Targeting pike on the fly is one of the fastest growing – and most adrenaline fuelled – branches of the sport so Sportfish Tuition Manager Tom Festing was keen to catch up with one of the undoubted maestros of the method, David Wolsoncroft-Dodds
Tom and David fished together on the delightful Bowood Estate Lake, venue for our NEW pike on the fly courses, and selected their top tackle to tame big, toothy predators.
For rods look for a progressive action to make casting big, hairy pike flies a relaxed process so that you can enjoy your sport without aches and pains. Your choice also needs to be able to handle big fish comfortably. The Farlows Saltwater Series Rod is ideal tool, as is the Saltwater Outfit.
if you are looking for a great value-for-money option. The Greys Carnivore XFC with its fast recovering tip action is another one to look at.
David has read articles that state you do not need a good drag for pike – and he disagrees strongly – you most certainly do! His choice is the Sage 4210 reel but is also happy to recommend models from Tibor, Nautilus and Lamson. The important factor is to ensure that the reel is big enough to hold the fly line without cramping it into coils that are too small.
Fly lines for pike need to have short head lengths which load the rod quickly and make casting big pike flies (relatively!) straightforward. The freshwater RIO Outbound Short Fly Line is a good choice and David also recommends using a buoyant fly for bumping close to the bottom.
David recommends attaching your fly to about 12″ of Rio Powerflex Wire Bite Tippet (30lb) using a Rapala Knot. This forms a secure loop that allows the fly to wiggle enticingly. Join the wire to a Seaguar fluorocarbon leader with a shock leader knot; the total length of the leader should vary from about 8’6″ with a floating line down to 3’6″ with a T14 head and a buoyant fly.
David ties his own flies but if you prefer to buy yours then take a look at the BC Perch Special, the BC Grizzle and Black, the Roach, the perch fry or the Electric Yellow Roach. You will also need a Big Fly Box to store them in.
You will need a suitable landing net, designed to cope with big fish and David’s recommendation is the Mclean Salmon/Sea Trout Weigh Fishing Net.
You will also need some wire cutters and pliers / forceps and the Sportfish fishing pliers are the ideal tool to make unhooking easy.
If you want to know more about catching pike on the fly there are still one or two places left on our new (and very popular) ‘Pike on the Fly’ course and you can read David’s thoughts in his book, ‘Fly-Fishing for Pike’.