Pike on Fly in a snowy Amsterdam

On route to a buisness trip in Spain we decided to do a quick detour via Amsterdam to target the aggresive Northern Pike on fly. a Quick google search yielded tons of dutch results, but the first english wesite was that of certified fishing guide Mike Dijkstra. We booked a day with him via e-mail and arranged our travel and accomodation accordingly.

The Northern Pike (Esox lucius) gets its name from its resemblance to the pole-weapon known as the pike. Its binomial name translates to ‘Pitiless water-wolf’ as “esox” means ‘pitiless’ and “lucius” means ‘water-wolf’. Various other unofficial trivial names are: American pike, common pike, great northern pike, Great Lakes pike, grass pike, snot rocket, slough shark, snake, slimer, slough snake and northern gator – due a head similar in shape to that of an alligator.

The northern pike is a relatively aggressive species, especially with regards to feeding. For example, when food sources are sparse, cannibalism develops. This cannibalism occurs when the ratio of predator to prey is two to one.

Pike are capable of “fast start” movements, which are sudden high-energy bursts of unsteady swimming. Many other fish exhibit this movement as well but most fish use this mechanism to avoid life-threatening situations. For the pike, however, it is a tool used to capture prey from their sedentary positions.

pike-eat-pike

Mike picked us up from our hotel at 8:30 and suggested we go to a natural lake where we could fish of boats. The weather was not on our side with overcast skies and breezy winds. We arrived at our location about 30 minutes later where Mike offered us a warm cup of coffee and some oilskins… He then gave us each a fly that looked like a marlin lure… These flies are about 40 cm in lenght and it was then when I realized why he told us to bring our 9 weight outfits…

We fished in a mixture of snow and sleet and lost all feeling in our hands, on top of that casting a 40cm fly even on a 9 weight was not an easy task… Later during the day the weather subsided and I decided to change to a local tigerfish fly which we took with… This proved much easier to cast and I could get some proper distance between myself and the fly…

It was when the sun eventually produced itself and the clouds dissapeared, that a little pike decided to come out and play… He grabbed my tiger fly with such verocity that I almost lost the rod…

after a minute or two I had him next to the boat, I asked Mike to remove the fly after seeing his teeth, we took a quick photo and allowed him to roam free again… I beleive we would have had a lot more success in better weather conditions but at least I have another species on my cv and a tick on the bucket list.

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