Fly Fishing for Pike Gear Selection Tips

Fly Fishing for PikeWhen fly fishing for pike, your first order of business is to equip yourself with the right arsenal.

An eight or nine-weight fly rod and lightweight large-arbour reel is the way to go. As far as lines go, this will vary slightly depending on season. Immediately after ice-out, a weight-forward floating line with a 200-grain shooting head will work well. Later on in the summer, as the pike move into deeper waters, you may wish to use a sink-tip line, or simply a longer leader.

When it comes to leaders, 30- or even 40-pound-test fluorocarbon is the way to go. (Seaguar’s FW Leader is a good choice.) An additional length of steel leader — between 12 and 18 inches — must be used to attach the fly as well. (Try plastic-coated leader; rather that tying a knot or using a clip, you can simply melt it together with a lighter to secure your fly.) The one drawback to this setup is that if you hook a small, three- or four-pound pike, it presents little challenge. However, the fact that a 25-pounder may be lurking in the reeds necessitates the heavy setup.

As far as your terminal tackle goes, think big, bushy and flashy. Pike tend to respond best to one of the three styles of flies: dark combined with a lot of flash (tinsel); pike imitators (green deer hair, spotted hackle, white throat); or bright — using red, white and/or yellow (colours used on traditional pike spoons). Whichever you choose, tie onto a 3/0 or 4/0 hook, and bring lots of extra materials or flies’ pike shred them handily. (Note: pike also respond well to dry flies, such as mouse patterns or poppers. However, flies of that size which use rabbit strip can be difficult to cast once wet.)

Finally — it’s time to cast. The idea with heavyweight setups is to limit your false casting to conserve energy, and concentrate on driving the rod tip straight down when you release to unroll that heavy fly to its destination. Once it lands, let the fly sit for a quick moment to sparkle in the sun, then give it three quick strips, pause, then repeat with two or three strips. If casting towards shore, let the fly suspend — even sink — overtop the dropoff. And brace yourself for the strike of a lifetime.

Now — head out into northern Saskatchewan or Alberta and get into those pike!

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