Dennis Collier Fly Illustration - Copyright Dennis Collier 2015Articles

DC’s Pikesicle

Click here for the DC’s Pikesicle recipe and tying sequences.
By Dennis P. Collier

I wasn’t prepared for the explosive rupture of water where my fly had landed next to a protruding snag seconds before. Nor had I felt the fish on the end of the line. The fifty-pound mono shock tippet had been cleanly severed with surgical precision by rows of razor sharp teeth, and I was left standing in the Alaskan slough with trembling hands in a fleeting moment of time now indelibly etched in my memory. So it goes in the quest for Esox Lucius.

Having been an avid trout fly fisherman for many decades, my introduction to this alternative freshwater angling experience came about while working for the publisher/printer which produced the book "Pike on the Fly" by master pike anglers, Barry Reynolds and John Berryman. After reading the book and watching the companion video, I knew I had to explore this new dimension of predator and prey interaction.


  • Red/White DC's Pikesicle
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  • Nebraska Sand Hills Northern

As I was soon to learn, however, casting large pike flies on seven to nine-weight fly rods all day is something akin to hard work. Bunny flies—popular pike patterns tied with long tails and bodies of Zonker rabbit strips—posses an enticing action when being stripped through the water. They also cast like wet sweat socks. Consequently, I was compelled to find a lighter weight fly alternative which still exhibited the same strike-inducing action. After much experimentation DC’s Pikesicle was born.

The Pikesicle is much easier to cast and long on durability—at least as durable as a pike fly can be—and can be tied in a wide variety of color combinations. The addition of a small tungsten cone head encourages the desirable undulating motion, especially when the fly is attached to the leader with an open-loop knot. The Pikesicle is also readily adapted to tube-fly construction. In this case the fly can be weighted or left unweighted to suit the conditions at hand.

When I first started fly fishing for pike, I would often experience the frustration of having a fish follow the fly without striking. It turned out that my steady retrieve simply wasn’t consistent with the escape tactics of a frantic forage fish with a large predator close behind. When this happens, one tactic is to lower the rod tip and move it from side to side while speeding up the stripping action. The erratic change in movement of the fly will better mimic the reaction of frightened prey and many times trigger the strike response.


  • Business end of Esox Lucius

I also used to refrain from using wire leaders due to the related hassle, but after experiencing too many fish severing the heavy mono leader on the strike, have started using Berkeley Steelon Nylon Coated Wire in twelve-pound test. I prepare several tippets at a time by first tying a Perfection Loop in eighteen-inches of the steel leader. These are stored in a plastic bag and attached as needed, loop-to-loop, to several feet of twenty-pound Maxima Ultra Green. The fly is then attached to the wire with a Non-slip Mono Knot. You will find that these two knots minimize the annoying pig-tail effect inherent when knotting wire leaders.

Northern Pike are widely distributed throughout North America and Europe so you shouldn’t have to travel far to find them. In my experience, fly fishing for these toothy predators can be insanely easy or ridiculously difficult. Regardless, if you’re looking for an angling adrenaline rush, chasing "Water Wolves" with a fly rod might be what the doctor ordered. When you see a fish as long as your leg following the fly, the water erupts, and you’re suddenly attached to a runaway freight train, you’ll be hooked as well.

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