I was reading a thread about fly colour over at Shallow Fish about fly colour and whether it really maters or not. The general opinion is that it does not – at least that is my opinion anyway when it relates to Pike. I left a comment agreeing with another reader that I suspected movement of the fly is more important and I stand by that. Trout flies I am not so sure about – there have been days when trout would only take my electric green klinkhammer but shunned everything else – so the jury on trout is still out.
Anyway, as you know I have been catching pretty much all my pike on a pink bodied sparkly thing and I thought I had hit the nail right on the head with that little combination. However, I have now read I have been doing it all wrong – pike don’t take pink flies – in fact they are supposed to be imitative – greens and black work extremely well – and in murky water you are supposed to be using a dark fly as the silhouette shows up better in the pikes vision.
Good job I did not know that when I was catching those pike on my pink fly – might have put them right off!
Ok, Saturday was pretty awesome as I caught that big Pike that I don’t have a picture of unfortunately – however Sunday was just as awesome as I caught 4 (landed 2) – if they were all put together and then doubled, the new pike would be still half the size of yesterdays.
Anyway, lots of excitement in a short period of time – I caught one at this platform – casting close into the side, I noticed a disturbance in the water just next to where my fly hit the water and on the second cast the pike slammed into it. I watched a Jack chasing my fly and when it finally hit it basically fluffed it.
The pike just looked at the fly so I started to twitch it slowly away and then it pounced again this time staying on. Fantastic fun – even though these are just wee jack pike, I don’t think the biggest one today even reached a pound and a half; they put up an enjoyable scrap on the fly rod – plenty of acrobatics!
I decided to have a morning off of thinking about essay stuff and headed out for a couple of hours down the canal for Pike again. As usual, the weather all week has been fine – nice temps, no wind and generally good for the fly, however today the forecast was for rain and gales. This made casting slightly tricky. There was also leaves covering all the easy casting spots – I nearly headed home there and then.
I don’t know what it is about having an audience when I catch a fish but it makes me edgy – it is even worse when it is another couple of anglers. I was casting along the side of a floating jetty – pretty much the only place I could get a half decent cast without getting caught up on leaves. I was utilising a rather enticing jerk retrieve with my pink bodied sparkly thing – I think I will come up with a name for it…..er, lets call it a “pink bodied sparkly” I had seen the two guys approach behind me and could hear them talking. Suddenly the rod tip bent over – a Pike had slammed into my fly almost at my feet – it was one of those situations where you just do not feel in control at all – the rod was nearly pulled out my hands. The fish bored deep – the guys behind me had now stopped walking and talking and were watching the proceedings in delight. It was a big Pike, certainly the biggest I have had from the canal, even on the plug. Remember this is only the second Pike I have had on for any great length of time on the fly. In the water it looked pretty big – I had to give it line as there was no stopping it – It then tail walked a yard – Yikes I thought! I could see my fly – it was just in side the mouth and no more.
I think if those guys had not been there I would have took my time and found somewhere to whisk the fish out and lay it down (there is plenty of grass around) however I made the executive decision of grabbing hold of the wire trace, sliding my fingers down and un hooking the Pike in the water- it then turned over – looked at me square in the eyes as if to say “yer a marked man pal” and swam under the platform I was standing on. I chatted to the guys for a bit – they had not seen a Pike caught on the fly before and were pretty impressed – more by the Pike than by me as I was shaking with nerves and covered in blood as I either managed to impale my self with the hook or snitch my finger on the Pikes teeth. I think it was the teeth.
I fished on for a while; however the stickiness of the blood on the rod handle started to annoy me. It was strange – did all that just happen? It all had a very unreal feeling about it. I suppose what I should have done was ask one of those guys to take the photo but hey these things happen I suppose.
Reader numbers have jumped in the last month or so – due I reckon to the end of the season madness and more of the UK folk getting a little stir crazy so I thought I would tell you the few ways you can actually get the content of this blog:
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I got a bit carried away there as there are so many – RSS is a good way of keeping track of all your blogs !
Hmmm, obsession. Scott shows us how it is done by sending this photo of a rather nice looking Pike. It fell to a roach deadbait and muses that it would be a lot of fun if caught on a fly rod…
I bet you it would !
It reminds me of my own personal best caught on a rattling little gem – you can read about it by clicking here. I suppose my one regret is that I did not hold it up so you could see the full epic scale of it like Scott has done – although Scott is a lot
less scared more proficient at handling Pike than I am.
I was thinking about the whole obsession thing again – I was sitting in the car on the way home from work today, sitting at the traffic lights actually and it was one of the few times that I was not thinking about fishing – I was thinking about my evening meal when suddenly my eyes focussed on the back of a 4 by 4 in front of me.
Yes – a picture of a pike with Esox lucius written underneath it. I think people must have thought I was a little odd as I wound down my window to take a picture of the car – but I think it is worth it as there is no way you guys would have believed me otherwise ! It was around 5 seconds after that that the weather forecast stated it was going to be gales and heavy rain for the weekend.
I am planning a trip on Saturday – there has got to be an omen in there somewhere…..but what of?
I have lots of work to do – I have one essay due in around 2 weeks and even though I have a good plan guess what am I thinking about constantly?
Yup – Pike slamming into my horrors down on the canal.
I think about it when driving, when falling asleep, in meetings, at my desk, in the shower, on the phone to colleagues….
Give it six months and it will be Trout!
Woke up – 8am – already things are not going well as I have slept in. I get my shit together and head out – the day is not looking good – pretty wild weather with a smattering of light rain. Still, I have been looking forward to this all week. It does not matter it is only for a few hours I am determined to be there are the right time at the right place and finally manage to land my first pike on the fly.
I forgo my usual place on the canal and decide on an alternative another mile up the road. It has good parking next to a pub and good access. I string up my rod and then have a decision to make regarding the wire trace. I usually use little snap links so that changing flies is a breeze however I have noticed some people keep a wire trace permanently attached to individual flies. This might make storing them difficult (and is the very reason I don’t do it) but I think that little extra weight might affect casting so decide to try it out. I use pretty easy wire to work with that only needs a little crimp to secure it and I am up and running in no time.
I walk along to a little platform for the boats to moor on – this little spot is ideal as it seems to be devoid of wind – everywhere else it seems to be blowing a gale. I cast a few times, getting used to the extra weight – it always takes me a few casts to get into the swing of things. There are lots of bait fish on the surface – I think they might be roach – the whole place reeks of nervous water. Could those Roach be panicking as a hungry Pike is chasing them or in the vicinity.
Suddenly I get a take – like a green torpedo a pike slams into my fly, it misses and sits motionless, I recast but it is gone. Still – a good sign that my ridiculously flashy fly is working. I spend maybe another half an hour working my fly, trying to cover every nook and cranny – a wide fan of casts – you know what I mean!
I see a likely looking spot on the far bank, there are leafs on the water and some reeds – it looks like a likely place for a Pike – I cast……
Bang! First cast, after just a few jerky retrieves – it is small – laughable to people who catch pike regularly I suppose but still – my first Pike on the fly.
The fly is a mess….
But after a few more casts it is swimming and looking just fine. Eventually the wind gets up and I head home.
I was starting to think my recent unsuccessful attempts at Pike were to do with pure technique and possibly choice of flies. I was glad then to hear other people have been struggling down on the Forth n Clyde as well – a recent commenter (Scott) has been struggling as well.
Still the tide (as they say) must turn at some point and maybe this weekend is just the time for massive toothy critters. You see that is the thing with Pike fishing – and the thing that makes it the opposite of trout fishing – size does in fact matter with Pike, and the bigger the better for that matter. A trout of 3lb is a monster of a trout – a trout you would remember, a pike of 3lb is a “jack” a nice fish but you know it is lunch to some of those massive lady beasts cruising around.
Anyway, because I missed my fly tying evening tonight (I am writing an essay) I decided to tie up some Pike flies for the coming weekend (I am cramming in a few hours on Saturday morning for Pike). The good thing about Pike flies is that you can be as creative as you like – well, I think you can anyway – I have certainly seen a huge variety of Pike flies and mine do not seem far off the mark.
You start with a bare hook…..
Add a bit of body, sometimes tinsel, sometimes some chenille, a hackle at the front (or back) if you like and then something long and flashy to give it a bit of bulk so it looks like a fish.
Now, you know I am no tying expert but that my friends is around twenty quids worth of fly in that picture – I could go into business with that lot. I mean have you actually seen the cost of shop bought Pike flies? The ones I have seen cost around a fiver. I reckon with the materials I have bought I can make up a couple of dozen flies – all for around a ten spot.
Bloody hands here I come!
Well, two sessions after Pike the last two weekends – result – nil points!
I took peoples advice and on the deeper sections (the canal basins) I used a fast sinking leader – it got the fly down deeper but did not manage to raise a Pike from the depths. After a couple of hours I drove to the Glasgow Angling Centre for some materials to tie up some more horrors (when you are used to tying klinkhammes anything that looks like a Christmas tree is a horror) and spoke to Nicolas one of the employees of the shop. He mentioned he often caught Pike on the fly at another stretch of the canal so I decided to head there.
It is quite strange actually as this stretch is not as urban as the stretch just next to my house. It is also not as weedy – on reflection I think this may be something to do with the extra boat traffic and possibly just a little extra flow. I have caught Pike here in the past on plugs and I know Alex has had them on the fly here so I was feeling optimistic. Strangely, I was still feeling optimistic as I collapsed my rod at the end of another couple of hour’s stint.
Last Sunday was pretty much more of the same except I stayed at my home stretch as I did not have the car. We were expecting visitors in the afternoon so I was up at 8am and hitting the canal at 0815. I met James on the canal side (you may see him in the comments section from time to time) and we had a chat about Pike and other places we had fished that year. I learned later he had the same luck as me.
I am doing a fair bit of reading at the moment about Pike behaviour and have found out that:
- Pike like a few days of consistent weather before they begin to feed.
- They do not like heavy rain as it messes with there brains (I am sure there is a fancy word I could use there.
- They usually take there prey in their mouths before moving off and turning it to swallow it head first.
Interesting about the turning the prey head first part – The first Pike that took my fly did move off a few yards with the fly – what I should have done was strike but I think I was in a state of shock (never mind hand numbingly cold) to actually do anything.
You live and learn – more action on Saturday with Alan possibly!