The #5 Mepps’ steady throb pulsed through the 30-pound Spiderwire, down the length of the medium/heavy-action graphite rod is just about the best combination going for our 20+ lb northern pike. Just as the lure reaches the edge of the cabbage weeds, the blade’s thrum came to an abrupt halt – it felt like a concrete wall! But then the wall began to move, and there was no doubt that this fish was BIG – a trophy. Five minutes and four desperate boat side runs later the 40″+ 20-pound northern pike was twisting and flopping in the net.
Big pike LOVE spinners!
Spinner choices abound, but not all are created equal when it comes to enticing these jumbo jaw snapping monsters. The angler should select certain sizes, shapes, and colors, over others.
In choosing spinners for northern pike bigger always is better. Pick magnum-sized offerings as even hammer-handles attack huge lures with abandon, and to catch true monsters, you MUST have that big profile.
Fat, deeply cupped blades throw out big vibrations that ring the dinner bell for monster pike. While sometimes thinner shaped blades (such as willow-leafs) that spin faster turn the trick; usually the slower-turning Colorado-type blades prove to be the ticket to a pike bonanza.
Because big flash stimulates lunkers, polished silver and gold blades work great. Another killer color combo, especially for use in darker, stained water, is orange blades with a black trailer.
In-Line vs. Offset Spinners
Spinners for northern pike come in two basic designs, and both work effectively, but each has its strengths and weaknesses.
In-line spinners (such as Mepps, Worden’s Lures Rooster Tails, Panther Martin, and Blue Fox’s Vibrax), with their terminal trebles, have higher hook-up and catch rates than their safety-pin brethren, but they also hook vegetation and other underwater structure, too.
But lures such as Terminators and Stanley Jigs’ Rick Clunn 4-Blade Willow Spinnerbaits, with their single, upturned hooks surrounded by manmade skirts, slither through the weeds, logs and stumps. In-lines also cast like bullets, while offsets can catch the wind and lose momentum.
Any of the new “super-lines” such as like Berkley FireLine, Spiderwire, Fusion, or Remington’s Power-Lokt, are superior to monofilament for spinning pike angling. Their low stretch and high-abrasion resistance benefit pike anglers.
Flout the convention and tie on a snap/swivel instead of a leader. Leaders inhibit action and deter wary trophies, while the snap swivels provide two major benefits: quick lure changes and eliminating/reducing line twist. True, you’ll lose lures to the razor-sharp choppers of aggressive mounters, but you’ll get lots more bites without leaders!
Speed & Delivery
Often pike will attack even jet-powered offerings, but slowing down, pausing, or herky-jerkying that spinner, especially when it reaches the “Pike Zone,” reaps big rewards. Even lazy fish will smash a spinnerbait dangled in front on their out-sized mouth.
Always cast beyond where you think the pike lurk, because while monster northern pike are legendary for their aggressiveness, they don’t like being bombed. Landing a bait on top of its head will likely result in spooking it.
Spin-Crazy Times & Spots
Primetime for driving pike spin crazy depends upon the season, time of day, and prevailing weather conditions. Early spring, right after ice out, brings spawned out northern pike towards the shallows (where they’re most vulnerable). Spinner rigs elicit savage strikes from hungry pike during spring.
Because northern pike sight-feed, mid-day piking makes sense. Following that logic, clear, blue-sky days with lots of sun create perfect pike angling weather.
The spinner’s flash and large profile, easily visible to cruising whoppers, prove irresistible.
Look for incoming streams or rivers, and concentrate your efforts just off the edges of weedy drop-offs. Weeds are the keys to spinning big pike crazy, as these predators use vegetation to ambush any aquatic creature smaller than themselves. Position the boat on the deep side of the drop-off, and cast the spinner up onto the flat itself, cranking just fast enough to keep the lure above the weeds, and pause when you get to the weed edge. Allow the bait to drift down and find the waiting lunker’s, and then hang on!
Using spinners to drive northern pike stir crazy is fun, easy, and productive. Above all though enjoy these times on the lake as that’s what it’s all about!