Why is that? The answer to it I think , is odds of success for the pike.
When a pike is attacking a school of fish, the odds for success plays a key role. If the prey is in deeper water they have many ways of escape. They can escape by going forwards, downwards, upwards or sideways and all these possibilities make it a lot harder for the pike to catch their food. The odds are also relatively high for a pike to catch a healthy fish. Pikes are intuitively aware of this and will rarely try to attack a school of fish that swims on the same water level. For example, if the pike succeeds in catching their prey in this way only one out of five times, then the pike will have used a high amount of energy. The pike’s energy levels will then take a longer time to replenish since they are expending more energy than taking in, in the form of food. If a pike hunts in this way, they will be much smaller since little food is left for growth, and it will be a loser in the long run.
It is very important for predators to grow as large and as fast as possible because among most predators size is everything. Small predators are in danger of being eaten by bigger predators or they will be pushed away to the poorest hunting grounds.
A large pike in a good area will benefit because of its large size. It can pick the best places to hunt, chase away its competitors and eat any smaller pikes that comes too close. This is what any predator, including pike, desires and therefore having a high energy surplus is extremely important.
How do they do that? Pike retain large amounts of energy by selecting the situations that give the best odds for success in hunting. That’s why “easy prey” is a common factor among any predator and they all live by this rule. Fresh carcasses are the easiest type of prey, and every predator takes advantage of this.
Pike use sight, smell and they typically wait on the sideline when hunting. If they spot a dead fish, it is a very good chance that they will grab it. That is why dead bait is highly effective for pike fishing. The drawback is that pike have to find it either by its smell or if it happens to see it when it is slowly patrolling its territory. This can,however, be compensated by fishing with many dead baits over a bigger area.
The second best situation with high odds for success is when a pike spots an injured or sick fish because these fish are also easy prey and pike can attack these from all angles and ranges.
It is usually not often that a pike finds a dead,injured or sick fish so it has to concentrate on catching healthy fish, though those are not easy prey, but a pike can increase its odds in several ways.
First of all, pikes are known for hiding and ambushing any suitable fish to eat and they mostly hide among weeds, rocks, logs and other objects. Sooner or later one or more fish will come close enough to the pike’s hiding spot and it will strike the unsuspecting prey. By doing this, the pike has increased the odds of success and it does not drain a lot of the pike’s energy. Interestingly, though, a pike’s attack range versus a healthy fish cannot be more than the pike’s length. If the prey is further away, it has enough time to react and escape.
Another successful situation for a pike is when its prey is right under the surface of the water because it decreases the prey’s ways of escape by at least 50% and the pike has much greater chance to catch it.
So, when we take all this into consideration, the best thing look for as pike anglers is to give the pike the best odds possible when we choose our pike lures. A pike which consider our fishing lures as good odds for success, will go for it and making our chanches greater for catching it.
I think if we are pike fishing in a relatively shallow areas with lots of good hiding places pike lures which represents an injured fish right under the surface will trigger most pikes to an ambush and I think that’s why so many pike anglers experience good catches when using topwater pike lures. In my case, I have caught many of them with high moving fishing spoons and rapala lures keeping them right under the surface of the water.
I hope you think about these things and give your pike the right odds when you are out pike fishing with your topwater lures.