Wild Northerner Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 68

can set the hook immediately and not gut hook the fish, and either run it below a big float or cast and retrieve the minnow slowly. I prefer a float.

If you are chasing big pike, bring the proper gear to handle such fish. Baitcasting gear, or heavy spinning gear, is a must. I prefer a minimum of 30-lb braid with a 60-lb fluorocarbon leader to handle big pike. Be sure to pack a net large enough for the fish you are targeting and good hook removal gear. Jaw spreaders are mighty handy, long pliers are required, and some snips to cut away deeply imbedded hooks aren't a bad idea either.

If it is a true giant you are after - a 40-inch fish is considered a true trophy anywhere you go - do a bit of research to be sure that pike that size live in the waters you choose to ply.

Pike are classified as a cool water fish, and it is rare that trophy sized northerns are caught once the warmer weather arrives. While smaller pike will inhabit shallow weeds and breaklines, big fish will be much deeper and spread out and more difficult to catch, making spring the ultimate time to land that fish of a lifetime.

Early spring offers a window where big pike are shallow and concentrated in predictable locations offering anglers the best opportunity to land that fish of a lifetime without emptying their bank accounts. So if a trophy pike is on your bucket list, get on the water the moment the ice leaves and start your search.