Fly Fishing for Water Wolves
When I was about 5 years old, I pulled a huge Northern Pike out through the ice and screamed to my dad that I caught an alligator….or so the family story goes. The point here is, Pike are not for the faint of heart, this isn’t your alpine trout fishing trip. Big one can measure in at over 3 feet long and 20 lbs with a set of teeth that will turn your thumb into hamburger. The current world record is 55lbs!
Pike are found all over the northern hemisphere. They can be fished from California to Connecticut. Canada is Pike country through. For sheer size and numbers, nothing really compares to our friends on our northern border.
Fly Fishing for Northern Pike
Chasing northern pike with fly tackle is growing in popularity every year. To hunt them down, you’ll be chucking big flies. Big flies, big and heavy rods.
Fly Fishing Rod
Consider an 8 wt as you minimum. I prefer a 10 wt. I know guys that use a 12, but I like a 10 wt.
There are several lines out there now that help you deliver your fly. Weight forward, floating lines are the ticket when plying near the surface. You also might consider going one line size up as well. Slow sinking lines are good in early spring or late fall when you need to get a few feet down.
Big and bright flies are the traditional approach, but you also can’t go wrong with red, chartreuse, black and white.
Bunny’s are a wonderful way to go. They come in a ton of colors too. A purple bunny in the waning hours of the day can be downright deadly. A fire tiger pattern if there are a lot of blue gill around can be a fantastic pattern as well, but my all time favorite is the flash tail whistler.
Most musky flies will also work on pike, though not necessarily the other way around.
You’re looking at wire tippet here for what should be for obvious reasons. I use 4-6 foot of 30lb mono. You should be able to chuck whatever meat you need to with this rig. There’s also plenty of pike leaders available. I don’t waste my money on them though.
What retrieve should you use? Now that’s a different story. Pike are top predators, and act like it. That said, the preferred retrieve on any given day can change.
One constant is erratic, imitating an injured baitfish. The speed with change on any given day, but make sure you mix it up. If you’re sight fishing shallow water, pay attention. They’ll tell you what they prefer - sometimes it is more about the retrieve than it is the fly.
Now once you get hooked on Pike...then there are Musky....
Tight Lines and Screaming Drags