Saturday, 30 January 2010

Natural materials, are they past it?

I have been pondering lately if there is still a need for natural materials in Saltwater/Pike flies..

There is such a vast range of synthetic materials out there to choose from,making dressing a complete fly in synthetics not only easy but effective and affordable!

I personally love natural materials and the action they have in the water,but a fly dressed mainly with naturals is usually alot heavier to cast requiring a stiffer action rod. A fly dressed in synthetics will shed the water on the back cast allowing you to get away with a lighter rod and have more fun with the fish!

If you tie a few flies then cost also becomes an issue. A decent quality saddle will cost you the best part of £20.00 and thats just one material and one colour! Add some bucktail,deer hair,icelandic sheep,and a few others and before you know it £50.00 has gone! You will get a fair few flies out of one saddle but what if you want 2 or 3 colours??

Now not all synthetics are cheap, but the ones mainly used are very affordable allowing you to have a vast range of colours in your kit at little cost.

But.......In my opinion there is just no substitute for a Pike/Saltwater fly dressed in naturals.They just look so damn good both in and out the water and are a pleasure to tie. I just love them!!!!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

New colour synthetic hackle!

I am very fortunate to have a contact who sends me materials to try whenever he gets them and this new material he sent me has got me very excited!!!

This material is basically a synthetic type hackle that comes in some lovely colours including the UV black I have been sent.

Now,the synthetic hackle isnt new but I have always found the colours very limited. This material will be coming in a huge variety including the special UV types that I like so much!!

This material makes my life so much easier as its now possible to wind a uniform large head/collar onto a fly without having to faff around with dubbing loops!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

From saltwater to freshwater. The 'Big Eye Ultra Shrimp'

I have tied this version of the Ultra Shrimp for quite a while now and its versitilaty makes this fly a must have for many species of fish both here in the UK and abroad, in saltwater and fresh! A true 'Jack of all trades'.

The main difference between the original ultra shrimp tied by Bob Popovics and mine is the lack of an Epoxy carapace and mono eyes... The reason for this is simple, I have thousands of small eyes so need an excuse to use them and I prefer a mylar carapace as it allows me to play around with colours and styles best suited to my fishing. (plus the wife doesnt moan about the epoxy smell!).

The Mylar is ribbed with either clear mono or fine copper wire to segment the body slightly and help lock in the hackles.

Maybe not a true 'shrimp' pattern but an effective one all the same...

Monday, 25 January 2010

3-D fly, lure eyes, are they too expensive?

I tie alot of flies and found the cost of the 3-D eyes was just too much! After all, you can go into a craft store and buy 100 googly eyes for 0.99p! so why are holographic lure eyes so expensive? I mean £2.55 for 20! Thats outrageous.

After much research I found a reliable supplier (harder than you think) and several emails later we agreed on a minimum order quantity of 5,000 per colour and size. Now, I use alot of different size eyes and the huge variety of colours available where too much to resist so I made my first order for 55,000 eyes!! This cost a small fortune and my wife was not very happy....

On the posative side I really dont need that many eyes so I kept 5,000 for myself and decided to sell the rest on ebay and to friends and family at good prices that anyone can afford. (£1.99 for 50,depending on size and colour).

What I found was that not only does size increase the cost but shape and colour also. Most fly tying/lure making retailers sell the basic silver or red 2 colour eyes which are the cheapest to make and import. If you start adding 3 colours into the eyes or using a pearlescent or glitter background the costs start to increase but still nowhere near enough to warrant the retail prices.

Do we really need all these fancy coloured eyes?

I personally think the eyes are a vital part of the fly,they give the fish a target point and also add realism. If you are trying to immitate a baitfish then adding the eyes is as important as the overall shape and balance. Dont forget if you have confidence in the fly you have tied you will fish it better!

So,back to my original question,are they too expensive?

I am fortunate to be friends with a few people who work in fishing tackle retail so I know how much they pay from their supplier, and believe me the fishing tackle store is not making much money! The bulk of the cost is charged by the suppliers,they are the ones making the money but they are also the ones who have to import,package and distribute them.

I personally think the suppliers are being too greedy, I realise they have to make money but there is plenty of room to either cut the cost or add more product for the same price especially as most of them are only offering basic 2 colour eyes.

My advice is this, If you only want the basic 2 colour eyes or maybe you only want a few then support your local tackle shops. If you want a greater variety or want a larger quantity then shop around,there are some good deals to be had...:o)

Friday, 22 January 2010

The Hybrid

I have never been afraid to try new things and having a canal full of Pike on my doorstep has allowed me to try weird and wonderful creations pretty much whenever I want.

I remember seeing a Salmon pattern a while ago (cant remember the name) and thinking I would love to incorporate some of the design and materials into a Pike fly. I decided to go with a short shank circle hook rather than a traditional long shank pattern as this suited the kind of fly I had in mind., although I have tied this pattern on Ad Swier and Fulling Mill long shank pike hooks with equal success..

This fly has a beautiful action and compresses nicely into a baitfish profile when in the water.

I used a multitude of materials in this fly both natural and synthetic which I shall list.

UTC 140 chartreuse thread

Eagle Claw 5/0 circle hook

Translucent red 15mm blob fritz

mirage tinsel (wide) for the body

Polar flash (available from Deer Creek)

Pink and White Bucktail

Holographic red tinsel

yellow grizzle Metz magnum saddle feathers

Metz grade 2 light blue dun hackles

I will eventually put up a tying guide if anyone is interested.

Fly tyers of the future!!

(above picture fly tied by 8 year old son)

My 8 year old son and 7 year old daughter both love to sit with me whilst I am tying and one day not so long ago they asked if they could have a go!!

Sharp scissors,hook points, and children are the perfect recipe for disaster so I unwillingly sat them both down with a spare vice each and tried my hardest to teach them how to tie a basic generic saltwater/pike fly.
As it turned out they had far more talent than I originally credited them and it was me who constantly got his finger jabbed whilst trying to show them a whip finish!!
I am a firm believer that if you spend time with your children reading,playing even fly tying it will give them such an advantage later in life. Far too many children nowdays spend all their time in front of the TV or games consoles.

Already my 2 youngest children can tie flies and make the most exquisite dolls house miniatures. Maybe this wont help them get that perfect job but it will help increase and develop their creative imagination which can only be a good thing......

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Are fly tying tools worth their money?

I have long been a believer in the saying 'you get what you pay for'. My parents always purchased the best they could afford and that attitude has rubbed off on me.

I have always been a big fan Dr Slick scissors as they are good quality and sharp (although very pricey!). so I decided to try and find where scissors like these are manufactured and why they are so damn expensive!

Needles to say I found the company that supplies many fly tying companies (who shall remain nameless) with their tools. I sent off for samples so I could check both quality and price and was shocked at what I found. I am not going to start listing prices here but lets just say the fly tying companies should be ashamed of themselves..

Above are some pics of the tools that arrived. I know its hard to see from a picture but these scissors and tools are as good quality as the top names!
Check out as they will be carrying a selection of these tools at the right price!

Custom Pike and Saltwater Flies

Hi all...
Welcome to my Blog, this page is dedicated to Pike and Saltwater fly tying and fishing. I am a relative newbie compared to some but the time,effort and creative flair I put into my fly tying has helped people catch fish all over the world both in fresh and saltwater..
I am always learning and hopefully this blog will introduce me to new people (and I to them) allowing us to create new and exciting patterns for us to use!