Quick Update (by Stefaan)

Yes, I know, it’s been a while. Since the others don’t have any time to write and I got ‘stuck’ in the Belgian Ardennes for a couple of weeks (with a horrible internet connection), things got a bit neglected on this blog.

We did plan a day out to France with some friends a couple of weeks ago, but since I don’t like driving for hours, fish all day and drive all the way back again on the same day, I didn’t go along.

There were some nice fish caught, and pictures taken, but since Koen managed to drop his smartphone in his fishing pound at home, these are to only pictures I was able to get my hands on.

Koen France

Koen with a nice pike,

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and Cedric for the first time in a belly boat.

And like I said, I was in the Belgian Ardennes chasing trout. I just love it there in early springtime, when the trees don’t have any leaves yet; it’s completely different than summertime.

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Fishing isn’t at his top yet since we are not aloud to enter the water yet (stupid Belgian fishing law), so it’s mainly streamer fishing (and hooking trees behind me). But hey, it’s a lot better than no fishing at all.

Not the biggest trout either (25 to 35cm), but they are beautiful.

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My two friends Sebastien and Michael spent some time there as well, and they caught some nice ones too.

This is Seb,

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and this is Mic.

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(I know, they still have to learn how to pose properly with a trout)

So not much news, but that will change! Because Friday we’re off to Ireland again to toss some big ass streamers at those lovely pike they have over there.

So hopefully we will be able to post a lot of (big) pike in the next couple of weeks…

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Fishing Wisdom of the Week

I know, the title doesn’t make sense anymore. And I won’t post seven wisdoms now, I’ll just post two of them weekly for a while to get even again.

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Pike Poppers (by Stefaan)

When we go to Ireland, we always hope that there will be at least one sunny evening without (or hardly any) wind. Then it’s popper time! I’ve said it before, fishing with poppers is not the best way to catch pike, but it’s certainly the most spectacular way. Seeing a pike attack your popper, just in front of you, to me, that’s one of the biggest sensations you can experience when you’re fishing (in freshwater). So, if you got heart problems, don’t do it!

Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea, to do a post on poppers. Now, there are loads of popper heads on the market, I use them too, but here I wanted to cut them into different shapes, so I made them myself (that way they’re a bit more personal as well).

And I wanted to tie them on a tube for a change, so here we go…

The first are regular poppers, with a head like this they will plop and spit, and do whatever a popper is supposed to do. They’re about 13cm long and here I tied the feathers in the tail spreading outwards, so they will be more like frog legs, opening and closing while retrieving.

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Here I’ve cut the heads in a downward angle, so they will dive while retrieving and pop to the surface again when you stop. These are great to fish on a sinking line as well, then they will wiggle sideways while retrieving. The feathers are tied in inwards, because I wanted a ‘swimming’ tail. These are about 17cm long.

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Here I’ve cut the heads in an upward angle to have what they call a skitter bug. They will skitter across the surface or even jump out of the water when you pull hard enough, like a fleeing fish. You can expect a very aggressive attack on these. They are about 15cm long.

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And of course, you can put the head on backwards, like here, to have a slider, although these are not really intended for popper fishing. They do work great on a sinking line though. This one is about 21cm long.

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A couple of tips maybe if you consider making poppers like this yourself.

All these heads are cut out of Styrofoam with a layer of epoxy. They are glued onto the tube, but since the Styrofoam is so soft it’s good to use more epoxy at the front and the end (onto the tube) otherwise they will come off very fast. That’s why the tubes are sticking out so far (I could still shorten them a bit, but I don’t see any reason why).

An other problem with Styrofoam is colouring them. Alcohol based felt pens will ‘eat’ (read dissolve) the foam, and so will lacquer and aerosol. Put on a thin layer of superglue with a brush (that doesn’t seem to give any reaction with the foam) and then you can colour them any way you want to.

And if you don’t want any problems, just buy a pack of heads (they’re not expensive)…

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Fishing Wisdom of the Week

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Filling Boxes (by Stefaan)

The pike season over here has almost ended, and it was probably the worst one ever. Certainly for me, I blanked the last five times I was out there. So I ended up with not going out much at all. It would have been more stimulating if I had heard some better results from my friends, but it seems that it was a mutual disease we all suffered from.

So we are already dreaming of Irish pike, in exactly 2 months we’re off again to chase Irish beauties (nice pike, I mean). There still are several other things planned before that (more on that later), but most of us have already started filling boxes with pike flies for Ireland. Now, I can’t say that I’m short of flies, but you know how it goes, you always think that you don’t have enough and that the latest you’ve tied will be better than the previous ones, so I find myself filling boxes as well. Besides, a couple of the guys who are coming along this year don’t tie flies that well, and somehow it always ends with “ask Stefaan, he will have some flies he can miss” (very strange).

Anyway, this is what I’ve been tying lately. They are pretty much the same as the flies a couple of posts back, but without the rattle and the bulky heads.

Just 2 brass wire brushes with EP Fibre and Polar Flash, like this…

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Wrapped forward on a hook and an articulated shank, like this.

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Once you’ve cut them into shape, they look like this.

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A very easy fly to cast, with great movement in the water, with a length of 20cm.

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These are all a mix of silver grey EP with silver Polar Flash (other colours will follow).

I already tied some smaller versions as well (without the articulated shank), with a length of 17cm. Just a single brush on a hook, so it can’t get much easier than this.

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These will be great to comb out the reed beds in Ireland, but they will work equally well in the Belgian (or Dutch) polders.

And for the open water, I tied two more like the ones in the “Pop Touch” post, in white/tan/olive. These are 25 and 27cm long.

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There are still loads of things I want to tie, and there’s the beginning of the trout season as well next month, so…

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Fishing Wisdom of the Week

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“Pop Touch” Pike Flies (by Stefaan)

Last week Bob Popovics’ new book,” Fleye Design” finally arrived (I already ordered it in advance 6 weeks ago). And I can highly recommend it to anyone who ties saltwater and other predator flies. It’s just great to see how he keeps evolving, and improving his own patterns.

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I won’t get any deeper into it, just buy it, and see for yourself.

What is worth mentioning as well, is part III, “Evolution of Fleye Design, Influences and advances”, where other tiers use Bob Popovics’ patterns as a base to create their own stuff. Guys like Steve Farrar, Blane Chocklett, Dave Skok, David Nelson, Paul Dixon and Jonny King.

That last one (combined with Bob Popovics) inspired me to tie the following flies.

They’re tied on a Traun Premium Pike Hook, size 6/0 and a 35 mm articulated shank. the first are about 25cm long.

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And these are about 23cm long.

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I won’t give these flies a name, as I hardly ever do (anymore, I admit that I used to be ignorant myself). The more you look around and look into the history of fly tying, the more you will see that practically everything has been done before by someone else. Giving your flies a name because you make something a little smaller, bigger or use different materials, I find to be disrespectful and selfish (unless you refer to the original in your name). I like mixing different patterns and techniques myself, but that doesn’t mean I invented them. Just give the credit to the guys who deserve it. And Bob Popovics is certainly one of them. He’s one of my heroes, that’s for sure…

Oh, and if you don’t have his previous book “Pop Fleyes” yet,

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it’s worth buying too!

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