Pike Country. Coastal Angler Magazine – November 2017
This blog entry was originally written for Coastal Angler Magazine, November 2017 issue.
With this month’s focus being travel destinations, I wanted to promote the waters and towns of Berkshire County in western Massachusetts. With historic towns like Great Barrington, Lenox, and Adams as well as those you’ve never heard of like New Ashford, Tyringham, and Sandisfield there is a lake or river that has the perfect fishing trip for you. Pike, trout, bass, pickerel, and the variety of panfish are abundant throughout Berkshire County if you know where to look.
If you are in search of pike this time of year, I can’t suggest a big lure, bait, or fly strongly enough. We all know that every fish is trying to eat as much as possible in the fall to fatten up before the cold of winter sets in. This creates predictable behavior patterns in large predatory fish that we can exploit. A big pike doesn’t want to eat twenty 1” shiners, it wants to eat three 7” shiners. It will need to expend less energy hunting and eating fewer times as the water temperature drops. By throwing large profile baits like spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, and swimbaits, we are offering a meal that is big enough to get the attention of the biggest, meanest, predatory pike.
If you are trying to find these beasts in one of the many locations throughout Berkshire County that they have been able to establish a healthy adult population, you have a few options. While it is hard to say exactly where a pike will be living within a body of water, if I were exploring new water I would fish what I call ‘transitional water’, wherever an edge is found. Think weed edges, bottom composition changes, and depth change long a narrow area (picture an underwater sandbar). While transitional waters is a term from trout and salmon fishing, I feel it applies perfectly here. Pike are often lying in wait, in an ambush position waiting for the right meal-sized forage to make a mistake and enter their strike zone. Be sure to cover lots of water, vary your retrieve speed and rhythm, and be ready for a big strike.