NORTHERN PIKE: DROP IN (SLIGHTLY)
9-inch Articulated Olive-andOrange Bucktail
15-foot clear intermediate sink tip
My heaviest pike ever on the fly weighed just north of 15 pounds and came from the Cree River in Saskatchewan. I’ll never forget that charge and take.
On our first day, our guide motored us into a small cove with an island. He told me to cast between the island and a patch of flooded grass about 20 feet away. The water was only 3 feet deep, and after the fly splatted down, I gave my line a few seconds to sink. After a couple strips, a wake of submarine proportions came pushing to- ward my streamer. I let the bug pause, and then gave it one hard tug. That was the trigger that turned the pike from a submarine to a missile locked on target. I could have surfed the wave it threw when it hit.
You might think that in water so shallow there was no need for a sinking line. To this day, however, I rarely pike fish without one unless I’m committed to using poppers. Letting a slowsinking intermediate tip fall for just a few seconds creates a slight belly in the line. On the first strip, bulkier flies will dive, following the arc of that belly. I’ve come to believe that when you’re casting to a small zone, getting a larger fly to the fish’s eye level as fast as possible equals more strikes.