First proper attempt at Pike on the fly..

My wife was on nightshift – the plan was as soon as she got home I was going to have a morning Piking down at the Forth n Clyde canal. Unfortunately I had not factored in the neighbours BBQ, copious amounts of alcohol and a young chap from Bosnia who encouraged me to sample his moonshine – it was made out of fruit (mostly)

As it was I got to the canal at round noon with a splitting headache and only stayed for a couple of hours. This was my first proper assault with a fly rod for Pike so it took me half an hour to get used to casting some six inch horrors I tied up yesterday. I was using a 9 foot 8/9 rod with a 9 weight floating line – I had spent time yesterday making up wire traces and they worked a treat – not interfering with casting at all.

No pike landed however I did come in contact with one – on a retrieve the line started moving away from me, I lifted into it and felt a thump (felt good) and then the fish was gone.

Not long after I decided on heading home to lay on the sofa and groan a lot. Just where I am going now!


  1. Pete · October 21, 2007

    How shallow is the water you’re fishing? I often use sinking line when targeting pike, with better success coming from swimming the fly lower in the water column. I’ve also had luck eschewing the wire leader for a 40 or 50-pound flourocarbon shock tippet. Or, I use this great stuff called Cortland Toothy Critter. (If they don’t sell it over there, you can order it online via

    Also take a look at the book “Mastering Pike on the Fly” by Barry Reynolds. It’s an excellent resource.

  2. Alistair · October 21, 2007

    Hmmm interesting – the canal is around 9 feet deep – th efly is swimming around 1 to 2 foot down !

  3. Pete · October 21, 2007

    I usually have good success stripping saltwater baitfish patterns deep along a shelf or drop-off, or just above a weed bed. Of course you don’t get the exciting ambush visuals as often…

  4. Trout Underground · October 21, 2007

    It seems like a lot of your posts begin with the drinking/headache scenario.

    Should we schedule an intervention? Maybe book a trip to the U.K., bundle you off to rehab, then spend a couple weeks fishing?

    Just worried about you,
    The Trout Underground

  5. Alistair · October 21, 2007

    Hey, I am the sensible one out the group……Tamanawis now carries a hipflask !!

    And dont get me started on Alex and Alan !

  6. Steve · October 21, 2007

    Totally agree with Pete on using a sinking line during the colder months.

    On summer piking trips I often use an intermediate even when fishing poppers. This avoids line wake and makes surface flies pop and gurgle that bit more!

  7. alan atkins · October 21, 2007

    Yes, i can vouch for Alistair being the sensible one of the group, from one who certainly is not !
    Howver, i am just back from 3 days salmon fishing. The water levels were non- existant, but i managed 4 fish for 3 days fishing, with the largest around 8lbs, caught on the fly at dawn on Saturday. All fish were returned safely,
    roll on the grayling. Alistair and i will be spending a lot of time on the a very special beat for the grayling , where fish of 2lb are common!

  8. Alex · October 21, 2007

    Hey guys. Alan – well done to you, not easy in those conditions and a real bonus to get one on the fly.
    Alistair – got to be commended for dragging yourself out to the canal with a raging hangover, how’s the pike rod/reel working out for you?


  9. alan atkins · October 21, 2007

    Great to hear from you, hope you are having a blast in Boston. Alistair and i will keep the grayling occupied for you until your return in the new year. In the meantime i hope to squeeze in one more session for the salmon and hopefully a couple for the toothy critters !

  10. nicolas valentin · October 21, 2007

    wish you did get one !!nicolas from the glasgow angling center!!

  11. Alistair · October 21, 2007

    Hey Nicolas,

    I blanked again at the weekend – saying that though at least the spot you put me onto was not weedy – I had a look through your photos on Flikr – GREAT !!


  12. nikki · October 21, 2007

    hi alistar long time since i last spoke to u hows thing and what u been upto unluck on the pike fishing

  13. nikki · October 21, 2007

    well its all about fishing i have just set it up so any hint or tips would be good

  14. Alistair · October 21, 2007

    Hi Nikki – well it is not all bad news on the Pike front – I have been catching them on plugs – flies are another kettle of (ahem) fish altogether….going to tie up some more horrors for a few hours at the weekend !

    Anymore Salmon fall your way ?


  15. nikki · October 21, 2007

    well we have not had any but seen other ppl get them and that still gives u that buzz 6lb 8lb 11lb and a few other . we catche da 3lb bronnie what a fight lol

  16. nikki · October 21, 2007

    well can u cheak out my page to see if it works

  17. nikki · October 21, 2007

    i dont now if u know but it is me that is sending u messeges on ur bebo

  18. Michael Woo · October 21, 2007

    Have you ever had a bash on Loch Lomond and its tributaries?
    Theres also a wee gem called XXXXXXXX thats well worth a crack with the fly .

  19. Alistair · October 21, 2007

    Hey Michael, thanks for the comment – yes I know the place – I edited it out as I was talking to a great source of info last week down on the canal who gave me directions to the place you mentioned……he then said “and dont put that on your bloody website”

    Do you fish there a lot ?

    Nikki – well done on the site – give it a year and it will be better than this one ! I have not really been using bebo to be honest – I only signed up to see what all the fuss is about ! I dont think I will be using it though – I have far too many sites to check never mind another one to add to my addiction 🙂


  20. nicolas valentin · October 21, 2007

    Great little sport !

  21. Pingback: Pike - not playing ball with the fly…

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