The second month of the new pike season is nearly over and I thought it is about time for a little resumee...
Unfortunately, I did not get out on the water as often as I wanted to, but that´s how life as a student can be at times. With the high temperatures we´re experiencing here in Germany for several weeks now it is at least not too sad, since catching the toothy critters would probably have been bad anyway...
The few times I did wet a line were also not very good in terms of catching (watch my "A day with a dude"-episode), I landed two small pike in six fishing days, had lots of followers and strikes though, but these conditions were really helpful in terms of testing out new stuff.
As I´ve posted earlier this year, I´ve been doing some research about tying techniques for musky patterns and how I can use them for my pike flies. After reading the fantastic book "Hunting Musky With A Fly " by Rick Kustich and scrolling through several instagram feeds of well known musky guys such as David O´Sullivan aka @Sullytuna or Brad Bohen from @Primotail I kinda fell in love with a deerhair head style, called Buford, which was first developed by Brad Bohen for his Wisconsin waters.
So I tied a few over the last couple of months and fished them more or less exclusively.
Here are a few things I like about that style of fly, which is actually a lot, but also some negative aspects I discovered in that design:
Starting off with the pros:
- Fantastic movement - the big head pushes some serious water which makes the flash and feathers behind wiggle and swirl really attractive, even at a steady retrieve or when just facing the current. When stripped hard, the fly will dart and jerk like crazy.
- The pressure this head creates makes for a perfect choice when fishing heavily stained waters where visibility is limited.
- Topwater action - when the deerhair is packed a little tighter, the Buford can be fished similar to a diver or popper since it will come up to the water surface when the retrieve is stopped --> we experienced one crazy surface eat just before closing season on it!
- Weed resistence: when you tie this pattern with a little wider head and more bucktail, it will push several small weeds aside and won´t get tangled too often! So you do not need to change your pattern when coming to spot with a little thicker underwater vegetation.
Now the cons:
- Limited depth - when fishing with an intermediate line, the deerhair won´t allow the fly to sink as fast as others would, even if the head isn´t packed tight. Of course, pike in general tend to look up to the surface and sure will come up a few feet for a little snack, but not allways. In the small rivers that I fish, it´s sometimes necessary for the fly to dive a few feet into a certain spot, such as a sunken log, before you start the retrieve - and the current won´t allow you to wait until the intermediate line pulls the fly down. If you don´t wanna change lines for one single spot, a fly that sinks a little faster will definitely do a better job in certain situations. BUT if you´re fishing a faster sinking line, this fly will fish above both bottom and the flyline and therefore won´t get stuck too often, unlike weighted patterns such as clousers.
- This fly design doesn´t include eyes. You can glue some on for sure, but this will in general disturb the round, disk-like head profile. Eyes on a streamer are no dogma, but I do know a lot of folks who are strong believers of the trigger eyes display for predatory fish. I´m not totally sure about that since I´ve caught fish on flies with and without eyes, but I do see their point.
I plan on testing my little Buford collection on my upcoming trip to the South of Sweden in August to see what the Scandinavian pike think about them.
I`ll let you know about the results!