Pikes is a relatively aggressive species when it comes to feeding, when food sources are low, the pikes usually start to eat smaller pikes to survive. That makes the pikes an easy target for us.
Fishing pike is super fun, and when you catch a big old pike for the first time you will be hooked instantly.
Get The Right Rod
Using a medium-big rod is very important when you are fishing pike, because of the pikes big sizes you don’t want to use a smaller rod for the sensitivity benefits. Pike is very known to give up a good fight before they get worn out, so a big rod is essential, so it won’t break when you get a big fish on it.
A moderate action, that is sometimes called a light action, allows the rod to bend at the end, making it much easier to reel in the fish. Make sure to check out some reviews before you buy your rod.
Choose The Right Bait
Pikes is using their eyes to hunt and are attracted to colors. Use reflective or brightly colored baits to catch the pikes attention.
Pikes also reacts to sound and vibration, that will make spinnerbaits a good choice because they have a metal blade that is spinning and making a noise and shine at the same time. But spinners are often only used when you are going after smaller pikes.
How To Hold The Pike
If you are holding the pike to either remove the hook or to take a picture with it, or whatever reason you are holding the fish for, there is one really good grip that most fishermen are using.After all you are dealing with a really big fish here that has both some weight and teeth on it.
After you have thrown out your bait and the pike snatches it, and you either grab the fish with a fishing net or with your hand. You want to use two of your fingertips and insert them under each of the gill covers carefully.
Let your fingers slide up towards the tip of the pike by following the triangular shape of the pike’s gill and jaw structure. Try to avoid touching the gill rakers, which should be visibly red, as you can accidentally break your skin. Also, you want to be careful not to put your fingers in to deep past their tips, because the pikes jaws are very big and you don’t want to cut your finger tips on it’s teeth, that are razor sharp.
This grip is the perfect way to hold the fish safe and steady without having to risk that the fish will get scared and might end up cutting your hands.
Where To Find Pike
Nearly all states in the northern parts of U.S.A have very good pike lakes. New York is an excellent pike fishing state, as well as Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. You can also find pike in big parts of Sweden, Norway and Finland.
Alaska also has some good pike fishing, the wilderness waters in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan has the least fishing pressure, and with that, the biggest pikes.
Where Is The Pike Hiding
Mouths of swampy partis in the water will make a good starting point the find some pikes, but you will probably find more in the flats just offshore. Find one where the depth is around 3-10 feet deep.
These flats serve as staging spots for spawning panfish or bait fish, and gathering spots for any trout that may swim down following an upstream stocking, this is where the pike will hunt because they know where the food is.
You can also find pike along the shoreline, beaver dams, flooded timbers, downed trees, are good hiding spots, so make sure to try them out whenever you see a good spot that catches your eye.
Pike loves to ambush their prey, they will hang ant wait almost motionless in the water as if they are holding their breath, just staring at the target before its takes it’s action.
The pike will accelerate from nothing to caught in a split second, grasping and swallowing their prey whole.
What Bait To Use
pikes are a very aggressive species that loves to hunt down its prey with no mercy, to say that pike is high energy predators is an understatement for sure, but this fish species also scavange food more often than you might realize.
The aggressive nature of pike during the open water periods of the year suggests that these fish’s are predators first and foremost. That’s true, but there are some times when dead bait will produce more strikes from pike’s than artificial lures.
You might ask yourself, why would a fish that obviously has superior hunting skills scavenge dead and decaying fish off the bottom of the lake? Pike’s are very good water predators, but these animals will never hesitate to take advantage of an easy meal when the opportunity is given to them.
Dead baits can be used to catch northern pike at any time of the year, but it usually will work best in late winter, when the food is at its minimum, then you can easily trick the pike with an easy meal with your dead bait. They are forced to hunt harder for its survival in the late winter, so this tip is perfect then.
At the same time, water temperatures will you real low at this time of the year, and pike are somewhat more lethargic than other times of the year. All this will make the dead bait becoming almost irresistible to the hungry and stressed pike when it’s trying to survive.
Any types of large baitfish can be served as dead bait, but some bait types are better than others. Fish’s that has a lot of natural oil in their skin and flesh will make the best dead baits for pike fishing. These natural oils will leech into the water and help to attract pike that may be swimming by.
Some of the best dead baits are, smelt, alewives, small whitefish, cubs, and the always popular sucker. The easiest dead baits to find are for sure suckers, they are readily available at most bait shops. Sucker minnows in the 8-12 inch range are ideal for dead bait fishing, smaller minnows will only tempt bites from fishin’s other than pike’s.
Spinners is a bait that has some really good qualities, they create attractive swimming action in the water with less vibration and a more visible flash, that will simulate an injured fish with erratic movements, making it hard for the pike to say no to a good opportunity.
If you are using spinners to catch your pike, remmeber to always try to use different sized spinners to see what the pike is interested in, in that specific moment. If the weather is colder they might want a smaller bait, and when it’s hot in water they might eat anything that’s out there.
And the exact same thing applies to the choice of the color on the spinner you are going to use, try to adapt it to the water, use colored spinner if the water is muddy, and some clear spinner in clear water. But remember to experiment in this area as well.
Choosing the right weight of the spinner you use is as important as with any lure, its’ important to match the weight with the venue your about to fish in, depth weed and flow are the main things to pay attention to when you are selecting a spinner.
If there is a lot of weed, you want to use a spinner that is light enough to present itself over the top of the weed, but have enough to cast the distance that you need. Somewhere in the range of 5-7 grams.
You also want to be able to feel the lure and fish in the area that you want, try to match the weight to the strengtht of the flow. The faster the flow, the heavier the spinner needs to be. A heavier spinner around 15-20g is perfect for this type of situation.
To know the depth of the water that you are fishing in takes some trial and error until you get a hang of it. You have to try a large collection of different weights, sizes and colors until you start to see some results. Don’t be afraid to chop and change frequently as it’s part of the trail and errors.
Crankbaits are an extremely versatile and effective type of bait, they are a bit bulky, therefore they create a pressure wave that pikes just love, and crankbaits are usually used rather fast, that means that you can cover large areas of the water in a short time.
When you are fishing with a crankbait you shouldn’t be using a rod that is longer than 10 feet, that is the ultimate maximum. If you are using a longer rod than that you would lose the feel for your bait, which is essential when you are fishing.
You should definitely use a stiff rod as well, because it will enable you to feel your bait even more, and increases the probability that you will notice when a pike takes a bite at your lure.
Use Wire Leaders
You can’t stretch the importance the use of wire leaders enough. Pike has a bunch of razor sharp teeth, and they will swallow your bait whole if they have the opportunity, making your regular line having no chance at all to hold up. Depending on the fishing technique that you are using, not having a wire leader might lead to the loss of a lot of good, expensive lures and big pikes.
The standard wire leaders that people use for fishing pike is 12, 20 or a 30 pound leader. Color can vary slightly, but black or gray are popular. Sometimes a 6 inch wire leader is necessary for certain top water lures or lures where you are trying to keep the action from being overly affected.
When you are trolling with larger crankbaits you don’t usually need a wire leader, because of the fast moving action of the lure, and it’s big size, so the pike has some trouble to swallow it whole.
There are a couple of downsides as well as upsides to use a lead wire, they provide the extra strength that you need to keep the pike from stealing all your best lure’s, but they can also affect the lures action in the water leading to less bites.
That just makes it more important to make sure you are using the right type of fishing lures and that you are understand the trade off lure action for the strength that is needed to keep a large pike hooked.