Autumn pike can be some of the most rewarding, but also frustrating type of fishing you can do. It can be completely empty, silent, like all the pike has left Sweden for a long nice warm holiday. Hours of nothing and then sometimes you hit the sweetspot – a feeding frenzy and you happen to be in the right time. From nothing, nothing, nothing to strike, strike, strike and then it’s over.
In true FiskeFürAlle-spirit we were curious on how some of the best pike-anglers in Sweden. We did 7 interviews last year (links in bottom of this article) and we felt it was so interesting we decided to continue this year. First out was Trumman and now we are turning our attention outside of the Swedish border :-).
Now we will have a chat with a guy that may not be a household name in Sweden (yet). His name is Sean Wit. We came across Sean in Instagram where he was sharing pics of jaw-dropping pikes in his homewaters in Holland. Then all of a sudden he mentioned Dalsland and we were confused… Dalsland, like in Sweden? Hmmm he is not only fishing in Holland? Interesting… And then a Swedish fishing magazine had a feature on Sean and his search for big pike trolling Swedish lakes. We had to talk to this big-fish magnet :-). Just as an introduction to this Pike-man – have a look at this video of a fairly 😉 big pike taking the bait during trolling… Then we hand over to Sean… (And for the record… take a look at the size of the mouth of the pike… the bait is 25 cm)
Hi Sean, can you tell a bit about yourself?
Hej guys, thank you for having me!
I live in Hilversum, which is located in the center of the Netherlands, close to some of the larger lakes in the country. I focus on predator fishing, with big northern pike as my main target. I’ve been writing BLOG’s and articles in magazines for a few years now. Almost a year ago I teamed up with Savage Gear and I started my own company, White Label Fishing. Besides providing information about predator fishing, White Label Fishing will be a platform for quality fishing guides across Europe, with myself available as a guide in both Sweden and the Netherlands.
Where you fish and what characterizes your home waters?
I fish a variety of lakes in the Netherlands and Sweden. I prefer clear water and a good population of big pike. Not all lakes are clear in the Netherlands, but it’s getting better each year and so is the pike population. In Sweden I focus on Vänern when the wind allows me to fish the open water, if not than the smaller inner-lakes are a good alternative.
What is the first place you start looking pike? Why there?
It depends on the season. Pre-spawn on the shallows, based on wind conditions and amount of sunlight you can pick spots from the map that will hold good fish or not. After spawning, they want to feed and they do that by either focusing on smaller pike or baitfish that gathers for spawning. Usually the best time during spring is when the pike have spawned and are hungry but the baitfish, like bream, are on the shallow area where they spawn. It can be total mayhem .
In Dutch lakes and water systems pike often migrate to their Winter location. If you know their migration route, you got a good chance to find a lot of big fish. During the autumn good autumn spots can be areas with declining vegetation, on warm autumn days it can be shallow area’s for fish to warm up again and of course along the migrating routes. On shallow lakes the dropoffs near deeper water can also be really good in the Autumn.
What other places do you find fish in the first place if does not work?
Pike-fishing is all about reading the (water)conditions and putting all the pieces into the puzzle. Conditions can change over the course of a single day. It’s how you adept that really counts if you want to be successful. Adapting is not easy and sometimes frustrating, but that’s how it is.
Dare to try stuff you normally wouldn’t do. Speedtrolling (6 or 7km/h) is a good example. We had some crazy results during the winter with (what felt like) insane speed and the strikes are super hard.
What technologies / tactics do you use?
As for technology, I am a big fan of the latest developments in (3D) Structure Scan, underwater camera’s, SonarCharts Live (Navionics) and electric engines. I am a big fan of my Motorguide Xi5 connected to my Lowrance Gen3. Plotting a route with cruisecontrol makes my life as a guide much easier. As for underwater camera’s, besides the fun factor in seeing a big pike slam a lure, it is also a very useful tool. Combined with your track on the GPS and time/date on the Waterwolf HD camera’s, I can spot fish that followed and thus locate them and learn their behavior. The cool video’s on Instagram are just a big bonus 😉
I do a lot of trolling combined with spinfishing when we locate the fish. Depending on the season and if pike are gathered around at a single spot or wide spread, we change things to get the most out of the situation.
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Favorite baits for autumn fishing?
For trolling I really like to fish the Savage Gear line-thru range, the 30 and 40cm trout’s in particular. I haven’t fished the 25cm roach in the Autumn, but from the results during Spring and Summer, all chances are it is going the be a killer! Rattle baits like the Spro Screaming Devil are really good as well to fish close to the bottom. Deadbait like large herring or sardine can be very effective during late Autumn and Winter. In Sweden I would go for trolling with big swimbaits as well, slow and not to deep. Work your way down towards deeper water if fishing is slow and try to mix things up with the speed.
As for spinfishing, pike will be feeding with winter closing in, so try to fish the structures, preferably near shallow areas, entry’s to bay’s with shelter and areas where the current changes. When the water cools down, on warm September/October days the shallow bays can be good as well, provided that they are close to deeper water.
Other tips for autumn fishing?
In Sweden the pike migrate less than in the Netherlands it seems. Waters are deeper and with such depths, structure becomes less of a key factor. In the Netherlands good Winter locations are harbors, small shallow canals and places where there is a lot of human activity. Houses and such create warmth, which effects the water temperature. Not much, but 0,5 degrees can make a lot of difference. Places with a lot of human activity often have buildings surrounding the water. Those surroundings provide shelter from the cold winter wind. Besides the temperature and shelter, people throw food into the water. Food attracts bream and roach, which attracts pike. Such conditions do not occur very often in Sweden, especially on large lakes like Vänern. Swedish winters are also much colder than Dutch, providing a thick layer of ice. We haven’t had a real winter in Holland for over 6 years now.
Well Sean, in Sweden there are two camps. The ones longing for and cannot waith until the ice covers all the lake and ice fishing can commence. Then there is the camp where we are, that just wants ice to never come allowing us to spin-fish for the pikes all year round
We thank you for all your tips and hope we get the opportunity to wet our lands together in the future 🙂
Ps. Should you want to get in touch with Sean for some serious guiding for Pike in Sweden or Dalsland you can contact Sean directly via Facebook on Whitelabelfishing. Link is here Ds.
The interviews from last year… All awesome anglers :-). Swedish champs, pro-team members, fishing guides, Trex-winners et c et c and they were extremely generous with their expertise. So far these interviews are in English but will be translated in the near future. Click the names to get to the interviews.
Jimmy Lindahl and