Pike are some of the best fish you can catch on a lure, they grow big, they look magnificent and they can be very aggressive, which makes them very catchable. There is nothing quite like retrieving a lureonly to feel the savage thump on the rod tip where a pike has engulfed it, leading to line being stripped from the reel as battle ensues. Lure fishing has an extra element of surprise and anticipation, with every turn of the reel you are always wondering if that will be when the fish strikes, adding an extra element of excitement over other forms of angling.
Pike are very accessible fish, which makes them great to target. They inhabit most waterways, so if your local fishery is a canal, river or lake, chances are there will be pike there to target, the only place you seldom find them are commercial fisheries. As the best time to fish for pike is usually as the light is fading, you generally only need a couple of hours before or after work to catch them, so even those short on time can get out and try to lure one.
Best lures for pike fishing at a glance...
• Best Weedless Soft Plastic Lure For Pike Fishing - Fiiish Minnow
• Best Surface Lure For Pike - Westin Spot On Top Walker
• Best Big Water Pike Lure For Pike Fishing - Fox Rage Replicant Wobble Lure
• Best Shallow Water Crankbait Lure For Pike - Yo-zuri Crystal Minnow
Pike are known to be inquisitive and the lures they can be caught on vary massively, whether you use a spinner, a hard lure or a soft plastic, if a pike is hunting, it will take anything. Most days though, it is not as simple as that and your lure choice can make all the difference in how successful you are. Try to take a selection in your tackle box to make sure you have all bases covered. In this guide we check out some of the best lures available that will catch you more pike...
The Rapala Shadow Rap diving lure is very unique in the way it sits underwater due to its neutral
- Suspending action keeps lure in front of fish for longer.
- Realistic action.
- Not the easiest lure to use effectively.
When it comes to soft plastic baits, the Fiiish Minnow really does take some beating. The action
- Very realistic swimming action.
- Weedless design reduces snagging up.
- They are soft plastic so they are prone to being destroyed, although they are very tough.
Designed to catch pike predominantly, these Savage Gear Da'bush Spinner Bait lures are unlike
- Very attractive.
- Easy to fish with.
- Can be a little too outrageous in some situations.
The Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow needs little introduction to lure anglers, its fantastic rolling action
- Fantastic rolling action.
- Can be fished on a variety of retrieves in salt and freshwater.
- Maximum dive depth of 1m, does limit it to shallow venues.
Best big water hybrid lure for pike fishing
This hybrid Rapala X Rap Peto Lure features a hard ABS body that is finished in a wide range of
- Very realistic designs.
- Large and heavy, perfect for big pike in large venues.
- A bit too large for smaller, more intimate venues.
The 18cm and 23cm version of this Fox Rage Replicant Wobble Lure has established itself as a big
- The tail of the lure really thumps on the retrieve.
- Great for pike of all sizes.
- Body can be damaged after a few fish.
If you want a soft plastic swim bait that looks as good as the real thing its impersonating then
- Briliant lure for trolling.
- Incredibly realistic.
- Lures don't come in a size smaller than 15cm.
Salmo has a reputation for creating quality lures for all predatory species, and the Salmo
- Ideal for smaller waters.
- Lovely action.
- The lures are quite light so aren't best for big, windswept waters.
These Westin Spot On Top Walker lures, made for the American market to target bass, are super
- Subtle action.
- Great quality.
- Surface lures do tend to be the most difficult to catch pike on.
These Sovereign Super Baits Flies are hand-tied in the UK and come in a huge range of patterns, so
- Lots of colours and patterns.
- Robust, won't be destroyed after one fish.
- Large flies may take some getting used to casting.
What to look for in a pike lure
Pike have and always will be caught on a variety of different lures, from the most natural looking to the most outrageous, but there are always lures that seem to outperform others consistently. It is always best to try and match your lure to the venue you are fishing. If it is a big deep reservoir and the pike are renowned for staying in water below 3m, it is no use casting out a surface lure or a crankbait that will only dive up to 1m, as the fish will never see the lure to be able to take it.
Similarly, if you're fishing on a canal or small river, casting out a large 30-40cm sinking lure would be almost useless. It would make far too much commotion and would be on the bottom before you had chance to close the bail arm. In this situation a small, floating lure, soft plastic bait or crankbait would be a much better option, as they would allow you to stealthily search out the water column without the risk of getting snagged on the bottom.
It is always worth carrying a few different styles and colours of lures with you on any trip, as somedays colours can be really attractive and on others the fish seem wary of them. There are also days when pike are much more interested in a smaller lure and other days they want a larger lure. Much like all lure fishing, keeping the changes coming can be the difference between success and failure. It is worth noting that you should use strong braid or lineand always use a wire trace, there is no excuse for being snapped off by a pike for having tackle that's too light.
Soft plastic lure: A lure that has a soft, rubberised body designed to feel more natural when the fish take it.
Floating/diving lure: A hard plastic lure that will float on the surface but when retrieved will dive under the surface thanks to a plastic vein on the front. They are also known as crankbaits.
Rough ground: A name given to a fishing mark where the bottom is made up of rocks, boulders, weed and other items you're likely to snag up on.
Weedless: A lure design, where the hook point is buried in the lure to prevent it getting caught up, the hook is exposed when the fish bites down on the body of the lure.
Jig head: The metal weight, generally with a hook attached that is used to mount a soft plastic lure on to give it the weight to cast and sink to the bottom.
Paddle tail: A flat, rounded section at the back of a lure that causes drag in the water causing it to kick erratically.
Rattle: Some lures have a hollow internal compartment that is filled with ball bearings that knock together when retrieved to create a rattling sound.
Diving vein: A thin, rounded plastic or metal plate mounted on the front of a lure. When retrieved it causes drag that forces the lure downwards.
Walk the dog: A method of retrieving a surface lure to make it look as natural as possible. By maintaining a constant retrieve and flicking the rod tip the lure will snake from side to side looking like an inured fish.
Lure action: This refers to the way a lure moves when it is retrieved by the angler.
Dropshotting: The method of using a weight at the end of the line and attaching the hook further up the line. This is then jigged back slowly to the rod tip.
Paternoster rig: A rig that involves the lead being at the end of the line and one or two hooks being attached above it, this keeps it away from the lakebed and reduces the resistance when a fish takes the hookbait.
Frequently asked questions on pike lures
Should I use a bigger lure when fishing for pike?
Lure size when pike fishing should be dictated by the size of the average prey in the water you're fishing. Pike generally will have a look at most things, but if something doesn't feel right, they won't swipe at it unless they are really hungry. Smaller lures can catch some very big pike when they are feeding on fry, minnows and bleak. But there are also times when a big lure is more likely to stand out and grab their attention. Take a selection of sizes and experiment on the day.
When are the best times of day to target pike on lures?
Pike are often most active during periods of low light such as dawn or dusk, this will give you your best chance of a bite, as they use the low light to ambush their prey. However, if there is a feeding frenzy or lots of activity with people fishing or a match going on, the pike can be very active throughout the day too, as they are stimulated by the activity of splashing and fish being played in by other anglers. It's always worth fishing after a match has finished and speak to the anglers to see where the pike have been hooked. Don't rule out lure fishing after dark too, sport won't be as consistent but you may well fool a monster.
Should I use a single or treble hook on pike lures?
This is an interesting debate that has hit pike fishing in recent years and the trend nowadays is to use as fewer hooks as possible for the safety of the fish. There are times when fishing a single hook is a massive advantage too, for example when fishing over snaggy bottoms, as they can easily be fished 'weedless'. Regardless of the number of hooks used, it is always best to carry all the proper equipment needed to handle pike correctly and safely, so they go back fighting fit every time you catch one. Remember that whilst they may appear to be a savage predator beneath the water, they are actually one of our more fragile fish species.
Author Aidan Bordiuk is an enthusiastic angler who enjoys all fishing disciplines from match fishing to beach casting. He is currently occupying the position of Commercial Content Writer at Angling Times.