Autumn Blog 2019 – Pike Time!

Autum Pike_01

Autumn is my favourite time of year, not only for the predator fishing but also the “pains” of summer are over.What are the “pains of summer”? Well for me the temperatures are usually more reasonable, my hayfever will have stopped, and the biting, stinging, things (midges, wasps, mosquitos etc.) that always get me will be dead! No more putting your coke can down and swallowing a mouthful of ants on the next sip – heaven!

Autumn can really be glorious – in the last couple of years we have had some great “Indian summers” where the daytime temperature is still T-shirt weather and the nights are chilly, cooling the water temperatures to a more pike-friendly ideal.
This time of year is big bait time. The pike are active, hungry, and willing to smash into them in earnest.

You do need the right stuff to cast the big lures. Being with Westin I use Westin gear and for big Bulldawgs, Replicants and such like look no further than the W4 Monsterstick, I use the 8ft version which is rated as 6XH (or six times extra heavy) which seems a lot, but It’s not a broomstick – like some of the rods for chucking big stuff, and bends nicely with a good pike on. The casting weight is 150 – 290g, but it is ideal for casting 8 inch reps all day long, and the extra length is great as it takes the stress off your shoulder when casting, and makes setting large hooks easy.


For reels I still use the old faithful ABU 6500’s. These hold the right amount of 80lb braid and feel comfortable on a bigger rod. Their retrieve speed with a cranking handle is ideal for working big lures nice and slowly – the way the big fish like it.

As stated before, from now until around the end of November I do like to cast the big stuff, as I think it can single out the bigger fish on the right water. The problem is a lot of anglers also cast similar stuff. Most pike lure anglers will cast a replicant at some point or another and quite rightly so, they are a great bait and catch a lot of pike – alas the best ones, the original ones, are no longer made and are like gold dust if you can get hold of them. Hence my original ones are so repaired that they look nothing like they did to start with, and are shiny from so much melted plastic. In fact I am so attached to them that when they finally give out it’s emotional – like losing a close friend!


There are other types of swimbaits that have a similar action to reps, Castitc Boot Tails are a good alternative as are Bass Harassers. In fact most lure companies will make some kind of swimbait that is internally rigged.

However, in the ideal world, an externally rigged bait is better – as you can use whatever jig weight you need for the depth of water you are fishing, and you can put your hooks wherever you like. Two which I like are Ricky Roach in 18cm and Hypoteeze in 25cm, both from Westin. The former has a nice deep profile and works a bit like a replicant in the water, but with slightly more body roll. The Hypoteeze is a big bait, but quite thin in profile which makes hook- ups easy. I really like this bait as it has a quick tail action and doesn’t seem to lift in the water like some lures do, so it can be kept down where the fish are on a straight retrieve.


Bulldawgs still catch a lot of fish, but they are only effective for a short period. Usually if they haven’t been used for a few years you can bag up on them for a few trips then they blow again. But it’s good to carry some just in case. Rigging them with an additional weight and creeping them along the bottom in deeper waters can keep them catching longer, as it is an unusual presentation that most pikers don’t do.

Big lures catch a lot of pike early on – but pike become weary of them very quickly, especially if there are lots of anglers casting them. You will know if they are becoming less effective – as instead of takes you will start getting bumps or knocks and lots of follows. This is because the fish are still attracted to them, but weary of what may happen if they take them. When this happens it’s a cue to change tact and use something different. More of that another time.

Near disaster

I had an interesting occurrence a couple of weeks ago that nearly ended in disaster.
Imagine being connected to an angry upper-twenty on a big lure – after a spectacular fight – tail walking several times trying to throw the hooks, you finally slip the net under it and relax. Then the fish tail-walks almost out of the net! Luckily I caught it in time, and lifted the net up to stop it doing it again. However, doing this it caught on the side of the boat and ripped a hole in the net, not a big hole but big enough for the fish to squeeze itself though!


So now I had a good fish swimming off, still attached to my lure, with the braid running through the net! Pop quiz – What do you do?

Well in my wisdom I put the ABU into free spool, and attempted to thread the entire rod and reel thorough the same hole. Which went surprisingly well – until the star drag got all caught up in the mesh! In the end I managed it and was surprised to still find the fish on the end, albeit now with the braid tangled around the transducer bracket and engine. Hand-lining it back around the engine I managed to catch up with it on the reel, and got it back up to the side of the boat and grabbed it, and before it knew what had happened it found itself in the sladle! I was so lucky to get that fish in and at just over 28lbs I was glad I had 80lb braid on, as it was frayed to bits where it had gone around the engine. Sometimes I can be lucky!

After a few photos and returning the pike to her watery home. I made sure I mended the hole in the net in case I had another fish, but alas, I didn’t need to as that was the last fish of the day.