That thing would take your hand off given half a chance….

No trout again this week I am afraid – I have a mission you see – an obsession if you will- I want to catch a double figure Pike on the fly rod….today alas it was not me, however I am getting close – oh yes, so close….

It is always worrying when you take someone to a spot and you think you (and he) might blank – it is the first time fisher curse. However on this occasion the toothy beasts were on, then off, then on, then off again – sometimes I wondered if the monsters were going to play ball at all.

I was with Campbell (a reader) who I have been meaning to fish with for a while now for no other reason than he shares my surname and he has caught far more fish on the fly than I have. It was nice meeting someone who is equally as tackle tarty as I am – oh yea –  he knew his stuff!

We hit the spot at dawn – or rather just before it as it was still dark when we parked the car (a bit of dodgy timing on my part!)- after an hour of fishing we still did not have a beast from the depths…hey wait a mo – at last I had one on – I had cast towards some fry and my fly was intercepted by an angry pike which took line and was fairly acrobatic.

I am getting to be a dab hand at chinning these Pike now – there is hardly any blood involved anymore…

We plugged on with the pike being very odd – they were in a strange mood – we were not getting as many chases and follows as usual however Campbell spotted a nice Pike in some weeds and decided to try a popper – a popper is a surface lure which is worked on top of the surface – it causes a wake and the pike attack it out of aggression (probably think it is a frog – or even more exciting a duck) – no sooner had he cast a couple of times when KERSPLOOSH – he later told me he would have nightmares about those jaws engulfing the popper – anyway here is a video of the “fight” – more a tug of war with an unstoppable force.

Apologies in advance for dodgy camera work…

As he was playing the beast another Pike was spooked…you may hear us talking about it.

The end result..

And of course the creature was set free so that I can catch him/her next week..

Oh, go on then – here is another…

Anyway, the beast was soon away and I was flailing away with a fly that caused a hell of a lot more disturbance – apart from some interesting movements a few times under the water nothing actually went for it until I moved along the shore ten yards and then a wake of water behind my fly told me something was up – the pike pounced and the game was on – good grief these Pike pull hard – mine was a toddler compared to the last one however it was still great fun…

Something strange was going on with the Pike – they all had some kind of skin condition – parasites maybe? Have a look at the pictures and you will see what I mean.

So – I am a step closer to catching a double figure Pike – in my arsenal for next time I shall be adding some of those poppers (I am sure I have an old trout popper kicking around) also I learned that it is not all hopeless to cast in amongst the weeds – sure you will drag back weed however sometimes, just sometimes it could possibly be a mighty beast.


  1. Paul · August 31, 2008

    Woah thats a cracker.Your’s isnt bad either Alistair 😉 Hoping to head to a secret spot this week for some hardcore pike fly action.

  2. Alistair · August 31, 2008

    #slides up to Paul#

    Secret you say – hmmmmmm – fancy a little company?

  3. Paul · August 31, 2008

    Ha ha.Secret but completely untried.Should be good though.I’ll give you a shout if im heading out.

  4. Alistair · August 31, 2008

    Nice 🙂

  5. thebigandyt · August 31, 2008

    That looks pretty scary! I’ve caught a couple of jacks in the past(usually by accident) but if i caught something that size i’d be trying to get out of the water way from it

  6. Sender · August 31, 2008

    It’s not my hands I’d be worried about bollock deep in pike infested water!
    Congratulations on the very relaxed looking unhooking method. Any top tips for succesfully chinning pike?

  7. Sender · August 31, 2008

    Regarding the lesions on the fish – could be Red Sore/Red disease.
    See for discussion. Seems to have been known about since the 1940s but the article wasn’t conclusive about what causes it and the prognosis for infected fish.
    An interesting question (unanswered in the article) is whether infected fish should be returned.
    Might be worth dropping a line to PACGB.

  8. Alistair · August 31, 2008

    You beat me to it Sender – I just found out about that disease today – seems it is pretty common and the fish should be returned!

  9. Jim · August 31, 2008

    Dammit Alistair I wish you’d stop posting these pics and videos of Pike…. Here’s me quietly trying to fish out the rest of the Trout season before breaking out the Pike flys and you keep setting my brain off on a Pike buzz with these cool posts.. HaHaHa

    Well I hope you can live with yourself… You’ve done it now… The big jaws are back on the vice, The magnum zonkers are sitting out ready to add to the EP flies I tied earlier… I might even try to tie some Spun Deer Floaters.
    I’m off work this week and my plans to spend the week on a couple of small rivers are getting cut into with a jaunt up a local pond chasing the toothy ones.

    Hang your head….. LOL

    You mentioned on another post you were thinking of upgrading your Pike rod, have you thought of checking out American E-bay? Even after adding postage and duty costs there are still some real bargains going.

  10. Paul · August 31, 2008

    I agree with Jim. You are incredibly selfish posting all these pikey reports. I just spent £30 in the angling centre on hooks,frizz fibre,threads ,and bits of foam!;-)

  11. Alistair · August 31, 2008

    Roll on Christmas I say !!

  12. Campbell S · August 31, 2008

    Thanks for posting an entertaining and acurate account of our shenannigans.

    I too thought we may fall foul of the first time fisher curse, but hey it wasn’t so.

    That pike is my biggest to date which is pretty sweet. I still keep having flashbacks of all the small baitfish erupting around the void where my fly was after it inhaled it and all the water. Thankfully I have not had any nightmares……. My popper must have crapped itself during the take as both its eyes fell off.

    I did think about the safety of my “tackle” standing waist deep in the water after I had seen some of the big fish feeding.

    Good times.


  13. Paul Lee · August 31, 2008

    Hey Alistair nice account of fly fishing for the Big Girls but i noticed in the video you where using the popper as your fly how hard are they to cast ????

  14. Alistair · August 31, 2008

    Hi Paul – I was not using a popper – I think in the video when you see my fly it was a streamer. You can cast a popper with an 8/9 weight no problem.

    I am getting my poppers from “Flying Hooks” look up and to the right in the recomended retailers section in the sidebar – a direct link to them is

    At a quid each they are an absolute bargain!!

  15. Campbell S · August 31, 2008

    Just be careful what size you are tring to cast, A size 2 or 1/0 may be as big as you can go on an 8wt. The one’s Alistair is linking to are size 6 so should be easily castable. I struggle to chuck a 2/0 popper on an 8wt, gets a bit dangerous…..

    I was using a size 2 foam popper.

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