Friday 13/11/20 Pike on the Fly

Friday 13/11/20 Pike on the Fly

Good morning from an overcast and wet Foxford. We have had a lot of rain in the past few days and water levels are well up. This is making life difficult from an Angling point of view! It’s bad enough to be limited to 5k but now we have to deal with flooded rivers and lakes that are barley accessible. We can plan though and be ready for when things settle down a bit.

Over the next week we will be introducing some gift ideas on our Facebook page, we hope you will see something you like. It’s an easy way of dropping subtle hints to family and friends. We are running a Like and share competition for a “River Moy salmon all rounder” Rod value 180.00, the winner will be announced on Friday 4th of December. To enter for free all you have to do is like and share this post which is on our Facebook page


Pike on the Fly

I have been asked a few times about Pike fly fishing. Have I tried it ?, what’s the best rod ?, is it worth trying ?, what’s the best month ?, all the normal question someone interested in getting into something new asks.

I have tried it; in fact I have done a reasonable amount of Pike fly fishing. I would not say I’m an expert at it but yes I have enjoyed it and I have caught a few Pike as well. In the next few paragraphs I’m going to share my knowledge with you and hopefully it will answer some of your questions or spark a new interest.



Pike fly fishing

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.

What’s needed ?

Eye protection: This is a Must. We will be casting large heavy flies and often in windy conditions. Wear protective Glasses and a hat is a good idea as well!


Rod: A rod capable of casting large and sometimes heavy flies is best. Most Pike flies are tied on large single hooks 1/0 to 6/0 and can be heavily dressed.  The favoured rod  length is 9 foot (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.

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 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 have a limited number of Cortland Pike outfits in stock , if you want one order today as these will be sold out soon

Have a good week and Remember: Don’t be “The Gobshite”,  Leave no trace

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