Image Above: Home Made Jig Head Pike Flies, size 1 hook brass and polyurethane heads
There is something unnatural about grown men stroking feathers especially feathers attached to
hooks; with that said, last night I found myself with a pack of cock hackles and some flashabou happily stroking away as I tied a mess of fibres to a hook. I had decided to revisit my jig heads and make some adjustments to the position of the hooks so the eye was a little nearer the front of the weighted head. I cast the heads in polyurethane resin in mould I took from a piece of polymer clay I had sculpted; the mould also holds a hook weighted with brass. Essentially what I am making is a variation on a buck tail lure, something a little more popular in America than over here. Rather than use buck fur or attach a soft plastic tail I wanted to try some feathers and shiny fuzz of which I have a selection from tying mackerel feathers. The idea was to have a cross between a jig and a pike fly and take advantage of what both have to offer. It is not that I am against fly fishing for pike it is just that at the local lake they have only just accepted the fact that I don’t fish for carp, if I was to turn up with my fly rod it is fair to say they would ask me to leave or attach a bite alarm to it.
Despite the almost religious fervour with which lure anglers seem to be turning to soft plastics I have never really been able to catch fish with them , this could just be because I am a crap angler after all I have never had much success with spinners. The other possibility is when I build my own lures I design them for the conditions, places and the way I like to fish. If I was to buy fishing lures instead of making them I would have to spend a lot of money finding out which lures were suited to my style of fishing and predictably which were not.
Feathers have a lot offer as any fly fisherman knows, apart from colour and they have a flexibility that once soaked in water translates into incredibly life like movement. Long cock hackles flow and with light tugs ripple in a way that makes me want jump in the water and have a bite myself. Fluffier feathers like marabou and their synthetic cousins add pulse and delicate motions that seem to capture a vitality that I find missing in plastic no matter how supple. And despite all that action and life they are completely insubstantial so when a pike strikes at a fly its jaws will easily find the point of the hook rather than a thick piece of rubber.
In the hands of an expert with a tying vice and some simple tools, feathers can be transformed in the most amazing creations, lifelike or otherwise. Unfortunately I am not an expert and do not own a vice nor the requisite tools or skill; let’s just say I tied something to a hook, to call it a fly would be an exaggeration maybe a tail would be closer to the mark.
At the lake my jig made a soft landing and sank to the bottom, I teased it into the shallows letting it kick up a trail in the mud as its long tail flickered. Three casts and a pike found it and I was happy, god I was happy, shit I was giggling a little. I let the pike off while it was still in the water it looked to be in the five pound range, I picked the jig up and wet as it was I stroked some fluff.
If you are interest in some proper pike flies try http://mcfluffchucker.blogspot.co.uk/