If you are expecting to catch a large pike in the summer months I’m afraid you are likely to be disappointed. Sure, you may strike it lucky and hook in to a monster pike but it is not very likely during the summer months. If you hook in to a Norfolk Broads pike during the summer it is likely to be a smear ‘jack’ pike weighing less than 10lbs. Even though jack pike won’t break any records, they are great sport and a lot of fun to catch. In fact, catching a smaller jack pike is often more exhilarating than catching a large pike.
Jack pike are hard fighters and once hooked they will tear off at a rate of knots, they will tail walk and jump out of the water and they will also give fierce head shakes. Once on the bank the jack pike will thrash around like something possessed, and won’t stop until they are unhooked and back in the water. Hooking, playing and unhooking jack pike gets the heart beating, the adrenaline pumping thorough the veins, and is very exciting. Catching a jack pike never fails to raise a smile.
The large pike in the Norfolk Broads are totally different to catch. When hooked the large pike will go for a ‘run’ and will continue to do so until you get it in the net. Large pike don’t jump out of the water, large pike don’t tail walk and whilst a large pike will shake its head it won’t do so with the same ferocity as a jack pike. Once in the net a large pike will submit and remain sedate until you get it back in the water. It’s always nice to catch a large fish, so a large pike is always welcome in the net but it is seldom an exciting experience.
If you want to catch a pike out of the Norfolk Broads in the summer months the best method is to lure fish for them. In the summer months the jack pike are very active and will chase the small silver fish all over the river. Look for small fish leaping out of the river, and I guarantee it is because a jack pike is giving chase. If you can find a shoal of silver fish ‘jumping for their lives’ you need to cast a lure and there is a very good chance you will hook in to a pike.
Even if you can’t spot any silver fish jumping out of the water it is always worth casting a lure to try and hook a jack pike that may be waiting for a shoal of silver fish to swim past. When lure fishing for pike you should cast tight to the left bank and retrieve the lure. The next cast should be a little to right. The next cast should be a little more to the right, and so on until the final cast (unless you hook a pike of course) which should be tight to the bank on your right. Lure fishing in an arc will ensure you cover as much water as possible.
When reeling in the lure you need to vary the retrieval rate, i.e. reel in fast, reel in slow, reel in erratically, and also move the tip of the rod to give the lure a bit of life. Some anglers seem to think that lure fishing is an ‘art’ to get skilled in, but I don’t think this is the case. In fact, I think it is utter rubbish, and if you draw a lure near a pike it is likely to have a go at it regardless of how fast you are reeling the lure in or how you are moving the rod tip.
Dead baiting is a popular method for catching pike on the Norfolk Broads, but not in the summer months. Okay, you may hook a pike whilst dead baiting during the summer months but you’ll be very lucky if you do. Dead baiting is a great way of catching pike out of the Norfolk Broads in the winter months, but not the summer.
Every summer I see plenty of tourists and holiday makers dead baiting for pike whilst fishing the Norfolk Broads, and I know that many of these will return home without catching a pike which is a shame. If you are planning on a trip to the Norfolk Broads and want to catch a pike or two please, please don’t set up camp, cast out a dead bait and wait for the pike to come to you, because you could end up being disappointed. Instead, get yourself a few lures, get out on the river bank and have a go at spinning for jack pike.