Friday, 20 April 2012

A new string to my bow

In recent weeks ive been reading a great deal about fly fishing for Pike and i must admit the method seems to have taken something of a hold over me. My first trip a couple of weeks back was a spur of the moment affair in that i originally set off on a lure trip and chucked the fly rod in the car as an afterthought. My intention was to practice a bit of casting with it after the lures had worked their magic.
Unfortunately the lures didnt produce so much as a sniff from two circuits of the lake so i took the fly rod out of the car and found a nice roomy swim to have a cast about in. I only had one fly with me, a gaudy red white and green affair but itd serve my purposes i thought. Imagine my surprise when, on the very first cast i recieved a savage pull from the depths! i didnt hook it up but on the next cast a small jack followed the fly right to the bank before engulfing it properly. After a very lively scrap on my light fly rod i was soon gloving out my first fly caught Pike, awesome!
I walked a couple of swims along to attempt a repeat performance and was truly gobsmacked when after a couple of casts the fly was hit right at my feet. That fish made a good escape after throwing the hook as it tailwalked across the surface. The next spot gave me another surprise because as i retrieved the fly i became aware of a large shape following it up the marginal slope. As it came into view i was stunned to see a Carp of about 15lb following around 6inches behind. I think it was more curious than hungry as it turned away as soon as i stopped the retrieve.

My first Pike on the fly fell to this creation, its missing eyes are proof of its attraction!

I tried a couple more spots with no action but the wind was making casting somewhat difficult for me so i headed around to the opposite bank with the wind off my back. On my second cast into a shallow bay i saw a larger Pike slowly following the fly around ten feet behind. I stopped the retrieve and the fish swam up to the fly bristling its fins before turning away. I cast towards the direction it swam off in and as soon as the fly became visible to me the Pike shot in and grabbed it. It tore off along the bank stripping line through my fingers before suddenly the hook pulled and it was game over. This was heart stopping stuff!
Some other anglers turned up to fish at that point and, not wanting to make a prat of myself with my embarassingly shocking casting, i headed back to the car. I was amazed at the contrast in the fishes response to the fly as opposed to the lures. It was like fishing a different lake.

Over the next week i continued to read up on the subject of fly fishing and even bought a couple more big and hairy concoctions to try out. I was mad keen to get out again but the weather stepped in and ruined any chance i had of having another dabble. The rain poured all week and it wasnt until Friday that the rain had lifted enough for me to be able cast a line again.

The new additions

I arrived at the lake and was disappointed to find eight other anglers on the pool. With it being a small venue the extra rods left me very limited for spots to fish so i headed to the deeper lake next door. This lake was directly affected by levels in the nearby river due to a connecting pipe and as such was quite coloured and carrying around 2ft of extra water. It was also surrounded by trees which made casting very difficult. Not surprisingly i struggled so after doing my bailiff duties on the original lake i headed for another much larger pit just up the road.
The sky was starting to get pretty dark as i approached and i knew that some serious rain was imminent. I quickly made my way to a nice looking corner and began to fish. Third cast in and i had an explosive take on the surface which had me jumping out of my skin! the fish tailwalked left right and centre but it was well hooked and i soon had it on the bank. A nice fish and proof of the flys effectiveness as i had never caught a single fish from there before despite trying conventional lures time after time.


As i returned the fish the heavens truly opened and seeing as i was around half a mile away from the motor i got well soaked. I didnt mind though because id proved to myself  that i was doing something right with the technique. I always took it with a pinch of salt that fly fishing converts often boast about the method outfishing conventional lures by two or three fish to one but im slowly starting to believe that what they say might actually have an element of truth . I cant wait for the rivers to open so i can really start to explore the possibilities however, my casting does need an awful lot of work in the meantime!


  1. Interesting stuff, Leo. I've also done a lot of reading up on this subject over the last six months but never put anything into practice. If you've not already seen this blokes blog (you probably have), it's worth checking out.. it's more based towards tying the flies than actually getting out fishing. He really knows his stuff though. There's also a great book by Alan Hanna (again, you probably already know) with a couple of accompanying videos on youtube. It's good to see you're having success with this method though.

  2. Looks good leo, that's the kind of interest your after from fish isn't it. I never feel that confident with a lure, but sounds like the fly must have a more natural edge they can't resist.

  3. I too am starting out with the fly rod ,after coarse fish, pike, and perch in particular.
    I was very amused by you packing up when others arrived, as I did a similar thing the first time I went out with the fly rod.I laughed at myself all the way home, how can a 50+ year old man be worried about what others think about fishing technique or lack of it?
    I aim to get more confident and practiced with my casting, before the season starts again, as I prefer to fish the rivers and streams.Be lucky regards Marc

  4. Cheers for the comments lads. Lee, the fibres in the fly continue to wave about alluringly in the water even when you stop retrieving so basically its working from the second it hits the water. Im reliably informed that its a good method for big perch too. Patrick, get out there and give it a go, its a very addictive form of fishing!
    Marc, about the embarrassment factor, i know full well id be in stitches if i saw myself attempting to flyfish from anothers perspective! Im really bad at it and i honestly cant believe i catch fish on the technique still! being a bailiff on the lake in question im confident id soon lose whatever scrap of credibility i have left if the other members saw me in action!