Northern pike are a great species to fish for because they hammer big lures like spoons and number 5 spinners. But one technique that should not be overlooked especially for kids is using dead smelt hung below a big bobber.
The set up requires heavy mono leader and treble hooks. Just tie a snap swivel to the bottom of your line and connect about 8 -12 inches of 100 pound monofilament line with a treble hook tied on the end. (An alternative to the heavy mono could be a steel leader).
Then tie a piece of mono or another leader from the start of your terminal tackle that is long enough to reach the head of the smelt.
One of the three hooks on the treble should be securely pressed into the back of the smelt and the other treble hook should be similarly pressed through the head with each treble hook fastened in a way that leaves two of the hooks exposed and ready for business.
Fish shallow weedy bays by attaching a bobber about three to five feet above the hooked smelt. When the bobber goes down there are two camps of thought: 1) set the hook! 2) wait for the pike to swallow it.
I’ve done both successfully but the pike pictured above was caught by a four year old who waited. But before he is given accolades for patience the reason he waited may have been mostly because his dad was trying to avoid getting hooked in the ear as his son casted every minute for perch and didn’t notice the bobber go down. But nonetheless this was a wait type situation.
As Kaden reeled the “massive” pike in he yelled “Daddy he’s pulling so heavy!” The pike had the big smelt nearly swallowed and it took minor surgery to get the hooks out. This one was caught and released into a frying pan.
I know anglers who have used similar methods with hot dogs but I haven’t tried it. I’m going to though on principle and I’ll let you know how that goes.
But even as that bobber with the big smelt hung beneath it is calling pike in to close range kids can keep busy fishing with night crawlers or jigs and catch pan fish or bass. This will make the wait for a big pike easier and keep the kids and their Dads (and moms) entertained.
Next time you are fishing with your kids try creating an opportunity for more than small perch and sunfish (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) because even small pike are huge to kids. But be sure to have beefy tackle for this rig
because pike can top 20 pounds and they “pull heavy”.