Fishing the Salad for Northern Pike

Northern Pike love weeds, especially in early summer before water temps start climbing and they begin looking for cooler water in deeper haunts. It might be a weedy bay or a large weed bed on a main lake flat. The weeds provide cover and good ambush points for the Pike to indulge their predator instincts. In the Pike’s US range, this window may only last a few weeks to a month, or in the Canadian wildernesses popular among Pike chasers it may last most of the open water season. Either way, weeds can be the main ingredient for a successful Pike fishing trip, provided you have the right tools for fishing through the salad.

Total Solutions Technique

When targeting Pike in weeds, its important to consider that not all weeds are created equal. The best Pike fishing will typically be in areas where the weeds offer good depth (4 to 10 feet is an optimum range), plenty of forage opportunities and just the right amount of weed cover. Typically, the sparser, newly emerging type weed beds are the best as these provide an excellent environment for the Pike to forage in. If the weeds are real thick, the advantage goes to the prey and the Pike won’t utilize these areas as readily.

In order to be a successful at fishing Pike in weeds, you must use lures that draw attention to themselves and can be worked through weeds with a minimum of hang-ups. Two of the most effective style baits will be weedless spoons and spinnerbaits.

Spinnerbaits are ideal as “search tools” because they can be worked quickly through sparser vegetation and along weed edges to trigger strikes. A weedless spoon is usually better when a slower, more seductive presentation is in order or as a good follow-up lure when a fish is missed on a spinnerbait. The spoon can also be dropped or fluttered into pockets in the weeds for less aggressive pike.

If you want to catch Pike in the weeds, these are two styles of baits you won’t want to be on the water without.

Total Solutions Equipment

Match your tackle to the size you’re likely to encounter on the body of water you’re fishing. For instance, if you’re fishing a lake where the Pike average from small to medium sized, then a good all around outfit that I’ve come to love for casting is a 7 foot 6 inch Berkley® HMG® Casting teamed with a good quality high-speed bait cast reel spooled with 50 pound test Berkley Gorilla Tough. This set up is plenty for hauling respectable fish out of the weeds, and can even handle some real brutes when the situation arises. Although if you’re on a true trophy lake and after that monster pike of a lifetime, then I might suggest going to muskie-class tackle and a little heavier line like 80 pound test Stren Braid or 100 pound test Spiderwire Ultracast, just to be safe. And I always use a leader made of Berkley’s Sevenstrand Uncoated Wire when fishing these toothy critters.
When it comes to weedless spoons there’s just nothing better than the Johnson Silver Minnow. The ½ ounce size is probably my favorite, but I always keep a few ¼ ounce and ¾ ounce versions handy. Traditional Silver and Gold colors are must-haves in my book, but Firetiger is also very productive at times, especially when the forage base consists mainly of Perch and/or Bluegills. I also always add a little extra action and attraction to my Silver Minnows by threading on a 2 inch GULP! Minnow Grub on the hook.

Spiderwire® Ultracast™ 125 YD Spools

Johnson® Silver Minnow® 1/2 oz.

Berkley® 2″ GULP!® Minnow Grub

Berkley® Gorilla™ Tough 125 Yd. Spools