The northern pike has a reputation for being one of the most fearsome freshwater fish out there. These predators are known to eat just about anything and everything that will fit in their mouths. It's no wonder they are a favorite target of anglers. Still, we rarely get to see these fish stalking and killing prey in their natural habitat. A fortuitous bit of video shot by an ice fisherman gives us an inside look at the pike's world. In the video, a whole group of bluegills are clustered around an angler's bait, which he's jigging up and down through the water column. Most of the bluegills are completely focused on watching the bait and taking quick nibbles of it before scooting back to continue to watch it. As a result, most of them don't notice the growing shadow lurking behind them. It's a large northern pike and one tiny bluegill is so focused on the fisherman's bait that it never sees the predator coming.
At least one small bluegill that's facing the predator sees it coming and quickly retreats the area. A moment later, the pike explodes in a sudden burst of energy, engulfing the bluegill whole before it ever has a chance to know what hit it.
Life is rough when you're a fish that's on the near bottom of the food chain. This is survival of the fittest at its best. The one bluegill that was not paying attention gets eaten and the aware ones live to see another day. The size and speed of the northern pike never ceases to amaze us. It's helpful to see how these fish pursue their natural prey because it goes to show you don't always need a super aggressive presentation to goad one into striking.
Most anglers tend to go for a perch or minnow style presentation when targeting pike. Mostly because those fish are thought to be the preferred foods of these predators. However, as this video clearly shows, there's something to be said for a presentation that resembles a bluegill too.
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