Top 5 Pike Lures You Gotta Pick Up
Within Ontario’s Fisheries Management Zone 18, the one covering all of South Frontenac, this is the quiet time.
Most seasons are now closed and most lakes are in breakup mode; you can’t ice fish and most boats are still tucked away snug for the winter.
But in the minds of many anglers, one thought keeps repeating: “Northern pike season opens on the second Saturday in May, I gotta gear up and get ready now!”
While the pike is an occasionally maligned species, branded with demeaning monikers like ‘snot-rocket’ and ‘hammer-handle,’ there’s no denying the fight these underwater apex predators can pack, especially in cold springtime water. And given the season for pike opens ahead of many other sport fish in this region (and remains open until March 31), even the occasional angler will give their luck a try for one of these freshwater behemoths each spring. It also happens to be the best time of year in most lakes to locate and engage really big northern pike.
Before you hit the water in search of these toothy critters, a quick check of your tackle box and trip to your bait shop of choice might just put a few more fish in the boat and smiles on your face this season.
Here are five lures that need to be in your kit if you are serious about upping your pike game in 2021.
5) Chartreuse Safety Pin-Style Spinnerbait
The one pictured above happens to be the Strike King Potbelly Spinner Bait with a Colorado blade, but brand isn’t all that important in this case. This style of lure will allow you to cover a lot of water in a short time as you search for active fish. Work it around structure, over mud flats and just above the tops of any emerging weed growth and you’re sure to find a pike or two that’s willing to dance.
4) Rapala Husky Jerk
If you are seeing fish follow but not hit your bait, it’s the perfect time to throw on a neutral buoyancy Husky Jerk. The retrieve should be somewhat erratic and you’ll want to let the bait sit perfectly still for seconds at a time while you’re reeling in. It is in those pauses, when your lure hangs motionless in the water column, that’s when big spring pike like to hit. The clown pattern shown here is extremely effective on sunny days.
3) Mepps Giant Killer Bucktail
Again, a case of covering more water in a shorter amount of time, the Mepps Giant Killer is an extremely versatile big-game lure that is an effective producer of northern pike. This classic Mepps is extremely well suited for water depths of four to 12 feet. Trophy northern pike are found in these depths all season long.
The original Dardevle (and yes, that’s how it’s actually spelled) spoon invented by Lou Eppinger in 1906 is one of the most iconic lures of all time. It has a unique strike triggering action that has made it a favorite of fisherman around the globe. The Dardevle is available in a wide array of sizes and colors making it a versatile tool for virtually all types of fish, and fishing conditions. The original red and white version is definitely a must have in every South Frontenac pike angler’s tackle box.
1) Five of Diamonds
Len Thompson’s Five of Diamonds is pretty much the pinnacle of pike-catching technology and has been for decades. There is something about the flash produced by these spoons and the classic, high-visibility, high-contrast yellow and red that drives pike wild. The No. 2 size typically works best in our region as it closely matches the size of baitfish generally consumed by healthy northerns.
While you are on your mini spring shopping-spree, be sure to pick up a few pieces of gear that will make pike fishing more enjoyable for both you and the fish.
Never set out fishing for pike without a good supply of leaders, a set of jaw spreaders, a pair of needle-nosed pliers and a net or fish cradle. Pike have big teeth, strong mouths and they are extremely slippery, using the afore mentioned items will make it easier to land and unhook fish while you are on the water. Despite the pike’s size, it can be a surprisingly fragile species when improperly handled by an unprepared angler. While you’re at it, don’t forget a tape measure, scale and camera (the last of which is clearly the most important). If you land the fish of a lifetime, you’ll want something to remember it by after you hopefully release it.
Take a little time to properly outfit yourself and you’ll be able to release a lot more fish in much better condition when you’re out gator wrestling this season.
And why not take a kid fishing with you when you go? Kids who grow up fishing become adults who are lake stewards and nature lovers!