by Keith Sarasin (c) 2001
Pike are a very aggressive species of fish.
But they are also rather lazy, and more often than not, they will take a free meal rather than forage for one. A tried and proven method I often use is to present a dead sucker minnow on slack line to an ideal spot that could hide pike.
To do this place a medium sized sucker minnow with a treble hook through the dorsal fin, one barb in the back and the other two out and facing back towards the tail. Place a small weight about three feet above the sucker, just enough weight to sink the bait.
Next, cast the bait towards the weed-bed or a structured shoal (shadows that cover the large fish as they lurk, overhanging branches, or a cut in the bank.) Let the bait drop until the weight hits bottom; this will let the minnow float up slightly and move around with the motion of the water. Then let about ten feet of slack in the line and tie on a float. Leave the bail open on your reel.
If a pike hits your bait you will see the float take off through the water.
When the pike takes the sucker minnow, they will usually swim off about ten feet or so and stop. At this time they will turn the minnow around and swallow it. Then they will take off again. Now is the time to close the bail and set the hook. Look out for some good action!
I sometimes let the fish run for about another ten feet or so before setting the hook, just to make sure the sucker minnow has been swallowed.
A word of caution---be careful of letting the fish run too long, as the hook will be in its throat and you may not be able to release the fish unharmed.
This method works very well in the warmer periods and also in spring when the pike are truly feeding on baitfish coming down the rivers. Pike will glut themselves at this time of year and will take most lures or plugs that resemble small fish.
However, if you are having trouble landing a shore lunch, this will be a surefire way of having a meal.
Sometimes we have had fish spit the hook or break off using this method and each time this happened we came to the conclusion that we where jumping the gun on the hook set. Not letting them swallow the bait before feeling the line.
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