Picky Pike!

Two sessions of Pike fishing since we last spoke – both strange for different reasons – both occasions I have been using my Loop Pike Booster with a floating 9WF line, 3 foot 30lb leader and a bizarre EP fibre monstrosity.

The First Session (overcast, warm – lasted 3 hours)

Scanning with Polaroids

Scanning with Polaroids

I spooked Pike – lots of them – I counted over a dozen – big ones – all spooked by lining them as I cast in amongst weeds, they shot off like rockets – they were not amused. I lost two Pike – I worked hard for those takes and both were unlucky. The first broke me off at the braided leader, I have no idea how this happened as I check all my connections before commencing fishing for the beasts. After tying on a new leader I then dropped my scissors into the murky depths, it then started raining.

Added Insult - Rain

Added Insult - Rain

Have you ever tried to cut 30lb mono with your teeth?

However the Gods were not against me for long as the second beast I cast to was spotted because its tail was sticking out the water – I cast towards it and there was another huge displacement of water behind my fly – “take it take it take it” I chanted as I continued the retrieve – it took and then dive bombed into some weeks taking several yards of fly line off my reel in a few seconds – it then broke free and my fly flew back in my face.

Weeds on the Loch

Weeds on the Loch

The Second Session (bright, sunny, stayed until dusk)

At least I caught two pike on this session – however this time I spooked no pike – like none at all – I have no idea where they were. I took along Paul (KAA Secretary) – he blanked for the first time this season, obviously due to the infamous curse of the first time fisher at a new spot.

Paul Reid - flailing away!

Paul Reid - flailing away!

Both Pike were fluked caught with extreme skill and knowledge – no picture of the first however it was a few pounds bigger than the second.



The beasts fought hard even though they are summer fish – on returning to the water they shot off like angry tigers!

A Beast!

A Beast!

At the time I decided to not go back until Autumn however maybe I am being a little quick – I am being spurred on by Scott’s excellent adventure on his secret loch.

I need to tie flies!


  1. dave lindsay · July 18, 2009

    interesting read thanks for that , matter of interest were you using wire leader or just 30lb mono , i dont use wire but i use 12 inchs of 90 0r 120lb hard mono above the fly as a trace which i havent had a bite of yet , lot of guys are now using this instead of wire for pike fly fishing and its pretty much widely used in the states for them.

    keep up the great work

  2. Alistair · July 18, 2009

    Hey Dave – I should have added that I use a wire trace attached to the mono – the mono is just a leader.

    Hmmmm Hard Mono – where do you get that from? Are you still based in Edinburgh?

  3. dave lindsay · July 18, 2009

    hi alistair yes still in edinburgh , the hard mono is pretty much avalible from loads of places glasgow angling center has it , or if you want to get it online uksaltwaterflies.com

    also forgot to add that you can also use segaur flurocarbon 90lb also does the job very well chap was using it on one of our events he had a lot of fish up to 20lb in weight i checked his leader near the end of the day and there wasnt a mark on it the rest of us 15 anglers blanked that day big eye opener

    all the best

  4. Alistair · July 18, 2009

    Hmmmm interesting – obviously using wire traces are pish – so would you use the same length of mono the whole day?

    Would you ever go less than 90lb?

    Is the seaguar fluorocarbon the normal or the hard stuff?

  5. dave · July 18, 2009

    freind of mine has had the same 120lb hard mono trace on for a year and its never needed changed yet and hes had a lot of fish .

    the seaguar fluorocarbon is just the normal stuff the hard mono is made by these are not cheap but they do do the job , i wouldnt go below 90lb though

    you have my email if you mail me your adress ill stick one in the post tommorow for you to try

  6. Alistair · July 18, 2009

    You are a star Dave – I have sent you my address!

  7. dave · July 18, 2009

    no problem alistair i have loads of the things made up will stick in the post tomorow

    all the best

  8. Paul · July 18, 2009

    Hi Alistair,
    What’s the thinking behind using such a short leader? don’t you think that may be the reason you lined so many fish?

  9. Alistair · July 18, 2009

    Hey Paul – the fish were spooked as they were sitting just under the surface – the fly line actually landed on their backs – as soon as they felt it they bolted. The length of the actual leader would not have mattered – they were just not feeding!

    My leader is usually 3-5 feet depending on……well….pretty much just what kind of mood I am in on the day – that day I was expermimenting with short leaders. After I lost the first Pike I changed to a 5 feet leader with a 12 inch trace – did not matter I still spooked fish.

    What is your set up? I know you have been having a ball recently 🙂

  10. Paul · July 18, 2009

    I usually use about 7ft of 15lb mono and a 12-18in wire trace.
    Sounds like the pike you spooked were just sunbathing! 🙂

  11. Roddy · July 18, 2009

    Hi Al,
    My goodness…did I hear right?!
    Using wire traces for pike or/and 30lb plus leaders, ha!
    Sorry to change the subject slightly, but years ago, doon the Firth of Clyde, we used to fish for conger eels without wire traces and gynormous hooks: the ‘skilless ones’ did, but not us as it was completely unnecessary. Sorry to be so patronising but many folk (for reasons I cannot fathom) are of the opinion that pike (and congers etc as well) have such great sharp teeth, that by employing any line less than the fashionable 30 or 40lb will only lead to breakages. I caught all my big congers on my standard 20lb line (which was my main line) and 2 or 3.0 hooks. Sure, you will get broke from time to time, but that can happen during any session. PS, a way back in the 70s, I recall reading an article (cannie remember the magazine name) but guys were fishing for yellow fin and other tuna species with fly rods and six hundred yards of 6lb backing: the backing in the key…not the breaking strain but the amount of line and your willingness to a little time to tire out rather than bully your adversary.

  12. scott · July 18, 2009

    I have fannied about with all different leader lengths and tend to use pretty unfashionable lengths it seems, my standard set-up is 9ft of 15lb mono then a 12-inch trace. This is mostly because I fish a floater 99% of the time and this allows me to fish slightly deeper. This is basically down to laziness because I can never be bothered to change over to a sinking or intermediate head.

    I find the longer leaders slightly more difficult to cast but its worth persevering with as it gives you options and is marginally more stealthy.

    P.s. thanks very much for the link to my page alistair!


  13. Lee · July 18, 2009

    Just a tip, if you dont like the idea of using mono because of fear of bite offs & you are finding the wire trace awkward, I use a 4 foot mono leader & a two foot trace made from kevlar braid, which is light & flexible & bite proof, the kevlar braid is used for catfish & is made by a company called catfish pro.

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