Fishing tips

Use wire leaders

The very best choice for pike leaders are, without a doubt, wire traces. If you are using wire, the risk of a bite off is extremely low, always! I recommend using modern titanium leader material, as it is ultra-strong and very soft and smooth. This type of wire can be used both for lures and baitfish. In fact, it is so soft that you can literally knot it, which erases the need for loops and crimps all together! Personally, I find this very convenient and time-saving! For pike, you should use a wire leader of at least 25-30lb test that have a minimum length of 10 inches for spin fishing and 15 inches for live and dead baiting.

RELATED ARTICLE: Make sure to also read this in-depth article on the best wire leaders for northern pike

Also buy a couple of basic bite alarms

If you are fishing with more than one rod and/or in poor light conditions, electronic bite alarms will be your best friends when it comes to bite detection. Not only do they sound when there is a bite, but they also have small, very bright LED lights for visual bite indication. This way, you will instantly know which rod to pick and strike with. See my go-to bite alarms for live and dead bait fishing on Amazon here.

Buy a couple of banksticks

If you want to so some ledgering or float fishing for pike, a couple of conventional 2-3 feet long banksticks can be very helpful on the bank. They act as a rod rest and, if you also get a couple of butt grips, keep your rod(s) from being dragged into the water by a big and strong pike.

Buy a simple unhooking mat

An unhooking mat makes handling the fish on land so much easier and protects the pike’s vulnerable skin and slime layer. To start with, a thin and foldable mat of about 3-4 feet will totally suffice. Such mats are quite cheap and very easily transported, which makes them the perfect fit for the mobile pike angler.

Get a big landing net

Pike are big fish and you don’t want to end up with a net that is too small for a big catch. Many anglers have lost big pike right at their feet due to a net that the fish just wouldn’t fit into. A big game landing net may look gigantic, but it’s gonna be just right for those big, fat pike mammas! Many anglers also use big rubber mesh landing nets for pike. They make unhooking a fish very easy, as the treble hooks will not get tangled in the rubber mesh.

Use strong enough mainline

Pike can be really strong and aggressive fighters, which is why you need a mainline that can handle their violent head shakes and fast runs. When it comes to monofilament line (used mainly for live and dead bait fishing), a mainline of 15-20lb and a diameter of 0.35-0.40mm is a perfect fit for pike fishing. If you are using braided mainline (primarily used for spin fishing), a 25-30lb test with a diameter of 0.22-0.28mm should be your braid of choice.

RELATED ARTICLE: Need tips on the best mainline for pike (both mono and braid)? Then make sure to also check out this article I wrote!

Try night fishing (but be well-prepared)

Night fishing for pike can also be extremely rewarding and this type of fishing is very exciting as well. During the night, pike often feed and rest in shallower water, which is why you should, once again, try to hit the margins and shallower areas just off the shore. However, night fishing takes some getting used to and demands a lot of preparation.

Read this related article I wrote in order to get all the information and details on how to fish at night the right way: Night fishing for Pike (Most Successful Tactics)

Try different lure sizes

As tip #10 suggested, using different types of lures is always a winning concept. But you should also try different sizes of the same lure. On some days, a big and bulky 1.5 ounce spoon might be the lure that gets you the most bites by far, while on other days, a much smaller and lighter spoon might be needed in order to lure the pike. You just never know what bait size the fish prefer on any given day, which is why it is a good idea to have a variety of sizes (as well as shapes and lure types) with you.

Catch your live bait in advance

When you are planning to fish with live bait, make it a priority to catch your baitfish before you start your session. Either head out and catch a bunch of shiners, roaches, or shads a day or so in advance or plan a few extra hours before you start fishing for pike just to catch those baits. In either case, you can keep them alive in a big bucket or container filled with fresh, cold water and a small oxygen pump. During your session, you can store your live bait in a keepnet as well. Do not make the mistake and try to catch your baits while you’re pike fishing. While this approach can work at times, more often than not, you will end up with no baitfish at all! It’s really not worth the risk if you are not 100% certain that you will manage to catch enough baits during your session.

Use monofilament over braided mainline

Unlike for spin fishing, live and dead baiting actually benefit from using a monofilament mainline. The main reason for this is the mono’s stretch, which comes in handy when float fishing or ledgering for pike. The stretch’s buffering effect prevents you from pulling the baitfish right out of the pike’s mouth. It can also prevent the pike from shaking off those hooks, as the stretch, once again, acts as a buffer for those violent head shakes that the pike is known for.