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Big northern pike eat big fish, so upsizing your baits is one of the easiest ways to target bigger pike. You are going to get a lot less bites with the bigger lures, but the bigger lures will attract those bigger fish. You can use a variety of lures, but the key is to just go a bit bigger. Larger lures in the 5 to 7 inch range and even bigger will get the job done. You don’t always have to go with real long baits either. A thicker bait will do the trick too. So, a 6 inch bucktail spinner dressed in hair will give off a much bigger look than a skinny 8 inch lizard. Adding trailers to some of those lures will work to give it a larger profile as well. Trailers look great on spinnerbaits, bladed swim jigs and bass jigs.
Some anglers will go longer and thicker with huge crankbaits, swimbaits, jerkbaits and spinners in the 8 to 12 inch range. Make sure you go with heavier line and a heavier rod because these lures will be much heavier and the fish you’re going to attract will have some size as well.
The 5 to 6 inch bucktails work great for northern pike, especially, big pike. You will catch small fish on them as well, but you’re going to catch a lot more quality fish by throwing these lures. These sized bucktails that most musky anglers consider finesse sized for muskie fishing are the perfect size for pike fishing. Cast them out and bring them in with a steady retrieve and hang on.
Bigger crankbaits are great lures for targeting larger northern pike. The real big, deep-diving crankbaits are easier to troll than to cast, so you may want to consider trolling for some of those big pike that like to hang out in the deeper water. Crankbaits in the 5 to 6 inch range with some thickness work great for bigger pike. Those longer crankbaits that go as big as a foot long with also attract much bigger fish. Big pike eat big fish and a big crankbait is one of the best ways to simulate a big fish.
Bigger jerkbaits are some of the best lures to use for big northern pike. The erratic action simulates wounded bait fish and big pike love targeting big, wounded bait fish for an easy meal. Jerkbaits in the 6 to 12 inch range work well for bigger pike. Some of the 6 to 7 inch jerkbaits that are thick will also do a good job for bigger pike, so don’t feel like you have to only throw those 10 to 12 inch models.
Big spinnerbaits work great for targeting big northern pike. Whether you use the spinnerbaits that add more flash with multiple blades like you see to the left or you just upsize a normal spinnerbait, you will definitely get more big fish bites when upsizing your spinnerbaits.
Big spoons work well for big northern pike. There are several models on the market that work great for casting or trolling. The 1/2 to 1 ounce sizes will usually be big enough for most manufacturers. The bigger, heavier spoon also means fishing shallower is tough, so you’re going to be fishing a little deeper water to keep these lures out of the snags and weeds. The heavier spoons work great in that 8 to 20 foot depth range. Some models can be fished shallower while others work best in deeper water.
Adding trailers to bass jigs gives these lures a bigger profile which helps to attract some bigger pike. Some of the bigger bass jigs in that 1/2 to 1 ounce size range with a grub or smaller swimbait as a trailer will have plenty of size to draw big fish strikes. Most pike anglers will swim these jigs so a trailer with a swimming action will most likely produce better results. Grubs and swimbaits in the 5 to 6 inch range are perfect for this technique.