Pike Duster

Published Oct 14th 2013

Inspired by some large, colorful saddles and an ordinary feather duster, this pike fly is voluminous and voluptuous.


The Pike Duster

During my visit to the latest Danish Fly Festival I bought myself a set of dyed badger rooster saddles from Chevron Hackles, a UK hackle producer whose booth at this show always has an almost magic attraction on me and seems to draw me in and talk to me. Buy... more... hackle...

Now, it's not like I don't have any saddles already. I'm sure that if my wife knew how many I really have, she'd deem me even crazier than she does already, but then again... can a fly tyer ever have too many feathers? No way! No matter when and where I see a bin or a wall full of colorful saddles and necks, I cannot help it. I have to open some bags and let my fingers do the running.
Buy... more... hackle...


So I found myself pulling down bags from the pegs on the wall and piling them up for further scrutinizing and selection. I wound up buying three saddles in three beautiful red and orange hues, selected with large pike flies in mind.
During our annual autumn coastal trip I whipped up the first flies using these feathers, and wound up with a fly, which I dubbed the Pike Duster thanks to its likeness to a feather duster.
There's absolutely nothing revolutionary about the fly. Actually, it's more like a seen-it-done-it pattern, using a very simple stacking technique, where the aim is to create volume in the fly.
The pattern is a real feather eater, and it's almost impossible to tie in too many feathers, even though there is a limit to the sensible number. You want size and volume, but also have to take into consideration that the fly has to be cast at the end of a fly line.
Because of the number of feathers and the crudeness of the pattern, it's an obvious choice to use some large, coarse and soft feathers - maybe even some low grade ones - and a pattern like this is an obvious place to use the remains of saddles and necks where all the "good" feathers have been used.


I don't know whether the pike care about eyes on the flies, but I do and I like to put fairly large eyes on my pike flies. In the old days that meant playing with epoxy, but these days the modern UV resins makes it a breeze to add and secure eyes and to build up a head.

I use large and fairly heavy hooks for this fly, and recently bought a whole bunch of different pike hooks from David Lindsay's Pike and Predator Fly site with its large selection of hooks for pike flies sold at very reasonable prices.
I use sizes in the 4/0 to 8/0 range, which makes for some very big hooks, but also hooks that will stand up to the brutal force that pike can offer. The flies won't be lightweight, but kept in modest sizes (for pike flies at least), they won't be terrible to cast. My pike flies are typically in the 15-20 centimeter or 6-8 inch range, and have been known to catch large fish.

Lots of feathers

Pike Duster
TypePike fly
Martin Joergensen
Year of origin
Target species

HookLarge straight eye hook, size 4/0 - 8/0
Thread6/0 to match fly color
TailBucktail to macth fly color
FlashSmooth flash, 8-10 straws to match fly color
BodyLarge, soft saddle feathers
HackleLarge, soft hackle feather
EyesDolls' eyes, 1 centimeter or about 3/8 of an inch
HeadUV cured resin

Tying steps
Step 1 - thread - Start with the thread behind the hook eye
Step 1 - thread
Step 2 - bucktail - Prepare a generous bunch of bucktail
Step 2 - bucktail
Step 3 - tie in bucktail - Tie in the bucktail and trim the butts
Step 3 - tie in bucktail
Step 4 - flash - Tie in some flash in the front of the bucktail
Step 4 - flash
Step 5 - flash back - Pull the flash to the rear and tie it down
Step 5 - flash back
Step 6 - hackle - Get out a large saddle
Step 6 - hackle
Step 7 - feathers - Pull off a bunch of large and soft feathers
Step 7 - feathers
Step 8 - strip feathers - Strip the soft part off the feathers and leave the stems
Step 8 - strip feathers
Step 9 - tie in - Tie the feathers in one or two at the time, curved side in and evenly distributed around the shank. Move the thread forward a bit.
Step 9 - tie in
Step 10 - more feathers - Repeat tying in several rings of feathers in the same manner, moving forward a bit for each row.
Step 10 - more feathers
Step 11 - final row - The last row of feathers should leave enough space on the hook shank for the eyes and head.
Step 11 - final row
Step 12 - trim stems - Trim off all the surplus hackle stems
Step 12 - trim stems
Step 13 - cover butts - Cover the remaining butts with an even layer of thread and form a foundation for the eyes and head.
Step 13 - cover butts
Step 14 - hackle - Select a large and soft feather for the hackle
Step 14 - hackle
Step 15 - wind hackle - Tie in the hackle at the base, curved side to the front and wrap it as many times as possible.
Step 15 - wind hackle
Step 16 - finish hackle - Tie down the hackle, cut the stem and cover the remaining stem with thread. Whip finish and cut thread.
Step 16 - finish hackle
Step 17 - first eye - Turn the fly sideways and place the first eye on the side of the thread wraps.
Step 17 - first eye
Step 18 - cure - Cure the resin using a UV lamp.
Step 18 - cure
Step 19 - second eye - Add the second eye to the opposite site on a bit of UV resin and cure it.
Step 19 - second eye
Step 20 - build up head - Build up the head in steps, adding more resin and curing it a little at the time.
Step 20 - build up head

Fishing this fly isn't rocket science. Pike fishing generally isn't. I like to use a sinking line for pike, especially in the warmer part of the season when fishing on lakes, while I prefer a floater when the water is colder and at all times when fishing for pike in the brackish ocean water of the Baltic Sea. Pike fishing is often search fishing, often in the depth from a boat or casting towards the bank, reeds or weed and lily patches on the lookout for some action.

I often use a steel trace for my pike flies, which will ensure fewer lost flies and fish. Pike teeth are extremely sharp, and even the thickest and hardest mono leader is in danger of being cut once the fish is hooked. The steel makes the fly heavier to cast, but I prefer the weight over the risk.

Pike fishing

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