Pike Gear Setup: Part 1 Bite Guards & Leaders | OFF Fly Shop

Pike Gear Setup: Part 1 Bite Guards & Leaders

 

Calgary's Fly Shop Setting up leaders and bite guards for Pike on the FlyThe single most common question I get from people when they hear about fly fishing for pike is always "well don't you need a steel leader for that? How do their teeth not cut through the leader?"  That's a fair question and so now that we have high muddy rivers and its peak season for pike and walleye we're going to take this opportunity to address how to get setup for Pike and even Walleye on the Fly.

The first thing you'll need to start chasing pike is some sort of bite guard to protect against their numerous rows of teeth. Bite guards can be made from Steel, titanium, or flourocarbon and can be added to the end of any stiffer leader.  Let's look at the pros and cons of each of the different type of bite guards.

Bite Guard Options: 

Option #1 Steel

Pros:
-Low memory and resistant to kinking
-Tieable and easy to work with
-More affordable than many alternatives
Cons:
-Can kink after multiple fish

Rio Powerflex Wire BiteSA Nylon Coated Stainless Steel Wire

Option #2 Titanium Wire

Pros:
-Very low memory and resistant to kinking or coiling
-Extremely strong and thin
Cons:
-Hard to tie with (best to use crimps to make your leader)
-More expensive than steel

SA Nickel Titanium Bite GuardSA Knot 2 Kinky Titanium Wire

Option #3 Flourocarbon (#80-#100)

Pros:
-lowest visibility for line shy or spooky fish
-tieable (use a figure 8 knot to the fly and albright knot to your leader)

Cons:
-Very large pike have still been known to cut through even #100 floro if the leader is under tension and hits a tooth at the wrong angle.  This is typically only an issue with the largest pike, although those are usually the ones you'd least want to lose

Frog Hair Flourocarbon

 

Leader Options:

Option #1 Orvis Predator Polyleader with Titanium Wire

Pros:
-Very low memory and resistant to kinking or coiling
-Extremely strong and thin
-Comes with snap for quick fly changes
-Intermediate Polyleader is stiff and turns over the biggest flies extremely effectively
Cons:
-Intermediate Polyleader sinks so isn't ideal for smaller topwater patterns, but still works just fine for larger poppers, mice or frog patterns

Orvis Predator Polyleader

Option #2 Umpqua Tyger Wire Tapered Leaders

Pros:
-Nylon coated micro-braided stainless steel wire with very low memory as well as resistant to kinking or coiling
-Strong and thin
-Tieable multi-strand wire bite guards
-Monofilament tapered leader floats so can be used on any topwater pattern as well as sinking fly patterns
Cons:
-Bite Guard (18") may be considered short for very large fish, or if a fish rolls or wraps itself in the leader

Umpqua Pike & Musky Tyger Wire Tapered Leader