This time last year I was kicking off my quest for a fly caught pike, which coincided quite nicely with a fishing trip on my birthday. On that particular trip back in 2014, I didn’t manage to catch one and it was in-fact quite some time until I did eventually hook and land a pike on the fly rod. Fast forward 12 months and I find myself wistfully remembering last years disappointment as I slip the net under a small but welcome jack pike. Not just any old pike, but a birthday pike!
I’d booked a day off work and managed to get out in the morning for a quick couple of hours on the Grand Western Canal near Tiverton. I started on the Greenway stretch of the canal just after daybreak and wasn’t filled with great hope considering the weather of late. The last few days had seen gales and plenty of rain, although the water itself looked clear enough to fish, if a little murky. I used my #5 rod and #8 floating line along with a fast sinking tapered leader and wire trace. This combination worked really well a week or so ago so there seemed to be no reason to change things. I started off with a selection of large pike flies, all of which were pretty testing to cast with the light rod. A little jack nipped at the tail of one of the flies right under the rod tip without connecting with the hook, so I switched over to a smaller fly more in keeping with my quarry’s size. I did try a couple of the smaller type flies but after no success I tried out one of the ‘mackerel’ type flies I’d tied for saltwater fishing. I’d caught a pollack on this fly over in the Isles of Scilly this summer but fancied it might fit the bill in this case too – being both the right kind of size as well as nicely visible in the coloured water.
10 minutes later and an enthusiastic little pike devoured my fly whole heartedly, leading to a short but fun scrap. Very gratifying to have success with one of my own flies! What a difference a year makes.
After this bit of fun, and with time running out, I headed along the canal a short distance to the ‘Minnows Caravan’ section, which is shallower and usually clearer. Not this time however.. One cast into the chocolate coloured water was enough to convince me that I would be wasting my time here so I called it a day and headed home feeling content with my efforts.