Armadale anglers and qualified guides believe that the current interest in pike has been sparked by the abandonment of the salmon fishery.
Sutherland has over 30 years of experience, having fished all over Scotland for game, whitefish and sea fish on the fly, but pike is his passion, particularly targeting them with a fly rod.
The angler said: “In my opinion, there is nothing more exhilarating than watching a pike chase your fly in gin-clear water, seeing its gills flare up and slapping your fly wildly. You stare the hook and you get hooked.”
He should know that his career best specimen is a 31 pound specimen and he has enjoyed catching several other pike around that mark.
However, he remembers well the day he snagged his personal best. Sutherland said: “It was on one of the big lochs in Scotland and I caught a lot of big fish on the fly.
“I was in the boat with my homies and they were fishing lures while I was on the fly. The big fish nailed the fly. It’s funny, but the bigger fish tend to take the fly in a way more subtle but then they really go for it.
“It’s like a dog fetching a postman’s bag, they just want to kill it (the fly) and as soon as I touched it I told my friend it was a 20lb- He said it wasn’t It wasn’t a 20lb, it was a 30lb plus and it was a really special day.
He adds: “To tell you the truth, it didn’t take me long to land thanks to modern carbon rods. You can really put some force on the fish and it took about ten minutes maximum to bring it in. in the boat.” didn’t have fun with it.”
Overall, Sutherland said the gear now available is far superior to the gear he started with in his youth, and the gear is now readily available at fishing tackle stores and online. .
Pike flies are also available and he said: “If you fish for trout and make your own flies, pike flies are on a much larger scale. 4/0 and 6/0 hooks, and you need a lot more tackle.
“There are a number of lads in Scotland who rig pike flies like myself, Willie Munn, Stuart Smith and Dave Lindsay, known as Mcfluffchucker, from Edinburgh and the sport has undoubtedly become more popular with the decline of salmon fishing. Anglers want the experience of catching bigger fish.”
Anyone interested, he suggested, should contact a guide or find an experienced pike angler. Scotland also has an organization dedicated to promoting the sport, the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland and Sutherland pointed out: “There’s a lot more to deal with a pike than a trout.
“A pike has between 300 and 700 teeth and they are really sharp. You have to have the right tools. You also have to get the fish back in good shape and that means playing the fish well and handling it with care.”
Pikes are resident channels. Lochs like the Lake of Menteith near Stirling, Linlithgow Loch and Pottishaw Fishery near Whitburn have quite a bit of pike, but fly fishing only takes place at these sites.
Sutherland said: “You need a rod of at least 9ft if you’re aiming for pike just to get them in the boat quickly and you don’t want the pike fighting for longer than necessary.
“Stress increases if you keep it in the water too long. You want it hooked fast, landed, dealt fast and away. However, everyone wants to catch a big fish and that’s where the pike comes in. stakes.
“Pikes are very visual. You can see pike chasing your fly, maybe three or four big fish at a time, and they’ll take your pattern up water and deeper. That’s, trust me , very exciting.”
Sutherland also confirmed that pike fishing was on the rise and admitted: “I was a little slow on the catch, but perch is a great sport on light tackle, and you can target them with a fly rod. .”
Fly fishing now, and water clarity remains excellent at Black Loch near Falkirk. Favorite fly patterns included buzzers, cormorants, damsels, CDC, Kate McLaren (horn) and dry flies also caught.
Dave Cosser brought in 22, Gary McGinley caught and retuned 38 fish on two visits, and the hotspots were Reedy Bay and the South Shore.
Leith Fly Fishers were among the clubs that visited and a fisherman from the Largs club returned a rainbow of around 12lbs, just short of the loch record.
Nearby Dylan Johnston attempted a stunning 15lb brown trout at Bowden Springs near Linlithgow fishing for a yellow dancer while Jamie Johnston had a 14lb rainbow on his first cast in a five-on-one sack chamois pattern with Robert Birrell net ten including 10-pound and 9-pound rainbows while Paul Dancer included a 10-pound rainbow in his bag of nine. Special mention to Jackie Burnett who attempted ten and a best of 12 pounds on yellow dancer.
Nearby Pottishaw skipper Fraser Thomson said the fishing had been inconsistent. For example, Paul Dancer was 29 one day and two days later four and another day 21 and two days later two. He added: “It’s amazing one day and not the next, but buzzers, daddies and hawthorns are doing well.”
Malleny Angling set a catch and return limit of 20 at Harlaw Reservoir and evergreen Ronnie Robinson plus Robert Ross and GP Goh (horn) all hit the limit this week with black spider, damsel and dancer as well as buzzers that work well. The felling limit of three (day permit) and two on the evening permit remains the same.
Rosslynlee near Penicuik also fished well with B Laird and T Pryde each having 15 at net on black Shipmans and Kieran Latto 14 at net on dry and FAB with David Bullen attempting 12 and Kevin Walkinshaw 12 on sedge, spider, applications, beetles and larvae.
And Tweeddale Millennium near Gifford saw green and olive buzzers and black beetles producing significant catches, including a number of brown trout.
In Fife, the second round of the Kingdom Fly Championship at Eden Springs saw Greig Davies win with a 15-fish bag for 31lb 40z, mostly on drys. He stayed away from the rest of the fleet in sheltered waters. Dan Brown had the heaviest fish at 5lb 1oz. The final round will take place on Saturday June 11 at Ballo near Leslie and anglers who failed to qualify in the first two rounds can enter. The final will take place on Saturday July 23.
On big game fishing and local angler Kyle Kirkpatrick, who recently landed a Scottish one-day competition record of 161lb of fish, was again in triple figures at Broom near Annan during the Sunday Open with a sack of 105 lbs 10 oz with Barry Young in second place at 86 lbs 10 oz.
At Auchterarder, Marty Pearson won round four of the Edinburgh and Lothians Coarse Angling Club 12-round summer series at Orchill close with a 37lb 5oz sack. Second was Scott McGhee at 36lbs 7oz and third was Geoff Lowe who weighed in at 32lbs 4oz. In the Knockout Cup, McGhee comfortably knocked out Tommy Lauriston.
At Magiscroft, local angler James Woodrow won Sunday’s contest with 54 pounds of carp and 26 pounds 8 ounces of silver on the island pond in warm, overcast conditions. Dave Birchall was second at 57lbs 6oz and Derek Brady third at 55lbs 2oz.
At sea, Aquamarine Charters of Eyemouth are reporting good catches for a Midlothian group and skipper Derek Anderson said Jinhua Wu was among the weekend’s top anglers with a nice 9lb cod on the feathers. Finally, retail. A new line of Sonik clothing hit stores this week.