Pike Fishing: The Complete Guide

May 6, 2021

Pike Fishing - Net


Pike Fishing

This is a complete guide on how to go pike fishing and have a chance of catching them! We will be looking at the different types of bait and lures, what rods are best for pike fishing, where to cast your line, how to set up your gear correctly, and what type of equipment you need. This blog post will cover everything from clothing options to tackle boxes - we'll make sure you're prepared with all the basics before heading out!


Pike Fishing - Lake

Pike Fishing is a sport that is gaining popularity. It can be a difficult sport to get into, but it's also very rewarding! Pike Fishing is the act of fishing for pike - freshwater predator fish with long and sharp teeth!

Fishing as a whole has been popular since ancient times, with records going back further than most other sports we have today. There are many different types of fish being fished across the world in fresh water lakes and rivers all year round. However, pike fishing is extremely popular due to their predating instincts and sheer size. These traits make them extremely exciting to catch , and they can grow up to a meter or over three feet in length.

It has teeth that are specifically designed for catching small prey like frogs, baitfish, and minnows. However - these sharp teeth mean you'll need some protection too when handling them after capture. You might want gloves if you're not used to handling fish with teeth! Pikes live all across North America (in both fresh water lakes and rivers), Europe, Asia & other places. But there are certain species that have different names depending on where they call home: northern pike in Canada/USA


Pike Fishing - Lures

There's a variety of equipment needed when it comes to catching pike. This can all be broken down into two main categories: Primary Equipment, Secondary equipment. The primary equipment is all you will need to directly catch the fish. The secondary equipment is extra equipment that you will need to deal with the fish on the bank along with other handy devices!


  • Rod: There are a huge variety of rods that can be used for catching pike. Some would include ledgering rods, spinning rods & boat rods. In this instance you are better contacting your local tackle store. Most tackle shops will give you sound advice and talk you through all the various ways and methods of catching them if you're a novice. Along with places and suggestions on where to catch them.
  • Reel: Again, there are many different types of reels to purchase. Although, you will need a fixed spool reel or even a Baitcasting reel. Line: Mono or braid line will do and I would recommend a breaking strain of about 20 lbs.
  • Leader: You will want to attach a rubbing leader to your setup. You're rubbing leader should be about 40 lbs!
  • Hook length: When fishing for pike you will need a wire trace as your hook length. You can get very light wire traces of about 40 lbs!
  • Weights: For most forms of pike fishing you will need a weight. The only time you wouldn't is if you are using weighted lures or spinners. The amount of weight you use will be dictated by your rod. Your rod will say how little or much weight it can cast.
  • Hooks: A variety of hooks can be used. Often treble hooks are used when pike fishing as they have a better hook hold. But this day an age a lot of fisherman are moving away from them because they can damage the fish. Take a look at THIS article to see which hooks will be best for the job.
  • Swivels: Swivels will be a necessity to stop your line from tangling when you have a fish on. 


  • Net: A net will make things much easier when it comes to landing the fish. Especially when you are on your own, and it will reduce the risk of loosing fish at your feet. Also, it is a requirement to have a net now at most fisheries to land your fish with to avoid damaging the fish.
  • Landing mat: Once you have landed your fish it would be wise to have a soft mat to place it onto. This stops damaging the fish, especially when it is flapping around. Again, this is a requirement in most fisheries now.
  • Forceps: Often pike will engulf your bait or lure or whatever it is your fishing with and because of its long mouth they are not so simple to unhook! Therefore a good pair of long forceps comes in very useful.
  • Gloves: Gloves aren't a necessity in my opinion but pike do have sharp teeth that can cause some damage so I will leave that one up to you. Gloves do actually make it easier to unhook the fish as well because you aren't as worried about getting bitten. 


Pike - Teeth

There are various methods to catch a pike, these methods include:

  1. 1
    Float: Float fishing for pike is a popular method and most often the easiest way to find pike. You can cover large amounts of water which you couldnt when fishing a static bait. The fish can see the bait much better as well, especially if you are fishing in weedy areas. This is because you can set the depth that your bait is fishing at, lifting it above the weed. There are many different types of floats to choose from. Because of this methods simplicity, the enjoyment factor is increased.
  2. 2
    Static Fishing: Static fishing is where you cast a bait out and leave it to fish statically. This method is extremely common and effective. A pikes sense of smell is phenomenal and they will smell your bait a long way off. It's a great relaxing way of fishing as-well, as you can simply cast your rods out and wait for the action to begin. The simplest rig to use here is a running ledger rig with a wire trace.
  3. 3
    Lure/spinner: Lure & spinner fishing is a method for the more active fisherman/woman. If you don't have the patience to sit and wait and like to get a bit more technical and hands on then this is the method for you to use. Again, a very effective method and you don't have to worry about buying bait. 
  4. 4
    Fly Fishing: Fly fishing for pike is a much more specialized way of fishing for them. I haven't encountered many people fishing this way for them and haven't done it myself but I would imagine it's pretty straightforwards.
  5. 5
    Trolling: Trolling with lures in deeper water is another method for catching pike. You can cover a lot of ground and get down to depths that you normally wouldn't when casting. 


  • Ask for local knowledge. This will help you out so much and save you so much time. Its a great way to start off and will boost your confidence.
  • Keep your line tight! With whatever method you are using keep your line tight so you can see if you've got a bite. When lure fishing the strike will be a lot more obvious most of the time.
  • Let the fish take line when fishing with baits. Often the fish will pick your bait up gently and begin to move off with it before getting a proper hold of it. Give it time to get a proper hold of your bait before striking at it. This is especially true if you are using whole static baits like mackerel.
  • The best time to fish for them would just be during dawn or dusk because these are prime feeding times for pike.


Pike Fishing - Net

Pike fishing is best done where there are weeds, other fish and a depth of water at least 25 feet although they will often come shallower. Pike like to ambush their prey so they will take cover in weed beds or around sunken logs, trees & stumps. They also live near the bottom of lakes, rivers and canals. You'll typically find them in areas where there is slow moving waters. They prefer to lie and wait in areas where they can wait and ambush prey. Or at the back of a pool where water is pushing a constant stream of food towards them! 

The morning and evening hours are the best time for pike fishing because as with most fish they seem to more active during this period. Fishing for pike typically takes place during the winter. Pike are still active during this period where as most summer species are much less active and hide away. Pike fishing can take place during the summer and often you will catch the heavier pregnant females during this period. It is best to stay close to weed beds and sunken logs, these areas are a pikes favorite hunting grounds! They do have an affinity for cold, fresh water lakes because this provides them with food sources such as small fish, frogs, crayfish, and other species of aquatic insects that live in colder waters.


There are many types of pike hooks. The two main types are: treble hooks and J - hooks. Most of your lures and flies will come with their own hooks, again either treble or J - hooks.

  • Treble hooks: Treble hooks are great at increasing the hook hold but can often be hard to unhook from the fish. It becomes even harder when the fish is deep hooked. In this day an age it's often much better to either get barbless trebles or press the barbs down yourself with pliers.
  • J - hooks: J - hooks are an extremely common type of hook and are much better for the fish in my opinion. They are also way easier to unhook from the fish. You are sacrificing a

The pikes mouth is really sensitive so they can tell when something isn't quite right about their food sources such as lures or baits that we use in order to catch them. We also need to be aware that some anglers feel that there has been an overfishing of this species which may have lead to their decline while other experts say no because according to research commercial catches only account


Here's a great video from "riverpiker" showing you how to bait a hook when fishing for pike.


Oily fish baits such as herring, mackerel and sardines are a favorite. Pike will also strike at various other fish types which can be bought from most bait shops for pike fishing. You should try using either live bait such as minnows, rud & roach as well. Live baits can be extremely effective and a really exciting way to fish for them! Fish them under a float with a size 2/0 hook! 

If you're simply after the bigger pike then up your bait size. Pike can be very selective so it's important to offer them a variety of different bait sizes and types. But generally if you're after the bigger pike offer them a large bait. I fish with a whole mackerel, I have found mackerel to out-fish other baits. The oils that come off a mackerel are substantial and can attract a pike from a long way off! If you're trying to catch and weigh a monster pike then you're better off targeting them in the spring when the larger females will be at their biggest!!



Jake's Outdoors is a blog for all of your hunting, fishing and general outdoor needs. Jake's Outdoors has created this space to help beginner level enthusiasts find their way into the world of outdoors and will provide advice on how to get started. We'll cover topics like what gear you need, where to go hunting or fishing in your area, how to cook fish/game animals you've caught as well as other general outdoor tips.

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