Many anglers are simply happy just being on the river bank, rod in hand and being out in the fresh air, however some anglers are after more of a thrill and want an adrenaline rush. The ultimate fishing buzz is deep sea fishing for blue marlin, wahoo, sharks, tarpon and other big game fish. This is fine if you live on the coast in countries where these fish are prevalent, but what if you don’t? What if you can only fish in the rivers and lakes, i.e. freshwater?
Fortunately for us freshwater anglers there are a few species of freshwater fish that can grow exceptionally large and put up a real scrap when hooked, providing the adrenaline rush many anglers are after. The larger species of freshwater fish include carp, cat fish and the northern pike.
All of these species are fun to catch and will get the blood pumping around the body when you hook a large one, but out of all of them th species that gives the biggest buzz is the northern pike.
The northern pike is a ferocious predator that, in the right conditions, can grow exceptionally large. A pike can reach up to a metre and a half in length and weigh in at over 25kg, and a fish this size is going to put one heck of a bend in the rod and fight to the bitter end once hooked. A pike will generally eat other fish, although they have been known to eat water voles and ducklings. If hungry, a pike will eat anything it comes across, including frogs, leeches, worms and anything else it can find.
One of the most common methods to catch pike is to lure fish for them. Lure fishing involves casting out a spinner, plug, crank bait, popper or any other type of lure you can find, and dragging it through the water in order to make the pike attack it. A lure is a piece of metal, plastic or rubber on which some hooks are attached that is supposed to mimic a sick or injured fish. Arguably, lure fishing for pike is the most exciting way of catching them, although it is only a method that will catch pike during the summer months when they are actively hunting for prey fish.
Another popular method of catching large pike is dead baiting, a method which involves casting out a dead fish and letting the pike find and devour the bait. Dead baiting can be a long process and you have to be prepared to sit it out and wait for the pike to come to you as opposed to you actively searching for the pike. Various different fish can be used for dead bait, and whilst you would think fish native to the water in which the pike lives would be best in reality the best dead bait is often sea fish, such as mackerel or herring, that are oily and have a pungent smell. Dead baits can either be fished on the water’s bottom, using a ledger, or fished suspended beneath a bobber.
A further alternative to using dead baits or lures is to use live bait. Live baiting is a method that involves impaling a live fish on to the fish hook and using it as bait. A live bait can be fished on the water’s bottom, using a sinker, or suspended under a bobber. Many anglers don’t lik the idea of impaling a live creature on a hook and using it as bait to catch a pike, so live baiting is not too popular.
In order to consistently catch large pike an angler needs to know about the pike and do some research. You need to know where the pike are located, what sort of water pike like to live in, the feeding habits of the pike, the behavioural patterns of the pike and the life cycle of the pike. Knowledge is power and before going out and trying to catch a pike it is advisable to do some background reading and find out as much as you can about pike. Believe me, this knowledge will definitely help and increase your success rate.