Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Pike Saber

First Pike Saber Pike back in September

Limb earning the nickname with the Saber
I have fished pike and musky for a long time now- my first pike on the fly was in 1994 and muskies followed a year or so later- so I have fished a lot of different rods. Now I have found my favorite! Last year PikeTrek came out with a line of rods specifically made for pike fishing- the Pike Saber. These rods have made a pretty big stir in the pike fly fishing community with folks like redneck pikemaster Ken Capsey, McFluffchucker himself Dave Lindsay and musky man Brad Bohen leading the charge.

Pike Saber Pike

I first got to try out the Saber last fall on a trip to one my favorite haunts with Mr. Capsey. Ken earned himself the nickname “Limb” during that trip for his uncanny ability to hook and land overhanging tree branches, but that is a story for another time. I really put the Saber to the test that day fishing with heavy flies and a sinking leader and also rigged up with a full sink line and one of Ken’s big Money in the Bank flies (pretty awesome fly by the way). The rod performed beautifully in both situations. Big Clouser Half and Half’s and tungsten cone heads were no match for the power of the rod. I could not wait to get a Pike Saber of my own after that!

The Pike Saber is a very fast action 10 weight rod. It loads very well and it is very accurate. Many other fast action rods are more like casting with a broom stick- if you don’t have a weighted fly it is a pretty unpleasant situation. This is not the case with the Saber. I have done a lot of casting out in the driveway with it because of the bloody snow and ice in this overly long winter we have had in Vermont.  The Saber loads well with just the line. Uncle Greg Strelley of PikeTrek  has recommended that you give the Saber a go with an 11 wt line to see it really flex it’s muscles- I intend on doing just that soon.

Landlocked salmon on the Saber
I have had it out on the water a couple of times in the past month in the few windows of opportunity for me to get out to chase pike. The combination of time off work, good weather conditions and open water has been limited. But I have put the Saber through the paces so far. One trip was exclusively for pre-spawn Esox. The river I fished gets a good push of fish up near a dam. Because of that dam the water remains relatively ice free all winter and provided a great spot to find fish. The first place I fished was a deep hole between two faster currents. Awesome spot to find pike and I did. But there was no room behind me to cast. I was a bit concerned about such a fast action rod being able to roll cast. I have to say that I am no longer concerned! It roll casted beautifully and I even was casting single handed spey with it. I missed a nice pike in that first spot but ended up landing a salmon (the story of that fish is on the Orvis News blog). 

I didn’t really get to test out the fish fighting abilities of the Saber with that landlock, but I did on some pike last fall and it worked well. I can’t wait to get some even bigger fish on it in April. Marty, Tim and I are heading down to Biscayne Bay for some on the water action with the Bonefish Whisperer. The saber is going after some sharks, barracuda, tarpon and jacks folks. I think those should be appropriate to put the Saber through some testing!
Welcome to the Dark Side....

On to the most controversial thing about this rod- the fighting butt. I have read things from people on some blogs and forums that say they won’t fish the rod because of the metal “Death Star” fighting butt. I say- get over yourself and think outside the box! It is not your typical terminal end to a fly rod but so what?  It works great and allows you to add weight to the rod to balance it out better. I think it is a great idea myself. Pike Trek has made accommodations for those of you who want a more traditional rod too- the Saber is now offered with a cork butt. Personally I don’t want to hold to tradition- I have gone fully to the dark side!  My black Saber has been matched up with a black Mirage V reel. I have felt a disturbance in the force and it is me!

To sum the Pike Saber up best is to tell you about Marty stopping by one afternoon and giving the rod a test cast. After the line flew through the guides the first time, he turned to me and simply said definitively “I want one”.


  1. Great review Drew. I want one too.

  2. Drew-
    The only real question I have is the apples to apples comparison. All of you guys like the rod, but you are also throwing a ten weight. I throw 70 feet with my ten inch flies all day on an eight weight. So to me the ten weight seems over kill. Can you tell me your thoughts if you try to compare it in an eight weight version.

  3. James,

    Here is the biggest difference- weight. Most of us use very heavily weighted flies. Big Clousers, Half and halfs and the like. An 8 just does not cut it. I also fish muskies with 10-12 inch flies that have two hooks. The bigger rod makes these big flies much easier to cast. Also it comes down to personal preference. 90% of the time I would rather have a 9 or a 10 wt rod in my hands when chasing pike or musky. When I get a bigger fish I can land it much faster and make sure it is safely released. I KNOW that to be true.

  4. james a lot of people who come from a trout background think its ok to chuck flies for pike with an 8 wgt but seriously this is not a good thing to do can i ask what your rod set up is

  5. agreed 8 weights and pike are a bad idea. Both pike and fisherman pay in the end. There's no way a 10 inch fly and a sinking or intermediate line will be cast safely and effective.