Thursday, 29 December 2011

Gods… and pike flies

First of all, I want to wish everybody a (late) Merry Christmas, and say sorry to some people that I’ve made some commitments to (I’m working on it). As you have noticed, I didn’t post much lately, due to all kinds of unpleasant reasons. I already blamed some ‘higher powers’ for that (Gods) in the last couple of weeks, but today they have really proven themselves again.

Here’s the story…

Today I went fishing with Dimitri. Now there’s something you need to know about the two of us. We’ve met a couple of times along the water, about two years ago, so we started talking and exchanged phone numbers to go fishing together. He always fishes with lures, jurkbaits, plastic frogs, …etc, and me on the fly. So each time we go fishing (and although we never talk about it) there’s always this kind of competitive air around us wanting to prove the other one which works best for pike.
But, (and this I blame on the Gods as well) every time we go fishing together,… we blank (both of us)!

But, our motto is ‘never give up’, so we went out to give it another try.
But the Gods (again) welcomed us to the Belgian polders with a very strong north wind (which can be very dangerous when the wind comes from the right when you’re right handed), but I don’t blame ‘Them’ for that, because it gave me a perfect opportunity to practice my backhand presentation of the fly (for which I’m sure ‘They’ got a little irritated).


By the way, this is Dimitri doing his thing, with some plastic… ‘thing’.

But the gods still intervened, so we didn’t see a single pike for hours.


But they couldn’t prevent this beauty from working. I hate to brag, but when you’re up against ‘higher forces’, it certainly feels good when your fly has a great action!

By the way, this is the fly who defied the Gods.

It’s a tandem version of the previous flies I posted. It doesn’t only have a great action, it’s also a pleasure to tie (but it does take some time).

But again, …the Gods decided to build a steep slope where the only pike of the day was to be found (and there are still people who ask me why I need a landing net???).

Oh yes! This felt good,… until I had this cracking feeling in my back.

Yes, you can defy the Gods, but they don’t like it! And they intervene immediately!


But not even the Gods can take away an adrenaline rush, so this was a moment of joy instead of pain! And a nice pike (I hope the Gods won’t punish her for it)!

And although ‘They’ punished me by making my back and legs hurt so much that I could hardly move by the time I got home, 'They' weren’t able to ruin my day!

It felt great to be outdoors again. It felt even better to hold a pike in my hands again. And Dimitri is finally convinced to start fly-fishing. And although he wants to start with trout and chub in the Belgian Ardennes (which is nice as well), I’m sure that pike will follow!

So, how painful it might be, I can assure you, that it feels great to defy the Gods from time to time, and… what do 'They' know about fishing anyway???

Friday, 16 December 2011


This is the ideal moment to fish for pike here in Belgium, but with the stormy weather we’re having at the moment, I can’t leave the house because there’s something very wrong with my ear. It’s like I’m walking around in a Star Wars movie. Voices sound like Darth Vader and every other sound is like a saber fight. IT’S DRIVING ME NUTS!
The doctor gave me some medication, but it doesn’t seem to work. So I’m trapped inside, reading (with no music!) and tying flies of course.

I’ve tested the last flies I posted,
in Holland and was very satisfied with the action, so I’ve tied me some more.

But I left out the glass rattles.


I don’t use rattles that often, but when I do, these are the ones.

But the only good thing about glass rattles, is the fact that they really ‘rattle’, but they’re very fragile. I should test some plastic ones in the future.

On my last post (of these flies), Michael D. Johnson, from left a comment saying that he had trouble with his rattles getting crushed by fish bites. Now, I’m sure I broke some by hitting something on a back cast, there’s always something in the way if you fish from the border here in Belgium, if it isn’t a tree, it’s a wall or a telephone pole (I also hit a car a while back). But I’ve broken some others that were a mystery to me, because I couldn’t believe a pike was able to crush it (these are hard things to break, I thought).
But a couple of days ago, I found out how fragile they really are. I had just tied in the rattle on my hook, when I saw that I didn’t polish the barb off yet. So I took the hook out of my vise and took my dremmel tool, like I always do. But the moment the little grindstone hit the barb, the vibrations made the glass rattle explode in my face!


This is what’s left of it.

And if that wasn’t enough reason to never use them again, the day after has put a picture in my mind that I won’t loose very easily…

I had to visit the dentist. And although he’s a nice guy, I hate going there nevertheless. But the moment he came at me with this ‘dremmel-like’ tool to clean your teeth, and felt that vibrating feeling in my mouth, I just couldn’t keep the picture of exploding glass out of my head.
My teeth are still intact, but I can guarantee you that it was a very unpleasant experience!

But that was enough horror for one day. I tied some other stuff as well.


This fly is actually the same pattern as the last one, but instead of using Flash’n Slinky Fibre in a brass wire dubbing brush (cut into shape), I used bucktail in a brass wire dubbing brush (not cut into shape).

This creates a lot of opportunities (both the bucktail and the pattern), so I’m still experimenting.


In this case for example, my dubbing brush was a bit short, so I tied in a dubbing loop of chartreuse rabbit fur in front of it


Here, I used a double rabbit zonker for the tail instead.


And this is a tandem version.

And more will follow…

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Dutch pike

Yesterday we were invited to fish for pike in Holland. So after meeting the members of the O.N.I. fishing association, we were ready to toss some flies at pike. And everything started fantastic.

Both Jean–Pierre and I missed a pike on one of our first casts.


And Koen was able to land this one on his third cast. Small but very beautiful!


Kristof landed a small pike on his first cast,

and a couple of minutes later he was able to land this beauty. Well done Kristof!

All this happened in the first 10 minutes we were at the water, so of course we thought we were in for a fantastic pike-day. But the Dutch fishing gods must have noticed that we were from Belgium and not worthy of fishing there and everything failed from that moment on.


We were invited by Johan Crooymans (that’s the gentleman on the left) who is the current Dutch Fly-fishing Champion. So it wasn’t due to the lack of talent in our group, because even this renowned fly-fisherman wasn’t able to hook a single fish.


And believe me, we tried! We fished on four different locations (the best pike waters they have in that region) with 10 people, but the three pike in those first 10 minutes were the only fish we saw that day.

But I’m still a happy man. We got to know a couple of great fellow fly-fishermen and fished in a some beautiful waters. But the main reason that I still have a big smile on my face, is this: yesterday, it got confirmed that I will join five other fly-fishermen to Ireland in April. Yes, an entire week of casting flies at pike from a belly-boat in some of those beautiful Irish lakes! Yiiiihaaaa!!! …

Friday, 9 December 2011

Pike flies

I’ve been doing some experiments the last few days and came up with a couple of interesting flies and techniques , which I will post later. But for today, I really wanted the post these two (fresh from the vise), they will certainly be the first to try tomorrow in Holland!
I won't post any details about how they’re built yet because they’re still experimental, so things can still change, although I have great confidence in them already.


They both have a glass rattle tied inside (as you can see in the picture), but it’s mainly the action that I’m looking forward to.


This one is the same in black.

I should tie black flies more often, because the last time I went fishing (which feels like a decade ago)…


this was the only fly that caught me fish.

So you can expect a lot more black flies in the future…

And damn, it feels good to tie flies again!

Still alive (or alive again)!!!

Hello, hello! It’s been a while since my last post, because I didn’t fish nor tied any flies in a long time now (due to several unpleasant reasons, which I won’t bother you with), but I’m back amongst the living again now! And I’ve been tying a lot the last two days (so more posts are coming). On Saturday I’m going to chase some pike in Holland as well, which I hope will be worth writing about too (with some pictures???).

So from now on, (almost) daily posts will follow again…

Monday, 14 November 2011

Are we crazy?

This morning I got up at six a.m. to go swing some flies at pike in the Belgian Polders with 3 other members of my club.
We fished with four guys (all used to fish for pike), for four hours straight, in some of the best pike waters you can find over there, and we didn’t catch a single fish.
So you’re probably wondering why I even post this,… well here’s the reason.


As I neared our starting point, the sun came up in such a beautiful way that I parked my car to watch it for a couple of minutes (and took a picture).


Even at the place we met, everything was still looking so beautiful, quiet and promising that we were already in a good mood before we even started fishing.


This was our day to catch some nice pike!



we tried,


and tried…

and,… nothing.

So why do I post this?... Because this is fly-fishing as well. And if you can’t enjoy this, you’ll never be a true fly-fisherman in your life! I had a smile on my face for the rest of the day, and just by looking at these pictures again tonight, my whole body feels warm and satisfied again.

So… are we crazy?
Or are we born with some extra ‘happy’ gene?

What ever it is,… I never want to loose it!!!

Friday, 11 November 2011

My personal favourite mess

As I was sitting behind my vise this evening, suddenly I realised that I didn’t post much lately. And then I started thinking about what I could post.
Yes, I went fishing every day this week (from an hour to three hours a day), and I caught pike every time (except this afternoon), but only a few each time, and the size of the fish wasn’t worth writing about either (don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every second of it), but I never even considered posting it.


So I took a look around me and thought, why don’t I post this mess for a change. So here you have it, …my own personal sanctuary.


And at another angle.

I took a picture of the board in front of me as well, …but I like to keep a secret now and then, so I didn’t post that one (sorry!)…

Monday, 7 November 2011

Finally on the water again

A friend of mine came to visit me for a couple of days. A very nice guy, but he isn’t interested in fishing at all, so no posts, no fishing and no tying. And although we had a great time together, I really had to get out there today.


I had some time this afternoon, so I went to a water that I wanted to try for a while now.
I never go there because as you can see there’s no room to cast from the banks.


But it is ideal with a float tube. But the float tube I had… well let’s say that a sofa from my living room is probably more manoeuvrable in the water. But I got me a new one last week, so I didn’t have any excuses anymore.


And there’s pike,

so I will definitely be going back there this week with more time…

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

About Ezine updates

Maybe you’ve noticed that I don’t post it anymore when there’s a new issue of a fly fishers Ezine (I’m always late anyway). And if you didn’t subscribe already yourself, you’ll see it on almost every fly fishers blog nevertheless, so I just update the picture and link in my column on the right and I will keep doing so.

But I do have to say that the photography in the last ‘Catch Magazine’ is just unbelievably beautiful! So go check it out!

And I’ve added a new one as well, called ‘the tight line’. It’s not strictly about fly fishing (it involves a lot of lure fishing as well), but it’s worth checking out too.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Polder pike

This afternoon I went fishing with Dirk, for an hour or so (it was my dad’s birthday, so I kept it short). And although I have hundreds of pike flies in my car, because I always want to be prepared, I wasn’t prepared for this water. Why? Because weed guards were the key to fish properly here, and those… I left at home, damn!

But Dirk came prepared… and got rewarded!


With this fat lady, which I had the privilege of landing (which feels good as well), and witnessed the ecstasy of Dirk catching her (which was very enjoyable, I think we’ll have some laughs about that later on, because he was very funny),
so I really wanted to share her with you, because she’s a real beauty!

Well done Dirk!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Pike flies

I’ve started playing with ostrich herl again, because I think there’s not a lot material around that can beat the action of this stuff.
And one of my favourite patterns is still Ulf Hagström’s Toro Killer. You can find a tutorial on the genuine fly here.
And although I tie mine differently (I use more bucktail along the way to increase the volume), it’s basically the same fly. Here are some I’ve tied today:


different shades of olive


white and pink


my pike imitation


same here but shorter, and I also added lead wire in the head


and a tandem version

I already visited an ostrich farm for new feathers.

I’ll start dyeing them tomorrow…

Sunday, 30 October 2011


If you aren’t doing it already, this might be useful.

This is probably a familiar sight. You want to use a certain colour of bucktail, but there’s hardly anything left. This is light olive and that’s the colour I needed, but I didn’t find any.

So when I arrived at my favourite fly-shop (Fario Jan), he suggested to buy a regular olive and bleach it. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before, because it’s really easy.

I took a plastic bowl, with 1/3 water and 2/3 bleach, put the bucktail in for about 15 min, put it under the tap, and I had the exact colour that I wanted.

I already have some other colours in mind to treat the same way… 

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

French pike

Pike fishing in Belgium has never been so difficult as it is at the moment, there’s hardly anything to catch. And it’s not just me, it’s everyone I know, both fly- and lure-fishermen (and everybody they know). Even people who spend their weekends in Holland hardly catch anything. So Koen and I figured, let’s give it a try in France.

So we went to a private water called ‘Domaine de la Vallée” in the north of France


A very beautiful water,


with lots of small islands,


nice coves,


and perfect hiding places for pike,


and Captain Koen navigated us to all of them.

We’ve fished with all kinds of streamers, with all kinds of lines, and with all kinds of retrieves.

And posed for a picture from time to time.



But it was already noon (after 4 hours of fishing), when I was able to land the first pike. Certainly not a monster, but it felt good to catch a fish.

And about an hour later, Koen was able to land this one.

And that was it, after an entire day of fishing. Although I have to say that we both lost a fish and missed a few as well. So with a little more luck, it could have been a little better. But still, at a renowned pike water as this, it would still have been a poor catch.

But we spent a beautiful day outdoors, had lots of laughs and had a great time. And when you get home at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.

And the pike? Well…we’re not giving up yet!