Pike - Esox lucius

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Dave O Donovan
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Pike - Esox lucius

Post by Dave O Donovan » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:01 am

Steps To Catching Pike All of which can be tailor made with some subtle changes to catch from Kayak.

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Prey
When you’re fishing for species like roach or carp you create a swim with feed to draw them in and hold them. It isn’t the same with pike, instead you have to put the effort into finding where they’re most likely to be, and as a predator, that’s going to be near their food source – prey fish. So, when out on your kayak after Pike, keep an eye for bait-fish either near the surface or use a fish finder for shoals of fish if you can.

Where the prey fish are depends on the time of the year, or more importantly the temperature of the water. When the water’s warmer the prey fish will be spread out, usually in the shallower areas, meaning the pike could be anywhere. In autumn and winter, though, when the mercury drops, the roach and bream that pike eat will look for a more constant temperature in deeper water and so will shoal together in these places… and the pike will not be far away.

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Tactics
There are a number of tactics that you can employ to go after pike, with the main three being deadbait, livebait and lures.

• Deadbaiting is a static approach that works better in winter when the water’s cooler and the metabolism of a pike is slower, so they’re less likely to chase bait. Can be tricky to have a complete static deadbait on a kayak unless anchored. In very cold winter weather anchoring and staying still are not the best way to keep warm, so a very slow gentle drift would give the impression that your bait is badly injured or just about to die, Pike like all predators conserve as much energy as they can. So if you can make it very easy for the Pike to catch a meal, your chances increase!

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• Lure fishing is a much more active approach, which is best suited to the warmer months and into autumn when a pike will chase bait. It’s also better at finding the fish when they are more spread out, as it’s a tactic that covers lots of water.

Livebait fishing is ILLEGAL in any shape or form whilst hunting Pike in Republic of Ireland.


Rigs
Float or leger, that’s the question here. For deadbaits, legering is often easier and more effective, or you can float leger, which works best when you want to present your bait over deep drop-offs and create an angle in the line. Personally I love the method pictured below and will always use it regardless of conditions. Bear in mind that method illustrated below will need patience as the gear is beefed up and larger fish are sometimes harder to catch, but the rewards are there.
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Location
There are certain features in a water that are a great bet to find pike. Drop-offs are noted holding points for the predators. Here they can hold in the deeper water, waiting for prey fish to move in or out of the shallows before they strike.

Any kind of structure will hold pike, though, as they look for a darkened, camouflaged corner where they can bide their time before rushing out to engulf a fish that strays within striking range.
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On canals and rivers, moored boats are also worth targeting, especially those that are lived in over winter, as just a slight increase in temperature in the water under the boat will bring in the little fish, and the pike will follow.

A wise angler told me years ago that pike love to be neglected, as does most nature. So, FISH WHERE NOBODY ELSE DOES and with a kayak, these hiddens pots that are off limits from the bank and too much effort from a boat is where the big momma will be!


Tackle
Fishing deadbaits requires strong rods, not because of the fish but because of the large baits and rigs you’ll be casting out. A 3lb test curve is about right for most situations. Match this with a reel that will hold lots of heavy line and one that’s preferably got a free-spool facility and you’ll have a solid setup.

Linewise you’re looking at a minimum of 15lb mono, or go much heavier with braid. Also, always remember to use a wire trace as pike will munch through mono, braid and fluoro if they get the chance.

Whilst on your kayak, any spinning rod, boat rod less than 9 feet will be fine. Anything longer and you'll end up caught in all sorts a bother.

Adding liquids and colours to your deadbaits can also give you an edge, with pike being both visual and scent-based hunter scavengers.

Hitting bites
There tends to be lots of talk in pike fishing about letting bites develop, allowing the fish to turn a deadbait in its mouth so that when you strike you get a good hook-hold. Well, that can be very dangerous for the fish and a problem for anglers as it inevitably ends up with deep-hooked fish.

By far the best policy is to hit a bite as soon as you get an indication, as you only get a sign if a fish is messing with your bait. Even if you do miss a fish, this is far better than trying to remove trebles that have gone past a pike’s throat.

Handling
Although they look rough and tough, pike are delicate creatures and need proper care and respect on the bank. Targeting big pike, nets are a must as powerful fish can thrash around and damage themselves and potentially the gear on your kayak. The best policy for the fish is minimal handling, so if you can unhook them, take a pic and release in shortest time as possible then all good.

Unhooking
Sharp teeth and fingers are not a good combination out on the bank, especially if you don’t like the sight of blood. Because of this, whenever you’re pike fishing you need to take the right unhooking equipment with you. The very least that will be is a pair of forceps that you can use to remove hooks rather than putting your fingers in harm’s way. Ideally, though, you would want long and short forceps and pliers to help with difficult hookings.

Bait
Pike are as much scavengers as they are hunters, and especially so when they’re looking to conserve valuable energy. This is why deadbaiting can be so effective, and there is a range of baits to go at.

The choice is really between sea and natural baits, with naturals being best on waters that haven’t seen too much pressure and deads scoring where the pike have seen hooks in a lot of natural baits. Sea baits, such as mackerel, are also more readily available and tend to be more robust and cast better.


More information on the status, distribution, rigs and techniques:
http://www.fishinginireland.info/pike/index.htm
http://www.fisheriesireland.ie/fish-species/pike.html
The scientific bit from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_pike
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Dave O Donovan
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Re: Pike - Esox lucius

Post by Dave O Donovan » Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:05 pm

Screenshot_20191107-120329_Instagram.jpg
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mikethomson
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Re: Pike - Esox lucius

Post by mikethomson » Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:04 pm

Nice write up Dave.

As a side note, if ur not sure how to handle Pike, then ask for help. No pike angler would mind at all helping or advising when required.

Cheers

Mike
Trident 13.

If at first you dont succeed, its probably not worth doing.

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RV1
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Re: Pike - Esox lucius

Post by RV1 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:34 pm

Nice one supreme angler ;)

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Denis O Donovan
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Re: Pike - Esox lucius

Post by Denis O Donovan » Thu Nov 07, 2019 5:34 pm

…..and next in this educational series will be Red Bandfish…..:-)
Instead of improving, it's better it's getting.......

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Dave O Donovan
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Re: Pike - Esox lucius

Post by Dave O Donovan » Thu Nov 07, 2019 6:17 pm

I put this piece together in 2017!

Yup, ahead of my time, a visionary if you will.
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TimOH
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Re: Pike - Esox lucius

Post by TimOH » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:02 pm

What? No Boga?
Safety:
Gloves, boots, hat, Drysuit
Solas Tape, 100L flotation in hull
Paddle leashed, spare, tow rope
PFD, knife, whistle, VHF, PLB, phone
First Aid Kit, GPS, compass
Water, Food, Check Forecast Tide.
Text wife when launching/landing

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Graham Smith
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Re: Pike - Esox lucius

Post by Graham Smith » Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:28 pm

Nice piece Dave, plenty of good advice. I was always surprised how slow they needed a trolled bait trolled for a successful hit. Yet they can hammer a copper spoon being spun at least three times faster.
Dam handsome fella in there too pmsl.

xmartyx
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Re: Pike - Esox lucius

Post by xmartyx » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:49 pm

Thanks for sharing Dave! Just have to get around to catching one. Hurling season finally over!

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