Pike On The Fly
Unsurprisingly, the Covid situation has changed my life in many aspects. ….As a fly fishing guide and traveler I’ve had to cancel all projects around the world and just focus on local waters. Though one of the first countries in Europe to suffer strict restrictions, here in the Czech Republic, fishing has been allowed throughout Covid which is pretty lucky I guess. For the first two months I was back home, following the distancing guidelines but during May, when pike have finished spawning I made a quick trip to one private lakes on the Western side of the country to get a proper pike on fly.
Here are some on tips how to get a trophy pike on fly!
Almost all fish are affected by changes in the weather, causing some species to feed more and some, frustratingly, less so.
In my experience a drop in pressure tends to bring the pike on. So, when we get a rainy, stormy day after a period of stable sunshine, that’s the moment to grab your rod and head to the water. That said, hitting them early doors can be just as effective, when the temperature is low and rising.
2) Right place
Many pike anglers prefer to target them in rivers, for me, it’s the clear still water / lakes that I favour, hunting them down in the weedy edges or out in the shallow bays where they patrol through the summer months. They tend to lurk on the fringes, protected by an overhanging object, a drop off or hole but when hunting, they’ll tail bait fish in the shallows without fear. The key when casting for them is to land your fly on these sheltering fringes and draw them out from their sanctuary. If ‘ON’ it won’t take long for them to be drawn to your fly, an aggressive pike is hard to miss and so, if you don’t get their attention after a few cast, move on.
3) What Gear?
I recommend an 8-9 wt rod rigged with an intermediate flyline with a heavier head to help load your bigger flies.
That said, there is always discussion about leaders while fishing for pike. Sometimes I use one 70lb mono tippet loop to loop straight to my fly line instead of tapered leader with 20-inch section of wire. However, when you like to 100% sure that you won’t lose your trophy pike, I highly recommend you use a piece of Fluocarbon connected with 26LB Trace Wire or if you use tube flies, as I do, just tie your fluocarbon leader straight onto the Tube Fly Stinger Trace Rig!
4) Killer flies – What Works?
Pike are ambush predators, so the shape of the fly is the key if you are to let them see your fly against the sky. Usually they’ll feed on anything that disturbs the water, here you’re helped by the fact that they can also feel vibrations from your fly. Normally they feed on any smaller fish between 10-30 cm but surely this depends on the size of pike you are going to target. For BIG pike I use BIG flies, 25-30 cm. I prefer flashy flies with lots of movement. You’ll not go wrong with sparklers such as Dougie’s Sparkler or the Firetiger Pike Tube which is my absolute favorite pike fly! Pike are visual feeders, attracted to bright, flashy colours. Silver flies imitating Roach, or hot green/orange ones as such as little perch simply must be in flybox. If you want to turn into pike specialist, you shouldn’t forget to gear up your fly box with Wiggle tail flies as Paolo’s Wiggle Tail Fire & Tiger or some poppers too for sunny summer evenings.