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Fishing for Pike - How to fish for Pike

How to fish for Pike

The mighty luce or pike, says Walton, is taken to be the tyrant, as the salmon is the king, of the fresh waters. His aspect is savage but by no means repulsive, and when in fine condition a large pike is altogether a grand-looking fish.
His teeth are very sharp and very numerous, being upwards of seven hundred, and his voracious appetite is such that nothing comes amiss to him.
He has been known to swallow the plummet, and the clay and bran balls of ground bait of the angler, and he will prey upon “rats and mice and such small deer,” with ducks, geese, and even swans, which he has been known to pull under water.
He often grows to an enormous size (no wonder), and has been taken upwards of ninety pounds in weight.

Pike are fond of dull, shady, and unfrequented waters, with a sandy, chalky, or clayey bottom, and are found among or near flags, bulrushes, or water docks.
They seldom seek a very rapid stream, although weirs and mill-pools are often their favorite retreat in the early summer months—that is, in June and July, when they have recently spawned.
In winter they retire into the depths, eddies, and waters little acted upon by the current.


The pike is in its prime during October and November, but is in season from June to February; the baits used for it are gudgeon, minnows, chub, and bleak, and should be about three or four inches in length.
The rod should be strong; the line of dressed silk, at least sixty yards long, wound upon the winch already described.
Hooks for trolling, called dead gorges, and other sorts for trolling, snap, &c. and fishing needles, are to be bought at every shop where fishing tackle is sold; in the choice of the first, let them not be too large, nor their temper injured by the lead on the shanks, nor the points stand too proud; and although usually sold on wire, it is recommended to cut off the wire about half an inch from the lead, and with a double silk, well waxed, fasten about a foot of good gimp to the wire, with a noose at the other end of the gimp large enough to admit the bait to pass through to hang it upon the line.

The best baits are gudgeon and dace of a middling size; put the baiting needle in at the mouth and out at the middle of the tail, drawing the gimp and hook after it, fixing the point of the hook near the eye of the fish; tie the tail to the gimp, which will not only keep it in a proper position, but prevent the tail from catching against the weeds and roots in the water.
Thus baited, the hook is to be fastened to the line and dropped gently in the water near the sides of the river, across the water, or where it is likely pike resort; keep the bait in constant motion, sometimes letting it sink near the bottom and gradually raising it.
When the bait is taken, let the pike have what line he chooses. It will be soon known when he has reached his hole, which he generally flies to, by his not drawing more.
Allow him ten minutes for gorging the bait, wind up the line gently till you think it is nearly at its stretch, and then strike. Manage him with a gentle hand, keeping him, however, from roots and stumps, which he will try to fasten the line upon, till he is sufficiently tired, and a landing net can be used; but by no means, however apparently exhausted he may be, attempt to lift him out with the rod and line only.

Use of the baiting needle

In trolling, the bait hook should never be thrown too far; in small rivers the opposite bank may be fished with ease, though the violence of its falls upon the water in long throws soon spoils the bait by rubbing off its scales. In angling for pike always prefer a rough wind. If a pike goes slowly up a stream, after taking the bait, it is said to be the sign of a good fish.

Excerpt from the book:
With more than Six Hundred Illustrations

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