Baits, Lures & Flies photo

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Photo by Ralph Smith

If you’re ready to catch bigger pike and buy fewer new lures, try these hacks.

1) Leading Off
Most pretied commercial wire leaders aren’t made for the open eye of a spinnerbait. The snap tends to slide down the lure’s shaft when you cast, causing it to roll on its side during the retrieve. To thwart pike teeth and keep the bait running true, I pretie 18-inch lengths of 40-pound fluorocarbon directly to my spinners, and then add a small barrel swivel to the tag ends. It makes lure swaps super fast.

2) Just a Pinch
With a forest of teeth, a layer of slime, and a habit of thrashing, pike are difficult, not to mention downright dangerous, to unhook. And twisting your spinnerbait free can bend it out of tune. So make the job easier by pinching down the barb with needle-nose pliers before your first cast—which will help you drive that hook home in the first place. Jaw spreaders make unhooking even less of a hassle.

3) Trail Blazing
Adding a soft-plastic trailer to your spinnerbait helps fill out the bait’s profile and increases the amount of vibration the lure puts out. And the stronger the vibe, the more your bait mimics a struggling forage species. Also, giving pike a chunk of soft plastic to clamp down on prevents the skirt from shredding so quickly. My go-to spinnerbait trailers are twister tails, lizards, and paddle tails.

4) Slow it Down
Spinnerbaits are highly versatile; they can be buzzed atop weedbeds or slow-rolled over wood bottoms. But generally speaking, you’ll catch more pike with a slower retrieve, which gives these ambush predators a little more time to lock onto the target before they lunge from the cover to strike. The result will be fewer misses and more solid hookups.