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No Vortex last week despite the fact that I hinted (or perhaps even stated) that there would be. And that's because I was out and about in Kissmyass, which is where I'm living at the moment. Kissmyass is a small village on the outskirts of Budapest on the banks of the Danube. I can't tell you how good is the fishing yet because I've only just sorted out my license, but it's bound to be fantastic.

On Wednesday I fished the Ipoly River which is just upstream running along the Slovakian border. I was fishing with the fastest man in Hungary, Pityu. We didn't nail anything but a Zander swam into Pityu's legs and Pityu quickly landed it but unlike me for example, he didn't pretend he'd caught it by fair means but instead revealed the truth - you have to wonder about Pityu sometimes.

And I've been very busy behind the scenes working on our shopping front. It's taken a long time coming but the best things often do. We should be live sometime next week in at least one department AND all being well in the Sexyloops Universe we'll have Sexyloops' calendars available Monday or maybe even this weekend, just in time for Christmas/New Year.

Talking about Christmas now's the time to mention to Santa that you would like Sexyloops' gear in your stocking. Maybe a Hoodie or two, or fleece pants, perhaps one of our all-new all-exciting Sexyloops Caps or, for the hardcore winter specialist angler (that's me), an Abductor…

This week's Vortex is about Pike.

I am not a pike expert - I can tell you that right now - and that's because my fishing preference and opportunity puts pike somewhere down "the list". Talking of which my freshwater list - assuming we're talking wild fish here and not stocked ones - and give or take a few fish - goes: Brown trout, Rainbow trout, Cutts, Grayling, Asp, Bass, Zander, Carp, Pike....... Chub.

So here is what I think I know. The most effective pike fly is a 5-inch bunny tied on a big hook with a long tail. The body is wound rabbit right up to a pair of large chain/dumbbell eyes. If this fly is tied properly it will snake through the water with an unbelievable action. Quite frankly it's almost impossible to imagine that any predatory fish won't eat the shit out of this fly and I have tied them in smaller sizes for trout, and at times they too have been quite devastating.

It was Hechte Peter who first introduced me to the Pike Bunny when I was teaching a Berlin course. Hechte is German and means Pike - so that should tell you something. I fished with Peter in Berlin a few times. That was a long time ago but as you may remember more recently Peter joined me in New Zealand last summer for a month. Peter lives in Norway where he sight-fishes the salt and has three girlfriends.

So anyway, as you know, pike have lots of teeth. This means that any fly that you tie has to be tough. Also I always use nylon coated wire to connect the fly to the leader. Rasmus on the Board is a bit of a pike expert and he's using 40lb fluorocarbon. I haven't tried this yet and probably won't either.

I first started trout fishing on a UK stillwater - Ardleigh Reservoir. Those sorts of beginnings tend to have a bearing on your perspective of pike. Regularly - every year at least - we'd catch 20lb plus pike by mistake on trout gear. They'd take the fly - damsel nymphs were particularly effective although small streamers and buzzers FFS would catch them. The largest mistake I know of was 32 lbs and caught by my fishing partner on a damsel. Inside was a 1lb trout. Why a pike will eat a 1lb rainbow trout and then a damsel nymph, only Bob can answer.

I have yet to catch 20lb plus pike on purpose.

So let's have some facts! You'll find pike either in the shallows, where they lie waiting in ambush, often close to weeds and other obstructions or else deep around drop-offs, or else not at all. There's little point in repeatedly covering the same location in my opinion since pike are either on, off or not there. So as in most fishing situations it pays to cover water.

For shallow fishing nailing the banks is good fun. Deliver the fly and let it sink. After a few seconds begin pulling. Sometimes pike want it quick, but I have more success working the fly - or "feeding the fish". Especially with a bunny that fishes well free-fall. Just like in trout fishing, stopping the retrieve often results in a take. Strip striking is the most effective hook-up and often gives a second shot if you and the pike fail to connect.

For deep fishing you need a Hi-D line, fished sink and draw style. Getting the fly down accurately close to the bottom is what it's all about. Takes feel like hitting a log - at least with big pike.

For colours, white, black and olive are great and yellow if there's colour in the water. When tying black or olive bunnies tie in a plume of white rabbit just behind the eyes - that way you can see your fly, which makes for more interesting fishing. A weedguard can be handy - technical tying tips now - as can a small horizontal loop of 40 pound mono tied either so that the rabbit tail rests upon it, or else threaded through the skin (roadkill of course) with a needle. If you don't do this your fly will fish like crap.

For most piking a shortish 9-12ft leader is about right. You'll need an 8-weight for such a bulky and heavy fly - bunnies are particularly heavy when wet, a lot like socks actually (which is why many use synthetics of course - but synthetics are not as killing when it comes to action, so we won't talk about those).

For river fishing I was very surprised to discover Hechte Peter using 20ft leaders. This is a very effective technique because for short casts - assuming you know how to tie needle knots - your sock fly casts very much like a plug (which is great for fishing in the jungle, and Berlin) and for longer casts - well, look out….

[casting advice for Sexyloopers: by completely flattening the drift it's possible to throw socks on long leaders. Furthermore, it's possible cast 6 inch rabbits on 5-weight tackle with this flattened drift technique - see dictionary of terms if you are confused]

For piking a BIG net is something you'll want to have. You can handle small pike quite easily, without a net, by putting you finger in behind the gill under the lower jaw. You don't need a glove but many of the pike fishers I know who still have fingers use them. Larger pike require more care and you should never put your fingers or anything else - like your dick for example - in their mouths.

That's all I have to say on the subject really. Handle them with confident care as you would any other fish apart from the poisonous ones. For more detailed information ask some of the Board members who'll no doubt contradict everything I've just said.

This week look out for our new shopping affiliates. Sexyloops - bringing the flyfishing world to your computer with a bang.

Have a great week!

Essential Bush Skills

The start of any flytying good flytying sequence involves squirting The Light of Apgai on your polyprops
Both alarm and curiousity set in when the polyprops start melting
Putting the lid back on the jar to stop *that* happening again
The flytying proper is underway
Notice the composure, that's true class that is
A difficult bit, you can tell that from the vacant expression
Essential bush skills: the third hand
Notice my hat here, it's quite daring
Snip, snip
I'm not quite sure what I'm doing here, but it's cool
Trimming an oversize hackle that appears to have become trapped in the whip finnish manoevre
Delicate precision work, the hallmark of any good flytyer
A sexy catch...

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