Set Your Hook

Fishing for Northern Pike

I was supposed to be able to report on how our Homemade Fishing Baits did at Ashurst Lake on last weekend’s camping trip. But I can’t! When I got to Flagstaff I found out that all the trout in Ashurst Lake have been eaten by Northern Pike.

Yuck!

Since all my baits were pretty much for any fish species BUT pike, I have to save that until I can fish a local lake. So I will tell you how my 5 homemade fishing baits perform, but not until I can test them out!

Frankly I’ve never fished for Northern Pike before. I’ve caught one or two on accident, though!

Check out those teeth!

ESP Boss’ friend and hunting partner, Dave, had come up to visit my folks just before I got to camp. Dave has fished for pike before and offered us these suggestions:

Supplies

  • Use at least 10-pound-test fishing line. (I actually set up a different rod & reel for pike, since I fish for trout on my lightweight pole with 4-pound test line)
  • Use steel leaders when fishing for pike. (I did know that part!) Unlike trout, pike have big, sharp and scary teeth that can bite right through a traditional monofilament leader.

    Leaders come in different weights and lengths.

  • Buy whole, frozen anchovies as bait. You’ll want to keep them frozen until you’re ready to stick them on a hook! (Be sure the lake you’re fishing at allows for this type of bait — some fishing areas will only allow artificial baits!)

    Whole, frozen anchovies are available at sporting goods stores.

Attaching The Bait

(Now this is so gross, I didn’t take photos when I was at the lake!)

  1. Using a good-sized hook (hook size depends on the size of the anchovy and the size of the Northern Pike you want to catch!) thread the hook through both eyes. Pull all the leader through the eyes until the head of the fish is nearly at the start of the fishing line.
  2. Wrap the leader around the body of the anchovy, moving from the head toward the tail. Be careful not to draw the leader so tight as to cut or damage the body of the anchovy.
  3. Thread the hook back into the body of the anchovy. Make sure most of the hook (especially the barb) is buried in the body of the anchovy.

    Pretend this is an anchovy! The black "hook" is about where I shoved the hook into the body of the bait-fish.

  4. Cast your line out and pray that the whole thing doesn’t fly off in mid-air!

Since I had never fished for Northern Pike before I wasn’t sure if the whole set-up would work or not. I was able to cast the whole rig out without losing the bait. And I was really pleased to see how FAR the cast went since I’m not really used to tossing that much weight out at the end of the line.

Did it work?

I didn’t get a single nibble! When we were ready to call it a day (cold, windy, and raining) I pulled in my bait to find that a crayfish or three had stripped all the flesh from my anchovy and left me with just a skeleton.

It literally looked like a cartoon fish skeleton attached to my line!

What About You?

  • Have you ever fished for Northern Pike?
  • What bait did you use?
  • Have you ever heard this technique that Dave shared with us? Did it work for you?
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2 Responses to “Set Your Hook”

  • Richard Clubb:

    Yes I Have Fished For Pike, It Was In Lower Lake Mary. We Used Frozen
    Anchovies,Also We Used floats,We caught Several At depths Of 5 To 8 Feet.
    When The Clouds Came In We Would Fish Shallow, When They Moved Out We
    Fished Deeper. We Gave Them Away,Two Meany Bones. Lots Of fun.

  • Kim:

    Richard — That was one thing I was kinda concerned about if I actually CAUGHT a pike: bones! I love catching trout but usually give them away to people who will eat them. I also like to donate the cleaned, frozen trout to the Prescott Zoo. They feed the trout to the bear. I figure that’s the best of both worlds: I catch them and SOMEBODY eats them!

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