Think differently – The fish eating fish fly

Another repost from the old site, has brought quite some attention over the past year. I’ve added a few new photos and text to it this time. I hope you’ll enjoy!


One of the most interesting articles I’ve read in a long time was an article in a Swedish magazine “Allt om flugfiske” by biologist Peter Johanesson who talked about the result of a study on the phenomenon of kleptoparasites among pikes. Basically what it points to is that a larger pike would most of the times rather attack and steal the already caught prey from a smaller pike than eat the smaller pike itself!

The study itself is called “foraging among cannibals and kleptoparasites: effect on prey size on pike behavior, 1990” and it was done by P Anders Nilsson and Christer Rönnmark. You can find it if you google it, it is an extensive material but very interesting, not only for the conclusion on the kleptoparasite behaviour but also for the result on prey size and other interesting notes.

Ever since I read it I wanted to try and do a pike fly with this in mind, so last fall I sat down  did something with this in mind. A few weeks after that I got to try it and caught three pikes before the front “fish” broke a little. I’ve tied a few more and fished with this spring and even thought I can’t really with certainty say that I catch more fish on it than on any other fly I would like to say that it do catch a lot of fish and it looks like nothing else, good enough result for you to tie up a few and have in your box!

How to tie the “Fish eating fish (FEF) Pike fly”

Hook: Basically any of your favourite Pike hooks will do
Thread: 6/0 UNI
Tail: Olive Eumer Racoon zonker with a few strands of green flash
Belly: yellow big fly fibers
Back: dark green angel hair
Head: same as back + a bunch of hair from racoon zonker
“The prey”: White mirror image fibers colored dark on its back
Eyes: Yellow crystal eyez 10 mm

Step 1
Tie in a long dark olive racoon zonker strip at the hook bend and then at 2-3 more places along the hook, depending how long hook you are using.

Step 2
Tie in 3-4 strands of green flash over the zonker strip, and fold the front part back of the flash over the zonker aswell, so that you’ll have 7-8 strands of flash back over the zonker.

Step 3
Tie in a bunch of yellow “Big fly fibers” on the underside of the hook, leaving them slightly shorter than the length of the zonker.
Step 4
Cut of a good bunch of hair from the zonker strip and tie this in on top and on the sides of the hook just in front of the yellow belly fibers. This will add a little more volume and structure to the head.
Step 5
Tie in a small bunch of white mirror image with a couple of figure eight wraps just between the hook eye and the tail.
NOTE:What I’ve learned after shooting this photos is that if I add one single strand of silver flash here in the middle of the prey so to speak it will regain its shape when wet much better. Otherwise chances are that the prey will just lay slick along side of the main fly so to speak. But since I am a lazy bastard I didn’t feel like taking new photos 🙂
Step 6
Divide the mirror image into three part tying down the rear and front evenly spaced from the original tie in, like the photo shown
Step 7
Tie a loop with double knots of tying thread at each side of the bunch evenly spaced from the middle of the hook shank. Add super glue to the knots to secure them
Step 8
Try and flatten the side of the prey that are gonna have tail side and add a layer of Bug Bond or a fast drying flexable varnish like Dave’s Flexament to it.
Step 9
Cut the tail to shape.
At the other side simply cut off the mirror image close to where you knotted it down with the tying thread.
Step 11
Add dark colours with a marker pen to the “top” half, and a couple of eyes to the head side. Now all of a sudden it really looks like a small fish!
Step 12
Tie in a good bunch of dark green angel hair over the hook eye. Don’t bother cutting off the waste that is over the “prey” it will serve as a good underbody for the head.
Step 13
Cut off a good bunch of hair from the zonker strip and add over the angel hair.
Step 14
Finally add a new small bunch of yellow big fly fibers to the underside, and finish the fly off here with a few whip finishes.
Step 15
When I do head like this, with Bug Bond that I do these days, I like to start with just folding the material back and adding just a small amount of resin/glue to the front portion to get the right shape to the head.
Then I can add progressively more and add eyes so that I end up with something like this:

About Ulf Hagström

Fly fishing, fly tying, family and going your own way; the way of the fly. View all posts by Ulf Hagström

11 responses to “Think differently – The fish eating fish fly

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