Trolling is the best way to catch early-season pike around cabbage beds—if you know this trick


Photo by Matt Miller

Emerging cabbage beds are northern pike magnets during late spring and early summer, but it can be a chore keeping big soft-plastics and swimbaits free of weeds.

So, instead of casting them out, try trolling them on a short leash. That way, you can weave your way along a weedline, or over the tops of the weeds, and never hang up. And when you troll with a short line, the baits will instantly respond to every zig, zag and speed change you make.


I like to let out enough line to keep my bait just behind the prop wash—25 to 30 feet is usually ideal. Muskie anglers have long trolled lures in the frothy water behind the boat, and it’s just as effective for gargantuan pike.