New lure may be nightmare for pike//Ted Peck
Northern pike will be spawning in marshy habitat across southern Wisconsin over the next couple of weeks. If the water table remains at high levels into April we could be looking at a banner year class of little green toothers.
When water temperatures warm to about 45 degrees several male pike will herd an egg laden female into flooded grasses, bumping into her sides to free eggs which are fertilized by the males.
Pike eggs have an adhesive quality that enables them to attach to a blade of marsh grass until they hatch a couple weeks later. The tiny pike fingerlings remain in flooded marsh grass habitat until the egg sacs they have been feeding on since birth are absorbed and the new crop of alpha predators takes its place in the ecosystem.
If water levels drop in the meantime, the year class will suffer as the egg sacs are left high and dry. If conditions allow the new year class to flourish, fingerlings are not out of the woods. Pike are cannibalistic. Little pike are like popcorn to their parents.
Next to spawning, the predator/prey relationship is the most important influence in the life of a fish. Predators go where the food is. There is no point in leaving flooded marsh grass when the buffet they created is just a tail flick away.
We are the next step up the food chain. Pike provide a wonderful alternative to catching walleyes now in areas not subject to seasonal restrictions. They are primarily sight feeders. Lures which can be fished slowly in heavy cover with lots of flash and vibration provide the best means to get hooked up.
Over the past several weeks I’ve tweaked a chatterbait called the Carter Classic Shaker into a bait which should be an icthyologic incubus for mongo gators. In a tradition peculiar to Esox anglers this new creation needs a name. Maybe I’ll call it “Pikeubus”.
My fishin’ buddy Mike Carter has considerable design input on Choo Choo Lures
Products, most notably swim jigs and the chatterbait which bears his name.
Barry Descaro is the driving force behind this South Carolina lure company. If a chatterbait is the Ford Mustang of bass lures, then Barry Descaro is Carroll Shelby and Mike Carter is his wheelman.
Bass fishing is practically a religion in the South. Choo Choo lures are the mother church.
Carter’s Custom Shaker is perfect for bass right out of the package. But given the pike propensity for sight feeding with considerable orthodontic equipment a little tweaking was required to turn the CCS into a weapon of fish destruction.
Descaro said he would manipulate the skirt on the CCS to give this custom lure a slightly longer bait profile.
When the UPS man delivered my order I replaced the snap on the Red Robin and Firetiger Carter’s Custom Shakers with a six-inch South Bend tackle “Invisileader” 20 pound test wire. I also added a 5-inch white Kalin grub for just a little more buoyancy, vibration and flash.
“Pikeubus” is tied to 80 lb. PowerPro superbraid line on my favorite 6 ½ foot St. Croix medium heavy baitcast rod, ready to break big gators from their nasty habit of sucking eggs.
The arrival of thousands of ducks in the area says Spring has arrived in earnest. Time to go pike fishin’