Monster Pike On The Fly by Shannon Kuzik
When it comes to gear, your trout rod will work on small pike up to 5 pounds, but you will owe it to big fish to bring them in as fast as possible to avoid stressing the fish beyond recovery. You will want to up grade your tackle starting with your rod. It should be a 9 or 10 weight and 8 ½ to 10 feet in length, capable of casting wet flies up to 15 inches long. Yes, I said 15 inches. Big flies catch big fish. Some people can not cast such a fly but don’t worry, you can catch big pike on small flies too. You will need a reel, with a good disc drag system, capable of holding 100 yards of 20 pound Dacron backing and 9 or 10 weight fly line. There are some companies that have fly lines specifically for pike that can turn over those big flies. For a leader, I use 6 to 8 feet of 30 pound Berkley Big Game, then tie 12 to 15 inches of 20 pound black steel leader. Then I attach the fly with a steel sleeve and crimp with needle-nose pliers. This is very important since pike have razor sharp teeth that can cut 40 pound mono with ease.
When it comes to flies, you are better off tying them yourself. Pike can rip apart a fly in seconds. It can get expensive trying to land that elusive 30 pound monster. Some are more durable then others and last longer, depending on the materials you use. The most durable is rabbit fur strips which have great action and you can get them in any color. It takes a lot of hits from pike to destroy a bunny fly, but there is one draw back, when they get, wet they are heavy. If you keep them 4 inches and smaller they are not as hard to cast. The top water deer-hair mouse is on the other end of the durability spectrum but work great when dragging them over lily pads. Make sure you put a mono weed guard on the hook to avoid snags. They also have draw backs, because they take a lot of time to tie and they don’t last as long. Aggressive pike can destroy a deer-hair fly in one hit.
Out of all the designs around, I like my own design best. They range in size from #6 trout hook up to 5/0 stainless steel, depending on where I am fishing. Some lakes have thousands of small pike so I will use my 6 1/2 foot 3 weight rod and flies that are 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches. In the fall I will target the 20 pound + pike with my 9 weight 10 foot, with flies from 5 to 15 inches size and a variety of color. Blacks, browns, whites, reds and chartreuse, my personal favourite, are always in my fly case. Which one I use, depends on what the pike sets its sight on that day. Every day can be different.
Pike are not too fussy about what they attack and eat. I have seen pike take down a full size duck and I have caught a 25 pound pike that had a 15 pound pike in her belly. So if it is in the water they will eat it. Most guys you see fishing for big pike will be casting big plugs, spoons or even jigs. They do work but when fish are not biting and action is slow, try throwing out a fly and you will be amazed. Pike don’t see a lot of flies, it is a slow pulsating action that pike can not resist. When you get into the action you will not be able to resist it.