With the pike and I, it is a love /hate relationship. Although not to fond of its large mouth with the many large, sharp teeth, I just can’t let them be. I have to fish for them and this I do in a most unusual pike habitat – one might think…
When autumn is setting in Sweden it is time to head out to the Baltic shoreline to catch some salty pike. The Baltic Sea is known to be a big pond and although it contains saltwater it gets more and more brackish the further East and North you head. And even though Pike are a freshwater fish, they also thrive in brackish water.
When we head out to fly fish for pike we leave our boat at home. One of the fun things about salty pike fishing is that we are wading. The territory of the fishing is the unique and picturesque landscape of the Swedish Skærgården (archipelago), characterized by its flat shoreline, scattered with small and big granite stones, deep gullies, and small stone islands. In short: loads of hiding places for pike. The way to fish for them is simply pocket fishing. Don’t think you have to cast far into the horizon – this approach might do you more wrong than right. The pike is usually lurking in a hiding place such as in weed, sand holes or behind a stone. The water does not even have to be deep. Hence when you are on the pike hunt, remember that pike can be anywhere: close by, to the side of you, behind you – everywhere. The shift of focus where the fish resides is key element for success. Get to know where and how your prey lives!
Pike are definitely not selective and will feed on anything which moves in the water; a zonker or a flashabou fly in hook size 2-2/0 will usually animate a pike to take the fly. However you might face a little irritation when casting such a big fly or “wuschel” (as we call it). Get used to the fact that you will probably be casting with wider, open loops and that it looks pretty awful (hopefully your casting instructor is far away). Add a little wind to it, as we are fishing on the coast, and frustration is bound to be near!