week pal) so to make up for it I decided to take him after another species on his hit list saltwater bass , now cracking the saltwater isn't the easiest thing so to get him hooked up I decided to take his to a local spot where there was a pretty good chance of getting a schoolie bass and getting a point on the leader board .

As the tide started to rise I was very confident , the water was lovely and warm and clear , I could actually see the odd flash of silver baitfish now and again as the tide rose I was electrified and so bloody focused on what I was doing I really was in that very special place that we fly anglers go when we are in the zone and you just know that your fly is working perfectly in fact so well you can almost sense the fish behind it , trying to decide to take it or not you can just sense it ……

Strike one a nice little school bass to start and we were off and running, even as I was casting the chap with the lure rod next to me said he could see fish chasing my fly, the destroyer was just about 15 feet above me and I was sure he would be next but then something very strange happened .

We should have been absolutely smoking fish out over the next hour but it died a death big time even the lure chucker’s weren't catching and if they aint catching on the rubber sand-eels then nobody is going to catch, we fished the tide right up and the only thing we saw being caught was mullet on bread (and I didn't have bread flies with me) , I really cant put a finger on why it died a death did sharks move in , did they see the destroyers legs , the wind changed halfway through was it that or was it that way out to see we could sea gannets diving on something was this sand-eels or small bait-fish , or maybe there were seals around (didn't sea any though) I really don’t know but no other bass were caught that day .

Mabey somebody who fly fishes for bass a lot more often than me could mail me if they have any idea as I only dabble in saltwater fly fishing and don’t claim to be and expert but id be interested to know what would cause this sudden turn off


Massive cool well done to brother ken in the states who did a 52 inch musky at the weekend awesome fish bro and taken on a pikesaber, who says it’s a rubbish rod …

Till next time fellow loonies
(a cave in Scotland)

Friday 2 August 2013

kicking back with Mr esox and Mr destroyer

So it had to happen at some point I spring cleaned the cave , well I say spring clean it was more like chucking stuff back in boxes where they belong as you may be aware this is only my temp cave until I get my own room back so after I had half tided it (there’s storage boxes  on the left hand side outa site) and hovered the floor and stuff I went and checked out a few of my favourite blogs starting with a fly tier who I respect immensely for his downright awesome patterns and that’s dron over at http://dronsworld.blogspot.co.uk/ this guy is simply amazing and his latest pattern was no exception . No as dron himself says just this isn’t his pattern it’s just his take on it

So I looked at this pattern and thought im just going to have to ramp it up for pike so I followed the very simple steps on his blog and came up with my take on his fly and came up with what you see below

I varied slightly from drons pattern in that I used gatso from piketrek for the body http://www.pikeflyrod.com/46-gatso-fibre-giant-mutiflash-fritz for no other reason than I didn’t have the same material as dron and to be honest after I had tied it a really thought it wasn’t going to be and issue as from looking at it and shaking it around a bit it would I thought work the same …………..

First cast and two twitches and bang that kinda proved that worked a few more will be hitting the fly box in various colors.


The pike in the picture was one of 10 that me and the destroyer had to the boat last week on a rare half decent weather day although it was quite bright and supposedly that’s rubbish for pike fishing but last year we had our best day numbers wise on a day that was actually hotter than today so who knows I suppose that’s why we go fishing and for a change the destroyer had the first fish of the day …..And he landed it 

Another one with a tiny head and a big body great scrappy fight and no matter what the size its always good to get that first one in the boat ……..

As we were in the shallow bay I decided to put a subbug on and then things got a little bonkers fish wise I was hitting one in 5 fish as you do with top water stuff I even had one come and swirl and miss 30ft from the boat I mean we are talking torpedo swipe here and it scared the life outa the destroyer I never understand how they can miss but they do great fun on the fluff everyone’s a challenge and a joy 

As we were on our way to our spot first thing we noticed a float tuber on the loch and as we passed we said hello and exchanged pleasantry’s and we headed to our spot , after a while we stopped for lunch and the float tuber started to paddle our way “we have a visitor destroyer say nothing and hide the flies” as it turns out it was friend and casting instructor and general really nice bloke will shaw (thing is im blind as a bat and didn’t realise it was will as he had his glasses and hat on …………lol

Will had beem (as we had notiched) leathering the fish out on his new secret method (sworn to secrecy here so I cant say no more) …….so we had a chat and a laugh and he floated of for what he said was his last cast although he was still floating around 2 hours later and still catching, nice to have a catch up as id not been down to orvis for a few months as id been a bit busy..

Conan with a lovely marked jack, check the colors on that tail no wonder hes smiling 

The subbug claims another such a devastating pattern especially in the summer months this fish was caught later in the day and things died completely after this fish , as happens in pike fishing the dinner bell rings then they all turn off , so we decided on trying for some perch 

So we headed down to the perch spot and I changed to small clouser minnow tied directly to the authentic wire , I actually felt quite confident as the sun dipped and the thought of small predators on the prowl I actually though I was in with a good chance of catching indeed also the destroyer was feeling the love so we anchored up and started to fish , and fish and fish and fish and fish in fact we fished for an hour over the spot without even so much as a tap , one day I will catch another enormous perch like I had a few years ago , in the meantime I just laugh at my efforts to deliberately target one …

So with a beautiful sunset over fantastic water which kept its bigger secrets for another week me and the destroyer to headed back to mine for a cuppa and arranged the next trip? not this week however as the kids were on school holidays and the destroyer was on holiday for a week camping somewhere (seriously dude this is Scotland) as it turns out the weather got the better of that idea so that’s another story ……….

 Me well im back in the cave this week as I have a shed load of fly orders that came in over a couple of days so I need this week to get those done and out the door so here is where youll find me if you need me if im asleep just leave a note ……..oh and yea yea ive heard all the cousin it jokes J

Pike adventures with ken capsey 

My brother from another mother ken capsey from http://pikeadventures.blogspot.co.uk/ has been a bit quite on his blog since Sept last year this was due to the brother being really busy with other projects and catching fish , I spoke to the other day and he has promised to get back on the case with his blog……… come on bro we miss your shit

Till next time fly tying friends
Your humble cave dweller
(a cave in scotland)