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Pikeman12

Pike fishing slow, new techniques?

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Hey guys,

 

Pike fishing has been real slow for me this year. Haven't been able to get one at all this month and it is getting frustrating, but that's fishing. Anyways, I am fishing the Des Plaines River in Illinois. It is usually no more than 5 feet deep max, with an average of 4 feet, and can be tough with how much debris can be in this river. I have targeted spots with lots of fallen trees/logs, and have not come up with anything. I am using a bps tournament series 7' MHF with 10 lb suffix pro mix mono and a 12'' steel leader.The primary lures I am throwing are blue fox spoons and rooster tails, jawbreaker weedless spoon, as well as meps. I am making sure the spoons are wobbling rather than spinning, as well as pausing on my retrieve and letting it sink. Does anyone have any suggestions on me? Do I possibly need new tackle? I have been wary of trying cranks and big swim banks in this shallow river, but spoons have usually always worked for me. Thanks for any help guys!

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Your tackle is not the problem. Pike when feeding will eat anything. I live in your area. I know guys who catch pike in the DesPlaines in the spring but I never hear about them getting them in summer. They may migrate to different, deeper areas after they spawn. Keep searching. 

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Thanks for the reply man. Actually my only luck has been further south towards you on live bait (bluegill). I know the des plaines opens up more, but over here by Lyons it's a little rough. That would make sense though because I have been hearing they migrate to deep water. Last year I started having more luck in august than early summer. Thanks again for the help!

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Try one of those small bluegill savage gear swimbaits. They are only 10 bucks . I'm not recommending them because they are a sponsor, I'm recommending them because they catch bass so they are sure to catch pike.. also mepps #5 spinner is a known and proven pike Slayer (I've even caught a big channel cat on them) . 

 

I think Scott F is on to something..  sounds like a location issue. 

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What is the deepest part of the river? If the pike are more than just hammer-handles they tend to more cold water fish than we'd like to think. Find deep holes or runs with current breaks and try a Johnson Silver Minnow in the 1 1/4 oz. size. Don't' be surprised if you don't get hammered by a large catfish as well. :)

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I agree with everyone else on the location.  Maybe just try some new spots up or downriver?  For the kind of cover you are describing I would definitely look into a minnow colored Rapala X-Rap.  Maybe some smaller spooks would work well in this situation too.

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The water where I am fishing is 4 feet deep max. We had a lot of rain lately which caused all the rivers to flood, so I am trying to take advantage of the hightened water level, but if the pike are in a different location it won't matter. Thanks for the tip on the Johnson Silver minow. Completely forgot about those. I will try moving south down the river since that seems to be when it gets deeper and wider. Time to invest in a canoe. Thanks again guys, as always this forum is great!

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Couple of thoughts:

 

  1. As several people have mentioned, pike tend to go deep in warmer water, particularly bigger pike.  I'd go find deeper water.
  2. If the rivers are up and flowing hard, find off current areas and current seams, work those.  If you can find those in conjunction with deeper or cooler water, your odds will go up.
  3. Pike will eat anything that doesn't eat them forst...but try to figure out what their main food source is in your water.  Try various ways to imitate it.

Stuff to use...spoons, in-line spinners, spinner baits...pretty much anything that makes noise and/or delivers flash.  Let the fish tell you what colors they like...if something's not working, switch baits, size or color...or all three.  I suck at this...

 

Vary retrieve speed until you find what works.  Try cast & wind, pauses, jerks...whatever works...and if what you're doing isn't working...switch it up.

 

Good luck, and have fun.  Not much matches a pike in fresh water for pure savagery on the strike, and while they don't always fight hard and long, that just gets you back on the water for more action sooner.

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10 hours ago, Crestliner2008 said:

What is the deepest part of the river? If the pike are more than just hammer-handles they tend to more cold water fish than we'd like to think. Find deep holes or runs with current breaks and try a Johnson Silver Minnow in the 1 1/4 oz. size. Don't' be surprised if you don't get hammered by a large catfish as well. :)

How do you like to work those Johnson Silver Minnows ? Thanks 

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25 minutes ago, Dorado said:

How do you like to work those Johnson Silver Minnows?

I'd hang a plastic trailer on them (I used pork rind trailers when I was a kid growing up jut over the WI boarder from you), probably yellow or white...then vary my speed and try different ways to work it back until I got a hit.

 

Weedless is good, work 'em through the weed tops and aggressively along the weed edges.

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7 hours ago, Dorado said:

How do you like to work those Johnson Silver Minnows ? Thanks 

 

Cast it and let it hit the bottom. Start a slow retrieve back; just make sure it's a fast enough retrieve to give the spoon some action. I normally hang a 4" white plastic curly tailed grub on the hook. One other thing with the Johnson. Sharpen the hook before you use it. They are notorious for dull hooks. Pike have a heavily boned mouth and you'll need to really set that hook hard. Good luck!

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From the pages of In-Fisherman

 

59709611ec933_spinnerswimbaitPikekiller.jpg.d71059772565815cc9d024e6e5ba05e3.jpg

5970969ec2ed6_inlinespinnerwithswimbait.jpg.514718843b9ea826120db3ab8784edcf.jpg

 

btw - 10lb braid might be a little light for this one 

A-Jay

 

A New Option
For several years I’ve been using a swimbait body on a weighted swimbait hook behind an in-line spinner. Sized correctly, this combination is dynamite on pike. This rigging can be used in open water, away from cover; but with the hook texposed it also runs through heavy cover, including timber and brush. The weighted swimbait hook acts as a keel to keep the package running straight and as a pivot point for the swimbait body to work against.

So far as I know, nothing like this is available already rigged for commercial sale, except for the Mepps Comet Mino, which lacks a paddletail. My rig requires deconstruction of an in-line spinner and adding a swimbait on a weighted swimbait hook. Matched with the in-line spinner, smaller swimbaits can be used to achieve the same overall size of about 6 inches, which works best.

One of the first options I used was created by removing the treble hook from a Blue Fox Vibrax Musky Buck with a #5 blade, adding a 5/0 Lazer Sharp #L111 weighted swimbait hook weighing 1/4 ounce, coupling it with a 5-inch Berkley Hollow Belly Swimbait. I’ve also caught lots of fish on a bigger option, by deconstructing a Blue Fox Fluted Musky Buck (#6 blade), adding a 6/0 Gamakatsu Swimbait hook (called a Weighted Superline Spring-Lock hook) weighing 1/4 ounce, coupling it with a 6.5-inch Yum Money Minnow.

On the smaller side of things, deconstruct a Terminator Snagless In-line Spinner (#4 blade), weighing 5/8 ounce, adding a 3/0 Lazer Sharp #L111 weighted swimbait hook weighing 1/4 ounce, and coupling it with a 4-inch Berkley Hollow Belly.

So many other lures might come into play, given the circumstance. When I’m searching on reservoirs with brush I also like to use a 1/2-ounce spinnerbait. Dress it with one of the hybrid swimbait bodies like the Berkley Havoc Grass Pig to add bulk and vibration to attract bigger pike.

I’ve used this system successfully for pike across North America over the past 5 years, during early season and late.


Read more: http://www.in-fisherman.com/pike-muskie/northern-pike/lure-options-for-pike-giant-pike/#ixzz4nN3N5bpB

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4 hours ago, Crestliner2008 said:

 

Cast it and let it hit the bottom. Start a slow retrieve back; just make sure it's a fast enough retrieve to give the spoon some action. I normally hang a 4" white plastic curly tailed grub on the hook. One other thing with the Johnson. Sharpen the hook before you use it. They are notorious for dull hooks. Pike have a heavily boned mouth and you'll need to really set that hook hard. Good luck!

Excellent tips! Appreciate the feedback a lot. Tight lines

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Here's another option for your mind's turmoil. Try a 9" Sluggo Texposed on a 7/0 (or larger) off-set hook. If there's a pike anywhere around it will go after this bad boy. :)

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35 minutes ago, Crestliner2008 said:

Here's another option for your mind's turmoil. Try a 9" Sluggo Texposed on a 7/0 (or larger) off-set hook. If there's a pike anywhere around it will go after this bad boy. :)

When I was doing a couple of fly-ins to Canada every year, I tried using those big Sluggo's several times and never got a bite on one. I still have a box of them. Not one of them have any teeth marks on them. My big Rapalas on the other hand, all look like I took a shotgun to them.

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1 hour ago, Scott F said:
1 hour ago, Crestliner2008 said:

Here's another option for your mind's turmoil. Try a 9" Sluggo Texposed on a 7/0 (or larger) off-set hook. If there's a pike anywhere around it will go after this bad boy. :)

When I was doing a couple of fly-ins to Canada every year, I tried using those big Sluggo's several times and never got a bite on one. I still have a box of them. Not one of them have any teeth marks on them. My big Rapalas on the other hand, all look like I took a shotgun to them.

I had the same experience.

 

...but here's one for you:  Strike King Smokin' Rooster on a 5/0 offset worm hook. I use the Gamakatsu braid hooks or the heavy Mustad version in red

 

Tie in a long (at least 18") hunk of tieable wire leader, then Texas Rig with a 1/4 oz. or 3/8 oz. bullet sinker.  Tie the leader directly to the hook.  Swap colors until you find out what they like in your water.  Ive been successful on Watermelon red flake and Falcon lake craw in clear water; black, junebug and blue in dirty water...YMMV. 

 

I've caught hundreds of pike and musky on this rig...but don't skip the tieable leader unless you like donating hooks and baits to the fish gods.  They're gonna hit it like they hate it...

 

Here's a 40" musky that ate one.

 

 

 

 

40  inch musky.JPG

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Can't tell you how many pike I've taken out of the Ct. River system here in MA on the big Sluggos. Sorry they do not work for some of you. They certainly work for Me. I've taken some big largemouths on them as well.

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1 hour ago, Crestliner2008 said:

Can't tell you how many pike I've taken out of the Ct. River system here in MA on the big Sluggos. Sorry they do not work for some of you. They certainly work for Me. I've taken some big largemouths on them as well.

How are you working them?  I tried them like a jerkbait...no love.

 

I think there are some baits/lures that work well in one are and not in another.  I really wanted those big Sluggos to work...

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