Saturday, March 8, 2014

Where there's weeds, there's northern pike

Bill Baughman weighs pike with Bogagrip in weedy bay
When in doubt, head to the weeds!
That's always good advice when looking for northern pike. Although these fish are found just about everywhere, they are usually concentrated the most in weedy areas. The trick is to find where in the weeds they are -- in close to shore, at the edge, right in the middle, etc.-- and figure out a way to fish for them without hooking weeds the instant your lure hits the water.
The 1/2-ounce Johnson Silver Minnow with a three-inch plastic tail trailer is one lure that will thread right through the maze of aquatic vegetation. Always test this lure's single hook for sharpness and touch it up when necessary.
Mepps and Blue Fox spinners, #4 and #5, work well too because they move relatively slowly on the retrieve, giving you time to manoeuvre your rod so the lure slips around weed clumps.
My brother, Bill, shown in the photo, usually just uses a 1/4-ounce leadhead jig with a three-inch white plastic twister tail. Although this lure will readily catch weeds, removing them is easy because of the lure's single hook. Bill cranks this lure fast as soon as it hits the water, then lets it fall deeper as it moves away from the thickest weed growth.
He always uses a steel leader because he is pike fishing and these fish have a mouthful of razor-sharp teeth. Despite the leader, he catches a fair number of walleye on the same rig.
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