Saturday, February 25, 2017

The drowning rodent.

Since my early beginnings with fly fishing and fly tying i have been attracted to top water patterns. Unfortunately the conditions here in Ireland don't always make the pike go for flies presented on the surface, but if the fly is an inch or two under , for some reasons they will hit it without any problems. I still don't know why they like to attack flies that are just under the surface compared to something sitting on top but that the way it is, so we have to adapt to keep on catching.

I developed The drowning rodent to swim on the surface and to be able  to sink very slowly as well if needed. If you get the ratio of natural hairs and synthetics right, this fly will "struggle" to sink.Giving the perfect imitation of a rodent in distress. And thats the key of the success of this fly. Over the years spent on the water, i was lucky to see many different pike behaviours, and one in particular was pike hitting rodents that were either crossing a river or young ones having their first bath.
There is many different mouse patterns out there, but all of them are made of 100% deer hair compacted to float and swim on top. I tried them with some success, but it wasn't the results i was hoping for. So i decided to sit behind my vice and work on a new type of mice fly. One  that will float and sink a bit as well, giving the impression of a rodent in difficulty, struggling to keep himself afloat.
I am lucky to have access to full pelts of wild deer.

The belly of the fly is made of funky fibres, packed and trimmed to allow to soak up water and act as a keel. The top half is made of deer hair , i don't use belly hair but the hair from the sides or the back of the deer as they are a little less buoyant.These are compacted but not like a diver, just a gentle squeeze while you're adding the layers is enough. Practice with a few ties and you will find the perfect mix. While casting the fly , the funky fibres will shed water fast, allowing for the fly to sit perfectly on top when it will land. A few strips to move some water and give a chance for a nearby pike to locate the fly, and pause, let the water fill the belly and it will feel heavier, strip and it will dive a bit, pause and it will rise very slowly back to the surface. All with a very enticing wiggle from the articulation of the three parts and the wiggle tail. The attacks are always furious, no half measure there. And usually its sorts out the bigger fish (compare to a smaller mice or a Dahlberg diver).

The legs give extra movement as well.I cut these from thin shammy leather. Cut them long as they need to flap a bit on the side of the tie. I add a pair of moustaches made out of coated wire.Tie two downwards so they will act as a simple weed guard as well.

As usual, here's a video of the tie. Please, like and subscribe to my YouTube channel as this support will keep me making more videos in the future.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Back in the air

Following my misadventure with Lily (the start up drone that failed to see production line) i went for the obvious choice, Mavic.

Its the portability of Mavic that attracted me straight away, fits in a small Pelican case, or in a dry bag. I hoping to push this little beast, but i am still in the "baby step" mode...Its not exactly cheap, and it needs time to know and put into practice all that Mavic has to offer. Thanks to Youtube there is a crazy amount of guys flying it and putting up some cool tutorials. But i still feel uneasy having over a 1000€ flying over water.

The very first thing i'm practicing is to hand launch and land to be able to take Mavic with me on my pontoon , boat or float tube. It looks easy, but i know its going to be a totally different story doing these manoeuvres sitting in the middle of a lough or river. So, practice makes perfect and i don't want to get my fingers chopped..
 Putting this aside,Mavic looks like a fantastic piece of tech.It does not feel cheap, its sturdy, flies very well, stable , responsive and the camera is fantastic.But now a new season starts for me at the lodge, first guests are arriving this afternoon, that's me busy until mid june...Be patient my friends, i will try to fill the blog as much as i can.

For those who are interested in the procedure i use to hand launch and land, i think i am doing it the easiest way possible. If you know of a better way please do put it in the comment below.
Mavic is equipped with obstacle avoidance sensors in the front and underneath its body. So if you try to catch it, the bottom sensors will see your hand coming towards it and the drone will fly upwards to try to get away from you. I have seen many videos where guys go into the settings and disable the bottom sensors, but why paying big money for all these extras and not using them?..One easiest way it to use the take off option on the app (DJI GO 4 ) to launch and to use the auto landing from the app as well to catch it.Even if your hand is under, by confirming that you want to land the drone, the sensors will not see you as an obstacle but as a landing platform. Mavic will go down about 20cm and will pause for about two seconds to initiate the landing, all you have to do is position your hand under ( away from the blades and your face) and catch it as it lowers itself, then shut off the motors by holding your left stick down.Simple....well we'll see on the water, for the moment i keep doing this over and over in my garden.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Innoko,the return.

To say that i'm exited this morning is a real understatement.I got a mail from Scott of Midnight Sun Trophy Pike Adventures confirming our next trip to the Innoko.I am so pumped i even put a countdown clock on the side of the blog....

Some of you guys are probably familiar with the Innoko system , part of the Yukon drainage, if you don't know this place you probably have seen it from the fantastic movie of Barry Reynolds , In pursuit of the water wolf.

The first time i have seen this movie i knew i had to do everything in my powers to go up there.Stop smoking, drinking,put five euro aside each week,whatever you can to save money to visit this true pike mecca while you still can.It's remote, it's beautiful,it's just unreal! We had an amazing stay, with a super professional crew taking care of us. I still remember this place like it was yesterday, every details are engraved in my brain for ever, like a virus, the Innoko comes back and hunt you, calls you back.I don't know what's the deal with Alaska, but once you step foot up there you are done...You will come back over and over, no matter what it takes.I have been to quite a few places around the world ,but nothing sticks to you like Alaska and especially the Innoko ( if you are a pike man).
The sheefish were playing ball too!

When we arrived there back in 2013, the weather was unusually hot, water temperatures were high for this part of the world, it took a lot of scouting from the guides to find cooler waters and to finally find active, aggressive pikes. And boy, when them found the sweet spot it was like nothing i have ever experienced. Our fourth day was out of this world, we had to push further and further north to find these precious cooler spots, over 2  hours on the skiff in the morning travelling at full speed with some serious horse power got us to pike heaven.We had the best day of our lives, my good friend Dominique and myself had personal best records, falling and falling and falling on that day.We clocked  40 pikes over 40 inches, we lost count of the total number of fish that day, and the ones under the magical 40? All big fish too, all high 30's, no jacks that day.They were probably terrified to come out that day...