Pike Tube Fly Fishing
Pike Tube Fishing - Create your own Tube Flies, Spin Flies or use Spinners or Flying C's with Tubeology Complete set or Tubes flies only with Tubeology Fly Tyers Set
Pike or Jackfish
Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)
Native American Range
The northern pike (known as the pike in Britain, sometimes known as jack / jackfish in Canada), Esox lucius, is a species of carnivorous fish of the genus Esox (the pikes). They are typical of brackish and freshwaters of the northern hemisphere (i.e. holarctic in distribution).
Northern pike are most often olive, shading into yellow to white along the belly. The flank is marked with short, light bar-like spots and there are a few to many dark spots on the fins. The lower half of the gill cover lacks scales and they have large sensory pores on their head and on the underside of the lower jaw which are part of the lateral line system. Unlike the similar-looking and closely related muskellunge, the northern pike has light markings on a dark body background and fewer than six sensory pores on the underside of each side of the lower jaw.
A hybrid between northern pike and muskellunge is known as a Tiger Muskellunge(Esox masquinongy x lucius or Esox lucius x masquinongy, depending on the gender of each of the contributing species). In the hybrids, the males are invariably sterile as well are the females. Another form of northern pike, the silver pike, is not a subspecies but rather a mutation that occurs in scattered populations. Silver pike, sometimes called silver muskellunge, lack the rows of spots and appear silver, white, or silvery-blue in color.
Length and Weight
Pike grow to a relatively large size; lengths of 150 centimetres (59 in) and weights of 25 kilograms (55 lb) are not unheard of. The heaviest specimen known so far was caught in an abandoned stone quarry, in Germany, in 1983. She (the majority of all pikes over 8 kg or 18 lb are females) was 147 cm (58 in) long and weighed 31 kg (67 lb). The longest pike ever recorded was 152 cm (60 in) long and weighed 28 kg (61 lb). Historic reports of giant pike, caught in nets in Ireland in the late 1800s, of 41 to 42 kg (89 to 92 lb), were researched by Fred Buller and published in "The Doomsday Book of Mammoth Pike". The British Isles have not managed to produce much in the way of giant pike in the last 50 years and as a result there is substantial doubt surrounding those earlier claims. Currently, the IGFA recognizes a 26 kg (55 lb) pike caught by Lothar Louis in Lake of Grefeern, Germany, on 16 October 1986 as the all-tackle world record northern pike. Northern pike in North America seldom reach the size of their European counterparts; one of the largest specimens known was a 21 kg (46 lb 2 oz) specimen from New York state. It was caught in Great Sacandaga Lake on 15 September 1940 by Peter Dubuc. There are reports of far larger pike, but these are either misidentifications of the pike's larger relative the muskellunge, or simply have not been properly documented and belong in the realm of legend.
Pike are found in sluggish streams and shallow, weedy places in lakes, as well as in cold, clear, rocky waters. Pike are typical ambush predators; they lie in wait for prey, holding perfectly still for long periods and then exhibit remarkable acceleration as they strike. The fish has a distinctive habit of catching its prey sideways in the mouth, killing or immobilising it with its sharp teeth, and then turning the prey headfirst to swallow it. It eats mainly fish, but on occasion water voles and ducklings have also been known to fall prey to pike. Pike will aggressively strike at any fish in the vicinity, even at other pike. Young pike have been found dead from choking on a pike of a similar size, an observation referred to by the renowned English poet Ted Hughes in his poem 'Pike'. Northern pike also feed on frogs, insects and leeches. It has often been suggested that pike optimally forage on prey that are from 25 to 35% of their body length.
Pike angling is becoming an increasingly popular pastime in the UK and Europe. Effective methods for catching this hard fighting fish include dead baits, lure fishing, and jerk baiting. They are prized as game fish for their determined fighting and have been food fish since ancient times.
Lake fishing for pike from the shore is especially effective during springtime, at which stage the big pike move into the shallows to spawn in weedy areas, and later many remain there to feed on other spawning coarse fish species to regain their condition after spawning. Smaller jack pike often remain in the shallows for their own protection, and for the small fish food available there. For the hot summer period and during non-active phases the larger female pike tend to retire to deeper water and/or places of better cover. This gives the boat angler good fishing during the summer and winter seasons. Trolling (towing a fairy or bait behind a moving boat) is a popular technique.
The use of float tubes have become a very popular way of fishing for pike on small to medium size stillwaters. Fly fishing for pike is another recently developing way of catching these fish, and the float tube is now recognized as an especially suitable water craft for pike fly-fishing. Pike tend to follow the streamer often and best thing to do then is stop the retrieve and let the streamer suspend or sink to the bottom slowly. For practical purposes very slow sinking fly lines and streamers with neutral buoyancy which remain horizontal in the water when stopped are very effective. The use of rabbit fur for a tail makes the streamer look lively even when it is not moving.
In recent decades more and more pike are released back to the water after catching (catch and release). But they can easily be damaged when handled. Handling those fish with dry hands can easily damage their mucous covered skin and possibly lead to their death from infections.
Since they have very sharp and numerous teeth, care is required in unhooking a pike. It is recommended that barbless trebles are used when angling for this species as it simplifies dehooking. This is undertaken using long forceps, with 30 cm (12 in) artery clamps the ideal tool. When holding the pike from below on the lower jaw, it will open its mouth. The pike should be kept out of the water for the minimum amount of time possible, and should be given extra time to recover if being weighed and photographed before release.
In Finland, catching a kymppihauki, a pike weighing at least 10 kilograms (22 lb), is considered the qualification as a master fisherman.
Many countries have banned the use of live fish for bait, but it is also possible to catch the pike with dead fish which they locate with smell. For this technique, often fat sea fish like herring, sardines and mackerel are used. This is a particularly good method for catching really big and well fed pike in the colder season. Compared to other fish like the eel the pike does not have a good sense of smell, but still it is more than adequate to find the baitfish. Baitfish can be used as ground bait, but also below a float carried by the wind. This method is often used in wintertime and best done in lakes near schools of preyfish or at the deeper parts of shallow water bodies, where pike and preyfish tend to gather in great numbers.
Pike make use of the lateral line system to follow the vortexes produced by the perceived prey, and the whirling movement of the spinner is a good way to create these. Jerkbaits are also really effective and can produce spectacular bites with pike attacking these erratic moving lures at full speed. For trolling, big plugs or softbaits can be used. Most fishermen tend to use small lures but often that is not advisable because pike have a preference for large prey. When fishing in shallow water for smaller pike, lighter and smaller lures are frequently used.