Friday, August 12, 2011

No fly fishing lately

Hey, we've been having a few chilly nights and the days have been significantly cooler than they were a few weeks ago. Waters have slowly started to cool down, especially all the shallow areas, meaning that the pike are getting active. Unfortunately the weather warms up again next week, but I think it doesn't affect the pikes anymore.

Last weekend we had a little fishing happening with three boats and despite concentrating on jigging for perch, pikes got very active too. Well, I had my fly gear ready, but the weather made it impossible to aim for the pike in that manner, so perch it was then.

Now, as the vacation is over, it's time to get back in business again. I just gotta tie more pike flies and get all the rest of the tackle ready for some autumn piking. It's gonna take a month or so before the action really begins in the shallow places, but I think one should now try to fish some deeper drop-offs near the shallow bays. At least all the deeper banks were now full of pike, in contrast to the earlier summer, when absolutely every place was totally empty.

Time to enjoy the last warm weathers of the year and prepare for some serious piking!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer stuff

Summer vacation, finally!

Simply put, fishing has been shit lately. We've been suffering from severe heat waves and the water temperatures have increased rapidly, meaning that the pike are somewhere lost. Therefore I have fished for perch and zander lately, with just as bad results.

On top of all, the latest government invention, ethanol soaked fuel, is causing annoying trouble with my boat engine. Ethanol suck the moisture from the air and mixes it with the fuel. Finally those water drops find their way to the carburetors and cause poor idling and hesitation when accelerating. I had to disassemble all the four carbs, clean them  up thoroughly, put them back together and do the tuning procedures. On the last trip, one of the carbs caught a water bubble once again. It went away though, as I hit a rock in the middle of a deep bay.... Well, now it has a separate water separator in the fuel line, also the the whole fuel line is improved to meet todays standards.

What worries me the most, is the fact that the pike has gone hiding. I haven't caught a single pike from the perch and zander sites, which is odd, because normally you catch an average of 10-20 pikes during an afternoon of perch fishing.

Hey, I managed to get a little video from my latest pike, that I caught with my 6' 2wt outfit and 0.14 mm tippet. It was a short, thick and muscular fish that gave a nice fight with that macaroni rod. I combined a little shaky video from some of the last minute fighting after the jack got tired.

Any recommendations for a reasonably priced helmet cam? It aint easy to hold a camera while reeling in a fish......

So a bad quality and shaky image, but pike on the fly anyway...

Edit: The video seems to have gone bananas, I'll fix it soon...

Monday, June 13, 2011

I finally got an ide(a)

Finally that exhausting heat wave has gone away and temperatures have dropped from 32'c to 12'c. There was thunder and rain today and I just had to go fishing on a little remote river nearby.

I grabbed my 2wt 6ft rod with me and started my fish-mobile. Fifteen minutes later I was standing by the river, tying a small orange leech to the end of the tippet. First cast to the narrow, faster stream and bang, fish on and then it got away, just after a few seconds battle. I managed to identify the fish, it was an ide, in the ~35cm range. For some reason, they have been totally lost for a couple of years but now they are back!

On the next cast, a little perch swallowed the leech and I quickly released the little bugger. Third cast to the narrowest point of the stream and again, Fish On! This was clearly a bigger ide this time and I really had to fight it and the current with that macaroni-like 2wt rod. Finally the fish was ready to be quickly measured and released. Nice looking ide, 42-44cm range but skinny as hell. Nice start for the trip anyway!
A little silver for the rainy day
I moved a little and started chasing some perch. And boy, did they bite! They were absolutely crazy and hit the fly immediately when it sank to water. I didn't even keep any count on those little buggers, they ate the fly on each cast in less than 5 seconds. And they were absolutely everywhere.

Faster moving water
I got bored with those little perch and moved on to the small, slowly running brook. I didn't expect to catch anything from there, but still decided to give it a go. First cast and first fish on in a few seconds. This perch was a little bigger, in 250-300g range and I had to play it a little to get it landed and released. Another cast, another fish, a little ide this time. I slowly walked along the narrow stream and caught a few fish from each spot, mainly ide and perch. As a last spot, I fished the lower side of the rapids and managed to catch a few small breams. I had high hopes for catching those big 2-3 kg copper-colored breams just like in the old days. Needless to say, I wasn't that lucky.

Little stream full of little fish

A pool full of small fish

After punishing those buggers for two whole hours, I decided to call it a day, walked back to my fish-mobile and headed home. It was good time to end a day.

Recreational activities

Some footage from my previous trips targeting some smaller buggers with lighter tackle. With very bad results, naturally..

Nothing wrong with the surroundings...

...or the weather...
...but still no fish!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Not much to brag about

It was about time for me to give a little report for the last few weeks, unfortunately there's not much to talk about. After the previous post, I haven't been out there chasing pike. The weather has been awful, strong winds almost every day and now we have the heat wave, daily temperatures climb close to 30'c. So it's not a perfect combination for pike on the fly, together with my own laziness at the moment...

I've been mostly tossing some small flies on those small brooks, mostly targeting for ide and larger perch. Of course, also the regular pike/roach/bream will hit the fly every now and then. They're  so much fun to catch on a #3 rod, not to mention that one can catch 30+ fish in 15 minutes.

As you might have already noticed, I'm not that much of a fan of salmonids, mainly because I like the remote feeling of those natural brooks that haven't been commercially stocked with brownies or rainbows. This way I can fish in my own peace and not get disturbed by dozens of other fishermen. There's only one river that has a nice stock of grayling and rainbows and usually a very few other fishermen. It offers a nice alternative for piking, and is practically a C&R stream, as the rainbows start tasting like mud in the warm summer months. Graylings will be always released, as they are a native species and generally quite endangered in the southern parts of the country.

I've made some minor updates to my equipment, of which I will tell about later. I'll also upload some pictures from my nice-but-not-too-productive fishing trips, as soon as I get back from Sweden.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Latest addition to equipment

I just had to buy myself another boat. My previous boat was way too slow and clumsy for any longer trips, so I spotted this one for sale. Fortunately this boat was so close to me, it only took me a few minutes to go check it out. The boat seemed to be in a very nice condition, it had 4-stroke engine and it was rather fairly priced. I offered to buy the boat if it works ok on the testdrive and it did. And there it is now.

The boat is Yamarin 490 Big Ride, a finnish built fiberglass boat. It has a side console, which is a compromise, as I'd prefer a narrow center console. If it ever becomes a problem, I can always change the console, as it is just fixed in place by some screws.

The boat is 4.90m long and 2.10m wide, which is why I like this boat. It is ~30cm wider than most comparable boats, meaning that it is much more stable and has much more room inside. It has a deep V-hull for rougher seas and it has a 50hp yamaha 4-stroke engine.

Mud from my dirty boots.

As always, she needs some equipping, tuning and fixing before she is ready for battle. Engine needs new oils, new spark plugs, possibly new camshaft belt and water pump impeller. The battery needs to be replaced and some of the old wirings need to be removed. Then she should be good to go.

Season opener

Finally, the first trip of the year targeting pike!

We pushed the boat to water, started the engine and took heading to big mama's feeding grounds. Weather was very warm and sunny, yet some moderate winds were blowing from the open seas. Water was very low and many shallow banks were totally dry now. Water was murky in many places and a lot of dead water plants and other stuff was floating on the surface.

Well I didn't have much expectations for the season opener and the beginning was very relaxed, not a single fish was seen in the first few places. Suddenly, we saw a lonely pike swimming slowly by the shallow reef. It didn't take long before I got a good strike. A fat mama nailed my fly and fought like a maniac, until Sami took a grap of it and removed the fly from its mouth. This lady decided to kick herself back to freedom before I got a change to take a photo. She was no giant but she was fat as hell, weighing in about 5 kg range. A great start!

The standard size

Then we started to see pikes, a lot of them. They had a great interest on flies but they only followed the fly until the side of the boat. We saw easily 20-30 pikes and bagged 5-6 of them in total, I only bagged two. Most of the pikes were distinctively small compared to the usual size here, we just saw a few big bangers. I think it means that the big mamas are still spawning (my first fish hadn't spawn yet).

The weather was awesome. Powerful sunshine, warm enough weather and a nice fresh breeze from the sea. Despite this warm weather, we still got some ice floating around and the outer islands have huge piles of ice on their outer edges. It will take weeks to melt away.

Poorly visible ice
And yes, I managed to burn my face in the sun....

Monday, April 25, 2011

Technical problems

I've been suffering from technical problems lately ie. my internet connection keeps disconnecting all the time. Sometimes it stays totally offline for hours. It's been like that for two weeks now and my ISP seems to be unable to fix it because the problem is most probably in the cable itself.

Another technical problem has been the lack of spare time. For the last three weeks, I've been doing long days at work and haven't had time to do any blogging at the office. On the other hand though, I've managed to gather myself a good 1.5 weeks of extra holiday. Hopefully it will be the full 2 weeks before the mid summer, meaning a total of 6 full weeks of continuous summer holiday!!

That's it for the bad news and now, the good news: Spring is finally here and all the remaining ice is melting away quickly! Yesterday I had a little sightseeing by the sea and the local river delta. By the sea, the shallow bays had lost there icy covers, just some lonely pieces of ice were floating around. The open sea was still under ice but its disappearance seemed to be just a matter of days.

The river has lost its ice a long time ago and I did some hiking in the bushes to find a little pond, invisible from the surrounding roads. After a while, I got to the pond that had a shallow water passage to the river delta. At the very same moment, I managed to scare off a dozen ducks, who left the place with horrible noise and splashing water. After a few minutes, I saw what I came there for: A couple of small pikes circling in the shallow water, possibly getting ready to spawn. Well, it's pretty early for that and it will probably take a few weeks before the spawning starts in the full scale. A good start anyway!

Now I need hurry up and get my tackle sorted out and fill all the fly boxes. It just feels unreal, after those five months of despair it starts all over again....

Friday, April 1, 2011

Easing the pain....

Finally, the weather forecasts are telling good news. For the next week, temperatures should stay above zero even by night which is the key factor in making the ice melt. And no, this is no April Fool's tricks!!

Just to maintain my (partial) sanity while being kept away from the water for five long months, I've tried to keep myself busy by tying flies and testing new equipment.

I tested my latest fly rod, Colton Tradewinds #9 9', which proved to be just what I expected. It's a powerful casting machine, capable of casting heavy lines with ease and produces high line speeds when necessary.

To compare it to my favourite rod, Five Rivers FT #9 9', Colton has a stiffer tip section and and it is more front heavy, making it a bit more heavy to do powerful casting strokes. I'd say that Colton could be regarded as a #10 rod, where the FT is a #9 fast-action rod. Colton is a saltwater rod with great ability to lift heavy sinking lines and re-cast them with longer overhangs. FT can throw almost any line because of the fast, but sensitive tip. The blank is very light and the rod feels like casting a #7 weight rod.

Where the FT shines in soft power delivery, light castability and yet very high line speeds, the Colton is a brute. You can and should use a little more force and all the force goes to the kinetic energy of the line. It will also help when casting big flies in windy conditions, with a cost of an extra effort. We'll see how it performs in one month or so.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Little snacks

Some random smaller baitfish patterns, nothing special to tell about these. I tied these just for killing some time.

Chartreuse/White baitfish, 80 mm
Green/Chrtreuse baitfish, 80 mm

Olive perch, 75 mm
Basic baitfish imitation, 75 mm

Testing with tubes

I did a little practice in tying with tubes. There are some minor issues that I need to concentrate on when tying on tubes but I think I got a hang of it. Here's a couple of Fatheads tied on L-sized Eumer tube. It seems that one needs to use more material when tying on a tube but still the fly has a tendency to lose some of its profile. Practicing for a couple of hours will help me with this.....

Tubular Fatheaded brothers
Brothers from the side
Family portrait of Fathead cousins

Fly Porn

Some Fatheads. Fatheads are tied much like Huchbacks, but the materials are spread more evenly around the hook shank. Also the fibers are tied even more fluffy, so the head of the fly will be bulkier and will push more water. This will hopefully create a strong, sliding zig-zag motion.

The body of the fly is made from PikeTrek's body fibre. Slinky fibre could be used as well. Head of the fly is made from fluorescent Water Silk, but craft fur etc. is suitable also.

Emergency colored Fathead

Profile of the Fathead is fat.

Flaming hedgehog.

Fly Porn

Some Hunchbacks, which have their underbody made from Slinky fiber and topped with Congo Hair from Fly Tyers dungeon. The fibers are mostly tied on the top side of the hook and on a very short area. This forms a hunch to the back of the fly. Some flies have their bellies made of Water Silk.

Unfortunately the wind made its tricks while taking pictures, so some flies have their fibers pointing in all directions.

Mambo Jambo Hunchback

Pink/White Hunchback

Perch Hunchback

Olive Hunchback

Yellow/Red Hunchback

Herring Hunchback

Esset Hunchback

Fly Porn

I've been talking about fly patterns and different materials. Now I finally managed to get some pictures of them, but the quality ain't that good.

These are some random experimentations with dubbing brushes. I made a few brushes using thin copper wire and a cordless drill (please stop laughing). I used fibers from a synthetic duster, which caught my eye while shopping for something else....

First I tied some saddle feather on the hooks shank, rolled on some of the dubbing brush and finally added some craft fur and a pair of eyes. No idea how the might work, but at least they've got some nice profile.
Gay colored Duster

Red and black Duster

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spring is coming, hopefully....

Finally the spring is coming, at least it feels like it. We've been enjoying lovely, sunny days, growing longer each day. Nights are still cold but the snow has started to melt slowly during the day. If things keeps going the same way, we can expect some serious fishing in about six weeks (always optimistic!).

To be honest, I'm not expecting much from the spring season, as this winter has been much like the last one, cold and snowy. The problem with the snow is that all the water from the melting snow will flow across the fields and forests, to the ditches, creeks and rivers carrying all kinds of mud, sand, clay, fertilizers etc.. All this nasty stuff will then run along the rivers and creeks to shallow bays, where all the big mamas are waiting for the spring happening. And when the water is shit, the fishing will be shit as well.

Well, I'm having my fingers crossed...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Some cool stuff

I've recently found a couple of webshops selling some cool stuff for tying pike flies. The problem here in Finland is, that it's hard to find a shop with a decent selection of pike fly materials. And when you find one, they mostly have some basic stuff regarding pike flies, as their main concern is trout fishing.

These following shops mostly sell synthetic fibers, which I also prefer over most of the natural materials. Ok, good bucktail, rabbit strips and other soft fur, saddle hackle etc. are unbeatable when it comes to liveliness and action, but the availability of good quality bucktail is poor and those soft furs have a tendency to carry a lot of water.

Also, the synthetic flies usually last very long, I've never had to replace any synthetic flies because they were bit to pieces, although many of my flies have caught dozens of fish. Main reason for me to dump a fly is because the hook has gone out of shape due to some serious rock contact.

But those natural materials are the best way to go, if the fishing seems to be difficult and the synthetic flies don't work. That's when you most probably will score with the traditional stuff.

So about the shops:

The Fly Tyers Dungeon has all kinds of synthetic fibers and dubbings for sale at a great price. The most interesting stuff for a pike fisherman are probable the products Kongo Hair and Water Silk.

Kongo Hair is a nice polypropylene fiber that does not absorb water and has some nice colors. It's great for tying a bit smaller baitfish imitations or EP-baitfish-style patterns. I like it best when applied on the surface of slinky-bodied baitfish patterns. It can create nice, smooth profiles and a has lot of cool colors. Very inexpensive as one package has a lot of this stuff.

Some darker Kongo Hair
Some brighter Kongo Hair
Water Silk is a lot finer synthetic fiber, with a nice shining surface and even brighter colors than Kongo Hair. Great for doing some very contrasting gills and backs for baitfish patterns. Very inexpensive.
Water Silk
And another great site that I found a while ago, most of you have probably heard of it before: PikeTrek

Pike Trek has all kinds of cool stuff for pike fly fishermen. They have nice 3D eyes in big enough sizes for pike flies and they are a lot cheaper than those you can usually find in a 20pcs sheet.

They have many nice products that give you a different approach to fly tying, but my favourite is abolutely their Body Fibre. It seems to be 100% the same stuff as the H2O's branded "Slinky Fibre", but their fibers are a lot longer, the package has about two times the amount of material and it is still a lot cheaper. But there is one thing that makes this superior; The colors are something totally different than those dull, translucent colors of H2O. They are bright as hell and also have a lot of natural colors!

What is a bit confusing, they are also selling some "Slinky" fiber, which is totally different from the slinky we have used to. So if you like to buy that real slinky-like stuff, buy the Body Fibre.
Red body Fibre

Yellowish Chartreuse 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Something new, something old

This winter has been the worst ever in terms of  fly fishing lunacy. Now, as the sun has started to shine more regularly and the days are longer, I REALLY would like to go outside, testing some newly bought stuff, but those freezing temperatures are a no-no for casting fly rods and lines. Don't wanna break them on the first go!

As I earlier wrote about a Colton Torrent fly reel, I actually liked it so much that I had to get myself another one, with a spare spool of course. While the Colton Fly company had a holiday sale, I also HAD to get myself a new rod. I ended up purchasing a 9' 9wt Colton Tradewinds, a blue color version which has its blank made of some funky carbon fiber. And did I mention, it was a bargain....

Colton Tradewinds in UD Blue
Although I haven't really cast it yet, I have to say that this stick is a beast. Yeah, it is a saltwater rod, but it still has a surprisingly strong punch and some serious backbone for a 9wt. I'd say that this rod could easily cast 11wt lines. It doesn't feel like a particularly fast or a tip-action rod when feeling it by hand but oh boy, when you start bending it...  This bugger will be my weapon of choice for the fast sinking lines, which are always a bit tricky to pick up. I will give my review about this rod as soon as there is open waters!

But now I need to get a nice line for the rod. I'm waiting to get my hands on Vision's new Big Daddy line in Sink3. Hopefully I can try it out somewhere before buying, but I'm pretty confident that they know their stuff. Just need to find the correct grain window for the rod, as it feels underclassed.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Quiet times

So it's been a long time since my previous posting in here. It has also been rather quiet on the fishing front on my behalf.

To be perfectly honest, I'm slowly waking up from the hibernation. I started experimenting with some EP fiber-like material and it seems to be excellent for tying smallish baitfish patterns. The fibers are very inexpensive (as a cheapskate I am), they shed water so the flies remain very lightweight and easy to cast. I will tell more about these patterns when I have some pictures taken.

I'm also waiting for some new tackle to arrive. I bought myself a one more reel and a spare spool for the pike adventures and a new saltwater rod. I will make a review for the rod as soon I have it in my hands. So the tackle madness has begun, just three and a half months to go...

I also have a few more things to try this season. While checking my fly boxes, I realized I've been chucking only very bright colored flies. White body with shocking fluorescent contrasts, full fluorescent bodies with black stripes etc.. I don't know why I haven't used the darker colors, as I used to do back in the days, when I fished with lures. This season I will use a lot of brown and olive colors, as well as black. One more thing to test is the smaller baitfish patterns. Every autumn I love spotting the big mamas hitting schools of small baitfish on the nearby river. It seems that they don't always prefer bigger prey, as those baitfish are only in the 70-120 mm range.

Last autumn I tried an 80 mm pattern after I couldn't get any strikes with bigger flies (120-200 mm is my usual size). I managed to hook a few small jacks and had a chance to hold a 5-6kg fish for a while. Luckily it got off the hook before my fluorocarbon leader had a chance to get snapped. One bite from a bigger pike is enough to destroy a thick mono or fluorocarbon, even if it seems to work ok with smaller jacks.  Never use fluorocarbon or mono leaders for bigger fish!!