How to Fish for Northern Pike With a Bobber and Minnow

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Next to muskies, northern pike are the largest member of the pike family of fish and are known as voracious eaters and fine fighters when they're caught on rod and reel. They thrive in a variety of water bodies and anglers often catch them incidental to other fish; the result of the aggressive nature of northern pike. But many anglers specifically target them, too, and a minnow fished below a bobber is an effective way for fishermen of all skills levels to do that.

Things You'll Need

  • Rod
  • Reel
  • Slip bobber
  • Hook
  • Minnow
  • Steel leader
  • Locate the area you want to fish. Weedlines are among the most productive places to fish with a bobber and minnow for northern pike, since weedlines congregate prey species and, in turn, northern pike. For the purpose of catching northern pike, the best weedlines are near drop-offs.

  • Rig your bobber and minnow. You should use 12-pound or heavier monofilament fishing line and attach a steel leader at the end of it. Attach a large hook to the steel leader and split-shot sinkers on the fishing line just above the leader. The exact placement of the bobber depends on how deep the weedline is since you want your hook and minnow to be about 3 feet off the bottom. Choose a 4-to 8-inch minnow and hook it behind the dorsal fin.

  • Cast your bobber and minnow away from the boat or shoreline. Leave the bail of your fishing reel open. Northern pike will strike the minnow and grab hold of it, then swim away. Your bobber will go under when a pike hits, and line will flow freely off the reel as the fish swims.

  • Count to 30 and click your bail shut to stop line from flowing off your reel. Lower your rod tip and reel until the line is tight. Once you feel the weight of the northern pike, set the hook hard.

  • Maintain tension on your fishing rod while fighting the fish. Slack in the line allows northern pike to throw the hook. Reel the fish in until you can reach it with a net, then net it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure to use a lively minnow. The minnow will swim around and attract northern pike.
  • Sucker minnows are hardy minnows and are a good choice for catching northern pike.
  • Check fishing regulations to make sure the northern pike season is open.
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