Sunday, 28 December 2008

Durban harbor flats fishing

So it was my mate David’s birthday yesterday and we decided to celebrate it with a fishing session off the sand banks in Durban harbor. We arrived around 08h00 just as the tide was going out. This is the closest thing to flats fishing Durban has, all be it for a short period of around an 3 hours. We waded out and it wasn’t long before we saw all manner of fish (Mullet, Springer, Grunter & Kingfish) darting between channels desperately feeding up before the sand banks became totally exposed. Conditions were perfect, slightly overcast with a slight breeze. It took only ten minutes before I was able to distinguish the recognizable shape of a decent sized Stump nose’s tail poking out the water. I cast my prawn imitation around 3m in front of its nose and waited for the fish to swim towards it. I found myself talking to myself wishing it to snaffle up the fly but it showed no interest. I took twenty or so steps forward, following it and re cast over it again….this time landing within two meters from its nose……It must have seen it…I said! It turned towards the sinking prawn but at the last moment it darted away. I cast several more times at it without any luck before it moved out in to the deeper channel of the Bay.
Dave spent the morning stuck to one spot, fishing for grunter with small crabs, while I slowly moved up and down the sand bank casting along the deep drop off areas.

Although I didn’t manage to hook in to a kingfish or Springer I did manage to catch this Flattie which took a minnow imitation. Its hard to believe but these fish are one of the best tasting fish in the sea and had it been bigger I would have had it on the Barbie last night. All in all a top morning fishing in Durban’s harbor, off the sandbank flats.

Monday, 22 December 2008

African adventures (II)

As soon as I stepped of the plane in Durban I was greeted with temperatures of +35’c…….yes it was hotter than a baboons arse sitting on a hot rock. The humidity was bearable but definitely noticeable….a far cry from the – 8’c I had left behind in Finland. Aaaah! its good to be back in Africa…….I just wish it was under different circumstances. All the sounds and smells came flooding back and I had forgotten how hectic even a small city like Durban was. I’m lucky in Finland if I see 20 people or more per day…….that’s unless I visit a town off course, but you don’t realize how busy and heavily populated a country is until you have visited Africa.

One thing is for shore though is I cant wait to get stuck into some saltwater fly-fishing again. I managed to tie several different flies before I left, some small minnow patterns as well as some larger mullet patterns for targeting ocean going Salmon.

I also tied some simple white feathered streamers with some red hackle tied in at the front and also some plain black streamers….pretty much what I would use for Pike here in Finland…..But they will be perfect for Garrick and Trevaley,Elf (Shad) in Sodwana bay up the north coast over the new year.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

My new playground

So I’ve now moved to Vaasa….to the island of Replot which falls under Finland’s 1st Natural world Heritage site “Kvarken”. The reason for the award is that the area is one of the few places in the world where the land mass is actually rising by 7mm - 9mm per annum.

Over the last 150 yrs, hundreds of small islands have risen from the sea bed and this has produced some of the best pike habitats that can be found in the whole of the Baltic sea. In fact the islands of Replot, Bjorkoby & Maraskar are regarded by many Finns as the best pike fishing waters in the whole of Finland & many of Finland’s record pike have hailed from the area.
This is probably due to far less netting by locals and also a stricter catch and release policy practiced by many of the pike fishermen in the area.

There is also a larger quantity of drop of areas around islands which form channels for their prey to swim between. Coupled with that, far more reed beds are found scattered along all the islands shorelines than anywhere else in the Baltic giving them better spawning areas as well.

Looking at theses images, I’m sure you will agree with me that that I cant wait to for next spring to get stuck into these Baltic Pike.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

The need to fish

As the ice starts to freeze over the sea here in Vaasa I'm left wondering how much ice fishing I will get done this winter with a 3 month trip to South Africa just around the corner.I know one thing, I wont be as desperate as these buggers in wanting to drop a line through a small hole in the ice though.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Why do I love to fish

I have been asking that question for many years now and still haven’t come up with a solid explanation

Is it the hunter gatherer in me that takes me out fishing so I can provide a meal for the table at the end of the day. Ever since I can remember I’ve always brought fish home to eat. Maybe not so much when I lived in the UK but certainly in South Africa and since living here in Finland. Yet there are plenty of days when I go out and release everything that I catch… maybe its not the hunter gatherer in me after all!

Could it be the challenge of trying to outsmart the fish especially with a fly that I have tied myself, part of it?
Or figuring out where the fish might be and why it is there, is another aspect of the challenge, that also takes me fishing.
Or could it just be that fly-fishing is just another avenue for allowing me to get outdoors and be one with nature?

I do know one thing though, And that is when I am out fishing, I completely forget about anything remotely pertaining to my life. In fact it has to be the only activity I have ever done, that for those few hours while I have a fly-rod in my hand I truly couldn’t give a toss about anything, except enjoying that particular moment. Its as if my mind shuts down completely. I’m sure the factors above play a big part in the experience as well, but at the end of the day fishing is more than a relaxant……….Its a sole cleanser!

I leave you with this quote by Charles F. Orvis
"More than half the intense enjoyment of fly-fishing is derived from the beautiful surroundings, the satisfaction felt from being in the open air, the new lease of life secured thereby, and the many, many pleasant recollections of all one has seen, heard and done."

Thursday, 11 December 2008

African adventures

Well the move to Vaasa has finally happened and we now have Internet connected so I'm back on line.Went fishing the other day all be it with my little bait casting rig but with a howling wind with a chill factor of -8'c I didn't expect to catch was just nice to get out for a while from unpacking and smell the ocean air again.
As I have mentioned before, although this blog is dedicated to fly-fishing for pike I will be in South Africa for the next 3 months due to family matters which means I will be doing some..........well lets rephrase that, I will be doing as much saltwater fly-fishing as I can, and also hopefully some fly-fishing for Yellow fish up on the highveld around Sterkfontein Dam or on the Vaal river, and also some trout fishing up in the Drakensburg mountains so if you see some different species its only me while I’m on my African adventures.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Pike fly-fishing porn

Have somebody you’d like to drag along for a days pike fly-fishing but are finding it hard to convince them, or maybe you are considering trying it out but still having doubts, or maybe you’ve been fly-fishing for pike for donkeys years and looking for some inspiration. Well here is a DVD that left me literally dribbling all over my leg. This is my idea of Pike fly-fishing Porn perfection.
PIKE ON THE FLY “In pursuit of the water wolf” by Barry Reynolds has to be one of the best pike fly-fishing films available. I have sat in awe and watched this several times over the last few months. 2 years in the making, Barry visits some of the best pike waters in North America & and in some of the best top water action ever filmed he gets stuck into so truly massive leviathans on the fly.
There is a special features section where Barry also shows you his favourite patterns, Leader set ups & fly line selections for all water depths.
For a preview of what is on the DVD then click on this link

So If you only ask for one present this Christmas then get
“In pursuit of the water wolf” check out where you can buy it.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

The Book of Pike (II) by Henry Cholmondeley-Pennell’

A while back I found a flip book on the Internet called “THE BOOK OF THE PIKE” by ‘Onnie Warren Smith’ and found it quite an interesting read. Well, I have found another with the same name but by a gentleman called ‘Henry Cholmondeley-Pennell’ written in 1865. His love of pike fishing is evident in his writings and there are a number of wonderfully drawn images of tackle he used through out the book as well. He mentions Pike on the fly all be it 2 pages worth but his drawing of a pike fly he used - to some moderate success I might add, particularly interesting.
Click on the flashing thumbnail to go to the flip book where you can then download it for later reading if you want. Just click “Details” and it will take you to the page

Zonker fly tutorial

I’m sure many of you out there tie your own flies and have specific patterns that you are comfortable with tying and like to use on a regular basis. One of the simplest to tie and probably one of the most affective flies out there for catching pike is the Zonker, so I thought we would start of the fly tying tutorial section of this blog with an easy Zonker pattern video tutorial.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Different strokes for different blokes! part (II)

Now don’t think for one minute that all I do is fly-fish for pike because you’d be very mistaken. I do target Trout, Grayling and Salmon or any species for that matter, if the opportunity arises (not as often as I would like, I might add) and my 6 foot 2/pc Loomis bait-casting rig never stays at home either, but there is something about catching pike - especially on the fly – that keeps me coming back over and over again!

The one sure thing about ‘Esox’ is that it can be found in all types of waters from Canals, Rivers, Lakes, Poulders, Gravel pits, Trout hatcheries and even In the brackish waters of the Baltic sea. This meant that I had a fish that I could target regularly and practically anywhere, and there aren’t that many species that can boast that accolade…is there!

There has been so much literature written about the regal Trout over the centuries that its not hard to understand why so many people love fly-fishing for it. Coupled with that, it’s found in some of the most picturesque settings one could want to fish at, so its understandable that fish like Esox has been given such a bum rap and often shunned as a species by all and sundry or should I say

(both hands wagging fingers to show exclamation marks) - “Purists”.

Now that’s the kind of fish that gets my attention!

I think that to deceive any fish with your fly – (well lets just say, any fish that will take a fly) to be precise, Should be targeted, and if there is one fish out there that will readily accept a well presented double streamer, then it’s the “Water Wolf”.

………….More on this matter later!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Different strokes for different blokes!

So why pike on the fly….Well I’ve tried all manner of fishing over the years from catching Rudd, Tench and Barbel with my grandad, to surf fishing with kites of the coast of South Africa for Salmon, Elf, Garrick and Shark and have even dead baited for pike in Ireland and Scotland but nearly all these species have meant prolonged periods of just sitting around on my arse doing bugger all waiting for something to happen. Now I am not somebody who easily gets bored and I certainly have the patients for these methods…Its just that like to be more active when I fish.

When I moved back to the UK in 95 I didn’t have the means to travel the distances necessary to go fly fishing for likes of Salmon, Trout & Grayling….and as I didn’t have a river on my doorstep whereby I could fish for them regularly, targeting these species would have cost me a considerable amount of money to do so……But with Pike I was able to go down to my local canal and spend the day walking along its banks, all for the cost of a bus fair.

Those that only target Salmon, Trout and Grayling purely because they feel they are the only fish that should be caught with a fly are not only ignorant but have no place in today’s fly-fishing fraternity (Well that's my opinion) - especially when ridiculing the likes of people who want to fly-fish for Pike, Carp, Perch or even Ide. We either fly-fish for them because we know we can or because we choose to or just because they are the only species available to us at anyone given time or place.

Fly-fishing for Pike is as exhilarating as any other form of fly-fishing and for anyone that hasn’t done it then you are missing out on something quite special…..More on this later!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Marco fly reels

A friend from Austria e-mailed me a website yesterday that he thought I should look at.

Marco Fly Reels

Using a new patented five spindle ball bearing design, deploying the best available materials and employing very accurate machining they have come up with a flexible system for exchanging spools of different diameters and capacities to allow you to tackle any situation. Although I do have my reservations whether they would stand up to the rigors of constant spool changing I feel the concept is rather unique and especially handy for those fishing expeditions where you know you will be targeting all manner of species in different waters.

Extreme fishing

Am sure a few of you out there have seen this clip before but this is taking fishing to a completely new level altogether.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Pike fly lines & shooting heads

Firefly Pike Lines
Created specifically for the pike and musky fly fisher, the Pike line has distinct advantages over other lines. The medium length head is slightly heavier to load modern fast action rods quickly for both long and short controlled, accurate casts with large pike flies. The short bullet front taper turns over large bunny leeches and streamers into the wind with ease. Made with a supple coldwater coating, the line remains memory-free in cold fishing conditions.
WF7F - WF10F/Length 100ft (30.5m)/Colour: Lt. Charteuse

Snowbee SSPI- Spectre Pike
clear coated dark green
intermediate line for Pike and toothy predators in all waters
SPI – Spectre Pike 28g/7-8, 36g/8-9

I have used the Snowbee line on a number of occasions and although not a bad line in general, my only gripe with it is that it is very hard to see once it drops through the first 3ocm of water.I personally like to see my line as it drops through the water column but thats just my preferance.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

The chicken or the egg

Geologists made a remarkable discovery this week in southern Germany when they unearthed findings - which is without doubt reputable evidence that the fly rod was around way before the bow and arrow had been invented. A perfectly preserved fly reel with line and a streamer dating back 70 000 yrs (around the time Neanderthal man was reportedly roaming the earth) was unearthed in a large slice of slate by an ecstatic Klaus von fluff-chucker.
Prof von fluff-chucker said he had long believed that fly-fishing had been around far longer than we had first thought and that this important finding can now lay that argument to rest once and for all.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Roll on Winter

With snow on the ground and ice slowly engulfing the lakes here, it saddens me in a way that I started this blog so late on in the season for me to write about my exploits and that I now have a long four months ahead of me before I can write about them again. I suppose a small price I have to pay for living this far north of the equator.
With a move to Vaasa 180km N.West on the Baltic coastline just around the corner, and new fishing waters to explore I’m left wondering whether I will miss the wilderness that Kuru - my home for the last four years, has offered me. If you’d have said 6 yrs ago in London that I would be able to watch Elk (practically within touching distance) swim past me while out on my canoe, or have a Mink climb onto the float tube I was fishing from and steal perch I’d caught for dinner from behind me, I wouldn’t have believed you. To have been able to fish right through the night with some truly stunning sunsets for a backdrop, or to watch Osprey fishing along side me are moments that will be indelibly printed in my psyche.
I will be coming back here to Kuru with clients next season, and I still have over 312 lakes to explore with my canoe and float tube, but I truly am looking forward to getting my teeth stuck into these Baltic pikes in a big way, and off course writing about all the trials and tribulations that goes with catching these fish…….Roll on Winter!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Pike shirts

Pike T Shirt

A good friend of mine in the U.K, writer and fishing Guide Dominic Garnett sells these very clever T-shirts from his own website DG FISHING and I thought I would give them a mention. The site is worth a visit for the great articles he writes alone!

Monday, 17 November 2008

Sods Law

The old adage goes "if it’s cold and the temperatures are dropping then don’t bother wasting your time", and with temperatures dropping here daily and constant rain outside my window, I’ve found it hard to motivate myself these last few weeks to do any fishing at all..

Saturdays weather report looked promising…….all be it overcast and -3’c. I decided to go to the boat harbour in Murole some 8km away knowing I would have the walk around boat jetty all to myself with the hope that any respecting pike might have moved into the area looking for a tasty morsel to snack on……..” Who was I kidding ”?
Sods law though that no sooner had I arrived and started chucking some fluff, when the mist slowly crept in. Then with out warning snow flakes as big as pancakes started falling out the sky…..Bollocks!
The old couple who had stopped to watch for a few minutes while walking their dogs must have thought I was a complete nutter …..and I suppose in hindsight, thinking about it now….. I was!

I trudged back to the car rather demoralised wondering where do these ********* weather forecasters get their reports from?

We have a saying here in Finland that goes “It doesn’t matter what the weather is like as long as you are dressed correctly for it”! and thank goodness I was

Pike recipies

Baked Pike with anchovy/caper red wine sauce
Take a large (or two small) Pike
Stuff with minced bacon, and skewer it together
Sprinkle flour over, and lay it on an earthen dish, with pieces of butter
on the top,
sprinkle with salt and place in the oven - (180’C or gas mark 4)
A large Pike will take an hour to bake.
When removed from the oven, the dish will be full of gravy.
Pour out 3 quarters to use for the sauce,
Add two anchovies finely chopped,
A little grated lemon-peel,
A glass of red wine,
1 Teaspoon lemon-pickle, and make it as thick as cream,
with flour and butter
Adding capers, if desired.

Pike with Caper Sauce
Place 2 x fillets pike in a steamer and steam for 12min
Caper sauce
Put 120grams of melted butter in a stew-pan, 
Once bubbling, add a quarter of a pound of fresh butter.
Once melted, add two tablespoonfuls flour & stir in
Let it remain on the fire to thicken, but do not let it boil
Moisten with a little milk if required,
Then add two tablespoons of finely chopped capers
Pour over the fish.

Place 2 x fillets pike in a steamer and steam for 12min
Fresh butter melted in the usual way
4 small anchovies finely chopped
Glass claret, or Port wine
A little of the blood, if any saved
1 shallot finely chopped
Juice from half a lemon beat well together
Serve all hot
Garnish with scraped horse-radish.
225grams of finely chopped pickled shrimps
225grams finely chopped pickled mushrooms
Add a 120grams of fresh melted butter.
Add 400ml white wine
Mix all together well.
Place the 2 Pike fillets in a dish
Pour the sauce over it.
Serve it up hot

Garnish with small pickled mushrooms.

Thursday, 13 November 2008


Another reason why my success rate on rivers has improved over the last few years can be attributed to having a better understanding of where to locate Pike. Although it’s common knowledge that you are more likely to find them in the lower reaches of a river than in its upper reaches, they also tend to congregate especially in areas where the current is slow moving, and are very rarely found in fast flowing rocky waters. Something which I hadn’t really taken into consideration. In my defence though, most of my fishing was done in the upper reaches of a river while on canoeing trips due to the free time that was available to me.

In regards to what line to use I have read many articles written by pike fly-fishermen either in books, magazines or on the net over the last few years where many state that they prefer to use a fast sinking line when fishing on rivers, and although I don’t argue with their reasoning and methods I have found that using an intermediate line with a Dahlberg diver (or any diver for that matter) far more productive.

Depending on which side of the river you are casting from, your fly will always float back towards you…its the law of physics. I found while using a fast sinking line, know matter what strength the current was, by the time the fly had swung across the river it was dragging on the bottom which to me is not productive at all. You need to be able to give yourself all the chance you can in keeping the fly as visible as possible as it makes its way across the swim and the slower you allow the fly to do this, the better.

In using a Dahlberg diver pattern with an intermediate slow sinking line I’m able to use the current to my advantage, and with short strips every now and then as it arcs its way back across the stretch of river I’ve found the fly stays in the mid to upper section of water longer. In my opinion any respecting pike in the area will see it a lot easier than if it was bouncing along on the bottom. Also, with this method you are less prone to getting any annoying snag ups.

…………More on this later!

Pike fly lines and shooting heads

Cortland 444 sl

leading the field in fly line design and technology, brings you the first fly line designed for the Pike and Musky. These weight forward designs feature radically short tapers that easily turn over those large, air-resistant Pike/Musky flies. The bright red color makes it easy to “track” the line on the water. WF7-10

Precision big fly – Pike floating (90*)

Designated to throw large, wind resistant pike flies like bunny leaches with ease. Big Fly utilizes Cortland's Rocket 2 taper with a dramatically shortened front taper to turn over large flies with ease. A color change from red to mint green indicates the maximum pick-up point for more efficient casting.
Sizes: WF 8 - 10
Type: Floating
Taper: Rocket 2
Color: Blood Red / Mint
Core: Nylon Braid

Scierra Pike Fly Line
If you like to fly fish for pike, you should take a look at this unique, specially designed line.
The Pike Line is designed with a short belly and a very steep taper in order to carry large, heavy and bulky flies over long distances.
Constructed with a braided core, the Pike Line has virtually no stretch. This improves the chances of your hook finding a hold in the pike's bony mouth, even when you have a lot of fly line out.
These lines are highly recommended for our Pike Fly rods!
WF pike #8 Floating 11.75m or WF pike #9Floating 11.75m

Although this line was developed for Scierra's pike rods It worked fantastic with my Ron Thompson pike rod while in The U.K 5 years back

Wednesday, 12 November 2008


Whether it’s a canal, lake, polder or river, we all have specific waters we like to fish on for pike. This could be attributed to what is available in your area or just what you feel more comfortable with. Me, well I’m more happier on lakes but since moving here to Finland I have started to fish rivers more often.
Flowing water has always posed a challenge to me for so many reasons when targeting Pike with a fly. Whether it be the strength of the current, the close proximity of the tree line to the river bank (which hinders your back cast) or just not knowing what snags or obstacles lie under the surface kept me away from them probably more than I should have. This weariness which has been indelibly etched into my psyche probably transpired while fly fishing in the northern territories in Australia several years back. To say I was given a real lesson in the perils of fly-fishing on rivers is an understatement. As with most predatory fish like the Barramundi, one needed to fish your fly as close to the structures as possible if you are to have any success at all. Tempting them out from these structures to take my fly was never the problem but once they were hooked, like all fish, their first instinct was to head straight back from whence they came, and so I ended up replacing leader after leader let alone lose numerous flies in the process through these snag ups.
I’ve always felt as well, that to be a more complete pike fly-fishermen I would need to spend more time in or around flowing waters and succumb to the negative voices in my head. To be honest my first year here on rivers was pretty dismal to say the least, but this could be attributed to several factors, not that I am blaming my tools or technique just that I hadn’t spent probably enough time scouting out where my best line of attack would be from.

If there is one sound piece of advice I can give you when targeting pike on rivers and that is to stop, sit down and access every aspect that stretch of rivers offers you.

1. Take note of the flow.
2. Where and how far could you wade out to without endangering yourself.
3. Are there any visible features or structures you need to be aware of or could use to your advantage.
4. Decide how and where you are going to attack the stretch of river from.
5. Check all areas for low overhanging branches. The last thing you want is to foul hook yourself just as you are feeling confident about
6. Even though they might not be there, look for areas where bait fish might be holed up. The old adage Is, “Where there is bait fish the Pike
wont be far behind”!
7. Be positive and decide how long you will fish that specific stretch of water before moving on.

………….More on this subject later!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Pike fly lines and Shooting heads

Guideline power taper shooting head
The best selling shooting head system in the world.
Available in various densities

The Cortland 444SL Pike fly line is a floating line that is designed to throw large, wind resistant pike flies with ease.
It features the Cortland Rocket taper with a dramatically shortened front end.
It is coloured green and red for a quick easy pick up.
30yrds per spool.

I havent used either of these lines but I do know the Cortland 444sl comes highly recomended in the pike fly-fishing fraternity.

Pike fly lines and Shooting heads

Here are two lines that I am preasantly using.My Opti Booster from Loop is just the correct length and turns over my flies with ease. With the Mastery series fly line though I have shortened it by 120cm and re-looped it.I just found it to long for my cast action and wasn't loading my rod correctly enough.Always remember if you are going to shorten it cut the head back around 12cm-15cm at a time. What I do Like about this line is its visability over open water, especially when I'm using poppers.

Scientific Anglers™ Mastery Series Fly Line - Pike/Muskie

Scientific Anglers™ Mastery Series Fly Line for Pike and Muskie has a large tip diameter and short front taper to deliver huge flies long distances with accuracy and control, while the line's short head minimizes the need for false casting. This line has a specially formulated 3M coating made of PVC integrated with AST (Advanced Shooting Technology). The line coating is specially formulated to float higher for easier pickups, while its suppleness minimizes memory in cold water. Color: Sunset Orange.

Loop Opti-Booster


Featuring a short front taper, superb weight
distribution and a low-stretch core, the Booster Big Fly shooting head turns over ”biggies” with ease. With integrated loops on both ends you’ll easily change leader and line.
This for sure is a line for big nasties, be it fish or fly.
Integrated loops and low-stretch core.
Length 8,8-9,0 m.
Float, Clear Intermediate and S III/ S IV. Line #8-9

Monday, 10 November 2008

A day Trouting

Don’t you just love those spur of the moment fishing trips that reap results at the end of the session. A friend arrived at my place yesterday totally out of the blue to ask if I would be interested in a bit of trout fishing. Saarijarvi was the destination which is a stocked trout lake some 65km away that has been fishing quite well these last few weeks.
In hindsite My 9” pike booster rod was a bit of an overkill but as I had never caught a trout on it I took it along for the day.
Conditions were perfect, Overcast with a light breeze and a decent chop on the water surface. I started with an orange waggler and it wasn’t long (maybe 8-10 casts) before I felt the line go tight and the reel started to scream.I was surprised how quickly the line in my stripping tray dissapeared, with Pike at least you get time to adjust yourself but this trouting lark was a whole new ball game.
Anyway the three of us bagged 5 in total all between the 1.2kg bracket. And left rather content with ourselves. That evening around the fire with a few beers we slow smoked two on a board traditionally called Loimulohi.

Pike fly lines and Shooting heads

12 yrs ago when I begun my journey in to the world of pike fly fishing, there was very little technical information available for me to access so as to be able to determine what would be my best set up in targeting “Esox lucius”. Coupled with that there were very few fly-fishing companies at the time developing specific pike fly-fishing tackle.
But in just 10yrs due to the upsurge in the sports popularity in Europe, The States & In Canada much has been written about it & one can spend hours now reading informative articles by many of the sports first pioneers on how (through trial and error) they have developed their own ways and techniques in tackling Pike on the fly.
Although there were enough rods out there that would stand up to the rigors of pike fly-fishing It has been the development of specific pike fly-fishing lines and shooting heads by fly fishing companies that has helped in propelling the development of this sport.
I won’t go into all the technical aspects about pike lines and shooting heads except to say If you are starting out in the sport, remember that to be able to chuck flies of 15cm-25cm with ease, one needs to have a heavier line and special Pike taper lines with an exaggerated weight forward profile is what you should be looking to invest in. So if you have a 9” rod with a 9 weight forward line rating you would use a 10 weight shooting head. Some even go as far as to say that it’s even better to go two sizes higher with your shooting head rating but that to me is a matter of opinion of which the latter will suffice quite easily. Lastly, a good word of advice from me would be to just buy your self a slow sinking intermediate to start with. This is a good all round line and depending what fly you use will depend on what level of the water you can fish at.(Read my articles on Fly retrieval & the art of cricket & Fly fishing with Poppers) to see why.
Its not always easy tracking down specific pike lines and Shooting heads and can also become quite time consuming so to ease your efforts, Over the next week or so I be listing a few brands to look out for. Some fly rod manufactreres are now developing their own pike lines specifically for their pike fly rods but these can also be used for other set ups as well.


These lines have a short heavy front taper which loads any rod really quickly, allowing for distance casting and easy turnover of big air resistant or heavy Pike or Saltwater flies. These lines have been tested extensively over the last 12 months to great effect in both Pike and Saltwater fly fishing applications. Great for Baltic conditions

Masterline toothy critter pike fly line

These fly lines have been specifically designed to meet the challenges of fishing for pike with the fly. Tough and durable, these lines have a powerful upfront taper to help carry large flies out to the fish and ensure a smooth turnover.
These pike fly lines are available in 9 and 10 AFTM weights and in two versions; a yellow floater and a clear slow sinker.
The fly lines are slightly longer than usual at 32 yds. The floating line has a braided nylon core for suppleness and low memory, while the sinking line has a transparent mono core.
The sinking line is rated at 2.5 - 3 inches per second (IPS).
Toothy Critter Pike Fly Line - Floating WF (Yellow)
Toothy Critter Pike Fly Line - Sinking WF (Clear)

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Total fishing

Finland has over 180 000 lakes all ranging in size and depth so to say I am spoilt for choice is an understatement. Around Kuru my home, there are no less than 412 expanses of water within a 35km radius. Some no more than 500m long by 200m wide while others stretch for 70km like Lake Nasijarvi. Out of these 412 lakes 65% are either close to roads thus giving you the chance to access them by boat.4% can be found in National Parks & are out of bounds with regards to fishing, leaving me with 31% that are free from boat activities but could be accessed by either float tube or canoe.
I set about at the beginning of the year plotting which lakes I would have to use my float tube on due to their isolation and which were close enough to forest roads but could be easily reached with a short portage with my canoe.
Packing a day pack with sleeping bag, open shelter, enough food for a day and a half, compass and map…..Oh! (And let’s not forget Dingo the dog), has added a new element to my fishing. Scouting out lakes like this has given me a real sense of exploration…..(something which has been sorely lacking in my life until now) The cherry on the cake though is being able to come back and paddle on these recently inaccessible wilderness waters and chuck some fluff on them.

To spend the day fishing around wilderness lakes like these, working your way meticulously from reed bed to water lily patch, then into open water is just mind numbingly awe-inspiring yet so hard to express on paper. On those truly calm days, It actually becomes deafening with the incessant sound of my rod and fly line cutting the air back and forth and I become quite conscious that I am disturbing a perfectly wonderful setting by being there. Every beat of a bird’s flapping wings can be heard overhead and I can’t tell you how many times I have followed the movements of a lone mink along a lakes shoreline by the patter of its paws. This is total fishing for me. Laying down the groundwork, scouting areas, hauling in the equipment, chucking fluff for Esox, being one with nature, it doesn’t get much better than that!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

End of Days

As winter slowly ebbs closer & closer my window of opportunity to get out and chuck some fluff dwindles due to a number of factors. Firstly daylight this far north becomes shorter and shorter and the ever decreasing temperature becomes colder and colder and before you know it the lakes start to freeze over which for a Pike fly-fisherman like myself means only one thing. I have a long four months ahead of me.

With my boat back on the trailer and the float tube packed away in a box ready for our move to Vaasa at the end of the month I’m left with having to skulk the shoreline of some of my favourite lakes by foot, and at this time of the year is certainly not the most productive means by which to fly-fish due to a couple of factors. Firstly any respecting pike will have now moved into deeper water, which would be out of reach of any cast I could make and secondly finding a lake that doesn’t have a tree line that cloaks its shoreline allowing me to have a decent length of line out during a back cast is practically impossible.

With all that in mind I managed to motivate myself enough to get out anyway. Clear blue skies, 0’c temperature and a mirror for a surface are what greeted me & are certainly not ideal conditions in any stretch of the imagination. To be truthful I’d decided that if I was going to have any fun today it would have to be targeting Perch, so I was pleasantly surprised when only after my third cast I felt something snaffle my small black and red streamer. I always have this sense of achievement knowing I have something on the end of the line that I have specifically set out to catch. Their erratic head shakes and skittish darting movements under the water as well as their reluctance to come to the surface is a sure give away that you have managed in that quest.

He fought well and like all Perch seemed much larger than he actually was (size unimportant). Actually I must have stumbled across a decent shoal as over the next twenty minutes lobbing out short 8-10m length casts I banked 5 more, the largest just under a pound.

Although an exceptionally enjoyable little session was had, I walked back home wondering whether It might be my last for the yr………..I can only hope not!

Blades of glory

A friend of mine Kris Anderson runs an on line knife business, and so I thought I would give him a mention. Every fisherman or outdoors man needs a good blade whether it be a knife or an axe and looking at the quality of steel he has on offer you won’t do yourself any harm by stopping by his website and having a

Forces from the dark side

I am extremely happy with my Loop Evotec clw reel. On Paper it does exactly what you’d want from a pike fly reel. It has a water & heat-resistant casing and brake system and performs well in all weather conditions. Its reel & frame are made from corrosion proof composites perfect for Baltic conditions, & coupled with that it has a wide braking range and is extremely easy when wanting to change spools.

So why is it that I feel the need to upgrade to a different & probably more expensive shinier model? Is it the manufactures clever play on words in their advertising brochures that has thrown me into a false sense of security? Is their something more sinister going on I should know about? Or is it just that I like my toys just as much as the next bloke?

One things for shore, is that once I see something I want, I’m hard pressed to evict it from my mind until it has totally consumed me & I have parted with my hard earned cash & it’s eventually in my hands. Even though I know I have a perfectly good piece of equipment that will stand up to all that I ask of it.

In One ear a voice is telling me though “go on Si you know you want it, “Read all the sexy features again”

Housing and spool machined from one piece aircraft aluminium.

Waterproof and salt tolerant.

Components in stainless steel and anodised aluminium.

All screws secured with Loc-Tite.

Mechanized components from leading European manufacturers.

Power Matrix Drag System.

Easy-grip progressive brake knob.

Simple, quick spool-change.

Right or left retrieve a snap.

Outgoing click (not available on FW).

Precisely counter balanced .

Yet in my other ear another voice is saying “Be rational & strong Si, follow your feelings and don’t let the forces from the dark side cloud your mind

…………………Oh the demons in my head !

Monday, 3 November 2008


"Reaching the field of operation, I sent the light craft along just within casting distance of the fringing weeds and grass, for it is never the part of wisdom when doing any fishing to 'stretch the cast," to cast beyond control. A moderately long line should be cast. I know of no fishing where ability to lay a long line is a greater asset".

"For the way to fight a great pike on a fly-rod is to fight him. Never let the fish conduct the battle: that is the prerogative of the fisherman".

A few weeks ago I came a cross a flip book on the web called “THE BOOK OF THE PIKE” by O.W.Smith written in 1922 and every evening since, I have truly been immersed in his quest for his love of Pike Fishing. His chapter on Pike fly fishing (chapter 8 page 88-101) was particularly interesting especially his tussle with a monster pike and his archaic methods for subduing it after the long a fight. Ahhh! Gone are the days when one could take a 32 revolver with and shoot your quarry in the head before dragging it on board you boat.
It’s a good read for both Pike anglers and Fly-fishermen alike.
”CLICK” on the thumbnail and you will then be able to download the whole book for later readings.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

In search of the "BIG" one

What is it about Pike anglers, “pike fly-fishermen included” these days that they have this burning desire inside them to need, to want, to catch bigger fish every time they go out. Is it a personal quest to boost their ego’s or is there something more to it I am missing. I often wonder whether their whole ethos behind spending a weekend fishing is just to have their photo taken with a personal best only for them to have it published for all the fishing fraternity to ogle over with envy & glee. I personally don’t think it makes them any more a better fisherman than the next bloke.

I’m also often left wondering how many of them have gone out for a session and truly enjoyed just being out in the countryside, one with nature, catch nothing and go home without being deflated or miserable & sporting a bruised ego.

In their defense though I have to say that well edited fishing programs of our favorite fishing celebrities catching lunkers regularly, has gone a long way in fuelling our cravings and needs in some small way. Now I’m certainly not having a go at them because to be honest without there insight and years of knowledge which they are so generous in sharing with us, would the world of pike fishing be where it is at today.

To be truthful though, I have to admit that at the start of a days pike fly-fishing I am also filled with a small sense of anticipation that hopefully it will in some way bring a decent fish but that quickly subsides as I become totally immersed in my wilderness surroundings and that for me becomes more important and enjoyable than any pursuit of trying to catch a big one.

For me, fly-fishing here in Finland is not about the pursuit of trophy Pike but more about my surroundings and what I take home from that days fishing. I have dreamt of being able to live this lifestyle for many years, and now that I have it, I feel privileged and sometimes quite overwhelmed with how truly lucky I am.

Every pike in my eyes is a "Trophy" pike