A live fish is the natural food of pike so it makes sense that it will also make
a good bait. Any small fish will catch pike. We recommend fish under
8" (20 cm) in length to preserve fish stocks and to make presentation of
the bait and hooking the pike easier. Some fisheries might not allow livebaiting
in order to preserve their fish stocks. Livebaits must only be used on the water
they have been caught from so you must always be aware of the fishery byelaws
which you can find out more about here.
Since the late 1950s pike anglers have been using dead fish as bait, but they
should not be looked on as an alternative to livebaits, rather as another method
altogether. Some fisheries seem to respond better to livebait than they do to
deadbaits (and vice versa) - so keep your options open.
sometimes show a preference for particular deadbaits so it pays to use a selection
of sea and freshwater fish. Freshwater fish can be used as bait, either freshly
caught or frozen, and sea fish also catch pike. Large deadbaits can be cut in
two and both the head and tail ends used as bait.
trout and eel are two popular freshwater baits, while sprats, mackerel and herrings
have also caught plenty of pike, as have migratory fish like smelt and lamprey.
But anything is worth a try!
Artificial lures can be used to catch pike in many situations and come in an amazing
array of types, sizes and colours. Again they are not an alternative to natural
baits, but an extra string to the pike angler's bow.