Fishing for pike is popular throughout the yearly season but becomes more prominently targeted by anglers during the colder winter months. All over the UK, anglers will tell you tales of these huge predators lurking in the depths of most big lakes and rivers. It is these stories of monster Pike that draws many specimen anglers to turn their attention towards netting one of these king predators when other areas of fishing slow up in the colder weather. The reason that pike fishing is so productive in winter is due to the winter temperatures shoaling up numbers of prey fish, which become more dormant and in theory make it easier for predators to catch their meals.
Here are some tips to locating and targeting these fish.
There are some general rules to follow in terms of where to locate pike on any given lake. Firstly finding any underwater snags or remaining weed beds is generally considered good areas to start fishing. I say remaining because as the winter progresses weed beds will start to diminish until spring and therefore this means that in February there will be less of these areas to be found compared to November. These places attract Pike because they provide lots of camouflage and cover. It is this camouflage that helps the fish ambush its passing prey before they are aware of the Pike’s presence. During the really cold months of winter when frost start occurring, pike will generally be found within the deeper areas of the lake where the water is warmer so be sure to plum the depth of the lakes you are fishing to locate these deeper areas. It can also often be beneficial to look the any signs of diving grebes, as they will also be targeting the prey fish like the pike. Spotting grebes fishing will indicate where shoals of fish are holding up under the water and this suggests that there will often be a group of Pike not far from shoals of silverfish.
The most popular methods of pike fishing during the winter are spinning and dead/live baiting. Although this is just a general rule the majority of larger fish are caught by the dead/live bait method as appose to spinning. However the advantage of spinning means that you are constantly on the move and fishing different areas. This can be beneficial in braving the elements of winter weather as it will help you to keep warm make sure that the day is a more pleasurable experience.
The spinning fishing method uses a plug, spoon or lure to trick the fish into attacking what it suspects to be a fish in distress. These are manmade objects which imitate the movement and colours of an injured fish swimming through the water. Pike will choose to attack these weak looking fish as they are viewed as an easy target. Both the vibrations and sharp colours of the lure passing through the water is designed catch the Pike’s attention and cause it to chase and grab the bait. These artificial baits have hooks attached and it act to hook the fish when the pike grabs the bait.
Dead/live baiting is the method that requires a more static approach. Strong smelling fish baits are placed on hooks and the angler waits for the predator to search and find the bait. When the bait is picked up the angler will receive an indication through either a float or a fishing alarm where they would pick up the rod to hook the fish. There are many types of fish baits available and each angler has their own preference of which is most successful for them.