Choosing the best pike lures

Beneath a misty-calm lake near you, there are metre-long predators cannibalising their own species. When it comes to lure fishing for pike, larger specimens often require big lures. Wire traces are needed to prevent the teeth cutting through regular line. It’s handy to have a few different types of lures so you can experiment. In particular, you want hard lures that swim at different depths so you can search the whole water column for fish, and soft plastics for winter and the easy release of the fish. Disgorgers are essential. 

  • Surface lures work best in spring and autumn when pike are most active near the surface. In shallower waters they can be effective all year.Slow sinkers are good for deep water marks where you want to plumb the depths. The same is true of metals like spinners and spoons.The cooler the water, the slower the retrieve of your lure

best pike lures

What’s the best lure colour for pike?

A common approach is to use brightly coloured lures – reds and oranges – if the water is slightly murky. If the water is clear, more natural colours that imitate roach or perch are popular. Note that red light wavelengths cannot penetrate beyond 5m in water.

This means that your lures likely all appear grey if you’re fishing in deeper water or murky water. The contrast of colours may be more visible to fish than the specific colours in many situations.It’s certainly the case that a simple colour change can change the results you’re getting, so experimentation is key. If you’re getting follows but no takes, the fish may be cautious of a particular pattern. Change it up, see what happens…

What’s the best type of lure for pike fishing?

With diving lures, the faster you retrieve the deeper they dive. The maximum dive depth is set by the lip at the top of the lure. There are shallow divers and medium divers as well as sinking plugs for reaching the deeper parts of lochs and lakes.Plugs are useful for triggering impulsive takes and are easier for pike to hone in on in clouded water. They work best when the pike are feeding actively. Soft plastics can have a less erratic, more natural presentation, which can help when targeting pressured or cautious pike.Larger lures do help when targeting big pike. They will hit very big lures, so it’s likely the limiting factor on size will be your rods casting weight rather than the maximum size the big pike present would hit. Medium sized lures can help with hooking jack pike.pike lures uk

Jerk baits for pike fishing

Jerk baits are popular during hotter months when the metabolisms of the pike are higher. At this time of year, it’s easier to get impulsive bites from a lure with a crazy action. A jerk bait is designed to be twitched back to imitate an injured but active baitfish.Soft plastics are excellent for searching the whole water column or fishing tight to the bottom without getting snagged – particularly with the weedless jig head and paddle tail combinations available.Soft plastic pike lures can be jigged back towards you with a sink and draw, retrieved quickly near the surface with a straight retrieve, or anything in between. The most popular style of soft lure for pike is the paddle tail.Spoons are the best budget pike lures. They don’t cost much and have been proven to work for hundreds of years. They cast very well and can be used to search the whole water column because they sink.

spinning for pike

Pike spinners & casting jigs

Spinners are similar to spoons except the blade is designed to twist around the centre of the lure, creating a very rapid circular motion. This looks a lot like a small rudd in trouble…Mepps is the old-school angling company from the USA that helped popularised the spinner. The Mepps Aglia spinner has been wildly popular and successful for decades for all kinds of fish including pike, despite being developed originally for trout fishing. They are used the world over, based on the assumption that if a predatory fish sees something flashing, spinning and creating a lot of movement, they’re going to hit it.

Spinners do not cast as far as modern casting jigs. Amongst the most nerdy lure anglers, slow jigs are becoming more popular for sea fishing. These are essentially casting jigs that are designed to fall more slowly down the water column. This would have huge advantages for pike fishing when you want to slow down the fall of your 50g metals.An Offset spinnerbait gives you the advantages of spinner along with some of the anti-snag advantages of soft lures. Here is an example of a curly tailed lure rigged with an offset spinnerbait. This is a useful lure in murky water when flashing and vibrations can help attract fish.

Topwater lures are designed to float on the surface and have concave mouths that spit water as you retrieve them back in. Pike are used to feeding on small rats and mice in canals around the UK, as well as baby ducklings. Many of the baitfish they target also linger right up near the surface, like rudd. For this reason, topwaters can be deadly.It’s surprising how big a lure a small pike will take. The mouths on these fish mean they are confident taking out prey almost their own size. This sounds crazy, but there are some species of fish, like the saltwater scorpion fish we catch here in the UK – which hunt and eat fish larger than themselves!

Big pike lures can help you to filter through little jack pike to some degree, and are also more likely to trigger bites from the biggest pike in the water. This is partly because a larger lure that looks like an injured fish is an ideal meal for a big pike. It also might be because pike are territorial. One successful lure for big pike is a jack pike imitation…Note however that excessively large hooks can make for a poor lure presentation and are unnecessary. Size 2/0 is plenty large enough for big pike when lure fishing.

best lures for pike - soft plastics

Soft plastics can be fished on or just beneath the surface, for a make-shift surface lure

Topwater fishing for pike

In summer pike are often actively feeding on the surface, with a great variety of morsels on their menu. Some have little feathers, others have brown fur, others have green slimy skin, others have scales, others have flapping wings. All are on the menu, and all are on the surface or just below it.Topwater pike fishing in the UK is an area of fishing that most closely resembles the freshwater bass fishing over in the states. This is when we can sensibly reach for frog and rat imitation lures without them being gimmicks.Lure pattern is likely much less significant than the size of the topwater lure and the way it’s splashing on the surface. Predator fishing in the UK doesn’t get much better than this.

What are the best conditions to use topwater pike lures?

  • Grey skies and moderate disturbance on the surface of the water
  • Summer months, but not peak temperaturesDawn and duskSlightly clouded water

On a bright day with crystal clear water, pike are more visible to birds and other larger pike. This means they are more vulnerable to attack and potentially less likely to hit your surface lures. In summer, the fish are more active, but if the water gets too hot they become less active again. Dawn and dusk are the best time for pike fishing in general, including with topwater lures.

What do pike eat from the surface?

Pike feed on baitfish, mice, rats and small birds like ducklings. Each of these targets involves hunting on the surface of the water or just below it. You may gain an advantage on the day if you can match your surface lure to the type of prey present at the time. For instance, a regular plug like the Whopper Plopper can successfully imitate an injured baitfish. Frog or rat imitations can be used to mix things up and replicate something different.What’s the best lure colour for pike?Start with natural coloured lures, switch to whacky colours if that isn’t working. Lure patterns that imitate roach and rudd make for excellent natural presentations. If there is a high availability of food, pike may turn their noses up at these lures. That’s when you reach for the bright colours and try to make your lure stand out.What’s the best lure size for pike fishing?4-5” is a good average size for pike lures. For big pike you can go much bigger. This will help you filter out most of the smaller jack pike – but not all of them!


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