Saturday, February 9, 2013

Best spinner for catching northern pike

 If there was one spinner I had to pick as the all-time best spinner for northern pike, it would be the No. 5 Mepps.

This lure has caught more pike and more big pike at our camp on Red Lake, Ontario, than any other.

It also has large hooks, an important feature when a mouth the size of an alligator comes clamping down on it.

If the No. 5 Mepps isn't working then use the No. 4 Mepps. Everything is exactly the same except the No. 4 is lighter, weighing just 1/3 ounce compared to 1/2 ounce for the No. 5. The hooks on the No. 4 are still large enough to handle most pike.

There are probably a dozen colour combinations for these spinners. My favourite is the red-and-white striped blade model shown at the top.

You can see all the colours and tail combinations nicely on the Mepps website:

All of the colours work at various times and conditions. For instance, one colour might work in calm, sunny conditions and another in windy, cloudy water.

All of these spinners come with either dressed, that is squirrel tail, treble hooks or plain hooks. The plain hooks seem to work just fine and I believe are cheaper than the dressed models. However, there is one advantage to the dressed spinners; the hair soaks up water and gives the lure more weight when casting. This can be important if using a bait-casting reel. Spinning reels, however, can cast the lighter spinners just fine.

Usually the squirrel tail gets pretty ragged looking after a dozen pike. This seems a turn-on for the fish; however. Perhaps it indicates wounded prey.
Incidentally, the No. 5 Mepps holds the record for the most northern pike caught over 40 inches in one week. We had two men in September who caught and released 16 pike over 40 inches in a single week, a phenomenal achievement. Just about all of those were caught on the No. 5.

The key for any spinner to work is that its spinner must spin easily. This lets you reel quickly when the lure is cast close to shore and then slow down the retrieve to allow the lure to run near the bottom on its way back to the boat. In mid-summer you will also catch a lot of walleyes fishing this way.
I have seen minnows or bits of worm added to the hook when purposely fishing for walleye. This adds to the attraction for finicky walleye. It is totally unneeded, however, when northern pike fishing.

Always use a steel leader when casting for northern pike. Pick a leader weight similar to your line strength. Too often we end up using heavy-duty steel leaders that inhibit the action of our lures just because they are the only leaders we can find at the tackle store.

You can make your own leaders to get around this problem. I like the Knot2Kinky nickle-titanium wire. You simply tie this to your snap swivel on one end and your swivel on the other. See this blog posting for more information on the knot.

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