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Essential Terminal Tackle for Pike Fishing

Treble Hooks

Treble HooksTrebles have been used to catch pike for many years and remain the most commonly used hook in pike fishing. A typical pike trace will be 18 inches long with two treble hooks mounted 3-5 inches apart.

Treble Hooks are available as either fully-barbed, semi-barbed, or barbless. Size 4’s, 6’s and 8’s are the most suitable for use with a standard sized 6” dead bait.

Fully-barbed trebles have a barb on all three points, with many anglers choosing to crush two of the barbs to make unhooking pike easier. Semi-barbed models have a barb on just one of the points.

With either version, the remaining barbed point is used to hook the bait. This helps in preventing dead baits falling off during the cast. Barbless trebles are much easier to remove from a pike’s mouth but may also fall out of the deadbait so bear that in mind.

An effective alternative to trebles is the Partridge Double Hook. These have two hooks joined back to back. The smaller hook is used to mount the bait with the other, larger hook, standing proud. Doubles are also easier to unhook than trebles, but not as widely used or as freely available.

Hooks can be re-used many times if they are kept sharp with a Hook Sharpener. Replace hooks that are bent out of shape.


Trace Wire

A strong trace wire is a vital part of a pike trace. Pike have lots of sharp teeth that can easily cut through nylon and braid. Your traces should have a minimum breaking strain of 20lb and be at least 18 inches long to reduce the risk of pike biting through the main line.

Use a stronger wire of at least 30lb breaking strain when tackling big glacial lakes, reservoirs, and venues containing boulders and large snags.

Seven strand wires are fairly cheap at aroung £5 – £6 for 20 metres. They can be twisted or crimped, and will do the job of landing a pike, although they kink very easily. A worn or kinked trace should be replaced.

Is it worth losing a pike because of a few pence worth of wire or a blunt hook?

An alternative to seven strand is 49 strand wire, which is more supple but cannot be twisted so you will need to use crimps. It is, however, more expensive to buy at around £10 for a 10 metre spool.

At between £3 & £5 per metre, Titanium wire is far more expensive. The payoff being that your traces will outlast those made with any other material by many times. Attach the hooks with a split ring as they are likely to need replacing before the wire.


Swivels

Korda Swivels
Swivels are attached to the end of a pike trace and join the main line to the wire. They also help to reduce line twist which occurs when line is cast and retrieved.

It is easy to buy the wrong swivels as they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. I prefer dark grey swivels with a short cylindrical barrel and rounded eyelets such as those by Fox and Korda. Fox Power Swivels in size 5 or 7, Korda Swivels in size 6 or 8, and similar models are perfect for pike traces.

Before using a swivel you should check the eyelets for damage as it is possible to nick them with scissors when cutting up old traces. You are more likely to lose swivels than damage them, especially when fishing with cold hands on muddy banks. Keep a couple of packets of Swivels handy.


Snap Links

Snap LinksSwivels can also be purchased with snap links. You will need both items in your tackle box.

A snap link is a metal clip used to attach leads and floats to swivels. The big advantage of snap links is that they allow you to quickly change your terminal tackle without having to break down your rigs.

Snap Links can be bought with or without swivels. Link Swivels that are permanently connected, especially those with a locking link, can seem more secure and are useful for lure fishing traces. Snap links that can be separated from the swivel offer more versatility when changing rigs and are useful for attaching lead weights.


Pike Floats

Pike FloatPike Floats come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes covering every type of pike fishing situation. All pike anglers will carry a selection of floats to meet their own needs.

Long cigar or pencil shaped floats, which are attached to the line at the bottom, are ideal for float ledgering a dead bait. Shorter, wider floats, which can be threaded onto line through the centre, are more suited to live or dead baiting off the bottom or float ledgering on rivers.

When fishing venues with strong currents, like rivers, big lakes and reservoirs, step up the size of floats you use to prevent them being dragged under by the undertow. A float that is not buoyant enough is not much use. You won’t know if the flow or a pike has pulled it beneath the surface.

Floats with bright orange and red tops are easy to see in most situations. Black floats can be better on bright choppy days. Smaller oval floats, threaded onto the line through the middle, are useful for fishing a sunken paternoster rig. They need to be buoyant enough to lift your bait but not your lead.

Keep a variety of Pike Floats so you can use the right type in for each situation that you face.


Leads

There was a time when anglers used Arlesey bombs for all types of angling. These tear shaped leads were developed by Richard Walker while fishing for perch in Arlesey Lake.

The carp fishing boom brought an enormous leap forward in the development of fishing tackle and none more so than in the humble lead weight.

You now have a choice of Pear Leads, Grippa Leads, Flatliner Leads, Square Leads, Distance Leads, Round Leads, Coffin Leads, Back Leads, Swivel Leads, Inline Leads and even Flying Back Leads. Smooth Leads, Textured Leads, Shiny Leads, Coated Leads, Brown Leads, Green Leads, Black Leads and on and on and on…

The choice is truly amazing but do they help you to catch more fish? In the case of Carp fishing, where rigs and their concealment can determine if the Carp will make a mistake: Yes.

How important is the choice of lead in pike fishing? Not nearly as critical as it is in Carp fishing.

Pear LeadArm yourself with a few Swivel Leads in 1oz, 2oz and 3oz sizes to cover most situations. Larger leads might be required for fishing big rivers and glacial lakes.

When float ledgering, use just enough weight so you can cock the float without dragging the bait. For ledger fishing use a 3oz lead and a large run ring. The aim here is for the lead to stay put when a pike moves the bait so that the line peels off the spool setting off the alarm.


John Roberts Quick Change Beads and Ledger Rings

John Roberts Quick Change Beads and Ledger RingsJohn Roberts produces a small number of excellent products that are perfect for pike fishing and these are two of the best.

The Quick Change Beads are used for attaching floats and leads onto your line.

The Ledger Rings are great for ledgering as they have a slightly wider centre, allowing the line to pull through more easily. The ledger rings come with matching larger beads as they will slip over a standard size bead.

Both items are made with a type of plastic that is fairly durable yet won’t damage your line.

Once you start using these you will never be without them.


Beads

Korda Shok BeadBeads are another small, yet essential, item of terminal tackle that you should carry in your tackle box.

They come in several shapes and materials. Use 4mm round Beads when float ledgering to prevent your John Roberts Quick Change Beads and Ledger Rings from slipping over the trace swivel and stop knot.

Use a soft rubber shock bead when ledgering. They fit perfectly with ledger rings and protect your knot from the lead which bounces around during the cast and when playing a fish.


Scissors

You might not think of the final two items as terminal tackle but you won’t get far without either of them so they make the list.

The first is a sharp pair of scissors capable of cleanly cutting trace wire and braid. Good quality Scissors are fairly inexpensive. You can pick up a decent pair at any supermarket or pound shop. I always keep a pair in my tackle box.


Victorinox Swiss Army Knife

Victorinox Huntsman Swiss Army KnifeIf you have a bigger budget and would like something with a few more options you could go for a multi-tool such as a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife. I have a Huntsman which is a top quality item that packs an excellent range of tools into a small neat package.

The Huntsman contains a large and small blade; Corkscrew; Can opener and small screwdriver; Bottle opener with large screwdriver and wire stripper; Reamer-punch and sewing eye; Keyring; Tweezers; Toothpick; Scissors; Hook; Wood saw.

The scissors on the Huntsman easily cut neatly through trace wire and braid.


Forceps

ForcepsLast but by no means least in my list of essential terminal tackle for pike fishing is a pair of forceps.

As well as being essential for unhooking pike, they are also used to twist the wire when making traces. An 8 inch pair of curved or straight steel forceps are perfect for twisting 20lb trace wire. Thirty pound seven strand wire is thicker so you will need a twelve inch pair to adequately twist it.


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