Tips on Hooking a Monster Pike in Canada
As a high school graduation gift, my parents let me pick a vacation anywhere in North America. While my sisters chose tropical beaches, I opted to go fishing for pike in Canada with my father and friends. It was a trip I would never forget.
We picked some cabins on an island in the middle of a giant lake. The drive from Missouri to Canada was trying, by then we had on a dirty road for six. Then we loaded our gear onto a boat and headed to the island. I was so excited that I could not get myself to sleep that night.
We had several days of exciting catches. We caught walleye for lunch and pike for sport, but everybody had caught a monster except for me. On the last day I hooked what I thought was a log. I pulled and pulled on my line, and while my lure would not come free the line slowly allowed me to reel it in. I fully expected to have some gnarly rotting branch to float to the surface.
Instead what emerged made me take a step back. A huge pike floated to the surface and just sat there for me to study. It’s back shined as the sun reflected off of its shiny surface, and its teeth were foreboding to say the least. It was well over three feet long and weighed around 20 lbs. For a kid who was used to catching two to three lb. bass in a farm pond, this was a proud moment. It ended up being the largest we fish we ever caught.
Eventually the fish realized what was going on and tried to swim for it. The beast put up quite a fight, and it took me a while to get it back to the boat. I was happy we had steel leaders on our line, or I am sure his teeth would have easily bitten through. It was one of the most enjoyable fights I have ever had to this day.
In this article I will cover just a few of the tips that our guides gave us for catching large pike. Hopefully it will help you catch your own monster pike.
Where to Fish
This subject can be broken into what body of water to choose and where in that body of water to targetThere are good pike lakes all across the northern states of the US and across southern Canada.
- As a general rule, the harder it is to get to the lake the bigger the pike will be. This means that remote lakes in Canada are likely your best bet. Lakes which you must fly to are always going to have large pike.
- Once on the water, try to go where the water is three to ten feet deep. This is often the hunting grounds for large pike.
- They also like small marshy coves that warm in the sun faster than larger coves, so fish the flat at the mouth of these coves.
- Large pike like structures and debris. Logs, beaver dams, and weedy shallows all are good spots for a pike to hide. Try casting in and around these areas.
- As the water gets warmer, large pike over 10 lbs. will be the first to head for deeper water. Fishing in areas where the shallows feed into deeper water is a good place to be later in the morning.
Gear to Take
Remember that we are going for a beast-like fish, so select your gear appropriately.
- You will want a spinning outfit that can handle 14-20 lb. test line. You can also use medium-heavy bait-casting outfits or a nine weight fly rod.
- You will need wire leaders or the fish will slice through your line with little effort. 20 lb. or 30 lb. wire leaders work well and 12 inches is typically the right length.
- Bring a good set of long pliers to remove your lure from the fish’s mouth. You do not want your fingers anywhere near that mouth.
In Line Spinners – When casting in water that is clear of weeds, this is the type of lure we used the most. Pike will attack based on shine and movement, so spinners are great. Also, the weight lets you get more distance on your casts. Focus on rooster tail, Mepps, and Blue Fox spinners. For bigger fish, select one that weighs close to one ounce.
Spoons – These lures work for the same reasons as spinners. The advantage is that you can better control the depth, so they work great for those transition areas where the water is getting deeper. Again, select one close to one ounce.
Minnow Plugs – These lures also have a shimmer along with a great deal of movement. You will need to adjust your rig to make it run deeper in the summer or shallower in the spring and fall.
Spinnerbait – The technique with this lure is a bit different from the others. You want to pull it along until you get it near a good hiding spot for fish. Then stop your retrieve for three seconds before you reel it further. White spinnerbaits seem to work best in pike waters.
Jigs – These are the ideal lure for bouncing along the bottom as shallow water drops off into deeper water. Move them in two to three foot jumps, but do not be surprised if you get a bite on the way down. Around one ounce is the right weight
Top-waters – In the late spring, top-waters can work well along the weedy banks of your lake. The popping sound along with a shiny surface and a rooster tail tends to get some action. Fishing for pike is always a blast no matter how large or small they are.
However, some precautions should be taken. Do not get too close to the mouth of this fish, and never reach in its mouth. I have heard horror stories of a cocky angler attempting to kiss the pike for a picture. As you can imagine, the story did not end well. Use a little common sense and hopefully you will find your monster pike like I did.