I love pike fishing, give me a toothy critter slashing at bait in clear water so I can see all the action first hand. It gets your heart pumping to see the roll of a white belly or the turbulence on the lake’s surface. Rearing back on the hook set and feeling the weight of the fish at the other end. This is where I would insert the Tim Allen grunt from Tool Time, if I knew how to spell it.
As I get geared up for the annual trip to the Upper Peninsula, many of you are doing the same thing. Its fall, or will be shortly depending on what the calendar says and big fish are chomping at the bit to put on the feed bag. Whether it be Canada, Michigan, Wisconsin or Minnesota some tactics hold true no matter where you go.
Search and Destroy is a method I like using a new lake, and also one of the most effective ways of not only learning a new lake quickly, but landing more fish as well. On a new lake, you want to cover water fast, not spend the whole day trying here or trying there….wasted time that you just do not have a week long trip.
Best thing to do is get a map of the lake(s) you are fishing and study up before the trip. Circle likely areas based on contours, likely weedbeds and drop offs. Second best thing to do is have your boat equipped with a GPS map chip on your fish finder, you can scan a lake quickly, but does not give you the chance to really study the lake. You can also go in blind, and this is where search and destroy plays its biggest part.
My fav search lures are spinnerbaits, inline like the classic Mepps or hairpin style, which is just a beefed up bass bait on roids. Have a variety of blades on the spinners like the colorado, indiana, french, muskie flute and willow. Give the fish what they want, but for searching quickly on fast retrieves, stick with the willow bladed baits. Less resistance, quicker to come back to the boat.
Now do not get hung up on sizes and names associated with these baits. Just because it says muskie bait on the package does not mean it is just made for the Northerns larger cousin. Pike do not care, if they can take down a muskrat, they will have no problem taking a 9 inch inline Harrasser spinnerbait running along the surface. They are eating machines, and will bite at things 2/3 rds their size without a second thought.
My favorite pike spinnerbaits are the following, and there are more out there to try.
Northland: Magnum Reed-Runner’s, Bionic Bucktail Spinners and Spinnerbaits.
War Eagle Spinnerbaits: 3/4 oz
Windells Harrassers: Both pike and muskie sizes
Terminators: with their titanium wire, 3/8ths of an ounce is not too small, and a good size to avoid tangles and snags in shallower edges and bays. Also use the 1/2 oz and muskie sized baits too.
Mepps: Been around for years; #5 french blade, muskie thrillers and killers, both sizes of the marabou baits as well.
Get a variety of colors to pitch and you cannot go wrong on your next mission into dissecting a lake for these fantastic fish.