Scientific name: Esox Lucius
Pike love shallow, clear, still, big and not to warm waters with a good crop of weed and preferably some deeper cool water nearby, especially if the shallow water warms to over 20°C in summer. The big pike particularly like to retreat to cooler places when the shallows warm up too much. The water can be of slight salinity, like for instance the brackish parts of the Baltic Ocean. You will also find pike in waters which are not as ideal as described, like the good stock in the polders of Northern Holland, which only meet about 4 of the mentioned conditions (shallow, calm, temperature, plants). This is of course also due to the strict C&R there.
Pike like to ambush their prey. For doing that they find a place, where they have enough cover to start a surprise attack. That can be 'classical' structure, easily identified by the angler like: landing stages, sunk trees, reed edges, pond lilies, anchored boats, bridge piers, drop offs, boulders. But also hiding places not so easily discovered from above the surface, like weed beds or islands, furrows in the ground, or really any larger obstacle in the water. Big pike in deep, clear lakes tend to live pelagic (suspended) and follow the shoals of feeder fish (whitefish), which they probably attack from beneath. The pike, like all ambushing predators, ideally tries to lie in the shade with the sun in its back. Pike are usually described as lone wolfs, but when the population is dense, they are often found in small, more or less compact groups. There could be ten standing in a small bay in the reeds or a point in the bulrush line or even more in a large weed bed, while other parts of the water, looking quite similar to us are almost completely free of pike.
The pike is quite an aggressive predator. So basically it is easy to catch with lures. Because usually you will get a strike very quickly, if there is a hungry or otherwise active pike nearby, searching is the right strategy. But normally you will need a bit of patience, until you find a pike. Because pike will bite so easily, there population is very vulnerable to fishing pressure. If you like to catch them, you really should be very restrictive in keeping them or even better, release them all. The minimum effort should be to raise the personal bag limit, where 60cm is still quite low and 80cm would be ok. But the really good populations or only found, where there is an (almost) exclusive catch and release policy, or where the pike way outnumber the fishermen. So the best is really to take only one pike every once in a while, e.g. when it is injured an the chances for survival are bad.
Big Spinners (Aglia, Lusox,
Lusox Double, Aglia
Long, Effzett) in silver or
gold with red and/or yellow accents. Dressed hooks are also good: hair, feathers
or soft bait. These make the lure appear larger and swim higher. If the water
depth and the structure of the ground permit, it is advisable to stop the
retrieve now and then to let the spinner sink. That often provokes an attack
from the pike. A change of direction is also a good trick to make a follower
strike near the bank or boat.
Tackle for pike fishing should not be too weak. Pikes don't do long runs, but they can be extremely strong for short distances and they will try to use that to reach an obstacle. The reel needn't have a large line capacity but should harmonize with the strength of the line. The rod has to be quite strong, especially if you expect big pike and fish near obstacles. Of course it must also fit the lures you intend to use. All of the other components must also be strong enough: line, leader and swivels. When you are spinning for pike or rather when you fish with lures in waters with pike in them, you absolutely should use a steel trace. Kevlar will not do, it is ok for eel or wels, but not for piking. The teeth of pike are not only pointed, but also sharp as a razor and will quite easily cut through Kevlar.