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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Coarse dead baits such as roach
and skimmer bream
are unbeatable for the hook, followed by sea fish such as smelt
. All of these frozen baits
can be purchased in store at fishingmegastore
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!
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.
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.
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
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