Large pikes are much more likely to hunt under the water surface, than we think. Pulling a dead herring with a boat on a float set is the surest way to catch a nice summer pike in excellent condition. We remind you, that in Poland this method is forbidden.
May, Lough Mask, Ireland. Fishfinder points, that the boat is even ten meters deep. We are very far from the shore and we are looking for rocks that are coming out of the water. – Bertus, your fishing rod! -a colleague shouted.
I managed to grab it literally at the last moment – she would fall into the water in a moment. I can smell the fish and I know immediately, that it is a pike.
The predator choked on a wobbler working two meters below the surface. Ten minutes later I picked my 7 m pike this week.
June, Vanern, Sweden.
We fish for perch in the big lake. From time to time we move between distant fisheries. On the occasion, rather out of boredom, I keep pulling 20 meters behind the boat of a small wobbler. We sail quite fast and the wobbler works almost below the surface. Suddenly, the fishing rod almost snatched from my hand.
– Lake trout, lake trout! – my guide shouts. Sea trout quickly turned out to be a ninety centimeter pike.
The predator took in the middle of the great lake, right below the surface.
Track below the surface
October, Mirror plas, The Netherlands.
The first cool day of this fall. I forgot the box with the knick-knacks necessary to catch a dead fish on a carriage. I had to improvise. So I mounted the herring on the through-float set and started dragging it behind the boat. The biggest problem was that the float was moving towards the bait (the faster the boat came down, thus the resistance of the water was greater). The float almost stopped on the leader, and the herring moved just below the water's surface. Suddenly taking! The depth at this point was exactly nine meters. The sight of a float disappearing under water is always very beautiful, what about the sight of a 12 kg pike attacking the lure just behind the boat!
So some pikes like to hunt below the surface. Most anglers are careful, that these predators wait for their prey just above the bottom. I found out about this during many discussions with anglers. My comments, that pikes regularly hunt also below the surface, often sparked passionate discussions, in which they mostly tried to convince me, that is completely different.
About that, that the pikes also take over the bottom, I have known for a long time, for example, based on the many bites of esoxes while fishing for zander.
After twenty years of fishing in large waters, I noticed a certain regularity – most of the handsome pikes were caught in the upper parts of the water. However, smaller predators, fish up to 80 cm, they took most often over the seabed. This is also certain, that the pike living in the upper layers of the water are active and, looking for prey, they move even over long distances.
The fact that large pikes are present from May to October (and even until November) just below the water surface can be explained by the variable thermal stratification of each water reservoir.
Thermal stratification of water
In large reservoirs of stagnant water, three thermal layers form in spring (differing in temperature). This is due to the physical properties of the water, which is cooler for them, the less volume and the greater the density it has (it is heavier).
The sun's rays warm the surface layer of water. The hottest layer is therefore always below the surface. From a layer of cold water, so the heaviest and lying above the bottom, it is separated by a transition layer, also known as a thermocline or jump layer. The temperature of the lower layer of water is exactly four degrees Celsius, while the water in the thermocline is about seven degrees. The temperature of the near-surface layer is variable.
It depends on exposure to sunlight and the degree of wind "mixing" the water.
In summer, the wind "stirs" only the surface layer of water.
The mixing of water in the entire lake does not occur until late autumn, when the water begins to cool at the surface and stops forming three layers. No wonder then, that in the summer, only the surface layer of water is well oxygenated. In both lower layers in summer (mainly in the bottom layer) the water is never sufficiently oxygenated. Fish, on the other hand, as well as people, have a strictly defined oxygen demand, especially when they are active. This is the main reason, for which large pikes prefer subsurface layers of water to hunt in summer.