Night Bite Pike Test Conventional Wisdom

I've been a fan of northern pike for as long as I can remember. Some of my most vivid early childhood fishing memories are of torpedo-like, toothy pike slashing in out of nowhere to snatch up a hooked perch or sunfish I was reeling to the dock or boat.

In the past 45 years of pike pursuits, I've rarely encountered, let alone targeted, these fine predators in extremely low light or after dark. That's not surprising, since pike feed mainly by sight. But lately on pressured lakes I've noticed pike activity well after sunset.

On a recent evening trip, my son Josh and I were throwing spinnerbaits for bass cruising shallow flats. Since the spring was late in the north, there's still a lot of panfish activity in skinny water, which attracts predators and fish-hungry humans alike. Instead of bass, however, we caught pike after pike from the time the sun hit the treetops until well after darkness settled over the lake.

In fact, fish size increased the darker it got.

Perhaps daytime fishing pressure and related commotion forced pike to feed at night. And our hard-thumping, relatively slow-moving Colorado-blade spinnerbaits were just the thing to trip their triggers.

We'll never know for sure, but one thing is certain, night-pattern pike are worth further investigation. And, as in all of fishing, our trip is a reminder that while we should use conventional wisdom as a guideline, it also pays to push the envelope and test the boundaries—because that's how new and exciting fishing techniques and patterns are born.


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