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Northern pike are superb predators known for their exceptional strength, voracious appetites, and razor-sharp teeth: all of which make them worthy sport fish. The best lure for catching pike depends on any number of factors, including the time of year, the weather, water conditions, and local forage species. After the spring spawn, for example, it’s difficult to go wrong no matter what lure you use; but later in the season, you’ll have to choose carefully to get finicky pike to strike. General rules include going big and colorful as pike are visual feeders who often like to bite off more than they can chew. In this article, we look at our favorite pike lures in an array of different categories.
Our Top Picks
Best Crankbait: Rapala Super Shad Rap
Measuring 5.5” in length, the Rapala Super Shad Rap is the plus-sized version of the brand’s tried and true Shad Rap and is ideally suited to targeting northern pike and muskies. It can be cast or trolled and has heavy-duty hardware capable of standing up to aggressive strikes. This includes stainless steel through wire construction to stop the crankbait from disintegrating when seized by strong teeth; and two super sharp VMC black nickel treble hooks. The lure weighs 1-5/8 ounces and has a running depth of 5 to 9 feet.
The body is made of premium Balsa wood. It is hand-tuned and tank-tested to give it a natural swimming action right out of the box, while the baitfish profile replicates the pike’s natural forage. This illusion is reinforced by life-like patterns such as shad, perch, or mullet. When the weather’s overcast or you’re fishing in dirty water, opt for highly visible color patterns like Redhead or Firetiger instead. This is a great all-around lure that can be used for saltwater species as well.
Best Spinnerbait: Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait
Spinnerbaits are a popular choice when fishing in the heavy vegetation that pike tend to favor. This is because their framed design helps to keep weeds away from the hook, therefore reducing your chances of getting stuck. The Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait was specifically created with northern pike and muskies in mind. The super tough Vibra-Flx wireframe is capable of withstanding the species’ teeth, while the included 12” steel leader stops them from biting through your line.
Of course, the ability to survive a strike only matters if you’re getting bites in the first place, and this half ounce spinnerbait is almost guaranteed to generate a frenzy thanks to its double willow blades and Silo-Tex skirt. The former creates irresistible vibration and shine, while the latter mimics the undulating action of a baitfish in distress. A realistic fish head with an oversized eye and painted gill plate adds to the overall effect. Color options include crawfish, perch, sunfish and luminescent glowtreuse.
Best Topwater: Heddon Rattlin’ Spook Lure
Topwater lures like the Heddon Rattlin’ Spook Lure are ideal for enticing active pike to perform dramatic surface strikes. Made of durable, hard plastic, this 4.5” lure is perfectly sized for northern pike and produces a smooth “walk the dog” action that hungry predators find irresistible. The commotion caused by this technique is exacerbated by the lure’s newly designed rattle chamber. It contains tungsten ball bearings that rub together to emit the same sounds as panicked or fleeing baitfish. The weight of the chamber also makes achieving walk the dog’s back-and-forth sashay a little easier.
The lure is equipped with two premium Mustad treble hooks, for instant hook sets and fewer losses. There are 14 realistic color patterns to choose from, including bone/orange belly, g-finish foxy shad, and fluorescent green crawdad. Some have painted scales, fins, and gill plates while others, like the deadly gold/black, rely on their high shine to replicate baitfish scales and attract bites no matter the water and topside weather conditions.
Best Jerkbait: Rapala X-Rap Jerkbait XR10 Fishing Lure
Like the Super Shad Rap, the Rapala X-Rap features stainless steel through wire construction and two VMC black nickel treble hooks. By manipulating the jerkbait’s movement, you can achieve an aggressive Slashbait action or the classic Rapala wobble. Both are guaranteed to trigger bites, especially as the lure suspends and comes to a roll at rest, providing a vulnerable target that’s impossible for pike to ignore. Its aerodynamic shape and internal long-cast system allow you to cover more water and get more bites.
The diving lip on the XR10 model gives the lure a running depth of 4 to 6 feet. At 4”, it’s ideally sized for pike and comes in a range of iridescent colors that imitate their natural prey. Patterns include clown, glass ghost, and olive green. All lures have a textured, translucent body with an internal holographic foil, a 3D holographic eye, prominent scales, and a lateral line that catches and reflects light underwater. All of these elements combine to create an ultra-realistic baitfish presentation, with a flash foil teaser tail for added shine and movement.
Best Spoon: Eppinger Original Dardevle Spoon
Pike spoons come in an astounding variety of shapes, sizes, and colors but for many anglers, it’s still impossible to beat the Eppinger Original Dardevle Spoon. Made in the USA, this is a classic lure that has proven irresistible to pike (and other freshwater gamefish) for over 100 years. Its concave shape gives it a unique wiggling and wobbling action that sends out all the flash and vibration you need to attract the attention of a record water wolf. Made of metal and with a single razor-sharp treble hook, the spoon weighs 3/4 ounces.
There are many different sizes and colors available, ranging from the original red/white stripe to more recent innovations like rainbow trout and mackerel. For many angling experts, the yellow/red diamond pattern linked here is the ultimate addition to your tackle box for targeting pike. The spoon can be cast or trolled, depending on your preference and the conditions on any given day.
Best Swimbait: Tackle Industries SuperD Musky Bait Pike Lure
Tackle Industries’ 5-ounce SuperD Musky Bait is intended specifically for pike, muskies, and trophy bass. Its soft plastic body and balanced jig head allow it to accurately mimic the natural swimming action of smaller fish so it glides at a 20-degree angle on the fall and swims horizontally on the retrieve. The lure’s hand-cut curly tail gives it a frantic back-and-forth motion that pushes pike into hunting mode; while its one-foot-per-second fall rate means that you can easily calculate when it has reached the strike zone.
Equipped with two treble hooks and a single jig hook, the lure can be used as a crankbait, jerkbait, or jig. However you use it, the brand’s Body Lock harness keeps it in one piece even after repeated toothy attacks. Realistic fins, 3D eyes, and a painted gill plate and scales all add to the overall effect. With 42 colors to choose from, you'll be able to find a lure to suit every conceivable weather and water condition. Examples include polar ice cisco, chartreuse circus, and radioactive redhorse.
Best Bucktail Jig: Northland Tackle Bionic Bucktail Fishing Jig
The Northland Tackle Bionic Bucktail Fishing Jig is ideal for trolling along drop-offs and weedlines in search of lurking pike, or for targeting trophy fish in deep water. The hand-tied genuine bucktail and realistic jig head replicate the size, shape, and pulsating movement of pike forage species such as cisco, alewife, and perch; and the illusion is completed by an oversized reflective eye. Use the center tie-eye for vertical jigging and the forward eye-tie for casting and trolling.
The lure is equipped with a single jig hook and a trailing treble hook that’s cleverly hidden in the bucktail for hooking short-striking pike. The latter is attached with a steel leader, so there’s no chance of your catch being able to bite through the wire and swim free. The lure weighs 3/4 ounces and comes in several different colors including white cisco and glow rainbow. Patriots will like the fact that these quality lures are made right here in the USA.
Best Paddle Tail: Musky Innovations Magnum Swimmin’ Dawg Pike Lure
At 11” and 7 ounces, the Musky Innovations Magnum Swimmin’ Dawg is made with serious pike and muskies in mind. Designed by professional guide Luke Ronnestrand, the swimbait’s paddle tail creates huge vibrations and acts as a siren call for big predators. The lure is made out of incredibly flexible soft plastic, giving it a realistic swimming action. There are two treble hooks, the first of which is mounted on the front to allow for successful hooking of head-hunting fish or fish that strike on the fall. Reel it in smoothly, or with a tantalizing pull/pause action.
Hand poured and painted in the USA, the lure comes in a range of super-realistic baitfish patterns including crappie, bluegill, walleye, and orange belly perch. The lure linked here is the highly effective firetiger. All options are built with a flexible internal harness for added durability. A custom formed, reusable clamshell packet helps to maintain the body shape in your tackle box or for long-term storage.
Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular pike lures on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 20 different lures overall, screened options from 15 different brands and manufacturers, read over 30 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 2 of the pike lures themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.