A wide ‘side-on’ profile provides a big silhouette of a struggling baitfish. Easy pickings for a pike or ambush predator. Yet, getting a wide profile deep quickly without much weight is a challenge. Enter the silicone flank jig.
 
Paul Clydesdale and Gunner Brammer inspired the flies shown here – check them out on Youtube.
 
Clydesdale created an excellent flank profile jig pattern. The polar flash body provides loads of movement. The chain bead eyes give it a jigging motion and ability to fish it very slowly without snagging the bottom. Yet, it swims hook point down and I found the side profile material wraps around the hook. When wet the soft materials also do not offer a very wide side profile. At least in the way I tied it.
 
Brammer uses a great dropper jig method that allows you to get the hook point up with minimal weight.
 
Pike illicit visions of huge chases, medium to fast strips and arm wrenching action. Yet, they are often cautious and succumb better to a slow figure of 8. It is for this reason that I don’t like adding a lot of weight to get depth.
 
Getting a fly to jig and swim hook point up without adding much weight requires leverage. The first lever to get the hook point up is to add weight via a mono dropper.
The second lever that quickly jigs the fly face down (and sink) is to tie the materials at the back of the hook. This gives an extreme jigging action and a flash disco ball.
I added a silicone head to further reduce drag on the head and enhance jig action, fly glide and sink. The silicone also keeps the profile wide when the soft flash materials are wet.
 
A new experiment that I have not fished yet takes this one step further. Here I tied a tube version of the fly and attached it to the hook with wire trace and a securing bead. There is a slot in the tube to keep it flank up. This should prevent all material fouling. One worry is that pike may miss the hook. A solution could be to move the hook further back, or added a stinger, but at the cost of jigging and sink action.
 
The flank jig works very well in rivers together with a long leader. Casting up an across and mending gives the fly plenty of time to turn head down and sink. Tightening up and swinging this past structure has picked up several pike already. And in lakes my favourite take on this fly was while drinking hot coffee on my float tube. I had cast out and took out the thermos. A minute later my line zipped away and a small 5-6lb pike came to the net soon thereafter. Perhaps the fly still has some motion while on the bottom – propped up by the dropper rig.
 
One more experiment on its way is to add a small fly snap to the weight dropper so that I can add in smaller or heaver beads. Post on this coming soon.