Winter Pike on the fly, what you will need, and my recommendations.
Having the correct clothing when fly fishing in winter will definitely prolong your fishing hours. This includes headwear as you can lose up to 40% of your body heat through your head.
A good pair of socks can also give you that little extra comfort.
For me personally, I can highly recommend the Loop Onka Jacket, I have worn just about every brand over the last 30 years but this is one of the best and I would not change to anything else.
Onka Jacket https://uk.looptackle.com/product/onka-jacket/
A waterproof wading jacket is a must as the Scottish Winter can be harsh and unforgiving. there are many good jackets out there but I would advise buying the best you can afford at that time.
Having the correct and best winter clothing is just as important as the tackle its self as this will allow the time out in harsh conditions while others pack up and go home.
Glasses, I will always wear glasses when fly fishing, this is not to look cool but to avoid getting the pike fly in my eye. It just takes the slightest mistake and hey ho, you have just lost an eye.
It is always better to play safe and prevent any unwanted injuries to yourself or others fishing around you.
Rod and Line, Again I would buy the best that you can afford at the time of purchasing. There are lots of pike flyfishing gear available to buy but some are better than others. I would read as many reviews as
possible and get advice from guys or girls that have been fly fishing for pike for some time as they will have excellent knowledge of the equipment and their pitfalls. Some rods are more than capable of casting a nice line but
will struggle to cast larger flies with wiggle tails so seek advice on your rod type before purchase. Some rod manufactures will have field centers around the UK where you will be able to try before you buy, this is always a great option for both beginner and experienced fly fishers.
I use the Loop Cross SW #9 and #10 weight 9ft fly rods as when they are matched with the right lines they will throw just about any fly with ease. There are of course other excellent brands available and this would be down to your personnel preference of rod manufacture and warranty offered by them. Be careful of lifetime warranty when buying curtain rods as when they state lifetime warranty it is not always as it seems. Loop does offer an excellent service and the aftercare is great.
I would advise learning how to double haul when fly fishing for Pike as this will help with casting, for me it would be better to learn how to double haul on a trout rod first and then progress to the Pike rod as it will not so heavy on your arm.
Once you have mastered the art of double hauling you will find casting pike flies so much easier and you will spend more time in the water and less time in the air.
Fly lines, these again are open to personal preference but I love the Sniper Lines as they are just so easy to get out with minimal effort and you can get a lot of distance with them. Combine the rod and line with double hauling and you will be throwing long lines with minimal effort and covering more water with the fly, hence a better chance of catching a Pike.
Tools, as long as you have a good pair of long nose pliers and a set of wire cutters you will be good to go. I use the pistol disgorger as it is easy to use quickly and the jaws will easily grab the fly and take the hook out. Again this is down to personal preference with tools etc but as long you are able to use them correctly without damaging the fish you will be fine.
The net, I use the Savage Gear large rubber net as I find it easy to transport as it folds up and it is easy to use. The rubber prevents damage to fish and if your hook gets caught it is easy to get out.
Leader, I will use a minimum of 30-pound Flouro about 3 to 4 ft with Rio pike wire again 30 pounds with a Rio size 2 fly clip for ease of changing flies.
Flies, All my flies are from Stuart Smith Pike flies, he has tied all my flies for 10 plus years now and I have never had an issue with them. Again there are lots of good pike fly tiers out there so preference will take over on your choice of fly tier. Do not buy pike flies from Kenya as they are simply just rubbish and poorly tied. I know as to start with I thought I was getting a good deal but soon found out that they are just absolute rubbish.
You will need a bag to put all this gear into and I would recommend a roll-top bag as this will stay dry even in the most severe weather.
Landing matt is always a good idea as if you have to get the pike into the boat or the shoreline this will prevent any damage to the fish, I always have a carp keep net handy in case I need to rest the fish before a return as Pike can be hard fighting and I want to make sure it is fully rested before return. As I am guiding every day there are a lot of fishers that would wish to have their picture taken with a large Pike so when I unhook the fish it goes straight into the keep net, when the guest is ready I will then lift out the pike and get a picture, this way the pike is not out of the water any more than absolutely necessary.
Line tray is a must when out in the boat or shoreline as this will prevent tangles and standing your expensive line. It is also great for a windy day. Again they range in price from £20 to £55 pounds depending on the brand. I use the Snowbee line tray as it is right and hard-wearing.
If you have any questions or would love to give Pike on the fly a go just give us a call and we can definitely get you out on the water.