With the first Saturday in May being not all that far off, I need to be thinking about tactics for pike. Northern Pike, plentiful in Western New York, are my favorite species to catch. They grow big, are aggressive strikers, and decent fighters, pound for pound.
One of my goals this year is to take a 24” plus pike on the fly rod. I often catch smaller chain pickerel when targeting bass during pre spawn/spawn, but to go after the big pike, you need to think differently.
At the very least, you need to have an 8 weight fly rod. Redington makes a Predator series rod in 9 or 10 weights, and they specifically recommended those to me when I asked them on Twitter.
I also plan on using a thin gauge steel leader as a tippet, and likely tapered 10 pound material from the fly line on down. The fly line itself will be floating, and the fly selection will be big poppers, thick floating bunny streamers with cork heads, and potentially sunfish patterns.
Fly fishing from a kayak is a rewarding experience. You can quietly get into areas without making ground vibrations. You do need to be careful of the shadow the kayak casts, but each appraoch will dictate how to handle that.
A few things to bear in mind:
1.) Paddle into your spots quietly.
2.) Be VERY careful setting your paddle down. A dropped paddle on a hollow sit on top kayak sounds like a cannon underwater.
3.) Fish near the kayak first, then extend out your casts. Don’t line any pike you don’t have to.
Here’s a great video on tactics for hooking and landing REALLY big pike on surface flies. Enjoy!