The lateral line is also extremely well developed.
Pike can pick up vibrations from tens of meters away
and home in to the source with great accuracy.

The one sense which is often not appreciated in pike
is their acute sense of smell. All pike, but
especially those which grow large, feed to a large
extent on dead fish. If you think about it, why waste
energy chasing lively fish if there is an alternate
source of high protein food available. For this reason
the pike's sense of smell is certainly the match for
it's other senses.

I am almost paranoid about keeping my pike baits
fresh. As fish breaks down, the muscle begins to decay.
Very quickly the tissue becomes soft and loses the
fresh smell of live fish. Although you will catch the
odd fish on these baits, I much prefer to use baits
that are either freshly killed, or still frozen when I
cast them out.

Using such fresh bait is not always possible though.
Imagine you are away for a few days on the bank and
cannot catch fresh bait. Even with the best insulated
cool bags available, baits will only remain frozen for
twenty four hours or so, much less during the summer
months.

During the odd longer session that I fish, I now make
sure that I have a range of artificial flavours to add
to the baits. Although all of these flavours are
claimed to increase the catching ability of plain fish
baits, I have rarely found this to be the case when
fished against really fresh baits. Where they do come
into their own is when the baits have lost this
freshness. A good dousing with flavour can mask the
odour of the bait for an hour or more, plenty of time
for a pike to pick it up.

Flavours for pike fishing fall into one of two
categories in my mind. Firstly, there are the oil
based flavours which are ready diluted. These can be
injected under the skin, baits can be bathed in them
and the mouth and body cavity can be filled. It is not
possible to overdose with these flavours and the most
effective way of using them is to really cover the
bait.

The second type of flavour are the more highly
concentrated varieties sold mainly for carp fishing.
These must either be used in only small doses or
diluted before use. I tend to add around one mls of
concentrated flavour to 200 mls of winterised fish
oil to give the correct concentration.

Just about any
of the huge range of concentrated flavours can be used
for pike fishing, but some stand our above others.
Strawberry is one flavour which, when combined with
mackeral, seems to give a real edge. Blue cheese is
another flavour which combines well with fish baits.
If you don't want to use these two, have a look at the
catalogues of the bait companies and see which
flavours they recommend for use with fishmeal baits. I
can't guarantee that flavouring your baits will
instantly make you more successful, but over the
course of a year it may just bring you an extra fish
or two.