I´m a big fan of pike fishing. I have a huge respect for this predator. Catching pike can be a very exciting experience – they fight until the last breath. But to catch one, you should know a few things about it. For example, when is the best time of the year to fish for a pike? So before we go deeper into pike catching technics, we discuss if there is a best time to catch this fish? Of course a good fisherman can get a pike every season of the year, but there are some better periods and some not so good ones. Here are some good periods to catch pike.
Autumn Pike Fishing
Where to find pike in autumn?
As the water gets colder, the pike begins to prepare for the long winter. At this time he can feed throughout the day. Peak feeding time starts when the water temperature drops to 10-12 degrees. But when the water cools down to 6 degrees or less, then the fish move from the coastal and vegetated areas to deeper parts of the water body. The pike is no exception, he will also start seeking food from deeper parts of the water. That´s why a large number of pikes gather in the deep holes at the bottom of the water body. Finally, when eaten, they stay there for the whole winter.
When to catch pike in autumn?
In the early autumn, the main catching times are still in the mornings and evenings, however, as the days get shorter, the best catching time can even be at noon. Sunlight and bright light make the fish more cautious. In this brightness it appears that the pike is pursuing the lure, but is not attacking. It is best to catch pike in a period when the air pressure is stable. Partly cloudy days with gentle breeze are the best conditions during the day. At night, the cathing should happen in totally calm weather. Small showers in autumn do not usually disturb the fish. I have even noticed that before and after the rain, the pike is even slightly more active than usual.
What kind of lures should be used?
Live bait or the lure should be reeled as close to the bottom as possible. It´s advisable to use the same fish for the bait that live in that particular water body and also similar lures. For example, if there isn´t any roach in that lake, then don´t use it as a live bait to catch a pike with it. If there isn´t any perch, then don´t use lures that look like perch – it won t work as good as the lures that look like the fish that pike is familiar with. If lighter fish dominates that water body, use lures that are lighter in tone and vice versa. When trying to fish from deep holes, close to the bottom, brighter lures could be used, because they are more visible in deep water. Cold-toned lures are definitely preferred for cool water – blue and silver for example. As for the game of the lure, then the general known recommendation is: move the lure more slowly in cold water and more actively in warm water.
I have noticed that pike prefers live bait over artificial lure. But only if the live bait is similar to the fish living in that same water body. Otherwise, the bait might scare the pike away. When fishing with live bait, I usually use two single headed hooks or one two headed hook. I don´t recommend fishing with a three headed hook, because the third hook-head usually doesn´t get covered enough with the bait and pike might avoid it.
Remember that fishing with live bait should not be rushed. You should engage and start reeling in when the line starts moving again after the first bite. The thickness of the line should be 0.4 – 0.5 mm. You should definitely use a special metal wire trace for pike catching. Or else you are going to have a day like I had some weeks ago – read about it here.
When catching with a lure, then so-called pulsating lure retrieving gives good results. After you cast the lure, let it sink to the required depth, then roll the reel for five to six turns and let it sink again for a few seconds. The lure, moving up and down like this, resembles an injured fish and definitely attracts pike, because it seems like an easy prey.
What kind of strategy should be used?
Pike strikes with a sharp and strong bite. The pike that has bitten the lure, tries to get rid of the hook. It makes abrupt moves to the sides, and some even make jumps out of the water and roll themselves. If this happens, you should keep the line tensioned, otherwise the fish may get away. A pike up to couple kilos can be just simply reeled in. When reeling in a bigger pike, then the fish should be “played” or tired. If it is still making runs, let it. If you have the fish near you, put landing net into the water and hold it still. Drag the fish to the net not vice versa. Otherwise it will certainly frighten the pike and the it will rush away with a new boost.
Hooking a monster pike feels like your lure is stuck. They might not move at all. The large pike is strong and difficult to retrieve from the bottom. But it can get tired quite quickly, even faster than the young and smaller ones. If you have the monster one near you, try to drag it to the landing net. If the fish continues to rush away, let it. Under no circumstances should the line be held tight, this creates a high risk of breaking the line. But don’t let it be too loose also. It is wise to use the elasticity of the rod. The rod must be kept at an angle of approximately 120 to 140 degrees from the line.
You should leave the area where several fish have already been caught and find a new location, which is not yet disturbed. If you are catching fish from the boat, it is advisable that you anchor the boat away from the shore and make your casts towards the shore. This is important, because the pike is usually waiting its prey tail towards the shore. This way it´s in perfect starting position to catch your lure.
Spring Pike Fishing
Where to find pike in spring?
Pike is the first so-called spring announcer for the fisherman using spinning. The long winter in now over and it´s time to start recovering and preparing for spawning. The success of fishing is largely determined by the state of the water – with lower water, pikes gather in deeper sections and holes. In low-water years, it is good to catch from shore as well.
What kind of lures should be used?
Different lures work well – you can either use wobblers or metal spoon lures (slowly oscillating spoons, weighing about 30-40 grams). You can also use silicon lures with heavier head (28-40 grams). I like using lures that are brownish-bronze and golden – they seem to work well in spring time. I have noticed that silicon lures with bright colours tend to work fine as well. In addition, the classic red and white color combination does the job also.
What kind of strategy should be used?
When catching from the river, you should drag the lure upstream, this way the game of the lure is more stable and realistic. In cold early spring water, the pike is sluggish, that´s why your lure retrieving should also be slower and not so aggressive.
However, the right spring pike fishing will get a nice boost after the catching ban. There is a ban for catching pike because it has its spawning period in spring time. Before going fishing in your country, get familiar with the fisheries law. There might be some limitations to catching fish during its spawning period.
After spawning, pikes activity is at its peak – they are feeding actively, trying to restore the lost strength and weight. During this time, pike prefers to be in the shallower and warmer water, being quite close together at times. It´s usual that several fish can be caught from the same place. The best times usually doesn´t start from eary mornings anymore, now pike rather prefers to feed in the late morning or even during mid day, when it’s the warmest time of the day. Still, the cloudless sky and bright sunshine are not good. Under these circumstances, pikes tend to follow the lure, but do not want to bite it.
Generally, in spring, it is not very important what type of fishing lure are you using. As long as you follow the tips I mentioned before, you should be fine. Those who do not want to lose their lures, will certainly use a wire trace.
Also don`t forget to bring sunscreen with high UV factor with you, the sun in sping time can be very harsh. Without it, your fishing day could end with a very ugly sunburn.
When catching fish, also check the minimum sizes from your country´s fisheries law. Catching an undersized fish can get you in trouble. You can get decent sized pikes in summer also, but I have noticed that they get a bit lazy then. And catching a pike in winter is a whole new topic – I will be writing about it soon. I hope you found some new tips and tricks. As I said before, I love pike fishing, hopefully now you will too.