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Just a few years ago fly-fishing for pikes was considered a little bit odd by the big mass of fly fishermen that mainly fished for salmonoids. Those fly fishermen that was addicted to pikes was very few and probably they were considered even more odd than their habit to go for pikes instead of that small trout.
But time changes.
Today it is total different and more and more fly fishermen goes for pikes and they have found
out really fast that the pike is a top of the class goal with the fly rod as weapon.
As the evolution of pike fly-fishing has progressed I am really convinced that not so many fly fishermen will think that stalking for pike with a fly rod is really odd anymore.
For those who have not tried it yet but are willing to try some new and exiting flyfishing i just have one warning.
Probably you will get really hooked at once and i can tell you that the spots on the trout will fade many degrees!!
But hey don´t worry ,,your new friend Mrs Lucius wont let you down.
In many ways i can guarante you that you will have a new Playmate for lifetime :-)
Mainly you can fish for pikes all around the year with different techniques on the coast.
But if you just are going for the highlights of pike fly fishing in shallow waters there is two hot periods to go and the first is the post spawn period early in the spring and the second is in the autumn.
The spring fishing could be really wild but personally I still prefer the autumn period when the pike is in it is prime after the summers feeding in deeper waters.
The autumn period starts a little bit slow in august when the water still could be to hot for the pikes to move permanently to shallow water.
But if there will be some cold nights and rainy days the pikes could move in for a few days time and then leave again as the weather became better.
The really wild period starts in September when you can find pikes near the shore more frequently, but it could still be to hot for them to stay permanently even in September.
October I personally hold as my favourite month because of that the temperature in the water will probably drop below 14 degrees Celsius, and then things starts to happen.
The pikes will now stay in the shallow water as long as the temperature will not fall to low.
Mostly this will not happen till the last weeks in December.
The pikes are feeding very hard in Oktober and almost everything that comes around will disappear in their big jaws.
Now it is really the best time to seek pikes with a fly rod on really shallow flats like areas.
When you go for pikes this time of the year there is no need for a boat more than as for transportation to different areas.
All our fishing near the coast is by wading and that is the best way to move around without scaring the pikes off.
Almost every day is more or less windy but to be prepared to get a big pike fly out in really hard wind an 8-9-weight rod with a short-bellied weight forward floating line will be the best weapon.
A medium fast-to-fast action rod in 9 to 9,6´ lengths will do the work fine and will not make you tired after a days fishing.
The reel should match the rod and even though the pikes are not known as long runners i prefer a reel that can take at least 100 yds of 20 lbs backing + a WF 9 floating line.
I am also very pleased with Large Arbour reels as I can get in loose line very fast when a pike is hooked.
One thing to think about is that the reel should stand the hard treat from saltwater, even if the water is brackish in the Baltics I have seen stainless steel goes red after a days fishing.
So dont forget to clean your reel in freshwater when you come home after a days fishing on the coast.
Also dont forget to give your line a cleanup with freshwater and then wipe it of with a soft cloth, some fly line dressing completes the cleaning and makes the line slicker.
The common leaders we use are built mostly like a Tarpon leader in three parts.
Butt-section, tip-section and a wire tip.
The butt and tip-section is mostly made of stiffer nylon and are looped together with a surgeon-loop or a no slip-loop.
To attach the wire to the nylon-tippet I prefer a Grinner knot but it could be made with many different knots as an Albright or with a melted loop on the wire.
The whole leader is mostly 9´ long and how we build it and lengths of the different sections is very depending on which flies and what type of weather conditions it is for the moment.
The most important thing is to always use wire leaders, as there is no other option for those toothy critters.
They will bite off almost everything in nylon tippets so it is not so good idea to try just for the sake of it.
The fly is attached to the wire tippet with either a no slipknot (Rapala knot) or a melt knot, which means that you put the wire through the eye of the hook and twist the wire around itself, and then fuses the wire together with a lighter.
This operation will only work with nylon-coated wires so if you prefer to fish with not coated wires you can tie in the fly with a figure eight knot.
Pike flies are big and should be for one reason that the pikes even if they will eat mostly everything that fits in their mouth from the smallest fry to bigger cousins, they should not have a chance to think twice about that fly if it is worth to chase or if its worth to bite over.
Pikes are hunting by sight but are also equipped with fine sensors that help them to locate a prey so therefore a big and bulky fly that pushes water is preferred rather than a thin and small fly.
Other things that will be handy are a weatherproofed wader jacket with big pockets for your tools and fly boxes.
And the tools you have use for is a big pliers or hook remover as the pikes mouth is not a very good place for your fingers.
A mouth opener I dont think there is so much use for as I thought when I began to fish for pikes as, they will open their mouth nice for you to operate freely if you grab them right with a lip lock under the gills and make sure that you wont come near their teeths.
Polaroid glasses in grey and one pair in yellow will make your fishing easier in mostly every weather condition.
In lowlight conditions yellow Polaroids will increase the light and a pair of glasses is a cheap protection for your eyes.
A cap to protect you from an attack of that big 2/0 fly hook.
Something to measure the pike with and of course a camera so you can proof for your trout fishing friends that it really was a 20 pounder you catched and released.
The flies we use in the autumn when we fish the coast are big and long and flies over 7 inches is common.
We use mostly three types of flies depending on the colour of the water and if its sunny or grey skies with rain clouds.
The first type is Pauls Green& White in different shapes.
This type of fly we use when its cloudy and not too much sun.
Also this variant is preferred when the water is a little bit murky.
Underneath this fly is total white, just the colour a pike will se when it attacks a pray fish from down under.
In murky water this fly glows as we use fluorescent Chartreuse material for the wing.
This is a colour that is very visible for the pikes and if the fly is added with extra flash a pike will not let it pass by without attention.
For the variant we use in murky water you cannot add to much flash.
This fly can be made in several different colours that will serve in different weather and water conditions.
The other type is built up just as the G & W with the difference that its total black with just stealthy black flash attached.
This fly we use when there is sunny weather and the water is gin clear.
Why this fly works in these conditions I think is because they are very visible in clear water.
Even though there is no total black prey fish in the shallow coastal waters the pikes just love those black flies and they will not make them suspicious with to much sparkle from any flash.
The third fly is more an imitation of a little codfish that is very common near the coast and the pike just love to feed on them.
This fly is tied with dyed grizzly-feathers in a brownish/orange colour with a body of cactus-chenille in Root-beer colour.
This fly is working in almost every weather conditions but is best when the water is really clear.
This codfish is well camouflaged so we dont add to much flash in this fly.
Just so much so we have a tiny flash effect.
Other pikeflies tied by Paul Sörensen
we fish for pikes we seeks areas where the wind is coming in as these areas mostly will
keep baitfish and that draws attention to the pikes.
Pike fly-fishing on the coast is much of a hunt as you cast your fly where you think there could be one and moves along all the time if there where no one home.
Best places on the coast to fish are shallow areas that are close to deeper water.
Mixed sand bottoms with stones and seaweed is the best places and if there is a bigger stone that is over the water it's a sure place to cast the fly to.
Pikes won´t swim around and hunt.
They find a good spot and lie near a stone or a vegetate place and they will stay perfectly still till a baitfish or a fly will swim by.
Pikes attacks their pray really fast and can speed up to 30 miles per hour in just one body length so be prepared for a very explosive hit.
Sometimes you could have following pikes after your fly and the medicine to make them change their mind from just a chase to a real bite is to increase the speed on your retrieve.
As pikes are sprinters you cant take in your fly to fast for them and the faster retrieve makes them even more furious to kill that fly.
A common size of coastal pikes is from 6 Lbs and up to 16 Lbs but we have caught several pikes over the 20-pound range in almost knee-deep water.
This could be hard for many fly fishermen to believe but I can guarantee that we have seen even bigger pikes in really shallow water.
A tip when you start to fish is to not wade out before you have fished the shallow water infront of you.
Last autumn I was out in a place Ive never fished before and thought I was fishing in a deeper channel when I caught a nice 12 pounder. I was really stunned when a fishing friend shortly after I released the pike waded out just where I hooked the pike and the water was just a little bit over his ankles. I was fooled because the bottom had a sharp darker area that I thought was deeper then the sandy bottoms around.
Well that proves that even a Pikeflyfisherman could be fooled and that you should not be afraid to fish really shallow.
So if you want to go for a big and beautiful fish in Sweden , the shallow waters in October is the right thing.
And remember there is a chance to catch the pike of your lifetime in just knee-deep water.
The 20 pounder´s + are still out there.
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© 2002 Pikehunters
Text Paul Sörensen
Photo Peter Lyngby, Paul Sörensen and Thomas Bengtsson
Special thanks to Katja Åhs Ekman for the frontpic at pikehunters.com