Pike fishing is one of the most rewarding forms of the sport. Landing a massive pike is an incredibly exhilarating experience, and you can catch big ones even as a beginner. It’s all about understanding how pike fishing works and how it’s different to regular angling.
Here are some top tips for understanding what makes fishing for pike so interesting, and how to master the basics, even as a novice.
This is the key point to understanding how to catch pike. As they’re predators, you need to go to the pike. They won’t come to you, but will stay where the prey is located, so that’s exactly where you need to be.
If you’re in the wrong spot, you’re simply not going to catch a pike. Try to locate smaller fish, such as roach and bream, and the pike won’t be too far behind. The prey fish often like to be in areas of water with a more consistent temperature, for example deeper water, so they will often be seen moving over weedy areas and bars. And that’s where the pike lie in wait.
This can be an effective way of finding out if pike are around, attracting their attention and figuring out what kind of bait is going to work best. Place a few dead baits around in different spots before your main fishing session and you can figure out the best places to be.
There are several main types of bait to use with pike: dead baits, live baits and lures. You will need to check the rules of the area where you are fishing before you make your choice and always do what you can to protect the natural fishing environment.
Pike do tend to very much enjoy dead bait like mackerel and herring. This is because it is easier for a pike to eat a free meal that’s floating in front of them than exert energy chasing after live bait. But you will need to see what works best for you in your area. And if you’re unsure, ask other local fisherman or the people in the local bait shop what works best.
Traditionally, anglers only ever used treble hooks for pike, with one hook for bait and a couple of others to hook onto the fishes’ mouths. Semi-barbless is a good idea if you go this route, as three barbed hooks can be tricky to remove.
However, some anglers are moving towards circle hooks or even single J hooks for pike. They’re considered safer for the fish and easier to unhook. Plus, some fisheries have outright banned treble hooks. If you go with circle hooks, remember not to strike into the pike and instead, just pull the bait steadily out of its mouth to make the hook set.
Pike fishing requires a certain amount of specific tackle. Primarily, this includes a wire-tracer of at least 28lbs breaking strength. Pike are big and strong, and they have sharp teeth that will cut through anything less in seconds. Your main line should also be strong, at least 15lbs in strength should do it.
To begin with, use a simple pike rig with a basic floater set up. This is a floater fixed in position, a wire trace and a main line. Adjust the position in the water until the float sits upright. As you get more confident in fishing for pike, you can move on to other types of float set up.