If you tie your own pike flies you will probably tie dozens of streamers. Some of them you will probably not even use. Others are used frequently so their hooks might get rusty. Tying pike flies on single hooks usually means creating waste. Pike Mixies are the solution to that problem and will help to create the perfect pike streamer.
Springtime is pike time. The first warm sunbeams of the spring sun make the pikes appear in the shallows (bays, creeks and inlets) of lakes and large rivers. After having spent a long time in the dark of the depth of the lakes they start hunting again. Now it’s the best time to hook a real giant. Before and after the spawning period monster pikes can be caught close to the banks. No other bait works better in the shallows at this time of the year than a streamer. Especially in low water, this lure can demonstrate its extraordinary abilities, which only work perfectly in combination with a fly rod.
As soon as you have located a good spot you only have to choose the right streamer to be successful. The combination of the colours, the correct distribution of the weight(proportions) and the size of the imitation are very important. All these are factors which can differ from one water to the other. They depend on the available baitfish, the colour of the water, the sight depth, the temperature and other local specialities. Finding the perfect streamer for unknown water can be very difficult and time-consuming, but with the right combination, your chances for a catch rise rapidly.
Finding the right streamer can make you sit behind your tying vice for a long time. Sometimes only small details are decisive whether your streamer catches fish or not. Some more Flashabou, some more pulsating hackles, or only better buoyancy in the middle of the streamer to make it rest in a horizontal position underwater – these factors have to be considered if your streamer should catch fish. In the first years, I fished for pike I have tied numberless prototypes which had all very negative side effects. If they didn’t catch fish they were thrown in a “blank box” and all the work was in vain. Besides that, rust sometimes destroyed the hooks, too. This problem can be solved by using corrosion-resistant hooks, but in some waters, they are not allowed. Involuntary I produced exactly what I usually try to avoid – waste!
The tying materials are not cheap, too and as a final result the idea to tie Mixies – as I call them - was born. For me they were the ideal solution to find out the top streamer for new water. You can combine them endlessly, they are very movable (which means that a fish can not get rid of the hook easily), they can be reused hundreds of times, the destruction of hooks can be avoided and many of my streamer boxes can stay at home.
I just combine the different parts at the water. I use my intuition, to choose a little more red in the front part, a swimming head, a little bit more glitter, and make it a little bit longer or shorter or just thicker. There is no limit to your creativity. Try it! That’s how I do it:
Tubes (I use System Tubes from Fisker Design) are fixed in your tying vice with a tube holder (my choice: Tube Fly Holder von Fisker Design/Swan Products). Now we tie the different parts of the streamers (heads, backs, collars, bodies, tails ... with a length of 0,5 - 3 cm) according to our imagination, fix them on the tube with Zap a Gap or varnish, and cut them. We go on like this till the tube is gone. This is the way I tie the different parts which can be combined with each other to get the desired result. You can of course tie the different streamer parts on one tube as well and cut them at the end.
On the end pieces, I put some clear or coloured rubber tubes (fixed with Zap a Gap) which hold the hook eye and keep it in the right position.
- Always use a certain length of your parts so you have no problem combining them.
- The side of your streamer part on which more material is tied in(except weight) will stay on top when the streamer sinks. Please think of this fact and use more material on the side you want to stay on top(exception: one side weighted). Only for body parts for which the position in the water is not important, you can wrap or distribute the material around your tube equally.
- Cut off one side of the swimming heads just below the tube, so they will lie on the surface properly.
- Popper heads made of balsa or foam should not have the hole for the tube placed in the center, but slightly below.
- Only use materials that do not suck too much water. This is important for casting longer distances.
- To save time always tie several parts of the streamer on a tube and cut it later (see picture on the right)!
The inside of the tube
Inside the tube, there is a piece of braided line with sufficient strength. I use 25 lbs braided line available in 100 m spools. I cut off a piece of 10 – 15 cm. Now I form a loop(0.5 cm Ø) by using a bait needle or a Bobbin threader and pull the rest of the line into the braided line exactly to the middle of the double loop. With the other end of the piece, I do the same. If you pull the ends out of the line in the center and pull them into it again this will help to secure the loops much better. Those who don’t believe in the breaking strength of this connection can secure the ends with tying thread. Zap a Gap is not necessary, you don’t even have to use varnish but feel free to do what you think is best. This is how I build double loops with a length of 6 – 8 cm. They should all have a certain length because I cut the streamer parts according to the length of the loops.
My leader has got a final length of approximately 2 m and consists of monofilament (0.35 mm Ø ) with a Bimini twist loop on the end that will be looped to the fly line. I attach a 25 cm piece of soft steel wire to the other side of the mono leader by using an Albright knot. A streamer swivel is knotted to the other side of the wire by using a simple figure-eight-knot.
At the water, I attach a single hook or double hook (slightly better balance) on one side of the double loop. Then I take a bait needle and put the different parts of my streamer(head first) onto the needle.
Now the hook of my needle catches the other loop and the streamer parts are pulled onto the braided line. Now all the different Mixie parts make one streamer. A part of the loop should be coming out of the headpiece. Now take the swivel of your leader and catch the loop. After having secured the swivel it is time to unhook the needle.
Tip: If the loop is extending too far from the headpiece use a small piece of a tube to tighten the loop between the head and the swivel.
The advantage of using Mixies
With a minimal set of head, back, collar, body, and tail parts you can master most of the situations because numberless combinations are possible. You can even react to different situations immediately at the water (e.g. replace sinking with swimming head in shallows, add weighted body part, ...). You don’t have to take your tying material with you anymore when leaving for a fishing weekend somewhere. If you have found the right combination for a certain type of water you can still tie some of your favorites at home. The Mixies are a perfect way to reduce not only time but also material for several prototypes which, when not catching fish, are never fished again. This article was showing the use of Mixies for pike flies, but of course, you can use this method for all other types of fishing as well where large flies are necessary (e.g. some saltwater species).
Give it a try!
This article was published in 2000 in the fly fishing magazine: "Mit der Fliege"