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Fishing for pike with lures – Complete Guide

So you have decided to take up fishing for pike with lures. Hopefully, this guide can help you make good choices and save you a few quid!

Getting started in lure fishing can be mind-blowing, to say the least! These days there’s so many choices of lure, tactics and methods that its difficult to know where to start. Well, I say at the beginning so let’s get started with the fishing tackle you are going to need.

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Pike lure fishing tackle

Fishing Rod

Most people reading this will have used a standard fixed spool rod and reel combo before and in my opinion, this is the best route for anyone starting out in fishing for pike with lures. You will find more experienced lure anglers may choose to use a baitcaster rod and reel. Usually, anglers will use a baitcaster to get better casting distance but they can be a little tricky to use and you can end up spending more time with tangles than fish! My advice – unless you are experienced with a baitcaster – stick to what you know.

Fishing for pike with lures - Complete Guide
Stick with a fixed spool rod and reel combo if you’re just starting out

The fishing rods you are looking at are specialist lure rods, sometimes called spinning rods, they all perform similarly in that they have plenty of power through the middle of the rod to the butt and have soft tip sections.

They are short rods regularly between 6ft and 10ft of differing power. The power of a lure rod is shown by the rod’s casting weight. On the blank of the rod, you’ll find figures such as 5-25g, 15-40g or 30-60g. Those are the weight of lures that the rod will cast, so the higher the weight, the more powerful the rod will be.

An excellent starting point for a beginner to fishing for pike with lures would be a rod having a length of around 8ft and a casting weight of around 15-40g as that will provide sufficient power to cast most general-purpose lures and also have enough power to stop and control a bigger pike (should you be lucky enough hook one). Look for a good value rod.. not bargain bucket but a decent mid-range rod. I would avoid the higher end at this early stage though you could progress to a better quality rod as you become more experienced.

Examples of the rods you could go for are:

Reel

As I said earlier, I would steer away from baitcaster reels if you are a newcomer to lure fishing as they are complicated to set up correctly and can cause a lot of problems when casting.

By far the best choice would be a small fixed spool reel in the 2500 and 3000 sizes. A compact front drag model is ideal as they are small and lightweight, but a rear drag reel will definitely suffice.

The reels below would be a great place to start:

Line

Most anglers will be familiar with ‘mono’ line but when it comes to lure fishing, Braid is the way to go. or braid. This flexible, ultra-thin material is perfect because unlike mono it has no stretch. This allows the angler to work the lure, making it jerk quickly, flick over, rise up and dive down rapidly.

The lack of stretch has another benefit when it comes to lure fishing for pike is bite detection. Braid will allow you to feel any plucks upon the lure because of its unique ability to communicate indications from the lure to the tip.

Finally, Braid is much thinner than mono when compared like for like. A 30lb braid will be much thinner than a 30lb mono so you’ll be able to cast further with braid than you would with mono. Remember that the quality of your line is important you should go for a decent brand:

Wire Trace

Pike has ultra-sharp teeth. Watch those fingers! This also means you need to guard your line against a ‘bite off’. To avoid this you should always use a wire trace. The trace simply attaches to your braid and the lure. There has been a debate about whether to use a wire trace or a fluorocarbon trace. Do not be talked in to not using a wire trace by anyone. The wire will stop you losing a lure but more importantly, it’ll prevent leaving a lure inside a pikes mouth and probably killing it. Don’t worry a wire trace will not stop you from catching fish. I always use one and have caught plenty of Pike big and small.

The ideal lure fishing wire trace should be flexible, around 10in long, 20-30lb breaking strain and feature a swivel at one end and a snap link at the other. The snap link will allow you to quickly and easily change your lure.

Fishing for Pike with Lures – Essentials

We are going to move on to lures soon I promise! First, there are a few crucial bits of fish care kit that you will need to be a success when fishing for pike with lures.

Forceps

Fishing for pike with lures - Complete Guide

Simply a must-have item for any predator angler. Those razor-sharp teeth will cut your hand if you aren’t careful.

A set of long-nosed forceps (generally around 12in long) are perfect for placing between a pike’s jaws or through its gill plates to remove hooks buried in the jaw or mouth.

Wire cutters

Another must-have item of kit that can be used to cut a wire trace if necessary. They will come in useful when a pike has hooked awkwardly or when a set of treble hooks become stuck in your landing net and you need to cut the wire.

Large landing net

Fishing for pike with lures - Complete Guide


You’ll need to buy a large triangular landing net to safely hold a large pike when raising it from the water. A net with a strong 6ft handle coupled with folding 36ins arms will be large enough to hold specimen pike. Don’t forget your unhooking mat!

First aid kit

Even the most qualified pike angler will get cuts and grazes from time to time. Especially when unhooking and landing pike. Those cuts don’t heal quickly so it’s best to carry a few plasters, antiseptic hand wipes and even a few tissues to help treat any wounds.

The fun bit – Lures

There is no denying it. A big attraction of lure fishing is trying different lures. You do need to be careful… Lures are not cheap and you don’t need to buy hundreds of lures to catch fish. Beware of the lure bug!

There are a few considerations you should make before investing in your lures for pike fishing. I’m going to outline them for you below.

Fishing for pike with lures - Complete Guide
Be careful of lure addiction!

Depth

The most significant thing is to know the waters you are going to be fishing, and select a variety of lures that will cover all of the different depths available.

Colour

I am not a big believer that lure colour is the be-all and end-all. It just depends on what is going to tweak a pike’s fancy on the day. That’s why it is always good to have a variety of lures. However, there are a couple of factors that I work on. First is the visibility in the water. In clear water choose natural colours such as Roach or Perch (match the hatch). In dirty water, brighter and more visible colours like Fire Tiger seem to work best. Then you should consider the light conditions, even in dirty water bright sunlight will help fish see your bait better. If it’s very bright go back to your natural colours.

Action

Variety is king here too. Pick lures with subtle actions in natural colours or metallic spoons for clear water, especially when the light conditions are favourable.
In dirty water baits with erratic actions and baits that create noise could be your best weapon. Pike act on instinct and for that to happen the pike must know its there! Fire Tiger pattern is a good choice in these conditions.

Size

This confuses a lot of people but really you should match the size of the lure to your tackle but also use common sense. Match your lure size with that of the prey fish available. Don’t be afraid of large lures but similarly don’t be afraid to scale down if the situation calls for it. If I knew big fish were present and I wanted to target them I would use the maximum size lure for my set up. If nothing happens I will scale down to target the smaller Jack Pike.

Types of Lure

Jerkbaits

Very effective in the hotter months of the year. Pike are triggered by their erratic action and wobble. Jerkbaits are comparable to plugs in shape but do not have a built-in action. The action comes from the jerk dished out by you the angler! Downward jerks with the rod will bring the lure to life. Jerk baits can be bought in floating and sinking variations and are an excellent option when fishing for pike with lures. (We will talk more about floating, sinking and suspending in a min).

Plugs

Fishing for pike with lures - Complete Guide - plug

Brilliant at covering all depths plugs are an extremely versatile lure. The depth and action of the plug are given to them by the diving lip. Varying the speed of your retrieve will achieve different depths and allow you to cover all of the water effectively.
Most plugs are floating, this allows them to be fished near weed or in shallow waters, searching these fish-holding features. Finally a sinking plug allows the angler to search deeper layers of water by using the count down method.

Soft Plastics

Wow, soft plastic lures have made a real impact in recent years and are available in a tremendous variety of shapes and sizes. Soft plastics have two main advantages, one their soft bodies and tails allow them to be fished slowly in a variety of retrieves, from sink and draw through to jigging, secondly they sink so yet again by using the count down method, one bait that can be fished at different depths depending on how long you let it sink.

Spoons

Fishing for pike with lures - Complete Guide - spoon

There are a couple of advantages spoons have over plugs. First of all, they cast much further giving you a path to fish out of range, so when the distance is important, spoons are a no brainer. Secondly, spoons sink, so by using the count down method they allow you to scan different depths for fish. Spoons are equally effective at the flutter and fall method.

Spinners

lure fishing for pike - spinner

Perhaps, the best thing about spinners is the simplicity of the bait. They are incredibly easy to use and catch all manner of fish including specimen predators. They are a great option to have when fishing for pike with lures. Spinners use vibration to draw the attention of a fish from distance and are particularly effective in dirty water. The Offset Spinnerbait can be a blank-saver as it holds the advantage of being virtually weedless. This type of lure is extremely versatile and can be fished at any speed or depth. I strongly recommend everyone (not just beginners) have a selection of these baits in their lure box.

Sinking, Floating or Suspending Lures?

Topwater lures

These lures float and are designed to fish on the surface of the water column. They imitate wounded or bewildered baitfish or even other animals like birds, frogs or rats. These lures are sometimes called poppers because of the disturbance they create on the surface of the water. It’s this disturbance that attracts predators like pike.

There is nothing quite like a pike striking a surface lure and it can be heart-pounding stuff. Often you see them chasing, and then hitting the lure. It is important to remember when fishing for pike with lures that Poppers always work best in warmer weather when the fish are more active.

Suspending Lures

These lures imitate stunned and injured baitfish and suspend in the water once you stop retrieving the lure. Try fast and slow retrieves with a pause to tempt a strike. These lures are especially effective for Pike. Suitable lures include jerk baits, crankbaits and soft plastics. Great for slow retrieves these lures are effective all year round.

Diving Lures

The general rule of thumb with these lures is the faster you retrieve the deeper they will dive. Some will come with or without a lip (or diving vane). Use these lures to count down to a specific depth and get right to the bottom if needed before working.

Floating Lures

Sit on the surface and can be cranked down to a specific depth before they rise back up. These lures are great to work over weed and other features.

Lure Fishing Techniques

We have covered the different types of lure but now you need to know the techniques a lure angler uses to catch fish. The important thing to remember is that there will be days when certain techniques work and others don’t. You could go out the next day and find the complete opposite is true. That being said it is important to have a few different styles up your sleeve. Willey old fish pike you know.

Your first consideration should be where and at what depth should you be fishing your lures? This is determined by time of year, the temperature of the water, location of features such as weeds and changes in depth.

Lure Fishing in Spring

Generally speaking, you would expect the pike to be in the shallows at this time of the year. The fish have spawned and are ready to feed and recover their energy as quickly as possible. Shallow swimming and surface lures fished at a variety of speeds will be successful. You should also try erratic retrieves like twitching and jerking.

Lure Fishing in Summer

The rising water temperatures bring pike out of the shallows and its time to move your fishing for pike with lures out over deeper cooler water. Pike will hit lures fished at the top of the water column at this time of year, so choose baits that fish no lower than half depth. Spinnerbaits can be lethal at this time of year. Try fishing at speed with erratic retrieves.

Lure Fishing in Autumn

The pike starts to focus on feeding in preparation for the winter. At this time of year, they are at their prime condition. Baitfish are starting to shoal as the water cools and the days are noticeably shorter now. A lure angler should search the water quickly, using fast and erratic retrieves. Great lures for autumn include sinking jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, spoons and deep-bodied plugs.

Lure Fishing in Winter

Winter is certainly the toughest time for a lure angler. The best advice I can give is to slow it right down and fish on the bottom. Sinking baits come into their own at this time of year and are in my opinion the only way to go. Bump them along the bottom and avoid erratic retrieves as too much effort and the pike will give up!

Countdown Method

I mentioned this technique a couple of times when explaining the different types of lure. The Countdown Method can be used with all styles of sinking baits such as jerkbaits, spoons and soft plastics. It is effective at searching different layers of water. Cast your bait and count how long it takes to hit bottom. Use this as your guide to vary the depths you retrieve your lure. Eventually, you will find the fish. When you do find them it pays to hang around a bit as pike are usually found in groups.

Unhooking a Pike

Unhooking pike can be a tricky job. It’s always best to be shown by someone who is experienced at fishing for pike with lures . Your forceps we talked about earlier are perfect for the job. A pikes mouth is huge and 8-inch forceps might not even reach so have a decent set of 10″ long nose pliers with you just in case. Remember to use your unhooking mat especially when you are dealing with a fish on anything other than grass. For more help on unhooking you should give this video a watch.

Let’s go fishing!

Learning to fish with lures is fun. Don’t get dismayed if your first trip is a blank we all have them. Put some time in to perfecting your techniques and getting to know your gear. You should also learn the water you are fishing… Where the pike is likely to be etc… If I can help or there is something you would like to see a post on just comment below or contact us. I hope this post has been helpful. All the best and welcome to lure fishing!

3 thoughts on “Fishing for pike with lures – Complete Guide”

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