Published Oct 6. 2013 - 10 years ago
Updated or edited Oct 28. 2021

Pike Duster

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

Not huge - The Pike Duster needs not to be tied in enormous sizes. This size of fly is still easy to cast on a pike rod and can entice even big fish.
Waiting - A handful of finished Pike Dusters waiting for some action.
The Pike Duster
Martin Joergensen

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...

Sucked in - Passing this sight at the Danish Fly Festival sucks me in. Gotta... buy... hackle!
Orange badger - These feathers are perfect for the Pike Duster: orange Chevron badger saddle
Martin Joergensen

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.

Front look - The fly is large and has a lot of volume
Head - The doll\'s eyes are covered with UV resin to form a medium size head.
Martin Joergensen

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.

Scraps - The pile of scraps reveals the large number of feathers that can go into the Pike Dusters.
Now, that\'s a large fly! - My pike flies are midges compared to Dutch Herman Broers\' large constructions, which employ the same feather duster style
Lots of feathers
Martin Joergensen
Pike Duster
Pattern type: 
Pike fly
Martin Joergensen
Large straight eye hook, size 4/0 - 8/0
6/0 to match fly color
Bucktail to macth fly color
Smooth flash, 8-10 straws to match fly color
Large, soft saddle feathers
Large, soft hackle feather
Dolls\' eyes, 1 centimeter or about 3/8 of an inch
UV cured resin
Skill level/difficulty: 

Tying steps

Step 1 - thread

Step 2 - bucktail

Step 3 - tie in bucktail

Step 4 - flash

Step 5 - flash back

Step 6 - hackle

Step 7 - feathers

Step 8 - strip feathers

Step 9 - tie in

Step 10 - more feathers

Step 11 - final row

Step 12 - trim stems

Step 13 - cover butts

Step 14 - hackle

Step 15 - wind hackle

Step 16 - finish hackle

Step 17 - first eye

Step 18 - cure

Step 19 - second eye

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.

Amongst the rocks - The Swedish Baltic archipelago is an exciting place to chase pike
Lake fishihng - Fishing from a float tube can be a very efficient way to find pike in lakes
The Baltic - Fishing for pike in the ocean like in the Baltic Seas is a very special experience
Pike fishing
Martin Joergensen

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