Previously in fly fishing for pike I talked about the tackle, so now that you have got your piking kit sorted out how do you go about catching these toothy specimens?
Firstly you will need to be able to perform the double haul cast. This is a must as you will just not be able to achieve the necessary line speed to cast and thus turn over the large flies you will be using with just the basic overhead cast. If you can’t double haul get some casting lessons, not only will this avoid any frustration but will make your casting a lot safer.
The flies you will be using will be imitations of small fish or even frogs and mice! There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to fly selection, what works one day fails on another. Keep experimenting whilst fishing until you find the pattern that the fish want on the day. I prefer flies with plenty of movement in them, a pulsating dressing is something that pike seem to be unable to ignore. Again colour of fly is something that should be experimented with, if you know there is a large head of say roach or perch at the water you are fishing try imitating their colours in your fly as the pike will be probably switched on to feeding on these…….yes, we can match the hatch for predators too!
Although pike can turn up anywhere its worth having a think about where you fish at your chosen venue. Fish tend to congregate around features and pike are no different. Look for weed beds and rushes in the margins or any sort of cover as pike like to lie in wait and ambush their prey, drop offs in depth are something else to search out as the pike lie in the deeper water ready to intercept their prey cruising just over the ledge in the shallower water.
Once you are set up and ready to start fishing make sure you cast short to start with so you cover any fish lying under your bank. I like to fan cast form left to right before lengthening my cast and repeating the series of casts again. It pays to be mobile when pike fishing, go and find the fish as they do not tend to come to you, so don’t flog one spot for too long, keep moving.
I will usually start with a floating line as pike will spot the profile of a large fly from below and from a distance but if water clarity is not too good or I am fishing water with some depth I will switch to an intermediate line to get my fly down to the eye line of the fish. Again experiment with your density of line until you find the right tactic for the day.
So when this year’s game season ends and the first autumn frosts appear, give pike on fly a go, it’s a great way to spend the winter months waiting for the next season to arrive.