Pike fishing – How to catch Pike

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.

Pike fishing How to catch Pike

Table of contents

The Pike

Pike are cold blooded creatures. In the winter their metabolism slows down and they become less active, for the angler this means they eat less. Pike fishing can be a real challenge when you add in poor weather conditions and flooding.

After spawning in February to May, a summer of feeding regaining their strength and condition make the Pike strong, fit and healthy for the winter. A Pike angler has his best sport when catching a Pike at it’s peak, this is when a fish on the bank is a real 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 and 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, grasping and swallowing 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. When floods come or the weather is freezing, a healthy Pike can wait it out easily going without food for a month. [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…]

No comparison

Pike fishing should not be compared to other forms of angling. 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…]

best place to fish for Pike is in a river

Best method

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…]

Realistic expectations

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 your 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…]

Caution !

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

Which dead baits for Pike fishing

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

Hard lure river pike fishing basics