Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Mastering Pike on the Fly!

I had a conversation with a pal of mine Mike Ashcroft who runs the Chester Predators Group… Mike is a successful piker and full of useful information. As the river season is only 6 weeks away and the melt waters hit the river he was reflecting on what a great season it had been for him. I confess I get emails from him with images attached of pike of proportions that I can only dream of at the moment and they have me salivating with a combination of frustration and a desire to get out there and bag a big lump of my own.

Each trip out has me learning something new and applying something I’ve seen or read, to the way I fish. It doesn’t always produce fish BUT if your bait isn’t in the water you won’t catch fish. I recounted my recent pike strike on the fly which was up close and personal and a sight I won’t forget in a long time… OK, so I didn’t bank the fish but with a slight alteration to the pattern I’ll be “cooking on gas”!

I have said before that I have two books that are thumbed at every opportunity and they are both on the subject of pike fly fishing… The authors are without a shadow of a doubt two of the best exponents of the sport and perhaps responsible for inspiring many of us.

One of the authors is
Barry Reynolds (the other is Ad Swier). Barry resides in Colorado and has been guiding for over 20 years… so one heck of a lot of experience. His book “Mastering Pike on the Fly” is a gem… if you were allowed only one book to accompany you on a fishing trip of a lifetime this is the one you would read on the plane and pack in with you! It is not just a book, it is an instruction manual into the psyche of the pike enabling you to solve many pike related riddles… reading the book you would swear that Barry had been a pike in a previous life and is here in human form giving away the secrets.

The book can be read straight through, it is easy to read or you can use it as a reference tool as you can refer back to it again and again with ease. It has a great index… editors listen up. If you want to know what colour fly works in what colour water it tells you… there isn’t any secret to the fly patterns he uses either, the recipes are all there! On a personal note when I bought my fly tying kit the store majored on trout flies BUT they had a couple of patches of Icelandic sheep wool (white and red) and I also bought some pink/red/gold flash... I then tied a fly. This coincided with obtaining the book and I was pleased to find Barry extolling the virtues of the Icelandic pattern (p181) and I quote “The Icelandic Pike Fly is easy to tie, More importantly it catches fish on a regular basis.” He’s right as well! On my first day out with the pattern I caught a fish!

I could go on about how Barry goes through the seasons, the pike’s environment or seasonal movements; but I won’t, I’ll leave it up to you to buy the book and unlock the mystery of pike fly fishing yourself.

I’ve watched the trailer to “Water Wolf “ which is a full length movie of Barry in search of the Holy Grail of pike fly fishing… the trailer is terrific… the DVD can only be awesome… now that’s an idea for a birthday present for me. A suitable hint will be dropped!

I'd like to thank Barry for kindly allowing me to reproduce his photo here.


Pike fly-fishing articles said...

Funny that David,It was the only book I took with me out to S.Africa.I do recommend the DVD as well.Think I have watched it over 20 times already & I never get bored.Its a film that should be shown at every fly-fishing & tying fair around the world....well in every country that either has Pike or Musky found in its waters at least.
Its -22'c outside today and I must admit I truly cant wait for spring now......I have this terrible itch coming on.

Mike Ashcroft said...

Thanks for your kind remarks. I must admit i was envious of your experience close-up with that pike that inspected your fly and failed to connect. It is something baitfishing i don't experience. I often wonder about what goes on sub-surface. I have had a couple of fish attack bungs on the surface recently which is always exciting and tells me to raise the bait in the water which i have immediately done and the pike has obliged by preferring the bait as i have recovered the same patch of water. I am looking forward to the group outing you are going to organise as much for the fishing virgin water so to speak but the social gathering will be fun too.