Sunday, January 14, 2018


The Dream team of Sage rods ready to hit the water at the Harkers Island marina.

I've had the pleasure of fishing with Sage fly rods and reels a lot in the last 4-5 years. I currently own 4 Sages, but have the luxury of trying out most of the SW line up every year when I do my pilgrimage to the fabled waters of Cape Lookout, North Carolina. My buddy and mentor Brian Horsley and he's wife Sarah Gardner are Sage ambassadors and they let me play around with their gear.

The Boss man Brian with a hefty Albie caught on a Sage rod

Sarah with a full grown Albie. Sarah is one of my fly fishing idols. Not only can she fish and cast like a hero, she's also a very good captain that will get you on the fish.
  When it comes to top notch rods, Sage is a company that is very hard to beat. The components used are always the best in the market, blanks are light and responsive and they really make an effort to make rods that will give the angler the most they can hope for in a fly rod. From the very extensive line up of different fly rods they offer, most will find a rod that matches their fishing style perfectly. You do have to pay top dollar for most of the rods in Sage's line up but they offer a great mid price SW rod with their Motive line up. The 12wt Motive for example is one of the best sinking line rods I've ever tested regardless of price.
My buddy Ike putting a bend to the Motive.
To be honest with you there was really no other point making this post other than singing Sage's praises. There's a lot of really good company's in this business and I'm not really a brand guy as I use stuff from many company's like Vision and Echo. That said I feel like Sage is extra special. I'll just end the post with a myriad of picture that feature Sage products. Take a look at the line up here

Doing the Albie dance with a Sage Salt in my hands

Big Albies are easily tamed with the 11wt Method.

Ike posing with a Red while I'm busy putting a big bend on my 13wt Xi2

The 11wt Method is a true cannon. Light as a feather at 4,2oz or 132grams. That makes it lighter then many of my 9weights.
The ten weight Xi3 is in my opinion the best allround ten weight ever made. It has just the right amount of stiffness in it's tip to carry sinking lines and big flies, but still allows enough bend in it's top third to initiate and feel the cast right away.

The SaltHD is the updated version of the Salt series. Even though I kinda liked the old ones, some didn't like the distinct "kick" that you got  from the middle of the rod with the older ones, so they stiffened the mid section a bit on these and made them a bit lighter with the same tech they use on the X series. I had a chance to fish the new 10wt but really don't know if it was at all better then the older models. But that's just me.
I've used the 9wt Motive a lot for top water pike.
Old faithful 13wt Xi2. It throws the same lines as most modern 12wt's. A very reliable rod. 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The ups and downs

Every long time angler knows that this sport is seasonal. You get hot streaks and cold streaks. Just the nature of the sport. We hit a cold one on our Blue Fin Tuna trip this time. It was literally the coldest trip we have done to our spot. The average temps were 5-7 degrees(Celsius) colder then normal. When we landed in Barcelona it was only 7 degrees!! 7!! People were wearing big down jackets outside the airport.

The fishing was even colder then the weather. There just were very few fish around and the ones that were around stayed up for very little time. Lots and lots of bait but no fish on them. The chances of catching one was very slim. We kept at it for most of the week and tried our best. Our captain worked he's ass of for us. A big thank you for that.

Anyone who has fished for feeding BFT with a fly rod knows that the sport is super hard 90% of the time. It's like fishing for Key West Tarpon, but you have to cast from a moving skiff in a 6feet swell. They are just so picky and see everything with their big eyes in the crystal clear waters of the MED. They are magnificent creatures that can drive you crazy! It really gives a fresh perspective on things when you fish for them. I have never been disappointed when I have cast'd almost all of my fly line to a fish in to the wind, but when chasing BFT you always feel like you should do better then your doing. I have been lucky to fish with some of the worlds best fly casters and even they feel the same frustration of not getting the fly far enough to really work on the fish before they see and feel the boat and go down. That sport really makes you feel like a shitty angler at times, but I can assure you that the reward is totally worth all that.

We ended up having a nice holiday even though the fishing was bad.

After the tuna trip I did not touch a fly rod for a week and stayed off the tying bench for two. Eventually the post tuna trip "trauma" faded and I hit the vise again and started going to the lake after some post spawn pike. I have only managed to do short trips between work and family stuff. There's lots of pike around, but all are small. Good fun though.

The real up side has been my tying. I am preparing for my Cape Cod Striper trip and with all the great reports of the amounts of big fish around there, it got me on a fly tying frenzy. I have tied every day before and after work. The amount of ideas and motivation has been huge. Every fly tier knows that when the tying is good its real good. When it's bad, it's the worst thing you can do. When it's good it's almost as good as the actual fishing! Here's a few examples of what I've been doing.

I even managed to do a SBS of a basic, BIG synthetic fly. It's a mix Bob Popovics Spread fly and Mark Sedotti's slammer. Give it a try!

Start off by tying a sparse clump of fibers 360 around the hook. I am using a mix of long off white Slinky, Sybai SW angel hair and gray Chinese cheap ass fibers.

Add some resin to keep the fly foul proof and add some weight to it. A flexible resin like DC Builder is my favorite for this stuff. 

Angle the fibers a bit before hitting it with the light.

Hollow tie the rest and use resin on it too.

Add some lead to the bottom of the hook. This will keel and make the fly cast better. It will also keep the fly down better.

Cover the lead with silver braid and glue it. Make a smooth surface that you can tie on.

Tie another clump of fibers. Use a bit more material on this one and taper them to be a tad shorter then the previous ones.

Use resin to angle and secure the fibers.

Turn and hollow tie. Angle and secure with resin

The last clump. I am using bait fish belly Mirror Image, Sculpting fiber and Gliss&Glint in silver color on this one. If I remember correctly. 

Olive SF blend, gray Slinky and sculpting fiber on top. Maybe?

Brush and angle it with resin.

The finishing tie can be left out if you want a bullet shaped head on your fly. On this one I am adding a tie of soft and short sculpting fiber to make a really round, big head on the fly that will push some water.

Reverse and secure.

Add some color with markers and Jerkbaitmania eyes with gel super glue. Finish off the fly with a nice coat of Liquid Fusion that will leave the fly with a big and flexible finish.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Spring pike

The spring pike season has been short but good. We were iced out later this year then in the previous five. The conditions have been windy and cold for the most part. The name of the game has been to put on as many layers of clothes as you can. Se there's been a lot of people on the water looking like the Michelin man. Not the conditions I prefer as every year that I get older the more "allergic" I get to the cold. This is the second year in a row that most of my spring time piking has been done in pretty arctic conditions.

Michelin man at work

The fishing however has been fantastic! Me and my buddies have stumbled on spots full of bigger fish. I don't remember seeing and hooking up with so many big pike in quite some time. The landing percentage has been poor and all the really big fish have been victims of the infamous "long line release". Lots of fish around the 100cm mark have been landed though.

Sami with a beauty. 

Fishing a floating line right in the reeds or a intermediate just pass the reed line or in the center of the area have all worked. The key at this time is to fish the fly slowly with long stops. The stop&go method is the most productive way to fish pike this time of the year. Or at least it is for me. The take happens usually when you move the fly after the long stop. The other thing this time of the year is to take your time fishing a spot. If you find the sweet spot with fish, take your time fishing it. Many times you get only follows or other signs that the fish are there, but no bites. Then it's good to change flies. Try different colors. Let the spot rest and just make a few casts here and there. When the fish start biting, they will let you know. Have fun in the process and don't take it too seriously.

My top four flies this season.

The highlight of this spring so far has been my buddies new PB fish. Kimmo caught this 12kg fish on one of he's beautiful roach patterns. The back on the mama was thick. Girl had some muscle! The level of fly tiers and fly fisherman I get to fish with is amazing. The best in the world.

What a pig!

I also take on or two fish to eat this time of the year. Pike tacos have been the other highlight of this season. They are so good.

I am a very lazy photographer when I am pike fishing. I seldom take pics and only carry a old waterproof and my cell phone with me. Fortunately my buddies have taken a few good shots so I am going to end this post with some more pics from this spring. Sami Passoja, me and Kimmo Keskitalo get the photo credits. I got other stuff to do for the next three weeks, but back at the post spawn pikes in mid may I hope.