“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
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