Pike fishing is mainly done between October and the following March. While most other anglers are at home in the warm and dry, pikemen go fishing. Only photos in website galleries and stories of valiant catches in adverse conditions reveal their efforts.
Table of contents
- The Pike
- Pike the hunters
- Pike are common
- No comparison
- The best place to fish for Pike
- Best method
- Realistic expectations
- Handling a Pike
- Related articles
Pike are cold blooded just like other fish. In the winter cold, they become less active and their metabolism slows down. For the angler this simply means they eat less. Add in poor weather conditions and flooding, Pike fishing can be a real challenge.
After spawning in February to May, a summer of feeding and regaining their strength, make the Pike strong, fit and healthy for the winter. Catching a Pike at it’s peak, when conditions favour the fish and not the man, is when the Pike angler has his best sport. This is when a fish on the bank is an achievement. [Top…]
Pike the hunters
The Pike is the biggest native UK predator and has been hunting and living in our waters for a good 50,000 years. They have an array of senses to detect the presence of prey, Pike can even hunt in coloured water at night. Fish make up the bulk of a Pike’s diet, but they will eat amphibians, mammals and birds, as well as their own kind.
Pike are ambush predators, they will hang almost motionless in the water. As if holding their breath, with a fixed gaze on their target, the Pike will accelerate from nought to caught in a split second. They grasp and then swallow their prey whole.
In the cold water of winter, the Pike’s digestive process is much slower. A Pike may only feed once a week or perhaps even less if conditions are very bad. A healthy Pike can easily go without food for a month, if floods come or the weather is freezing, a Pike can wait it out. [Top…]
Pike are common
Pike are very common in rivers and bodies of water fed by rivers. A natural balance in numbers between Pike and prey will exist in these places. Over decades Pike will have times of feast and famine, but for the angler, even when Pike numbers are competitively low, good sport can still be had. [Top…]
Pike fishing should not be compared to other forms of fishing. If you want to be a good Pike angler, you must treat Pike fishing separately. Carp anglers have achieved this separation to a high degree with purpose made rigs, baits and methods. Pike fishing is the same, start with a clean slate, forget Carp fishing, waggler fishing, pole fishing; Pike fishing is separate. [Top…]
The best place to fish for Pike
For most, the best place to fish for Pike is in a river. Many modern anglers begin fishing on still waters, so have little or no experience of rivers. If you are new to Pike fishing and rivers too, then don’t over reach yourself. Pike are very common and live in rivers of all sizes. I have known Pike of 20lb being landed from rivers you could jump across. If you are new to rivers, fish small ones first, just until you find your feet. [Top…]
Finesse and sensitivity are not bywords associated with Pike. Loose feed, ground bait and self hooking systems are of no use either. What does work are simple low resistance rigs, along with a roving approach by an alert angler.
Travel light and be prepared to push through undergrowth to cast a line. If a hungry Pike is in the swim it will usually bite within 20 to 30 minutes, if not then simply move to the next likely looking spot.
Fishing a dead bait is often the best method. Dead baits work in clear or cloudy water, day or night, on still waters and rivers. It is a very useful bait and the first choice of many Pikemen. [Top…]
Most of the time expect to catch Pike of five to ten pounds. Fish of over 10lb are not uncommon, but 20lb and more can be regarded as good fish. Unlike other styles of fishing, big bait does not guarantee big fish. A Mackerel tail dead bait is big enough to attract a twenty pound fish, but a 5lb Pike can just as easily take it. [Top…]
Handling a Pike
Underwater, Pike are no doubt a formidable predator, but on the bank they are quite delicate and must be handled with great care. Do not touch or handle the fish with anything dry. Weigh you catch and take a photo as quick as possible. Never stand up holding a Pike, or any other fish for that matter. Do not keep a Pike out of the water any longer than you need to. The Pike Angler Club has some good advice on handling Pike, please take the time to read through it. [Top…]
Rivers are dangerous places, especially in winter. Banks are often steep and slippery, falling bodily into water with a temperature of less than 15C, will result in a cold shock response, which can lead to heart attack or drowning. Please see the RNLI Respect the water campaign for advice. Whenever possible, for safety sake, go Pike fishing with a companion. [Top…]
Best of luck.
My pike fishing setup for deadbaiting
Two favourite Pike dead bait rigs
Simple pike rig for river deadbaiting
Dead bait rigs for river pike fishing
Float paternoster dead bait pike rig
How to tie a wire trace for pike fishing