Get Started In Pike Fishing

There’s little to beat landing a pristine pike in the swirling mist of an early-morning session, and now that we’re in the midst of the time for the species, why don’t you cash in and start pike fishing?

Starting piking is easier than you think, and for a minimal outlay on bait and terminal tackle, plus a rod and reel borrowed from carp fishing, you’ll have all you need for a day’s battle with this most ferocious of UK fish.

Lineaeffe Full Monty Pike Set
Almost every water holds pike, from tiny jacks to fat-bellied beasts, and by investing in pike fishing tackle to fish static and moving baits, you’ll have every option covered for reservoirs, rivers, canals, lochs or lakes.

To begin with, you need to track down the fish. Great running-water hotspots are town centres, where prey fish like roach gather for the winter.  While in deep lakes or lochs, where silvers will shoal up, these are great spots to fish for pike, but don’t ignore shallower swims on mild days.
Savage Gear 3D Smashtail Minnow
Concerning tactics, lure fishing is the simplest form of piking, requiring only a conventional lure rod or light carp rod, heavy-duty spinning reel loaded with 15lb line and a strong wire trace of around 30lb. For lures, invest in patterns that move slowly. Popular and productive lures include Shad Raps, spoons and shallow diving patterns.

Greys GR50 Lure Rod

If a more static approach is needed, dead baits can score heavily. It’s more of a sit-and-wait job but catches bigger fish. The same lines and deadbait traces will do, so you can get away with using just the one spinning reel, but you’ll need a more powerful deadbait rod for casting.

Fox Warrior S 12ft Compact Rod
You’ll also need to buy treble hooks ranging from sizes 4 to 6 semi-barbless. Some tackle companies and brands like Daiwa Prorex, Savage Gear, and Fox Rage make high-quality ready-made traces.

On shallow waters, a slim pike float with the bait fished a little over depth offers maximum sensitivity, while for more substantial, deeper lakes a simple running leger using lead weights from 1oz to 3oz will do nicely.

Daiwa Black Widow BR Reel
Coarse dead baits such as roach and skimmer bream are unbeatable for the hook, followed by sea fish such as smelt, lamprey sections, herrings, mackerel and sardines. All of these frozen baits can be purchased in store at fishingmegastore.

Frozen Mackerel
Regarding bite detection, a standard carp bite alarm with a bobbin will be suitable, and the best bit of advice is to strike as soon as the fish runs and starts taking the fishing line off the reel – don’t wait any longer!

Fox Micron MR+ Bite Alarms
So that’s tackle and bait sorted, but what about handling a pike? They can be frightening to a beginner and need a lot of care to avoid damage. Essential kit for a piker includes forceps of various lengths and sizes to remove trebles, long nose pliers for unhooking lures, a good-quality unhooking mat, and wire cutters for the odd occasion when hooks might need cutting.

Daiwa Prorex Long Nose Pliers
Another essential piece of pike kit is a good quality 42" landing net, which will make retrieving a lot safer for you, and the fish.

Fox Warrior S Landing Net
If you are starting out pike fishing, the best advice is to talk to, or at least go out with, an experienced piker to learn how to treat your quarry. An experience pike angler can show you all the necessary skills far better than a book ever can and demonstrate how to return a fish safely. Don’t just throw them back – pike needs nursing in the water, being kept upright before swimming off actively.

This article was brought to you in association with Angling Times.