Basic Kit and Tips

I will open up by now just covering a few of the basic yet essential pieces of tackle required to fish safely for pike angling.

First of all rods, these should be of around 12ft in length and a minimum test curve of around 2.5lbs, although if you are punching out big baits any distances I would recommend a test curve of 2.75 to 3lbs for handling the extra load that will be required for any distances work.

Reels need to be of the free spool/bait runner type with a spool capacity of around 250m of a minimum of 15lbs breaking strain monofilament line or alternatively braid of around 30lbs breaking strain I would like to recommend that anyone that starts the season pike fishing should firstly change all lines on all reels this is because of the abuse that can be inflicted on all lines during the course of a season. Myself I normally change monofilament twice a season where as the braid is turned around on the spool.

Wire traces should be of a minimum of 25lbs breaking strain this is not over the top as the vast selection of low diameter wires on the market are superb and there is no need to drop below 25lb,trace lengths should be a minimum of around 20ins long this will help to stop bite offs if the fish should roll or become wrapped up in your tackle ,using anything shorter will probably result with the fish biting though your main line resulting in a lost fish and a fish swimming off probably to an inevitable death. You can either twist or crimp your own traces, hooks and swivels this is made easy by following the instructions that most manufacturers provide on their packaging should this be a problem you can buy quality traces from various tackle manufacturers with again good instructions as and how to use the various set ups available.

Hooks should be of a semi-barbless pattern in sizes 6 and 8s they should be a nice strong pattern ,if only barbed hooks are available, a pair of long nosed pliers rolled round two barbs on the trebles should remove the barbs leaving two bumps which will aid the fish holding qualities of the hook. Hooks need to be around a minimum of 3inchs apart although it is better to carry traces of varying lengths between hooks to assist in using larger or smaller baits and giving you a better presentation and thus a better chance to catch the pike.

You will need to organize yourself in the unhooking department firstly a large unhooking mat is required remember that the pike is a long fish, so it is length rather than width that is needed on the mat. Take note that if you are leap frogging along the bank searching for pike, the unhooking mat doubles up nicely as a make do seat so a chair is another piece of kit that you can do without if you are travelling light.

Unhooking tools that are required should comprise of wire cutters, long nosed pliers, 10in forceps and a small pair of bolt croppers all these should be close at hand so avoiding delays in unhooking the fish. Wire cutters are a must tool for cutting away any flying trebles that may get caught in the net whilst landing. You need to act swiftly to avoid the fish rolling in the net and causing any damage to its self or your landing net. Long nosed pliers are an essential tool for removing stubborn hooks inside the pikes mouth. Forceps are used for retrieving hooks further down the throat that you can’t reach with the pliers, the bolt croppers make easy work of any hooks that have become trapped in the mesh of your landing net or even a very stubborn hook in the pikes mouth but you must remember to look away because no one wants a piece of flying hook in their eyes.

I must emphasize that wire traces cost very little and a pikes life is irreplaceable so the cutting of traces and hooks is all part of good pike fishing practices and the only thing you must be concentrating on is getting that pike back in the water as soon as possible hopefully in under two minutes.

At this stage a good piece of toweling is good for cleaning hands and clothes but remembering not the fish as this will remove the fishes natural protective slime leaving it open to infection. Remember only handle your fish with wet hands.

Maybe you wish to photo your fish a little later so the next piece of kit required is a pike sack, this is very similar to a keep net with an extremely fine mesh apart that it can be opened from each end this makes removing the fish a lot easier, When you introduce the pike to the sack please ensure that the sack is staked out up and down tide, and that the fish is introduced head to tide to enable it to recover quickly, if the fish is not head to tide there is a possibility that the fish could drown but please remember a pike that has been in the sack can be quite a lively character once out so be prepared.

Another good reason for using a sack is the ability of getting that bait back in the water A.S.A.P. Large fish quite often turn up in twos or threes so getting that bait in quick can make all the difference to the session I quite often cast out the remaining bait that was left from the last fish back to the same spot, it can sometimes produce a run within seconds. Once the action has eventually slowed down, it’s now time for the old camera.
Kim Williams.