A little bit knowledge of a pike’s internal framework and how it behaves is needed in order to select the right kind of pike lures when we go pike fishing or musky fishing.
A pike is a pure predator but is very different from salmon which is a solely predator too. Both these two predators feed only on other fish but they use different methods.
A salmon moves more or less constantly and seeks prey. It often follow large schools of fish and attacks from behind or underneath with high speed and force. If the prey spots the salmon and tries to escape, the salmon follow it to hunt it down.
A pike, on the contrary, is a hider. It hides behind logs, weeds, rocks and other things in the water. When a prey fish comes close enough it starts an ambush and takes the prey in one quick move.
Why do these two predators use such different tactics in their hunting performance? The answer to that is how they are built. A salmon can be compared to a wolf because a wolf is always on the move when hunting and burns a small amount of energy in parts of its muscles to maintain a steady pace. When it’s necessary, it can accelerate to full speed and maintain it for relatively long periods until the prey is defeated.
Maybe you have noticed when filleting a salmon, that a thin layer right under the skin is brown or dark red. This layer is a group of muscles that the salmon uses when it swims around looking for prey. To maintain this speed over time, the muscles need a constant flow of blood and this group of muscles has a good blood supply which makes it this color. Most of the salmons’ muscles have less supply of blood and are only used when the fish needs to go at full throttle.
If you have filleted a pike you may have noticed that there is no brownish layer under the skin like the salmon. This means the pike has a very little supply of blood to all of its muscle mass. A pike can be compared to a lion. A lion is a sprinter with lots of muscles to capture large prey. These muscles also let the lion achieve very high speeds but in a very short distance. So a pike and a lion both use hiding tactics to come close to its prey and then ambush at a very high speed to catch it. However, because all of its muscles have a very poor supply of blood, a pike can only go at full throttle for a very short period.
One can compare it to a human sprinter too. They go at extremely high speeds for a few meters and then become completely exhausted.
A pike or a musky, therefore, can not swim and look for prey because if they did they would be exhausted in few minutes. So, a pike has to hide or has to move around very slowly. When a pike moves, the swimming is slow and often only the fins work to make it move forward. This is also a good thing as it is more difficult for prey to spot it when it barely moves.
Now we know how a pike’s system functions and how it behaves so now it’s time to understand how it feeds. A pike’s access to food is mainly limited to hiding and ambushing fresh healthy prey, but as other successful predators it plays on more than one string. Pike have territories too and a large pike always has its own territory which it protects and patrols every day. If another pike comes into its area, the owner chases it away or kills it if it is smaller. When a pike is patrolling the territory, it hunts too. It moves along the bottom very slowly and sneaks upon a prey from behind or underneath as it is difficult for their prey to spot it towards the bottom.
A predator, such as a pike, is always looking for injured or weakened fish and when it spots one which is showing signs of weakness, it becomes a “salmon” and begins a hunt to chase it down. A weak fish has slow reactions and can not maintain a long chase and all pike know this instinctively and they react spontaneously.
Now knowing all of the above, it is basically very simple to choose pike lures. Pike fishing lures or musky lures resembling a relatively healthy fish or prey has to be presented near and in the right angle to a pike to be taken. Pike lures which resembles a weakened fish, however, will be taken from all angles and much further away. Therefore it is a much greater chance to land a pike when imitating a sick fish or a slow moving water creature such as frogs or small water birds.
Now it is up to you to determine and find which pike lures that imitate these movement patterns.