By Nick Simonson
There are far better things to be doing this time of year than just watching the weather and waiting for the ice to break off that favorite openwater run for springtime pike. With the time available between now and whenever that comes, crafting those big bites that toothy critters slam in the spawning rush of spring should effectively fill the hours. Like any good pike streamer, Chip’s Northern Magic is a three-material fly that is easy to tie and even easier to fish for those packs of water wolves patrolling the spring shallows. Its airiness makes it easy to cast, the bucktail provides the appearance of bulk without weighing it down, and the fish hair trailer can stand up to the teeth packed in those pointy beaks.
Hook: Tiemco 3407, Size 1/0 to 4/0
Thread: Red 3/0
Tail: 6” of Fish Hair Material
Flash: 6 Strands Krystal Flash
Collar: Three Sparse Clumps of Bucktail
Secure the hook in the vise and start the thread at the back of the hook shank, tying in a clump of fish hair material which extends about six inches back from the bend (1). On top of the fish hair, tie in six strands of krystal flash for a little extra attraction (2). The krystal flash can be omitted for a more subtle presentation, or in those darker versions of the pattern.
The collar of the streamer is formed by tying clumps of bucktail which are just thick enough to cover the entire hook shank. Don’t go too heavy for a lighter, airier and more effective fly. To start the collar, secure a clump of bucktail to the top of the hook with four thread wraps with the tips pointing forward. Using your thumb and index finger, gently move the bucktail fibers around the hook so the hair covers the entire hook shank. Once in place, secure them with a few extra thread wraps (3). Next, using your thumb, forefinger and middle finger, gently fold the fibers so they angle back over the hook bend; advance the thread and build a small, angled dam against the fibers so they stay in that position (4).
Repeat that process with a clump of bucktail to form the middle of the collar, securing them in place the same way with an angled dam that leaves room for a final clump behind the hook eye (5). Finally, tie in a final clump of bucktail, cut just a little shorter but angled back in the same way to finish off the collar with a thread dam that will become the fly’s head (6). Whip finish and cement the head and the Chip’s Northern Magic is complete (7).
Fish this attractive streamer with gusto: fast strips, darting twitches and seductive, long pauses in those areas that springtime pike frequent. While it’s best to use a wire shock tippet, you could get away with a heavy fluorocarbon leader as well if pike are staging in clearer bays, but the chance for bite-offs still exists without a little metal. Craft them in your favorite confidence colors and have a few dark versions on hand for those cloudy spring days as well and you’ll find this pattern will truly work wonders for big pike on the fly rod.
Featured Photo: Chip’s Northern Magic is a super streamer that’s easy to tie, easy to fish and a favorite for springtime pike. Simonson Photo.