The 9 Best Pike Lures of 2021

From spoons to spinnerbait to topwater lures, find the best pike bait here

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TRIPSAVVY-best-pike-lures

Chloe Jeong / TripSavvy

The Rundown

Best Overall: Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon at Bass Pro Shops

"This spoon is found in most anglers' tackle boxes and is designed for long casts."

Best Crankbait: Rapala Super Shad Rap at Amazon

"This is a great all-around lure that can be used for saltwater species as well."

Best Spinnerbait: Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait at Amazon

"This half-ounce spinnerbait is almost guaranteed to generate a frenzy."

Best Spoon: Eppinger Original Dardevle Spoon at Amazon

"Its concave shape gives it a unique wiggling and wobbling action."

Best Topwater: Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper Topwater Lure at Amazon

"The added weight in the tail produces a smooth 'walk to the dog' action that predators love."

Best Jerkbait: Rapala X-Rap Jerkbait XR10 Fishing Lure at Bass Pro Shops

"Almost guaranteed to trigger bites, especially as the lure suspends and comes to a roll at rest"

Best Swimbait: Strike King Shadalicious Swimbait at Amazon

"Its soft plastic body allows it to accurately mimic the natural swimming action of smaller fish."

Best Bucktail Jig: Northland Tackle Bionic Bucktail Fishing Jig at Amazon

"Ideal for trolling along drop-offs and weedlines in search of lurking pike."

Best Paddle Tail: Musky Innovations Magnum Swimmin’ Dawg Pike Lure

"The swimbait’s paddle tail creates huge vibrations and acts as a siren call for big predators."

It’s easy to understand the allure of pike fishing. This fish species is synonymous with exciting angling; pike are known to be aggressive predators and fierce fighters, lending a brag-worthy experience once you’ve successfully caught one of these big freshwater fish. And the pike-specific lures are equally exciting, often boasting bright colors and unique shapes designed to capture the fish’s attention, even from significant distances. These are the best pike lures.

Best Overall: Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon

Johnson pike lure

Courtesy of Johnson

Metal fishing spoons work very well with pike because they are easy to cast and bite onto. For this reason, the Johnson Silver Moon Spoon is found in most anglers' tackle boxes. This highly-reviewed spoon, made of silver or gold, is designed for long casts and works well in fresh or salt water. The lure's heavier materials also work well in vegetation and won't snag on weeds.

It features a 35-degree angle in the body, which is thicker in the middle, making it easy to rock the lure back and forth when you retrieve it. This rocking motion emulates the motion of real bait so the pike will be attracted and bite onto your lure. The spoon can also be jigged, trolled, or twitched to accommodate different preferences and weather conditions. Sizes range from 1.125 inches to 3.75 inches and are available in 0.25-ounce to 0.75-ounce weights. It comes in classic colors like red and white, or more natural-looking patterns like chrome trout.

Best Crankbait: Rapala Super Shad Rap

Rapala Super Shad Rap

Amazon

Measuring 5.5 inches in length, the Rapala Super Shad Rap is the plus-sized version of the brand’s tried-and-true Shad Rap, and it 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, as well as two super sharp VMC black nickel treble hooks. The lure weighs 1.625 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, and the baitfish profile replicates the pike’s natural forage. This illusion is reinforced by lifelike 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 pike tend to favor. This is because their framed design helps to keep weeds away from the hook, reducing its 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-inch 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 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 featuring a single razor-sharp treble hook, the spoon weighs 0.75 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. The spoon can be cast or trolled, depending on your preference and the conditions on any given day. 

Best Topwater: Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper Topwater Lure

Topwater lures like the Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper are ideal for enticing active pike to perform dramatic surface strikes. Made of durable plastic material, this lure comes in 6-inch or 7-inch sizes, so it's big enough for northern pike to grab onto. It's designed with added weight in the tail section, which forces the lure to sit tail down. This creates an effective bobbing target and makes the same sounds as fleeing baitfish. It also produces a smooth "walk the dog" action that hungry predators find irresistible.

The Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper is equipped with two premium rust-resistant hooks, which results in fewer losses. There are 20 realistic color patterns to choose from, including bone, mullet, and gold black back. Some have painted scales, fins, and gill plates, while others, like the deadly white red head, 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

Rapala X-Rap Jerkbait XR10 Fishing Lure

Courtesy of Bass Pro Shops 

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 all but 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 inches, 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 Swimbait: Strike King Shadalicious Swimbait

Strike King Shadlicious Swimbait is intended specifically for pike, muskies, and trophy bass. Its soft plastic body allows it to accurately mimic the natural swimming action of smaller fish and sink into the water slowly, adding more lifelike effects. The lure’s plastic curly tail gives it a frantic back-and-forth motion that pushes pike into hunting mode.

This lure can be attached to a jig head, an internal jig head, or a weighted hook. Buyers should note, however, that the hook size should match the bait's size. Its realistic fins, 3-D eyes, and painted gill plate and scales all add to the effect. With 10 colors to choose from, you'll be able to find a lure to suit every conceivable weather and water condition.

Best Bucktail Jig: Northland Tackle Bionic Bucktail Fishing Jig

Northern Bionic Bucktail Jig

Courtesy of Sportsman's Warehouse

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. The illusion is completed by an oversized reflective eye. Use the center eye-tie 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 0.75 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

Musky lure

Courtesy of Musky

At 11 inches 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 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. 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 for long-term storage. 

Final Verdict

Well-crafted from heavier materials, the Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon (view at Bass Pro Shops) ranks as one of the best pike lures on the market. Designed for long casts, the lure has a 35-degree angle that mimics the rocking motion of real bait to attract fish, and can be used in both fresh and salt water. It comes in a variety of sizes, weights, and colors. But if you want to go with a classic spooner lure, consider Eppinger’s Original Dardevle (view at Amazon), which boasts a concave shape to get the lure to wiggle and wobble in order to send out flashes and vibrations to attract fish. The classic yellow/red diamond color is optimal for pike, and the lure comes in other sizes and colors.

What to Look for in a Pike Lure

Price: On average most high-quality pike lures hover around $10, including spooners, swimbaits, and spinnerbaits. But you can pay more than triple that for a hand-crafted lure that are is much a work art as it is an effective bait. These come with super-realistic baitfish patterns, internal structures for added durability, and plastic materials that can add a natural flex to the lure when it’s running.

Style: In general pike lures break out into three types. Spoons don’t really resemble bait fish but are instead designed to flash, flutter, and move to grab the attention of the fish, even from a distance. Soft plastic lures, meanwhile, mirror the movements of small minnow fish and come in a variety of sizes and colors, so you can cast out a lure that aligns with the fish found in the water. And then there are in-line spinners, which rotate as you manipulate the line to send vibrations to attract pike, which are very sensitive to both bright colors and movement.

Material: Most spooner lures are constructed of shaped metal that allows the lure to shimmer, bob, and move in the water, typically outfitted with one or more nickel bait hooks. More traditional-looking bait lures are constructed of wood, plastic, or metal—sometimes a combination of all three—and are typically outfitted with at least two bait hooks. Spinner baits add a bit more flair, working off a hard metal wire frame to integrate flashing metal coins and flexible materials designed to mimic a bait fish’s flowing fins. And some swimbait lures are made entirely of flexible plastic to add natural shimmy to mirror the swimming motion of live bait.

FAQs

What makes a lure specific for pike fishing?

Pikes are visual feeders and tend to be attracted to bright lures—think high-visibility colors like white, bright orange, or red—so pike lures are some of the loudest bait options in fishing. Pike also respond well to vibration, shimmer, and sound, so pike-specific lures are typically shaped to mimic the movement of live fish and encourage wiggle, shake, or bob once the lure is under water.

What size lures should I use?

In general, go big, which will let your lures be more visible from a distance. Bigger lures also add more weight, which will improve the lure’s movement under water when running. On average, look for lures that measure somewhere between 4 and 6 inches.

Do I need to use a leader?

Pike are notoriously aggressive fish, armed with rows of sharp, needle-thin teeth that will slice through regular monofilament fishing lines. In order to avoid a frayed line—and a lost lure—go with a heavy wire leader roughly 12 inches long and rated to handle 20- to 30-pound fish. But if you’re using floating plugs, drop the leader length by 6 inches.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Nathan Borchelt is a travel and adventure enthusiast with a wealth of professional experience on writing on all things outdoors, and he's spent a great deal of time on and in the water. Extensive research into the wide world of pike lures served as the basis of selection for the products included in this round-up. We consulted with established anglers to understand the variable nuances of pike lures, and integrated feedback from verified consumers to capture the nuances of each product, as well as their overall effectiveness in real-world fishing to narrow our selection, with a focus on all types of lures as well as variables like different water and fishing conditions.

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