The Man

Good Evening Andy,
I just picked up a good deal on a 9wt rod+reel that I would like to
use for Pike and Muskie on lakes.  What do you recommend for line
in terms of floating vs. sinking?  Also, what sort of retrieves
should I use for pike?  My experience thus far has been casting and
trolling daredevils on spinning gear.  Thanks again.

Hi Mike

Pike and Muskie are a hoot on the fly rod. First and foremost, I would spend some time learning to cast the fly rod. Dry land and water time will be important. Take a lesson or find someone who knows how to cast and teach casting with the bigger rods. If you have not cast the larger flies sometimes necessary to fish for these warm water monsters, it is important to get some practice in first. Fly casting is not difficult and you can become a proficient in a reasonably short time.

I have seen many head, ear, eye and face hookings over the years where anglers just did not understand how to let the rod do the work. Eventually they became a danger to themselves or others in the boat. Enough said.

The rod and line combination is where it gets a bit tricky since I do not know the brand or model of rod you have purchased. Every single model of 9 weight rod is different. I have seen some doozies over the years and obviously some have better qualities than others. I won’t dwell on this subject until I know more. Here is a general answer to the line question, that will work just fine.

Start with a WF-F(weight forward-floating) line. Sinking lines are a whole other ball game in fly fishing, but if you continue to fly fish in lakes, a sinking line can be useful. Purchase a WF-F-9 weight line. The specialty pike/big fly lines from SA, Rio and Cortland will work great. You can also save a bit of money since you are just starting and go with a line like Head-Start from SA (Scientific Anglers). Many of the beginner lines are slightly over weighted which is good for what you are doing.

Many times I will over weight my bigger rods by one weight, but I would wait until I know what action your rod is before I would do that. Tell me, who is the manufacturer of your rod, the model, the length and weight? That may make it easier to answer your question more specifically. Retrieves I will answer next, gotta go for now.
Great Question Mike