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Surface Fishing for Pike in the Fens

As we enter the month of May and the spring season is well and truly upon us, the UK has experienced some unusually hot weather (for this early in the year) with the occasional colder wind and rain cooling things down.

This year, I have decided to expand my lure fishing beyond just autumn and winter to see what success it may bring. It’s well known that predators such as Pike, Perch, and Zander fatten up during the colder months, strengthening themselves ready for spawning later on in the season which can bring some excellent sport. But also with the right conditions you can have a bunch of fun fishing for them in late spring on the surface!

A word on safety

It’s worth mentioning now before anyone with differing views has a pop. This article is about surface fishing for Pike during Spring. Before casting assumptions the session discussed was fished at the back end of a colder spell with a constant north-easterly wind cooling off the water. 

We’re not talking about hoiking out Pike all Summer long with little regard for welfare. My own opinion is that Pike fishing is best left alone during Summer but there are occasional opportunities in late Spring and early Autumn that present themselves as good Pike fishing conditions and when done safely.

With that said, let’s continue…

Having kept an eye on the weather and eager for some lure fishing action there was an opportunity for a few hours bankside. The venue discussed is one I know well and holds some decent Pike but the biggest issue this time of year like many venues across the country is weed growth. Not ideal for most lures but with limited options comes focus and an opportunity to fish lures you might not normally select. 

Weapon of choice

I chose to use the Daiwa D-Popper Frog in mad brown, a lure I have owned for years but never had much success with. This floating lure has two hooks that sit on top, allowing for casting in weedy areas without getting snagged. Of course, any frog lure that floats will do!

On the first cast as soon as the lure touched down I got an immediate reaction take from a Pike. I (appeared to) set the hook and the fight was on! Or was it? As quick as I caught it the Pike threw the lure and we were back to square one. Another cast and the same happened again – something needs to change. 

Wanting to keep on this lure given its weedless presentation and having now seen the ferocity of the takes I opened out the hooks. If you’re familiar with a frog lure you’ll know that a lot of them have one or two hooks mounted in a ‘point up’ position, meaning that when the frog lure is pulled through the weed and water – the hooks are always clear of any snags. Whilst this works well, it can often mean that the hooks just don’t set properly sometimes. 

With the hooks ‘bent out’ slightly more than what you’d get ‘from the packet’ you’ll get a better hook-up ratio and tend to keep the fish on meaning that more Pike are landed during sessions like these. Small changes like this can be all it takes to change an ok session into a belting one! This was proved soon after the change.

Minor adjustments equal success!

After adjusting the hooks, I cast the lure once again into the water and mimicked the movements of a frog with my rod and line to attract any predatory fish nearby. A series of gentle twitches with occasional pauses was usually enough to provoke a bite. 

If you have never tried surface fishing for Pike or any other predator, it’s difficult to describe the thrilling and heart-pumping moments that come with it. If a Pike misses the lure on the first try, it will often come back for another attempt. Each strike from a Pike is forceful and determined, resulting in the fish leaping out of the water, violently slamming the lure, and following it right up to the water’s edge by your feet. It can be a truly exhilarating experience and one not often experienced by those who opt to lure fish during the colder months only.

All good things come to an end

During my fishing session, which lasted only a few hours, I successfully caught around 8 Pike that weighed up to low doubles. The best part of this type of fishing, especially during this time of the year, is that it is very active. 

When the conditions are right and you throw a lure into the water, you can easily identify the presence of a Pike. Once you catch one or two, it’s best to move on and explore other swims as there WILL be more opportunities available.

Apart from being fun, surface fishing for Pike in Spring helps speed up the learning process. The more casts you make, the more fish you catch, allowing you to learn more about the water. Although this process can be done during the colder months, it’s much slower since bites are few and far between and require more work.

The warmer temps are now on the horizon so for now I’ll be leaving the Pike alone and focussing more on lure fishing for other fenland predators!

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Steve Evans
Steve Evans

Founder & Chief Editor of Predator Fishing World. Steve has been predator fishing for well over a decade and has amassed a deep knowledge base to share with you.