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Categorized | Outdoors

Opening day pike


Author Jack Payne with a large pike.

Author Jack Payne with a large pike.

by Jack Payne


Thump, thump, thump and wham, well more like a dead weight causing the blade rotation to stop. A good hard sweep of the rod and instantly a bass was walking across the surface doing its’ best to spit the spinner into my face.

If the jig is the ultimate multi species lure, then the spinner is second. Spinners put the hurt on the bass, pike, musky and often the crappie. More bass and pike would end up in the boat if even half the number of anglers throwing plastic worms would give this lure an honest chance.

Jim Houston made his mark on the tournament trail throwing spinners. Once the water temperature hits the 50-degree mark, spinners start coming into their own. Serious pike and musky anglers run some type of a spinner from ice out up to freeze over.

Spinners are their best when worked in and around cover. Logs, vertical uprights, stumps and concrete all beg for a spinner to bump into them. This is the hardest lesson to teach an angler. Run the spinner into something; take a chance.

New weed growth or for that matter, any cabbage weed bed, holds pike year around. Fishing around weeds provides an angler multiple options. Run the spinner just under the surface and just over the tops of the weeds.

Run the spinner through the weeds. Work the spinner through the clumps pausing at any opening. Try the same thing in and around lily pads before they get choked full.

Pike and a weed line are always good. In the early portion of the year run the spinner on the inside of the weed line. As the weeds develop and the fish complete their spawning duties, start working the deep edge of the weeds.

Start your first retrieve near the surface then steadily work deeper with each following cast. When working the deep side of the weeds cast a few times onto the flat and then when the spinner reaches the edge of the weeds let it helicopter down to the bottom. Pay close attention to your line and maintain some tension.

During a cold front run the spinner as slow as possible but just fast enough to turn the blade. Cast out and let it fall to the bottom. Once you have slack line start reeling as slow as possible.

Adding a plastic action tail to your spinner at times enhances the effectiveness. This is something we do during the heat of the summer.

Match your spinner color to the water clarity. Dark days use a dark spinner, bright days something more translucent. Murky waters go with chartreuse color. Pike anglers can’t go wrong with white. There is just something about white that drives pike nuts.

Spoons go back one hundred years and ask any old time angler what he caught his first pike on and my guess is a spoon. Spoons cast like a bullet, can be worked fast, slow, jigged or trolled.

Spoons can be fished straight out of the package or dressed up with a piece of pork or a plastic action tail. Spoons can be worked in the same locations as a spinner. In addition, a spinner can be fished deep or over the tops of suspended fish.

When fishing a spoon just remember to change things up. Change the speed of the retrieve and vary the time that you allow the spoon to sink before starting your retrieve.

The Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon is an old time favorite that we use each time out as is the Daredevle Spoon. Mepps Spinners with the squirrel dressing are great and just about any of the safety pin style bass spinners will work. Productive and easy to learn, these baits will hammer the pike.

Jack Payne lives in West Michigan, and is a member of the Outdoor Writers of American Association.


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