Friday, 18 February 2011

Why titanium?

Actually, I wanted to post a picture of a pike with a ‘rattle redhead’ in its mouth in reply to David (Romanillos) his last comment, but that didn’t work out the way I wanted. I went fishing this afternoon and I did hook a pike with it, and as he was ready to be landed… you know, sliding trough the water on his side, with the fly hanging out of his mouth, I though, yes! This will be a great picture! But of course, while I was reaching for my camera, the pike most have known my intension and decided to stay anonymous. He came half out of the water, and shook his head one last time… and disappeared into the deep again.
But I don’t care, I had a great time outdoors, I hooked a pike on a new fly, and was able to take a good look at it. For me, that’s a good day!

However, maybe I can still make this post a little more interesting.

This is a situation which most of you will recognize. If you don’t, that can mean only two things. One, there are no barb wire fences where you live. Or two, you never fish.

Now, when you disentangle this mess, every wire trace will look like a cork screw.
I’ve tried all kinds of wire traces (steel, Teflon,…), and they all kink (yes all of them).

Until I started using titanium, and certainly braided titanium.

This is how the trace looked like after disentangling it… as good as new!

I know this stuff is more expensive than other wire traces, but its durability is far more superior. In fact, I only change it when I start to doubt my swivels. And even then, I often just cut of the swivel and replace it with an other one on the same piece of titanium trace (until it gets to short of course). So by my calculations, in the long term, this stuff comes cheaper then any other wire trace!


This is the brand I use, but I’m sure there are a lot of other brands out there that are equally good.

I also filmed the action of a couple of flies, so some video tutorials are coming up soon…

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Pike flies

Two more rattle (red)heads, tied the same way as the previous one, just different colours.

FlyLife 1

I’ve added another nice online magazine to the list (column on the right).

Just click on the image to check it out (for free).

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Rattle redhead

This was actually an experiment, but it turned out so well, and I really have great faith in it without testing, so I wanted to post it.

I’ve picked up these rattles so many times over the last six months without doing anything with them, but tonight I wanted to give them a try. What concerned me the most, was the balance of the fly, because when you tie in something this big, you’re obligated to tie it on top of the hook shank, which can make your fly spin (I often wanted to tie some big clousers with them, so I could tie in the extra weight on the bottom, but I never did).

Therefore, I’ve used a Gamakatsu (saltwater series) SC15-2H, size 5/0, which will definitely stay straight when retrieving.


- So I started with tying in the glass rattle
- then some pearl Spectra Flash Hair
- white bucktail around the hook shank
- white saddle hackles around the top of the hook shank
- and the head is a brass wire dubbing brush of white and red polypropylene fibre, blended with pearl Spectra Flash Hair (cut into shape), and epoxy eyes.

Oh, and it’s about 16 cm long.

I will definitely tie some more of these…

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The Djuza Project, part 2

I’ve been experimenting with racoon, until I got to this pattern, which I think has great potential (I’ve tested them already, and they look very good in the water).


This is white racoon with pink chenille

It’s a bit hard to explain how I made them, so I did a ‘step by step’ to make it easier.
Click on any image to enlarge.


Put your thread on the hook


Tie in some flash material (this is polar flash)


Then some racoon

Then tie in some chenille (this Vampire Plush)


Wrap the chenille two times around the hook shank (although this depends on the chenille you use, with Krystal Chenille for example, I’ve used three wraps), and tie it in


Tie in some racoon, and spread it equally around the top of the hook shank


Repeat the last two steps up to the hook eye
(a couple of mm in front of it)

Tie in some racoon around the bottom of the hook shank

Glue on some eyes (or like I did, some sequins, since epoxy is the next step, so these will look like epoxy eyes)

This might be interesting
(if you aren’t using them already).

These are hair clips, which are very practical while tying or drying (pike) flies (after using epoxy). They come in all shapes and sizes.
I got this from Ken Capsey from
and they are damn handy!

Epoxy the head

Normally I comb out a lot of fur, but with this racoon, I didn’t, because unlike other fur, the stuff you leave in, doesn’t just absorb water and lay flat, but it actually keeps it’s volume…


as you can see on this picture.

This is the same fly when wet.

And some other colours.
These are all about 9 cm long, tied on a Gamakatsu F 314, size 1.


Yellow racoon and red chenille

White and chartreuse racoon with red chenille

These are two flies from the experimental stage of the pattern above (they are tied on a hook that’s to big for this pattern, although that’s personal of course).
They are easier to tie, and certainly very functional as well.


I’ve just tied in the racoon on top of the hook shank.

Actually, I like using racoon. It’s durable, it keeps it’s volume, and has a great movement in the water. But this stuff is not very common here in Belgium, which makes it hard to find, and even if you do find it, they ask an absurd price for it. So, ordering it on the internet is the perfect alternative, but the problem with ordering stuff from internet shops, especially natural material, is that the example they put on their site, looks a hundred times better then the stuff you receive at home!

So if anyone can give me a good tip for ordering reasonably priced, good quality racoon zonker strips, please let me know…

Sleeping In the Dirt

I didn’t post anything in a while, because I had some personal concerns I had to deal with, but I’m still alive.


So if there isn’t much to see here, you should check out the new issue of Sleeping in the Dirt. Lots of great articles and pictures to forget ‘the winter blues’.

Although, I don’t like the hunting part, it strikes me a bit, when you promote catch and release, and then go shoot and kill other wildlife.

Just click on the image or check it out with some other great ezines on the right.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Pike flies

Just the same pattern (more or less), I’ve used on my last post.

I’m still experimenting for the ‘Djuza Project’ as well. I’ve put the Yak Hair aside (because I wasn’t making any progress towards the fly that I had in my mind), but I’ve started with Raccoon now, and had some promising results, although I still want to test them first, before I post them. So …

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Dark music and tying flies

Once again, the music that I was listening to, has inspired me to tie a fly.


This time it was ‘The Good Son’, by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
This is the record where I got to know him, and the first time that I got to see him live (lots of years ago, damn I’m getting old). So a bit of nostalgic will certainly play a roll here, but I still think that it is one of the best albums he has ever recorded!

This fly is about 15 cm long, tied on a Mustad Salt Water hook, size 6/0.

- red Luminous Tinsel
- black Indian cock saddle hackles
- red Vampire Plush
- red bucktail
- repeat the first four steps
- black Indian cock saddle hackles
- and some more black Indian cock saddle hackles
- some of those sexy eyes (with a dark gaze tonight)
- and epoxy around the head

And now I’m going to bed, because I can hardly keep my eyes open anymore,…

Friday, 4 February 2011

The Djuza Project, part 1

Last week, fellow pike-fly-tier, and very sympathetic bloke from Finland, Djuza (from ), had a bit of an inspiration problem. So I thought that maybe we could help each other out. I asked him to send me a list of the material he had in stock, and I would try to make something out of it.

I don’t consider myself to be a fantastic fly-tier, but I love doing it, and I like a bit of a challenge (I just love to experiment), so I thought this could be a fun thing to do.
And besides, what kind of a world are we living in, if people stop helping each other.

Actually, I expected a rather short list (no offence, Djuza, but I haven’t seen that many different material on your blog), but the inventory he sent me will keep me busy for quite a while (so more posts are coming).

This is a piece of the mail he has sent me: “As you maybe know, I prefer naturals before synthetics” … “but I should not forget Slinky Fibre or other synthetics” … “My next tying project will probably be some baitfish imitations in a smaller size for the summer”.

I was already looking for some smaller sized pike flies for myself (usually, small for me is 12-14 cm).

So I had already tied this small version of a ‘Lonesome Tom’ (about 9 cm), and therefore, I thought, this could be a good way to start.

But the head is polypropylene fibre with Crazy Legs, and those were not on the list.


So I’ve changed it a bit. I’ve made the head with a brass wire dubbing brush with SF Blend, which I’ve cut into shape (I know that Djuza likes to use a dubbing brush himself).

But SF Blend wasn’t on the list either.
However, SF Blend is a mixture of Slinky Fibre and Angel Hair, and those two, he does have in stock.


So this one, I’ve blended myself (a dubbing brush is an easy way to do that).

This head is white and pink Slinky Fibre blended with white and pink Angel hair.

The only problem with a dubbing brush is the fact that the bottom and the top of your fly always have the same colour.


So here, I’ve used chartreuse Flash’n Slinky for the head, but I’ve coloured the top with a permanent marker (don’t worry, a permanent marker used on synthetic fibre is very water proof).

Another interesting part of this project, is that I’m forced to use certain materials, that I rarely use myself.

Such as, Polar Fibre.

I’ve used it before for flies like these, which could be used in the Baltic as well. They’re about 8 cm long. Some of them don’t look so fresh anymore (that’s because they have already hit the water).

Another fly that I've tied with Polar Fibre is this one. I got this pattern from Renzo Callebert, and he uses it for ide, feeding on fry, on the surface. I haven’t caught any ide on them yet, but they have been successful for perch, and I’ve met a guy in the Belgian Ardennes, who uses a similar pattern for trout.

But I wanted to do something else.

So I’ve tied me this baitfish pattern, which I’m rather satisfied with. They are also about 8 cm long, tied on a Gamakatsu F 314, size 1.


white and olive, with a little red under the chin.


white and chartreuse, with a little orange under the chin.


hot pink and purple


black and red

You do have to comb this material out first, and the amount of rubbish that comes out of this stuff is unbelievable (you can still use it as dubbing material of course).

The little jar is all the chartreuse Polar Fibre that I had to comb out for this one fly!

I’m already experimenting with Yak Hair (another material that I rarely use), so…

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The ‘Lonesome Grace’

At the moment, most of my free time, I’m spending on the ‘Djuza Project’
(you will certainly hear a lot more on that matter later).
But tonight, those sexy eyes from last week were gazing at me again, so I had to tie some more pike flies with them.
If you follow this blog regularly, then you will know that music is an important aspect in my life.
I’m definitely NOT one of those guys that goes fishing with an iPod plugged into my ears. While fishing, the sound of nature, the water, the birds, the whispering of the trees and the sound of a fly-line floating thru the air,.. that’s my music!
But while tying flies, that’s something completely different.

So, for this fly, I was looking for something sexy and elegant, combined with raw power. So it didn’t take me long to pull Grace Jones out of my record collection
(yes, I still use a record player, in fact, I’ve bought a lot more vinyl than cd’s lately).

The first fly, I’ve tied while listening to her first album, Portfolio (1977).


It’s about 17 cm long, tied on a Gamakatsu SC15-2H, size 5/0.


The materials I’ve used are:
- feathers from an Indian cock saddle and a Chinese cock neck (two colours)
- Vampire Plush (chenille)
- bucktail (two colours)
- Krystal Flash (three colours)
- grizzly saddle hackles
- artic fox (four colours)
- sexy eyes
- epoxy around the head

The second one, I’ve listened to her fifth album, Nightclubbing (1981).


Same size, same hook and the same materials as the fly above (just different colours).


You could be surprised how much music can influence your tying (or anything else in your life actually)…

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

This is Fly


The new This is Fly Magazine is out as well.
Don’t forget to check out the article on musky fly-fishing by Brad Bohen from
Click on the image or check it out on the sidebar on the right!