The Jack Pike
Anyone fishing for pike know that they are canibals. Big pike focus on the food source that yields the most profit in the nutrition vs energy spent equation. When many pike are packed in a limited area during the colder months the looser of that equation is usually the smaller jack pike. For every bait builder of pike lures creating a jack pike imitation is a must do project. My jack pike project has not always been easy but lately things has started to fall in place. Here is my Jack Pike project
If at first you fail try again
My first attempt at a jack was a complete fail. While the generic jerk bait is an easy shape to work with, a jack pike is something different. In my first attempt I focused to much on the shape of a real jack, the result is a bait which does not swim and has no balance.
The swimming jack
After figuring that one of the problems with my first attempt was its round profile causing the balance problem I decided to create a higher profile bait. Not knowing better I gave this a shape with a high tail, a low nose and a big forehead. The result? this one swims wild on a steady retrieve, but is it a jerk bait? no its not. This was a useful experience for other projects but not what I was looking for.
For the big ones
This one was triggered by a very frustrating fishing experience when I was right on top of really big pike but could not get a bite. Instead the big pike was stalking the medium sized pike following and taking my baits. I finally caught on to this when on one retrieve I had three nice fish following the bait almost swimming in parallel. They where about the same size somewhere in the 3 to 5 kg range so they didn’t really scare each other off, still they got spooked and ignored the bait. When the followers took of I noticed two big pike turning that had been stalking the followers from below. I seen a frustrating morning catching a lot of fish in the 3 to 5 kg range, but the big ones didn’t even look at any of my baits. Not big enough.
This bait is a result of that experience, at a bit over 25cm and 178g it should stand a chance to get noticed if I ever experience the same situation again. This one is heavy to fish and not a bait the one can fish a full day but for its nice it swims really well.
A jack based on the Generic
After some struggling with finding a good shape for the jack I hand one of these spark moments. What if I could try to build a jack on the generic? I stretched the nose and tail a bit and mad it thinner for a bit more side to side action. At the same time I tried a new laminate pattern from a new better photo of a small jack from the eastern archipelago. Now I was on the right track. This turned out to be a very easy to fish bait.
The chartreuse version is made from the same new laminate but photoshopped to replace some colors. The idea is to create an tractor bait for the winter season. This bait is the one that catches the most pike for me during the late fall and winter before the ice ends the season.
Having found the general shape of the bait I have started the challenge to make it bigger but still keep it fishable. This is an attempt to simply stretch the bait a bit more. One of these trapped a monster on its first trip, unfortunately it threw the bait before I could net the fish but this would have been a personal best, no question about it.
This is still an ongoing project, it needs some more tuning before I will call it done.