As its name suggests, live baiting involves using live bait fish on the hook in order to catch northern pike. Many people, some anglers included, are totally against using live bait to catch pike therefore it is a very controversial method of fishing. There are as many arguments for live baiting as there is against live baiting, and it is an argument that is unlikely to be resolved in the near future.
When using live bait it is important to use bait that is caught from the river where you intend to pike fish. Under no circumstance should you introduce bait fish from another river as this may result in cross contamination and disease, which could not only wipe out the fish stocks but also affect other marine life and bird life that feed on the fish. You could really mess up the whole eco system so never ever use live bait caught anywhere else.
There are many different ways to catch live bait but the best method by far is to use a rod and line. When catching bait fish you need to fish as light as possible and all you need is a cheap and cheerful telescopic rod and small fixed spool reel, an outfit that costs a few bucks. When catching bait fish it is important to take as many fish as you need and not a single fish more. Arguably, any fish you catch can be used as live bait, providing it is not too big of course.
Some fish have spiky dorsal and anal fins to protect them from predators. These do not make good live bait so if you catch one of these you should return it to the water and catch something more suitable.
One of the hardest things is keeping the live bait alive and kicking. Live bait need to be store in a bucket and you need to change the water at least every few hours to keep the water oxygenated. To prolong the life of the live bait you need to keep the bucket out of the sun, change the water and make sure you don’t fill it too full.
If you simply chuck the live bait on the hook it will die in a short space of time. To keep the bait alive longer you should use a two treble hook set up. One set of hooks goes through the lips and the second through the anal fin. This will allow the fish to swim around without it wriggling off the hook and swimming away.
Typically, there are three methods of presenting live bait and these include; Floating the live bait which is where the bait is suspended beneath a pike bung or bobber Free lining live bait and letting it do whatever it wants to do in the water Fishing the live bait on the rivers bottom.
When you float or free line small live baits your lure fishing and spinning tackle will be more than adequate, however if you fish a live bait on the rivers bottom you will need a large sinker, and you will need to fish with heavier tackle. In these circumstances you are going to need a strong rod of at least twelve feet in length with a two pounds test curve and a large fixed spool reel loaded up with strong line. Live baiting for monster pike is tried and tested and has accounted for some exceptionally large pike in the past, and will continue to do so in the future.
However, before you go and start live baiting for monster pike you need to check the fishing bylaws and rules and regulations in your area or of the fishery since it is a fishing method that is banned in many places.