Pike Fish

Pike Fish Species Information and Facts

Exactly what is a Pike Fish? Where do you find Pike Fish? What is the best Pike Fish bait? This section will answer all the general questions you might have on the Pike Fish Species.

The Pike (Genus Esox)

The most common strain of Pike is the Northern Pike (Esox lucius). They are olive green in colour with a yellow fading into white underbelly.
The short, lighter markings down the flank of the fish form as the fish develops. Starting out as a series of yellowish lines during adolescence when known as ‘Jacks’ or ‘Jack Pike’.
The larger of the species are in Europe. With the current all-tackle record weighing in at a rod bending 55lbs.
Pike are solitary creatures. And will only come together when there is plenty of food, or when spawning. Differing from most other freshwater species which tend to move in shoals.
They are efficient predators. With many Physical and behavioural attributes honed for hunting down prey. The most distinctive attribute is a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth.
The bottom jaw lined triangular shaped teeth which secrete anticoagulant. This prevents prey from stemming the flow of blood once punctured. The top of the mouth has groups of hundreds of tiny backwards-facing teeth. Which assist with gripping turning and swallowing its prey.
Pike swallow their prey whole and lay dormant whilst digesting. This tells us much about the Pikes feeding habits. If a pike is hungry, they can be easy to entice into taking a bait or lure. Yet if a Pike has recently fed, it can be difficult to coax the fish into striking again whilst digesting it’s latest catch.

Like most other predators, it is the subtler attributes which make the Pike a deadly adversary.

Large forward-facing eyes lying at the end of ‘target grooves’ on the fish’s snout. These provide excellent eyesight and allow the Pike to scope out prey fish at a distance. Which is a huge advantage over it’s prey.
Large nostrils at the end of the fish’s snout give the Pike a keen sense of smell, too. Thus More pungent, oilier fish such as mackerel or sardines make excellent bait.
the Pike also has the ability to sense movement through vibration. Pits along the underside of the jaw and around the front of the fish’s head are full of sensors which pick up movement from distance. This is effective when sensing the erratic movements of injured, vulnerable prey.
The Pikes long, sleek, muscular body ensures when the time comes to strike, the movement is fast and deadly, snaring its prey within a split second.
Record weight (Lake Grefeern, Germany) 55lbs 1oz
Average lifespan 7 Years


Pike (Esox lucius)
Pike prefer weedy conditions which suit their predatory hunting style


Where do Pike Live

Pike are found in freshwater across the northern hemisphere, notably Russia, Europe and North America.
You will find Pike in most bodies of fresh water containing a good level of prey fish. favouring clear, weedy shallow bodies of water, which are perfect for its hunting style. Lakes and slow-moving rivers are a good place to start.
Commercial fisheries keep a stock of Pike to maintain a healthy ecosystem. They clear up dead or injured fish, as well as keeping on top of levels of smaller weaker fry.
Pike have been known to patrol mildly brackish waters when feeding, but this is not a common trait.

Pike Fishing Tackle

Fishing for Pike Fish has become increasingly popular across Europe and North America, Leading to a rise in equipment and manufacturers. Varying techniques and strategies have given way to an extensive range of specialist equipment, with predator-specific rods and reels becoming widely available.

Pike fishing tackle can largely be categorized by the type of bait you intend on using. Dead or live baits or Artificial baits such as spinners and lures.

fishing tackles - rod, reel, line and lures in box
Pike fishing tackle comes in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on tactics and conditions

 Rods for Bait Pike Fishing

Fishing for Pike with bait requires some fairly hefty kit. A 12-13ft rod ranging from 3-3.5lb test curve would be ideal. Preferably one with a mid-action opposed to something more suited to carp fishing with a fast taper and all its power in the tip. This will help when casting heavy baited rigs a long way. If you are a Carp angler with lots of spare kit, then a good strong carp rod will suffice for smaller baits.

Reels for Bait Pike fishing

A large capacity spool will allow you to pack on an ample amount of line, and assist with casting baited rigs a long way. A free-spool type mechanism, such as what is found on the TF Gear Black Edition is also recommended due to the ferocious nature of the ‘take’.

Rods for lure Pike fishing

If you are looking to fish for pike Fish with lures, spinners, and other artificial baits, then a smaller, lighter ‘spinning’ rod is better suited. This will ensure you can repeatedly cast a smaller weight more frequently,  but will still give you the sufficient power to play these hard fighting species.

A spinning rod casting weight is usually stamped on the blank, which will help match it up to the ideal lure.

Weight rating (g)



Smaller lures and spinners


Medium lures


Large lures

A typical spinning rod will be around 8-10 ft in length. A point to remember is that as you decrease the length of the road, the easier it is to maneuver into tight corners, But will compromise the distance and accuracy of which you can cast.

Reels for lure Pike fishing

A smaller fixed spool reel with front drag is recommended. Multiplier reels are also used for lure fishing, although they can be complicated to set up and use, therefore probably worth avoiding if you are just starting out. We look at reels in more details in our tackle articles.

mainline and hook links.

A thick, strong mainline is essential, too. Look for 12-15lb at least if fishing with mono. If you favor a braided mainline, aim for 30lbs plus. Check out our fishing line guide here for further details.

A wire ‘trace’ hook link is also critical when fishing for Pike.  We go through the process of tying a wire trace here. Ready-made wire trace rigs are widely available and can be a handy alternative if you are pushed for time.

Pike fishing hooks

Barbless treble hooks are advisable. you don’t want to be losing your fish once hooked, but at the same time losing your fingers attempting to ‘de-gorge’ a barbed treble from a pikes mouth is a compromise you should look to make. At least when starting out with Pike fishing.

More experienced anglers may look to use semi-barbed, or fully-barbed hooks once the art of unhooking and handling has been mastered.

Unhooking and handling Pike

Contrary to their fierce reputation, Pike Fish are actually very delicate and should be handled appropriately to avoid injuring the fish and yourself. This is an important subject and therefore we cover in more detail on our other article on the safe handling of Pike

Best Pike Bait

Live and Dead baits

It is quite often difficult to source and store live baits when fishing for Pike, and many venues will prevent you from using live fish.  Therefore the use of dead baits is a good alternative and will give excellent results.

Technically, you could fish for pike with any species of dead bait, but generally speaking, we categorize them into 2 groups. Salt and freshwater. Saltwater species such as mackerel, herrings and sprats are oily and very pungent and hence are very appealing to Pike. Freshwater prey fish such as Roach, Perch, rudd or bream are also commonly used.

Pike Lures and artificial baits

Lure fishing for Pike is more of a proactive method, should the waiting game not be paying dividends. Actively moving about and casting lures repeatedly in areas where fish are congregating can lead to great results, since you are covering far more water in which a hungry Pike may be lurking. Lures come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from small silverfish-like lures to big bulky lures replicating the form of frogs and rodents! we’ve put together an article on our the best pike fishing lures here.

Pike Lures take many forms, shapes, and sizes

Once you have decided which type, size and weight lure you require a good supply can be found here at very reasonable prices.

How to catch a Pike

There are several methods tactics for catching pike fish, which will yield good results if followed correctly.

Pike Fishing Rigs

Pike Fishing rig choice is largely dependent on the method you use. In some cases, you will be lure fishing and will require lighter rigs to repeatedly cast without having to go to the gym first. In or you may wish to cast your baits further and leave them for a longer period. A couple of the more popular rigs are mentioned below.

Pike Float Rig

This rig couples a large pencil float for bite indication with an anchor ledger which aids casting whilst holding the bait in place. The Float is used to indicate when you have a bite, so it is important to strike as soon as you see any significant movement. this can come in a variety of forms. the float could disappear completely, shoot across the surface or just lift up and lay flat on the surface. in either case, it is important to strike as soon as you see any significant movement in order to hook the fish cleanly and avoid deep hooking the pike.

This is a fairly straightforward method, and we’ve put together a float rig tying guide to help you on your way.

A very handy way of starting out is to buy a Pike float rig kit, which will give you all the bits and pieces you need to get started.

Pike long range ledger rig

Should you need to cast your baits further than what you can achieve using the above float rig, you can remove the excess drag of the float and tie a simple straight through leger rig.

Something Missing You’d Like To See?

If you have any ideas for an article on Pike Species information that you cannot see above, please feel free to make a request by contacting us here.

But please, first try our ‘search function’ found in the footer of this site or browse our other sections on:, Tips and TacticsTackle and bait to see if the subject has already been covered.

External Resources On Pike Species Information

Wikipedia.com has a nice summary article containing many facts on Pike Species. To read this, please click here.