Thursday, 28 February 2013

Long time, no ocean!

Hello again! It has been too long since my last post, but I have to say that I've been quite busy lately. I haven't been tying much flies in a few weeks but I finally sent the order to CTS for the blanks. They should arrive to Finland in mid march. Then I just have to ship the blanks to the owners all over the country.

I ordered 3 blanks for myself and 1 for my father for his 50th birthday. For him I'm gonna build a 7'9" #3 fiberglass rod since he prefers a bit slower action. I'm thinking of a birch bark grip maybe... Something nostalgic for the old man.

For myself I am buildin a 9' #8, 12'6" #8-9 double hander and a 10'6" #8 switch. Tools for the trip to Canada. Also I will propably use the single hander for pike back home.

I have been tying some slinky pike flies for the spring season and the color range will be broader than last year. I will post some pictures later.


Thursday, 31 January 2013

Fully dressed classics + some pikeflies

Lately I've been tying mostly classic flies for atlantic salmon. I tie them with fishing in my mind. Some variations for different pools etc. I have huge expectations for Silver Doctor pattern because Heikki got so much action on a hair wing variaton of it in the last summer. Here's my version of the classic:

Silver Doctor

Hook: Mustad SL73UBLN
Thread: Sheer 14/0 white
Tag: Oval silver tinsel (xs) and yellow silk floss
Tail: Golden pheasant crest and tippet
Belt: Red wool
Rib: Oval silver tinsel (s)
Body: Flat silver tinsel
Underwing: Golden pheasant tippet
Throat hackle: Blue cock and teal
Wing: Red, yellow, blue and brown goose shoulder feather and amherst pheasant tail feather, mallard on top.
Cheeks: Jungle cock nail feathers
Roof: Golden pheasant crest
Head: Thread and red varnish

The Green Highlander is one of my favorite patterns as well as the Silver Doctor and I caught some trout and char on it last summer. I had it tied as a veeeeery simple hair wing variation on a heavy treble and might take them with me next time also. Anyway I thought it would be nice to add them to my fly box as a fully dressed, married wing version also. This is not even close to the original recipe, but at least the colors are the same.

The Green Highlander

Hook: Mustad SL73UBLN
Thread: Sheer 14/0 white
Tag: Oval silver tinsel (xs) and yellow silk floss
Tail: Golden pheasant crest
Belt: Black ostrich herl
Rib: Oval silver tinsel (s)
Body: 1/3 yellow silk floss, 2/3 green seal fur
Body hackle: Green cock
Throat hackle: Yellow cock
Underwing: Golden pheasant tippet
Wing: Yellow, orange and green goose shoulder, amherst pheasant and golden pheasant tail feather, mallard on top
Cheeks: Jungle cock nail feathers
Roof: Golden pheasant crest
Head: Thread and black varnish

I was scrolling around for nice patterns for slow current from Risto Asikainen's book, The Swimming Salmon Fly and came across a classic Dee pattern, The White Winged Akroyd. I have seen a lot of pictures of it before but never have I thought of tying it. There was my chance. I had just found out that I have some white turkey tail feather for the wing so it was a perfect timing. I think this is quite close to the original recipe also. 

The White Winged Akroyd

Hook: Partridge Bartleet traditional
Thread: Sheer 14/0 white
Tag: Oval silver tinsel (xs)
Tail: Golden pheasant topping and tippet
Rib: Oval silver tinsel (s) for yellow part and flat silver tinsel for black part
Body: ½ yellow silk floss, ½ black silk floss
Body hackle: Yellow cock for yellow part and black cock for black part.
Throat hackle: Natural guinea fowl
Wing: White turkey tail feather
Head: Thread and black varnish

A few days ago I was tying Silver Doctors and I forgot to tie the GP tippet to the tail of one fly. I noticed it after attaching the underwing and did not want to tie the body all over again. I decided to make up a new pattern for the body. I tied in a black cock feather for the hackle and made a wing from amherst pheasant. Some flashy silver in the body and black and white wing. I will try it out next summer. The underwing gives a nice glow from under the white parts of the main wing when wet.

The Silver Amherst

Hook: Mustad SL73UBLN
Thread: Sheer 14/0 white
Tag: Oval silver tinsel (xs) and yellow silk floss
Tail: Golden pheasant crest
Belt: Red wool
Rib: Oval silver tinsel (s)
Body: Flat silver tinsel
Underwing: Golden pheasant tippet
Throat hackle: Black cock
Wing: Amherst pheasant
Head: Thread and black varnish

Today we were visiting Ruotoshop with Heikki again. There was Jani Mäkeläinen from Vision promoting their new products and tying some flies for pike. I started tying pike flies too and these are what I came up with. Have to give these a go as soon as the sea gets free from ice... Hopefully soon.

Slinky, yellow and red

Hook: Partridge universal predator
Thread: Giorgio Benecchi 8/0 white
Tail: Yellow fuzzy fiber
Body: Uni Axxel rainbow
Wing: Yellow and red fuzzy fiber
Head: Sticker eyes and UV-glue

Slinky, green and black

Hook: Partridge universal predator
Thread: Giorgio Benecchi 8/0 white
Tail: Fluoro-green fuzzy fiber and a lot of pearlescent flash
Wing: Fluoro-green and black fuzzy fiber
Lateral line: Pearlescent Lateral scale
Head: Sticker eyes and UV-glue

 Hollow Deceiver, white and pink

Hook: Partridge universal preadtor
Thread: Giorgio Benecchi 8/0 white
Tail: White and pink cock feathers and pearlescent flash
Body: Uni Axxel rainbow
Wing: White and pink bucktail
Lateral line: Pearlescent Lateral scale
Head: Sticker eyes and UV-glue

We stayed for about 4-5 hours in the shop just chatting and tying flies. A nice way to spend a whole evening. Have to go back there on friday to check out a presentation on saltwater fly fishing by Mika Vainio.


Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Þýsk Snælda - Step by step

Snælda is the first fly I caught a salmon. In fact it is the only fly I have ever caught salmon with. Those facts make it a special fly for me. Last year I had it tied only on plastic tubes that were very light. That made it impossible to get deep with a floating line. The wide body tied on a already wide tube were too much for the strong current so it stuck mostly in the surface. I found out that Esmond Drury treble hooks are quite heavy for their size so I decided to tie the Snældas on them too. The Snælda is a simplified version of the Frances shrimp by Peter Deane. It was originated in Iceland by a unknown (atleast for me) fly dresser. It is often tied on brass tubes to gain weight, but because of the fact that the river where I will be heading, doesn't allow added weight on flies, I will tie it on a treble hook in addition to the plastic tube ones. The Snælda can be tied in many color variations but I like the Þýsk Snælda (German Snælda) the most. The name comes from the color of the tail. It resembles the German flag.

Þýsk Snælda

Hook: Esmond Drury treble
Thread: Sheer 14/0 black
Tail: Black, red and yellow bucktail and some flash (optional)
Rib: Oval silver tinsel
Body: Black wool or uni yarn
Hackle: Black cock
Head: Thread and black varnish

Make the thread base on the hook
Tie in the black bucktail. Keep them in one branch of the hook
Add some flash under the black bucktail (you can do this before the bucktail)
Tie in the yellow bucktail in another branch.
Then the red bucktail. Keep them separate so the contrasts will be clear.
Cut the excess bucktail and attach the rib and the black yarn.
Form the body. Some like a carrot shape body, I prefer it like a cigar.
Wind the rib.
Pick a hackle feather with the fibers about the length of the body or a little less and tie it in.
Wind the hackle, form the head and finish the fly with a drop of varnish.
Þýsk Snælda ready for fishing.

Now let's just tie them in different sizes and colors if you want. I think this color is enough for me. The Snælda is a really quick fly to tie and even faster if you decide to tie it with a single color tail.

A happy fisherman with the first one!
The fish, the fly and the equipment used to catch it.


Friday, 25 January 2013

Rod building. Finally.

I finally got my 15' spey rod project going. I got the blank for the rod about 4 months ago and it has just been gathering dust on my shelf. My friend Heikki has a Vision Siks 13'4" rod with a really comfortable grip setup so I tried to make something like that for this one. It's not quite the same, but fits my hand perfectly. I think that is the main point in a grip anyway. I still need to sand it with a finer sand paper since I only had some 320 paper and it left the grip a bit too choppy. I sanded the grip in my room because there was too cold outside and I couldn't fit the blank in the bathroom. That wasn't such a smart decision. There's cork dust all over the place now even though I have vacuum cleaned my room twice after that. It stays in the air for a long time. Since the blank is white, I thought that black guides and wraps would look quite bad-ass. At first I meant it to be just a tool with no trim wraps, but ended up with some silver ones. Nothing too bling-bling but still something.

I still need to do some wraps again because I'm not fully satisfied with my work. Here are some pics.

Cork rings for the butt.
Foregrip before sanding.
Butt before sanding. Testing with my reel.
Decal and winding check.
Stripper guides with silver trim wraps.
Supporting wraps.
The butt
Foregrip and reel seat.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Good eating and record breaker graylings

I decided to write a report of our trip to Könkämäeno last august and this is what I ended up with.

We've had a tradition with my father to go fishing in Lapland around my birthday (8th august) and 2012 was no exception. The trip was a bit different from the earlier ones, since we didn't hike in to the wild, but stayed near the roads and focused our fishing to Könkämäeno, the border river between Finland and Sweden. The reason for us not to go to our usual spots far away from civilization, was that my father had promised to his co-workers that he would go fishing with them, and one of them has an eye injury that prevents him to walk in harsh terrain. We rented a cabin near Karesuvanto that was on the river bank.

The trip started 3.8.2012 by packing our car with 1 week supply of fishing equipment, clothes, food and whiskey for 4 persons. My fathers spaceship of a car was absolutely full, and we still had to buy some more food from Tornio... The 1200km drive started in the early evening and we drove to Iijoki for a bit of sleep. In the morning we continued the remaining few hundred kilometers up north. We stopped only in Tornio/Haparanda for some more groceries and for fishing licenses in Sonkamuotka.

We finally arrived to Karesuvanto and to the river bank where we were supposed to get a boat ride to the cabin. We unpacked the car and just then we realized the amount of the stuff.
Still the "overhead compartment" to go...

The owner of the cabin arrived a few minutes after us and we immediately started loading the boat. We would have to make 2 trips since the boat could only hold 3 persons at a time. We left for the cabin and saw a big salmon leaping only about 20 meters from the boat. It was approximately 10-12kg fish. After arriving to the cabin, we sorted out our equipment and I started inflating my float tube. I wen't fishing for grayling in the "homepool". I saw a few rises but the current was a bit too strong to keep fishing steadily so I came out. I did some exploring on the river and found a nice stretch of rapids a few kilometers from the cabin. We decided to head there the next morning.

The spot was even better then I had seen in the dusk and we spread across the strech in search of grayling. We caught some small ones all over but nothing big. I headed upstream in search of some slower current and found the exact spot  I visited last night. I saw some grayling rises and waded in. I casted for a rising fish I thought was a bit bigger than the ones I had caught earlier. Oh, how wrong I was. It was a lot bigger! I had a size #12 elk hair caddis tied in my 5x tippet and the fish took it gently. Just a fraction of a second later I realized it was a record breaker and got a little excited. I only had a 3 weight rod and a reel with no drag at all so I would have to play the fish soft. Fortunately it tired itself out with a few jumps and some short runs and I was able to net it easily. I measured it against my rod and saw it was around 55cm. I took the fish to the others to photograph and to measure more accurately. We got 55,5cm as the final reading. I cleaned the fish and put some salt in. We were going to eat good that night! We continued fishing after a lunch break but didn't catch anything big enought to keep. I got one brown trout about 40cm with a caddis dry fly. We went back to the cabin and started preparing a fire to smoke the grayling. We had some potatoes with the fish, and it was delicious as always.

Ilkka casting
Coffee break
My record grayling. 55,5cm (~22inches)
Comparing my knife and the fish. It's a 25cm knife
Hot spot downstream
Hot spot upstream
Lovely day fishing but now it's time to head back.
Smoking the fish.

The next day we decided to search for a smaller river somewhere nearby. We rowed to the car and drove to a river we had looked up from the map. We fished the whole day but did not catch anything worth mentioning. The river looked good anyway and I think if we had been more patient, we could have seen a nice caddis hatch that evening that could have affected the fish behaviour. At the cabin we cooked some reindeer fillet and ate it with potato, lingonberries and a butter-onion sauce.

A nice pool with some deep water (2-3m)
Lots of small fish, but no sight of bigger ones here.
Lunch break
Juha casting for a sighted fish.
Me fishing in the midnight sun.
Garnish and some beverage.
Best meat I have ever eaten.

The day after, we decided to head way upstream by car and fish some spots we had read about that could hold some nice fish. Main target was grayling again. When we arrived at  the river, I saw a big fish rising on the far bank and rushed to the water. I fished my way to the middle of the river and then I had to stop because of a deeper channel. I casted as long as I could, but it wasn't nearly enough. The fly landed 5m short from the rises. I went back to get my two handed rod and tied a small Mickey Finn and a Red Tag to the leader since I wasn't sure if it was a grayling or a trout. Finally I was able to cast there easily, but did not get a single bite. The fish was feeding from the surface so I tried some dry flies but they didn't work either. I spent something around 2 hours trying to catch that single rising fish, but I just had to give up because it didn't accept my flies. Maybe it was biting on some really small midges or something.

Casting for the big one!

I headed downstream and saw a nice deep pool that just had to have some nice fish in it. I took the double handed rod and attached a sink tip to my skagit head and tied in a Supertinseli, a flashy streamer. It was hard to get the fly next to the far bank and not get it in the bushes, since they curved over the water. I think it was my 3rd cast that the fly got stuck in the bushes and I had to snap the leader. I tied a #8 Mickey Finn and caught a bunch of fish in that pool. The biggest one was a 40-45cm brown trout. I gave up on that pool and went up again with a single handed rod and a dry fly. I managed to hook approximately 20 small graylings and one good one. 43,5cm fish ended up coming with us to the cabin and feeding us for the evening. Also Juha caught 2 graylings that were big enough to keep but small enough to fit in the smoking pot.

A dinner sized grayling
Juha with a netted fish. Also a keeper.
Sunset over the river.

The next day we headed to a small stream a few kilometers from the road. We had been wondering if it would hold any fish since it seemed to flow next to some well known fishing spots. We arrived at the bank and I assembled my 1-weight and 3-weight rods and fitted them with dry flies, a smaller one for the #1 and a big caddis pattern for the #3. I caught a nice small brown trout on the first cast and that got us really excited. I fished a few kilometers up the river catching a lot of 20-30cm fish on the dry. I started heading downstream and noticed a tributary that just smelled fishy. I had to check it out and it was worth the try. I found a nice pool under some rapids that had a rising fish. I tied in a #12 Red Tag and casted it a few meters over the fish. As soon as the fly drifted to the spot the fish was rising, the fish took it. It was a really energetic fish and I had a lot of fun with it. It took me about 10 minutes with the 1-weight to bring it in because it ran to some rapids downstream and I had to follow it. I finally got it up and it was a nice 44,5cm grayling. In the beginning of the fight I had already judged it as a trout because it behaved like trouts up there usually do.
That fish was the biggest one for that day. We had a lunch break and after that it started raining quite heavily ( it had drizzled a bit before) so we decided to head back to the car and eventually to the cabin.

Pocket fishing
Nice fish for a 1-weight
Ilkka trying for bigger fish below the rapids.
Juha wading deep.

We had already been fishing in all the spots we had planned beforehand so we had to think of a new place to go. We found an interesting stretch of rapids in Könkämäeno that was quite close to the road and thought that it might be worth visiting. There were a few fishermen before us and we had to go downstream a bit. It turned out that the place was almost entirely heavy current and jsut a small spot where we could find grayling. We caught only small ones and also a few small brown trout and got bored of the spot quite soon. We didn't see any signs of bigger fish there but later on we heard that the top parts are fine for big grayling. Too bad that it was so crowded.

We only had one day left for fishing and had no trouble picking the spot to go. We headed back to the place where we caught the most fish. The same spot where I casted my spey rod. This time we had no such luck with the fish, but got a lot of smaller fish and good bites. I even managed to get a salmon to rise to my dry fly. It just missed it, but I think it was for the best, since I had a 3-weight rod in hand and there was a fast rapid where the fish could have run. We enjoyed the sunshine and ate some pineapple by the river. We quit fishing early and headed back for some good food and sauna. The trip was a bit of a dissapointment at the first since I did not like the thought of being so close to the roads all the time, but ended up being awesome instead. I caught my record grayling and probably all of us got a new record on the amount of hooked fish in a week. Size doesn't always matter.

Pineapple by the river.
Skagit with a sink tip to get deep.
Sight fishing
Slicing up the pineapple and taking some after fishing beverages

 The next day we headed back home and waved goodbye to the amazing cabin and the good old Könkämäeno river. I had only 2 nights to sleep at home before leaving for Varanger peninsula in Finnmark Norway. That was one hell of a fishing trip even though I caught only 1 fish in a week...