Saturday, April 06, 2019

Top 5 pike flies: The Tinsel Tosser.

Not all good flies have to be complicated....Some of my best patterns are very simple to ties. Yes it sure is fun to sit behind the vice with a good whiskey for a couple of hours and tie a big articulated fly. But when it comes to the crunch, a simple fly that is quickly tied, doesn't use 20€ of materials , that you can cast all day without the need of painkillers is a good fly in my books. Especially when it fools fish over and over.
It's also a great fly for beginners. Many newcomers to the sport are fueled by social media and Youtube, and in all fairness i was the same, as usually there's not much information available elsewhere. Big flies, wiggle tails, dragon tails are all the rage at the moment, and they are good flies, but most of my time catching flies ( around 70%) i catch pike on flies that are not bigger than 20cm. Match the hatch is not only applicable to trout fishing...
So this is why the tisel tosser deserves a place in my top five pike flies. As usual, play with flash colors to suit the conditions and with the weight at the front, some days pike will  chase something that glides, and others it's only a sharp jigging action that will induce a take.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

My top 5 pike flies, starting with the mighty Gamechanger!

It's a subject that's been in the back of my head for quite some time now, and one that i'm often asked about. What are my top five pike flies?
First of all i do have a top five, but i cannot rank them against each other as they all reach top spot depending on the season, weather condition and of course, pike mood (s) .
So i will not do a countdown type of article, but i will reveal my top five in no particular ranking system.
We start with a firm favorite, the Gamechanger. Undoubtedly it's a fly that will scare most fly tyers. Some see it as too complicated and time consuming others think that it's simply not worth the effort.
Their loss...If well tied a gamechanger will catch a huge amount of fish before it's retirement. It's also very versatile, you can use different materials depending on the action and sink rate needed.
Here's how to tie one:


The easier way is to use synthetic brushes, and to "match the hatch" is even better if you make your own brushes , and it will save you ton of money as brushes cost a fair bit from fly shops.

I call a gamechanger a fly that's made of at least four articulated sections. The sky is the limit, but 4 to 8 sections is the perfect match. You can use only one hook at the front or if the fish are nipping the tail, it's always good to have one or two GC with a small single hook incorporated at the back.
For pike i use a large, strong front hook as it will act as a keel and make that fly track straight.
Most of my GC are  synthetics or bucktail for longevity. Bucktail if i fish shallow waters as they will sink slower . For that really slow sink try a full  trimmed bucktail head like the ones on musky flies , deadly when you need to let it sit to tease moody pikes.
Synthetics are great for deeper waters. And dumbell eye can be used if you really need to get it down faster/ deeper.
You can fish them with many types of retrieve , rolly polly will give you that swimbait action, try to alternate from fast to long stops.And some days they are total suckers for the regular slow speed without interruptions.

Strip them with short and long strips to send them in a crazy jerkbait action. This fly is many flies rolled into one, get out there and get some practice, you will be amazed how one fly can catch fish in many different situations. Definitely deserves a place in my top 5!


Here's a list with all the materials used and where to get them (cheap!):

For the brush:
Wire:Stainless steel 0.20mm
Kanekalon hair:Kanekalon Jumbo Hair
Angelina flash: Angelina fibre
Congo hair:Flytyers dungeon

Wire for the shanks:  check ebay , sellers vary a lot, look for "piano wire" or "spring wire" in 0.8mm or 1mm

Vice: Predator vice

How to make your shanks:





Sunday, March 10, 2019

Sunday flick

Not fishing today? Watching the rugby? Sunday flick is back on the blog! Every Sunday i will post a fishing/ outdoors video.

This week enjoy this very nice movie made by a fantastic couple, Aimee and Chase from Tight loops.
Dropping your job and traveling thousands of miles to Yellowstone sounds like a fantastic adventure.
A well made movie with brilliant cinematography, get the pop corn and grab a beer , enjoy!


Thursday, March 07, 2019

New filming gear for the fly angler!

For a long time now i have been using Gopro cameras for most of my filming while fishing. They are so durable, waterproof and easy to use . A perfect blend for any fisherman that want to record precious memories, film for social media  or vlog. But if you want to spice up your filming quality, you need more than one string on your bow..

A DSLR or mirror less with interchangeable lens will give you that cinematic, smooth, professional feeling, they are also great if you get into filming your own tutorials. But these can hurt badly your bank account, especially if you start buying more lens ( and yes you will buy more lens..)
So for the budget minded angler, Gopro is very reasonable.The new one (Gopro 7 black) is packed with fantastic features, the most notable one is how stable the footage is now! Mind blowing how such a small device can pack so much tech inside.
But coming silently on the market is a company trying to rivalise with the mighty Gopro and get 360 videos more approachable.... Insta360.
360º cameras have been here for a good while but haven't generated much interest in the consumer market. A lot of people see 360 camera a thing for specialized video makers or for making virtual reality videos. And that's what they are mainly used for...Until now!
Insta 360 is changing the 360 world in a big way! To cut down to the chase, no i don't think that this new camera will replace the Gopro, but it will certainly be a fantastic addition to your camera bag.
Why? i tell you why, filming in 360 captures everything that's happening around you! No more pointing the lens at what you want to film, this means that if your fishing with a friend on a boat, both anglers are in the frame, all the time. If using by yourself, you get that feeling that someone else is filming you, as the clever software will simply make the selfie stick/tripod disappear from the final footage giving you a third person point of view.
With different attachments comes a multitude of new camera angles.
The built in 6 axis  stabilizer is amazing ( called Flowstate ) as good as the Gopro 7 Black. Making shaky footage a thing of the past. There's nothing worse than watching a video thats wobbles in all directions!
Quality of the image is surprisingly good, filming at 5.7K / 30 fps , 4K/ 50 fps and 3K / 100 fps ( great for slow motion). It films with two 200º lens, a 1/2.3" Sony sensor and a large aperture of F2.0.
One advantage it has on the Gopro is that with the latest firmware you can now film in HDR (high dynamic range). We're  getting geeky now but trust me it will give the picture more depth, vibrancy and improve the quality of your videos.And i think more software will be released in the future.
Time shift is an other nice thing to have already built in, that will save so much time in editing your video. And talking about editing, Insta360 can be edited on your phone or tablet ( Android&Apple ) via a very easy application. Finished videos can be also uploaded directly from the app to many platforms, Instagram, Facebook,Youtube...
If that's any interest, you can also become a Google street photographer as the 360 pics are so good they are accepted by Google street view. It takes photos at 18MP.
Battery life isn't too bad at 60 mins / battery use under normal conditions. Extra batteries can be purchased too.
Add to all this a myriad of accessories, from protective or dive cases, drone attachments, harness, selfie sticks, enough stuff to cover any situations.


Okay, i have been going on about all the pros of the Insta360 and here's my ( very short ) list of cons:
1: Audio is not great and even worse if you use a protective case...
2: Because of the way the lenses are placed to cover 360º they are prone to damages, scratches and even cracks. But if a lens is broke or badly scratched, you can send the camera to Insta360 and you can have it replaced. I think its a 100$/ lens at the moment, but it's better than having to buy a whole new camera..

So should you buy one? Well that's entirely up to you, but i think Insta360 have reinvented the world of 360 cameras making them more approachable to the common soul. Sure you can get away with filming from your phone or Gopro, but for the enthusiast film maker, content creator the Insta360 X will surely give you an edge and will spice up your shots.We are so used to see now Gopro videos, it's a nice touch to see something fresh and different.

If you consider buying one, please click on the link here, or on the picture on the left column. Being now affiliated with Insta360, i will get a little cut for each sale.You will not be paying any extra, but you will be helping me a bit. Thank you.

                      Link link for purchase: INSTA360 ONE X

A few videos to understand better the potential of getting a 360 camera:




Thursday, January 31, 2019

DIY trip , Dominican Republic

All my DIY trips are based on one criteria: getting my dose of winter sunshine and a stress free couple of weeks. If i can add a few fish to this recipe, then it's a bonus. I rarely travel without a rod in my bag, just in case. If i want to travel and my main priority is to catch fish then i rather save my money and go with a reliable lodge/ guided tour.




This particular trip  i was joined by my parents and sister, and it was bliss to see all of us trouble free for two weeks. Destination was picked by my sister, the Dominican Republic. Upon a few quick research on the web, i quickly realized that apart from big charter boat trolling for marlin, very little was on offer. This type of fishing is simply not my thing, too expensive for little rewards. Rewards = work put in / type of catch. A good jack from the rocks after casting for two days is more rewarding to me than catching  a marlin after stepping on a boat sitting down waiting and drinking beers (and 800$ out of pocket) But this is a question of personal choices...After a long time behind the computer screen i managed to find and got in touch with a couple of guys that know the area pretty well. One of them fishes there on the fly regularly with some successful outings. One aspect that attracted me straight away was that this guy was getting some baby tarpons from the float tube.




So, a few preparations was in order, tie a bunch of flies ( bring with that some of my lucky patterns from previous trips) Deflate the float tube and make everything fit in the suitcase.
The flights were fine, the hotel was very nice, but empty. Probably a change in ownership , everything was closed on the resort, restaurants, bar....luckily we rented a self catering.
The fishing grounds looked brilliant! Rocks, lagoons, beaches....But one thing was odd compare to all my previous trips...No local fishermen to be seen on the horizon, the sea was empty, apart a big cruise ship and some container ships in the distance. An other thing that surprised me was the total lack of sea birds, i remember my trips in Costa Rica, driving along the road to spot pelicans diving on huge balls of baitfish...But not in here...Calm seas, clear waters, a few stingrays on the sandy beaches and some small needle fish was all i could spot.






One morning was different, the water got super clear, less wind, and finaly i get some action, first a few small jacks, one was followed by a massive barracuda, i was not geared up for a fish that size!
I did hook a good cudda, i had him for a while , he was around a metre in lenght, but fishing from the rocks you have to bully these fish or they will cut you off on the rocks...The hook pulled out of this fish...I kept fishing, i knew the conditions had to be accounted for this sudden show of larger predators.






Persistance paid of when i tried a popper along a rock point, a big jack came up and smashed it, took me well into the backing on his first run. I fought this guy for a good 10 minutes on my Epic 8 weight. Total confidance in the rod and reel i played that fish hard...He was playing me hard too...Unfortunatly the hook pulled out as well on this fish. I fished for an other two hours and i could feel that the conditions were changing again, sun was getting high a hot, a stiff breeze was blowing...No more fish came that day.
I did fish one day with a guy that knew the place well, and even himself was baffle by the lack of activity...So is fishing...