As the fall weather increasingly turns colder, its a good time to go bigger with your presentations while fishing Northerns. While some fish will be slowing down while the water temps drop, pike love this stuff, so go big on your baits. Specially minnow imitators like cranks and topwater stuff.
Nothing like seeing a big Jitterbug going over the the top of a weedbed, only to disappear in a surface explosion. Although most folks think of topwater baits as an early morning or late afternoon into evening type bait, these cloudy days throw that philosophy out the door. These windy, cloudy type days are perfect for hitting the surface with tops all day long over the right structure.
The only thing that could put a wrench into this fall thinking for attacking big pike is the full moon phase we are presently going through. What can still give you hope is the amount of cloud cover at night. Even through a full moon cycle when the moon allows for feeding all night long by the predators, lots of cloud cover means there will still be a fair amount of daytime action for anglers.
Fall time is also a big cranking time of the year, pike are looking to fatten up for the winter months. Big greasy golden shiners are a popular fare on their feeding agenda, so imitate their needs with big minnow baits. In SE Michigan, golden shiners are on the table so find some golden metalics and start tossing. In the Upper, its chubs and suckers, so darker baits work well. Minnesota and Canada, go blues and silvers because they will be chasing ciscos to fatten up on.
Do not put your jerkbaits away during this fall period either. A crank here, a sharp whip action of the rod tip there, followed by a pause in the action can be a signal caller to bring in aggressive northerns from a long way off. Specially if your baits have rattles inside the lure body. One of my favs are the big Pointer 120′s from Lucky Craft. Expensive yes (DEFINITELY), but this series comes in the colors that the fish are looking for in any region of the pike range. They suspend, they have a wider body than a Rapala and they come with super sharp #2 or #4 treble hooks, guessing they are VMC’s. On some of my baits I have changed out the hooks for blood red Triple Grips from Mustad. Just to change up the colors and to make the minnow type bait look injured.
Change up your speeds to see what type of action the pike want, and just get ready for some heavy fall time northern pike action.