Monday, 28 March 2011


When I started this blog last November, I had no idea what to expect of it.
But tonight the counter showed the magical number of 10000 visitors, which means that people are really interested in what I do (and that feels really good)!

So I would like to thank all of you, followers and visitors 
for your interest and kind words, the last couple of months!!!

And for the rest...
I’m still tying like a madmen to fill my boxes for my upcoming fishing trip.

This is one of the nymph patterns that I’ve tied today (so far, because the night is still young).

It’s a kind of ‘Pheasant Tail’,

Hook: Kamasan B110, size 12 (although, I’ve tied some on a size 10, 14 and 16 as well)
Tail: pheasant tail fibres
Body: pheasant tail fibres
Rib: Hends colour wire
Thorax: dubbed olive hare’s ear fur blended with Hends Spectra dubbing (colour 45, which is a kind of peacock colour)
Head: 3,8 mm gold, black and copper bead

Wednesday, I’m going to this charming little town (for at least a week), and I don’t think I will find an internet connection over there. So this will probably be my last post for a while (which only means that I will have a lot more to post when I’m back)…

Friday, 25 March 2011

Preparing for the Belgian Ardennes

You won’t see much posts regarding pike in the next couple of weeks. The few waters where I’m aloud to fish for pike at the moment are really not worth talking about. So I’m planning a fishing trip to the Belgian Ardennes to fish for trout. So I’ll be posting mostly about that (sorry to all you pike addicts, but I don’t have much of a choice, unless someone feels really sorry for me, and offers me a fishing trip to a more exotic location???).

And trout fishing is the only thing that you’re aloud to do over there at the moment (there is a lot pike as well, but those will have to wait until summer).
I’ll try to explain it in short.
Belgium (that small dot on the world map, which you can see best if you use a magnifying glass), is divided into three pieces, a Dutch, French and German speaking part (which is quite something if you know that our entire population is a lot less than most of the major cities in other countries).

And every region has its own fishing laws and regulations.
In the Ardennes (which is in the French speaking part, called
‘La Wallonie’), there are two different openings of the fishing season. The first one (the small opening), started last Saturday, and the only thing that you’re aloud to do, is fly-fishing from the border of the river, and only for trout (there’s even a regulation on the weight of the fly). The second, (grand) opening is in June.

These pictures above, are from last summer (with very low water), so the river will be a lot more turbulent at the moment.

Anyway, the last couple of months,
I primarily had pike on my mind,
so I neglected the fact that I needed to fill my fly boxes for other species. So that’s what I’m working on at the moment.
And this one fly in particular is a must have! I’ve fished the river ‘Semois’ for over twenty years now, and at the beginning of the season, this is a real classic and a genuine killer. It’s called a ‘Craddock’, which is a French name, and I honestly don’t know if there even is an English name for it. Nor do I know why it’s so successful, but the fact that it has a big resemblance to a March Brown, will certainly have something to do with it.

So, I’ve tied me a few to be prepared. There are a lot of versions of this fly (like all fly patterns), but this is my personal favourite, tied on a hook size 8, 10, and 12.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Tying thread

I didn’t post much lately, because there isn’t much to post in the first place. The few waters that I’m aloud to fish for pike over here at the moment, had very disappointing results so far, so I’m planning a fishing trip to the Belgian Ardennes to fish for trout. So most of the time I spend on tying these days, goes to nymphs, wet flies and trout streamers, which I won’t post here (there are plenty of sites and blogs of people who tie them a lot better than I do).

But today, I had a question on my last post from Bruce Deschamps
“Which thread do you use the most to tie pike flies and do you use different size of thread to tie specific fly patterns?”
Since the answer was a bit long, I decided to make a post of it.

When I tie small flies (dry flies, nymphs,…), I use normal tying thread. Like UNI-Thread, or Grall from Hends Products.

But for pike flies, I use something else.

When I need a thread to use a lot of force (for stacked deer hair heads, for example), my favourite is G.S.P.

But, G.S.P. is hard to get the last couple of months (over here in Belgium anyway), or you have to pay a ridiculous price for it.

So I switched to Dyneema instead, which works equally good. The only thing you have to look out for, is that you buy bobbins that hold about 50 yards max (the last time, I bought me a bobbin of a 100 yards, and it became quite a mess).

The only reason to use this kind of thread, is to use a lot of force. And by doing so, it cuts its way into the thread stacked on the bobbin, which has very annoying side effects (since this is a kind of floss, and not really a thread, parts of it get stuck, break off, hang loose afterwards… I think you get the picture).

I even started using braided Spectra Fibre, a Power Pro Line (15/00) that I had still laying around here from the time I used to fish with lures (which I don’t do anymore), so why not use it to tie flies.


I also use nylon mono, mainly for 'high ties' (to let the colours of the fibre come trough the thread).

And of course all kinds of sparkly or other crazy stuff to pimp your fly, but I won’t go into detail on that kind of personal favourites.


But for most of my pike flies, my absolute favourite is strong cotton (for sewing), which is available in every colour imaginable.

This kind of thread is strong enough to tie everything in very tight, and cotton is rather rough, which makes tying a lot easier (normal tying thread is usually synthetic, which makes it very slick).

The only problem with good quality strong cotton, is that it’s usually on a bobbin like this, which doesn’t fit at all on your bobbin holder.


To overcome this problem, I use a dremmel tool, to wind the thread on a smaller bobbin (fast and efficient).

Which brings me to something else that I’ve never mentioned before.
I always fish with barbless hooks! I don’t want to start a discussion about this matter. For my part, you can fish every way you want to, as long as you don’t harm the fish more than is necessary (that’s something that really pisses me off!). My experience with this way of fishing is that, if you drill your fish rigid enough, you won’t loose more fish. And even if this is the case, it’s a fact that you can unhook every fish you do catch a lot easier and faster. In the worst case scenario (when the fish breaks the line, and swims off with your fly), the fly will come loose very easily, which gives the fish a better chance of surviving the encounter it had with you. But I’m drifting off here (I can get very excited about this, because I’ve seen a lot of cruelties along the water side).

What I was trying to say, is that a dremmel tool is perfect to get rid of any barb on your hook. And it has a lot of other applications as well, like drilling, carving, polishing,…


or hollowing out a cork to make a popper head. It’s just a fantastic tool to have near your tying table.

All this makes me think about other simple practical stuff, but that will be for later… 

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Kustom easy baitfish

I’m still playing with the stuff Rich sent me, and I wanted to make an easy to tie baitfish pattern, with as less material as possible, with a nice profile, a very lively action, very lightweight to cast, and it had to be very durable. To put it in other words, a fly that everybody can tie and make every pike angler happy.
So I tried out all kinds of things, with very disappointing results at first (although one or two prototypes have some prospects).
But in the end, I came up with this pattern, which I have great faith in (I’ve already tested the action, in a water where I wasn’t aloud to, but that’s something we’d better keep to ourselves, unless some idiot puts it on the internet of course). Anyway, I made a tutorial so you could try them out yourselves (click on any image to enlarge).

This fly is about 14 cm long, tied on a Gamakatsu F 314, size 2/0.

- Put your thread on the hook (I’ve put some varnish on the hook shank first), and leave it at about 1 cm before the hook eye.


- At this point, tie in some Polar Flash. Make sure that the amount of fibres facing backwards are a little longer than those facing forward.


- Tie the flash material in towards to hook bend in 4 or 5 wraps (this way you will still have the flash effect along the hook shank), and come back with the thread the same way.


- Fold back the excess and tie it in the same way.


- Put some lacquer on the entire piece of the hook shank where you’ve tied in your material (durability). I also put a hairclip on the tail from this stage on, to make less of a mess.

- Tie in some white chenille (this is Vampire Plush). If you use other chenille, make sure it’s wide enough (this one is 15 mm). This way you are able to make a nice ‘ball’, which will determine the volume (profile) of your fly.

- Make a ‘ball’ and tie it in.

Now I use Rich’s Kustom Fibre for the entire body of the fly. And I only use a very small amount of it. Make sure to taper it on both ends.

- Tie in the fibre on the bottom of the hook shank (in this case white) with a couple of loose wraps, again, make sure that the amount of fibres facing backwards are a little longer than those facing forward. Then, take your time to spread the fibre evenly around the bottom of the hook shank, and then tie it in.


- Fold back the excess, spread it evenly around the bottom of the hook shank, and tie it in.

- Tie in the Kustom Fibre on top of the hook (in this case yellow) the same way (with a couple of loose wraps, again, make sure that the amount of fibres facing backwards are a little longer than those facing forward. Then, take your time to spread the fibre evenly around the top of the hook shank, and then tie it in).

- And again, fold back the excess, spread it evenly around the top of the hook shank, and tie it in.


- Make a bit of a head, whip finish a lacquer the head.


- Glue on some eyes (these are some of Rich’s Realistic Flyz Eyez) partially on the head and partially on the fibre. The reason I do it like this, is because when you epoxy the head (which is the next step), the fibres between the eyes will be inside the epoxy and maintain the volume (and of course make the fly more durable).

After you epoxy the head, this fly is finished. But the nice part of this fibre
(all synthetic fibres in fact), is that you can colour them with a regular permanent marker, and make whatever you want to make of them.


You can leave this one white and yellow…

or you can make it a bit more aggressive by adding some red smudges like this


white and blue, this blue is Kustom Flash Blend (I think it’s Sea Blue Kustom Fibre with UV Violet Kustom Flyz Angel Hair)…

some dark blue permanent marker on the back, and some orange dots…

or make a kind of mackerel pattern


white and Lime

with green permanent marker on the back, and some orange dots…

dark olive (this is done with a Prismacolor marker) and black, with some orange dots, to make a perch pattern

I’ve also made some others without dying them. I can’t make that much combinations yet, but I will surely order me some more colours, because this stuff is really great!


Kustom Yellow and Purple Blend


And Kustom Flash Blend (purple/black)

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Pike flies

I started playing with the stuff I got from Rich this afternoon. I already knew his Kustom Fibre from a fishing friend who uses it a lot (Renzo Callebert). In fact you can find a tutorial on one of Renzo’s flies on Rich his site 
(and while you're there, check out all the nice stuff Rich sells as well).
It looks a lot like Slinky Fibre but it’s thinner (and therefore not so stiff), so it has a livelier  action in the water. Therefore, I definitely wanted to use it as tail material. The only problem was to find a pattern where this stuff could wiggle as much as possible.
Then I came across some flies I tied a while ago, and used this as a base for this pattern.

These flies are all about 15 cm long, tied on a Gamakatsu Worm 36, size 5/0.

This is a basic version of a ‘Jellybelly’, from one of the guys from Piketrek (you can find a tutorial on Youtube). I find the original unnecessarily difficult to tie, so I’ve made my own adaptation.

- I started with tying in light pink Polar Flash (tied in at half the length, then folded back the excess and tied this in as well) along the bottom of the hook shank (in 8 steps) up to 1 cm before the hook eye (and cut this into shape afterwards).
- then I tied in a single bunch of Rich’s Purple Blend Kustom Fibre. I tied it in 2/3 facing backwards and 1/3 forwards. Then folded back the excess and tied it in as well (and cut this into shape afterwards).
- then some of his Flash Blend (purple/black).
- some of his ‘Realistic Flyz Eyez’ (which look really awesome).
- and finally made a head with UV Clear Fly Finnish.

This is exactly the same pattern.

- I just used light green Polar Flash for the (Jelly) belly.
- then Kustom Flash Blend (this stuff is not yet on his site, but I think it’s a blend of his Lime Green Kustom Fibre with his Green/Gold Kustom Flyz Angel Hair).
- for the next step,
I wanted to use a darker kind of green that would still go along with the rest of the fly. The picture is a bit overexposed, but I’ve used Seaweed Slinky Fibre and blended it myself with Rich’s Green/Gold Kustom Flyz Angel Hair.
- and Green/Silver Kustom Eyez.

The same again here.

- light blue Polar Flash.
- Kustom Flash Blend (I think it’s Sea Blue Kustom Fibre with UV Violet Kustom Flyz Angel Hair).
- for the next step, I’ve blended the Blend of the last step with his Peacock Angel Hair.
- and Realistic Flyz Eyez.

I’ve been tying mainly with natural materials for a while now, so it feels good to use synthetics again (certainly this stuff), so you can expect a lot more to come…

Stuff to play with... yummy!

I know I didn’t post much lately. But a few days ago, all this nice material arrived from England to play with. Rich Johnson from Custom pike/ Saltwater Fly tying, was curious what I could do with it (and so am I).
So I will have to make some time the next couple of days to get behind my vice again…

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The ‘Lonesome Tom’ tutorial

I’ve never had this amount of mails before relating to one specific pattern, so I definitely had to do a tutorial on this one. I hope this will answer most of the questions I’ve received. If you still have questions concerning this or other matters, please don’t hesitate to mail me.

So this is a ‘step by step’ on a ‘Lonesome Tom’ pattern (well, two actually, because I use two different methods to make the head). Click on any image to enlarge.

This fly is about 14 cm long, tied on an SS-1930 Inox, size 4/0 (but I know that hooks are very personal, so this is not a must), and you can use any colour combination you want. This is just my version in chartreuse and white.

1. Put your thread on the hook (I always varnish the hook shank before I put on the thread).


2. Tie in some flash material (this is Polar Flash) like this.


3. Fold back the excess and tie it in.


4. Tie in a chartreuse rabbit zonker strip. At this point I put on some lacquer but it’s not really necessary.

I also put a hairclip on the tail, so it won’t get in the way while tying the rest of the fly.


5. Tie in some white chenille (this is Vampire Plush).

6. Wrap the chenille around the hook shank (about 1 cm), cut it, and tie it off.

Now comes the bucktail. There are two reasons why I use bucktail here.
One, It gives a nice transition between the head and the tail, which gives it a more natural profile.
And two, It keeps the tail from wrapping around the hook (it will still happen, but a lot less).


7. Tie in some white bucktail and spread it evenly around the bottom of the hook shank.


8. Tie in some chartreuse bucktail and spread it evenly around the top of the hook shank.


9. Cut off the excess and use Head Cement to secure it (this is very important for the durability of your fly).

10. Then wrap your thread around the hook shank to make this kind of conical shape. This will make the building of the head a lot easier.

This is the amount of polypropylene fibre (or EP Fibre) I use to make the head. As you can see, I will do it in 4 (x4) steps. But that’s because I’m used to do this.

If you’re not used to tie a head like this (or if you don’t have this kind of soft synthetic fibre), I would recommend that you do it in more (than four) steps, with less material. You won’t notice it while tying, but once you cut it into shape, you will have certain gaps (and that doesn’t look very nice).


11. a. Tie in the red fibre on the bottom of the hook shank (two tight wraps is enough).


b. then the white fibre on one side


c. and again on the other side


d. and chartreuse on top

at this point, I use a half hitch knot to secure, and then pull the thread trough the middle of the fibre on the bottom of the hook shank (the red in this case) while pulling all the fibre backwards, and wrap the thread around the hook shank a couple of times in front of the fibre.


I use another hairclip to keep all the fibre out of the way for the next step (it can get really messy if you don’t).


12. Tie in some Barred Crazy Legs (or Flexifloss, or whatever…)


13. Repeat step 11 (in this case, white on the bottom, and chartreuse on the sides and top of the hook shank).


14. Again, repeat step 11.


15. And again. Then tie off, whip Finnish, and lacquer. 


This is what you’ll get, and as you can see, this fly is in desperate need of a haircut.


15. So after cutting the head into shape (be careful with the Crazy Legs), and gluing some epoxy eyes on, you should have something that looks like these.

Now, if you feel like this is to difficult, or to much work to put into a single fly (which I can perfectly understand), then this might be an alternative.

The first 10 steps on this fly are the same as the fly above (except this one is completely white, but you can use any colour you like of course). So let’s continue from this stage on…


11. Make a brass wire dubbing brush with the same material as above (in this case, white and red polypropylene fibre, but I’ve mixed in some flash material as well). If you don’t know how to make one of these, I made a tutorial on how to make a brass wire dubbing brush a while ago, which you can find in my blog archive, on Thursday 25 November 2010. 

12. Tie in the dubbing brush.


13. Wrap it forward (tight) around the hook shank like this, while pulling all the fibre backwards…


14. until you reach the hook eye. At that point, cut off the excess. I don’t have any excess here besides the wire itself, because I’m quite used to do this, but I can guarantee you that you will have some excess in the beginning. So make sure to make your dubbing brush long enough. It’s a lot easier to cut off a bit because it’s to long, than to add a second one because it was to short!
Then tie off, whip finish and lacquer.

15. This next step is important. This is very soft material, so by making the dubbing brush and tying it in, lots of the fibre will be attached to the hook shank at both ends of the fibre.
All you have to do is put your scissors into the fibre, along the hook shank like you see on the picture. DO NOT CUT! But just pull your scissors upwards, and continue to do so around the hook shank. You will feel it when it’s no longer necessary, once you put the scissors in and you’re able to pull it upwards without any resistance. 

Then you will have something that looks like this. Which again, is a fly in desperate need of a haircut.


16. So after cutting the head into shape and adding some epoxy eyes, you should have a fly that looks like this.

Like I’ve said before, my video footage an the action in the water of this fly was a bit disappointing, so you’ll have to take my word for it, or even better, tie some yourself, and…

tight lines!