How to catch pike is an interesting subject, as it is one of the most sought after fish in the United States.
But catching a pike is not always easy, and many fail to catch anything, let alone a fat pike.
As a general rule, the pike is one of the largest fish to be hunted in the US. Despite their size they can be found in relatively small bodies of water. They are innate omnivores, bait and techniques vary according to season, and they are easier to catch when it’s raining.
Continue reading and you’ll learn several great tips to help you succeed in catching pike.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to catch pike: Introduction
- 2 Tips for catching more pike
- 2.1 Fish in the right place
- 2.2 Vary with different methods
- 2.3 Vary the type of lure
- 2.4 Fish at the proper depth
- 2.5 Keep a close eye on the water
- 2.6 Go piking when it rains
- 2.7 Go fishing at the right time
- 2.8 Use lures that make noise
- 2.9 Choose your lures big enough
- 2.10 Make a feeding spot
- 2.11 Pay attention to the color of your lure
- 2.12 Go crazy
- 2.13 Use a braided line
- 2.14 Be active and walk on the water’s perimeter
- 2.15 Vary the speed of reeling
- 3 How to catch pike: Conclusion
How to catch pike: Introduction
Because it is essential to know precisely what you are fishing for, first a brief introduction to this fantastic fish.
The Exos Lucius, as the pike is scientifically called, is one of the largest fish we can catch in our country. They can live up to 20 years and become quite a size.
The female variants grow larger than the males and can reach well over 3 feet in length. Females can grow up to 4.5 feet, while males are often no longer than 3 feet.
The pike is not only found in the U.S. but virtually all over the world. There is also a lot of fishing for pike in Europe.
Characteristics of the pike
They have a slender build with a longer lower jaw than upper jaw. The body is camouflaged from greenish-brown to grayish-brown with golden dots and a whitish belly.
As the pike grows older, the colors also change. For example, older pike tends to be more uniform in color and somewhat darker than young pike.
Young pike grow tremendously fast the first year. They are only a few inches long when they are born, but a pike can already be 1 foot long within a year.
Pike can be found in almost all freshwater, even in brackish water.
You would think that the real monster specimens would be found primarily on larger rivers or in lakes, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Even in a relatively small body of water, such as a neighborhood pond, a 3-foot-long pike can thrive.
Pike like clear water because they need the visibility to hunt properly.
A pike generally hunts somewhat passively and can lie still for a long time, waiting for their prey to pass by. This is an important aspect when it comes to catching pike!
So unlike fishing for whitefish or carp, you have to actively look for the fish yourself.
Of course, a pike does move around in the water, so it’s not as if they lie in one spot all day, but they swim significantly less than, say, a bream or roach.
Nutrition of the pike
The pike is a true carnivore and therefore does not eat plants. Young feed on insects and other smaller aquatic animals such as larvae.
But as they grow larger, so does their food. Pike will eat fish, frogs, rats, and basically any other animal that will fit in their mouth, including other pike.
Even birds and ducks can be viewed as food by a pike of size. Angling manufacturers are obviously responding to this.
Although most lures mimic a fish, lure frogs and even lure rats can also provide excellent results.
Dead fish are also very popular with pike because it means easy food without putting much effort into it.
A pike will prefer to eat its prey head first so that a fish with spines such as a perch or zander cannot get stuck.
Pike have no problem with large prey and even seem to prefer it. Prey of one foot is no exception.
The pike is not a school fish like the perch, for example, but lives alone.
Once you have caught a pike somewhere, the chances of catching another one at the same spot after that are not that big. This is in contrast to some other fish species.
Now that you know the basic information about the pike, let’s talk about all the tips that will allow you to catch more and larger pike.
Tips for catching more pike
Fish in the right place
You can throw your lures all over the pond, but you won’t catch them if there are no pike there. That’s why it’s essential to know in which spots to expect pike.
Pay particular attention to irregularities in the water, such as inlets. Intersections with other water are also a good place and places that provide a good hiding place to hunt from.
Here you can think of bridges where the pike can lie in the shade, overhanging trees or branches, jetties, etc.
Vary with different methods
Fishing for pike with artificial lures is hugely popular and the most well-known method.
In winter, pike are less active when it is cold.
There are other methods by which you can catch pike more effectively and easily, such as deadbait fishing on the bottom and deadbait fishing with a float.
There is much less food for pike in winter, and the water is cold, so the pike will be less likely to chase a lure to save its strength.
But a dead baitfish is an easy and 100% strike for the pike without having to put in much effort. This is why deadbait fishing works exceptionally well in the winter (tip: wear suitable winter fishing clothes to avoid getting cold).
Because you are static in a fixed spot when deadbait fishing, you also do not have to walk on the slippery banks, which would add risk to your fishing adventure.
In addition to deadbait fishing, you can vary by fishing from a boat instead of the shore. If you don’t have a boat, consider renting one.
With a boat, you can fish more water and get to places you simply can’t get to from the shore. In addition to casting, you can also troll for pike.
Vary the type of lure
Nothing seems more random than the favorite type of lure a pike falls for. So one day, you catch one after the other with a particular kind of jerkbait, and the next day, you catch nothing with it.
Therefore, always make sure that you bring several different types of lures.
Different variants of a lure, such as multiple types of jerkbaits and completely different kinds of lures.
Besides crankbaits, swimbaits, and shads, simple spinners and spoons are often still great for piking. New types of lures also tend to do very well.
Fish at the proper depth
Pike are not at the same depth throughout the year and vary depending on water temperature at various depths.
This also depends on the clarity of the water. The clearer the water is, the better the sunlight can penetrate and the warmer it can get at the bottom of the water.
As a result, it is often cooler at the bottom of turbid water than at the bottom of clear water.
Keep a close eye on the water
If you see fish jumping in the water, they may be catching flies or other insects. But it is also very possible that they are being chased by pike.
Movement in the water almost always means fish, so it is crucial to constantly look for movement or bubbles.
As soon as you see some, you can throw in a few times there too, to see if there are pike. Special fishing sunglasses allow you to see fish even better in the water.
Go piking when it rains
When it rains, extra oxygen enters the water with the raindrops. Because the water is richer in oxygen, the fish become more active and will swim and bait more.
The prey fish are coming out of their hiding places more, which means the ideal time for pike to hunt. Obviously, in turn, it’s also the perfect time for you to go piking!
Especially in the summer, the water temperature can be pretty high.
The higher the water temperature is, the less oxygen it contains, and the higher the effect of heavy rain can be. So put on your raincoat and go fishing!
Go fishing at the right time
Pike, like many other fish, are not active all day. Therefore, it’s best to fish for pike when they get active in the morning and in the afternoon to evening.
Around noon, the fish are often virtually inactive, hanging around the bottom more than actively hunting.
Also, look at where the sun is. On the colder days, the pike can warm up at the surface, while during hotter summer days, they avoid this spot and prefer to lie in the shade.
Use lures that make noise
Pike not only hunt visually but also go for sound.
Try a jerkbait with steel balls in it. These make noise during reeling, which will attract the pike’s attention.
Choose your lures big enough
Most pike anglers fish with lures of about 4 to 6 inches, but did you know that a pike has no problem with baits of 8 inches?
That may sound big but compare it to a natural baitfish, which is also quickly 8 inches in size.
Once you have caught a 3-foot-long pike with such a piece of lure, you will see that it fits easily in the mouth and is really not that big.
The only downside is that it is pretty pricey. Still, it is definitely recommended to change colors and types of lures and vary their size.
Make a feeding spot
It is common for carp and whitefish anglers to create one or more feeding spots.
Here, for several days before the fishing session, some feed is regularly thrown to lure fish.
Because there is something to be had daily, more and more fish will gather there, so they are easier to catch when you actually go fishing.
When piking, this method can be used just as well. The best way to do this is to cut up some baitfish, including guts.
Also, use bait and maggots or worms for whitefish, as this will also attract whitefish to the site, which, in turn, will attract pike.
Don’t make the cuttings too small, and make feeding spots about 10 to 15 feet in diameter.
Pay attention to the color of your lure
The color of the lure may be more important than you think. It is best to use more camouflaging and natural colors on clear water and on sunny days.
When fishing on murky water or with reduced visibility because it is dusk or a dark day use brighter colors.
Though only a rule of thumb, it does make a difference.
Go crazy and use special baits, such as pike crankbaits, jerkbaits, swimbaits, spoons, spinners, etc.
Every serious pike angler has this particular lure in his collection, and many a pike has seen it before.
But also consider a new alternative bait that is totally unlike any other lure.
A unique piece of lure can be enormously effective precisely because of this. Also, try a pike streamer or a fake frog.
Use a braided line
There are still many pike anglers who fish for pike with nylon.
You can, but with a braided line, you feel so much more than with a nylon line that you really should just use a braided line.
A braided line has no stretch at all, and every minimal bite you feel immediately, whereas, with nylon, this is lost in the stretch.
Are you afraid you’ll miss the stretch when reeling, or are you worried that the braided line will break due to scraping along sharp objects?
Then use a nylon leader multiple feet in length. This way, you still have some stretch, but not nearly as much as if your entire main line were nylon, an ideal combination!
Use a steel underline in both cases because unless you use very thick nylon, you will need it for pike.
Be active and walk on the water’s perimeter
Pike swim around much less than other fish. When you arrive at the water and can’t catch any pike on your feeding spots, stop and walk further until you encounter new spots.
If there’s no pike, you can’t catch them either, so it is pointless to spend hours trying in the same spot.
The more of the water’s perimeter you walk, the higher the chance of your lure passing in front of a pike and, therefore, more chances of catching pike!
Vary the speed of reeling
Reel in your lure a little slower some times than others. Let it stop or, on the contrary, accelerate erratically.
Pike like no other can simply swim quietly behind your lure without taking it. Just because the pike is interested, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will act on it.
A short acceleration or simply letting it stop can be precisely the trigger moment the pike is waiting for.
How to catch pike: Conclusion
You should now have a good idea of what you will need and what you can do to start or improve your pike fishing skills.
Hopefully, these tips will help you be more successful on your pike fishing adventures!