What is the perfect fly rod for pike fly fishing? Do you thing there is an all satisfying answer on this? Asking this question to 10 different people you can be sure to get some different answers. 8 out of 10 will recommend a 9 weight rod and the rest tend to recommend maybe even a 10 weight. I rarely came across somebody who recommended differently. I love 8 weight rods that fullfill 98% of my pike fly fishery.
Why so lightweight? Firstly I strongly believe that mostly of pike flies are tied too heavily and bulky. My first pike flies looked like I wanted to immitate a wobbler. They were so bulky that they really felt like throwing a wet sock into the wind. Also they had a very bad movement in the water. On the first glance they looked great to me but the more you challanged the shake, the more I got my doubts that this is really what the pikes wanted. The material was simply too thick to really allow a nice movement. They made a big push wave but I came a cross some pikes did had also their daubts whether this is something they want for dinner. Over the years I changed mind and started to tye slim and nicely shaped flies. Flies that can be easily casted with even a 7 weight rod. Flies that reach sizes of 10 and more inches. With natural body material and or also with synthetics.
The second reason to fish a 8 weight is that it feels so light. You can cast 12 hours a day and you won’t feel it. It is still a very delight fly casting. I really like that. Especially if there is a high population of smaller fish this can be still funny. Fighting a 25 inch pike on a 10 weight is boring as hell. I mean such a fish is no challange on a 8 weight but at least more funny on it.
At last the third reason why I love chasing pike with a 8wt is. I somehow made the experience that hooking a pike with a softer rod becomes more often a success than with heavier rods. Anyway for hooking a pike you need to make a hard line strike. But for those, including me, who can’t fight against the devil in myself avoiding to lift the rod, I do have good news. I realized that I had better hookups with the 8 weight because of a simple reason. It allows the pike to turn away from you when you set the hook. In case you could’t set the hook properly with the line strike you have a good chance that the hook gets stuck in the pikes sciccors. On the heavier rods you can put too much presure on the pike so that he is not able to turn away. Is the hook not properly set you might loose the fish.
Another aspect that I see very important for a pike fly fishing rod are the guides. They should be big like the ones from ultra heavy saltwater rods. Pike fly lines and especially shooting heads are thick and the loop to loop connection goes through the guides much easier when the guides are big. Also when fishing in winterly conditions this is a huge benefit.
In general I’m a big fan of stiff and fast rods but thats all personal preference so I will not give a recommendation onto this. I have seen casters that can cast a line with a wobble stick further than casters that failed with the fastest rods on the market. If I would have to fish only one rod for pike it would be my 8wt Sage ONE. I really really love that stick. Casting makes so much fun with it, its a very lightweight and fast rod. With ease I’m able to cast 100feet of line with even bigger flies, usually when it comes for distance I choose a shooting head. Shortly said I can fully recommend that rod.