The last couple of weeks, Anthony and I have been given several tying classes in both fly fishing clubs and in the shop. And what we try to do is, not just tie a pike fly which people can use and catch fish, but show certain techniques or (in this case) a base pattern to work with and create a whole bunch of different flies. That is more satisfying for both us and the people who come to the classes.
The base I use in a lot of pike flies is this:
-bucktail (I prefer the hairs of the tip of the bucktail because they flair out less and move better)
-mid section (I prefer a long kind of chenille or a loop with some flash material, but if you leave your hook shank blank, it will work just as well)
-bucktail (here I prefer stiffer hairs from the bucktail)
If you stick to this base, then it really doesn’t matter what you use as tail material, or head. You will always have a bulky, well balanced, nicely profiled fly with nice movement.
Here are some examples:
The left one is the easiest to tie, but that doesn’t mean it will catch less fish than the other ones. Just a rabbit zonker strip / bucktail / chenille / bucktail / epoxy head. The right one is build the same way but with a sheep’s wool head.
These two have a double zonker strip and the head is bucktail tied in reverse with a Pro Softhead to push the hair back.
Here I used a bit more colours of bucktail but they’re otherwise the same as the previous flies.
If you find zonker strips to heavy to cast, then use feathers, like the one on the left (you don’t see the black feathers very well due to the background, but they’re there). Or if you don’t have Pro Softheads (we sell them in our shop if you like), then just push the hair backwards and hold them in place with some UV resin, like I did on the right one.
Or make an articulated version, like these two. Here I used the base pattern two times: zonkers / bucktail / chenille / bucktail and for the articulated shank: bucktail / chenille / bucktail.
This one looks a bit more complicated but it’s again the same base pattern. I just used some bucktail with feathers positioned around it for the tail.
And the same here, but with some craft fur tied in reverse and held into place with UV resin for the head.
I only used zonker strips and feathers here for the tails, but if you use some synthetic material or a clump of flash, you will still have a fly that works.
Just try it out and use your imagination…