There is little arguing the violence and fight anglers appreciate when fishing northern pike! They are one of the most aggressive fish that swims and are unwavering in their attitude as Kings and Queens of the water. Tackle manufacturers understand the “lure” of targeting northern pike and do a great job of hooking anglers who choose to target pike. They custom-make pike lures, that is, develop lures designed specifically for pike.
ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades) is the world’s largest sport fishing trade show where everything fishing converges for a few days in July to do business, to market, to showcase that which is new. There are two categories that would be interesting to pike anglers. They are best in show soft bait and hard bait. This is where tackle manufacturers put their best new lures forward with respect to these two of many categories. Here are some of the more recent Best In Show baits that could be considered deadly for northern pike.
Kopper’s Live Target Bait Ball
Kopper’s Live Target has consistently produced baits that actually look like what they are supposed to represent – seems like a simple concept in lure manufacturing, literally matching, in plastic and color what fish eat in the wild world. Well Kopper’s has taken this concept on giant step further with their Bait Ball line of lures for predatory fish. Designing a single lure to emulate a tightly packed school of baitfish seems like the next logical innovation. Pike will attack single fish as well as attempt to slash at a school of baitfish, this school of fish in a single lure must only cause pike to drool! Very interesting idea. The concept comes in a variety of bait styles such as a rattle bait, as seen above, as well as jerkbaits, crankbaits and suspending minnow baits.
Spro BBZ-1 Rat
High protein for any predator? – swimming mammals. Be they squirrels, chipmunks, baby beavers or even a rat, northern pike will take well advantage of a hearty meal, especially with a terrestrial animal which isn’t exactly comfortable in the water. The jointed style of this rat body accompanied by the shallow plastic lip under its chin allows for anglers to exaggerate the swimming motion of a rodent causing jarring movements from left to right. The lip also allows for a slight nosedive of the rat looking more and more like its struggling in the water. The realistic (with replacement) articulated tail only adds to the deliciousness of this pike topwater bait.
LIVETARGET Hollow Body Sunfish
Back to Kopper’s Livetarget lures for 2015. This is the epitome of the company’s ability to match baitfish with what pike would eat in the wild. The natural colors of this hollowbody sunfish will bring in the pike, and the hook placement design will add an erratic swimming motion that will seal the deal for that ultimate strike. Hollowbody baits will allow pike to hold onto the bait a little longer than they may with a wooden bait and the natural sway of the tail upon retrieve will definitely not give this bait’s motives away.
Savage Gear 3D Suicide Duck
Springtime is the right time for shallow water stalking of northern pike – right after the spawn. The fish will be looking for easy, high protein meals to help recover from the events weeks prior. Shortly after the spawn is over, we often see the emergence of cute, fluffy baby ducklings. Following their mother around, sometimes one gets left behind a little. This is Savage Gear’s idea with the 3D Suicide Duck. The lonely duckling may play on the heartstrings, however for northern pike anglers, it represents the opportunity to dance with large predatory northern pike on the prowl. Hook placement on the duck is mirrored by the flailing feet upon retrieval as well as adds a “nose up” action to the duckling that imitates a duckling trying to return to its mother.
Okuma Fishing Tackle Corp.
Savage Gear 3D Topwater Bat
It’s all about the commotion and this topwater bait by Savage Gear has that in spades. Fished as erratically as possible, with well-placed pauses, this bat bait is yet another example of high protein examples of food sources for northern pike. They are easy prey, and pike will not have to exert much energy in scarfing these big baits down.
Over the past five years, we have seen incredibly lifelike innovations in lures and baits for predatory fish such as northern pike. Each year, it seems the baits get more realistic, cutting edge and frankly a little more and more “out there”! 2018 should be another wild year for predatory baits. Watch out northern pike! If not anything, the bait and lure game sure is fun!