Archive for the ‘Northern Pike Fishing’ Category

Late Ice can be the BEST Ice, but….

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

…..watch your step!

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Even though late season ice fishing can be incredibly hot, it like the early season is also the most dangerous time you can be out on the hard water.  That is why I carry the Jiffy Deluxe Mille Lacs Ice Chisel, or what is commonly called a spud here in Michigan.  Although many consider how much an item weighs when they go ice fishing, trying to keep it down to minimum when walking or dragging equipment, here is a case of heavier is better.  Yes, there are cheaper and lighter weight spuds on the market, but when walking on the ice you want as much weight as possible when checking the ice in front of you.  A lighter weight spud might barely go into rotten ice, but the heavier Deluxe model will give you a true indication of just how safe the ice is in front of you.

Also if you are braving the big water for one last trip, this spud can save your life in another way.  Imagine riding your quad, side by side, or snowmobile and your heading out or heading back to shore and you come up to a crack in the ice.  Take the extra few minutes, get off your machine of choice, and use the chisel to check the ice on both sides of the crack for thickness before crossing!  Also, once you do that, please do not “slow roll” your machine over the cracks, get a decent start and have some momentum built up when you cross over it.  Even though you checked it, it is far better to be safe, than sorry.

Copyright, 2014

One Pike, Two Pike, Three Pike…Four!

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

That is the opening line to one of my favorite songs about fishing, by a group of kids, actually rappers calling themselves “Shad Rapp” and they are out of Wisconsin.

logo2Here is the YouTube link for the song, they have a bunch of other great/funny songs…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-a5O90yfSw

The main thing is that it’s almost time to get packed up and head north in search of the water wolf..aka..Northern Pike.  My favorite time of the year, where nothing is better than spending a day on one of the local lakes and casting for these big fish. Anything less than 36 inches will be a let down, and a 40+ inch fish will be a dream come true.

A variety of pike lures is a must, but the nice thing about these hungry fish is that they eat just about anything.  That means you might have a selection of lures at the house the will get the job done on your next trip without any additional shopping. Example, if you are a bass fisherman, you might have some big Rat-L-Traps like in this picture.

 

If you dig muskie fishing, hard to beat a bait like a Super Shad Rap, or a 6 inch Believer like in this pic.

You are a salmon guy, but taking a pike trip.  Those lightweight flutter spoons can just as much damage on a 30 acre lake as the big waters of Lake Michigan.

You are a bass guy, no problem, pike love spinnerbaits, but they also like these big rubber bodied minnows!

And it’s always a good idea to bring some super glue with you.  They work really well securing jigs to the rubber bodies of the baits. They also work to repair toothy caused slices in the baits, and in a pinch, they make a great liquid “band-aid”.

You can always go out and get some species specific baits and gear, but if you can hook them, keep them from diving into the thick weeds….half your battle is won already.  Now the main thing about this year’s trip is this, I CANNOT wait to blow of town, leave these infernal mosquitoes behind, and “Catch a Pike!”

Copyright, 2013

Chillaxin’ in da U.P.

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Reporting from HEAVEN!!!!  Been fishing n catching, and just relaxing.  Muskie have not been cooperating, lots of hammer handle pike, and had a good day fishing smallies via the drop shot rig.  Today was the good sized pike, but it was raining and could not get the camera out of the dry bag.  Measured out at 37 inches, still waiting for my 40 incher this year.

The Moon and Big Fish

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

 

Looks like for the first time during the past two years or so, the moon will be cooperating at the end of August into the beginning of September for some some fine pike and muskie fishing.

August Moon Phases

September Moon Phases

If anyone ever laughed at the notion of the moon ever having anything to do with the quality of fishing one will have the following day…well the polite thing would be to say, they just haven’t fished enough :)-

If the moon is full on a clear night, it will wreck the next day of fishing for a lakes predator species.  They will be up all night hunting for a meal, versus their normal daytime routine of looking for a meal.  Perch, bluegill, and crappie (and even small walleye) will be trying to hide in any type of structure they can.

When this is the case, anglers must adjust their fishing times to match up with the big fishes mealtime schedule.  Its ok to fish for panfish during the day, they will be hungry, but if pike and muskie are what you are after, its a different story!  Be on the water an hour or two before dark, mark some good spots where you have seen fish, or even where you think they might be, and get ready to fish for a couple of hours at least past the setting sun!

Topwater baits are fun during this time, fish will react quickly to noise on the surface.  Sub-surface baits are also a good choice for fishing in the twilight, anything that will provide a silhouette against the moon’s light.  Also, the erratic action will provide vibration for the fish to hone in on.

 

 Copyright, 2011

Pike Swimbaits and Spinnerbaits

Friday, August 19th, 2011

You have to love seeing the brown UPS truck backing into your driveway on your birthday, even if you had to pay for the package in the first place.  Last Friday I had placed an order with the Tackle Warehouse for some pike baits, and yesterday on my birthday, it arrived.  I was really happy with the service, and the selections I had made.

 

 

I got turned on to War Eagle Spinnerbaits years ago, and although the Terminator brand with its titanium wire holds up better, I have caught more northerns with the WE brand over the years.  This year I got out of my box a little and tried some varieties.  Usually I go with the painted ones (3/4 oz) in the black package, but wanted something metallic and lighter in weight, that fits the blue pkg to the “T” at a 1/2 oz.  Also decided to try one more, and the green package on the far right, with its big colorado blades will served a dual purpose,  slow rolling near the bottom for the big fish, and churning up the surface with a high speed retrieve.

 

As you can probably tell, over the past two or three years I have fallen in love with swimbaits when it comes to pike and muskie fishing.  You can vary the speed, cast a variety of distances, and they look awesome in the water to the fish below.  They also will not break the bank,  and although some of the gear is pretty high end,  like everyone else, I need to watch my costs too. 

This is the first year for trying the Strike King Shadalicious baits.  They are a hollow body swimbait, and they have that big beaver styled, paddle tail I want.  That paddle makes the back end of the bait literally swim back and forth, giving the illusion of a live bait.

 

 

 

I picked two colors, one a blue gizzard shad because the Esox family loves greasy herring and cisco type baits.  And yes, I like blue not only for walleyes, but bigger critters too!  The other bait I chose mimics a river chub or golden shiner, both favorite colors of pike and muskie.

 

You can rig these baits several ways, because like my other swimbaits, these do not have the head molded into the body, or attached to a life like styled jig head already.  You can use any round head jig with a stout enough hook, a weighted wide gap hook (these are displayed on the back of the package) or thinking a wide gap hook with a bullet weight, texas rigged.

 

 

 

Copyright, 2011

Pike Fishing with Swimbaits

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Years back big pike were an anglers dream in Michigan.  Big toothy critters that would haunt an angler’s dreams.  Perhaps replaced by the state’s outstanding walleye and salmon fishing a tad bit.  Although walleye fishing is a passion, my first love is fishing for the Esox lucius, latin for Northern Pike, or simple translation the “water wolf”.

Fun fact for the day, the word pike in the name actually comes from  Europe, due to its resemblance of the pole type weapon that was commonly used through many of the nations across the pond.

Not exactly sure how common of a practice this is becoming, but for myself, swimbaits are becoming more prominent in my arsenal when it comes to pike fishing.  These baits offer anglers, and the northerns for that matter, a new presentation versus many of the crankbaits available these days.  Depending on the type of swimbait,  you can control the depth you are fishing by combining  timing and the speed of your retrieve of the lure.  Once the lure hits the water, do a speed retrieve with your reel to keep the baits high and moving quickly just below the water’s surface.  For a deeper presentation, allow the bait to sink a little before bringing the lure back slowly.  I have found this to be a deadly method for covering submerged weedbeds.

This style of swimbait (above) comes with a jighead that resembles a minnows head. While the style below is had the head molded into the body.

I just ordered some more of what they call a hollow bodied swimbait from Tackle Warehouse in California.

this type of bait will take a round ball jighead, or you can rig it several ways with either a wide gap hook, weighted hook, or combining the wide gap hook with a bullet weight, Texas style.

This could be the up and coming bait when it comes to pike fishing.  I can say for sure I like using them for both the results, and the way the bait swims in the water.  It definitely looks like a life-like presentation, and one the pike cannot seem to resist!

 

Copyright, 2011

 

Grandpa’s 47″ Northern: restoring old pics

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Modern tech has caught up to saving those old pics laying around the house.  This is a picture of my grandfather holding a 47″ northern pike, caught in the Upper Peninsula in 1945.  The original was dog eared, oil stained (kept in this tool box at the tool n die shop)…basically falling apart. Through a digital process it was restored locally and brought back to its’ original look.

Save those old pics, it is worth the fee for the memories it will continue to bring for future generations.

Copyright, 2011

Fall Pike and Muskie Fishing….

Monday, October 18th, 2010

…..means it is toothy critter time.

Fall, like spring is perhaps the best time for fishing in our great state.  Perhaps more so because we know that the ice will not be long in coming. So while many will be climbing up into their tree stands or hunkering down in their blinds, many more of us will be chasing the elusive members of the Esox family.

Perhaps not so elusive during this period of the year, because as the air and water temps begin to drop, these fish like many others will be putting on the feedbag and building up the fat supplies in their bodies to get them through the long winter months.

Big stick and minnow baits are good choices to get the job done out on the local lakes and waters where the big fish are. If you don’t have any of these bigger baits, make ‘em loud n proud.  Something with rattles  and a lot of wobble can call a big fish in from a good distance away, and peak their interest.  Hudson Lake is a good choice for catching some nice muskie, and one of the best local areas for Northerns would be Devils Lake out in Irish Hills.

Now all the fish can’t be monsters, every once in a while you catch a lil one, but they still can be worthy of a pic just due to their colors and markings.

Course, you could tie into a big one too.

There are no golden rules, remember to vary your speeds, and check the different depths.  But, as the temps go down, the fish will come up into the shallows to feed early in the morning and later in the evenings!  Then its wait for the wake and game on!

Northern Pike Swimbaits

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Crankbaits or what are referred to as hard bodied baits are not my first choice when it comes to fishing for Northern Pike, or that old term that just sounds so good when it rolls off the tongue, “The Water Wolf”.  I like the speed of search bait like an inline or hair pin styled spinnerbait.  Even better is the thrill  you get as a topwater bait is either whacked, or when in shallow water, you see the wake speeding up behind it. It gets the whole “Jaws” them going through my thoughts.

But when I do use a minnow styled bait, for about the past 8 years or so, I turn to the swimbait to get the most action at the biting end of the line.

You can do the type where you insert the bass styled hook, or use those who have the eye either pre-molded into the bait, or with use of a jighead like these.

I prefer the paddle tail style for life like action, but those with the curly tail take their share of northerns.  Notice the small tube of  crazy glue, its an essential tool for any angler to have in their kit.  Not only do they secure the jighead to the body and fix slices and rips produced by the constant action, but also great for closing up cuts and slices we the fisherman often get out on the water. Yes, it does go into the first aid kit!

Regardless of the tail design, you the angler have to decide at what speed you will be fishing these baits.  With those pictured above, I like to fish them at almost a slow crawl.  The body will do a slightly shimmy wobble, but most of the visible action will come from the tails.  At higher speeds they tend lose tail action and its all transferred to the body that will appear to almost roll over on its axis.  Not that I cannot catch fish at that speed, in truth there are times when serious eaters want it fast and wobbling, and hard charging through the water column. 

Sometimes depth of water dictates the speed of retrieval.  In deep water when you are fishing above the target, slow speeds rule  because it only portrays a slow moving target, but also gives the fish time to rise up quickly and strike from below.  Shallow bites can be more of speed thing, less water for the fish to study the lure, often means they are striking out of pure meanness and instinct versus the need for food.

Here is another example of a smaller pike coming out of the depths to attack the bait.

Swimbaits really are a must have while targeting toothy critters like the northern pike and its bigger cousin the muskie.  Don’t leave the glue at home, because these baits will suffer the damage from their grab and slice attacks!

Copyright 2010

Spring Spooning for Northerns

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

As the weather breaks it will not be long before the early spring pike fishing will begin here in Michigan, others will be planning their trips north to Canada in search of big trophies.  One of my favorite techniques for these toothy critters is throw the spoon collection at them.  It seems like spring is the right time to be using spoons.  Just after the spawn the gators are out on the prowl looking to put the feedbag on.

In the pic above are some salmon spoons that I like to troll over weedbeds, even though they are more of a summer thing, they still can pull some big fish in the spring.  On top are weedless spoons, Johnson Silver Minnow and a weedless Devle from Eppinger right here in Dearborn, Michigan.  Down the middle I have the big Cleo’s and on the bottom of that row, some 3/4 oz Cleo’s for working in shallow.  Some heavy Krocodiles start the third row, followed by some 3/4 oz Daredevles.  I like the action on that sized ‘Devle.

Bottom left, another Eppinger product, the RedEye has taken its fair share of fish over the years.  Those big Devle’s are heavy weights and the green one took my last 40 incher.  Besides, some more Cleo’s, weedless spoons and Daredevle’s, there is a Williams Wabbler in the middle.  Really nice action, but no fish landed yet.  That big pike skinned one on the bottom was bought up on Lake St. Claire for trolling ski’s, but has landed both pike and muskie.

Try tipping your spoons with a plastic worm or minnow for a little more action and sent.  Works really well on the weedless spoons to entice more strikes.