Wednesday 25 February 2015


Its been awhile since Ive posted on my blog, the main reason for this is because Ive also started using Facebook. I didn't think I'd ever use facebook but used in a certain way there is lots of interesting stuff on there. I've always hated it because i didn't want people hassling me on it that Ive known in the past, I'm not one for being bothered about people that are no longer in my life, i live for the next day and that's it. The other thing i didn't like about facebook was people talking a load of crud that didn't interest me, like 'joe blogs has just eaten a packet of cheese and onion crisps' Or 'betty boo is sat watching TV tired after a long day at work' SERIOUSLY? There are people out there that really want to know about that chuff?

Anyway as i was saying that has always put me off facebook, so i took the plunge and joined but didn't join as my actual name, that will prevent people in my past hassling me and telling me what they've just eaten. Its purely for fishing interest so i only Friend people that share the interest.
Facebook lets me keep in contact with fishing mates and join fishing related groups, it also lets me do quicker posts than i can with my blog and its generally more interactive. I'm not going to give up on my blog but will probably just keep it to a monthly post, more of a round up of what Ive been doing. If anyone enjoys what i do on my blog and want to follow what i do in more depth on facebook you can find me under the name 'MAtt Seventyninejh Fish Fooler' or click the link if it works.

So what have I been up to? Basically I have developed a massive obsession to pike fly fishing, its all i want to do at the minute, Ive been catching loads of fish, way above average for what i would usually catch on the venues I've fished. I almost feel guilty for letting my lure rods gather dust.
Here's a few photos of some fly caught fish from recent sessions..

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Sunday 25 January 2015

An awesome session ended early.

Typical isn't it, you have a full day to go fishing and you struggle, but when you have the odd hour here or there you bag up! But every now and then you get those bag up days all day, well yesterday should have been one of those but even then It didn't go right.
Basically i wasn't supposed to be going fishing and wasn't too bothered to be honest, but something at the back of my mind said i should get out while the rivers are decent because when you plan to fish they will be knackered again! As i was thinking of going my Mother phones to say she has to wait in all day for a delivery so i could drop the kids off, get in! I stick the fly gear in the car as my bag was already set up from my last session with fly gear and it was already getting on for dinner time so just thought I'd enjoy a bit of PFF.

It started off great with 3 pike in the first 5 casts and it was looking like it was my turn to land on a venue fishing well with lots of hungry pike to be had. I started to get action in every available swim with fish banked and missed takes. Sometimes your not bothered missing takes and loosing fish as it all adds to the action and excitement. This was great fun and just what i needed, however just as i was settling into some much needed winter sport i could feel a headache coming on, it got worse and within an hour and a halves fishing i was starting to feel worse for wear. I nearly threw up my head was insane with pain (checking out me with a rap..innit). It was too much to bear feeling i was going to pass out so had to call it a day. I could not believe my luck after banking 11 fish in such a short space of time at this time of year, with the possibilities of carrying on the action and i had to cut it short, such bad luck! I enjoyed the flurry of fish i did manage though so it was still worth the unexpected opportunity to fish.

I fished one of my new and improved flash flies, i love this fly and i had a few suggestions from my mate Martin from MScustomFlies on how to improve it further. One thing it was missing was a wider more natural profile, this was lost as i like to nip my eyes on hard with epoxy to make them bomb proof but in doing so i flattened the profile. Marts suggestions improved this however and i even incorporated a rattle.

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Adapting for changing conditions

Ive been out a few times just recently so thought I'd save it till i had a bit more to talk about before blogging.
Every year our fishing is dictated by the changing conditions and it seems to get worse each year with more colour in our waters. I wanted to try and build a bit of confidence for fishing in colour because usually your heart sinks when you get on the bank and faced with horrible colour. I've fished in the past allot in colour with mixed results but usually its very tough fishing. If you think about it, it shouldn't rule out much chance of catching because pike still feed in pitch black. Obviously the quality of sport is greatly reduced because your lacking the visual side of things but its not the end of a session.

So I've not had chance to go out exploring too much due to time limitations so have had to stick with venues that are probably the worse for colour than allot of other options. Thats good for trying things out but rubbish when you want to get on better venues with better chances of catching. If that's all that is accessible though its perfect fodder for getting to grips with getting better results in those worst of conditions.

I had the usual things in mind which was to fish slower, closer to the bottom, black or really flashy lures, lures with vibration, weedless lures for fishing along the bottom etc..

Results came but it was bloody hard work, often covered in mud, freezing cold and nearly blown off your feet..

I was starting to get a bit fed up as it just felt like i was putting allot of effort in with not allot of reward, and it was frustrating not being able to fish where i would have liked. I was catching the odd fish here and there, which wasn't bad given the conditions, but i wanted some better sport.
I tried bouncing lures along the bottom with weedless crays, the trouble with that is i didn't have the right weight weedless hooks that i needed to fish effectively, plus I'd prefer a much bigger lure to give a bigger more visible target. I'm thinking of making my own big weedless softplastics to try this theory out.
I caught a couple on spinnerbaits which makes sense, and i caught a few on my shads which were not the best lure for the job really, i caught on a black one though on a last cast in very cloudy water after going through many other lure types/colours which was satisfying. 

I then started to think about it a bit more, and realised there was one method i had been missing, and that was fly. In theory i can imagine fly has the potential to totally obliterate lures. The trouble with allot of lure types is that they sink so you have to keep working them to prevent them hitting bottom or snagging etc, this means often you will be working lures at a varying speed. The trouble with that is that at this time of year pike are hard on the bottom, more often than not i would think they will not be prepared to tear off and chase after something if its moving too fast. Also with the heavy colour if you work too fast your not giving the fish a chance to see, sense or catch up with your lure.
So what does fly offer? well you can fish them much slower often even pausing them and just letting them suspend, you can just imagine a pike sat on the bottom with a fly slowly undulating over its head, i bet it would be hard to resist such an easy meal!
Giving it more thought, my theories also fitted in with a few lads i know that have been catching recently, firstly a mate is catching quite consistently on fly, but a few lads have also been catching on squirrely burts. The thing about burts that got me thinking is that they enable you to pause giving the fish more chance, add to that the enticing nature of the grub tail fluttering away, it kind of matches the appeal of what a fly would offer.
I have plans to make my own pull baits similar to burts but not got round to it yet, so i thought I'd get out and give the fly theory a go.

I can't really conclude anything from my session on the fly because the conditions were pretty bad, obviously it was bad conditions i was trying to get to grips with but these conditions were the worst id fished recently so wouldn't be fare to compare these results to previous sessions where the conditions were bad enough but not as bad. 
I chose a same venue despite not doing very well on it previously, this was on purpose, i wanted something to compare. Despite the degraded conditions and not expecting to do very well anyway, i still had two fish on which was quite surprising! A great result but still early days to say whether or not the fly made the difference or not.

 And lastly, i often get photos which i don't use mainly for one reason or another there crap, but i was bored so played around with a few recent crappy photos and came up with some nice images, a bit like graphic art style.

Tuesday 6 January 2015

A new Year begins

As much as i love Christmas I'm always glad when its out the way and I'm back into a routine. Family stuff and kids being off school make it difficult for me to get out and to be honest if theres any time to give fishing a little rest and spend more time with the family its at Christmas.

I was glad to get out in the new year anyway after not really getting out much at all in the past 4-5weeks, maybe just a handful of times. Monday was to be a half days fishing even though the kids were not back at school until today.
You cannot beat that feeling of a fish on knowing its your first of the year and the start of hopefully another good one. I managed 3 pike in difficult conditions so i was really pleased with that, a couple of low doubles and a jack to start me off was brilliant. All fish caught on my 7" shad too, still unable to put them down.

I wasn't going to fish today but with rain forecast for the rest of the week I thought I'd make the most of that small window we seem to get allot of at the minute. usually it times wrong and rivers come up just before your due to fish.
The conditions were not great with only 6" visibility but this was a fresh year and i hadn't been out much so i wasn't going to let my confidence wain over clarity. It was just about getting out again and chucking some lures. I did OK in the end with 5 fish and a couple of misses, even better when i bumped into some deadbaiters and a couple of lure anglers who had all caught zilch!

A new year off the mark and i have so many plans this year so allot to look forward to but for now I'm just enjoying a bit more consistent fishing time. Happy New Year.... (sick of hearing that now)

Sunday 28 December 2014

Rod Testing

Got out today to try out the rod Ive been modifying and mentioned previously. The rod is a savagear butch light 50-80g 8'6" and i wanted a longer handle as i have long arms and wanted the butt to rest along side my ribs and not the butt end digging into them.

So I extended the handle by about 3-4" and also added about 35g right in the butt to balance it better. I gave it a test last week with some duplon grips just pushed on but on Christmas eve i had time to fully build the handle. First off all i tried to match the gold of the blank above the fore grip but it didn't look right so i went to wipe it off while still wet and it left me with a really nice effect. I liked the custom look of of it so decided to leave it. I went for duplon behind the reel seat for comfort and added a trim ring of dark cork. The butt was turned in cork, i went for cork because the butt would be sat under my arm allot and cork would be much more durable than duplon that is prone to ripping and marking easily. I made the butt quite slim to also make it more comfortable when tucked under arm, and finished it off with a couple of rings of composite cork to cap it off to protect the end. Finished with a black thread and silver trim.

Onto the fishing.. well i was up early looking to make the most of it and out in the sub zero conditions. It was the first time id felt id needed gloves and even with those on my finger tips where painful. I always wear surgical gloves under other gloves to protect from getting wet when using baitcasters as they can spray water all over your hands. I'm not one for wearing gloves and never wear them unless i know I'll be in pain as its just not worth being uncomfortable when fishing. 
The fishing was quite tough to be honest and i didn't expect any less given the temperatures but i was always hoping for something big to show up but sadly it didn't. I managed 3 pike which keeps me in the fish and away from any blanks but it felt like i put allot more effort in than i got out in reward.

Chuffed to bits with the rod though it does and is exactly what i wanted for throwing my shads on, which i fished with today and caught on. Only trouble is now I've developed a problem, and that's the feeling of needing to use my shads because Ive made them. It will be difficult to fish with other lures at the minute, not so much a bad thing if there catching for you but if i had varied things up a bit i might have caught more, finding a lure that they wanted. 

Tuesday 23 December 2014

All work and no play..

Ive been pretty busy recently and just not been able to get out fishing for many reasons. Its not often i go a week without fishing but this month i think Ive only fished twice. So I was pretty keen to get out this week for a few hours before Christmas came.
I've been pouring more shads and wanted to try some out along with another rod project i wanted to test. I've been wanting a longer rod (ooer) for awhile now for chucking my 7" shads amongst other things, i wanted a longer rod to help reach over the margins on the bigger rivers, sometimes, due to the quite dangerous banks you can be perched on a mound further up the bank unable to get low enough to the water but still within netting distance. A long rod help with this amongst other things like control and casting distance, i think it also feels better with a fish hooked on a longer rod. Another requirement i had was for a longer handle from the reel seat to the butt, i have quite long arms and find the butt can by right in my ribs at times which is not comfortable. I was looking about for the ideal rod/blank when a mate offered me a savagear Butch light xlnt 30-80g and at 8'6" it certainly fitted the bill. I thought I'd take a punt on it and had plans to re-build the handle anyway. As it turned out the handle did need to be longer so i extended it by 3-4" which sat right under my arm and left comfortable.
I got to try the rod out the other day along with some new poured shads, if the rod suited what i wanted it for my plan was to order the parts to complete the handle. I was a bit dubious whether or not I'd catch and having gone so long without fishing its surprising how the confidence wains not to mention your updated knowledge of venue conditions. I find when your fishing regularly you build up a kind of mental note of conditions on different venues and you can near enough guess what they will be like after differing weather, but i had no clue what was going on out there as id not been out enough.
The river were still going to be a bit of a chance but what the hell i was just glad to get out. I was chuffed to bits when i got a fish on and was already enjoying the rod alone which did everything i wanted it to do for the job in hand. I ended up with 3 pike to scraper double size which was enough to keep me happy until next time.

Some more natural patterns experimenting with subtle multiple pours.

I've also been trying some foil inserts as shown below which should give off lots of flash and at the bottom some of my 4" shad with Mylar tubing inserts. Still enjoying it and finding it addictive, the trouble now is using other lures as you always tend to favour your own when you make them and catch on them, but i don't suppose theres anything wrong in that.

Wednesday 17 December 2014

No Fishing

Well my fishing has really ground to a halt, i was quite hungry to get out this week but my Mrs car broke down so until we get that sorted we are down to one car which she needs for work. I'm hoping i get it back in the next day or so as I'm desperate to get out before Christmas.
In the meantime I've been doing a few more shads and have done some really nice colours, the pearl effects don't show on the photos but they look really nice.