Surface lures are fitted with a buoyant weight to keep them on the surface, and an eyelet through which a wire fishing leader is connected via a fast change link. The fisherman then casts the lure into the water and begins to reel it in towards him or herself. As the lure is retrieved, it “waddles”, “pops”, “locks”, drops or twitches across the top of the water imitating small fish the predatory fish in the depths below. In doing so they imitate what prey does when fending off predators that approach from below to eat them.
This is the surface of the water, so it should be noted that fish do take notice to what happens on or close to them. This means for surface fishing there are three factors involved in luring your prey out of their environment and into your net:
The appearance of a predator, with eyes and mouth The sound and vibration produced by the lure The splash, ripple or disturbance caused by the lure
When things are working you’ll notice that when a fish goes for your surface plug it will chase it to the end of its strike range. When this happens you should strike immediately. If you let them get close they will inspect and usually reject before taking. Too many anglers will strike too soon or miss, because they see a fish and hit too soon. Don’t be that guy! Wait for the fish to pick up your plug and show itself. It’s an aggressive strike usually from underneath as they often trail behind it as it plows along the surface.
Surface lures work best when you can cast them into a wind because the wind can blow them along without much work from you. Once they are over a fish’s ambush spot, which can be a weed bed or a deep hole in a river, place your rod tip high up and let the weight of the lure bring it down to the water to splash – causing disturbance. This isn’t subtle fishing with a delicate presentation. Surface fishing is all about splashing and making disturbance in the water, so use either a heavy or stiff rod for this style of lure with braided line because it sinks less quickly than monofilament and can make long casts. Be sure to play with stripping tension and frequency on the retrieve to mimic injured or struggling prey
Using a little psychology to your advantage you’ll soon learn that pike have some very distinct tastes when it comes to surface lures. The more colours and patterns you add the better, but here are a few of their favourites:
Orange with Red Spots
White with Black Stripes
White with Blue Tint
Black on Top, Yellow Belly with Red Spots
White Tail, Black Head
These are far from the only pike surface lures out there. Experiment to find new ones. It’s usually a matter of trying it on for size and seeing if you get any bites. Use these lures when the water is calm on quiet cloudy days.
There are certain basic types of surface lures that work best for pike. If you are new to this type of fishing it can be helpful to have a selection on hand. Here are five of the most popular types of surface lure:
This lure will have a large bladder on the bottom of it to make a popping noise as you pull it through the water. That bladder is connected with a hinge to a smaller piece of plastic or metal that protrudes from the front of the plug. If this piece snaps down quickly, so will the diving bladder, making a popping noise. This lure works very well when you are casting into the wind because it goes much further than any other
This is a simple diving plug with an eyelet on the front through which the line is fed. It has no action of its own, so you need to move it up and down like a minnow swimming in the water. The bigger the diving minnow, the more it will dive.
This is the same as a regular popper, but it’s meant to be trolled behind a boat. The trolley allows you to walk this lure slowly up and down in front of fish, instead of just casting it out and letting the wind do all the work. This type of surface lure usually has two or three treble hooks on it.
This is the most basic surface lure and is great for all types of fish because it can be cast into a wind and has fish attracting colours easy to see in murky water. It’s usually fitted with two or three single hooks that are very sharp, so this is a lure for big fish.
Frog imitation lures works very well when there is a big weed bed in shallow water because you can cast right over them and bring it back through. It’s also great for fishing around sunken trees because you can pull it up close to them before slowly jigging it back into open water.
The most important thing with any type of surface fishing is making disturbance on the water. Don’t be shy about it because if you’re not making noise, no one else will want to eat either. Cast your lure out with a long cast and then retrieve it with short quick jerks. These movements can be subtle and will vary depending on the lure and the conditions, so experiment to find out what works best for you.
The main technique for pike surface fishing is trolling. The faster you troll the faster your lure will move through the water. It’s often a question of trial and error to find out how fast you need to be trolling to get a strike, so if you’re not getting any bites don’t be afraid to slow down. A good rule of thumb is five tugs per second on the retrieve.
A great technique for pike surface fishing is popping. Cast your lure into open water somewhere then reel it in with a series of small jerks. You can do this up to one jerk every second if the pike are really active. When you need to stop, don’t just yank your line, let it run out a little before reeling in your lure again.
Another great technique for pike surface fishing is using weed as cover and slowly moving the lure through the weed, popping it up and down. This is a great technique for casting into an area of weeds and hoping the pike will follow your lure out.
This type of fishing works best in low light conditions such as early morning, dusk or overcast days. You can also fish at night with glow lures fitted with an LED light.
If you’re fishing for pike over weed beds, the best time to do it is when they’re feeding heavily. This means late autumn and winter are the best times because there’s plenty of prey around them to eat. You also need flat calm conditions so the weeds aren’t moving.
If you’re fishing for pike in open water, try to match the colour of your lure to the colour of the water. This will help them take it because they’ll think it’s a small fish or insect sitting on top of the water ready for them to eat. Bigger surface lures are better when there’s a bit of chop on the water.
Pike surface fishing is best on still waters, so try to avoid rivers and streams. Look for larger lakes or reservoirs with weed beds around them or tree stumps sticking out of the water.
Look for places where there are lily pads because these are great hiding spots for pike looking to ambush prey under the surface. A weed bed coming off a lily pad is the perfect place to fish because it’s near cover and has an easy meal waiting for it underneath.
When you’re fishing in a lake full of hungry pike and they can’t even see your lure, it’s important to give them something extra to live for. This technique is one way that you can make your lures more appealing while building up fish confidence. Just take the time to make sure that you’re setting yourself up for success with this incredibly simple tactic.
The way surface lures move through the water makes them very appealing to predatory fish like pike. They can see, hear and smell them from far away, so they come in search of a quick meal. The vibrations from the lure moving through the water and temptation that it holds for them is just too good to pass up.”
.Catching big fish on surface lures is exciting but it’s important not to let them exhaust themselves. Fighting a fish by reeling in slowly and steadily will tire it out quickly, so use enough drag to control the pike and not the pike control you.
When a pike is close to the surface, be ready to slide your landing net underneath the fish. They’ll take a couple of lunges before they start getting tired so expect that. It’s important not to pull too hard on the line when you’re trying to land them because a sudden lunge can cause the line to snap.
Hopefully, after reading this article you’ll know more about surface lures and how to use them. You can see there’s a lot of different ways to fish with them, so the only thing holding you back is your imagination and willingness to experiment and try new things.
Good luck out there!