No plan for a good catch is better than encountering an actively hunting northern pike. In this article, you’ll learn how to easily find such one.
Tip 1 – When you know the pike is on the hunt
Roach or minnows are the top prey for the pike in many bodies of water. It seems that the pike’s hunting strategy is very well adapted to this prey.
If you understand this strategy, you can increase your catches by using a better casting technique for your pike bait. Roach and minnows stay often close to the shore, above and inside vegetation. They can also be found in areas devoid of vegetation.
Regardless of structure
Before getting more specific, let’s note a few generalities that apply to most roach. Roach have a streamlined body, which gives them speed. They take flight speedily as soon as a predator gets too close. In records it was observed that roach from resting position covered a distance of 2 meters in one second.
That’s quite a statement. One can hardly imagine how the much bigger pike manages to accelerate its thick body to the attack equally fast.
Bubbling at the surface
The defense of roach against the attacks of a predator is very often schooling. Roach or minnows often flee towards the surface in the shore area. No plants hinder their schooling.
If a predator attacks the shoal directly, the shoal splits in two and comes together again immediately behind the predator. In the renewed schooling they are so good that only very few fish are singled out.
The pike lacks the element of surprise for the next attack, but this will not stop some pike from launching a second attack depending on the situation.
Tip: This article is an excerpt from the ultimate hotspot book for pike “Finding Fish – The Smart Way – The Pike“.
There are only a few scientific studies on this direct escape behavior but in these it could be shown, the water surface has a magical attraction for the roach in case of danger.
Thereby they swim partly directly on the surface waterline.
Exactly why this behavior serves as a defense is not known. It is assumed that the swimming speed can be increased again if a part of the body peeks out of the water, or that medium-sized predators avoid hunting close to the surface in order not to end up as prey for birds or animals themselves.
If fast fleeing whitefish are left with no other means of escape, they use a jump out of the water to escape their attackers.
Several successive jumps of individual roach or minnows have been demonstrated in various experiments.
And another important thing: jumping out of the water was not observed without the presence of a predator!
So we see bubbling at the surface in this situation. Admittedly, the post image is a bit exaggerated but worth a grin.
So if we are out on the water and catch sight of roach seemingly bobbing playfully out of the water, we now know what is probably really going on.
We can safely assume that
1. there is a predator immediately below,
2. that it is actively hunting.
These are the two factors we have been waiting for. A better sign for a great fishing day we will hardly find.
When we see this behavior on the water surface, we need to be quick. It is the right time and the right place to cast your bait in a productive way.
The predator(s) are now near the surface and eager to bite. So our bait should imitate whitefish and be shallow to guide. We can also use whitefish poppers now.
How much time do we have?
Not much! We remember that the pike chases 1-3 prey fish only before it stops eating again. But for this he needs several attacks, because not each and every one will be successful. We will probably have only a few minutes to catch a big pike before this chance will be over. As long as the surface is bubbling, we have time to get out our fishing rod and cast.
This brings us to the end of our article about how to catch a pike. If you have any questions, additions or comments, please let us know – we are looking forward to your feedback. Here you can find more tips on pike fishing. Or have a look at the fish finder reviews in our extensive fish finder test (including the newest models of all important fish finder manufacturers like Garmin, Lowrance, Humminbird or Raymarine). Have fun on your next fishing trip and “Petri Heil”! – Martin and Jens.