19- Pike Fly Fishing 2019
Pike Fly Fishing: Top tips and best pike flies to try this season
Pike of all sizes are fun on a fly rod.
As the autumn arrives and our attention shifts from the trout streams to other horizons, more of us than ever are tackling up for toothy predators. You’ll need stronger lines and gear, but fly fishing for pike is within any angler’s grasp these days. Here are some of our favourite tips for catching this exciting species, along with some of the very best pike flies to set pulses racing this winter! All represent great value and are available to order online from us.
- Light tackle isn’t an option!
If you’re going to target pike, these fish demand total respect and tough gear. They are not line shy, so there is no point in using anything lighter than 20lb fluorocarbon and don’t even think about skipping on essentials such as a wire trace and foot long pliers! As for further specifics on the fly leaders and other gear that you should have for pike, See our previous mini article for a full breakdown.
With big teeth and an even bigger temper, pike demand strong tackle.
- Walk further
It’s an old but true saying that pike thrive on neglect. And with pike fishing as popular as ever, the obvious spots can get hammered, resulting in the fish either moving off or become very cagey. That’s not to say they won’t still take a well-presented fly. However, if you can be bothered to walk further you’re always likely to find fish that have see less pressure and are more willing to take your fly.
Fly fishing is an enjoyable way to cover miles of water; always keep moving!
- Explore every corner!
There’s a lot to be said for searching the water really well when pike fishing. Too many anglers only fish half the water, because they refuse to make an awkward cast or fish overgrown swims. The fish love these areas, so get stuck in and give it a go.
- Be ready to strike low and hard
Although some pike will be hooked as soon as they crash into a fly, others need striking. This is especially true of the better ones, which are sometimes deceptively gentle on the take! You are not trout fishing here, so don’t be timid. A low, hard strike tends to be more effective than a lift skywards. A combined line and rod strike isn’t over the top, at least if you are using the correct tackle!
- Always count to five before lifting your fly clear!
Pike are notorious for following a fly but only taking at the last second, or launching an ambush from right under the bank. Those in too much of a rush to make the next cast will miss many late takers! At the end of each retrieve, keep that fly in the water for five seconds or so and give it an extra twitch while you’re there. You never know when that sudden hit will arrive.
Pike might look fierce, but deserve care
- Care for your catch
As we develop a better understanding of eco-systems and begin to appreciate the natural role pike play, our whole attitude to these amazing fish has changed. Gone are the days when poor handling or demonising this important predator were acceptable. We would strongly recommend debarbing your flies and carrying an unhooking mat at all times. If your fish has fought hard, hold it upright in the water recover, just as you would with a game fish.
Last but not least, if you are in any way unsure about what you’re doing, go with a guide or more experienced friend. Catching and handling pike isn’t rocket science, but takes a bit of a knowhow. None of us want this learning curve to be at the cost of the fish, so use the benefit of friendly experience!
FIVE OF THE BEST PIKE FLIES TO TRY THIS SEASON…
Looking for the most effective pike flies for your next trip? Pike might be aggressive, but they can also be fickle and their tastes are not the same every day! There is no “best fly” for every session, but we would recommend covering a few bases so you can experiment to find what the fish want. You’ll want a mixture of natural and vivid colours, for starters, along with some different sizes and sink rates.
If the pike are hungry and switched on, the specific fly pattern might not be crucially important. However, on slower days and specific waters, you may well find that one colour or design outperforms the others. Here are five great pike flies to try, along with some thoughts on which to choose on your next session.
It’s always worth having some pike flies in your box that mimic natural food. Along with fish like roach, rudd and bleak, perch are a very common food source for pike. A good-looking fly like this is also sure to inspire some necessary confidence in the angler!
Little beats the fun of seeing a pike actually break the surface and slash at the target when fly fishing. You wouldn’t use a popper such as this in the dead of winter, but they can still work wonders in autumn or spring, especially in shallow waters.
While you don’t always need big flies to catch big pike, there’s certainly some logic to scaling up if you fish bigger waters or those where the fish might need to see your fly from some way off. You’d need at least a nine or ten weight outfit to sling this beast out, but the “seriously big pike flies” range are just that- a lovely, large target to try and fool a monster! Tied tube style, they have bags of movement.
Rabbit strip has an amazing wiggle when wet, that pike find hard to resist. The pay off is that this material gets rather heavy when given a dunk. You’ll need a proper pike fly rod to cast this pattern, therefore, but it’s super lively and guaranteed to turn toothy heads!
On those days when pike are playing hard to get, it often helps to have a curveball to throw at them. Whether you modify the size or type of fly, one useful dodge is always to have a black pike fly or two in your box. Whether it’s the annoyance factor of a bold, dark silhouette or some other factor, a black pattern will sometimes be taken when a flashy or bright one is rejected.