wikiHow to Catch Pike

Six Parts:Gear UpChoose Your BaitPick a SpotChoose the Right Technique for the SeasonRemove the HookCatch and Release

A pike's voracious appetite not only makes it easier to catch than some other fish, it can grow to impressive sizes, making it a great trophy or meal. Here's now to catch one of your own.

Part 1
Gear Up

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    Use a long rod, about 7 feet (2.1 m), with medium to heavy action. The rod will need sturdiness in the lower half to handle the weight of a pike, but be nimble in the top half for accurate casting.
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    Choose monofilament or braid fishing line. Monofilament strength should be at least 20 pound test. For braid, you'll have to go up to 50 pound test.
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    Add a baitcasting reel. They are dependable whether you're fly fishing near the shoreline or casting from a boat.
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    Add a wire leader at least a foot long on your line. Wire leaders are essential to prevent a pike's numerous, sharp teeth from severing your line.

Part 2
Choose Your Bait

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    Use live bait. Pike are predators and seek out live fish. Small fish such as minnows are good for smaller pike. If you're fishing for large pike, increase the size of your bait accordingly. Pike like to feed on fish that are 1/3 the size of their length but can and will feed on smaller fish.
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    Use dead bait. Pike are also scavengers and will feed on dead fish. For best results, use fatty fish such as herring, sardines and mackerel. Or, insert or inject your bait with fish oil.
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    Use spoon lures. If you don't want to handle live or dead bait, or they just aren't working, a spoon lure is a very effective alternative.
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    Consider buck tails, spinner baits, jigs and prop baits. They all work well for pike, and open up your baiting strategies.

Part 3
Pick a Spot

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    Find waters at the entrances to lakes and bays. The mouth of a stream or river, or channels between islands are also popular pike habitats.
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    Go where the pike's prey live. Walleye are one of pike's favorite prey. Find the walleye and pike will be there, too.

Part 4
Choose the Right Technique for the Season

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    Fly fish near the water's edge during springtime. Big pike move into the shallows in the spring to spawn in weedy areas. The quick motion and bright flies of fly fishing are conducive to a pike's aggressive nature, making them more likely to strike.
    • Be far enough from your target area that you can cast without alerting the fish of your presence.
    • Be prepared for a strike at the last second. Pike have been known to break the surface of the water going after a fly.
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    Try boat angling in deeper waters in the summer. Larger female pike move to deeper waters during the less active months of summer.
    • Keep checking for rod vibrations. They indicate a pike has or is about to bite the bait.
    • When the line vibrates, give the rod a fairly good tug. This "sets" the hook in the pike's mouth.
    • If the hook does not set, let the bait sit. Pike are know to hit and let go several times before the bait is taken.
    • Be prepared for a fight. Pike are very quick, strong and aggressive. Combined with their weight and size, landing a pike can become quite physical.

Part 5
Remove the Hook

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    Lay the pike on its back. Hold it firmly between your knees.
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    Using one hand, carefully insert one finger under each gill cover. Let them slide towards the chin, following the triangular shape of the gill and jaw.
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    Grip the chin bone firmly. Once you have it, gently lift the pike’s head upwards. The pike's mouth will open naturally.
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    Remove the hook with very long nosed pliers or forceps.

Part 6
Catch and Release

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    Return the fish to water as soon as possible.
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    Hold the pike, right side up, underwater, just above the tail.
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    Let go of the tail when the pike feels strong enough to swim away. This usually takes a few minutes.
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    Be prepared to nurse the fish even longer. Be absolutely sure it is fully recovered before releasing it.


  • If using a net, choose one at least 36 inches (91.4 cm) with big mesh. Nets made from rubber are the most gentle on the fish's body.

These are for catch and release, but if you want to keep it kill it or, hook it's tail on a stringer ON LAND.

  • Check fishing reports before you head out. Knowing where the pike and other fish are biting is invaluable.


  • Pike are not only aggressive, they can be unpredictable. They should be handled firmly, and with caution.
  • Do not fish without a proper license and permit, where applicable.

Things You'll Need

  • Fishing rod and reel
  • Bait or lures
  • Fishing line
  • Fishing license or permit
  • Long nose pliers or forceps
  • Landing net (optional)

Article Info

Categories: Fishing