Jigging Up Post Cold Front Early Season Pike

Pike in backwaters and bays are the classic early season story to many pike anglers. But cold fronts, high skies and post-frontal conditions can drive pike out of the shallows to nearby deeper structure. When early season pike bail out of the shallows, jigs are a versatile presentation option for searching for pike, and getting them to bite.

Total Solutions Technique

To find early season pike that have abandoned shallow bays and backwaters, begin by searching outside these areas for the nearest access to deep water. Then use your electronics or look for shoreline visual clues to find specific structure that will hold pike. Pike seldom travel far when temporary local conditions like cold fronts hit, so the nearest significant structure will usually draw fish. Newly-emerging mid-depth cabbage weedbeds are one example of a likely location. Rock or gravel points extending from the mouths of bays can be particularly good, especially when weedgrowth hasn’t begun to develop. A lone rock point surrounded by soft bottom outside a shallow bay may hold multiple large pike. If nearby breaks into deeper water are fairly uniform, and there’s little to no additional structure nearby, pike may simply pull out of the shallows and hold on the breakline itself.

Pike on these kinds if spots aren’t always aggressive due to the adverse conditions that chased them out of the shallows in the first place. Given their mood, one of the best options for triggering bites is jigging. Jigs can be cast a long ways, helping you cover extended weed flats or breaklines, and have the combination of subtlety and triggering ability to entice turned-off pike when more aggressive presentations like spinnerbaits and spoons draw a blank. Swim them just off the bottom using a slow, steady retrieve, pausing every few turns of the reel handle to let the bait flutter downward briefly. Most hits come as the bait drops.

Total Solutions Equipment

Heavy baitcasting tackle is the rule for big early season pike. Start with a quality reel like an Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Record 5600. The 5600 Record is ideal for battling big pike. Spool it with durable, abrasion-resistant monofilament such as Berkley Big Game in the 20 to 25 pound test range, and match it with a heavy flipping stick like the 7-foot 6-inch Fenwick HMX model to present jigs to turned-off spring pike. Flipping sticks have the fast action necessary to efficiently cast mid-size jigs long distances, and more than enough backbone to handle big pike, but most importantly, are light and sensitive enough to detect subtle bites that are the norm under post cold front conditions.
Soft plastics excel for tough bite pike. Baits like the 4-inch Berkley PowerBait Minnow Grub  rigged on 3/8 to 1/2 ounce jighead is a good option. Under extremely difficult conditions, straight-tailed plastics like PowerBait Saltwater Eel and Berkley 5″ Gulp! Saltwater Jerkshadcan out produce action tailed plastics. Whatever type you use, be sure you have a steel leader made from 30 to 60 pound 7-Strand Uncoated Wire.

PowerBait Saltwater Eel

Berkley 5″ Gulp! Saltwater Jerkshad

7Strand Uncoated Wire

Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Record 5600

Fenwick HMX model 

Berkley Big Game

Berkley PowerBait Minnow Grub