Species of UK
Description, baits and methods of fishing for Pike
Common name: Pike
Current UK Rod Caught Coarse Fish Record
PIKE (Esox lucius) 46lb 13oz 1992 R Lewis, Llandegfedd, Wales
Description and habitat of Pike:
Pike have been around for quite some time and in 1980 a 62 million year old fossilised skeleton of Esox was discovered in Canada. There was also fossilised remains found in the Cromer Forest beds in Norfolk, Britain. These were found to be approximately half a million years old and have been identified as Esox lucius, the same species that is to be found here in Britain today.
(thanks to Stuart from Norfolk for this info)
Pike are unmistakable with its distinguished striped or spotted pattern body, large broad head, flattened snout and huge mouth full of sharp, backward facing teeth. Its long torpedo shaped camouflaged body which is built for speed, and its dorsal and anal fins are set far back, much further than most other fish. Pike will eat most other species of fish and almost anything that moves in or on the water. Larger pike will even eat smaller pike. Pike inhabit nearly all types of waters,
preferring those waters that are still or slow moving.
Fishing Methods for catching Pike:
A variety of methods can be used when fishing for pike including spinning with lures, live baiting and dead baiting.
A favourite method with most pike anglers is legering with a dead bait.
Fishing for pike requires fishing tackle similar to carp fishing. A powerful rod and strong line, with the addition of a wire trace. A good rod for pike fishing should have a test curve of 2.5lb or more. Wire traces are essential when fishing for pike because they have very sharp teeth and would almost certainly bite through ordinary line! Main line needs to be around 15lb with a wire trace of 30lb and 12 to 18 inches in length. The swivel on the trace to tie your line to wants to be
of good quality or it may break. Hooks are usually treble or double. Personally I prefer the use of barbless hooks. If you are using barbed hooks, consider crushing the barbs. This will aid in the removal of the hook and also less damage to the pike.
Other essential fishing tackle required for pike fishing is:-
A large weigh sling and unhooking mat, a large landing net of 3ft or more, a pair of long handled forceps for unhooking the pike and a strong pair of side cutters. If the pike is deep hooked or you have difficulty in removing a treble hook it might be better for the pike if you use a pair of side cutters to cut the hook up and remove it in two or more pieces.
Baits for catching Pike:
There are three types of bait which are used regularly for pike fishing;
live baits, deadbaits and lures.
A live fish is the natural food of pike so it makes sense that it will also make a good bait but
remember, Livebaits must only be used on the water they have been caught from.
A deadbait can be a freshwater fish or sea fish. Favourites on the list include Mackerel, Roach, Trout, Herring, Smelt, Sardine.
Eels have been used as bait and considered good but I think it will now be illegal to use them because:-
Eels are in decline and are listed as endangered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Read more here. There is a link at bottom of the page to the environment-agency website for full info.
Artificial lures can be used to catch pike and there must be hundreds of types, sizes and colours.
Always check the fishery rules before fishing to ensure that the baits you intend to use are allowed.
The lakes in Ireland are a Mecca for pike anglers from all over Europe. When I have been fishing for roach in Ireland, many times I have been playing a fish only to have a pike grab it.
Pike make good eating (so I am told, never having tried it) but before you remove a pike from any water make sure you are not breaking any laws. Some waters prohibit the removal of pike totally and others only allow one pike of a certain size or weight to be taken on any one day.