RSS

Tag Archives: crankbaits

PIKE FISHING TACKLE BOX – A MUST TO HAVE

193Page1_SimonCheung_tackleFrom spoons to spinners to swimbaits, everything you’ll ever need to tackle mammoth northerns

No aspect of fishing has changed more over the past two decades than our understanding of pike. Indeed, if we had written about equipping ourselves for big northerns just 20 years ago, our ultimate tacklebox would have been small, the offerings skimpy and the techniques few. But as our knowledge of pike behaviour has expanded, so too has the range of tackle needed to catch these toothy critters—as the following roundup of the top lures and tactics reveals.

CRANKBAITS

When to fish ‘em
From midsummer until freeze-up, hard and soft crankbaits excel in open water, on deep flats and around main-lake rocky structures. The lipless versions are superb around reed- and weedlines.

tip3

Where and how
You can both troll and cast these lures, but don’t do either aimlessly. Concentrate on key transitions, edges, drop-offs, breaklines and specific bottom contours. The CS25 Suspending Super Spot and Lucky Craft LVR models are awesome vibrating, lipless casting lures. When you pause them for even a millisecond, a following pike only has the option of opening its mouth and eating it. These lures may look a tad small, but they fish big because you can retrieve them quickly and they won’t roll over.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • Rapala Super Shad Rap,
  • Lucky Craft LVR D-15,
  • Cotton Cordell CS25 Suspending Super Spot,
  • Storm Kickin’ Minnow (9-inch).

MINNOWBAITS/JERKBAITS

When to fish ‘em
Cast hard jerkbaits (Husky Jerk, X-Rap, Long A, Original Floater, Slender Pointer) when the water is cold, typically early in the spring and late fall in southern Canada, and all year long farther north. Or speed troll these lures in the summer when the pike have retreated to cooler, deeper water. Soft jerkbaits rigged Texas-style, meanwhile, are deadly when vegetation is moderately sparse with plenty of open pockets. My favourite time to fish soft jerks, though, is in the late fall wherever I find thinning cabbage weeds in deep water adjacent to main-lake rock structures.
MG_10002

Where and how
Hard jerkbaits are at their best in and around rock structure. In cold water, retrieve the lure as close to structure or cover as possible. Wind the bait down, jerk it three or four times and pause. The colder the water, the longer you should wait. Nick the tops of weeds, scrape rocks and tick logs and stumps. Pike usually strike when the lure suspends, rises slowly or starts the next series of jerks. You can also throw a hard jerk when there’s a few feet of water over the tops of deep weeds. When the northerns go deep in midsummer, troll hard jerkbaits around rocky main-lake points and over the tops of mid-lake humps. Contour trolling a big F18 Original Floater behind a three-way rig is a deadly hot-weather pattern.

Rig soft plastics (Houdini Shad, Berkley Saltwater Jerk Shad, YUM Dinger) weedless on a stout 5/0 to 7/0 offset hook without any additional weight and let them flutter toward bottom. Then hop, pop, twitch and pause the lure continually to imitate a dying baitfish. Along weed edges, swim the lure through the grass, deflecting it off any stalks you feel. When you’re fishing the corridor between deep weeds and the surface, let the lure fall to tick the top of the weeds, then pop it back to the surface.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • F18 Rapala Original Floater, Rapala X-Rap 14, #14 Rapala Husky Jerk,
  • Lucky Craft Pointer 128,
  • Lucky Craft Slender Pointer 127,
  • YUM Houdini Shad (9-inch),
  • Berkley Saltwater Jerk Shad (5-inch),
  • YUM Dinger (7-inch),
  • Bomber Magnum Long A.

TOPWATERS

When to fish ‘em
Be careful if you have a bad heart. There’s nothing more exciting than  watching a huge pike crush a topwater lure. During the summer months,  the best times are early in the morning, late in the afternoon and when  it’s overcast.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Where and how
Deep weed edges, woody  shorelines and rocky main-lake structures are perfect locations for  topwaters. Instead of throwing a big, noisy buzzbait over a weedbed,  position your boat parallel to the weed edge so you can keep your lure  running over the prime pike zone. Do the same thing when you’re fishing  among fallen trees and logs. Remember, pike are ambush predators that  hide along the fringes of cover rather than burying themselves deep  inside it.

The biggest and loudest buzzbaits (in white, chartreuse, yellow and  orange) will attract the most attention. When the fish are aggressive,  add a stinger hook and a five-inch-long soft-plastic worm or grub, or a  pork chunk to seal the deal. But here’s the key: don’t react to the  explosion when a pike strikes. Keep your rod tip pointed up during the  retrieve and keep reeling rather than dropping the tip to set the hook.  When the fish are in a funk, however, scurry a Bull Ribbit or Hawg Frawg  in the same locations. The lighter bait forces you to slow down your  retrieve, but the frog will still kick up its heels. Only pause the frog  when you swim it over an opening in the weeds.

Many pike anglers  miss the best big-fish locations: isolated rock piles, underwater  points and shallow boulder-strewn shoals. They also think they can only  use topwater lures when conditions are calm. Actually, a slight chop is  better than a slick surface for walking a big Zara Spook, Skitter Walk  or Live Sammy. And a fast retrieve produces explosive strikes. When the  fish are less belligerent, or when the water is dirty, dingy or stained,  a prop bait such as the Boy Howdy, Splash-Tail or Skitter Prop  sputtering on the surface will cause a pike to become unglued. Prop  baits are also deadly when pike are resting beside isolated forms of  cover, such as a giant deadhead poking out of the water.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • Cotton Cordell Boy Howdy,
  • Rapala Skitter Prop,
  • Lucky Craft  Splash-Tail,
  • Mister Twister Top Prop,
  • Stanley Bull Ribbit,
  • Heddon Zara Spook,
  • Rapala Skitter Walk,
  • Lucky Craft Live Sammy,
  • Mister Twister Hawg Frawg,
  • Booyah Buzz.

SPINNERBAITS

When to fish ‘em
Spinnerbaits produce well from late spring until mid-autumn, when the  pike have set up along reed- and weedlines, and shorelines littered with  fallen trees and submerged wood.

images-3imagesCA86RT7UWhere and how
A  slightly larger than normal (3/4- to one-ounce) bass-style, willowleaf  spinnerbait tipped with a soft-plastic grub or worm is a marvellous tool  when retrieved quickly just under the surface. Don’t hop, pop or  manipulate it in any way; just keep it moving.

When the biggest  toothies turn off and won’t come to the surface, dredge them up with a  heavy 1 1/2- to 2 1/2-ounce Dick Pearson Grinder. Let it flutter down,  then slowly crank it back to the boat, keeping it within a foot of  bottom at all times. It works best in thick grass, but it can also be  awesome on main-lake rocky structures.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • Booyah Blade Spinnerbait,
  • Terminator Titanium Spinnerbait,
  • Stanley Spinner,
  • Dick Pearson Grinder

 Follow our HUNTING BLOG

WEB   RATES     FISH    HUNT    CABINS    PHOTOS
BROCHURE    HUNT BOOKLET

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Get the Most Out of Your Crankbaits

How to Get the Most out of Your Crankbaits There is perhaps no lure more versatile than a crankbait. This style of lure will catch fish of all species in all seasons, whether you’re casting or trolling.

What’s a Crankbait?
Any fish that routinely eats smaller fish can be targeted with crankbaits. A lure with a plastic lip that causes a bait to dive underwater can be classified as a crankbait. The depth ranges vary from just below the surface down to 20 feet or even deeper. To simplify things, crankbaits can be grouped into four major categories:

Squarebills and Shallow Divers
The shallowest-diving crankbaits – including the popular squarebill crankbaits – work best around shallow cover. Ideal places to throw shallow crankbaits are around rocks, docks, submerged wood, and shallow grass lines. The key with shallow-diving crankbaits is to fish them with no regard to getting them hung up. While this may seem crazy for a lure that has two treble hooks attached, shallow-divers actually do not hang up often if you reel them in fast enough. When a lure deflects off a hard object, it is often the best time to catch a fish, as it causes a reaction from the fish as the lure changes direction. The body and lip of the crankbait will absorb the impact, causing the deflection, and the hooks will rarely penetrate the cover at high speeds.

Medium Divers
Medium-diving crankbaits work well in water that is shallower than 10 feet, even when they dive deeper than the water’s depth. A crankbait that dives 10 feet, for example, will be excellent in shallower water, as it will dig into the bottom and cause a disturbance. Like shallow-diving crankbaits, a deflection also triggers strikes, and a short pause after a deflection often results in a strike.

Deep Divers
A deep crankbait works well for fishing off shore structures like rock piles, creek channels, and ledges. It takes more effort to get these crankbaits down deep and to make them stay there. Like the shallower styles, bottom contact is important, and any deflection or change in the retrieve will trigger a bite.


Spring
In most cases, the warmer the water is, the faster you want to crank your reel handle. A steady stop-and-go retrieve will also work in all seasons. Shallow crankbaits are perfect for springtime, as many of the largest fish in the lake will begin to enter shallow water in preparation for spawning. A red crankbait used with a fast retrieve will dive into the bottom and will look like a scurrying crawfish.

Summer
As the water temperature heats up, so does the metabolism of predatory fish. This is a time of year when you can crank as fast as you want to and fish deeper than you would in other seasons. A deep-diving crankbait is the top choice when fishing off shore structures.

Fall
Fall is arguably the best season to use crankbaits. This is when the baitfish become most active and the predatory fish begin to chase them. In lakes that have shad, a white or shad-pattern crankbait with a fast retrieve is the best lure to use to cover water until you locate a concentration of fish.

Winter
Winter is time to use a flat-sided crankbait that produces a tight wobbling action. A crankbait with a wider wobble does not work as well in colder temperatures, so flat-sided crankbaits are the top choice when fished with a slow and steady retrieve.


Line Type, Size, and Diameter
Selecting fishing line is one of the most overlooked aspects of crankbait fishing. Line size and diameter greatly affect how deep your baits will dive and what action they will have. Simply put, the thinner the diameter is, the deeper a bait will dive.

In addition to the line diameter, the type of line will affect the diving depths of your crankbaits. Monofilament and braid will float, and fluorocarbon will sink. Braided line will also have the least stretch, making it the least attractive option for crankbait fishing. The lack of stretch will tend to pull hooks out of the mouth of a fish, resulting in more lost fish.

Monofilament and fluorocarbon are the top choices for crankbaits. Monofilament is ideal for shallow crankbaits, especially when you are fishing around grass, as it will not hang up as often as the sinking fluorocarbon.

Fluorocarbon is a great all-around line for crankbait fishing; it has minimal stretch, and the sinking properties will allow a crankbait to dive deeper.


Cranking Gear
Crankbaits need rods and reels specifically designed for the technique to get the most out of your lures.

A reel should be able to handle a large amount of line to get a better casting distance, and it should also have a slower gear ratio. A 5.4:1 or similar gear ratio works well for all crankbaits because of two major factors: it forces anglers to fish the baits slower, and it allows for more power during the retrieve.

Crankbait rods should be long to allow for increased casting distance and to get to the maximum diving depth. A rod that is longer than seven feet is ideal, and up to eight feet is not too long.

The rod action is another key factor, as having a rod with some give is best to allow the bait to dive deep without being held back or impeded by the rod. A good medium-heavy rod with a moderate action has a perfect balance of backbone and flexibility. Fiberglass composite rods are popular, as they provide the balance needed for casting and cranking.

Modifying Hooks
The practice of swapping treble hooks is important as hooks become dull, but changing a hook style or size can have a big impact on a crankbait’s action and dive. Each treble hook style will vary in thickness and weight, causing a lure to dive shallower or deeper. The drastic change could also negatively affect how the crankbait was designed to run, giving it little or no action. With that in mind, it is best to change out hooks for similar sizes, styles, and even the same brand to avoid affecting your bait’s action.

Tuning Your Crankbait
Making sure that your crankbait is always running straight is a priority. If not, it could be due to a defective lure, damage from an errant cast, or simply catching too many fish! The solution to fixing a straying crankbait is very easy: tune it! Needle-nose pliers will allow you to slightly adjust the line tie to the opposite direction of where you want your crankbait to run. Simply put, if your crankbait is running to the left, turn the line tie to the right.

Crankbaits are among the top-producing lures for any species that eats smaller baitfish and crayfish. They allow an angler to quickly cover water and will be appealing to any fish that is in a feeding mood. They will even tempt those that are not hungry. By following these steps, you will be sure to get the most out of your crankbaits.

Follow our HUNTING BLOG

WEB   RATES     FISH    HUNT    CABINS    PHOTOS
BROCHURE    HUNT BOOKLET   NEWSLETTER

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

PIKE FISHING TACKLE BOX – A MUST TO HAVE

193Page1_SimonCheung_tackleFrom spoons to spinners to swimbaits, everything you’ll ever need to tackle mammoth northerns

No aspect of fishing has changed more over the past two decades than our understanding of pike. Indeed, if we had written about equipping ourselves for big northerns just 20 years ago, our ultimate tacklebox would have been small, the offerings skimpy and the techniques few. But as our knowledge of pike behaviour has expanded, so too has the range of tackle needed to catch these toothy critters—as the following roundup of the top lures and tactics reveals.

CRANKBAITS

When to fish ‘em
From midsummer until freeze-up, hard and soft crankbaits excel in open water, on deep flats and around main-lake rocky structures. The lipless versions are superb around reed- and weedlines.

tip3

Where and how
You can both troll and cast these lures, but don’t do either aimlessly. Concentrate on key transitions, edges, drop-offs, breaklines and specific bottom contours. The CS25 Suspending Super Spot and Lucky Craft LVR models are awesome vibrating, lipless casting lures. When you pause them for even a millisecond, a following pike only has the option of opening its mouth and eating it. These lures may look a tad small, but they fish big because you can retrieve them quickly and they won’t roll over.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • Rapala Super Shad Rap,
  • Lucky Craft LVR D-15,
  • Cotton Cordell CS25 Suspending Super Spot,
  • Storm Kickin’ Minnow (9-inch).

MINNOWBAITS/JERKBAITS

When to fish ‘em
Cast hard jerkbaits (Husky Jerk, X-Rap, Long A, Original Floater, Slender Pointer) when the water is cold, typically early in the spring and late fall in southern Canada, and all year long farther north. Or speed troll these lures in the summer when the pike have retreated to cooler, deeper water. Soft jerkbaits rigged Texas-style, meanwhile, are deadly when vegetation is moderately sparse with plenty of open pockets. My favourite time to fish soft jerks, though, is in the late fall wherever I find thinning cabbage weeds in deep water adjacent to main-lake rock structures.
MG_10002

Where and how
Hard jerkbaits are at their best in and around rock structure. In cold water, retrieve the lure as close to structure or cover as possible. Wind the bait down, jerk it three or four times and pause. The colder the water, the longer you should wait. Nick the tops of weeds, scrape rocks and tick logs and stumps. Pike usually strike when the lure suspends, rises slowly or starts the next series of jerks. You can also throw a hard jerk when there’s a few feet of water over the tops of deep weeds. When the northerns go deep in midsummer, troll hard jerkbaits around rocky main-lake points and over the tops of mid-lake humps. Contour trolling a big F18 Original Floater behind a three-way rig is a deadly hot-weather pattern.

Rig soft plastics (Houdini Shad, Berkley Saltwater Jerk Shad, YUM Dinger) weedless on a stout 5/0 to 7/0 offset hook without any additional weight and let them flutter toward bottom. Then hop, pop, twitch and pause the lure continually to imitate a dying baitfish. Along weed edges, swim the lure through the grass, deflecting it off any stalks you feel. When you’re fishing the corridor between deep weeds and the surface, let the lure fall to tick the top of the weeds, then pop it back to the surface.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • F18 Rapala Original Floater, Rapala X-Rap 14, #14 Rapala Husky Jerk,
  • Lucky Craft Pointer 128,
  • Lucky Craft Slender Pointer 127,
  • YUM Houdini Shad (9-inch),
  • Berkley Saltwater Jerk Shad (5-inch),
  • YUM Dinger (7-inch),
  • Bomber Magnum Long A.

TOPWATERS

When to fish ‘em
Be careful if you have a bad heart. There’s nothing more exciting than  watching a huge pike crush a topwater lure. During the summer months,  the best times are early in the morning, late in the afternoon and when  it’s overcast.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Where and how
Deep weed edges, woody  shorelines and rocky main-lake structures are perfect locations for  topwaters. Instead of throwing a big, noisy buzzbait over a weedbed,  position your boat parallel to the weed edge so you can keep your lure  running over the prime pike zone. Do the same thing when you’re fishing  among fallen trees and logs. Remember, pike are ambush predators that  hide along the fringes of cover rather than burying themselves deep  inside it.

The biggest and loudest buzzbaits (in white, chartreuse, yellow and  orange) will attract the most attention. When the fish are aggressive,  add a stinger hook and a five-inch-long soft-plastic worm or grub, or a  pork chunk to seal the deal. But here’s the key: don’t react to the  explosion when a pike strikes. Keep your rod tip pointed up during the  retrieve and keep reeling rather than dropping the tip to set the hook.  When the fish are in a funk, however, scurry a Bull Ribbit or Hawg Frawg  in the same locations. The lighter bait forces you to slow down your  retrieve, but the frog will still kick up its heels. Only pause the frog  when you swim it over an opening in the weeds.

Many pike anglers  miss the best big-fish locations: isolated rock piles, underwater  points and shallow boulder-strewn shoals. They also think they can only  use topwater lures when conditions are calm. Actually, a slight chop is  better than a slick surface for walking a big Zara Spook, Skitter Walk  or Live Sammy. And a fast retrieve produces explosive strikes. When the  fish are less belligerent, or when the water is dirty, dingy or stained,  a prop bait such as the Boy Howdy, Splash-Tail or Skitter Prop  sputtering on the surface will cause a pike to become unglued. Prop  baits are also deadly when pike are resting beside isolated forms of  cover, such as a giant deadhead poking out of the water.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • Cotton Cordell Boy Howdy,
  • Rapala Skitter Prop,
  • Lucky Craft  Splash-Tail,
  • Mister Twister Top Prop,
  • Stanley Bull Ribbit,
  • Heddon Zara Spook,
  • Rapala Skitter Walk,
  • Lucky Craft Live Sammy,
  • Mister Twister Hawg Frawg,
  • Booyah Buzz.

SPINNERBAITS

When to fish ‘em
Spinnerbaits produce well from late spring until mid-autumn, when the  pike have set up along reed- and weedlines, and shorelines littered with  fallen trees and submerged wood.

images-3imagesCA86RT7UWhere and how
A  slightly larger than normal (3/4- to one-ounce) bass-style, willowleaf  spinnerbait tipped with a soft-plastic grub or worm is a marvellous tool  when retrieved quickly just under the surface. Don’t hop, pop or  manipulate it in any way; just keep it moving.

When the biggest  toothies turn off and won’t come to the surface, dredge them up with a  heavy 1 1/2- to 2 1/2-ounce Dick Pearson Grinder. Let it flutter down,  then slowly crank it back to the boat, keeping it within a foot of  bottom at all times. It works best in thick grass, but it can also be  awesome on main-lake rocky structures.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • Booyah Blade Spinnerbait,
  • Terminator Titanium Spinnerbait,
  • Stanley Spinner,
  • Dick Pearson Grinder

Follow our HUNTING BLOG

WEB   RATES     FISH    HUNT    CABINS    PHOTOS
TESTIMONIALS    BROCHURE    HUNT BOOKLET

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

On the Contours for Late Summer Walleye

Walleye Wawang LakeLate summer can be a tough season when it comes to catching walleyes. It reaches its peak with hot, muggy days and warm sultry nights through much of August, and then as September nears, it takes a drastic about-face and swings toward the fall season. It’s one of those transition periods that proves difficult for many anglers looking to score consistently. “Hit and Miss” fishing this time of year is often blamed on everything from “Dog Days” to “Turn-Over”, but the biggest problem is most anglers are not fishing the right structure. The key could be as simple as “Think Sharp” … that is to say, concentrate your efforts on sharp breaking structure.

Consider the types of areas you fish throughout most of the summer. Typically they will be large, slow tapering flats, main lake basins or long points that offer lots of room for walleyes to roam and chase forage. It’s structure that has relatively little in the way of definable breaks or edges. That all changes when walleyes move toward breaks in late summer … and when anglers are slow to adjust to the transition, their success rate drops off dramatically. We’ve seen this scenario many times, and through experience found that the most efficient way to contact the fish in these areas was a tactic we call Contour Trolling.

Walleye Wawang 2The key to contour trolling is to keep the bait near the bottom. That can be tough when you’re trying to cover multiple depths in a trolling pass. It’s a situation where we have learned to rely on a unique trolling line known as lead core. Lead core line is basically Dacron line filled with lead. The line is color-metered every ten yards, making it easier to keep track of how much line you have out on various trolling passes. While lead core line is most often used for deep trolling applications, when proper boat control is used, it can be deadly in shallow water as well.

For Contour Trolling with lead core, start with the “full – lead core” set-up, meaning you’re going fill a large capacity trolling reel with lead core line…no backing. Large capacity trolling reels like the Okuma StrataMaster model 45D Line Counter reel will hold ten colors, which is an entire 100 yard spool of 18# lead core line (the preferred size for walleye trolling applications). Whatever reel you choose, be sure it has large enough capacity to handle at least this much line.

93452_is

At the end of the lead core we’ll tie on a 10 foot leader of 10/4 (10 pound test/4 pound diameter) Berkley FireLine. The FireLine is a great choice, especially in situations where you’re fishing a “dirty” bottom (one littered with leaves, wood and other debris) because it makes the entire system, from reel to lure, no-stretch and very sensitive. By running a set-up like this, it is very easy to monitor how the bait’s are running by watching the rod tips as you troll. The vibration put out by the lure’s action is telegraphed up the line to the rod tip, causing it to vibrate. If the lure happens to pick up a leaf or other piece of gunk (which is a frequent problem when trolling near the bottom), its action will be deadened, and the rod tip will quit vibrating. That tells you to reel in the lure, clean off the debris, and get back to fishing.

Walleye Wawang Lake 2

What makes lead core so effective for this type of contour trolling is that it is very “speed affected”. Because of the line’s bulk, water resistance effects how it runs in the water, so if you up your trolling speed, the lead core gets pushed up and runs shallower. On the other hand, if you slow down, the weight of the lead core enables it to drop down and run deeper. Therefore, to cover a 4 to 8 foot depth range for instance, manipulate the trolling speed depending on what depth you want the lures to run. Therefore it’s a simple matter of adjusting the trolling speed as you zigzag your way along the break to cover the depths effectively. Whatever depths you are fishing, a little trial-and-error will tell you the right speeds to run to hit the needed depths.

One thing that we have determined through the years with lead core trolling is that, more often than not, it works better with smaller crankbaits than it does with larger models. Smaller, shallow running crankbaits seem to “follow” the lead core better (making targeting specific depths more efficient), and they just seem to trigger more bites. This is ideal for baits like the Berkley Flicker Shad in the 4cm, 5cm, 6cm and 7cm sizes. Experiment to find out what lure gets the most attention on that particular day.

One problem with using smaller lures is they typically sport small hooks. Now while Flicker Shads sport ideal hook sizes for walleye fishing, many bait’s hooks are just too small. This can lead to more lost fish, as small trebles are more likely to pull free when fighting in good sized fish. One modification we recommend is to change out the hooks of your small cranks and replace them with Mustad Ultra Point Triple Grip Trebles (model 36233) or an even better choice would be the new Mustad KVD Elite Triple Grip Trebles model TG58NP-BN. These new Elite Triple grips are a standard length shaft and wire treble with a wider giving these hooks more “bite” than standard trebles.

Follow our HUNTING BLOG

WEB   RATES     FISH    HUNT    CABINS    PHOTOS
TESTIMONIALS    BROCHURE    HUNT BOOKLET

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

PIKE FISHING TACKLE BOX – A MUST TO HAVE

193Page1_SimonCheung_tackleFrom spoons to spinners to swimbaits, everything you’ll ever need to tackle mammoth northerns

No aspect of fishing has changed more over the past two decades than our understanding of pike. Indeed, if we had written about equipping ourselves for big northerns just 20 years ago, our ultimate tacklebox would have been small, the offerings skimpy and the techniques few. But as our knowledge of pike behaviour has expanded, so too has the range of tackle needed to catch these toothy critters—as the following roundup of the top lures and tactics reveals.

CRANKBAITS

When to fish ‘em
From midsummer until freeze-up, hard and soft crankbaits excel in open water, on deep flats and around main-lake rocky structures. The lipless versions are superb around reed- and weedlines.

tip3

Where and how
You can both troll and cast these lures, but don’t do either aimlessly. Concentrate on key transitions, edges, drop-offs, breaklines and specific bottom contours. The CS25 Suspending Super Spot and Lucky Craft LVR models are awesome vibrating, lipless casting lures. When you pause them for even a millisecond, a following pike only has the option of opening its mouth and eating it. These lures may look a tad small, but they fish big because you can retrieve them quickly and they won’t roll over.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • Rapala Super Shad Rap,
  • Lucky Craft LVR D-15,
  • Cotton Cordell CS25 Suspending Super Spot,
  • Storm Kickin’ Minnow (9-inch).

MINNOWBAITS/JERKBAITS

When to fish ‘em
Cast hard jerkbaits (Husky Jerk, X-Rap, Long A, Original Floater, Slender Pointer) when the water is cold, typically early in the spring and late fall in southern Canada, and all year long farther north. Or speed troll these lures in the summer when the pike have retreated to cooler, deeper water. Soft jerkbaits rigged Texas-style, meanwhile, are deadly when vegetation is moderately sparse with plenty of open pockets. My favourite time to fish soft jerks, though, is in the late fall wherever I find thinning cabbage weeds in deep water adjacent to main-lake rock structures.
MG_10002

Where and how
Hard jerkbaits are at their best in and around rock structure. In cold water, retrieve the lure as close to structure or cover as possible. Wind the bait down, jerk it three or four times and pause. The colder the water, the longer you should wait. Nick the tops of weeds, scrape rocks and tick logs and stumps. Pike usually strike when the lure suspends, rises slowly or starts the next series of jerks. You can also throw a hard jerk when there’s a few feet of water over the tops of deep weeds. When the northerns go deep in midsummer, troll hard jerkbaits around rocky main-lake points and over the tops of mid-lake humps. Contour trolling a big F18 Original Floater behind a three-way rig is a deadly hot-weather pattern.

Rig soft plastics (Houdini Shad, Berkley Saltwater Jerk Shad, YUM Dinger) weedless on a stout 5/0 to 7/0 offset hook without any additional weight and let them flutter toward bottom. Then hop, pop, twitch and pause the lure continually to imitate a dying baitfish. Along weed edges, swim the lure through the grass, deflecting it off any stalks you feel. When you’re fishing the corridor between deep weeds and the surface, let the lure fall to tick the top of the weeds, then pop it back to the surface.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • F18 Rapala Original Floater, Rapala X-Rap 14, #14 Rapala Husky Jerk,
  • Lucky Craft Pointer 128,
  • Lucky Craft Slender Pointer 127,
  • YUM Houdini Shad (9-inch),
  • Berkley Saltwater Jerk Shad (5-inch),
  • YUM Dinger (7-inch),
  • Bomber Magnum Long A.

TOPWATERS

When to fish ‘em
Be careful if you have a bad heart. There’s nothing more exciting than  watching a huge pike crush a topwater lure. During the summer months,  the best times are early in the morning, late in the afternoon and when  it’s overcast.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Where and how
Deep weed edges, woody  shorelines and rocky main-lake structures are perfect locations for  topwaters. Instead of throwing a big, noisy buzzbait over a weedbed,  position your boat parallel to the weed edge so you can keep your lure  running over the prime pike zone. Do the same thing when you’re fishing  among fallen trees and logs. Remember, pike are ambush predators that  hide along the fringes of cover rather than burying themselves deep  inside it.

The biggest and loudest buzzbaits (in white, chartreuse, yellow and  orange) will attract the most attention. When the fish are aggressive,  add a stinger hook and a five-inch-long soft-plastic worm or grub, or a  pork chunk to seal the deal. But here’s the key: don’t react to the  explosion when a pike strikes. Keep your rod tip pointed up during the  retrieve and keep reeling rather than dropping the tip to set the hook.  When the fish are in a funk, however, scurry a Bull Ribbit or Hawg Frawg  in the same locations. The lighter bait forces you to slow down your  retrieve, but the frog will still kick up its heels. Only pause the frog  when you swim it over an opening in the weeds.

Many pike anglers  miss the best big-fish locations: isolated rock piles, underwater  points and shallow boulder-strewn shoals. They also think they can only  use topwater lures when conditions are calm. Actually, a slight chop is  better than a slick surface for walking a big Zara Spook, Skitter Walk  or Live Sammy. And a fast retrieve produces explosive strikes. When the  fish are less belligerent, or when the water is dirty, dingy or stained,  a prop bait such as the Boy Howdy, Splash-Tail or Skitter Prop  sputtering on the surface will cause a pike to become unglued. Prop  baits are also deadly when pike are resting beside isolated forms of  cover, such as a giant deadhead poking out of the water.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • Cotton Cordell Boy Howdy,
  • Rapala Skitter Prop,
  • Lucky Craft  Splash-Tail,
  • Mister Twister Top Prop,
  • Stanley Bull Ribbit,
  • Heddon Zara Spook,
  • Rapala Skitter Walk,
  • Lucky Craft Live Sammy,
  • Mister Twister Hawg Frawg,
  • Booyah Buzz.

SPINNERBAITS

When to fish ‘em
Spinnerbaits produce well from late spring until mid-autumn, when the  pike have set up along reed- and weedlines, and shorelines littered with  fallen trees and submerged wood.

images-3imagesCA86RT7UWhere and how
A  slightly larger than normal (3/4- to one-ounce) bass-style, willowleaf  spinnerbait tipped with a soft-plastic grub or worm is a marvellous tool  when retrieved quickly just under the surface. Don’t hop, pop or  manipulate it in any way; just keep it moving.

When the biggest  toothies turn off and won’t come to the surface, dredge them up with a  heavy 1 1/2- to 2 1/2-ounce Dick Pearson Grinder. Let it flutter down,  then slowly crank it back to the boat, keeping it within a foot of  bottom at all times. It works best in thick grass, but it can also be  awesome on main-lake rocky structures.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • Booyah Blade Spinnerbait,
  • Terminator Titanium Spinnerbait,
  • Stanley Spinner,
  • Dick Pearson Grinder

Follow our HUNTING BLOG

WEB   RATES     FISH    HUNT    CABINS    PHOTOS
TESTIMONIALS    BROCHURE    HUNT BOOKLET

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

PIKE FISHING TACKLE BOX – A MUST TO HAVE

193Page1_SimonCheung_tackleFrom spoons to spinners to swimbaits, everything you’ll ever need to tackle mammoth northerns

No aspect of fishing has changed more over the past two decades than our understanding of pike. Indeed, if we had written about equipping ourselves for big northerns just 20 years ago, our ultimate tacklebox would have been small, the offerings skimpy and the techniques few. But as our knowledge of pike behaviour has expanded, so too has the range of tackle needed to catch these toothy critters—as the following roundup of the top lures and tactics reveals.

CRANKBAITS

When to fish ‘em
From midsummer until freeze-up, hard and soft crankbaits excel in open water, on deep flats and around main-lake rocky structures. The lipless versions are superb around reed- and weedlines.

tip3

Where and how
You can both troll and cast these lures, but don’t do either aimlessly. Concentrate on key transitions, edges, drop-offs, breaklines and specific bottom contours. The CS25 Suspending Super Spot and Lucky Craft LVR models are awesome vibrating, lipless casting lures. When you pause them for even a millisecond, a following pike only has the option of opening its mouth and eating it. These lures may look a tad small, but they fish big because you can retrieve them quickly and they won’t roll over.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • Rapala Super Shad Rap,
  • Lucky Craft LVR D-15,
  • Cotton Cordell CS25 Suspending Super Spot,
  • Storm Kickin’ Minnow (9-inch).

MINNOWBAITS/JERKBAITS

When to fish ‘em
Cast hard jerkbaits (Husky Jerk, X-Rap, Long A, Original Floater, Slender Pointer) when the water is cold, typically early in the spring and late fall in southern Canada, and all year long farther north. Or speed troll these lures in the summer when the pike have retreated to cooler, deeper water. Soft jerkbaits rigged Texas-style, meanwhile, are deadly when vegetation is moderately sparse with plenty of open pockets. My favourite time to fish soft jerks, though, is in the late fall wherever I find thinning cabbage weeds in deep water adjacent to main-lake rock structures.
MG_10002

Where and how
Hard jerkbaits are at their best in and around rock structure. In cold water, retrieve the lure as close to structure or cover as possible. Wind the bait down, jerk it three or four times and pause. The colder the water, the longer you should wait. Nick the tops of weeds, scrape rocks and tick logs and stumps. Pike usually strike when the lure suspends, rises slowly or starts the next series of jerks. You can also throw a hard jerk when there’s a few feet of water over the tops of deep weeds. When the northerns go deep in midsummer, troll hard jerkbaits around rocky main-lake points and over the tops of mid-lake humps. Contour trolling a big F18 Original Floater behind a three-way rig is a deadly hot-weather pattern.

Rig soft plastics (Houdini Shad, Berkley Saltwater Jerk Shad, YUM Dinger) weedless on a stout 5/0 to 7/0 offset hook without any additional weight and let them flutter toward bottom. Then hop, pop, twitch and pause the lure continually to imitate a dying baitfish. Along weed edges, swim the lure through the grass, deflecting it off any stalks you feel. When you’re fishing the corridor between deep weeds and the surface, let the lure fall to tick the top of the weeds, then pop it back to the surface.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • F18 Rapala Original Floater, Rapala X-Rap 14, #14 Rapala Husky Jerk,
  • Lucky Craft Pointer 128,
  • Lucky Craft Slender Pointer 127,
  • YUM Houdini Shad (9-inch),
  • Berkley Saltwater Jerk Shad (5-inch),
  • YUM Dinger (7-inch),
  • Bomber Magnum Long A.

TOPWATERS

When to fish ‘em
Be careful if you have a bad heart. There’s nothing more exciting than  watching a huge pike crush a topwater lure. During the summer months,  the best times are early in the morning, late in the afternoon and when  it’s overcast.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Where and how
Deep weed edges, woody  shorelines and rocky main-lake structures are perfect locations for  topwaters. Instead of throwing a big, noisy buzzbait over a weedbed,  position your boat parallel to the weed edge so you can keep your lure  running over the prime pike zone. Do the same thing when you’re fishing  among fallen trees and logs. Remember, pike are ambush predators that  hide along the fringes of cover rather than burying themselves deep  inside it.

The biggest and loudest buzzbaits (in white, chartreuse, yellow and  orange) will attract the most attention. When the fish are aggressive,  add a stinger hook and a five-inch-long soft-plastic worm or grub, or a  pork chunk to seal the deal. But here’s the key: don’t react to the  explosion when a pike strikes. Keep your rod tip pointed up during the  retrieve and keep reeling rather than dropping the tip to set the hook.  When the fish are in a funk, however, scurry a Bull Ribbit or Hawg Frawg  in the same locations. The lighter bait forces you to slow down your  retrieve, but the frog will still kick up its heels. Only pause the frog  when you swim it over an opening in the weeds.

Many pike anglers  miss the best big-fish locations: isolated rock piles, underwater  points and shallow boulder-strewn shoals. They also think they can only  use topwater lures when conditions are calm. Actually, a slight chop is  better than a slick surface for walking a big Zara Spook, Skitter Walk  or Live Sammy. And a fast retrieve produces explosive strikes. When the  fish are less belligerent, or when the water is dirty, dingy or stained,  a prop bait such as the Boy Howdy, Splash-Tail or Skitter Prop  sputtering on the surface will cause a pike to become unglued. Prop  baits are also deadly when pike are resting beside isolated forms of  cover, such as a giant deadhead poking out of the water.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • Cotton Cordell Boy Howdy,
  • Rapala Skitter Prop,
  • Lucky Craft  Splash-Tail,
  • Mister Twister Top Prop,
  • Stanley Bull Ribbit,
  • Heddon Zara Spook,
  • Rapala Skitter Walk,
  • Lucky Craft Live Sammy,
  • Mister Twister Hawg Frawg,
  • Booyah Buzz.

SPINNERBAITS

When to fish ‘em
Spinnerbaits produce well from late spring until mid-autumn, when the  pike have set up along reed- and weedlines, and shorelines littered with  fallen trees and submerged wood.

images-3imagesCA86RT7UWhere and how
A  slightly larger than normal (3/4- to one-ounce) bass-style, willowleaf  spinnerbait tipped with a soft-plastic grub or worm is a marvellous tool  when retrieved quickly just under the surface. Don’t hop, pop or  manipulate it in any way; just keep it moving.

When the biggest  toothies turn off and won’t come to the surface, dredge them up with a  heavy 1 1/2- to 2 1/2-ounce Dick Pearson Grinder. Let it flutter down,  then slowly crank it back to the boat, keeping it within a foot of  bottom at all times. It works best in thick grass, but it can also be  awesome on main-lake rocky structures.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • Booyah Blade Spinnerbait,
  • Terminator Titanium Spinnerbait,
  • Stanley Spinner,
  • Dick Pearson Grinder

 Follow our HUNTING BLOG

WEB   RATES     FISH    HUNT    CABINS    PHOTOS
TESTIMONIALS    BROCHURE    HUNT BOOKLET

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Best Lures for Northern Pike

DSCN4408

luresNorthern pike are exceptional game fish, known for their propensity to hit lures with heart-stopping ferocity and to engage in epic battles once hooked. But northern pike can also be finicky, so being well-prepared with a variety of lures increases your chances for success. An assortment of spoons, spinners, crankbaits and topwater lures should be in the arsenal of every northern pike angler.

Spoons

imagesCACC7OPN

Spoons are most effective because of their wiggling, vibrating movement in the water and the flashes of light that reflect off their metal surfaces. Spoons come in all manner of shapes, sizes and colors, but a good fundamental choice is a spoon of about 4 to 6 inches in length. The color to use varies with water clarity, but, according to “Game and Fish” magazine, red and white spoons are often the best combination to start with. The weight of the spoon determines the depth at which it runs. Heavier, thicker spoons sink faster and run deeper. They are also the best choice for trolling. Dardevle spoons, made by Eppinger, have long been a top choice for anglers. Spoons are generally used with a cast-and-retrieve routine or are trolled, but they are versatile enough to use as jigs or, when retrieved quickly, as surface lures.

Spinnerbaits

spinner-bait-diagram
Spinnerbaits are effective because of the fish-attracting vibrations and light flashes they create when retrieved or trolled. Spinners consist of shiny metal blades with a clevis that spins around a wire shaft. Spinnerbaits often are “dressed” in hair (bucktails), feathers, rubber or fur to increase their attractiveness to northern pike. Anglers often add a soft, plastic-bodied, twister tail, either as a trailer hook (to catch short-striking northerns) or to the treble hook itself. Mepps makes high-quality spinnerbaits in a huge variety of sizes, shapes and variations.

Crankbaits

imagesCAQ2U1JD

Crankbaits are lures designed to resemble bait fish, and you can fish them either by casting and retrieving or trolling behind the boat. Some are designed to run shallow, and some run deep. The experts at Pike Lures.com comment that the majority of crankbaits are manufactured out of plastic, but some companies still use the traditional wooden bodies. Either is a good choice. Generally, a crankbait is painted with a pattern and color that closely matches that of the species upon which the pike feeds, but, sometimes, a wild and unnatural color works even better. Rapala is one of the premier makers of crankbaits, available in either wood or plastic, in a wide variety of sizes and shapes.

Topwater

imagesCAQL6WK0
Topwater lures are about the most exciting type of lure to use for northern pike fishing. Topwaters are designed to create surface commotion, in imitation of a dying fish or swimming animal. Northerns hit these lures explosively at the surface, creating a large and startling splash. Stickbaits, buzzbaits, propeller baits and crawlers are typical variations on the topwater theme, with movement dictated by the angler’s manipulation of the fishing rod. Heddon Company has made such lures since 1894 and continues to produce popular and effective topwater lures.

 

Join us at Wawang Lake Resort for some OUTSTANDING fishing!

Follow our HUNTING BLOG

WEB   RATES     FISH    HUNT    CABINS    PHOTOS
TESTIMONIALS    BROCHURE    HUNT BOOKLET

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: