Spring Pike on Jerkbait
What we are looking for is (Prime water) fishing spots in early spring for pike, they are shallow and flooded back bay's, the black bottom of these bays warms up the water faster often you will see huge pike basking in the sun. Look for huge pike laying in a couple of feet of water, often there will be a twenty plus pound pike in an area like this. Sneak in with your troll motor on low, remember to be quiet use your Motor-guide to sneak in, do not go in to fast or you could spook off some of the fish. If you see cloudy stirs under the water you have gone in to fast. A pair of polarized sunglasses is vital you need to see the area and the fish, they are shallow enough to see and make it easy to target your cast. Start with the closest fish and work your way back into the bay, try and direct the fish you are fighting away from the other sunning pike. In some cases your gonna need to get down right aggressive.
HJ 14 size Husky Jerk by Rapala, this blue color is one of my favorites.
What I mean when I say aggressive is if the fish your targeting is not responding to your presentation your going to have to get more involved. It's been my personal experience that sometimes you need to poke and agitate some of these lazy pike into action. Some will not even respond to a lure sitting right in front of their face. I have been right next to pike who had no idea I had made my way in, right on top of them, and have had to poke the fish with the butt end of a rod to get them moving. Here is the thing, once you have a beast moving and get to see the direction it's moved off to, get that lure in there fast, and watch the fish because he will be coming with a whole load of hate and will demolish your lure. If your doing this with fly's like I did last year, yep you could get your butt kicked a couple of times because they hit so hard and fast once disturbed. So what I did was have a 6'6" St Croix Bait Casting Rod and an Abu Garcia 5600 ready for battle with an HJ 14 Rapala Husky Jerk. Once you have these fish moving if you can get that HJ 14 candy in their area they will smash it and your going to be prepared to handle them much better than with the fly outfit. My new rule of thumb, is that if I have to manually wind up one of these fish I am going to the casting gear every time, and will save the fly's for the less angry fish.HJ 14 size Husky Jerk by Rapala, dark silver is always a good choice.HJ 14 size Husky Jerk by Rapala, this is the clown color and it's great on a cloudy day.
RapalaSuspending Husky Jerks work very well in these conditions. I use the (HJ 14) size and find it to be the best size for this time of season for huge pike; they come in a rainbow of colors and run around $8.99 in most tackle shops. Some of you will say Gary your the JFL guy, and hey that is true! But it's also my job to make sure you have good information and tools to catch fish like this even if your not using a JFL at the time. A (rip twitch twitch pause) presentation is best and keep it slow after the initial rip, also keep your rod tip up when in the shallow water to keep the lure out of the weeds. Another thing I will do is remove the middle hook altogether, because I feel the action of the lure is better without it and second it's one less hook to catch weed and or remove from the fish. You could, no you will see pike nose right up to the lure and stand still, if this happens very lightly twitch the bait, and watch for the strike, and set the hook as soon as possible because you do not want the lure to deep to make it hard to unhook. Husky Jerks will work great for pike through April, May, and mid June, about mid June we step up to the JFL Mean Muskie Spinnerbait as the fish get more aggressive.HJ 14 size Husky Jerk by Rapala, baby bass and firetiger are great for pike.HJ 14 size Husky Jerk by Rapala, darker green and gold patterns work very well.HJ 14 size Husky Jerk by Rapala, a variety of color options is vital.A box of HJ 14 suspending Husky Jerks like this on a spring day could be all the edge you need.
Early spring pike are the slowest of the slow; they may only move a couple of feet in cold water to attack a bait right after ice out. So you might find that your gonna have to reach out and touch some of these fish to wake them up. Jerkbaits work great in these situations, casting is the best way to go, cover a lot of prime water and remember to slow down. A suspending Jerkbait will allow you to keep the bait in the strike zone longer. Cover as many of the prime areas of the lake as possible, the more area you cover the odds get better of you catching a huge pike, one of those trophy of a lifetime type fish can often be caught right after ice out if your willing to do the extra work to catch them.Gary LoveWFN AmbassadorAthabasca, Alberta, Canada.