A few weeks back I joined fellow Pike angler and good mate Micky Jones on a trip to one of his local Pike haunts. Due to time constraints for both of us, the trip was going to be limited to an evening session followed by an early start the next morning. On the venue in question the Pike can be found lurking around the snags in shallow water so I set up two Sage Z-Axis rods, one with an SA Mastery Pike floating 9 weight and the other with the superb Guideline Pike Sink 1/Sink 3 10 weight. My leader make up is simplicity in itself: 5 or 6 feet of 25.5lb Seaguar Fluorocarbon joined by an Albright Knot to 2 feet of 26lb AFW Surflon wire. The fly is attached by means of a Jam Knot for maximum mobility. The reason my trace is so long is to allow multiple changes of the fly before it becomes too short for safe use. This may sound like a hindrance but having a leader set up with no clips or swivels etc will considerably help with casting!
A fighting fit 14 pounder!
I started with the floater as we brought the boat to a halt in 3ft of water 15m or so from a sunken tree which Micky assured me was a known lie. In my wallet I had several flies to choose from, Fulling Mill Baitfish, Sparklers and some Flashtail Whistlers. 3 casts in and a 14lb fish grabbed by quickly-stripped Whistler, result! Several other fish to low doubles followed that evening including some spectacular surface takes as the light faded.
The 21lb beast!
The icing on the cake was this cracking 21lb fish which nailed my Whistler on a drop off next to a weed bed. Using the Guideline Pike S1/S3 which has an intermediate belly with a long 3 inch per second sinking tip, enabled me to count down the line so I knew my fly was roughly 10ft down in 12ft of water, just along the weed-line…..where she was lying in wait!