Tough Summer Pike

Summer time Pike fishing can be a challenge on many bodies of water. Pike move out of the shallow water looking for cooler habitat, and can be tough to locate. On clear, Canadian shield type lakes, they may relate to deeper rock humps or deep patches of weeds. While trolling can be an effective way to cover water and locate fish, casting the right baits can still be very effective, provided you find a decent concentration of fish. The key is in what types of lures you throw. Lures that can be worked slow and seductively, and at the same time look very natural and closely mimick the pike’s food source can be just the ticket to fooling summer pike.

Total Solutions Technique

Obviously the first trick is to locate the pike. As mentioned earlier, deep weeds and/or rock structures are prime candidates in summer. That’s not to say the shallows should be completely abandoned, as on many lakes you’ll find pike in the shallows during summer, especially if it offers cooler water (often thanks to springs or in-coming creeks) and forage opportunities.

One of the best category of baits you can throw in these situations are swimbaits. Swimbaits in the six to ten inch range are quickly becoming popular among pike an muskie anglers, especially in clear water scenarios, because they can so closely resemble available forage and cater to the fish’s preference for big baits this time of year. Weighted models are well suited for deeper water casting because they make working in depths down to twenty feet very easy.

Another option would be to take a page out of the bass fisherman’s book and work Carolina-style rigs or large bass-style jigs tipped with large plastics. A ¾ ounce jig tipped with an eight inch lizard immitation can be a deadly combination on pike inhabiting deep weed edges, or even for rooting pike out of shallower weed cover.

Of course the old-stand-by spoon is still a great option, especially on those remote canadian lakes. Weeedless spoons tipped with a plastic action-tail are also deadly in shallower weed cover.

Which ever presentation you choose, make sure you can work it slow. Although its summer and the waters are warm, pike are a cool water species and tend to show signs of being a bit “lazy” in summer conditions. Its often more about finessing the pike to bite than it is about getting the “reaction” bite from a faster moving technique.

Total Solutions Equipment

Your gear should match the fish you are after. If you’re fishing a remote Canadian outpost lake, the chances of you tying into a real bruiser are fairly high, so you want to be rigged accordingly. Six and a half to seven and a half foot medium heavy to heavy action bait cast gear designed to handle big fish is a must. Flippin’ stick rods designed for heavy tackle bass fishing will work, but beefier gear is even better. Spool up with some serious line like Berkley Gorilla Tough in 50 pound test, or SpiderWire Ultracast in 50 or 80 pound test are great choices. Of course anythime you’re going into battle with toothy critters, a leader is important. Pre-made leaders are a good choice, but if you’re a serious pike angler, making your own leaders is the way to go. Get a supply of size #6 (100 pound test) Berkley Cross-Lok Snaps and size #4 (135 pound test) Berkley Ball-Bearing Swivels then team them up with Berkley’s Sevenstrand Uncoated Wire in 90 pound test and you can make leaders that will handle any pike you’re likely to encounter.

For lures, you might be surprised what I’ve found to be deadly on summer pike. Berkley’s GULP Swimming Mullet is a staple in my pike arsenal. These baits may be originally designed for off shore fish, but I have never met a pike yet that could read a lure package, and the pike I’ve caught on these are some of the biggest to ever stretch my line.  These baits also come in 5″ and 6″ sizes. They have a great “real-fish” look and a swimming action that is deadly on the pike.

For shallower water, I like to tip a ¾ ounce bass-style jig with an 6 inch Berkley PowerBait Lizard or 5 inch Power Hawg. The scent and action on these lures are just the ticket for enticing a tough bite.

And I won’t go pike fishing without a handful of Johnson Silver Minnows(half and ¾ ounce sizes) and some Berkley 3 inch Power Grubs in white and chartruese for tipping them. This is one of the best lures around for slowly working sparse weed cover and deeper weed edges I’ve ever found. I always carry a supply of each size in colors Silver, Gold and FireTiger to help me “match the hatch” and water clarity on a given lake.

Berkley® Gorilla™ Tough 125 Yd. Spools

Spiderwire® Ultracast Ultimate Braid

Berkley® Cross-Lok® Pocket Pack

Berkley® Ball Bearing Swivels Pocket Pack

Sevenstrand® Uncoated Wire

Berkley® GULP® Swimming Mullet

Berkley® 6″ Power® Lizard

Berkley® 5″ Power® Hawg

Johnson® Silver Minnow® 1/2 oz.

Berkley® 3″ Power Grubs®


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