If you are going to implement some or all of the tips mentioned in this article, you will soon be catching big pike, and one of those may very well be a real trophy fish. If and when that fish comes along and you can actually land it, you will want to properly celebrate it. Make sure to always carry a little bottle of champagne in your bag in order to be ready for that pike of a lifetime!
Always use a swivel to connect your mainline with your leader. It will prevent your line from twisting when retrieving your lures. This is especially important when using rotating spinners. The swivel will also give your tackle a much better presentation.
You can feel defeated when you don’t catch anything or when your catches are not worth keeping (or Instagramming). But that does not qualify as a failure. Every fishing trip is a lesson. There will be bad days and good ones. Each one of them will teach you something. Learn to see the bright side. You went out, enjoyed the scenery, exercised your muscles, and maybe met with friends. That is a win.
If this is something you didn’t already know, allow us to enlighten you: You will catch your best carp in the warmer months. But why is that? Well, fish tend to feed more in the summer because their metabolisms pick up the pace because of the heat. If you’d like to know more about the perfect seasons for carp fishing, read our blog post covering everything there is to know about carp fishing and the weather.
If you have never fished with dead bait on the bottom before, you should go as basic as possible in the beginning. The perfect bottom rig for beginners is the basic running rig. It includes a freely running weight on your line, a swivel and then your leader with the treble hooks on it. When a pike picks up the dead bait and starts to swim off with it, the line it’ll pull will run freely through the weight, causing no resistance that the fish might feel and giving you a nice and clear bite indication on the other end. This simple rig is so effective that even seasoned pros still use it. Very often, simplicity wins over overly advanced set-ups, beginner or not!
Trout can be really picky eaters so what works at one lake may not work at another. Heck what works one day may not even work the next at the same exact spot! So you need to have different options. I recommend having a form of natural bait such as nightcrawlers, eggs, minnows, etc. You should also have some artificial bait such as PowerBait just in case the natural bait isn’t working. It’s all about presenting different options to see what the trout are liking that day. Think about yourself, some days you want pizza and other days you want a burger. Fish are the same way. Be sure to checkout this list of the best bait for trout fishing so you can see when and why you should use each one. This will help you determine which bait options you want to carry with you when you go fishing.
Spinning reels have a front drag and it is arguably the most important feature of your reel. The drag system lets you determine how much or how little line a fish can take and acts as a buffer and protection against line breaks. Use it wisely! Set it before you start fishing so that a fish can take some line if too much pressure is applied to it (test this by pulling your line with your hand). During a fight, adjust it frequently according to the fish’s movements and strength.
The same logic applies to fishing reels; there are literally hundreds of reels out there and many of them cost a lot of money and have features that you don’t really need. Get yourself a qualitative spinning reel and baitrunner with at least 3-4 steel ball bearings and you are good to go. Ball bearings are used to reduce the rotational friction of your reel. They simply make the reeling in more smoothly, something that is especially important when it comes to spin fishing, as you are casting out and reeling in quite a lot. Your spinning reel (used for lure fishing) should have a line capacity of about 150-200m of 0.25mm braided mainline. You can find a great spinning reel for pike fishing on Amazon here. Your baitrunner (used for live and dead baiting, as well as for trolling) should be able to hold around 150-200m of 0.35mm monofilament mainline.
Pro Tip: Baitrunner reels have a second drag system, which can be very helpful when fishing for pike on the bottom, as tip #37 will explain in more detail.
Doesn’t get easier than that. This is a great rig for every fish. Like really. If you’re requiring more wait to keep your bait where you want it, then it’s probably time to change surf fishing rigs. Too big a sinker on top of a hook causes all sorts of trouble, for one, fish don’t like it. Avoid it. Use gang hooks for fish like blue fish. A set of 4 x 4/0 is perfect, and it negates the need for a heavy trace. You also have a fighting chance should toothy critters such as mackerel or sharks take your bait.
This often goes hand-in-hand with the vegetation tip. Shallower areas near the margins often hold more vegetation, are warmer, and offer better protection and ambush points.
Pro Tip: Especially in the dark, keeping close to the margins can be worth more than gold when it comes to pike fishing!