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…

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Ireland (4): day 3&4


One of the beauties of using a bellyboat, is that you can just put it on your back to access any water, anywhere. Although that sounds a lot easier than it actually is, because on a soil like this, where every step can mean that you’re knee deep into wet peat, it can become quite a challenge.

But, as a former fishing guide would confirm a day later: “those kind of lakes keep the lazy fishermen away, so those are the places you have to fish”.


So eventually, we got onto a very beautiful lake, but again we witnessed ‘four seasons in one day’, so the catches were poor. Yes we all caught several jacks, and…


…Phillipe even caught this 70+ pike. That’s actually the only picture of the entire trip I have from him holding a pike in his hands, which is a shame because he caught a lot of them.

And he must have been surprised as well. Because, how much worse can you show a pike to a camera!


Peat soil and paddling can make you hungry, so a good sandwich can give you strength again.


Strength to try out an other lake. But it wasn’t before several hundred meters of paddling and seeing trout jump out of the water, that we realised that this was a trout lake. And that’s the last kind of lake you want to fish for pike in Ireland (they just kill every pike they see on lakes like this).


Luckily, there’s always a friendly face to greet you when you come out of the water in Ireland.


In the meanwhile, the other guys had more luck on their lake. Especially Gino. After several jacks, the size of his pike kept going up and up.


Like this one for example, 88 cm, but look how fat it is already.

That’s a beautiful pike!

And a bit later, he caught this one. This lady was a lot thinner, but with 99 cm, it’s Gino’s new personal best. Well done Gino!


After our disappointment at the trout lake, we gave it another try at our ‘private lake’ back home (and Phillipe used a boat this time).

But jacks like this were the only thing to be caught.

So, after our trout water experience on day 3, we came across this water on day 4.


The ‘Notice’ was promising…

Just click on the picture to enlarge (any picture for that matter).


…and it was a beautiful lake (not to mention the nice weather we had for a change), so the expectations were high. But only two jacks were caught (with four guys on the water), so we changed our plans once again (we later learned that this is a nursery lake, and they collect the pike each year to put them elsewhere).


So, we changed location once again to arrive at another beautiful lake, and pleased our inner selves with some sandwiches before we hit the water.


One thing that doesn’t change when you hit these Irish waters (or elsewhere for that matter) with a bellyboat, is the beauty of your surroundings. Hanging with your legs in the water, sitting at water level, really sucks you into something way bigger than yourself, and that’s nature that’s all around you. Personally, I like it even better than wading (once you get the hang of it, anyway), because sometimes I can get really grumpy when I can’t reach certain places with my waders, but a bellyboat can just take you wherever you want to go (well… if the wind isn’t too strong that is). So I don’t think I can ever get bored with that.

Although the catches were poor again (just a few jacks).

But when we got out of the water, we met ‘Farmer John’. I really regret that I don’t have a picture of him, because he was probably the ugliest Irish fellow on the island (smelled an hour in the wind too). But he had been a fishing guide for seven years, and he told us about certain algae that were in the water this time of the year, “when you see those, take another lake to fish in.” he said.


He also told us the location of a private lake on his brothers property.

So with new high expectations, we were ready to explore another lake.


And he was right, this was 'pike paradise' (for most of us anyway).

Here’s Koen with one of many (and really, Koen, you do have to start smiling when you’re showing a pike to a camera!)


Here’s an other one (with a much better smile).

This was actually a crazy moment. Because only one second after I took this picture, his rod behind him (with a streamer hanging in the water), started to shake like a mad man.


After which, he was just in time to put the pike back, grab his rod, and land an other pike just like it.

But, as I am reflecting now on our trip, it strikes me that I had that same look on my face like Koen when I caught an other jack pike. You see, over here in Belgium, it’s very hard to catch pike, so we cherish every pike we catch (no matter what size).


So, I’m ashamed to admit that when there’s an abundance of pike to be caught, a certain feeling of disappointment steps in very quickly when the pike doesn’t have the desired length.

It surprises me, how quickly we can get spoiled.


So when we saw Gino, drilling a pike that didn’t even want to show itself after several minutes fighting a 10#, it was time to get a little closer.


Eventually this 90 cm piece of muscles came out.


And as you can see, it was love at first sight.

A little tip maybe, if you want to seduce a lady pike like this, do like Gino, use your teeth when you smile, and they just crawl up your lap.


But, in the end (like every other exhausting day on the water), one by one, we found the shore, and called it a day…

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Restocking trout


This afternoon, some nice German fellows delivered a nice quantity of trout at the club water. And I surely didn’t want to miss that.

400 kg of rainbows between 800 gr. and 1 kg (that’s already a very nice size to catch).


This is Steven emptying one of the many barrels.

But after a whole week of horrible weather in Ireland (and it’s the same over here in Belgium now), you do think twice before hitting the water again.

Although I have to admit that after seeing this quantity of blue/silver beauties, I do feel an itch.

So I’ll light a candle that the weather changes soon. And if it doesn’t, well… f#”!ck the weather, I’ll go out anyway…