Monday, 29 April 2013

Ireland April ’13 part I



Finally I found the time to select pictures and write down our adventure (well part of it to start with). And an adventure it was, so here we go…


It started early on Sunday morning (1 am) when my fishing friend Koen and I rode to Calais (France) to meet the other two members of our team, Sven and Steve (so far so good) for an early check in with the four legged friend who would join us, Jimmy (officially Gypsy but Jimmy just sounds better, right Sven?). And that’s when the trouble started…

 
The veterinarian responsible for Jimmy’s vaccines didn’t fill in the papers correctly so he was not allowed to enter the UK. Luckily Sven lives at a 45 min drive from Calais, so we went back to wake the vet at 4 am to fix the problem and drove back to find out that we missed the train we booked to take us under the Channel to England.




 

On top of that, Koen and I were able to take the next train but the other guys were scheduled for the one after us. Believe me that’s not the way you want to start a fishing trip, especially because we were going to get into timetrouble to catch our ferry to Ireland on the other side of England (which we still had to cross).



Luckily some ‘Higher Power’ felt sorry for us and intervened. Apparently there was still one place left on our train and the first in line (yes our friends!) were able to join us.

That was the first time someone’s guardian angel watched over us and it wouldn’t be the last.

 
Here I took a picture of our friends on the highway trough England but it appeared that I wasn’t the only one. Some policeman in an anonymous car was following us and filmed every move we made. Which he didn’t like very much so he pulled our friends van and trailer over to confront them with a list of traffic offences.




But after a lot of convincing that the traffic laws in Belgium are very different than those in the UK, he let them go with just a warning.

 

Lucky again, but we lost even more of our precious time to catch our ferry. But guess what? When we arrived in Holyhead, we had exactly 6 min to check in and drive on to our ferry to give us our well deserved break.






 

But it seems that with ‘Higher Power Interventions’ you have to pay a price, because once the ferry hit the sea it was immediately obvious that it wasn’t going to be a pleasant boat trip. Stormy weather at sea was our price for luck so relaxing was out of the question!




 


But it all turned out ok and after a good night sleep we were anxious to get on the water. Here are Sven and Steve preparing their boat for a first attempt.








 

We wanted to try out our small ‘private lake’ first so they put the boat in the little canal in front of our house to get to the lake. Getting the boat in was no problem (out was a different story), so we were finally ready to catch some fish.



We had been in touch with some Irish guys for a couple of weeks and they all had horrible stories. It had been too cold for too long and they had seven weeks straight without rain (normally it rains one in two days in Ireland) which made the water level of the lakes drop over a meter.


 But the week before we arrived it rained so hard that the water level came back to normal but made the water very muddy. On top of that, our landlord Brian told us that one week before us five French guys rented the house to go fishing and they caught 3 pike in total in an entire week. So all that wasn’t very promising.

 

I was also curious who would handle the conditions best. Koen and I were the only fly fishermen of the group. Sven and Steve fish more conventional with lures and dead bait.






 


And they caught the first fish. Here’s Steve with his first, yes I know, it's not a very pretty way to appear on someone’s blog for the first time (but it gets better and he actually caught three in those first two hours).










Followed by Sven. Not the big ones but certainly not as horrible as predicted…







 



Especially when I caught two jacks myself.








 





Yes I posted both of them because not many will follow.





 






This is the amount Koen landed on the first lake (zero), a picture we found funny at first but was going to be a lot more contagious that we hoped for.



 








And like I mentioned before, getting into the water with the boat was a lot easier than getting out. Here’s Ken (our landlords son) pulling the van and trailer out of the mud.





 








So in the afternoon we searched for a lake that was easier to access with the boat. Normally we would have skipped this lake because there was way to much wind to fish with a belly boat.
 









But we just held on to the side of the boat so they could pull us into a part of the lake that was out of the wind (very handy if you ask me).
 








That way I was able to land another small one. Koen caught his first two fish as well but since he’s an expert in dropping his fish when you pull out your camera, I have no pictures of them.
 








And Steve caught his fourth as well.


That brings us up to 10 pike with four guys on the water, which was the largest number of pike within a day of fishing for the rest of the week (sad but true). Although they were not the biggest…


Friday, 12 April 2013

Almost gone



Well tomorrow night we’re off! I’m getting up at 2 am Sunday morning for a long day of travel to get to those beautiful Irish lakes again!

 
Although it won’t be easy this time. Last year we were over there we met a Belgian guy and to keep it short, he went back last week. The water temperature was 2,7° C and the pike were still all near the bottom of the lakes, so that’s not very promising. But we’ll take it as it comes and make the best of it. I’ll let you know all about it when we’re back…

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Flash Flies



If everything goes according to plan, then at this time next week we should already be at our destination in Ireland for an entire week of pike fishing!
In the mean time I’m still tying. And since flash flies worked very well in Ireland last year, I wanted to be prepared for this year.
Here are some of the colours I tied so far…

Silver Pearl



Green Pearl


Pink Pearl


Yellow Pearl


And the exact name for the next material is
“Twisted Flash Peacock Pearl”


 I have big expectation on this last colour.

I’ll tell you if I was correct when we get back…

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Pike Flies



Some of you probably thought I went up into thin air, never to hear from me again, but guess what? I’ m still here! Now I could start to explain what happened the last couple of months but, most likely, you wouldn’t believe me anyway. And besides,
this isn’t Facebook! So I’ll stick to the things that matter (for all you pike fly fishermen anyway). I’ve had NO fishing and tying for several months (sad but true), but…
I’M BACK NOW!!!
And I have an upcoming trip to Ireland in less than two weeks, so that’s reason enough to pick up my blog again!

Besides, my vise started to send out some weird ultrasonic waves,

so unable to resist, here’s some new stuff…


This next fly is somewhat different than the previous one. First, this one still has a collar of marabou which I don’t use anymore. Some will say that it flares out while retrieving, well that’s bullshit (pardon my language), because it will only flare out when you have another material underneath that makes that happen (like bucktail for example), otherwise it will remain flat and sticky, which in this case isn’t a problem because it gives it a bloody effect. If you want something to flair out, use raccoon like I did with the first four flies.
But that’s not the reason why I posted it. The weak point with the previous flies are the eyes, sooner or later they get bitten off. I know, some types of glue are better than others, and I’m pretty satisfied with the “Loctite Flex Gel” I’m using, but it will still happen. If they don’t bite off the eyes, it will be the part of the head wherever the glue went.
So with this next fly, I put on some epoxy on the tip of the head and smeared it over the eyes. This way they will never come off. I already tested this one and it has little or no effect on the action of the fly, so I’ll certainly adjust a couple more.


This next one is a combination of two flies. I used the basics of a “ Firetiger Hangtime” by Brad Bohen for the tail and than made a collar of raccoon and my usual head of Slinky Fiber (in a brass wire dubbing brush).


And a couple of tandems as well…



I’m not quite satisfied with the colour of the head on the last one, but I‘m sure the pike won’t mind.

And now I’ll get to work again, I still got a lot of things to do the next couple of days…



Sunday, 28 October 2012

Pike on stamps 4



Those who have been following my blog for a while, know that I collect stamps with pike on it. And as I’ve mentioned before, there aren’t a lot of them out there. So the more stamps you find, the harder it gets.
These are the ones I found since my last post.

 

This is a nice one from Switzerland.



 




 One from the Netherlands

 


From Finland



 

From Mongolia



 
And one from Sweden






This next stamp I already had, but now I found a first day cover of it.


And the same stamp on what they call a ‘maximum card’.


And this last one I like a lot, a maximum card from the Aland Islands.


If you want to see the other ones, click on the label ‘stamps’ on the bottom of this post or in the right column of my blog.
And I’ll repeat my question, if there’s anyone out there who can help me to find some more, please let me know…

Friday, 26 October 2012

Pike Poppers



If I lived in pike paradise… I mean in a country like Ireland, Finland, Canada,… then I would certainly fish a lot more with poppers. They’re not the best way to catch a pike, but they certainly are the most spectacular way! Unfortunately I live in Belgium, where focusing on catching a pike (in whatever way), is already a big task. So I mainly focus on the best way  to hook them on a fly.
But they’re so much fun on your vise, that sometimes when I’m in the mood, I just can’t resist making them. I say ‘making’ instead of ‘tying’, because to my knowledge (please correct me if I’m wrong), there is no pre-maid popper-head on the market that will support a 5/0 or 6/0 hook, along with a steel- (or titanium-) leader tip (and swivels), plus some rubber legs and a 15 to 20 cm tail tied on to it, that will still float enough to call it a popper. So ‘making’ the head will take most of your time.
But, this week I was in the mood to make some,…

They’re 15 to 17 cm long, tied (made) on a Piketrek, Eagle Claw, Pike Fly Hook (that’s a mouth full), size 5/0. I took two pictures from each so you would have a better idea on how I made them.


I also made some sliders. Fish these on an intermediate line, let them hit the surface, then start stripping again, and you’ll have a deadly fly.


What I would also like to share, is the material I used to make the heads. On a previous post you’ve seen how I make my popper heads (if you didn’t, click on the label ‘poppers’ on the bottom of this post or on the right column of this blog). This time I used another kind of  (cheaper) foam. I got another great tip from Renzo Callebert, a great fly-tier, and always in search of unconventional tying material.

Some of you will remember those wooden blocks in different colours we used to play with as a child. Well nowadays (due to all kinds of safety regulations for child’s play), they make this stuff in foam! And an interesting (and really cheap) foam it is.

Do you have any idea how many popper heads you can make with this? Well,… neither do I, but it will certainly be a challenge to find out.



The next pike flies I will post also started with an idea from Renzo,… although some other stuff will come first I think (pike on stamps for example, because my collection has grown)…