Monday, January 19, 2015

Learning curve

Hi all! I have not updated my blog in a while, but thought I'd give it a shot now.

Over the years I've become obsessed with tying big flies for predators like pike, tuna and striped bass. I have tried a lot different things and techniques and with time chosen the ones that suit my thing.

I have not cracked the code completely and probably never will, but there are three major things about tying big flies that I have managed to get in a shape that I can say that they work. Please remember that these are just my thoughts and experiences on this subject and should not be thought as the one and only way to do things.

The learning curve is still in motion but here are a few points that have become important for me:

1. Taper. The correct taper in a baitfish pattern not only looks good, but it keeps the fly as foulproof as possible. Having a fly on the end of your line that does not tangle always increases your odds :)

2. Castability. A fly 9-10" long will never be as nice to cast as a smaller one, but there are a few things that you can do to make a big fly that casts nicely. The fly must "breathe", so the materials need to be tied in a way that they have room to move and "collapse" in to a tight package when airborne. Natural materials like rooster hackle, ostrich and bucktail work very well this way. Second thing to think about is the weight/wind resistance ratio of the fly. The bigger the fly stays while airborne the more weight it needs to fly nicely, especially in to the wind. So even though many synthetics don't absorb any water they are actually many times harder to cast then naturals that weigh more, because they don't "collapse" as well as the naturals do when airborne. To overcome this problem synthetics need more weight. So either use a bigger hook or add lead on the hook shank to keep the ratio right. Try different things to find out the right ratio. I have no exact formula for this to offer.

3. Movement. I just like a fly that moves nicely. Who doesn't!! Using materials that move is of course important, but so is the way you tie them. The materials need to have room to move!

Here's a few clips of my flies in the water.

Well now, how to tie these things... Here's a shitty video of one been tied and lots of example flies that I've tied. I have been heavily influenced by Bob Popovics and by a student of he's work Andrew Warshawer. I also stole the idea of making heads out of dubbing from Jonny King. Those guys rock! Thanks for reading this and I'll try to come back with more shortly...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Is having fun a crime?

I have had one of the funniest starts to a fishing year in a long time and I think there's a couple of reasons for that. First of all, I've been going by the day and haven't had a lot of plans. The second reason I think is that I haven't done any of the hardcore stuff this year like chasing tuna or tiring myself in a pursuit for the big early season Atlantic salmon. Third reason is that my wife has been very cooperative this year. Which is odd? She must have an affair or something?:)

Ice cream, beer and a deceiver. What a killer combo!

I've been having lots of fun fishing for pike and did a an epic striped bass trip. So lots of bites this year and a very hefty amount of casts with a #9-10weight single hander. I'm planning to chill out for the summer and only do something if I really want to and it envolves a lot of beer drinking! So, no running around all over Scandinavia this year. I'm trying to find out is there more to life then fishing? Probably not, but at least I gave it a shot!

Pike fishing set up.

Floating around and looking for Mrs. Pike.

All and all, there's a lot of articles out there about hardcore stuff. You kinda get the expression that Fly fishing is a extreme sport or something? Well, sometimes it kinda is and I love a big challenge once in a while. I just think that the soul and real essence of this lifestyle is not in all the hardcore stuff. It's the little things like having a beer at 6am, eating good food, sharing a cottage with good friends and having fun on the water. That's what it's all about - fun, food, alcohol, catching a few fish once in a while and mixing in some challenges to keep things intresting.

Striped bass and bluefish fishing are two of my favorite fun fishery's. My man Pasi (aka Bass in the States) is laughing along with the fish.

Thumps up for a good time

So have a fun summer and I'll get back to the serious stuff once the girls in Finland start to wear longer skirts!

Here's a set of pictures that are in the theme of having fun!

Ilkka having a well earned beer and waiting for the tide to turn.

Flooded out, but who cares!


After a nice fish it's fun to have a drink or two from the Hennesy bottle.

Hard tuna trip behind. Now It's time to relax. My friend Sakke having a beer in Panama City-


Catch of the day!

Ilkka and Jani having a few high fives after a released fish.

Nothing more fun and rewarding then releasing a nice fish. Nice to see it in its own element.

Beer time!

Don't have a clue what's going on, but it looks like fun!

Friday, May 3, 2013

My favorite flies part 3

The Deceiver

The Deceiver is one of those very universal flies that catch fish all over the world in varied fishing situations. If the fish are feeding on baitfish they will most probaply bite on a Deceiver. You can match the hatch or make an pattern that stands out and irritates the fish to take. All and all the Deceiver is a fly of millions of variations and millions of catched fish.

My version of this well known fly is a somewhat a mix of things that I've copied from other versions of it. So nothing all that original in this mishmash copycat Deceiver. Actually there's nothing really original in any of my tying. Just influences from other tyers that I've applied to my own flies. The biggest inspiration and source of knowledge has been my fishing buddy Ilkka who is a master of tying fishy flies with finesse. All though I lack the finesse of Ilkka's flies I am right there with him on the fishy part.

On the Deceiver I like to use hackles that have a stiff(ish) stem, webby look and taper nicely to the tip. Many times I also like to mix in a few long and narrow flatwing style hackle's to get the maximum tail action on the fly. Call me silly, but I really believe that many times it's the action on the tail that let's the fish see the fly and react to it. The bucktail should be a bit hollow in the stem, stiff(ish) at the middle and soft and lively at the tip. Really focus on getting quality materials. You'll have more fun tying these flies and when it hits the water you and the fish will get the "WOW" effect.

Remember to make them in different sizes and colors. Olive and white with some silver flash on the sides is probaply the most universal color and it can be fished almost anywhere in the world.


Hook: Sakuma 410 or almost any other short(ish) shank hook. Match the size to your target fish.
Tail: White bucktail and two cock hackles on both sides of the bucktail. White bucktail beneath the tail and olive on top. Add in some flash.
Body: Pearl Polar chenille
Underwing: White bucktail
Wing: Olive bucktail and peacock herl

Tie the white bucktail by the stem and spread.

Add the cock hackles on both sides.

Put some flash on top or on the sides of the tail.

Add white bucktail beneath the tail and olive on top.

Wrap the Polar chenille as the body.

White bucktail for the underwing. Reversed to get more flare.

Olive on top.

Peacock herl

Epoxy eyes

Finished product from the front

Finished product from the fish perspective.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Tying my favorite flies part 2

Red and green butts on tube

This is a fly pattern that I think is one of the most universal patterns around for most fish that swim in a river. Black with some color in it for contrast - what could be more simpler then that? Of all the different patterns in my tube box, this is the one that I have the maximum confidence in. I could basicly fish them for an entire season just in different sizes, but that wouldn't be any fun, wouldn't it?

I do make these on singles and doubles too, but just feel that the tube models are the ones that fill me with that special feeling of "somethings going to happen"... Some models just look better on a tube and some don't. 

Couple of butts ready to catch some fish.

You can start off with watching this tying video of me tying a red butt tube: Tying a red butt tube 

The materials you need to tie this fly are:

- Plastic tube or if you really want to, some copper or aluminium tube. I don't personally like copper tubes. I use the Eumer small and medium sizes for this pattern.

- Red or green floss for the butt. Flatbraid works great too.

- Calf tail for the tail. I like the stiffness and colors on the calf tail. It makes a wonderful contrast to the black wing.

- Peacock for the tag.

- Silver tinsel for the rib.

- Black floss and black UV dubbing for the body.

- Some lead wire.

- Black bear or bucktail for the underwing.

- Red and yellow/green flashabou.

- Silver fox or tempelhund for the rest of the wing.

- Soft black rooster or hen as the hackle.

- JC for the cheeks. This is optional.

Some of the materials needed to tie this fly.

SBS of the green butt model:

Tie the floss in as the butt.

Add the calf tail as the tail.

Peacock tag.

Tie in the floss and tinsel.

Wrap some lead wire to the front side of the tube.

Wrap the floss, dub the dubbing and tie in the tinsel. Add some clue to the back side of the body to make it more durable.

Black bear as the underwing. To the tip of the tail.

Add some silver fox. Make it a bit longer then the bear.

Tie in a couple of strands of flashabou and then the hackle.
Silver fox on top. A bit longer and sparser then the previous. I didn't add any JC to this fly as I couldn't find them....

Finished product from the front.

From a fishy perspective.

Remember to layer the wing and don't use too much material. Spread the wing well and use good quality materials. It might take a few trys before you get the proportions and amount of material right.

The combination of the light tube and right amount of material on the wing makes a very unique swimming motion to it. Can't really dublicate it with anything else. It does ride pretty high in the water columm so you need a heavy line if you want to get it down. Most of the times you don't need to get it down and it seems to work very nicely in the middle and top parts of the water colum.

If you don't have any tied up in your box, please stop reading this and head straight to the tying bench and start making some!! Remember to tie these in different lenghts as these colors really do work in many different situations.

Victim of a green butt tube.

a long winged green butt ready for action.

The biggest salmon that I've caught so far fell for a red butt tube.