My fishing is pike fishing. It has always been so, and it will probably always remain that way. This applies to pike fishing in general, but pike fishing from kayaks in particular. I like to actively search for the pike with as little fishing gear as possible.
A flyrod, some single hooked pike flies, an extra tapered leader and some extra wire in a wallet are all I use in addition to my previous experiences. Unfortunately, “sport fishing” generally goes in a different direction. It appears that more and more anglers build their fishing on the maximum use of technical gadgets and tools, which unfortunately also begins to apply to kayak fishing. The “kayaks” begin to look more and more like boats equipped with everything that just angling boats usually are equipped with. The paddle is reduced to a tool intended to complement other complex propulsion systems of various types, such as mirage, propeller, electric motors and other. No, it’s not “my cup of tea”. Not at all. I n my thinking “less is more”, and that´s why fly fishing for pike, standing from a paddle kayak is what I like most.
Pike fly fishing. That’s what this article is about. It is now, during the winter, that the fly excels over most other methods when it comes to pike fishing in our archipelagos. Now it’s mid January. The winter weather here in the south – east part of Sweden is unusually mild, which means that the bays of the Ronneby and Karlskrona archipelagos still are ice-free and open for fishing. Many years it´s like this year, but far from all years. Usually the ice covers the bays for a few weeks here, usually from the second half of January until sometime in February. You never know exactly. If the sea is open, then you have to grab the opportunity to go for some really nice pike fishing. Then the kayak is the perfect choice. Once all the expensive boats have been taken up from the water for winter hibernation, the kayak lays at the water’s edge eager to glide out in the bays. The starting time is short, which means that you can go out and fish when most people have to sit at home watching fishing clips on Youtube, longing for the next fishing season.
When winter is coming, most pike leave the rocky bottoms in the mid and outer archipelago and migrate into the shallow inner bays, where the water over the thick clay bottoms is slightly warmer. The clay store warmth generated during the previous months. In the bays, the pike can spend the winter and prepare for the early spring’s spawning. As a result, there is a lot of pike in the bays, but far from everywhere. For some reason, the pikes gather in groups. Some groups host mostly smaller pike, while other smaller groups can consist of medium and larger fish. The biggest pikes seem to be solitarians in general. They stand for themselves and, of course, if you’re a little pike, you better stay away from the bigger ones to avoid becoming their dinner. I think that this is the reason why these small and medium-sized individuals are grouping together. Several pairs of eyes see more than one pair… Shallow, often clear water, is not the best environment to avoid detection for a smaller pike. For that reason, the pike often back into the reeds where they can keep hidden more easily, while keeping an eye out for a random prey. For some reason, this seems even more valid when the water level is higher than normal. If the water level is lower, and the water is cloudy, there are more frequent groups of pike in the middle of the bays. How I fish for pike is based these factors.
Conclusion one: It is about searching for pike over a big area. Conclusion Two: Sight fishing is important – use your eyes! Conclusion Three: The pikes often, but not always, stand close to or just by the edge of the reeds.
Text Gunnar Ahlström