It’s a picturesque morning with the mist rising off of the lake and the brilliant colors of the fall leaves as dazzling the shoreline with magnificent beauty. On any given day while working an extremely long cabbage bed with Husky Jerks and Smithwick Rogues in search of northern pike all in great anticipation while trolling tight to the weed edge and to the drop-off proves to be an excellent choice because…… ‘BANG’ a strike………
There are four main methods to use fishing for northern pike in the fall. Giant jerk baits, bucktail spinners, wide wobbling spoons, or a jig and redtail chub combo all can be deadly lures. Understanding what technique and when to use it is the key for continuing success in the fall.
After the first cold blast of air from the north, the weedbeds really turn on. This becomes the prime time for numbers and big fish of the year. Once the water temperatures drops the fish become concentrated in a small area. These small pockets are a huge draw that are easy to find and often even easier to fish.
Cabbage weeds that are green and border a deep drop-off are deadly in the fall. As the water cools both the baitfish and the pike head toward the shallow water. Weeds located out in the center of the lake or in a wind swept section are the best.
When the weeds start to die off, anglers need to shift their location. Necked down areas, areas that funnel fish through a particular slot, or any type of area where a saddle exists, are dynamite locations. This could be a deep-water slot with shallow water on each side, or it could be a shallow water hump or slot.
Trolling Is Effective
Trolling is extremely effective and perhaps the fastest way to a limit providing that you have a large weedbed to fish. The advantage to the angler is pike are not motor shy so you can run lines any way from the boat. On the side and one set straight, or high straight back. Pike don’t care and will strike whenever the opportunity presents itself.
When the pike are on the weeds and the bite is slow, grab a jig, or a bait spin combination. A ¼-ounce to ¾-ounce jig head with either a chub or a huge plastic trailer is effective.
The absolute best location to zero in upon will be the cabbage weeds that have an inside turn with deep water bordering them. Cast out into the weeds and jerk it off of the weeds.
The Bait Spin is another good option. This small spinner comes in all of the popular color and weight choices. Tip the spinner with a plastic tail or with a large lively redtail chub and fish in the same manner as you would with a jig. This is a deadly but forgotten pike bait.
Find Inside Turn By Deep Water
Locate an inside turn that is tight to the deep water and where hopefully you have a near vertical drop-off from the flats. This location can easily produce the largest fish of the year and the most fish prior to ice-over.
Only two baits are required for this type of fishing. The deadliest bait going under these conditions would be the spin rig, or a heavy jig with a large minnow or sucker minnow. When using a spin rig you can use a slightly sucker minnow, in the 4-inch range.
A favorite but not always the most efficient method, is casting over and along a weedbed. There is nothing better than feeling a lure work when a huge pike hits! Bucktail spinners such as the Mepps Giant Musky Killer, Mr. Twister Musky Tandem, and others that are large, are proven producers. The addition of a 3-inch or 4-inch plastic tail is a big help.
Some anglers also have great success with an Uncle Josh Pork Rind. Or try a No. 14 Flippin Frog, a U3 Twin Tail, or a No. 25 Crawfrog. Some days the use of pork outshines the plastic. Maybe it’s the salt or scent, just know that you should never leave home without it on a fall pike trip.
Add Weight To A Spinner
Weighing down the spinner dramatically improves the fishing. These spinners have a tendency to run high, and I found that keeping the bait down 2- to 4 feet works best in the fall.
One favorite fall spoon is the Johnson Silver Minnow. Once again use the largest size and tip it with either pork or plastic. Work it through the thickest weeds, both near the surface and bounce it off the bottom.
Jerkbaits are another favorite bait for pike. Once again, bigger baits are the best choice. The key to jerkbaits is the use of weights. A jerkbait that is weighted will dive down 2- to 4 feet upon retrieve. Fished over the tops of the weeds, this system drives the pike crazy.
A simple way to add weight to your jerkbait is adding a few split shot to the hooks, or wrapping a piece of wire around the shank and stem of the hooks.
Hammering fall pike is a blast, angler pressure non-existent, and the action is normally dependable. Try any of the simple techniques described for the best action and result of the year.
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