If there is one lesson you should learn from the last decade’s lure fishing for pike, it is that you CANNOT ignore bizarre-looking lures from the United States, or anywhere else for that matter.
The import that has proved easiest to swallow is the buzzer or spinnerbait. It looks like a wire coat hanger with a lead head, a rubber skirt and one or two spinning blades. Although many anglers have yet to wise up to its potential, it has proved to be among the best of pike lures.
There are many lures you might never think of trying – but they can put pike on the bank where a more standard plug or spoon fails. Take off your blinkers and you’ll find that lure fishing is much more than just something to try as a last resort when you can’t score with a bait.
Banish the stereotypes
It’s impossible to list all of the peculiar plugs, spinners and so on that attract pike, but there are a few major categories which, properly used, can radically boost your catches.
Jigs and pirks, can be just as effective in fresh water as in the sea. They range from simple single hook jigs with lead heads and skirts, to large metal pirks used for cod fishing and wrecking.
Fish them sink-and-draw, casting from the bank, or classic cod-style — raising and lowering the rod tip from a jetty or boat. You’ll be surprised at how soon and how often a pike turns up.
Plastic worms can be absolute killers at times, especially red-brown ones. You can rig them up with lead heads to fish like jigs, or with the hookpoint arranged so as to make them almost weed-free. Try twitching them very slowly over a clean gravel bottom for superb results.
Other rubber lures can be equally good. The rubber crayfish casts like a bullet, sinks well and is almost snag-proof, except among heaps of boulders. They can be very life-like, so fish them sink-and-draw under the bank or anywhere you’d expect a crayfish to lurk. Small rubber fish are very versatile – fish them sink-and-draw or twitch them slowly along the bottom. Surface lures take pike on the top in summer when a standard diving plug or spoon misses out completely. Keep a few in your tackle box and increase your options. Pike flies are large and generally gaudy lures which imitate small fish. You can fish them in many ways – from sink-and-draw to a slow retrieve just off the bottom.
Mixed-up lures can’t seem to make up their minds as to what they are – but they take fish. One of the best examples Barrie calls the Snoopy lure. It has a head like Snoopy, the cartoon character, with a rubber skirt and a small blade which flutters and spins attractively. They are pretty snag-proof without losing hooking power.
Indeed there are so many varieties of specialized lures, it would take a book to cover them all. But with any luck, this has whetted your appetite. Next time you go into a tackle shop, buy some of these lures -you’re going to love the results!
Pestered by specimens!
Many carp anglers tend to regard species other than carp as a bit of a nuisance – as unwelcome guests, competing with carp for the angler’s bait. These so-called ‘nuisance’ fish are often caught when fishing with maple seeds. What is surprising is that many of the bream, tench, roach and rudd caught on this bait are specimens.
The secret to catching them is to wait until a water has been hammered by carp anglers with maples. This is when the carp have grown wary and carp anglers are thinking of turning to new baits. Other coarse species, though, have acquired the taste but, because they aren’t deliberately fished for, are not as wary as the carp.