We’ve been fishing more and more for Northern Pike over the past couple years, and we haven’t come across many flies that work better than the Piketola Minnow. The Murdich Minnow has been a favorite warmwater fly of ours for a number of years for smallmouth, white bass, and just about every other species of warmwater fish. The Piketola Minnow is a slight variation of the original Murdich, but tied much larger and a bit more full.
We’ve fished a ton of different fly patterns in our Pike pursuits, and we found that the fly ‘hanging’ in front of the fish is super important. Regardless of how deep you need to be or how heavy your sink tip is, when you strip the fly it has to jerk and then hang in front of the fish, without sinking quickly. Pike almost always eat the fly when it’s in the hanging stage of the retrieve, and this fly does it every time! Another consideration to keep in mind when tying pike flies is how castable they’re going to be – it’s easy to build so much air resistance and bulk into a fly that you can’t cast it on an 8 weight. The Piketola Minnow is pretty streamlined and casts well, and it sheds water on the first backcast, making it really easy to cast without needing a 10 weight to throw it. Also, it’s really easy to tie, and you can tie up a whole bunch of them in a couple hours. Pike tear up flies pretty quickly if you’re catching a lot of them, so it’s nice to have a few backup patterns of the same fly. One thing to keep in mind when tying pike flies – tie them on the sharpest hooks you can get. Pike have really hard mouths, and you’re oftentimes only getting a couple shots in a day at fish. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting a good take, strip setting into the fish, and having the hook fall out because it’s dull. I’m really partial to the Partridge Predator series of hooks – they’re reasonably priced, laser sharp, and they have a nice profile and gap. I’ve never had any issues hooking fish that commit to the fly with these hooks.
We’ve had our best luck on this fly in Chartreuse and Black, but white is another good option. You can tie this fly in whatever color or colors you want to, so use your imagination and try out some different color combinations. Look for a blog post in the coming week on Pike rigs and setups as well. In the meantime, tie up a few Piketola Minnows and get after ’em!