Winter pike on surface lures
Exceptionally warm weather, similar to those in late autumn, extended our pike fishing season. Even though pike should be having slow metabolism in this time of the year and, therefore, keep up in deep water - where water is warmer and amount of oxygen is bigger - the fish is still active. Temperature of 5°C creates ideal conditions for pike's feeding and weight gaining.
Fast and cold water, together with the warm 15 degrees, activated small fish in the afternoon. Also, a couple of hungry predators have shown themselves - pike, perch and a few basses. Because of high layers of grass, attacks on small fish are possible only on the surface of the water. This can be noticed by small fish popping on the surface, together with occasional pike popping – when the fish can be seen in all of its beauty. After a few hours of Sun, pike is showing up in shallow parts of the lake. Small fish is then trying to hide, therefore showing us where to cast.
Even though the fish is active, the pike still isn't ready for chasing fast lures. Pike would sooner wait for slow prey to come closer and, therefore, to use short winter day for feeding. When the water is warmer, bait can go closer, but not during the winter - even though it is unusually warm for this part of the year.
Lure's movements should be very slow. Attack's opportunities are most frequent during short pauses (5 - 10 sec). Bait should be almost still for pike to react on it.
The selection of Pontoon21 fake baits for those kind of presentation is very large. Twitch baits are especially available, allowing us to challenge the pike with short pauses or by using twitch technique. I myself have used Pontoon21 Dexter Minnow 71S SR. It really is excellent fake bait. After only three throws, pikes came literally under my feet. One of them ended up in the mat and others made their way to the middle of lake. Other than Dexter Minnow, I also used the legendary Crack Jack, which is ideal for all kinds of guidance. With long casts, probably the longest among all lures of that type, it has shown itself as excellent for pike fishing. Miroslav Jenduka accompanied me that day in fishing. He is using brand Dragon and, mostly, metal fake baits made by Croatian manufactury Idra. The day wasn't very good for him - Pontoon21 has shown itself better than other models.
Because of high grass, located 20 - 40 cm under water surface, natural choice was to use shallow runners. In this situation, when pike is likely to be caught on the surface, Loco Perro 80DW is a perfect choice. The above mentioned lures, primarily intended for bass fishing, are extremely efficient for pike fishing. Just like Zara - very loud, efficient and suitable for long casts.
Because of the body design, the water resistance of lures is low. Loco Perro movements are natural, just like frog, mouse or snake would do on water surface. During the extraction, fake bait is always moving from left to right, therefore creating bubbles and sound which is generated by inner ball during its touching the metal cylinder parts.
It can be guided with slow tempo or with short breaks, which is efficient - because of cold water, pike is slow and attacks bait when it's moving close or above it.
They are often following the bait, which can be seen by the movement behind the bait. That is the time when one has to slow down, calm the bait and eventually turn it over - if the pike isn't reacting. After the bait turning, the fish was usually attacking.
I was using colors 821 MI Ivory Black Silver and 802 MI Flash Green. No matter the color, pike was attacking the same. Because of extremely slow presentation and also to make it more efficient, I added tail on bait's strimmer.
For Loco Perro 80DW presentation I used the rod from Gad Harrier series (10,5 - 35 gr). The rod is sufficiently sensitive for presentation and extraction of Loco Perro bait with weight of 12,2 g. Also, it is strong enough for extraction of bigger fish. During the load, the rod bends with all of its length and manages motion of the fish. The rod has great strength reserve and it is excellently balanced.
After a good start of the season - mostly because of unusually warm weather - I arranged a meeting with Hrvoje Kuzmić, so we could try some new models of lures and rods. He asked me if there was any perch, meaning to go perch fishing, and I told him there is, so we ended up in catching a little bit of everything.
He came with UL equipment, because the lake is full of small fish, mostly perch, bass and roach. However, after he saw that the pike was interested, he got back to his car to take something stronger.
I proceeded with pike fishing, but when I got bored with them, I lighted up the fire so we could bake something on switch. After a while, Mirela Grošanić joined us, probably because she smelled grilled meat and sausages. Later she proceeded fishing with her white/pink equipment. She caught nice pike, which later fell under her feet.
After a good lunch, we all proceed with fishing. I was using Loco Perro because the temperature outside was around 15 degrees, so I thought I could catch some bass. Of course, a fat one was soon following my fake bait, but with no intention in taking it. The very fish showed itself later by jumping out of water.
Apart from one attack on fake bait, the bass wasn't very interested. On the other hand, pike, perch and roach were. Hrvoje caught a few nice pike and he was thrilled with fishing and the lake.
Soon, the dark was coming, so we had to leave the beautiful lake. But not for long - we'll see each other soon, becuase we haven't caught such nice fish for a very long time.
Mirko Hanzekovic, Croatia