NORTH­ERN PIKE: DROP IN (SLIGHTLY)

Field and Stream - - GIANT -

FLY

9-inch Ar­tic­u­lated Olive-andOrange Buck­tail

LINE

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.

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