perjantai 28. joulukuuta 2012

Summary of 2012

It has been a great year for fishing pike. Here is some of the highlights from the year 2012.

Spring to summer

Spring season was a bit short because in late March my spouse gave birth to my second son. But I managed to make some trips with a float tube, few in a boat and one four days trip to Särkisalo. 
Särkisalo trip was about one month after pike spawning season which is my absolute favorite season in pike fishing: Powerful fish eager to bite flies, electric takes and warm weather. Tinsel flies worked nicely through the trip. 

Float tube trips were also good. The ugly fly was again a hit when fishing in colored water. I will introduce this fly to you in later posts. It´s a sort of a tinsel deceiver with ugly colours. 

First spring trip with float tube offered me a lesson

 I carry two rods with me. One holds floating line and second intermediate or sinking. First I fished with intermediate line a shallow bay area and had no contacts with fish, but I knew that the fish were there and the fly supposed to be just right in those conditions. So I put the same fly in the floating line and after that the day was a success. Floating line allowed me to pause the retrieve little longer which was crucial on that day.

Mid summer is my time to fly fish brown trout in mid Finland but I
made some pike trips to nearby lake with light equipment and poppers. Lot´s of fun but average size of the fish is quite small.

Autumn to winter

In September I trained a lot of casting so I had no time to fish. World championships of casting were held in Fagernes Norway. Trip was very educational in many ways and not only for casting. Judges of championships used pontoon boats and even in windy conditions they managed to hold their place in the water and they could move lot faster than a float tube. I must have one of those!

Once I got in Finland I bought a used pontoon boat and I have been very satisfied with it. Compared to a float tube it´s much quicker in the water. This allows me to move longer distances in the water. For example if water color of the inner bay is poor I can move quite fast 1-2 km closer to open sea where water color usually is better. 

Autumn included great fishing, I had no weak trips, even in poor conditions for pike fishing I was fortunate to land good pikes. Most of the time I fished with slinky baitfish, intermediate line an 8-weight rod. Best colors were Germany flag, pink-white and red-white. 

Djuza introduced me a new destination and I had many unforgettable moments there fishing with Matti. Thanks!

Lesson #2

I have thought that in pike fishing there is more important parts than fly colors that makes the pike strike. Retrieve, swim of the fly and depth for example but after fishing in the "aquarium" I have to change  my point of view:
The "aquarium" is very small bay nearby my  spouses family  summer cottage. It´s sheltered from winds by rocks and firs. Water color is very clear because it´s close to open sea and it´s about 1-3 m deep.

I landed few fishes with a red-white slinky baitfish fly before I arrived with my pontoon boat to the aquarium. I was casting about 15 m away and saw how pike was stalking about 1 m away from the fly. The pike tracked close to the boat and vanished. I changed the retrieve fast to slow and slow to fast but had only few shy takes from other pikes. 
The best and the most memorable moment was when I saw that there were two good pikes stalking the fly only about 1 m from each other but neither one did not take. It was very nerve wrecking. I tried different colors with same results until I changed the fly to a purple slinky fly. Fly color that I have had no confidence at all was now the only color that seemed to work. 
I landed 5 pikes from the aquarium and some pikes on the way home. Fly color do matter (sometimes ;). 

keskiviikko 12. joulukuuta 2012

Equipment failures and idiotism part one

A broken rod, leaking float tube bladder, few leader cut offs, leaking immersion suit, reel brake failure, lost slr-camera and bunch chewed flies. List contains my equipment loss from the year 2012.

Many of the gear failures could have been prevented or fixed immediately on the trip and some of my gear had a warranty repair. This post is about what could I have done better and how worked the warranties-repair services.

TFO Axiom 9 ft 8-weight 

What happened

2nd section from the top broke during casting. Hook hit the blank little bit earlier when I was casting. Nasty wind from the casting hand side changed the line direction and caused the hit. Could been easily avoided by switch over normal casts into to backhand casts.


I bought this rod as a second hand item so I was not keeping my expectations  high because the rod did not have a warranty. 1st I send email straight to manufacturer and asked about spare parts. 10 minutes later they send me a contact information to a finnish Tfo importer Campstation. Quick reply from the Campstation and the aswer was: I could buy a spare part in cost of a 25€. Excellent!

Ursuit a.w.s immersion suit

What happened

Wet socks after a fishing day in a pontoon boat. Water temperature in November was near freezing point so even a slightly damp socks causes foot cramps. 


Warranty service from Ursuit was exemplary. I left my suit to the store from where I bought it. Store posted it to manufacturer. Ursuit tested the suit two times with compressed air and fixed it. About two weeks later from the reclamation doorbell rang and the post delivered the suit to my front door. As a cover letter I received a leak report about the suit. I had no costs at all. After warranty time the costs would be: testing 28€ and socks change 145€. 

tiistai 27. marraskuuta 2012

Leader materials

Leader- Choosing suitable materials for pike fly fishing leader

There are few different kind of leader materials that suits for pike fly fishing leader in my opinion. I want to share my user experience with pros and cons about the leader materials that I have been using in pike fishing. 

Predator Fortress type of mixed dyneema and braided metal. These type of materials are very supple, easy to knot and thickest materials are quite reliable but can be cut off (happened to me twice with thickest diameter). I have made a long leader because when leader starts to fray it´s easy to cut the damaged part off. These type of materials tends to move fly straight forward especially when the fly is tied in to a hook. So I don´t use it with my slinky baitfish imitations that are tied into a hook.

Knottable nickel-titanium leaders came to me as a new product this season. I tested 25 lb version of the Knot 2 kinky . Kink free and quite stiff. Helps to get side to side swim with hook flies. I was very excited about this product until it snapped off twice during casting. And because of the thin diameter it tends to cut pikes soft tissue next to the mouth. Maybe the same product in a thicker diameter would be better?

Climax toothy critter type of Plastic-coated steel wire that can be knotted. I use only the 50lbs version of the product. When the wire is new its almost impossible to make it break. Down side is that it gets kinked easily and the plastic coating wears off quickly.  Needs to be replaced every now and then. I use a clinch knot when attaching lock in to the wire and secure it by melting the knot´s coating. This material is stiff enough to help the slinky hook flies get the side to side action.

I have been using large cross locks and large snap locks for leaders. Neither one have never been broken with a fish. Solid knot between the lock and leader helps to get side to side swim.
Metal of the swivel can be tired and break so I have given up using them in pike fly fishing.

sunnuntai 18. marraskuuta 2012

Outlines of a pike fly

Outlines of a pike fly

I use two kinds of flies when fishing pike. Slinky bait fish and tinsel bait fish imitations. Reason for it is that I want eliminate alterations when fishing. This helps to concentrate what I consider main things in fishing. Fly colors, depth and swim motion of the fly. 
I have four major reason why these two fly models has a place in my fly box. One is that they are light and easy to cast. Second is that they fish well and third is they are quite durable and fourth is, they are easy to tie. 

I want Slinky fly to have a side to side action. I have noticed that when I start tying from the rear end of the hook I´ll get the swim more easily. When the fly has a big profile rear end it makes a drag in water and makes the fly turn more easily. 
I always use 6/0 fulling mill or Sakuma hooks. These have a long shank and quite thin wire. Thin wire helps to get hook ups and long shank for getting hook point near center of the fly. 
I also make these kind of tube flies and they have a tendency to hover in the water in perfect balance witch is great when fishing in cold water. 

So does a fly that has a side to side action catch more fish than a fly that comes straight as a bullet? Maybe not, but this "swim" makes me to have a confidence in the fly and makes me fish better. 

Old and shitty video about the swim:

The second fly is made from tinsel. I use this one in bright conditions and when water temperature is quite warm.

torstai 15. marraskuuta 2012

Pike fly line for my needs

Cut it! Ideas for making an unique pike line 

There are some features about pike fly lines that cannot be found in commercial fly lines so take your razor and scissors to create fly line that suits for your needs.

I want my line have near zero flex. This helps me to hook fish better. Zero stretch also makes casting more efficient. Best lines for these specs are Airflo made (including Guideline, Loop Pike booster). Rio lines has flex of a rubber band so I don´t have any confidence in them. 

One major thing is the running line. If I want a intermediate or a sinking head and floating running line I have to make line by myself. Floating running line is good when you are fishing from belly boat, pontoon boat or when you are wading. Float running line has a smaller tendency to mess up with your flippers and it is easier to lift from the water. Airflo has a floating ridge running line that meets my needs.

Anatomy of a pike line

Many of the line manufacturers has short pike lines. These lines are about 8 meters long and are ideal for casting big heavy weight flies to short and medium distances. Short head is easy to handle to short distances but when the belly ends you loose some line control and accuracy. 

Short line is easy to handle in the wind but when casting upwind it cannot transfer the line energy from the running line. So in harsh conditions you can only cast few meters over the belly length.

I want the line to be a bit longer because I want to be able to keep longer line in the air. This gives me more distance when casting from a boat especially when casting upwind. There is also less need to shoot the line when casting longer than 10 meters. This decreases shooting line tangles and makes the line more accurate because I have less need to use overhang when casting and I don´t have to shoot line so much. 

Weight to the front and a long rear taper

How to make a line which is long but can turn big flies over whit out getting over weighted? To turn big flies over the line has to have weight in the front and to achieve needed length to the belly there is a need for long rear taper.
This can be made from turning over a scandi style shooting head. Almost every gram of the line weight is in the front. Scandinavian style shooting heads tends to be too short but there is a great option for it: Guideline coastal 8-weight shooting head turned backwards and connected to a floating running line. This line meets my needs for fishing pike.