Monday, April 27, 2009

Dan's favorite lures for northern pike fishing

My favorite fish is the northern pike. I like to fish for them and I prefer them for eating over all other species, even walleye.

And although I know you can catch pike by trolling and dead-baiting I much prefer to cast.

Casting by itself is a fun and challenging exercise. You have to develop the skill to accurately plop your lure right next to stumps and rocks and into holes in weedbeds and do this in all sorts of wind conditions.

So when I say these are my favorite lures, you'll know that the only way I fish them is by casting.
At the upper left is the Blue Fox Vibrax spinner. I like the #5 in this. Best colors are the red, orange and silver.
Next to it is the Mepps Long Cast Spinner. I like the #5 and the #4. The same colors are good in this as the Blue Fox but I also like the fire tiger color shown and the blue-bodied spinner with silver and red blade. Although I like the Mepps Long Cast because it sinks the deepest, the other Mepps models are also excellent, again in the same sizes as mentioned.
Then there is the Len Thompson Five of Diamonds. For sure you want this exact color scheme: yellow with red diamonds but also the nickel, brass and nickel-and-blue patterns. Most importantly, you want these in the 1/2-ounce size.
These spoons are made in Canada and can be hard to find in the States although I see Cabelas sells them. I would highly recommend stopping at Bobbys Sport Shop in Vermilion Bay at the corner of Highway 17 and Highway 105 to buy these spoons. They always have a marvelous selection.
Speaking of spoons, the Johnson Silver Minnow is the ultimate in weedless spoons. If you have the weed guard adjusted correctly it will come through just about anything. However, be warned that you must have a trailer of some sort on the hook for this lure to work effectively. I would suggest 3 and 4-inch plastic twister tails in various colors and also an old time favorite -- pork rind trimmed to about three inches.
Make sure you keep the single hook on this lure ultra sharp. My favorite is the gold spoon but you also want the silver and I've done well with some of the painted options too, especially the red-and-white.
To the right of the Johnson is the Acme Little Cleo. This is a wonderful spoon, especially in the nickel, gold, rainbow trout and fire tiger patterns. You absolutely want the size to be 2/5 ounce.
Finally, there's the old reliable leadhead jig. For pike you want both the same 1/4 ounce size you would use for walleyes to be used on clear, calm days and the 3/8 ounce size for all other times.
Use a single 3-inch plastic twister tail on the 1/4 ounce jig and a 4-inch single or double twister tail on the 3/8 ounce. Bring a dozen different colors of twister tails. It's amazing what a difference changing the color of the tail makes throughout the day.
And that's all the lures I use for pike. You'll notice there are no stick baits or crank baits on the list. Lots of our guests use them almost exclusively but I don't. I just find they have too many sets of hooks to extract every time I catch a fish, are too light to cast accurately and cost too much.

You've probably already noticed that none of the sizes of the lures I've named here are large.

Don't I want to catch big fish? Yes, that's why I use the sizes mentioned here. Big lures tend to catch nothing but little fish on Red Lake. See Lighten Up.

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Dale said...

Once again Dan hits the northern right on the head with lures that work. His dad, when asked about catching northerns, was quoted as saying, "Northerns? All day, every day!" If you want to experience, and it's a stretch, the feeling of JAWS, you know, the movie about the shark, try fishing for northerns in a quiet, weedy bay, like Sadler Bay, using a surface lure. 43 inches is the largest for me, so far, and I know there are bigger ones out there to catch and release. They come out of the water, and if your heart is in shape, you'll be able to catch one, take it's picture, if you brought the camera, and release it. It's a thrill alright. "Y" boning is a must, too. Enjoy! Thanks, Dan, see you the end of June.

Dan B. said...

Hi Dale,
See you this summer.