The last weeks in our series we have gotten a bit deeper with the teams in Fly vs Jerk: we have met Team Vision Sweden and Team CWC. Now it’s time to meet Team Vision Finland.
So let’s talk fly-fishing (again… Phuuu. Painful for us spinfreaks… but that is the name of the game in Fly vs Jerk 🙂 )! This time we are talking to Pyry Granlund and Tuomas Rytkönen. They both know how to bend fly rods….. as the are supposed to.
The team participated already last year in Fly vs. Jerk 6 where they on the last day of the competition hooked the biggest pike – weighing in on 7-kilo. By that they changed the result for the last day completely. The 7-kilo pike pushed team CWC down from their leading position, which in the end led to a win for Team ABU Garcia. We call these guys game changers.
Another game changer actually happened already before Fly vs. Jerk 6 when Antti – the supposed-to-be team member with Tuomas got sick and Pyry – the big hero – stepped in on very short notice. Cool stuff! We like that attitude!
But not let’s not dwell more on the past – let’s take this opportunity learn more about the game changing fishermen from Finland.
Pyry is 29 years young and live in the Sipoo (in Finnish)or Sibbo! (in Swedish)… “But yes I live in Finland, it’s not your Sibbo” says Pyry. He lives in Sibbo/Sipoo together with his wife and their Lapland dog. He work as a fire fighter and on top of that he runs his own guide business. It could be that Pyry is tallest guide in Finland? We also know that he likes to sing Swedish songs. If he sings good or bad…. we leave to you to decide:-) For us it is always a highlight when Pyry has a go at another Swedish classic!
So let’s kick it off with this mighty Finn!
Pyry, how often do you fish?
Last year I had about 30 guide trips and besides that I try to fish as much as I can. Last year I had approximately 150 fishing days. 90% of the time I go for pike fishing.
Editors comment: At this point Pyry gives away a secret… And it is not a small one :-). A jaw-dropper… a biiiig suprise :-D. It’s not all about fly-fishing for Pyry!!!
When I fishing I employ different techniques like float tube fishing, rubbers, jerkbaits, spinners, ice fishing. So I’m not only a fly guy but I make sure to always bring a fly rod on my fishing trips. And I love pike and by that I mean BIG pike. When and if I do get time to fish for other species, I fish for perch and Zander. When guiding I mostly target Pike or Zander.
What kind of waters do you normally fish
I mainly fish in the archipelago but during wintertime it’s a split 50/50 between fishing in the archipelago and lakes. However I will go for lake and river fishing where the fishing pressure is lower. If you want to catch a 15-kilo pike I think those waters gives a better chance to catch them. Last year there was only 2-3 pikes over 15-kilos caught in Finland (sportfishing) in the archipelago.
Feelings from last years Fly vs. jerk (6)?
When I heard Tuomas and Antti was asked to participate I thought it was really cool to have a Finnish team there. Two days before the competition day I got a call from Tuomas. Antti was not able to join for the competition and Tuomas asked me. He knows that I fish a lot of pike and can re-arrange my work schedule so I was the only one he could call 🙂
I really liked the Swedish Lake Sibbo – In Finland we miss private lakes where catch & release is good. When we talk catch and release it is easier for us to talk about and show what you do in Sweden. The Swedish system is better. I mean it is not forbidden to C&R in Finland but we have a culture of killing the fish. It probably comes from the war – tough times meant “eat what you catch”. Younger people are more into C&R but the older generation is difficult to convince.
Feelings about Fly vs. Jerk 7
Now when fly vs jerk 7 came out – It was obvious to participate again if I got the chance. Already directly after the final last year, at the fair, I said to Johan and Tuomas: – “If you want someone with bad English and a lot of cursing words – I am on”. And here I am… Apparently there was a need for my skills 😀
Are there differences or similarities between fishing in Sweden & Finland?
The place is the archipelago and it is pretty similar. Sweden have bigger islands and bays but the there is not that much difference. However the culture about fishing is different. In Sweden people can to the shore, talk, ask some who is fishing “are you catching anything?” and get a nice polite answer. In Finland people would tell you off.
I noticed you used bright colours like pink/purple on your flies. We have also noted that that is common on hard lures from Finland. In Sweden that is not the case at all. Tell us more…
I like to use strong colors in muddy water like Sibbo. I do not know if I’ll catch more pike with it but I see the fly myself, which gives me courage. I have also heard that Swedish are not using that much red colors. We really use red/black a lot, especially when fish in dark weather. It works very well. In clear water Finns use brown, green, gold, blue colors etc. In Sibbo we used really bright pink, red, yellow. And I guess we are trying to annoy the pike and the I also have the benefit to actually see the fly.
How do you employ electronics and what do you use?
I have HDS 9 and HDS 7 and I have a motorguide. I love that motorguide gps-system. I have used that trolling motor for two seasons. I’m very happy it. I use sonar quite a lot to find weed lines, bait fish, edges. i.e. finding interesting sites.
I use sonar more now than I did a couple of years ago. I want to make sure I’m fishing the hot areas to minimize “wasted” casts. I also want learn new spots and be able to fish the new spot 100% directly. Every spot I go I have my weed line marks. Then I now directly where to fish.
How is fishing with Tuomas?
Always fun! Me and Tuomas have the same approach. We think in the same way, telling/sharing what we do and what works. And we never give up!
And bananas – did you find any bananas in the boat?
Cant tell! You have to watch the show 🙂
How do you feel when you are on the starting line?
Actually last year I was just standing there like “Ok, there is Svartzonker, Trumman, Niklaus Bauer” so focus on fishing and having fun. This year we came slightly better prepared. We had practice runs etc. but of course I was a bit nervous. You know if there is big pikes to catch, you just want to go!
How big handicap is not have local knowledge?
Well fishing is all about location, location, location and then knowledge. Of course it is a disadvantage but let’s remember it’s a show . A show needs somebody to be the clown and that clown can be me :-). However, I must admit (since I am not only fly-fishing back home) that also the technique can be a bit of an issue when you don’t know the water.
Fly fishing is extremely effective if you know where the fish are, but it is a slow technique. Sometimes you feel that you would like to do some lure fishing and just to do “search and destroy”-fishing to find the spots.
It is tough fishing, but it is fun!
Let’s meet Tuomas
Tuomas Rytkönen, 39 years old pike fanatic who also lives in the country of a thousand lakes: Finland. Here he lives with his family, wife Claire and 2 sons, a 6 and an 8 year old fisherman to be’s… next generation of fishermen from the family Rytkönen is saved.
Tuomas works for Vision Group Ltd. as a product manager and he is the one to blame for the crazy and hopefully innovative ideas behind Vision fly fishing products. 🙂
Tuomas tell us a bit about yourself
I’ve been fishing as long as I remember, I think I had rod in my hands before I could walk thanks to my dad, who’s a keen fisherman. I started fly fishing at the age of 12 and I’ve been dead keen on that since. Fly-tying I actually started couple years before, as I needed to tie some feather hooks to my homemade lures. Small flies came right after that for float rigs, which I used with spinning gear. I still fish other styles too, I mean jerkbaits, spinnerbaits etc., but fly.fishing is my thing.
I fish all species but pike is my passion. Salmon fishing is also in my schedule every year, mostly in Scotland nowadays to where I make 2 -3 trips yearly. Years ago I worked as a guide in Kola Peninsula for 8 summers so rivers like Varzina, Drozdovka, Sidorovka, Penka, Lumbovka and Ponoi are pretty familiar to me. I was 17 when I went to Russia first time.
The thing about pike is definitely the fact that it is a fierce predator. You can fish them pretty much everywhere and you don’t need to travel far if you don’t want. You can find them any time of year. They grow big. They hit your fly hard. They laugh at you. They can make you cry.
What do you think about Fly vs. Jerk?
This is very interesting concept. Yes, it’s a competition, but not in a same way as big open fishing competitions are.
As this is three days long with just 4 dedicated teams this is even more dependent on knowhow and knowing your own fishing area. Just two points per day means that anything can happen; you can be the top team and suddenly fall to last.
I think that’s what interests me most, sudden changes. Normally when I go fishing I never pay attention how many fish I’ve caught during a day and usually I don’t even measure or weigh my fish unless they look really big. For me that’s not important. But in this competition it’s different. 10 grams can give you the needed point or one fish. Lost fish feels bad, especially if it feels bigger.
This year it was kind of easier to compete. You have the camera behind your neck 24/7 and first year it was a bit strange. Now you got used to that much quicker and almost forgot it.
Being in a different country and fishing waters, which you don’t really know, makes things really difficult. We couldn’t practice too much because it would have been just a big hassle to travel back and forth so we decided already last year that we choose small area and concentrate on big fish. For catching number you really need to know your water, so it was big fish or nothing. We knew that it’s very risky decision but we decided to take that risk.
Otherwise I didn’t do too any special preparations.
How often do you fish?
I try to fish 1 – 2 days a week anyway so that keeps me “on the edge” what comes to fishing. I tied some trusted flies and some new ones to try too and changed new wire leaders etc., but that’s about it. This year we took Pyry’s boat so I didn’t even have to worry about that. And I must say that it was great just to fish!
During the competition you’re of course a bit more nervous than normally. If you had a quiet period for example you thought that how the other teams are doing and if they are struggling to or are they hammering huge pike non-stop.
That’s good thing in my mind because it makes you change the flies, lines, strategies and so on. It keeps you fishing actively – you really need to find a way to start catching fish.
This year we were struggling with weather. Water was very low, everywhere. Weather forecast promised some wind but that arrived in our area only on the last day. We really needed the change on the weather pattern. That was frustrating and it made us try totally different tactics. We even fished quite a bit with pelagic style but with fly. People mostly think of that as a spin-fishing technique but it is actually quite easy to fish 5 – 8metre water column with today’s sinking lines.
The phone reports were definitely the cherries on the cake. It was great to hear how the other teams had done and based on that info you could really see if it had been easy or difficult for them too.
Tell us about the equipment you use.
What comes to equipment we had quite a bunch of ready rigged outfits. We had basically 3 rods each, rigged with different sink rate lines so we could easily and quickly change if we had to fish deeper or shallower or totally different style fly.
My personal favourite lines are SloMo and Sink 3 from the Big Mamma range. With SloMo you can fish really shallow areas or if you just want to keep the fly close to surface for example in crystal clear conditions. When the fly is high up and the fish deep down they have big window or viewing area and they can see your fly already far away. Sink 3 is again quick enough for some deeper edges and areas where you have 3+ metres of water. It is great line also in warmer weather if you need to fish your fly quick as it still keeps your fly deep enough even if you strip the line in very fast.
Rods are more like personal things but I prefer a bit softer and slower action rods over stiff and fast ones. Pike flies are usually big & bulky and they fly slow so slower rod gives you very smooth and effortless casting rhythm. Big Daddy 9’ #9 is still my personal favourite and gets definitely most time on water. Big Mama rods I usually have rigged with slightly slimmer profile flies.
How do you employ electronics and what do you use?
Electronics play nowadays a big role in fly fishing. As fly fishing is slower pace fishing compared to lures the trolling motors with GPS locking & steering are must at least in my fishing. The Motor Guide locks it’s place with just a press of a button and the boat really stays there. I couldn’t really think a day without one anymore. The fishfinders’ side imaging is also really good, not necessary for spotting individual fish but for finding baitfish schools and structure for predators.
Tuomas – we now you are a fly-wizard and we and the readers would really appreciate some tips and trix for starting with fly-fishing
- Get yourself a proper pike fishing kit. Unbalanced outfit makes casting difficult and you’ll lose your interest.
- Pay attention to the flyline because that’s the thing you’re casting. Buy couple different sinking rates.
- Keep your hooks sharp!
- Forget the forums and go fishing!
- Fish hard, fish hard and fish hard. And get up and on water EARLY! Skip your breakfast.
How will you celebrate if you win?
If we win… I promise Pyry will sing you a bit more!
Editors comment: Looking forward for some Swedish Abba classics :)
And don’t forget to watch the next episode of Fly vs. Jerk 7. Will be live tomorrow friday at kanalgratis.
Ps. Should you be interested in fishing in Finland with Pyry you can check out his webpage Pgfishingguide.fi Ds.