The Messy Pike Fly - Large, colorful, voluminous - just the kind of fly a large pike will like - Global FlyFisher

GFF logo



   

The Messy Pike Fly


Published Sep 10th 2006

Large, colorful, voluminous - just the kind of fly a large pike will like

By

  
+
10+ klilos or 20+ lbs - Pike in this size are not a common sight in any pike lake. We caught two on this particular day.
10+ klilos or 20+ lbs
+
Messy pike - This 20 lbs pike managed to wringle itself free and wound up in the bottom of the boat. The closest feet are mine, and I\'m trying to keep them out of harms way.
Messy pike
 
This fly is not one of my typical pike flies. For that it is way too complex and has too many tying steps and too many different materials. I don't like complex pike flies. I spend dozens of minutes tying one, and a pike spends seconds shredding it!
But this one serves a purpose: It's a big, voluminous and flashy fly, which is still fairly easy to cast, and in spite of the amount of material it is not as prone to hooking itself as some of my other material-rich pike flies.

The pattern was sparked by a summer of excellent pike fishing. A couple of the guys that I fish with and I have been fishing a small lake during what is usually considered the worst time for lake pike: the peak of summer. The air has been scorching, water has been boiling and the algae have been blooming like it is often the case in nutrient-rich lakes in the summer. Usually that means no pike. The fish will tend to be passive, they will seek deeper water, and they won't be able to hunt with their sight. So pike anglers wait out the summer and put their efforts into the autumn, winter and spring months.



  
+
Messy handful - Large and messy - just like they should be.
Messy handful
 
We started fishing for summer pike a couple of years ago, and there's no complaining about that. We've had a few skunked trips, but we have also had some fantastic trips. The weather has usually been very pleasant, and our worst problem has been wind - particularly in the late summer months where cloud cover and passing showers often lead to sudden wind shifts.

I think there are a few keys to our success:
- Fishing fairly deep, oftentimes connecting with the bottom
- Fishing large, visible and "noisy" flies
- Knowing the lake and having experience with which spots hold fish

The last point is of course obvious and a bit stupid to point out, but never the less very important. Searching and finding the pike has been a key to the success. After having found them we have subsequently fished the same spot many times, with good luck most times.

We have used Teeny and Rio 300 grain lines on 9wt. rods and I have even used a 750 grains line from Teeny. Not exactly a pleasure to cast, but it gets down!



OK, now, back to the fly. I have previously fished with large muddlers, and have had success with Monster Muddlers on this lake and others. But even though this fly may seem big, it shrinks when it's stuck in the jaws of a 16 lbs. Pike. The flies we have used this year have been bigger and have had more flash and action. I have used some tied with tonnes of artificial hair and flash, but they have an annoying tendency to catch themselves and develop into a large, tangled bunch of material. Not that I think the pike mind, but I do.




  
+
Free the points - When tying a large head like this, it\'s important to keep the hook point free by trimming the underside flat
Free the points
+
Release - When releasing large pike in warm water, make sure that they are able to swim away by themselves before letting them go.
Release
 
In stead of the artificial hair I have returned to the good old bucktail, which is very good for large streamers. It may seem stiff when dry, but it has lots of life once it's wet. Add to that generous amounts of flash and you get a very visible fly. My first experiments had a cone head and not much massive volume, but I wanted more water to move when the fly was dragged through the murky waters. As a die hard muddler man, I of course chose a deer hair head for that. The line will draw the fly down no matter how buoyant it may become, and actually, a floating fly on a sinking line is not a bad combination at all.

So bucktail, flash and deer hair it was, and the messy part could commence.

In order to keep the flash and hairs from swinging around the hook, I tie in the materials on top of the hook shank. First a bunch of bucktail midshank, then a bunch of flash. Then repeat the process, maybe with some other colors, just for the sake of variation. This part of the fly will fill maybe a third of the hook shank. In front of this you create a large and messy muddler head by tying on several bunches of deer hair and spinning them around the shank. Compress these first hairs a bit and tie in a second bunch. Keep on doing this until there is only room for a whip finish. You can see a more detailed description on tying muddlers in the article Muddler Mania. Don't worry too much about the appearance of the head at this stage. Whip finish, varnish generously and put the fly aside to dry.

Once it's dry it's ready to be trimmed. Don't trim it too close, but let the head be fairly messy and large. Trim it just a bit closer on the bottom of the head in order to clear the tip of the hook.

Arm the fly with a bite tippet made from wire, thick monofilament or whatever you fancy and you are ready to roll.



Materials
HookLarge straight eye size 2-2/0
ThreadTo suit materials
WingBucktail on flash on bucktail
HeadDeer hair, muddler style


Tying instructions
  1. Tie in the thread midshank
  2. Tie in a bunch of bucktail. The length should be about 2½-3 times hook length
  3. Lay a bunch of flash over the bucktail - slightly longer than the bucktail
  4. Tie in a second bunch of bucktail
  5. Stack a large bunch of deer hair
  6. Tie it in to twist and form a large collar in front of the wing
  7. Stack further bunches of deer hair to form a head
  8. Whip finish and varnish in front of the head
  9. Trim the deer hair. It should look a little messy when you're done
Choose the colors as you please. Colorful flies look good, but white is probably the most efficient color for pike flies.


User comments
From: Tim Horneman · timjosien·at·home.nl  Link
Submitted March 20th 2008

Martin,
I just discovered your site. Very inspiring! I will visit it more often.
Hope my English is not to bad.
I am fishing for pike since i was 16 years young. Now I am 42, and for the last two years I am fishing with the fly on Pike. It's a addiction!!!
Here in the Netherlands is the season for fishing for Pike just closed.(Even though the Pike his / hers spawning is probably already done)
Time for tying some (of your patterns) streamers and fly-fishing for Ide!!

Tim


From: Clyde E. Pullen · cepullen·at·hotmail.com  Link
Submitted October 31st 2007

Martin, Now... That's a Pike! Arms tired?
Martin, when did you say I was invited to share your boat, was it Nov. or Dec. '07???? Can't remember, [must be gettig old...****/##]
KEEP YOUR LINE WET!!!
In His Love,
Clyde


From: mike · mickydoo600·at·yahoo.com  Link
Submitted April 18th 2007

Hit the jackpot,white body with orange head and a bit of flash,got 13 in 2 hours on sunday morning!Im getting a lot of missed takes,do you think an offset hook would help?


From: mike · mickydoo600·at·yahoo.com  Link
Submitted March 17th 2007

cheers,keep up the good work.


GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·globalflyfisher.com  Link
Submitted March 17th 2007

Mike,

Pike hook sizes can cause some controversy, but my own attitude is that you should choose whatever size suits you and works for you. Swedish pike master Soren Essebo uses hooks as small as 4's and 6's for his pike flies and catches a lot of pike, while others prefer large hooks like the ones you use. Personally I'm inbetween. The hook should be lightweight and castable but still durable and able to contain materials for a large fly. Depending on the style of hook I have landed on something between 2 and 2/0 for most my flies.

Martin


From: mike · mickydoo600·at·yahoo.com  Link
Submitted March 17th 2007

Im a kiwi living in Ireland.I started fly fishing for pike last year and am hooked.I tie my own chook sized flies on a No 6-0 hook,is this a bit big?Ive caught a lot of pike on em,do you think a 2-0 is better?


GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·globalflyfisher.com  Link
Submitted September 14th 2006

Kirk,

The so-called Orton-effect, which is used on all the images in this article, is merely a Photoshop-effect, which is freely accessible. See more details here.

Martin


From: kirk · revolution.kirk·at·gmail.com  Link
Submitted September 14th 2006

Awesome article... Great looking pattern.. and the pictures are awesome.. how did you get that soft blur effect in the first few photos?


GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·globalflyfisher.com  Link
Submitted September 11th 2006

Jason,

We don't fish that deep. The depth of the lakes usually keep us from going under 6-8' or about 2-2½ meters. What I indicated by "fishing deep" was just that we want the flies to get down well below the surface and preferably just above the bottom. If you want to go deeper, try a denser line, like a Teeny 750. That will go to almost any depth!

We haven't fished much in weedy areas, but technically that should be feasable. And of course you can add a weed guard.

Martin


From: Jason Haslam · jason·at·utahflydrifters.com  Link
Submitted September 11th 2006

Martin, in your article you mentioned that you go deep with these flies....how deep is deep? 20 ft? 30 ft? I'd like to get an idea of what type to conditions you were fishing? Have you had any success fishing these flies in shallow weeded areas....maybe with a weed guard? I'd like to try these flies for Tiger Muskie....I think they'll work great. Thanks.


GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·globalflyfisher.com  Link
Submitted September 10th 2006

Brian,

These flies have been tied on 2/0 Aberdeen saltwater hooks from Partridge. That's what I had plenty of, and the hook is suitably large without being too large.

And yes, I'm sure large bass will love this fly too.

Martin


From: Brian Larson · blarson·at·pcii.net  Link
Submitted September 10th 2006

What hook do you like? Bet some nice big bass would like them too.


GFF staff comment
Comment to an image
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·globalflyfisher.com  Link
Submitted June 13th 2007

Alex,

The "filter" is really an action and you need to start Photoshop, go to the actions palette or toolbox and select Load Actions from the menu. Locate the *.atn file, which you unzipped and load it and you can now realease it on any image by clicking on it and pressing the play button in the actions toolbox.

Martin


Comment to an image
From: Alex Kirchner · alex-kirchner·at·web.de  Link
Submitted June 13th 2007

Hi Martin,
may I ask you for some help? I am very excited about this filter (and the gff-page in general). I downloaded the zip.file and opened it....my photoshop starts but nothing happend. The filter is not listet...What is wrong ?
Thanks a lot !


GFF staff comment
Comment to an image
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·globalflyfisher.com  Link
Submitted September 10th 2006

Vince,

I used an Orton filter effect for Photoshop. It comes in the shape of an action. I found it mentioned in a discussion on DPReview. You can find it by following this link to the zip-file. It's developed by Joe Colson.

Martin


Comment to an image
From: Vincent Derks · vincent_derks·at·hotmail.com  Link
Submitted September 10th 2006

Hi Martin,
I'm wondering what kind of effect or filter you use to accomplish this "blurry" effect to your pictures. I really like it. I can see in your picture information that you've used photoshop. Would you be kind enough to share this information?
Grtz, Vince



Want to comment this page? Fill out the form below.
Comment
Only comments
in English
are accepted!

Comentarios en Ingles
solamente, por favor!

Your name Your email
Anonymize my information. Name and email will not be shown with comment.
Notify me on new comments to this article on the above email-address.
You don't have to comment to start or stop notifications.

All comments will be screened by the GFF staff before publication.
No HTML, images, ads or links, please - we do not publish such comments...
And only English language comments will be published.
Name and email is optional but recommended.
The email will be shown in a disguised form in the final comment to protect you against spam
You can see other public comments on this page

 

Part of the theme:
Pike Flies
Large and gaudy flies for the toothy predators of the northern hemisphere.