Yes, 100% northern pike do have teeth, and lots of them. As all the species of the Esox family do. But what is it that fascinates people about northern pike teeth? After all, they are just fish that have teeth for survival. Surely the northern pike isn’t that impressive?
Well, lots of anglers, myself included are fascinated by the pike and their impressive teeth, and for good reason. This fish is an apex predator that has pretty much stayed unchanged over many years. This is due to it being the perfect hunter. The northern pike really is flawless in design when it comes to ambushing and hunting down prey.
The Northern Pike Teeth
As you now know pike do in fact have teeth and an impressive collection at that. The largest of the teeth line the side of their mouth along their jawline. These do individually vary in size and can be anything up to an inch in size. These teeth are as sharp as razors and can shred prey very effectively.
Though they have teeth on their jawline they also have a plate placed on the roof of their mouth that can be lined with hundreds of teeth. These are a lot smaller than the ones on the jawline and are positioned pointing slightly backward.
These rows of slightly smaller teeth ensure a good grip on any unfortunate prey. Once the pike’s teeth get a grip on its meal, it is extremely rare that it is able to escape.
A pike will quite often eat fish, small animals, and crustaceans that are nearly the size of the pike itself. On the odd occasion, this can prove fatal to the pike and it can literally choke to death. Jack pike in particular are notorious for this type of behavior.
Can Northern Pike Bite You
Northern pike definitely will not purposely bite you. Having said that if you catch one you could really sustain a nasty injury if you do not handle them correctly. A big pike can have up to about 700 razor-sharp teeth lining its mouth. These can slash the skin with ease.
To ensure this doesn’t happen you really need to learn how to handle pike correctly whilst fishing for them. With a good bit of practice, you can soon learn to minimise the chance of an injury. If you are unfortunate enough to get injured by pike teeth be sure to apply direct pressure to the wound.
Due to the sharpness of the teeth, they really can cause a deep little wound that can bleed for a little while. It’s not a bad idea to have a first aid kit with you when targeting pike.
Can A Northern Pike Shed its Teeth?
There is a bit of a myth that northern pike teeth get shed on a regular basis. This is exactly that, a myth. This seems to be believed more by anglers in the US. I live in the United Kingdom and have caught a fair few pike, and have never actually heard of this theory.
Obviously, pike have a pretty impressive appetite and quite often bite off more than they can chew. For this reason, they can fairly easily lose the odd tooth, but there is no scientific evidence of a pike shedding its teeth that I know of.
Can Northern Pike Teeth Bite Through Fishing Line?
Yes, northern pike teeth can definitely bite through your fishing line. Whether you are using, fluoro, mono, or braid, pike can definitely bite through it. For this reason, if you are fishing for them you are better off using a wire trace.
Wire traces come in all different breaking strains. Depending on the venue you are fishing and what method you use, will determine what breaking strain you should use.
What Wire Trace For Lure Fishing?
When lure fishing for pike I like to use a trace around 15lb to 20lb breaking strain. I use this when using small to medium size lures. A good strong but supple wire is a must in my eyes. You really do need to have confidence in the wire trace that you are using.
For this reason, I usually use 15lb Drennan Esox 7 Strand. This stuff is reasonably priced and I have total confidence in it. To date, I have not lost a fish due to a dodgy wire trace.
What Wire Trace For Dead Baiting?
You will find that when you are dead baiting you will need to up the breaking strain of your wire trace. This is mainly due to the increase in weight that you will be casting.
In general, but not always you also tend to catch bigger pike while dead baiting. So a higher breaking strain is recommended. My ‘go-to’ breaking strain is 34lb. It may seem a little extreme, but I don’t want to be losing any monster fish due to a weak trace.
For this type of fishing, I tend to use 34lb Drennan Esox Super Trace. Again, it is reasonably priced and fairly easy to get hold of.
What Do Northern Pike Eat?
Northern pike have lots of sharp teeth for a good reason. They are primarily carnivores and need them for gripping and killing their prey.
Anything that is small enough to swallow generally isn’t safe when a pike is about.
Their most popular meal is usually fish such as roach, rudd, gudgeon, perch, and trout. They will also happily devour one of their own kind. In fact, any fish up to about a third of the size of the hungry pike could easily be engulfed.
Rodents such as voles, mice, and rats are also on the pike’s menu along with frogs, toads, crayfish, baby birds, and newts. The northern pike really isn’t too fussy when it comes to mealtime.
Will A Pike Attack A Human?
Due to the size of a northern pike’s teeth, people quite often believe they will attack humans. This really isn’t the case.
A pike may look quite dangerous due to its big sharp rows of teeth but they have no intentions of attacking a human. They are not like fish such as pirahanas which will tear their prey to shreds. A pike just wants its prey to be the right size to take whole in one go.
A human is far too big for this and will come across as too much of a threat. The only reason a northern pike would attack a human is if it mistook a body part as prey. For example, a finger or toe wiggling around in the water giving off vibrations. But this would be a very rare occurrence indeed.
Is It Safe To Unhook Pike?
Yes, it is safe to unhook pike but due to their teeth, you really need to learn how to do it safely. As I mentioned earlier pike will not intentionally bite you. Having said that you can end up with a nasty accident if you put your hand in the wrong place or the pike thrashes about.
Handle your pike confidently and learn how to unhook the fish safely. It is highly advisable to take an experienced pike angler with you on your first few outings.
Northern pike teeth are extremely sharp and all pike should be handled with care for this reason.
A pike is not going to go out of its way to purposely bite you just because it has a big mouth full of teeth. They are actually quite a shy fish that would rather stay well out of your way. So don’t be afraid of the pike, instead, respect this super fish, a pike is evolution at its best.
Tight line and enjoy your fishing.