Spinner baits are an effective presentation for covering expanses of water looking for pike. Whether you’re working weed beds, shallow sand flats, or rocky reefs, these lures are sure to put fish in the boat. Here are some of my top tips for targeting pike with spinner baits this season.
|Choosing A Pike Spinner bait
It’s no secret pike like the protection and ambushing advantages of weeds. A spinner baits upward-facing, single hook keeps the bait fairly weedless, making it ideal to cast vegetation. Use baits weighing up to 1.5-ounces for deep water, but most often I throw lures ranging from 1/2-ounce- to 1-ounce.Willow-leaf-bladed baits give off plenty of flash, run deeper, and can be retrieved at a faster pace than Colorado-bladed baits. Yet, these latter blades are effective too for slower retrieves, or when you want plenty of thump in your presentation. Make sure you carry an assortment of both. When it comes to body materials, the bucktail is a bait that will have a longer lifespan and stand up to catching multiple fish. Some silicone skirts perform well, but rarely as good as tied hair. As for colors, popular colors are: chartreuse and white, white and red, and orange and black are great producers.
THREE PRIME SPOTS FOR SPINNER BAITS:
Cast a rock point for pike in windy conditions.
Rocks And Reefs
Rocky zones, such as points or shallow reefs, surrounded by deep water are other hot spots. Work baits around the edges and breaks. Don’t neglect the top of the reef. On water systems where pike are the dominant predator, reefs are some of my favorite zones to look for trophy-sized fish. These areas can be particularly good in cool, sunny conditions when pike may be sunning themselves on the rocks, which absorb heat. Rocks can also be good in high winds as the turmoil and turbidity caused by waves gives pike a predatory advantage to ambush disoriented prey.
Fan casting the weedbeds with spinner baits lets you quickly cover water and better your chances of contacting a fish. If you spot any structure in the weed flat, such as logs or rocks, cast beyond the target, then reel the bait into the area. Hold on, as this zone is a prime ambush area. Concentrate on working the bait around edges in weeds, like a weed wall or cut into the bed.
Warren Mooney with one of many nice pike
caught at Wawang Lake.
Beyond weedbeds, shallow, sandy areas are good. These produce fish early in the season since they warm up quickly. As summer arrives, they can also be feeding zones. Look for signs of baitfish as you cast. Forage is a good indicator of whether or not the area will hold pike. In some instances, you can sight fish for pike, but remember to cast beyond the fish or you risk spooking them.
Spinner Bait Gear
When casting spinner baits for pike, use a heavy-duty rods with a bit of flex in the tip, as it can easily cast baits. Too stiff a tip and you won’t get any distance out of casts. The baitcast reel spooled with 30- to 55-pound-test super line makes a great combination. A quality drag is a must for line-peeling runs common with large northern pike. At the business end of the setup, I’ll tie on a fluorocarbon leader in clear water and only use wire in murky conditions. Quality locking snaps and ball bearing swivels are a must for strength, and preventing line twist.
Spinner Bait Line Tie Details
Use leaders when casting for pike and spinnerbaits with a closed coil bend in the wire form as opposed to the “V” common in many spinnerbaits. The coil secures the snap-lock of my leader in place, minimizing tangles. Leader snaps can move out of the V-bend wire forms, increasing the odds of fouling a bait on a cast. When not using leaders and targeting other species, V-bends are less of an issue as the line is tied direct to the bend and the taut knot holds the lure in place.
One final thing to keep in mind is although you may be reeling baits in on a straight retrieve, don’t make it consistent. Twitch the rod to impart erratic moves to the bait as these variances trigger hits. This is a good triggering move and has resulted in many pike meeting many landing net over the years. This will without a doubt will work for you, too.