When large lures are essential
A question I am often asked is with regard to lure size for pike. After all, Rapala offer a wide range of sizes, and less experienced anglers can be confused when faced with making a choice.
I could dismiss this very simply and say that pike will often take lures of any size unless circumstances are such that they become choosy. At some times of year for example, often in warmer conditions, they prefer larger baits and in cold water conditions, smaller lures often score better. As I said though, you need to keep a very open mind about this and offer a selection of sizes and see what works best.
There are times though when I will mostly use larger lures. This is not for the benefit of catching more pike, but because of my concern for the pike’s welfare. In high water temperatures, and I am thinking about those above approx 13/14 degrees Centigrade, the pike has a very voracious appetite, and has the capacity and intent to swallow food as quickly as possible. Deadbaits and livebaits disappear in a flash and unhooking problems can occur. The same applies with lures, although to a lesser extent as the strike is made very quickly after the lure is grabbed. Nevertheless, there will be times when even lures are inhaled deeply.
Here is the reason for this article. The larger the lure you are using, the less likely it will be taken down deeply. My first illustration shows a pike that has taken a 6cm BX Jointed Shad quite a way back in it’s mouth. An experienced lure angler will find it’s removal to be no problem, at other times, even skilled anglers can be faced with more difficult unhooking situations. My way around this is to use larger lures at times when the pike are behaving in this way.
What do I mean by large? Well, if you use lures of 13cm or longer, a Floating Magnum14 or Super Shad Rap for example, you stand a better chance of the pike ‘grabbing’ the lure rather than swallowing it. Rapala supply lures much longer than this, such as the 18cm CountDown Magnum or larger X-Rap Magnum. When very big pike are possible, you would do well to consider their use at any time.
Unhooking lure caught pike will never be all that easy, but you can take measures, as I have described, to make your life easier and more importantly, benefit the welfare of the pike you catch. May I also remind you that a good pair of unhooking pliers makes the job of removing lures so much easier as you can get a firmer grip on the hooks (see Rapala Pliers).
Lure fishing in milder weather conditions can be very productive. Follow my advice and use larger lures at this time, it can make the fishing more productive and also a lot more enjoyable by making unhooking simpler.
This article was written when Mick was working with the Rapala and Storm brands. Technical details may change so check out their websites for latest information.