Good morning from a wet and windy Foxford. The good news is the weather is to improve over the weekend so there will be an opportunity to try a little bit of fishing. Why not have a go at something a little different. What I hear you ask 😊
Pike fly fishing
Those of us who have tried it already know but if your new to it,Pike fly fishing is not about delicacy. You can forget about double taper lines and fine tippets. You can forget about small dry flies and Mayfly imitations delicately sipped from the surface. Start thinking instead of double hauling, stripping line and explosive takes.
Still interested ? Grab your eye protection and perhaps a hat and off we go
Rod: A rod capable of casting large and sometimes heavy flies is best. Most Pike flies are tied on large single hooks, sizes1/0 to 6/0 and can be heavily dressed. The favoured rod length is 9 feet (2.7m) with a line rating of #8 #9 #10. I use a saltwater rod that is rated #9/10 and I find it perfect. The rod needs a bit of ‘back bone” to handle larger fish when you are lucky enough to hook them. Although Pike are not noted for making long runs, they can be lively, will jump and can play hard as they root for the bottom.
Reel: Any half decent fly reel that will hold a large line and some backing will be fine. It should have a good smooth drag. I use a cheap Okuma airframe reel and it is adequate.
Line: As always choice of line is a personal thing and especially when it comes down to which brand name to buy. You will need a line that is rated to suit your rod but most importantly the line should have a short front taper which will make it suitable for casting large heavy flies. Most good manufacturers have a specialist line suited to Pike fly fishing. The density of the line is important, so whether it will float, sink slowly or sink fast is what we need to think about. Your choice will be determined by where you fish and the time of year. For a rough guide, fishing in shallow water in summer a floating line is good. Fishing in a lake in December a slow sinking (DI3) or something slightly faster sinking may be required. Regarding the specialist lines, they are expensive and not necessary to start.
For now the sinking lines will work best, air and water temperatures are dropping and the fish will be less likely to come to the surface.
Leader: The leader is the piece of line between the Fly line and the fly, what the fly is attached to. For Pike we do not need a very long leader. We do need a reasonably strong and most importantly tough material. Pike have razor sharp teeth and will easily cut through most normal line. The best solution is to make a leader using a length (5 or 6 foot 1.5 to 2m) of heavy mono to which you attach a short (12-inch 30cm) length of suitable wire or steel leader. These steel leaders are available in soft wire that can be tied fairly easily or you can crimp on a small barrel swivel at one end and a snap swivel at the other to attach your fly. Make a few as they get twisted and have to be changed regularly.
What flies will Pike take
I think you could wrap any assortment of fur and feather around a large single hook and stand a chance of a Pike “having a go”. However as in most fishing situations the angler who thinks and studies the situation will be more successful. Try to think about what the Pike are feeding on? Roach, Rudd other small fish, “Match the Hatch”. Think about where they are feeding and what the likely food sources will be, could the occasional frog be on the menu? Like other species Pike are more lethargic in cold water and less likely to “come up” for a fly. In summer Large fluffy balls of flies that resemble little ducks swimming merrily across the surface and in winter smaller flashy flies that resemble small fish fished a little deeper will be best.
Where and when to fish
One of the greatest things about Pike fly fishing is You can fly fish for Pike anywhere there is a pike to be caught. Rivers, Lakes, Canals are all possible and un like Salmon and trout fishing there is no closed season. There are of course regulations, most of these are concerning bag limits and sizes and I would always advise you check these out in the locality you are planning to fish, before you start!
To sum it up
It’s a fun and rewarding way to fish for another species. It is something that most trout and salmon fly anglers say they would like to try at some point and the equipment needed does not have to cost a fortune. It’s available on all our doorsteps and like them or loathe them Pike are fish and if we as anglers are willing to adapt and try something new Pike fly fishing offers us additional sport. So why not get geared up and give it a go, we might meet you out there