Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Tech & Ties

Weather is being a bit of a bitch at the moment, heavy rains, heavy snow, strong winds makes it for very difficult fishing. Water levels and temperatures are like a yoyo at the moment, nothing settles for more than 48 hours. I am not the type of fisherman that enjoys sitting in a bivvy for hours on end with little to no action, i like to be active when i fish.


So instead of wasting hours on the water getting cold, i rather put my time to more constructive occupations. Like getting some hours in the air getting new shots with the drone and tying some flies for the spring/summer here and my return to Alaska ( i am very impatient for this trip!)
For the arial footage, for those who are interested in this type of things...I used the active tracking on the Mavic, but i find it not to reliable.The camera has to be at a certain distance to lock on the subject and if you go behind trees or in shadows the camera will loose you every single time. So to help with this i use an external gps like via bluetooth to my tablet. I got myself a little Garmin Glo.This little device is fantastic.
Glo can receive position information from both GPS and GLONASS satellite constellations ( the Russian equivalent to GPS), allowing it to connect top to 24 more satellites than devices that rely on GPS alone.This allows GLO to lock on to satellites approximately 20 percent faster and remain connected even at high speed.What's more, GLO updates its position information at 10 times per seconds! And that's up to 10 times more often than the GPS receivers in many devices.I got mine from Amazon and got it even cheaper than on the Garmin website.
Glo is  about the size of a Zippo lighter.
So now i have no worries of the drone loosing me! Here's a quick edit using just the Active track on the Mavic at sunrise:



Now for a few ties,i am working mainly with Kanekalon hair  at the moment, a few more toads in yellow variations, and a few baitfish.The electric yellow and pink leave me great action before, so i decided to top my box up with a few more of them. Next, a few more ties with a flashy trend.
Yellow toads.

"El Classico" always carry one of this colour combo in your box!

The Coon.

Hot tickets


Sunday, February 04, 2018

FWA's Pike Toads & where i get my materials.

I have fished tarpon toads for pike for a few years now, and with good success. But i recent times i wanted to make them bigger and with the addition of a large magnum zonker you get that extra movement that drives pikes mental.If you struggle with the "X" style tying for the head, look for tarpon toad flies on YouTube where you will find many videos showing you in details how to tie that way and get these heads done.About YouTube, feel free to like and subscribe on my  channel to help it grow and bring you more contents.
A quick history of the tarpon toad (extract from MidCurrent.com) :
"The Tarpon toad fly was invented by Gary Merriman, owner of the Fish Hawk fly shop in Atlanta,Georgia.The toad is a light-weight, slow sinking fly designed for sight casting, and when it was introduced the early 90's in the Florida Keys, it immediately improved the hook up rates for anglers pursuing  skittish fish".

 Since i left Funky fly tying pro team i have been on a search for fibres to replace the fu*ky fibres and fu*ky hairs that i use on most of my flies. For the fibres i use now congo hair, people will tell you it's different, but in reality its the same stuff! Congo hair is available from http://www.flytyersdungeon.com , based in the U.S these guys will supply you without any worries.I usually do one big order a year to avail from the discounts on shipping they offer. And they have a HUGE range of colours and blends and at only 1.75$ per pack, thats just 1.40 euro! Why pay more?? While you there, pick up some of their Northern lights flash, great flash with two colours and volume, and thats only 1 euro / pack!
For the head of the toads i use Kanekalon hair, primarily used for the hairdressing industry they are perfect for tying flies! Kanekalon is the same stuff that you can find in fly shops but at a fraction of the price!
Delivery of Kanekalon, just look at the size of the packs!
Two big advantages in using Kanekalon, 1:it's cheap, and 2: it's versatile.
I use it straight from the pack for volume, and use a hair dryer to take away the volume and straighten the hairs. I usually use this technique for the tails of my streamers (but i keep the crinkle volume for the body)
Kanekalon, straight out of the pack.
Using heat to straighten the hairs is so important for saltwater baitfish, straight fibres = straight swimming action.
Kanekalon after heat treatment.

I get my Kanekalon from the U.K, go and check https://www.cyberloxshop.co.uk for all they have to offer.One pack of Kanekalon contains usually five to six packs sold in fly shops. and at about 3€ a pack you'll be mad not to use that stuff! Here's a direct link to the hairs that i order: kanekalon jumbo braid
I will reveal in the next few weeks other cheap materials that i use, and cheap doesn't mean lower quality, these are the same stuff you normally buy and use for your streamers!

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Gear/Sunglasses.

Having a good pair of sunglasses is essential when fishing, looking cool is optional but nowadays with so many brands on the market it well possible.The only problem is that a good pair of polarized can be very expensive.
But no more! The Cassette company is a brand coming from Idaho that started in 2011 and is growing every day. First made for snowboarders and skaters, Cassette is expending, offering now great shades for the angler. (check their Stockholm range for quality polarised). What attracted me about this brand is the quality and the value they offer.They use the same factories that more expensive brands use, so they can deliver great quality, but they're not to greedy and offer the customer great value as well!
Recycled skateboard, Canadian maple.

I particularly like their wooden frames : bamboo, kossowood , zebra wood and their recycled skateboard decks in canadian maple.To add to all this they use  environment friendly acetate.
So i am pleased and happy to announced that Cassette have now included myself in their brand ambassador program.
Dark bamboo 

And to celebrate this, you guys can get any of their product with a discount! Use my own discount code when ordering to get a whopping 20% of your next order!
Here's the code:   NORBERTFWA don't forget to share it with friends.
Stockholm range

So if you are like me and suffer from loosing and breaking sunglasses on a regular basis, or if you need a good value spare pair look no further (unless you are loaded with money, so you can buy a pair of Costas twice a year...) The prices range from 45$ up to 150$ , they change their stock on regular basis, offering new model and a fantastic choice of frames, lens and colours. Even if you already own a pair of sunglasses, these can be great to have as a spare , but don't let the price fool you, they are very good quality and they will be very happy as your main fishing glasses too.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Costa Rica, my new bff...

Its just been a week since i came back to Ireland, and as usual returning to reality is always difficult. This is my second visit to CR and every time i fall in love more and more with this beautiful country. From the friendly locals to the abundant wildlife, not to mention the weather and the fishing, this place has a lot to offer. I am already planning my next visit.
Unwanted night in Toronto

We only ventured on the car park, way too cold for the clothes we had

I like when i travel to such places to work for my fishing.Yes i could easily book myself in a lodge and get onto fish right away, but i see these holidays as a complete package. I go there not to just fish, but to get more life experiences, meeting new people, encounters with local wildlife, and of course having fun. And one week in a specialised fishing lodge will pay for a month or two living in a beach house...
Ferry crossing from Puntarenas to Paquera

This trip started badly, with our flights delayed, then just before take off we had engine troubles grounding the plane for a further 3 hours on the tarmac.We missed our connecting flight in Toronto, and were stuck there in artic weather, something unusual even for Canada.We landed in minus 24 degrees with a real feel of minus 36....This is surely the last time i will travel via Canada at this time of the year, and not to mention Air Canada for their terrible services all around....Yes, after all these troubles upon arrival in San Jose airport, my suitcase was missing....Turns out they sent it back from Toronto to Dublin...With it all my fishing gear and all my chargers for my cameras and drone. The suitcase turned up but 9 days later!!!
Our first CR sunset from the ferry.

Of course the fishing was great the first week, and once my case arrived the weather turned, a change of wind (strong ) and heavy tropical thunderstorms killed the fishing from the shore.Any one who tries their hand at some exotic fishing from the rocks knows how hard it can be and how quickly the fish can shy away from the shore to be pushed back to deeper water. I always try to book a day or two with a charter boat, but the weather messed that up for me too, as the boat was cancelled due to strong wind.
Our piece of paradise for the next two weeks.

Thanks to my good friend that lives there and the lent of a spinning rod and a few lures i did manage to get my target, the rooster fish.
After these types of trips we always learn and evolved.It's only when the fishing is hard and you face difficult challenges that we become better anglers. I start to know the local area better as well and that is a big plus. Rock marks, time to fish, types of flies and lures...Be sure of one thing! i will be back again and again. Thank you Lolo & Silvia for all your help you guys rocks!
Our bedroom, falling asleep to the sound of the Pacific...Priceless.

For the filming i wanted to do a mini series, like 5 short vlogs, but with the missing chargers i could waste precious battery life.My drone was grounded too, to travel in an airplane with lipo batteries, they need to be discharged down to 30% for safety on board. So i did the best i could , with no gimball for smooth footage and limited battery this is what i managed to bring back for you guys to watch:



This way....just wilderness and unexplored rock marks.

If you have batteries with your drone....You can scout areas pretty fast!

First fish first evening, black tuna, great in sashimi! 

Lures have a short life over there.

One more species  for my book!

My sister done pretty well too....


Early mornings and late evenings we the best for larger fish.The sun can get very intense from 11 am till 3 pm.

Cerveza & Pina colada, lives essentials.

Keeping hydrated

Everything rust when you are literally a stone throw away from the ocean

Local beach chickens


Daily visit from the clan of capuchin to the garden

Coatis were shy but present

Surfers paradise

Pura Vida

A ten minutes walk from the beach house to Montezuma village.I can get use to this type of commuting.


So often you are reminded about our environment In CR.If only we could follow in their footsteps.


Sunset picture time, helped by the extremely generous rum and cokes served on the ferry.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Hooks&Leader.



From next season i will be stocking Sakuma hooks at the lodge. These hooks have never failed me. From freshwater to saltwater, they remain sharp, don't bend like rubber and dont snap like glass. I have tried many hooks over a good few years now and in many different situations.Many big brand hooks have broken my heart a few times by losing some good fish. And if it happens only once with a type of hook, you can be sure that i won't be using it ever again. There is great hooks out there now, some cheap others more expensive.I like Sakuma as they offer a fantastic quality at a very good price. This is the reason that i got in touch with them and i am now stocking my favorite types at the lodge. And i only keep in stock what i use and trust.
Three types will be available:
The 410 in 4/0 and 2/0 :my baitfish hook! And perfect for saltwater and exotic.No flex with these bad boys!

The 545 manta extra, great for many types of ties.I whip all my t-bones and articulated flies with these guys. Extra long shank, and super strong with a little flex.

The phantom in 4/0: a new addition for me, i use this one when you really want to tie light flies, perfect for those hanging streamers, deer bugs, rats, poppers....Made from a lighter wire, a little more flex, but they remain super strong. I only use these for freshwater.
Spools of Amnesia will be available as well. I used Amnesia for my leaders since the very first day i fly fished for pike. Its inexpensive and does the job EVERY time without any disappointment.
Next post, a few ties....Its been a while..

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Big Shoals Raft (early) review.

So it's already December...Time really flies.. An other year finishes, as i am now in my off-season at the lodge. Doing some winter maintenance work  at the moment and  getting the place  ready for next year.
Weather is not the best, dark skies, melted snow, windy, cold, humid, damp.... I can't wait to get away for some sunshine.

Looking back on the last few months in my picture files, and the big shoals rafts is the main subject i can see in most of my last pics.I had nearly a full week guiding clients on the raft so far, from single guest,pairs and couples. We went out from late august until mi november, so we had all sorts of weather. And the raft performed very well, from heavy rain as there's is no need to empty the raft with its self bilging floor to really shallow waters in late august. This raft rides on nothing! Even fully loaded and three people on it, it glides on super skinny water. We even pulled it from the river  onto the grass bank and pushed it across a field to access a secluded small lough.That's impossible to do with a conventional boat...

Manoeuvrability is amazing, from holding the raft on the same spot in fast waster to get a client to cast again at a missed fish ( and hooking it) to spinning it 180 to assist sudden direction change during a big fight.
These i believe are crucial attributes in putting people onto more bites, more fish and hopefully specimen fish. This raft has it all.
 The only struggle i had was on a very windy day, with the wind mainly facing us, at times it was hard to hold it.But i wanted too really test it,(and myself) so i didn't shy away from going out in bad conditions. So now i know its possibilities... and my limits.
I honestly had a great time on the raft guiding, and all my clients went away with only compliments for the raft. I definitely had no regrets in making this investment.Thanks again to Ethan at SMITHFLY for all his help and professionalism.

The three days guiding and lodging for summer 2018 are all booked out as well as the 7 day summer packages. Some single day rafting are still available mid august and mid september. If interested, drop me a mail for details and availability: norbertfwa@gmail.com  .

Now we're in the middle of winter, and i am becoming very impatient to depart for Costa Rica.This is my second trip to this wonderful place, i am going back with experience now....Hoping to bring you guys some great footage. I have been very quiet on the blog lately and i am working to bring more regular blogs and vlogs.Don't forget to find me on Youtube and sub.Thank you for the support.
New things are coming to the lodge as well, stay tune all will be revealed soon.

Constant changing landscape at the moment!
Winter sunrise above the lodge!