Tip # 15 – Choosing The Right Pike Bait and Lure

Pike are one of the funnest game fish to target.  Evidence of the fun of these aggressive freshwater beasts can be found sometimes when fishing for bass.  You know, when you are fighting that little one pound smallmouth bass and suddenly out of the depths you see a shadow, then a wake…….then BAM!  A four foot monster appears and lashes out violently in an attempt to eat the smaller fish you are fighting!

Pike by nature are aggressive.  They are carnivores, and aptly named the ‘waterwolf‘ for very good reasons.  It makes sense then that when we are targeting pike we are selective in the baits and lures we use to find the mammoth individuals that lurk in weed beds and under logs.

There are a few main baits and lures that we’ll look at, and these are probably the most popular used by dedicated pike fishermen.

Live Baits for pike probably produce the most action.  The problem really lies in the size of the bait you should be using to target large fish.  Naturally, pike target smaller fish as their prey.  Smaller fish such as sucker, herring, shiner and other small “minnow” species are what make up the bulk of a large pikes diet.  Often, large fish will seek out injured or weak bait fish as they are easy prey and don’t require much energy to get.  When choosing which species of baitfish to use, be sure you consult your local fishing regulations to ensure what you are using is infact legal.  Many areas have restrictions on the size of bait fish you can use as well as limits on the number of bait fish you can posses.  Also be sure that you are not transporting bait fish from one body of water to another.  This can result in the transport of various viruses or other diseases that could jeopardize the stability of a water body.

Live Bait Pike Fishing Techniques

  • One of the easiest and most laid back methods is simply stringing up your line with a simple hook, sinker and bobber.  Cast it out and allow the bait fish to swim around.
  • Another relaxing method is still fishing with your bait fish swimming on or near the bottom.  Fix a large sinker two or three feet up the line from your hook.  Bait the hook with a live bait fish, cast out and allow the fish to swim in circles around the sinker.
  • You could also consider trolling with a live or dead minnow on a large hook behind your canoe or boat.

Lures for Pike can also be used.  There are a number of age old lures such as the Red Devil and the Five of Diamonds spoons that are well known pike producing lures.  The key here is going large.  The bigger and flashier the bait, the more likely it is to trigger a strike from these large, aggressive fish.  Other options include large body baits and plugs.  Usually with these lures you are going to try to imitate an injured bait fish by twitching the lure around erratically just below the surface.  Other body baits, plugs and poppers will mimic large bullfrogs, muskrats and even ducks!

Lure Fishing Techniques For Pike

  • When using large spoons such as red devils, try a variety of retrieves until you find the one that is working.  Sometimes a very quick, erratic retrieve will instigate strikes especially when the water is warm.  In cooler water, you may find that you have to slow down the retrieve and you may even find most strikes are coming as the lure is sinking just after the cast.
  • When trolling, vary the speed at which you are moving.  You’ll also want to try trolling your lure at varying depths in order to figure out where in the water column the fish are sitting.  Troll around rocky areas, weed beds and fallen trees to find the big guys hiding!
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