Summer pike go crazy for big soft-plastic paddletails, such as the Water Wolf Shadzilla or Rover Baits Shad. The side-to-side action and thumping tail is just too much for giant toothy critters to resist, especially when you position your boat over deep water and cast to structure.
Keep your rod tip at 11 o’clock after casting and wait until you see your line go slack. Next, drop your rod tip to nine o’clock as you turn the reel handle five or six times as fast as you can. Then stop and wait for your lure to hit bottom again. Continue this sequence until your bait is under the boat—or you get a bite.
Giant pike will often hit the lure as it falls, but the bite might be light, almost as though it were a yellow perch. The key is to quickly recover any slack, then slam the hooks home—and then hang on tight.