I am often asked why I fly fish for pike, so I thought I’d try to make a list of some of the most compelling reasons. I know it’s not for everybody but, for me, there’s nothing else like it.
- Travel light: all you need is rod, reel, line, line-tray and a pocketful of flies, plus scales, sling and camera if required.
- Great distances and/or different areas can easily be covered compared with live/dead baiting. You are searching for the fish and surely even on a bad day you are going to come across an odd one or two. Blanks do happen, but rarely.
- The take, if and when it comes, is straight to your hand and not via the rod or reel – you just can’t beat it!
- Even a small pike of three or four pounds will put up a scrap on a fly rod, yet that same rod will handle a really big fish of 30 or even 40lbs if you are jammy enough to hook one. You’ll probably get plenty of small ones before you get even a double, never mind a 20!
- It doesn’t cost a fortune. My favourite rod is the Bob Church ‘Pro Piker’, which retailed at about £50 (sadly no longer available). I also have a 10-to-12-weight Shimano and a 13-weight Sage, and I have seen Greys and Shakespeare 10-weight rods that look pretty good. They will all do the trick and, apart from a few lost lures, there’s no need to keep buying bait.
- Casting is a joy in itself. There is great satisfaction in sending a big fly 30 or so yards, and even when you are not catching you are practising and perfecting your technique.
- If you are a DIY fan, pike flies are very easy to make and, although I spend endless time making my own as perfect as I can, no doubt the pike couldn’t care less! I’m sure a bunch of white buck tail lashed to a 4/0 hook would surely work.
- Last but not least, deep hooking simply doesn’t happen and a single hook is very simple to remove without harm to the fish.
In my view and in the right conditions, fly fishing for pike is just as effective as any other method and it is without doubt the most exciting. Why not give it a try? You might come to love it as much as I do!