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Fish: Northern Pike

Pike - are you just missing the bite?

Post By: anglerwannabe      Posted: 10/18/2020 11:15:33 AM     Points: 63559    
seen quite a few threads where people have gone pike fishing at places where the pike bite is fairly good. But they are still reporting they didn't catch anything.

Are you sure you didn't get bit and miss it? I ask because it seems a lot of folks are trolling and I'm also assuming quite a few are using cranks or some sort of lure that requires a straight retrieve.

Here is something I've noticed about pike with lures that come back in a mostly straight line. They don't always smash it. When you're retrieving your line you'll feel like a small drag or bump on your lure. Kind of like going through a thin patch of weeds or maybe the lure bouncing off something.

From my research and what the pike guys tell me, pike will often smack their target with their head instead of biting it. Apparently to stagger or stun their prey. My technique when I feel that sensation is to literally stop reeling and sure enough, that's when the real bite comes.

If you're trolling you will never ever realize you got bit in this sort of situation. Unless maybe you're holding the rod.

Maybe the real pike folks can add some input here as pike are not something I often specifically target.
 Reply by: Goosehunter82      Posted: 10/18/2020 1:34:23 PM     Points: 60967    
Seems like good advice to me Jim. I don't pike fish either but the way you discribe that bite it totally makes sense.
 Reply by: kiva      Posted: 10/18/2020 4:36:27 PM     Points: 112    
I agree with AW. I have found the pike bite to be much more subtle than trout when trolling on the kayak. The initial trout bite will sometimes bend the entire rod down while a big pike will sometimes just be a tap tap.
 Reply by: bron      Posted: 10/18/2020 6:21:36 PM     Points: 39227    
Good advice Jim. Nate Zelinsky pointed out to us that often you just feel some weight like your hung up in weeds and he taught us to set the hook on that because it could be fish on. They do bite subtle sometimes.
 Reply by: ndmcool      Posted: 10/18/2020 7:32:22 PM     Points: 335    
Yeah I have had similar experiences. Also, I have noticed just from watching pike, especially big ones, that they aren't very active most of the day. They probably feed once or twice every couple days and stay relatively still a lot of the time. This does not mean they will not hit your bait since they are very opportunistic. I have found it is crucial to get your bait right in front of the fish. So knowing where the fish are located in the the water column and identifying the strike zone is key.

A couple weeks ago I was fishing at Spinney in the North Bay. I randomly passed by this huge pike that was sitting completely still. It did not seem spooked at all by my boat. I used my trolling motor to park about 10 yards behind it, and casted a large hard swim bait that suspends well. I brought the lure no more than a foot away from the fish's mouth and just let it sit there. It took probably 8 seconds for the fish to move, but to my surprise it crushed the swim bait right in front of me. It was the biggest pike I have ever hooked - I am confident it was over 40 inches. Unfortunately I lost the fish at the boat... But at least the fish is definitely okay and swimming unharmed, and I learned a lot about pike behavior from that one experience.
 Reply by: mxtsinclair      Posted: 10/18/2020 8:30:10 PM     Points: 172    
Ndmcool - I wish I would have been able to read this two weeks ago, in Witchers Cove at Eleven mile I could see a huge pike doing the exact same thing, I threw every lure/bait I had at it and it only moved its head once on a dynamic HD trout lure. I never just stopped and let the bait sit however and I feel like I could have had him if I did haha thanks for the info though!
 Reply by: navacito      Posted: 10/18/2020 8:43:25 PM     Points: 56    
I've seen them crush my fly on the pause, or inhale it and spit it in the blink of an eye and not feel a thing. But most of the time they nearly rip the rod out of my hands so I will never stop bonding with pike!!!!
 Reply by: ndmcool      Posted: 10/19/2020 9:16:09 AM     Points: 335    
@mxtsinclair - Just a couple months ago I never would of thought of trying that. I actually read about it too in an article I found online. That was my first time trying it though, and I was shocked it actually worked. But I hope when you try it in the future it works as well!
 Reply by: richw88      Posted: 10/19/2020 10:20:50 AM     Points: 18    
I'm not a "real pike folk" by any stretch, but think about what's happening.
Predator fish generally snatch their prey by opening their mouth and inhaling quickly, drawing water through their gills and the food in almost faster than you can watch it. You've seen it on nature films - bass, pike, S/W fish - they all do it the same way. They suck in water and the prey comes along.
Trout feeding on bugs don't have to do this as energetically. They can sip instead of gobble.
Now picture a trolled lure or fly. The pike/bass/whatever swims up behind it and tries to suck it in. But it's tethered on a line (probably a non-stretchy braid these days) and can't be pulled back, and the fish gets a mouthful of water, but no food. What you feel instead is a sudden tug, then nothing. Sometimes the fish tries again, sometimes he just grabs it, other times he realizes somethings amiss and beats cheeks. The troller, meanwhile, tells his buddies he just had a hard hit, but the fish wasn't hooked.
 Reply by: ndmcool      Posted: 10/19/2020 10:43:44 AM     Points: 335    
@richw88 - That is some fascinating insight. I am trying to think of a way to ameliorate this issue while trolling. Perhaps it would be more effecting to jig troll? That way the bait is not always on a tight line.
 Reply by: anglerwannabe      Posted: 10/20/2020 8:48:28 AM     Points: 63559    
good info guys!
 Reply by: panfishin      Posted: 10/20/2020 10:01:00 AM     Points: 8445    
one thing that I have noticed trolling in my kayak is that the majority of the pike I catch make an initial strike that puts a decent bend in the rod but then there are almost no headshakes like I get with trout. It almost resembles trolling and hitting a patch of weeds. There have been plenty of times where I thought I was snagged and reeled it up to clean off the lure and about 3/4 of the way in saw that I had a pike on...usually between 12-27" I haven't been lucky enough to tangle with any of the true giants up there yet. Any time I see the rod bend like that I bring it in just in case.
 Reply by: SirGreg88      Posted: 10/20/2020 10:44:52 AM     Points: 74    
I have also seen lakes in NP and SP where monster trout will literally gum a variety of offerings. No strike whatsoever. At times they wont touch anything moving. If you do move it-you should make it incredibly slow and be very perceptive. Just watch the line behavior 4-5 feet from the rod tip. Don't look out in the water where your offering is located.
 Reply by: FishHuntNow      Posted: 10/20/2020 1:47:37 PM     Points: 1643    
I tried to troll for them once just wasn't having fun. I figured out they like a chatter bait so since then all I have been using is that.
 Reply by: LastKast2010      Posted: 10/22/2020 8:52:29 AM     Points: 4361    
great info!!!
 Reply by: anglerwannabe      Posted: 10/23/2020 6:37:44 AM     Points: 63559    
Thank you Kris. LastKast2010 doesn't post often but for you folks that don't know. He is one of the pike guys I was hoping to hear from. Here is a blog I wrote about fishing with him and learning about large swim baits

[log in for link]
 Reply by: LastKast2010      Posted: 10/23/2020 9:21:19 AM     Points: 4361    
Thanks Jim
Been slacking on posts here. The real good pike days are right in front of us with the cooler temps finally starting to show. I like to cover lots of water and find the bait and the pike will be close. Navajo was a blast this last winter and i personally had about 15 fish over 20 pounds in two months. Most on a SPRO BBZ-1 in WICKED PERCH. A rainbow Hudd was a close second.
Same process, locate breaks, isolated structure and bait.
I am helping a friend with some new baits he's making, and i will do a post on how this product development is going. I am getting a shad, a perch and a few different sized trout. Keep an eye out, these are going to be fire.
 Reply by: LastKast2010      Posted: 10/23/2020 9:25:26 AM     Points: 4361    
couple i got pictures of during the winter
 Reply by: navacito      Posted: 10/24/2020 1:42:57 PM     Points: 56    
 Reply by: anglerwannabe      Posted: 10/25/2020 5:50:42 AM     Points: 63559    
very nice Kris, I wouldn't expect anything less.
 Reply by: SirGreg88      Posted: 10/25/2020 10:18:03 AM     Points: 74    
Holy cow! That is a beast!!!
 Reply by: LastKast2010      Posted: 10/30/2020 8:23:58 AM     Points: 4361    
now the time.. getting colder nows the time to replace hooks new line and drag check
i know the next two months are going to be my pike time. Ill try to get more pictures and some info on the action
 Reply by: kiva      Posted: 10/31/2020 8:43:33 AM     Points: 112    
Those are some nice Pike! Navajo is definitely on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing pictures and strategies!
Kiva
 Reply by: kiva      Posted: 10/31/2020 9:24:02 AM     Points: 112    
LastKast2010- what is the main food source for pike in Navajo?
 Reply by: LastKast2010      Posted: 11/2/2020 4:31:32 PM     Points: 4361    
Kiva-
thankfully we have trout, perch, bluegill, crappie, and crawdads. plus the large and small mouth bass.

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