"Follows," those times when a big predator shadows your lure without striking, are a part of life for pike and muskie hunters.
When you can see a large fish following your bait, the natural reaction is to slow the retrieve to allow the fish to catch up. And that's exactly the wrong ting to do. In most cases, the fish loses interest and swims away.Instead of slowing down when a follower appears, try speeding up the retrieve and fooling the fish into thinking it's prey is about to escape. Have no fear of reeling too fast. There's no way you can retrieve faster than a predator can swim once it goes into attack mode.
If the follow continues all the way to the boat, perform a figure-8 maneuver. If the fish was very interested, following closely behind the lure with its mouth opening and closing, Perform the figure-8 until the fish strikes or loses interest. A full minute isn't too long. A half-hearted follow means the fish is only mildly interested, and it's best to leave it alone for an hour or two. When you come back it may be in a more aggressive mood.
The figure-8 works well with any type of lure, including a jerkbait. When fishing a topwater, however, avoid doing the figure-8 on the surface. Push the rodtip under the water and move it like you would a diving lure.
Pike and muskies can be finicky at times, but you can make them decide to strike if you follow these tips.
More Pike Tips:
1. Reel the lure to within a foot of the rodtip, then push the tip as far below the surface as you can reach. The deeper you go, the better chances for a strike. With the freespool button pushed in and your thumb on the spool, sweep the rod in a wide, slow figure-8 pattern. If the pattern is too small a large fish can't turn sharply enough to track the lure.
2. If the fish is still following, but doesn't strike after two or three figure-8s, draw the lure across its snout. The change in direction may trigger a strike.
3. Don't set the hook until you feel the weight of the fish. It may look like the fish has taken the lure, but it really hasn't. An attempt to bury the barb will pull the lure away and spook the fish.