Sunday, 28 October 2012

Pike on stamps 4

Those who have been following my blog for a while, know that I collect stamps with pike on it. And as I’ve mentioned before, there aren’t a lot of them out there. So the more stamps you find, the harder it gets.
These are the ones I found since my last post.


This is a nice one from Switzerland.


 One from the Netherlands


From Finland


From Mongolia

And one from Sweden

This next stamp I already had, but now I found a first day cover of it.

And the same stamp on what they call a ‘maximum card’.

And this last one I like a lot, a maximum card from the Aland Islands.

If you want to see the other ones, click on the label ‘stamps’ on the bottom of this post or in the right column of my blog.
And I’ll repeat my question, if there’s anyone out there who can help me to find some more, please let me know…

Friday, 26 October 2012

Pike Poppers

If I lived in pike paradise… I mean in a country like Ireland, Finland, Canada,… then I would certainly fish a lot more with poppers. They’re not the best way to catch a pike, but they certainly are the most spectacular way! Unfortunately I live in Belgium, where focusing on catching a pike (in whatever way), is already a big task. So I mainly focus on the best way  to hook them on a fly.
But they’re so much fun on your vise, that sometimes when I’m in the mood, I just can’t resist making them. I say ‘making’ instead of ‘tying’, because to my knowledge (please correct me if I’m wrong), there is no pre-maid popper-head on the market that will support a 5/0 or 6/0 hook, along with a steel- (or titanium-) leader tip (and swivels), plus some rubber legs and a 15 to 20 cm tail tied on to it, that will still float enough to call it a popper. So ‘making’ the head will take most of your time.
But, this week I was in the mood to make some,…

They’re 15 to 17 cm long, tied (made) on a Piketrek, Eagle Claw, Pike Fly Hook (that’s a mouth full), size 5/0. I took two pictures from each so you would have a better idea on how I made them.

I also made some sliders. Fish these on an intermediate line, let them hit the surface, then start stripping again, and you’ll have a deadly fly.

What I would also like to share, is the material I used to make the heads. On a previous post you’ve seen how I make my popper heads (if you didn’t, click on the label ‘poppers’ on the bottom of this post or on the right column of this blog). This time I used another kind of  (cheaper) foam. I got another great tip from Renzo Callebert, a great fly-tier, and always in search of unconventional tying material.

Some of you will remember those wooden blocks in different colours we used to play with as a child. Well nowadays (due to all kinds of safety regulations for child’s play), they make this stuff in foam! And an interesting (and really cheap) foam it is.

Do you have any idea how many popper heads you can make with this? Well,… neither do I, but it will certainly be a challenge to find out.

The next pike flies I will post also started with an idea from Renzo,… although some other stuff will come first I think (pike on stamps for example, because my collection has grown)… 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

On with the blog!

My summer in the Belgian Ardennes was the first thing I wanted to post, but I have so many pictures and stuff I could write about that I simply don’t know where to start, so… nothing happens. And since I want to move on, I decided to skip it (or do a piece now and then, or… we’ll see) and carry on.

The last two days for example, were exceptionally warm for this time of the year (over 20° C),
so I spent my afternoons at the ‘Hawthorn’ club water, chasing rainbows.


And I caught very well on this type of streamer.

Just a little bit of flash, a rabbit strip zonker and a deer hair head with some dumbbell eyes in it.

I actually tied these streamers this summer for chub (with great success by the way). Here are a couple of nice ones.

But as I said before, the last two days, they worked very well on these kind of beauties.


Especially a black version.

Now that I have that whole ‘Belgian Ardennes’ thing out of my head, I’m able to move on, so from now on you can expect a lot more posts on a more frequent base again…

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Polder pike

A post about my summer in the Belgian Ardennes will be for later, because I still have lots of pictures to process.
But this morning, I went pike-fishing in the Belgian polders with a couple of guys from my club. And since I didn’t fish for pike the whole summer, the expectations were high.

We found ourselves a nice little polder water and hoped for the best.

Here’s Dirk, our president,
in action.

And we got lucky, there were a lot of pike swimming around in it!
These are the best fish of the morning:


This is Nico with a new personal best for him, 89 cm of muscles. Well done Nico!


And half an hour later, I was able to land this 92 cm beauty.

Needless to say that I’m a happy man. This is certainly the best way to start pike fishing again…

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Guess who’s still alive?

Yes! I finally got back this evening from a fantastic (extended) summer in the Belgian Ardennes (with no internet connection,… as you may have noticed).

My mailbox is about to explode, but I promise I’ll get to everybody as soon as possible.

Sorry for not being there, but I have to admit that waking up every day next to a beautiful river, with only the sound of the water and the wind in the trees, beats every internet connection. Although,… when days grew shorter (and colder), I did long to pick up ‘ordinary life’ again (but, since I just got home, that idea might change quickly).

One thing’s for sure though,… no matter how many trout and chub I caught this summer,…


So I’ll get back to that as soon as possible…

Monday, 7 May 2012

Quick update

Since the opening of the pike season over here in Belgium, is still several weeks away, everything evolves around trout at the moment (that’s also the main reason why I didn’t post much lately).


At less than half an hour from my home, I can go fishing for beautiful rainbows at the ‘Hawthorn’ club water.

So this is the water where I spend my fishing time at the moment.


And this is my setup,

My favourite 7 weight, with (at the moment) a floating line, and two of these (very easy to tie) flies/streamers on my leader. I say flies/streamer, because you can fish them very slowly (imitating for example a damsel nymph) or strip them faster (like a streamer).


And it works very well. This afternoon for example, I was on the water for little over two hours, and I caught six of these beauties (all between 40 and 48 cm long). I lost a very fat 50+ trout as well, but it will still be there tomorrow, so…

I also bought me a new ‘fishing camera’. I say ‘fishing camera’, because that’s exactly what it is. You see, in the last two years, I broke three ‘normal’ digital camera’s. The first one fell into the water (well actually,… I fell into the water and the camera with me,… but that’s the same thing). The second fell on a rock. And the third one was ‘killed’ by the rain.
So it was time to spend a little bit more on a camera that is a little more ‘forgiving’ to us clumsy fishermen.


So I bought me a Nikon Coolpix AW100. It’s waterproof (up 10 m) and shockproof (up to 1,5 m), which is exactly what I needed (it has loads of other gadgets as well of course, like GPS, compass,… although I really don’t care much about such things).

I can’t say much about it yet, but I already held it underwater, which didn’t harm it (and that’s already a very good sign) and it still took nice pictures afterwards. I didn’t drop it yet, but since I only fished in a 9 m deep lake from a bellyboat, it was probably not the right time to test that anyway. When I do start to have problems with it, I will certainly post it.


‘Waterproof’ also means that you can take pictures under water. Which is something I had to test of course, but I still have much to learn I think, because in fact, rainbow trout don’t like posing for a camera under water (please correct me if I’m wrong). I took several pictures, but this is the only one with (part of) a fish on it.

But I’m sure it will deliver some nice shots in the future…

Friday, 27 April 2012

Trout/perch Zonker

Yes, it’s been a week since I posted something, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t do anything. Since my main goal is trout at the moment, but the weather just stays horrible, with heavy winds, rain and hail storms, I stayed inside and tied myself a lot of trout streamers.


I certainly won’t post all of them, but I do want to share these ones. This kind of streamer is getting very popular over here in Belgium.

It’s a pattern by Pedro Guridi, a very nice Chilean guy who lives in Belgium. He’s not only a very good fly-fisherman, but also a fantastic fly-tier.
He made a tutorial of his ‘zonker’, which you can check out here.

He made some other tutorials as well (nothing for pike though), which you can find on the website of his club

And with perch in mind, I already tied me some slightly bigger ones in different colour combinations as well.



If this weather doesn’t change soon, I’ll do like Erin Block so elegantly said it in her last comment “Fist to the sky… and fish!”.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Ireland (5): day 5&6


We started our day on a private property, in ‘the garden’ of this house (very friendly people as well). It was an absolutely beautiful estate of meadows, forest and three magnificent lakes.

If I had a place like this, well, you would probably never hear from me again. I’d be vanished (with pleasure) in this beautiful Irish oblivion.

Each lake was connected to another one with a canal like this (are you starting to get my point?).


Here’s Lieven, trying his luck in one of them.

But I don’t have an estate like this, so I’d better stop dreaming. Besides, the fishing was poor anyway.

We split up in two groups again to try separate lakes, and the other guys didn’t even have a single bite.


But Lieven, Koen and I managed to catch a couple each.

Here’s Koen with one of his jacks (and that smile is definitely getting better).


This is one of mine on a pike imitation.


And here’s another one.

In the afternoon we did another lake, where we all caught several small ones, but I don’t even have a single picture of that afternoon, so it can’t have been very spectacular.


So we called it a day early. Besides, we still had Koen’s birthday to celebrate.

And as you can see in the picture, we still had to convince Lieven to put his jerkbait rod aside and try it on the fly.

On our last day (unbelievable how fast a week can pass), we got a little later out of bed than usual (due to certain pub events, the night before).

We’ve had our eyes on this water close at home for an entire week now, and it was finally deserted. It holds the Irish record bream, so there were always several guys out there trying to catch it.

But we weren’t interested in bream at all, and it’s a perfect bellyboat water, so we were happy to give it a try.


My pike imitation still did the trick (I only regret that I didn’t start using it earlier that week).

The other ones caught best on olive/green flies as well from that moment on.


No big ones, but this is already a very nice pike to catch on a fly rod.


On our ultimate last afternoon together on a lake, we chose the lake where I caught my personal best on the first day. And although we had a very hard wind, which made it very difficult to manoeuvre properly with our bellyboats, we all had a fantastic afternoon.


Here’s Gino with one of his final catches.


And we finally convinced Lieven to use a fly rod,… which he didn’t regret!

This is actually the only picture I have from Lieven holding a pike in his hands (so it feels kind of good that he caught it on a fly).


His cousin, Steven also tried something else. He decided to get away from the reeds and fish with one of my bigger streamers (which he didn’t regret either).


And this is my final catch. I really wouldn’t know how to end a fishing trip better than this. The fight this lady have me, is something I’ll remember for a long time. I actually missed her twice before I hooked her, but as they say,… third time lucky.


But all good things come to an end, so we came dripping out of the water one by one.

Here’s Phillipe after an Olympic effort to get to the shore with a very strong wind (blowing from the wrong side).


Gino just didn’t give up catching fish until he was on dry land (that’s a kind of stubbornness I like a lot in people).


This picture gives you a good idea on how we all felt, exhausted but very satisfied!

I won’t post our journey back, the day after, because it was pretty much the same as the way we got there (except we looked even more like zombies).

But I do would like to thank all the other guys (Koen, Phillipe, Gino, Steven and Lieven), for a very memorable fishing trip. We really had to work hard for our fish, and although we didn’t catch as much as some of the others did the previous years, the company made me forget all about that. Besides, I caught a lot more pike than I’ll ever catch in one week of fishing over here in Belgium!

A second thanks (to the same guys) is for using everyone’s photographs. I wish, it was this easy to compose posts like this every day,… but now I’m dreaming again.

Either way, I liked it a lot (and I hope I can do it over again soon).

Hope you liked it too…