December 1, 2012

Winter is coming = street fishing

It is getting cold again, which means the best place for pike fishing is the... city. I had a short, but really good session today. Only 2hrs, 3x70+ fish landed and 3 more strikes. Tomorrow I'm going to the same place, but with a fly rod!

November 25, 2012

Not fishing much

I didn't spend too much time fishing lately, only few sessions, once a week maybe. Only three fish worth mentioning below, 70-80 cm. It's getting colder now, time to move on to street fishing again, I will try to fly fish for as much as possible this year.


August 13, 2012

Back in bussines... or not

I finally got some time to go out fishing. 3 hrs fishing along the bank of the canal and on 70+ fish. I'm about to go on my well deserved leave, probably next fishing session will be already in September.

July 9, 2012

Again, slow start of the season

I have not been fishing to much recently. I missed the first two weeks of the season since I was in Poland. Later on, every time I planned a session, the weather was not encouraging. Yesterday it was raining the whole day, but the sky cleared out in the evening. I managed to go out for three hours and land 3 pikes, biggest one 80cm. Maybe the season will pick up now.

June 21, 2012

Back from Poland

I'm back from my trip to Poland, I have spent there almost two weeks, 2/3 of that time fishing with my dad. Well, although it was a good family visit, the fishing was bad. None of the caught pikes exceeded 50 cm (!), and there were much fewer of them compared to the last year. The fishing culture in Poland (or at least in the area where I come from) is still based on taking caught fish home. The biggest fish caught this spring in the local ponds was 90cm and taken home. In the time when I was there somebody caught 86cm pike on a live bait and took it home. Unfortunately the local anglers seem not to find understanding of catch & release, all they do is finding excuses for lack of fish (severe winter, family of otters, etc...). Pity.

Now the new season in Holland is before me. It looks like I'm going to focus on fly fishing, with maybe some deviation from pike fishing to carp fly fishing. Let's see how that goes.

May 13, 2012

One more prototype

Still experimenting with mixing naturals and synthetics - maybe I'm reinventing existing patterns. This fly is tied on 4/0 hook, I started with some pearl flashabou, 4 white strung hackles, pencil thick white buck tail spun round the hook shank, some peacock herl for the back, marabou palmered around the hook shank, the head was build out of tan/white EP fibre and plastic EP eyes 9mm.

I just realized that it is only 2 weeks until the season opens here in the Netherlands - wow! I don't actually now if I'm going to be here, maybe I will go to Poland for two weeks to visit my parents, all depends on some projects at work. I think the two weeks will go by in a moment because... Diablo 3 is going to be released on May 15th, I'm a big fan of D1 and D2, I was even in a clan :-). I hope it will not conflict with my fishing.

May 12, 2012

Prototype flies

I'm exploring blending natural materials and synthetics. Both flies are similar, made out of few blends of EP fibre, peacock herl, grizzly hackles, some flashabou and EP eyes 9mm, tied on4/0 hooks. First fly has the feathers tied alongside the main body, the second one has the feathers tied outwards and I added some silly legs. Both flies are extremely lightweight and I'm looking forward to try them out once the season starts.

May 8, 2012

Mylar and rattle baitfish

I found and interesting fly design and tried to tie it myself. Mylar used in this fly is not tied directly on the hook shank, but it is sort of extension of the hook. The mylar is tied off at the end, wit addition of some glue. Inside the mylar there is a glass rattle that slides back and forth. For the main body I used white/two shades of tan/grey EP fibre. The gills are made of red craft fur. Finished with 10mm eyes and UV resin.

May 3, 2012

More pike flies

My first carp adventures didn't go very well, since my last post I went out fishing only twice, the weather still not allows sight fishing. To kill off the time I started to tie flies for my annual trip to Poland. I found an interesting tutorial how to tie hollow fly using a foam head. This fly is absolutely lightweight, the foam head will push a lot of water. I can't wait to try this on the intermediate line.

Another experiment I tried is the raccoon bunny fly, tied on 4/0 hook. From the back: piece of magnum flashabou, 5cm raccoon zonker strip, pencil thick bucktail clamp, some marabou palmered around the hook shank, finished with deer hair diver style collar and head plus eyes glued with hot glue gun.

April 16, 2012

The Banger

I decided to share some of the flies I tied. Keep in my mind that I just started with tying somewhere mid January. I start with The Banger. I think this is my favourite fly so far.

Here is how I tie it:

1. 4/0 hooks
2. Start with some flash
3. Two feathers (shlappen or strung hackles)
4. Pencil think bucktail wrapped evenly around the hook shank
5. Another two feathers same type/size
6. Some more the same flash
7. Another piece of bucktail
8. Few peacock herl to darken the back of the fly
9. Marabou wrapped around the hook shank
10. Next step is wrapping EP sparkle brush, length of 5-6cm (I really love this stuff)
11. I finish with 9mm EP plastic eyes

The bucktail is holding the profile of the fly, the eyes are quite big and add some weight to the fly, so you can almost jig it. The marabou puffs out in the water, which makes a good trigger.

April 8, 2012

Waiting for the right weather

With closed predator season I'm planning to explore carp fIy fishing. I tied myself few carp flies using EP fiber, limiting to one pattern that seems to be successful here in the Netherlands. The weather is not very encouraging, below 10 degrees during the day, windy and cloudy. This is kind of ruing my plan of sight fishing. I guess I'll have to wait for the real spring to come. I can tell you it is killing me to sit and wait for the good weather. Maybe just because there was a very short winter here and I got used to fish every weekend. The ice covered the canals for only two weeks. I'm following few blogs of guys fishing in Scandinavia, I can't imagine what they are going through :-)

March 31, 2012

End of the dutch season

This day has finally come - end of the predator season in Holland. And it was a very good season for me. I think this was a season with most of fish landed in my life. Unfortunately I wasn't lucky enough to land the magical meter, although I was close couple of times. Anyway, last day I was trying to catch a zander on a jig lure, but got bored and the fly rod was in a trunk of my car... I moved to shallower waters and landed three pikes, not very big, all 70-80 cm. I unhooked them in the water and took a picture of just one.

During the closed season I will try to chase carp on the fly, let's see how that goes. I have to say I'm really hooked on fly fishing right now, it just works very well on my shallow waters and tying flies is something that has consumed my evenings :-)

February 26, 2012

Dikke dame!

Today I was hesitant to go out fishing, having in mind yesterdays experience. I got up late in the morning, had a coffee and tied a streamer made just with flash material for the extra murky waters. I added a glass rattle to this one. It really paid off! After 1 hours of fishing I came to the small bridge, where I remembered I had a nice take a month ago, but lost the fish. In the third cast, while stripping, the fly became heavier, a lot heavier. The fight was on, after 5-6 minutes I had a beautiful pike with a really broad back in the reach of my hand. I had to sat on a high bank to grab her, while she decided it was not yet her time and swam away again. Another 2-3 minutes and this time I grabbed her by the gill cover. Oh my god, it was no the biggest pike in my life, but certainly the fattest! I didn't have a sling with the weight scale with me, just the measuring tape, but with 94cm she was much, much over 10kg. Quick picture and she swam away. The Dutch call these pikes "dikke dames", fat ladies.

February 25, 2012

Fishing is slow...

Difficult day today, I visited all my hotspots, no sign of any fish. Looks like they are still glued to the bottom, water is still cold. I managed to take one pike on the fly, 73cm. My casting skills are improving, I'm starting to enjoy fishing rather then focusing on making that good cats. The line with the pike WF taper casts really great. I may buy intermediate one in addition to the floating - I have a feeling I should be fishing closer to the bottom.

February 18, 2012

Ice is melting...

Finally a warm period after two weeks of -10 degrees. Ice is melting and I couldn't stay at home with that thought, so went fishing. Today I have caught one 71 cm pike on the fly. Fight was short as the water is still cold and the fish are letargic. Quick picture and jack goes happily back to the water. During the freezing cold period I bought a new line - Airflo Sixth Sense WF 7/8 with a pike taper. I'm a merely a beginner trying to grasp the aspects of fly fishing, but this line has changed my way of thinking about fly casting. It loads the rod  very quickly, which is very important for me when fishing on small canals, very often between the trees. I also picked up a tip from one of the pike fishing blogs and started to make furled leaders - this is really helping turning the fly over. So all together I had a good day: fly casting goes better and caught a fish!

February 11, 2012

Thumbs up for Hardy&Greys Customer Service!

I would like to say a few good words about the Hardy&Greys customer service. About a month ago I broke the tip section of my new Greys GS2 9' 8# rod. I send the bottom part of the tip section as required by the H&G's Worldwide Extended Warranty, along with my credit card number and some more personal details. The warranty rules state that a handling fee of 25 pounds + 10% of the retail price of the rod per damaged section needs to be charged in order to replace the broken section. Within two days since they received the package, a replacement tip was send to me. The whole operation took just a week. When I opened the package I found a statement that no fee was charged, as the rod was only 16 days old. Only money I spent was the 9.50 Euro for a registered delivery from the Netherlands to UK.
I have to admit, I have never had such a good experience with a customer service! Depends on how my fly fishing experience will develop, probably somewhere down the road I will be interested in buying 9'10# rod. I will definitely consider another rod from Hardy&Greys.

Thumbs up for a great service!

January 21, 2012

Street fishing again

Oh it was blowing a gale today... I wanted to go fishing in the polders near Gouda but the weather was not encouraging for a longer trip. I went instead to fish in my nearby city waters. I started fishing with one of my favorites - SPRO Triple Devil. At some point I saw a pike swimming slowly along the bank. I threw the lure way away from him and retrieved it just past his nose couple of times, but he didn't react at all. Then he disappeared. I changed the lure to Firetiger color with a loud rattle. I had immediate strike in the first cast and landed 63cm jackie. To be honest I don't get good results with this color, at least in Holland.

Then I switched back to Triple Devil and lost one pike. Later on I switched to Fatso Crank in TT color. I caught 73cm pike with it and that was the end of the day.

January 14, 2012

Adventure begins with a broken rod tip...

I finally decided to begin my adventure with fly fishing for pike. After months (?) of researching and  three books read I ordered 9' #8 Greys GS2 rod, GX500 reel and GRXI floating and intermediate line. Of course I want to tie my own flies, so I ordered some starting materials, vice and some essential tools. All past week I was tying my first flies and started to learn fly casting on the artificial (fishless) pond next to my house. I felt ready to go out fishing. Today I went to my "hot spots" and I was not disappointed. In 15 min. I had my first pike on the fly! It was only 63cm but it felt really great. What was not great is that I broke the tip of the rod in the next 15 min... Oh my God...

Fortunately the rod has an extended lifetime warranty and I will try to get the tip replacement from Greys, however it will take a while for sure, so I'll have to go back to my old faithful casting rod.

January 8, 2012

Street fishing continues

Today I had only a limited time widow for fishing, only 3 hours. Despite the short time I landed 3 pikes : 66cm which I unhooked in the water and another two : nice 88 and 80 cm. Again the Triple Devil did the job.

January 7, 2012

First pike in 2012!

Today a first session this year and a first pike -75 cm. Few minutes after landing this one I lost the yellow/black Triple Devil lure. On a long cast against the wind the braided line just tangled on my reel and simply snapped. I saw my lure fly away :-( I switched to a natural roach color, but without any success later till the end of the day. I had one more missed strike and that was it.

January 4, 2012

My top 3 lures of 2011

Number 3 : SPRO Sreamin’ Triple Devil

I started to use this swimbait only in the few last weeks of the year, but its effectives on the city canals/former polder waters gave it a third place this year. The length of the lure is 13cm and it has a real fish profile, which makes it present itself as a sizeable catch, worth of chasing in the colder months when pike prefer a bigger meal. The lure features a very loud rattles and can be retrieved very slowly, still moving like fish and producing sounds. I used the black/yellow version (Aussie Poison Frog) in the murky, shallow waters, and it was very effective on both sunny and cloudy days.
You have to use a casting rod and a multiplier reel with this one, as it weights 50g. One more thing to mention is that this lure is equipped with a high quality, very sharp Gamakatsu trebles.

Number 2 : SPRO BBZ-1 4”

Little 10 cm lure with the most lifelike action I have ever seen in my life. I use it with my light tackle and I can achieve really long distance casts with this one. The lure has a built in small rattle. Although it has only one treble under the belly, I didn’t notice any problems with hooking the fish. The bigger pikes just engulf it, while most of the smaller ones strike on the belly part, where the treble is. You can even see very clear, half-circle tooth marks on it. I found it most productive on a slow retrieve in a clear water. I’ll never forget one strike on a calm, shallow 0.5m water - first I saw a huge wave, then opening jaws and a water explosion. This was my favorite fish of the past year, although not the biggest one (only 84 cm). The little BBZ-1 has found an everlasting place in my light tackle lure box.

Number 1 : Savage Gear 4Play

Well known lure available for quite a while. I was using the 13.5cm ”Lip Lure” version. The lure comes also in a “Jerk&Swim” version, but its action is a bit dull for me (It is much better though in the bigger, 19cm size of this lure). I used this lure for my “wounded fish” tactic. Cast it , let it sink a while and twitch it, making it move for 30-50 cm, stop, let it sink and twitch again. I tried few colors, but the 3D Minnow and Golden Ambulance worked the best for me. I used 3D Minnow on cloudy days and/or murky waters. Golden Ambulance on clear waters on sunny days, specially close to the sunset, and these lure/conditions produced my biggest catch of the 2011 – 92 cm pike. One problem with the 3D Minnow is the material it is made of. It is a thin foil responsible for the shining, holographic effect. After a couple of strikes it started to peel off and now it is just shredded to pieces. I may buy another, exactly the same lure, but this time I may cover it with some kind of varnish to give it a little bit more protection against the pike’s teeth.