Leaders, Jerkbaits, and Tips for Spring Pike, Oh My!

Leaders, Jerkbaits, and Tips for Spring Pike, Oh My!

Leaders, Jerkbaits, and Tips for Spring Pike, Oh My!

by March 13, 2014


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I noticed when people fish for spring pike, they often use leaders that are not ideal. Guys, it pays off to buy good quality leaders and the right ones for these toothy critters!  I use two kinds of leaders for pike;  #80 fluorocarbon and  #30 titanium.

An #80 flourocarbon leader is pretty much pike proof, will last you a few years and this is a great choice for spoons, chatterbaits, swim baits or any other horizontal presentation for pike. Most people believe that pike aren’t line shy in spring and I use to believe that also. In the last five years or so, I’ve changed my thinking. Too many times I have had all my fish follow and not strike, or just not catch or see a fish all day. As soon as I switched to a fluorocarbon leader it’s like all the pike just woke up.

Leaders, jerbaits and tips for spring pike oh my- header

Musky guides on Georgian Bay use #120 fluorocarbon leaders and got me onto this idea. People look at me strange when I say I use these kind of leaders for pike; but the pike don’t and care neither do I. In order to catch bigger fish you need to sometimes be a little different then everybody else.

titanium_leadersThe thin and light #30, 9 inch  titanium leader is a perfect choice for a jerk bait.  Before we chat about the leader, let’s talk a little about jerk baits. I use HJ-14 for spring pike and they all are not all created equal out of the box! You will notice that some suspend for maybe a second; and some will suspend for 3 seconds or longer.  The ones that suspend the longest are the ones you want for early spring pike; and when I mean early, I mean when the water temperatures are under 55 degrees. In regards to the leader, you want a light wire for the simple reason it lets your bait suspend longer; and keeps your bait level and balanced on a pause, which is extremely important.  When the bait gets within 10-ft of the boat, I just kill it and let it sit there as long as it suspends; and the fish will cream it. Pausing it for a long period of time triggers about half my strikes on any given day. It causes fish that follow behind the bait, or follow deep, to eat that jerk bait.


The bait on the left has a leader that is much too heavy, which drags it down preventing it from suspending. The bait on the right is perfect and will suspend enticing cold water spring pike to strike

If you use heavy, poor quality or the wrong leaders for jerk-baits, you will not be able to fish the bait probably or how I described above.

Another good idea, that has nothing to do with leaders, is to switch out the last treble on a jerk bait with a premium #4 extra-strong short-shanked treble hook.  Spring pike usually don’t overtake the bait and you’ll find they strike the back half of your bait.  Swapping out the rear hook usually helps keep the fish hooked; and helps get it into a photo with you.

I use Stringease leaders  and they truly are great leaders for Pike. Check out their website www.stringease.com for products.

Tight lines guys and see you on the water.

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