In all things that we do, especially those activities we enjoy; we generally improve. Fishing is no different and the longer we do it the more we learn about the aquatic environment, the behaviour of our target species, fishing techniques, other wildlife and so on. I’m seeing great improvements in my pike fishing at the moment! The first outing as you might recall ended up with me drawing a blank and my brother picking up a nice jack pike. However my outing the other night saw me almost reach the milestone of “first intentional pike on the fly!” Heck, I’m even tying my own pike flies now – I must be well on the road to achieving my special powers in the world of piking.
I tied up a fly following a step by step from a book I’m reading – ‘Fly Fishing for Pike’ by UK expert David Wolsoncroft-Dodds, a 3D streamer tied as a roach imitation. In the picture below, that hook is actually an 8/0!
After the epoxy was set I was off to the canal with Andrew once again. I tackled up with an intermediate line and the roach imitation – a good bet given the amount of roach in the canal! I was fishing along the edge of a badge pontoon when I saw a couple preyfish make a bit of commotion on the surface. They weren’t typical rise forms so I thought (and hoped!) that they were trying to escape something big… they were. I cast my fly over them and started the slow erratic retrieve I’d been using. The water was very murky given the recent deluges so I couldn’t see much and certainly didn’t feel anything. My slow retrieve brought the eye of the fly just out of the murkiness, followed by the grey/black of the waggling body, followed by… “holy shit look at the size of that head behind my fly!!” There was a good size pike that I would estimate around 6 or 7lbs following the fly about 4 inches behind. I’ve had a few accidental pike in my time that have been weighed so have a rough idea as to size/weight. I tried to entice it with some wiggles and pauses but it just sulked off back into the murkiness that it had come from. See – I did say I’d improved! I got a follow this time, next time must be a fish. I’ll never know why the fish didn’t take, maybe the wrong size, maybe the wrong action, maybe the wrong colour, maybe he saw me, who knows? If anyone has any advice it is more than welcome.
The end result was once again a blank, this time for both of us. It’s going to be a while before I’m out chasing the pike and indeed any fish again. The weather is absolutely terrible, non stop rain all day, the rivers are flooded, the canal is discoloured, the lochs may be fishable but there’s no way I’m going out in that!