Monday, June 25, 2012

3" Pikes... How I fish them

I have made my first incarnation of the 3" Pike in 2000 or 2001. Since then, I have caught a bunch of largemouth bass while trying to perfect this lure, and my friends have caught even more than me. I have really fallen in love with this plug for numerous reasons, and a bit perplexed on why it hasn't quite caught on like I thought it would. So I thought I would write something to help build some confidence for you guys to throw it. I am not one to boast much, and I am a horrible salesman, so this this really is a plea for you guys to fish this lure. It really makes a difference and is a great addition to your arsenal of lures.

So here are some of the ways I use the plug. All of them have helped me catch fish. Sometimes it got the only fish in the spot and others it pulled the biggest fish of the day. There is definitely something about this plug that is pretty unique and fish really respond to it.

Method 1: The slow retrieve.

When I use this method, I am fishing it over some type of vegetation where I think the fish are staging. When I mean slow. I mean slow. Like if it goes any slower, it will be swimming the back stroke. The plug should be creating a wake on top and swimming hard from side to side. You should feel the slight thumping of the lure with your rod. I will occasionally give it a pause or a slight twitch, but its generally a slow and steady retrieve. This lure will stay in the water a long time compared to a buzzbait or some other topwater lures, which is definitely something new to show them, especially if you are fishing in water that gets a lot of pressure.

I believe the fish are looking up for bait fish, such as shads, minnows, sunfish, bluegills or perch, that are are passing through the vegetation. I think the lure's wake gives the bass a chance to size up the lure, and find its ambush spot. I also think that the the slow retrieve annoys them terribly and that's why they strike it.

A good example of the slow retrieve is in this video.

Method 2: The Frog
I think the 3" Pike is also a good frog imitation.  I will cast it onto the edge of lily pads and let it sit until the rings settle. I will then give the lure two or three hard cranks and dig the plug under the surface, then let it rise back to the surface. Repeat. The point here is to mimic the way a frog pulses when they swim. You can pick off a bunch of fish on the edge of the pads that you might not get with a scum frog. 

Method 3: Subsurface
I admittedly don't do this often, but I do it enough to know it is effective. When fishing water 3-5 feet of water, and there is submerged structure, I will fish this lure 1-2 feet below the surface. Sometimes they won't come to the surface to eat, so I speed up the retrieve and bring it down to them. One thing to remember is that this lure is not like a crank bait where you can deflect it off objects. With the 3" pike you will snag. But one of the nice things about this lure, is that when you see you are about to hit some structure, stop your retrieve and let the lure float up until you are above it. I found that fish respond really well to how the lure saunters back to the surface when it rises.

Method 4: When the lure falls
I know there are a few different way people like to fish the plug on its first movement. This lure hits the water pretty loud and I have 3 different things I do. The first is the traditional "let the rings go away". Let the lure hit the water and give it 10-15 seconds and then start your retrieve. The second method is to immediately start my retrieve. My thought is that since it makes some noise when it hits the water, the fish want to see something happen immediately, especially if you drop it on their heads. Third, let the lure hit the water and let it sit for 5 seconds and come tight to the lure. Then lower the rod tip and give the lure a twitch with the slack in the line. Take up the slack and repeat one ore two more times. Then start my standard retrieve. My thought on this one is that when the lure hits the water, its maybe a shad or bluegill flipping in the water, so lets give it a twitch to make the lure look severely injured. This will work when throwing it into an opening of lily pads or vegetation where your hooks will snag and you only have a short window to work the lure.

So here you go, all of my tricks. I hope this helps build some confidence to fish the lure and expect some really great results. If you have any questions, or have any tricks or tips that you would like to add, please leave a comment!

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