Vertical, diagonal, pelagic fishing, or whatever you want to call it, if there is one effective way to catch big fish fast, it is targeting them around the bottom in search of Pike! While we often search for a nice fish in different layers of water throughout the season, there are also periods every year when the predators are stuck on the bottom and do not want to swim after our lures. Especially for those circumstances, I choose a different approach, I go to the fish, using heavy lead heads and big softbaits!
”The Zeck Fishing Finch 20cm, many great color options”
Vertical fishing is perhaps the most effective method of predatory fishing available. This technique is hugely effective for good reason. No matter which predator is involved, predatory fish are by nature completely set on intercepting a wounded bait fish. The rise and fall method as we know it from vertical fishing works so well. It is a natural offer that triggers a take again and again. Even when conditions are so unpleasantly bad that all hope seems lost, a vertically fished soft bait almost always provides the solution.
”Live action on the Humminbird Helix 9. A big fish pulled from the bottom”
Perhaps the biggest advantage of today’s technology is that you can get right above the fish. Whether this is done with Live scope or with an ordinary 2D sonar, it doesn’t really matter. When we go fishing for pike, it is important that the soft bait we offer is in the field of vision of the pike. 9 times out of 10, after seducing a fish to a bite, it’s a sure thing. When fishing for Pike, I always use large shads. Of course, you can use smaller baits too, but I want to catch big fish, and a bigger shad immediately catches the eye, so the transition is quickly made.
”The Big Pike from the fishfinder screenshot above”
Because I’m fishing for the Big Pike, I don’t use childish vertical tackle. The take often comes directly under the rod tip and can vary from a very faint bending of the rod to a loud thump, and then the fish has to hang. Over the years I have experimented with many rods, curves, and blank actions, but the Berkley Air Rod in 2.13m is an absolute favorite. This rod, with a casting weight of 20-80 grams, is perfect for this game. The rod has enough backbone to drive a large Pike but also a forgiving top action, and the latter is not entirely unimportant. In fact, immediately after setting the hook, the fish starts shaking its head, and especially since this spectacle takes place right under the rod tip, a fish can easily get rid of the hook. And of course, you don’t want that!
”My favorite Vertical Big Pike setup”
However, if you go pelagic, then a rod that is even heavier in action can be chosen, but since we are talking about verticals here, I still want to be able to move my wrist at the end of the day. The above-mentioned rod is equipped with a Abu Garcia Revo STX 30, and 40lb Whiplash 8. A well-balanced setup that has given me quite a few big fish. As a leader, I also use AFW 40lb 49 strand. Everything is nicely in proportion. I have experimented with thinner and thicker braided lines, but this combination works best for me.
”The Zeck Fishing Finch 20cm fits perfect on the 10/0 BKK Jighead”
For vertical Pike fishing, I use shads that are about 20 cm long. Smaller is possible, bigger too, but it’s not recommended. A large shad has a lot of resistance underwater and since we constantly lift the rod up and down, this resistance will also radiate to our forearms. You understand that this is not a pleasant way of fishing, and that’s why I use shads of this size. Also, the shad should not be too wide, which does not help the resistance, but it should have the right profile. That’s why for this type of fishing I always use the shads from Zeck, and especially the Finch, which is exactly 20cm long, is perfect for this type of fishing. This shad has a beautiful body profile, as well as the right thickness from front to back, and a large tail that provides a rolling and flanking action underwater. The latter is very important because the whole thing needs to stand out!
”Caught in the act. Big Pike following the bait on-screen on the Helix 9”
However, if you go vertical fishing for Pike, then you may know that a shad of such size doesn’t happily hop down with 20 grams. No, for this type of fishing I use heavyweights. And perhaps not unimportant, the right hook size. The latter had been a real crime to find in recent years. 50 gram heads with a 10/0 or even 12/0 hook were hardly available in the trade until recently. Yes, they were available, but often with a hook that you could use to travel to the North Pole to fish for Halibut. No, however, a good hook for pike was not available. Fortunately, that problem has now been solved because BKK Hooks has also put a great jig on the market for the big game hunters among us!
”A perfect fit”
As we have come to expect from BKK, this Jighead Round is once again of exceptionally high quality. The finishing of the jig is simply top-notch, and the hook bend super nice for the biggest shads. But let’s not forget the wire, which is very strong, does not bend on a fish, does not rust, and ends in a razor-sharp hook point, with micro barb. The hook point is sharp and stays sharp. Even after dozens of big fish, and not least the lead will not come off the hook when pulling big fish.
Because I fish vertically, and the Zeck Finch 20cm is a reasonable size, I choose to add an extra tail treble hook halfway up the shad for any subtle bites. Believe it or not, vertically fished Pike can sometimes be very subtle. Usually, the shad is inhaled in its entirety, but more times than not they only grab the tail, and that’s the fish you want to catch. For the tail treble I use one from BKK again, and in this case the BT621-SS 2/0. This treble hook has a super slide coating, so you can set the hook immediately. These trebles are also perfect for fishing all kinds of jerkbaits, because they are very lightweight. That’s why I use a treble hook like this for vertical fishing with large shads as well, I want to influence the action as little as possible.
As described above, with a ditto jighead and stinger system you can go many ways. The BKK Jighead Round in the larger sizes is perfect for all kinds of shads, and thanks to the top quality components that this brand supplies, the angler can also catch top fish on it, without worrying about compromising on quality.