Tested beyond limits

Sharp Shooting for Pike

June 2021

The Scandinavians mastered and perfected ‘Sharp Shooting’, also known as ‘Pelagic Vertical Jigging’ several years ago and its accounted for a huge number of specimen pike that before were just an angler’s dreams.

Catching predatory fish on traditional proven methods is unquestionably fun but when it comes to catching several big fish in quick succession, fish well over the usual expected size then most though that a miracle had to happen. It was the Swedes that developed the ‘Pelagic Sniper’ accordingly to the motto: ‘do not let miracles wait’! In Germany vertical fishing in open water with the help of an echo-sounder is becoming increasingly popular and anglers learning this technique are certainly gaining the upper hand over other methods. Basically ‘Sharp Shooting’ involves the anglers locating the fish in open water with the aid of an echo sounder, then manoeuvring the kayak or boat to this area as accurately as possible. The predator then reacts to the lure which has been carefully positioned, often attacking this as it descends.  

The big advantage of ‘sharp shooting’ compared to pure vertical or dropshot techniques is that the boat/kayak doesn’t have to pass over or be positioned above the fish as these can be easily located up to a distance of about 25 meters. I have personally experienced pike and perch, when fishing from my Kayak, diving down deeper when the boat paces or is positioned above, before repositioning often higher up in the water. This behaviour often happens on big natural lakes when the water is crystal clear but is less of a problem on flowing water where I have been able to catch predators in less than 1.5m of water from the Kayak.   

A small weakness of this method is that the bait cannot be offered floating, but supported at different depths below the kayak/boat however this is almost insignificant in the case of pike as their aggressive nature see’s them happy to move and attack the lure from different depths/directions. Sharp shooting for Zander is a bit more difficult as they are shy creatures. Their suspicious glass eye likes to take a close look at its prey first and the ‘Spiny Knight’ as I often call them prefers a much calmer and slow sinking lure. In this situation it’s a good idea to vary the depth of the lure and fish as light as possible as this will slow the decent of the lure down sharply. This allows the lure to stay with the fish for as long as possible similar to pure vertical fishing. Unlike pike that I have caught from more than ten metres away and attack the lure on full throttle, zander react much slower and need to be convinced into taking.

An excellent lure for this technique is the Palagic Shad from Quantum as it’s made from a super soft compound and transmits loads of movement. The Twinler and the Yolo Curly are also very good choices, preferably combined with the Quantum US Vapor Heavy Rod and the Vapor 101 SPT Baitcaster a lightweight great for bait control and casting.

Sharp shooting is a method that works throughout the seasons as it covers the entire water column, often where the fish are.

This year we’ve had a very cool spring, so I was not sure whether the fish had already completed their spawning ritual come the start of the season (with us 1 May). If they had then they would be back in open water again and it was with mixed feelings, but full of anticipation and after making a very early start that I was once again out targeting pike.

What I experience that day exceeded all expectations as I managed to catch a number of specimen pike (the average size of the pike is usually much higher in open water than when fishing from the shore), some exceeding 1m in length!

It was also noticeable on this day that the fish became more active with the rising air temperature as the morning proved difficult with only two fish in the first three hours, yet from noon onwards it became far more productive. The famous switch was flipped and the action was electric, as you can see from the pictures.

The first days of the new season have been fantastic for me and ones that are going to be hard to beat.

It’s all down to Sharp Shooting and I urge you to get yourself equipped and head out onto the water as it won’t be long before one of those descending Quantum lures gets taken!

Wishing you all fun on the water and much success!

 Jonas Töllner, Team Quantum

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