The aim of this blog is to connect fly-tyers all over the world, to share, techniques, patterns, information and knowledge.

The fly for Autumn Pike…

Pike Steamer, a sure attractor for autumn pike

“Steaming is term given to a style of mugging where an unsuspecting victim is chosen, followed and attacked suddenly at great speed without warning”.

The art of camouflage, surprise and speed are the pikes most powerful weapons for securing a meal. Of course some meals are obtained easier than others, but generally speaking the freshwater crocodile wont say no to a free meal.  Like the muggers victims the pikes are chosen for much the same reasons, easy pickings! weak and old, or both, unable to move fast or get away, once attacked and of course the bounty.

The idea behind this pattern is to work on all the pikes predatory instincts, and make the victim (the fly) as attractive and irresistible as possible. I do this through fly design and presentation.  When designing predatory patterns there are several things to consider and a few key elements that all patterns should have. If you want a general pattern that you could use just about anywhere for anything, then you should choose to imitate a natural food that is widely available – like small bait fish. Then you have to consider the four most important attractor factors:

Movement… colour… eyes… and sound.

The movement in this pattern is achieved through a combination of materials. Both the marabou and Icelandic sheep hair are extremely mobile in water, but their effect is enhanced by the weight of the Epoxy head. Predators find this swimming action, irresistible.

The eyes, which are always an attack point, are oversized for additional predator impact.

If you keep all these factors in mind when designing predatory patterns you won’t go wrong.

During a three week fly fishing tip to the Amazon, home of more fresh water predatory fish than anywhere else on the planet, I developed a technique using surface splashing to stimulate feeding and awareness of my streamer, which works just as well for our own pike. Maybe you’d like to add this technique to your own armoury of tactics.

It requires though a specific leader set-up to work at it’s best, especially when fishing large flies. And it’s simplicity in itself – take around 1.5m of 30lb mono, and connect the fly to the mono with a Rapala knot. This will give a better swimming action on the stiff mono. (By the way, I have never encountered a leader shy pike, and seldom use a wire trace.)

This short, stiff leader will not only give bigger flies better turn-over when casting, but also better control and precision in presentation, and (touch wood), I have never had a break-off. The following technique is only possible with such a leader.

Firstly, find a likely spot on the water, where there’s maybe a pike lying in wait, or resting after a hunt. Before casting, make sure that your streamer is well-soaked and all air removed. This will not only make it sink quicker but also make it more aerodynamic and so easier to cast. Then with a short, hard and direct cast, shoot your streamer into the water as hard as you can – then repeat this three or four times in the same area of water. Splash that fly and heavy leader as loud as you like, it will surely attract the immediate attention of any pike within spitting distance.

Make one last cast and this time let your streamer sink… and then retrieve as normal. If there’s a pike in the vicinity it will come to the fly, the rest, as they say, is up to you…

Hook: Mustad S71SNP-ZS # 3/0-5/0

Thread: Dyneema

Wing: Icelandic sheep hair

Flash: Holographic tinsel

Over wing: Light Brite

Collar: Spun rabbit

Cheeks: 2 Grizzle hackles

Wing topping: Five strands of long natural peacock herl

Hackle: Spun Marabou Yellow

Eyes: Large mobile eyes coated with resin

1
Place hook in vice as shown and attach tying thread at the rear of the hook shank.
Tie in a long length of fine tapered Icelandic sheep hair or synthetic sub. If you choose a synthetic substitute make sure that its not so stiff it doesn’t pulsate in the water, and that its not so soft it lacks body.

2
Now taking the wing material in your left hand, back comb the sheep hair. This means run the comb the opposite way you would normally, like girls did the the early eighties to get more body for bigger hair. This will accumulate the shorter hair fibers at the base of the tail and create the illusion of more body volume, with out adding extra weight to the pattern.

3
Tie-in on top of the wing approximately 10 long strands of holographic tinsel, or another chosen flash material of your choice. Place a few drops of glue or varnish on the whippings to make the fly stronger and more durable.

4
On top of the wing tie in a bunch of pearl light brite to add a little more volume and attractor flash to the wing and body.

5
Cut a short length of cross-cut rabbit strip and place the rabbit strip in a dubbing loop and spin to make a nice dense dubbing brush.
NB. If spinning a thick-dense rabbit fur, with under wool, you will need an extremely strong tying thread to make the dubbing loop. If you use a standard thread it will most likely break before the loop is spun enough to hold the fur securely. It also helps to use a heavier dubbing spinner rather than a lighter one.

6
Wind in the spun rabbit hair making sure you comb back the fibers with each turn when winding inn to form the collar as shown.

7
Select 2 broad grizzle hackles and colour on both sides of the hackle with a waterproof felt pen.

8
Tie in the grizzle hackles one each side of the collar.

9
For the wing topping tie in 5 long strands of peacock herl. The strongest herl is found just below the peacock eye on the tail feather. If you are having problems getting the herl to curve over the wing correctly, run them one at a time, carefully over the blunt side of a pair of scissors, between your finger and thumb, just like you would with a ribbon when wrapping a gift.

10
Make another dubbing brush as in steps 5 & 6 but this time with long fine tapered marabou.

11
Wind the dubbing brush on to make the front hackle. Finish off with a couple of whip finishes.

12
Glue on 2 large mobile dolls eyes. Make sure that these are evenly balanced on the hook shank. Or if you wish to give your steamer a injured affect, glue on the eyes unevenly or even, two different eyes, one much larger than the other, and the fly will fish off center.

13
Give the eyes and head a coat of Bug Bond or Epoxy resin, making sure that you coat both eyes in a “glass ball” of resin.

14
Once the Bug Bon is applied you give it a quick blast with the UV light to cure. Or if you have used Epoxy place it on a rotary dryer if you have one until set.

15
Your finished and fish ready Pike steamer.

5 responses

  1. Pingback: The fly for Autumn Pike… « the limp cobra

  2. Pingback: Pike Ted Williams Bonefish Special Tippets | MidCurrent | MidCurrent

  3. I’m just curious about the length of bare hook shank on the fly. Is there a specific reason? Is it a style choice, or have something to do with Pike flies in general?

    October 30, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    • Hi FTF, The length of bare hook shank was something I started doing in the late 90’s while fishing in the Amazon for predatory fish with lots of teeth. You can actually fish without a wire trace as the hook shank serves as such. But the main reason is that the body of the fly has no movement restrictions, and the bare shank along with the weight of the fly eye creates a jig effect without being too heavy to cast.

      Hope this helps. You can also take a look at one of my new books ‘ Flies for pike’ from the proven patterns series.

      Thanks

      Barry

      October 30, 2012 at 6:48 pm

  4. Pingback: FlyMasters of Indianapolis

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