Soft Baits for Pike
By: Matt Straw
As pike receive more pressure from anglers, soft baits have become increasingly important to carry
Pick a soft bait. Anything 3 to 10 inches long will do. Put it on a single hook or jig with a gap big enough to bite back. Toss it out and pike shred it. Pike shred anything moving that fits in their gaping jaws.
So why be fussy? Because pike hit some baits more often than others. And some can boat a dozen pike before being shredded beyond all functional capacity. And because the biggest pike in the lake can be as fussy as I am.
I like pike. I don’t wait for those long-anticipated fly-in trips to Canada to hunt them. My backyard in central Minnesota has surprising numbers of pike in the mid-30 to low-40-inch range. And, as the article in this issue on Great Lakes pike points out, giants are showing up with increasing regularity in areas not as far from home as Great Slave, Athabasca, or Reindeer lakes.
It seems the closer to home we stay though, the fussier pike get. Things like realism, subtle colors, fluorocarbon and attention to detail become more critical. The more angling pressure pike experience, the more important these factors become, which remains true no matter how far north you fly these days. Soft baits have become increasingly important to carry to the wilderness because everybody releases trophies at those lodges these days. Pressure can be intense, trophy populations are relatively small and pike live longer and see more lures than ever. So when fishing gets tough, or I see a monster follow without striking, I typically set hard baits aside.
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