Monday, May 08, 2006

Drift fishing for northern pike

Good northern pike fishing along weeb beds on the St. Lawrence river in upsate New York can produce some fine pike.Drifting is my favorite way to catch pike along the weed beds.Use shiners with a small sinker drifting along the weed beds.
All fish are predators, but northern pike come dressed for the part: needle teeth, vacant eyes, thick slime, serpentine shape. Their primeval morphology has changed little in 60 million years. Pike belong to the northern wilderness, where they remain most common. But stocking has extended their range south. If your state has predictable ice cover, chances are you have a northern pike lake nearby.Early in the season, use a shallow runner. As waters warm up, go to a crankbait or a soft-plastic swimbait that runs in the 10-foot range. You’ve got plenty to choose from here: the Rapala Original or Shad Rap, Rebel Minnow, Rattlin’ Rogue, C.C. Shad, Bomber Model A, Mann’s 1-Minus, and the Storm WildEye Swim Shad.
Draw a spinnerbait past sprouting weeds and stop the retrieve for a three count just as the bait approaches a possible hideout. Add a twist-tail or rubber-worm trailer for action and color contrast. Models abound. If I had to use only one pike lure, it would be a white spinnerbait with a trailer. If the water is at all off-color, try a bait with a chartreuse skirt.
Some anglers believe that “nervous” baitfish such as shiners are better than chubs and suckers as pike baits, but the minnow’s accessibility to fish is more important than its species. That’s why proper rigging is key.
Drift Rig
Cover long sections of definable structures such as weed edges, dropoffs, or shorelines. A 6-inch minnow hooked through the lips with a size 1 hook is about right. Match the sinker weight to the speed of the drift and the depth, starting with a single light split shot and adding until you hit bottom—or fish. When you get a bite, drop the rod tip, open the bail, give a 10 count, reel in slack, and set the hook. You may need to allow extra time with bigger baits, but if you wait too long, the fish will either swallow the hook or feel the sinker catch in the grass as it runs and will drop the bait.
I like to drift along weed beds in the St Lawrence river,using a deph finder to locate the weed bank and drift the boat along side the bed.I like to use shiners and a small sinker with a small wire leader to keep the pike from biting through the line.

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