Pike bait – The best bait for pike fishing
In the search for the perfect bait to finally catch the long awaited record pike, opinions often differ. While some people swear by spoons, others prefer plugs and other crankbaits, while others prefer natural lures. Often the most different colours and sizes are hotly discussed. The fact is: all these lures have a good chance to catch capital pike and all the different colours, sizes and shapes have their right to exist. It is important to recognise which lure shows which characteristics and therefore is the best choice for which conditions.
Especially when spinning with artificial lures the choice is endless. We have tried to summarize the most common ones in a nutshell to give you a good overview for the beginning.
Rubber fish, or softbaits in general, have become more and more popular in recent years. The most important reason for this rise is on the one hand the great variety in which the lures are offered, on the other hand the fact that soft lures scare the pike less, so that even after a false bite another attack can come. With different bait assemblies the rubber fish can be used to fish both shallow and deep water. However, these setups have to be learned first, which means that rubber fish are not very suitable for beginners. The following applies to the colours: the cloudier the water, the brighter and more garish they should be. Especially in summer it has proved to be a good idea to fish with rubber fish directly above the weed without a weight. The rubber fish cannot be big enough – especially for capital pike. Smaller rubber fish will rarely hook a pike, but in many cases perch and zander will.
The spinning fish has the most extensive range of choices in plugs. Depending on how large and steep the dive blade is, the wobblers can run very deep or directly on the surface. So there is a suitable lure for every season and time of day. Depending on the water and time of day, different colours can be chosen. In clear water, the lure should be selected according to the naturally occurring prey fish. In turbid water neon colours can bring the desired success. On warm spring nights, surface wobblers with a dark belly are particularly suitable as they stand out from the night sky and are visible. Models of at least 10 to 15 centimetres are also the most common choice for plugs, as pike are real greedy moles. In rare cases, especially when the water is full of the smallest juvenile fish, even small plugs can induce capital pike to bite, and should therefore be considered as a possibility in the eye.
Crankbaits are a special kind of plugs. The big difference is that they provide great action in the water just by cranking and do not need to be lifted, lowered and plucked by hand. Therefore classic crankbaits are an excellent choice especially for beginners. Most of the time the larger specimens are the ones that go especially deep (depth 5 meters+). However, these also provide a good amount of pressure on the fishing rod, so you should make sure you have the right tackle. Similar to plugs, crankbaits can be used successfully in all seasons and at all times of the day. However, these two bait variants are often very heavily used and can be considered negative by the fish in heavily fished waters.
The Blinker: One of the pike classics par excellence. A large metal blade with slight bends – the shape is only vaguely reminiscent of fish. How should these lures be able to outwit a pike? The answer is very simple. Their movement reflects the light and makes for flashing movements under water. The movement also creates a pressure wave – just like real fish. In addition to the silver classic, spoons are also available in gold, copper or striped patterns. The big disadvantage is that the possibilities of variation are not as great as with plugs or rubber fish. Blinkers always run at medium depths and can also be offered in different variations only to a limited extent due to the lure guidance. Nevertheless, especially in heavily fished waters, they can be exactly the kind of variation that pike love.
Spinners are probably one of the oldest artificial lures besides the spoons. Due to the high offer of new, more realistic artificial lures, however, they are easily forgotten. Quite wrongly: Because the lures with the rotating spinner blade make a lot of noise in the water. Fishing is very easy, you just have to reel in the lure. The pressure caused by the spinning blade immediately tells you whether the lure is running well or not. Spinners are available in different sizes, shapes and of course colours. They run very shallow throughout, making them particularly suitable for times when the pike hunt on the surface in shallow water: this is especially the case in spring and summer when the pike hunt their prey from hiding places near the shore. The best times of day for spinner fishing are at dusk. Spinners should be avoided, especially in deeper waters. Therefore, when pike fishing in autumn, the choice of a different lure is preferable.
Jerkbaits are the opposite of crankbaits. Because here the rule is: a normal lure is not moving the lure sufficiently to be convincing for the pike. The jerkbaits are plucked like crazy. These movements ensure that the lure staggers through the water like an injured prey fish. Jerkbaits can be designed for the surface, but also for the depth. The same rules apply to them as to other artificial lures: Pike are very hungry, so large lures (10 to 15 centimetres or larger) are preferable. The choice of colour should be adapted to the water. If the water is clear, natural patterns and colours should be preferred, if it is cloudy strong colours can be chosen.
Natural bait: bait fish
The second method besides spinning, which is used to catch pike very often, is fishing with bait fish. It should be noted that in Germany fishing with live bait fish is considered cruelty to animals and is therefore prohibited by the Animal Protection Act. Accordingly, in our guide we only deal with fishing with dead bait fish. Fishing with bait fish can be a real hit in all seasons. Of course, the best results are also achieved in the twilight hours, as this is when the pike are most active in hunting. However, baitfish can also bring good results during the day. In particular the mounting with pose can easily fish larger areas and serve the pike lunch on a silver platter.
Which bait fish is suitable?
Especially in German-speaking countries, it has become a rule to use bait fish that also occur naturally in the waters being fished. Since bait fish are also best used fresh, many anglers swear by getting the bait themselves directly at the lake. This is because the factor of the current size of prey fish in the water is also taken into account. But even completely different bait fish can lead to success. In particular, the use of fish that are native to completely different waters – such as saltwater fish – has proven to be an interesting but nevertheless successful method of fishing for pike.
Methods of bait fishing for pike
The most common method of fishing for pike with bait fish is the so-called pose mounting. The bait fish is hung either on a triplet or a large single hook in the dorsal fin. It is important that it should look quite natural. A pose with an appropriate load-bearing capacity ensures that the bait fish hangs at a depth of one to two metres and is thus offered to the pike. Especially when there is a light wind, a special pose can be used which ensures that the mounting – and thus the lure – floats over the water, allowing larger areas to be fished. Another possibility is to offer the bait fish at the bottom. However, this is rarely used by pike anglers, as it means that only a small area can be fished. Here the bait fish is threaded onto a hook. A continuous lead provides the weight and the necessary casting weight. The advantage of this mounting is that areas can be fished which cannot be reached with the pose mounting – and the somewhat more fragile mounting of the bait fish.
The best bait for every time
Depending on the time of year and the time of day, pike show different behaviour. Accordingly, different lures must be chosen to induce them to bite.
The best lure for the day
Starting at dawn, the pike also awaken. In spring and summer they usually stay in cover (water lilies, herb, branches, etc.) as motionless as possible and wait for prey to be within striking distance. Baits that run near the surface are the best choice here. These include in particular spoons, spinners, jerkbaits and bait fish at the pose mounting. Especially the latter is also an excellent choice during the rest of the day when the pike become less active. In autumn and winter, however, the pike are relatively deep. Lures should therefore be chosen that can reach these depths. Plugs / crankbaits or rubber fish will be the first choice here.
The best lure for the night
Pike are also very active at dusk and early night. Basically the same bait variations can be chosen as during the day: In spring/summer the tendency is towards surface baits, in autumn/winter towards deep-seated baits. What should be considered is the reduced visibility at night. Baits with appropriate colours are to be preferred. Often plugs with additional rattle balls, which emit acoustic stimulus signals, can be successful at night.