Unlock the Secrets of Northern Pike Fishing in Deep Water and Land Your Trophy Catch Today!
Northern pike is among the most exciting fish to catch, and the thrill of the chase only intensifies when targeting them in deep water. Pike is known for their aggression, speed, and powerful strikes, which makes them a popular target among anglers. However, fishing for northern pike in deep water requires a different approach than fishing in shallower waters. In this article, we’ll look at some tactics and techniques to help you target northern pike in deep water, including recommended baits and presentation techniques.

Before diving into the specifics, let’s take a moment to understand what “deep water is.” Generally, when we talk about deep water for northern pike, we’re referring to depths of 15 feet or more. Pike is a predatory fish, and they tend to inhabit areas with plenty of cover and structure, such as weed beds, drop-offs, and rocky points. Therefore, when targeting pike in deep water, you’ll want to focus on these areas with a few modifications to your approach.

Tactic #1: Use Vertical Jigging Techniques

One of the most effective ways to target northern pike in deep water is using vertical jigging techniques. Vertical jigging involves dropping a heavy jig to the bottom and bouncing it up and down to imitate a wounded baitfish. This technique can be very effective for targeting pike in deep water because it allows you to cover water quickly and get your bait down to where the fish are holding.

When selecting a jig for a pike, you’ll want to choose one heavy enough to get to the bottom quickly and stay there, even in strong currents. A ¾- to 1-ounce jig is usually a good starting point. You’ll also want to choose a jig with a large hook and a profile that mimics the baitfish that pike are feeding on in the area.

When using a vertical jigging technique, keeping your line tight and your rod tip moving up and down in a rhythmic motion is essential. The rhythmic motion will help you feel the subtle strikes that pike are known for and set the hook quickly. You’ll also want to vary your retrieve speed and the length of your pauses to see what the fish respond to.

Tactic #2: Try Trolling with Crankbaits

Another effective technique for targeting northern pike in deep water is trolling with crankbaits. Trolling involves dragging a lure behind your boat slowly and steadily, covering a lot of water in the process. When trolling for pike, you’ll want to use crankbaits that dive deep enough to reach the fish holding in the depths.

When selecting a crankbait for pike, you’ll want to choose one with a wide wobble and a large profile that mimics the baitfish in the area. Colors that imitate perch, shad, or other common pike prey are usually good choices. You’ll also want to choose a crankbait that dives to the depth where the fish are holding. A depth finder can be beneficial in determining the depth of the fish.

When trolling for pike, it’s crucial to maintain a slow and steady speed. You’ll also want to vary your trolling patterns by changing your speed, the direction of your troll, and the depth at which you’re fishing. This will help you locate the fish and determine what they’re feeding on.

Tactic #3: Use Live Bait Rigs

When all else fails, live bait rigs can be an excellent option for targeting northern pike in deep water. Live bait rigs are simple setups that allow you to present live bait to the fish naturally and enticingly. However, when using live bait rigs for pike, there are a few things to remember.

First, you’ll want to choose the right bait. Standard live baits for pike include minnows, chubs, and suckers. Next, you’ll want to choose a bait that is large enough to entice the fish but not so large that it will be difficult to swallow. Finally, you’ll also want to select a live bait that can swim freely, making it more enticing to the fish.

Next, you’ll want to rig your live bait properly. One typical rig for live bait is the slip sinker rig. This rig allows your bait to swim freely while still being able to feel the weight of the sinker. To rig a slip sinker rig, thread your line through a slip sinker, tie on a swivel, and then tie on a leader with a hook at the end. Attach your live bait to the hook, then adjust the slip sinker to rest about a foot above the hook.

Fishing the bait at the proper depth is important when using live bait rigs for pike. Pike are often found in deeper water, so you’ll want to adjust the weight of your sinker to get your bait down to the depth where the fish are holding. You’ll also want to be patient and let the fish take the bait before setting the hook.

Tactic #4: Try Drop Shotting

Drop shotting is a finesse technique that effectively targets northern pike in deep water. Drop shotting involves rigging a soft plastic bait on a hook above a weight, allowing the bait to “float” above the bottom. This technique can be effective for targeting pike that are suspended off the bottom in deep water.

To set up a drop shot rig, tie a hook to your line, leaving a long tag end. Tie a weight to the tag end of the line, about 12-18 inches below the hook. Thread a soft plastic bait onto the hook, then adjust the weight, so the bait is suspended just above the bottom.

When drop-shotting for pike, keeping your line tight and your rod tip up is important. This will help you feel the subtle strikes that pike are known for and set the hook quickly. You’ll also want to vary your retrieve speed and the length of your pauses to see what the fish respond to.

Recommended Baits for Northern Pike in Deep Water

Choosing the right bait is important when targeting northern pike in deep water. Here are a few baits that are known to be effective for pike in deep water:

  1. Jigs: As mentioned earlier, vertical jigging can effectively target pike in deep water. Jigs with an extensive profile and real action are usually the most effective. Colors that imitate baitfish, such as white, chartreuse, and silver, are good choices.
  2. Crankbaits: Crankbaits that dive to the depth where the fish are holding can be very effective for trolling for pike in deep water. Large, wide-wobbling crankbaits in natural colors are usually the most effective.
  3. Live bait: Live baits, such as minnows, chubs, and suckers, can be very effective for targeting pike in deep water. When using live bait, it’s crucial to rig it properly and fish it at the correct depth.
  4. Soft plastics: Soft plastic baits, such as worms, grubs, and creature baits, can be very effective for drop shotting for pike in deep water. Natural colors like green, pumpkin, and brown are usually the most effective.
  5. Spinnerbaits: Spinnerbaits can be very effective for pike in deep water, especially when trolled at the correct depth. Choose a large spinnerbait with a slow retrieve and a natural color.

Presentation Techniques for Northern Pike in Deep Water

Once you’ve chosen your bait, using the proper presentation technique is important to entice the fish. Here are a few presentation techniques that are effective for targeting northern pike in deep water:

  1. Vertical Jigging: As mentioned earlier, vertical jigging can effectively target pike in deep water. To jig for pike, drop your jig down to the depth where the fish are holding, then jig it up and down with sharp, erratic movements.
  2.  Trolling: Trolling with crankbaits and spinnerbaits can effectively target pike in deep water. Use a slow retrieve and vary your speed and depth until you find what the fish are responding to.
  3. Live Bait Rigging: Fishing the bait at the correct depth is essential when using live bait rigs for pike. Adjust the weight of your sinker to get your bait down to the depth where the fish are holding, and then be patient and let the fish take the bait before setting the hook.
  4. Drop Shotting: Drop shotting can effectively target pike suspended off the bottom in deep water. Vary your retrieve speed and the length of your pauses to see what the fish are responding to.
  5. Casting: Casting can effectively target pike in shallow areas adjacent to deep water. Use a large bait, such as a spinnerbait or crankbait, and work it slowly along drop-offs and weed lines.

Conclusion

Northern pike fishing in deep water can be a challenging but rewarding experience for anglers. You can increase your chances of landing a trophy pike with the right tactics and techniques. Remember to choose the right bait, use the proper presentation technique, and be patient and persistent. You might catch the fish of a lifetime with some luck and skill.

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