Hot Weather Pike Fishing
To catch big pike, you’ve got to locate them first. This is specially true if you’re hunting for these toothy creatures in the flat dog days of july and august. Feeding is the prime factor while weather remains stable: big pike become obsessed with chasing and eating their prey to increase their body mass. In summer, big pike prefer larger prey (if it’s available), because its metabolism is running fast. So feeding habits and catching lunker pike go hand in hand.
Pike will be hardly far from their next meal, so you should find the schools of fish first. These toothy predators take advantage of the most abundat prey species available that are of succicient size to eat. Esox lucius will be using changes in the topography of the bottom, like drop offs and structures adjacent to deep basins to ambush small barbels, carps, zanders… The best spots hold the biggest predators. Try to determine your «milk run» and hit only a few spots a day.
Pike are cool water creatures. In a deep water reservoir this could make big mommas disapear into the depths. This is not always true: oxigen levels and water temperature are the culprits. Pike can’t survive in low oxigen levels beneath the termocline barrier. When water in deep lakes stratifies, pike just cruise above this layer of water. It can usually be from 30 to 55 feet depth. They can move up and down in the water column or suspend in open water areas if that’s the most favourable position for feeding and comfort.
A good sonar unit is a must if your trying to locate the termocline: the depth at which you stop marking fish. A big arc next to a bunch of small fish could be a nice sized pike. Casting or trolling, a extremely precise presentation is required to run the lure above pike’s head (and not below it). Jigging in water more than 20 feet deep with baits the size of the fish many people catch is a productive technique if you know exactly where the big Esox are hidden. I love to use large lures, like giant plugs, soft swimbaits, spoons… One good thing about deep water angling is that you don’t have to worry about blue skies, no wind or clear water conditions. Expect to find periods of frenzy feeding vs other when pike are in a neutral or negative mood. Each window of oportunity can last 2 – 4 hours. Be sure to stay on the water at theses timer when Esox lucius are on the prowl for food. When the fish quit biting, it’s over.
Handle pike with care: handle them with care in order to get them back into the water in good condition. Once the fish is boated, get the hooks out; work quickly to minimize the amount of time the fish is out of water: hot water can kill your trophy. After pictures or measurements, slide the pike into the water and release it right. Let go of its tail and it should swim away, safe.
And remember: The important thing about deepwater pike is that everybody’s missing them. But these dog days of summer can be the most productive time of the year for trophy esox angling, once you’ve located them.