Soft Baits for Monster Pike

Soft baits and pike fishing are a natural match. Larger, saltwater sized soft plastic lures do a magnificent job of imitating suckers, perch, ciscoes and other baitfish that pike key on. These lures are ideal for swimming presentations that deliver smashing strikes.
Casting soft plastics is a shallow water game. For monster pike that means this presentation is going to be most useful in early spring and again in the fall when cool water temperatures lure big pike into the shallows.

It’s also important to concentrate this technique in areas where physical features concentrate fish. Scattered weed clumps on flats, isolated rock piles surrounded by deeper water, main lake points, trees that have toppled into the water along shorelines and saddles between small islands are a few places to target pike with soft plastic lures. The key is having a logical target to cast towards. Simply fan casting open water may produce the occasional pike, but lasting soft plastics works best when targeting obvious cover or structure.

Total Solutions Technique

Soft plastics can be rigged a number of ways, but a jig is one of the most effective methods. For pike special purpose jigs are required. The ordinary leadhead jig doesn’t feature a hook big enough to use with large soft plastic lures. Select out “pike or muskie” style jig that has larger hooks (2/0 is a minimum and 3/0 or 4/0 is better yet) with a generous hook gap. A number of manufacturers produce jigs with wide hook gaps and a collar designed to hold plastic baits securely on the jig.

A seven to eight foot heavy action baitcasting rod and reel is the ideal choice for casting pike plastics. Stick with 17 or 20 pound test monofilament as the main line and add a 12 inch fused line or titanium leader at the terminal end to reduce bite offs. Salt water spinning gear can also be used for targeting pike with plastics. A seven foot heavy action rod and spinning reel loaded with 17 pound test is a good alternative to baitcasting gear.

Pike are aggressive feeders and plastics work best when worked in an aggressive darting or swimming action. Cast and let the jig/plastic combination sink to bottom. Then use short twitches of the rod tip to work the bait back to the surface. Keep the rod tip around the 10 o’clock position. When you see the jig/plastic combination hit the surface, drop the rod tip and allow the jig and plastic to free fall back to bottom. When the jig hits the bottom, repeat the process over again. This darting/swimming action combined with a free falling bait is deadly on pike.

Total Solutions Equipment

Jigs in the 1/4 to 1/2 ounce range work nicely in the water depths pike are found using in spring and fall. Swimming style jig heads with the eye tie attachment coming out the front of the jighead are best.

Pre-rigged jigs can be another good option. The Berkley Powerbait Pre-Rigged Swim Shad comes pre-rigged with jighead and ready to fish. Some other excellent soft plastic options include the Berkley Flat Back Shad and 7 inch Saltwater Jerk Shad. Each of these can easily be rigged on the jig of your choice.

Berkley XT or Big Game monofilament lines in 17 or 20 pound test are ideal for pike casting applications.

Berkley Fireline Leaders 50/15 are a good alternative to stiff steel leader material. Fireline is amazingly tough and will resist bite offs in many situations, yet is flexible enough to allow jigs maximum action.

Berkley® 5″ PowerBait® Swim Shad

Berkley® Flat Back Shad

Berkley® 7″ Gulp!® Saltwater Jerk Shad

Berkley Big Game®

Berkley® Trilene XT®

Berkley® FireLine®


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