Big Fly Friday: Matt Grajewski’s Devil Dancer

By: Adam Spence

We recently made some preliminary plans to float for pike so we’re going bigger and badder for this week’s edition of Big Fly Friday. We have yet to feature a streamer that is designed for targeting Northern Pike. In my experience, one of the best flies to get a water wolf in the net is Matt Grajewski’s Devil Dancer. Grajewski (Adaptive Fly) is an awesome tyer and, in my opinion, one of the best around for large pike and musky flies.


Main Target Species: Northern Pike


Prime Water to Fish it in: You really don’t have to be too picky about the type of water you fish the Devil Dancer in. While it has some bulk, it’s not really designed to push a lot of water, so if there is a lot of stain and you like bulkier heads in those scenarios, this may not be your fly. The Devil Dancer fishes as well in lakes as it does in rivers, so this is usually my first offering when targeting pike.


How to Fish it: You’ll hear lots of different tips on how to rig up for pike. I tend to keep it simple because a lot of times when I target pike I’m on my kayak, and there just isn’t a great way to have lots of rigging options. I take my 10 weight rod and have Orvis’ Bank Shot line spooled up. The Bank Shot is designed to turn over large flies and if I need to get down deeper I will connect a sinking leader. If you only have the means to carry one type of line with you, I highly recommend floating line and carrying a sinking leader. This way, if you want to try and induce some of those incredible topwater takes you’ve seen on Youtube, it’s a quick and easy switch. Make sure that you have wire connecting your fly to the leader, otherwise your Devil Dancer will be swimming away with Mr. Pike. I know some anglers like buying wire leaders and others like bite tippet. I like Rio’s Toothy Critter leader, but bite tippet works just as well if that’s your preference. Make sure your leader has a heavy butt section as well to ensure that big hunk of protein turns over in your cast.


Action: The video I watched to learn to tie the Devil Dancer was of Matt Grajewski at a tying night put on by Mike Schultz. Grajewski said, “If a fly swims straight back to me, I take it off after the first cast.” I’ve noticed that pike like to T-Bone their prey, so flies that present a side profile during your retrieve can be really effective (it’s the same reason pike and musky anglers use the Figure 8 at the end of their retrieve). The Devil Dancer achieves this by incorporating weight on the rear hook and keeping the front hook as light as possible. The weight on the back hook pushes the fly off to the side, and once it’s off track it cannot right itself and keeps sweeping side to side all the way back to the boat.
Colors: I like the Devil Dancer in a couple of generally fishy color combos, and generally keep to the dark day/dark fly and light day/bright fly train of thought. That means chartreuse/white, purple/black, orange/black, and red/white are all staples in my pike box. Grajewski has some awesome colors that I try to imitate as well. For me, a light blue/red combo has been my most productive pattern, no matter the forecast.   


Make sure you check out Adaptive Fly so you can see all of Matt Grajewski’s creations and contact him for a custom order of your own.

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