In my quest for big winter pike, I headed out to Lac St Louis near the Montreal area with a couple friends. The weather was overcast with light snow, about or just about freezing.
I set up a variety of bait dead bait including minnows, smelt, sardines and small mackerel, on my pike lines, a double worm rig on my jigging rod. The fishing was extremely slow, we moved to 3 separate spots over about 1 mile in search of the pike, all we caught were some small perch jigging live minnows and worms. We unfortunately were only able to fish until 3:00 PM. As I’m pulling up my lines, the one with a 7- 8 inch mackerel had a decent sized pike on it. Again, I lost it when trying to bring it through the 8 inch hole. A frustrating loss, my consolation is that the rig worked for a second time, and on both occasions the pike skipped smaller live minnows for the larger (and smellier) dead bait.
So why has it failed to "ice" pike twice? My best guess at this point is the quick strike system. Although I can see how it can be very effective in hooking fish, when it comes to pulling a pike through an 8" hole, the rig can actually work against the fisherman. Assuming the fish is hooked by the trailer treble hook in the side of the mouth, (which is the entire focal point of the quick strike rig), when I'm pulling the fish to the surface it will most likely be somewhat sideways as it hits the hole. To make matters worse, the treble will most likely be in perfect position to pull out if the pike's large snout goes past the hole. I think this is exactly what happened on both occasions.
My next modification to the rig will be the hook setup, I will probably use a similar setup to a "kingfish rig", although this will mean preparing, prerigging and re-freezing the sardines or mackerel with the rigs in them. The modified rig probably will be "beta tested" on my next outing, hopefully within the next week or two.
Check out my big pike setup and rig on Youtube, I would love your input.