Do you Pike?

Druunkonego

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I love fishing for these toothy critters. This was taken from the lake I grew up on yesterday. Just shy of 40" its my personal best to date. I've heard of 50"+ pike in that lake and I'm on a mission to find one. This one was paired up with another of that size. I saw the first one following and make a pass but it missed. This one then came from behind and took it deep. After many long runs I had it in the boat.


These are my go-to flies for the job (Krueger's Musky Perch). Though I also like Dahlberg Divers and Chocklett's T-Bones.


Watch your fingers though cause they'll shred em'. I've got bandages on two of my fingers right now from removing the fly (ouch). Their slime is an anticoagulant too so if they do nick you, you'll bleed good.



I looked but didn't see a dedicated Pike thread.
Who else loves targeting these on the fly.
Post em if you got em!
 
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Ard

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That's a great fish, looking at it with the rod for scale I'd say that's about as big as any I've caught. Congratulations!
 

marianeq

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i go pike fishing most of my trips, it's very satisfying, especially when fishing just off the surface. The explosions during attacks never get old :)

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my last 100cm pike of this season, from a 1ft shallow weedless flat
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my very first 100cm Scottish pike on a fly


I'm moving to western Japan in December, so no more piking for me :(
 

Druunkonego

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marianeq

It's interesting to see the subtle variations in the same species from one side of the pond (figuratively speaking, of course) to the other. Yours almost have a stripe pattern, like you might see on a tiger musky, but certainly not as pronounced.

EDIT: Are those tiger muskies? The longer I look at them the less sure I am.
I've only ever caught one tiger and it was all of about 7 inches.

I'm not sure what fishing in Japan is like but here's hoping they've got something even more fun to target.
 

clouserguyky

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I'd love to fish for Pike, but unfortunately they do not persist in Kentucky. They were stocked in a few areas in the 70s but never took hold, which ended up being the best scenario anyways, ecologically speaking. Some of the neighboring states have them, but I've never made a point to chase them.

We do have a good population of Muskellunge throughout the state. I've yet to get dip my toe into that pool though because I know myself well enough to know that I'll probably be hooked if I do...


Interesting to hear you use a 7 weight. That sounds like fun! I figured a 9 was the lightest folks might go for Esox species. Would you mind sharing your fly line and leader set up as well?
 

Druunkonego

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clouserguyky,
I wouldn’t say I have this down to a science just yet. I’m still experimenting with different line and leader set-ups but starting with the philosophy of “work with what you’ve got” I can tell you what I’ve used and what’s worked (or hasn’t) for me.

This fish was caught on Rio Single Hand Spey 3D F/H/I line... not because it’s the best line for this application (it’s not) but because it has an intermediate sink tip and I thought it would help to get the fly down. It has a heavy, rear-weighted head and a long front taper... as the name implies, good for roll casts. I bought it for swinging string-leeches for Salmon in Alaska. But that long front taper makes it somewhat difficult to load up until you get the whole head out. I wouldn’t really recommend it for this. I’m sure there’s something better out there. The other reel I use on this rod is outfitted with SA Anadro, a long belly line that’s a half weight heavy (again, bought for targeting Salmon). I really like this line. It carries very well and would cast these bulky flies much better than the RIO SHS. But I went with the SHS due to the sink tip.

Previously, with that rod, I had tried OPST Smooth in 250 grain. I feel like that is the line most people would choose given these options but I was not a fan. I found it a little too unwieldy. To chuck a huge fly with a relatively light rod, it works but your presentation will suffer. I have a good double haul (growing up fishing from a boat on a lake) and with a heavy shooting head, overhang isn’t exactly your friend. I would find myself hurling bulky fly and shooting head across the pond only to have it all land in a big pile on top of itself. And I could never get the hang of that “skagit flow” roll cast thing on the river anyway. I found the Rio SHS to be much more useful in that regard (with my 9 footer anyway. Your mileage may vary).

There’s so many different niche lines out there. It’s enough to make your head spin. I’m finding I prefer a simple long belly line.

For a leader I used a piece of 50 lb mono for a butt section, and then 6-7’ of 20 lb mono, to some kind of bite-proof tippet... in this case, more 50 lb mono. Though I’ve used bite wire and other products.

I try not to over think it and work with what I’ve got.
I am interested in hearing what works for you.
 
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ia_trouter

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That's a very nice Northern Druunk! I'm sure you are aware 40" pike are pretty special in the lower 48 these days. I don't live anywhere near good pike water, but I've been chasing them since 1986 when my soon to be wife talked me into going to northern MN with her family for the first time. Most of this time was on gear but I have a 9WT St Croix Legend-E but I picked a 7WT for water where the pike run smaller. I will never get tired of a nice pike crushing a fly near the waters surface. Heck even smaller fish are a blast to catch on a fly rod.
 

marianeq

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Are those tiger muskies?
I'm not sure what fishing in Japan is like but here's hoping they've got something even more fun to target.
The UK and continental Europe only has northern pike, so there is no chance of hybridising with other pike species. pikes in central European deep clear lakes tend to have huge yellow spots aligned in bands, making them pretty much invisible amongst vegetation.

I went fishing in rivers in Ehime Prefecture last April and I got a couple of big native barbels (ニゴイ) and I saw some monstrous carp cruising right by my feet, so i'm sure they will be a much better alternative to pike. Japanese anglers are mad about LMBs. I've never even seen them in my life prior to the trip, and I found them to be very aggressive, attacking just about anything I threw at them, and the fight is underwhelming. Bit like zander (walleye), in that it's 1min of thrashing and once you jaw them, they stay still.... meh
I'm much more hyped about saltwater fishing. the waters around the area where I will live are teaming with fish that are keen on flies.
 

sjkirkpa

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I enjoy chasing pike with a fly. In fact, I find myself doing more pike fly fishing than fishing for trout (well, almost). We have some very large pike in my part of the UP, which can be a lot of fun. I'm usually in my canoe, unless I am wading a river for them. If I'm in my canoe, I bring two rods, both 8wts (Echo EPR and an older Scott SAS). One is rigged with a heavy sink tip (Airflo streamer max) and the other a floating line (Rio OBS). Short, heavy leaders, about 6ft finished with either a wire braid (jewelry wire) for the sinki-tip or 40lb mono for the floating line.

Sometimes putting a surface fly like a deer-hair frog or a diver on the sink-tip can give the fly some unique movement that that pike can't resist. It's a good tactic in those in-between seasons like right after the spawn when the fish become less inclined to grab a fly.

Anyway, it's good fun and every now and then you find one willing to put up a good long fight.

BTW, I find that a wire braid brand called Beadalon Bead Stringing Wire (you can get it at Walmart) works well as a bite tippet. It is very easy to tie a knot in (I tie the fly on using a jam knot) and does not kink as much as the commercial wire bite tippets. Plus you can get 30ft of it for under $3.
 
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Druunkonego

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trouter, thanks. I consider myself lucky to have grown up on, and still have access to such a nice lake. There are several in the area but only a couple are know to hold good pike.

Marianeq, I did not know there aren’t any musky in Europe... and I learned something. Definitely interesting! Those markings sure look similar to what I’d expect to see on a tiger.
I imagine fishing in the salt off of Japan would yield some interesting fish!

sjkirk, I’ve got a couple spools of that beading wire. I’ve experimented with it for intruders but for whatever reason never tried it as tippet. I could see it working well for that.
 

huronfly

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Interesting to hear you use a 7 weight. That sounds like fun! I figured a 9 was the lightest folks might go for Esox species. Would you mind sharing your fly line and leader set up as well?
I have a pike river in my backyard, and believe it or not my go-to rod is a 9'10" 4 weight or 9' 6wt. These pike generally do not get any bigger than 5 or 6lbs and I don't need to throw half a chicken to catch them! You might think you'd be under gunned but pike really don't go on big runs and even with these light set ups the fight never lasts more than 30 seconds.

When lake fishing and using bigger flies, I do opt for an 8 or 10 weight. Need more casting distance, and bigger flies are pretty standard where there is more and larger forage.

Wish I had more big pike water nearby... There is big musky water but I haven't put in the time yet.
 

baconcrusader

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Congrat's on the nice pike! This thread is making me rethink why my 9wt hasn't been used in a bit. We have a decent lake nearby that's known for having pike in it, just never knew where to start.
 
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