Walton on Thames PAC
Welcome to the home of Region 15 of the
Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain

Tony Stone's Beginners guide to piking

I have been pike fishing for about 12 years, since my dad taught me at a local gravel pit near us. Everything you see here has been either learnt from him or picked up through reading magazines, books or watching DVD’s. There are some parts which I have made up myself, such as the popped up trace technique I now use.

I will start with a brief run through the tackle and gear you will need to start out.

Rods

When choosing a rod for pike bait fishing, you need to bare in mind a few things –

Firstly, the rods test curve. This determines how many pounds and ounces of pressure the rod requires to bend the tip round to a 90degree angle to the butt.

Pike rods are traditionally between 2.75 and 3.50lb test curve.

A 2.75 or 3lb tc rod is a good all rounder, it will cope with most situations you are likely to encounter on rivers or gravel pits, with the 2.75 being ideal for smaller rivers or canals.

For longer-range fishing, or big water fishing of reservoirs you will need stronger rods of 3.25 – 3.50lb tc to cope with the longer casting or bigger baits.

Drifter rods tend to be longer than normal bait rods with a 3.25lb tc, the longer rod helps with picking up the line at hundreds of yards away.

Pike rods are different from carp rods in that they have a more through action. Carp rods tend to have more tippy actions for casting leads long distances.

With a through action it helps with casting a lead and dead bait, by building the pressure up through the rod, not just from the tip.

I use 2.75lb tc rods, which are perfect for the fishing I do, mainly large rivers, gravel pits, lakes etc. I can comfortably cast 70 yards, and as most of my fishing is done a lot closer than this, I don’t need heavier rods.

Reels

A good reel for piking needs to hold at least 170-200 yards of 15lb mono or the same of 30lb braid.

There are some very good budget reels on the market, you can pay £25 for a decent Okuma Interceptor specimen reel which is as good as some of the more expensive shimano or fox specimen reels. Its down to personal preference, I would suggest you get the best you can afford.

Shimano reels are widely regarded as the best specimen reels on the market, they change hands for around £30-40 on ebay, new they cost around £50-£120 depending on what size you want. I use a pair of Shimano bait runner 6010GT’s, they are a good size to couple with pike rods and they hold more than enough line.

You can also get some cheaper bit pit reels these days with Daiwa doing a budget one for around £40; these will hold hundreds of yards of line, for long distance fishing. These reels do not come with a bait runner function as standard though and the attachment needs to be purchased afterwards if you choose to use the bait runner.

That point takes me on to whether or not you will need a bait runner on your pike reel. The shimanos that I use do have a bait runner function, but I rarely use it to be honest. I much prefer to have the bail arm open, as this helps to minimise resistance when a pike picks up the bait.

So its up to you if you choose a reel that has one or not, the only essential requirement is that is holds enough line

Line

Monofilament line needs to be strong for pike fishing, it needs to cope with casting large leads and dead baits, as well as being strong enough to cope with the head shaking or tail walking of an angry pike, or powerful runs from a river pike.

For this reason, the MINIMUM breaking strain mono I use for piking is 15lb.

What make of line you use is up to you but there are so many decent makes of line available that it’s not worth chancing it with unbranded line or really cheap stuff. Fox warrior, Berkeley big game and Daiwa sensor are very good lines, with my personal preference being Berkeley big game. In 15lb big game breaks in excess of 18lb.

I change the mono on all my reels every season, at only £6 for a 900yd spool; I can do 4 reels with over 200yds on each.

Braid

Many anglers use braid for all their pike fishing. I don’t, preferring to use it for float and lure fishing situations.

I prefer to use braid for float fishing situations, this is because braid floats so it’s easier to mend the line if your trotting a bait down a river or drifting a bait out 150yds into a gravel pit. This takes me onto the best feature of braid, its diameter and its lack of stretch/memory. Braid of 40 or 50lb only has the thickness of 10-12lb mono, sometimes less.

As braid doesn’t stretch its possible to wind down into a fish at 150yds out and make connection like it is only 40yds out.

I use 30lb braid for lure fishing, I would never use mono, unless fishery rules stated, for lure fishing, the lack of stretch when working lures means you can feel every bump and grab from a pike. It also gives immediate hook ups on the strike.

Braid, generally, is more expensive than mono. If you have the opportunity, it’s cheaper to get it from the Internet, place like bass pro or cabelas in America. Ebay is also a cheap source for decent braids too.

Some of the best makes are Power Pro, TFG, Fox and Berkley whiplash, all are good braids, which offer great reliability. I used a company called www.braiddirect.co.uk, which came very highly recommended. It’s unbranded, but very reliable. And as yet I have not had it break in any situation, let alone a fishing one.

Although more expensive, braid lasts a lot longer than mono, infact I have been using the same Berkley fireline 8lb braid on my feeder reel for around 6yrs with no change in its performance. Pikers braid is the same, depending on the amount of use, however fishing once a week during the piking season, it is likely to last you a good few years, which makes the price a bit easier to swallow.

Tools for the Job

Before setting out to catch pike, you need to make sure you have the correct equipment needed to remove treble hooks from the pikes mouth.

Firstly you will need a large net preferably 42’. The pike is a long fish so you will need a large net to fit the fish in to, for this reason your net should be no smaller than 42’. I use a sovereign baits 43’ predator net available from the Internet.

You will also need a large unhooking mat. Something that is well padded and long enough so that the whole fish is protected when you lay it on the mat. I use a Wychwood one with double zip around, so I can zip the sides to carry the fish back to the water without fear of the fish sliding out the end onto the ground etc in your swim.

A large weigh sling will be needed if you want to weigh your fish. There are 2 types, firstly a half moon shape which is the one I use, or you can get specialist weigh slings for longer fish like pike and catfish which feature 2 bars to keep the sling rigid, which therefore doesn’t bend the fish.

You will also need short and long nosed forceps, some wire cutters and some bolt/side cutters. It’s sometimes a lot easier to snip up a hook worth around 25p than to root around trying to remove it and risk damaging the pike.

Here is the selection of tools I carry with me for a piking session

Traces

Traces are one of, if not, the most important items of tackle in pike fishing.

Pikes teeth are very sharp and even 20lb mono or 50lb braid would be sliced through if used as hook length, therefore it is very important to use a wire trace.

There are many different wires on the market these days, some are coated like fox carboflex, some are 49 strand, which provides a supple wire; some are 7 strand, which provides a slightly stiffer wire.

Wychwood, Fox, Drennan and ET all do very good wires, with my preference being 7 strand Fox and Drennan types.

Both of these wires can be either crimped or, my preference, twisted. Whether you twist of crimp is up to you, at the end of the day its whatever you feel confident with, try both and see which works for you.

If you choose to use a wire like Fox carboflex, this wire cannot be twisted and you have to use crimps, make sure you make the traces with a proper crimping tool and not just squash the crimp down with pliers, you can damage the wire and crimp and risk not securing it properly.

I like my hook traces to be around 60cms, with the exception of paternoster hook traces which are half that length as these are used with an up trace. The reason a trace of 60cm is used is to stop the pike getting the mainline caught in its teeth it either –

  • The pike rolls over during the fight and the wire wraps around its head
  • If in the unfortunate instance a pike swallows the bait, the trace will still be long enough so that the mainline is not cut on the pikes teeth.

It is cheaper and more satisfying to make you own traces, that way you can vary them in length, hooks etc.

The following will take you through a step by step guide to making your own trace - please note this is for twisted wire traces only not crimped.

Cut the required length of trace, I aim to have a finished trace of around 60 cm long so I cut the wire about 70 cm

Next heat up the last half inch with a lighter


Bend the last inch over

Push the bend through the eye of the treble

Next slip the loop of wire over the treble, so that the wire traps the treble,

Pull the loop down tight so you are left with a tag of about an inch or so


Use a twiddle stick, to twist the treble while holding the tag with your other finger,

Until it looks like this

Next slide your second treble onto the wire, decide how far apart you want the 2 trebles

Bend the remaining length of wire along the shank of the treble

Fold wire again along the other side of the shank

Next wrap the wire around the shank 4 times, and pass the remaining length of wire through the eye of the treble and pull tight


Attach the swivel exactly the same way as the first treble

And here’s what the final article should look like

Up traces

Up traces should be used with float paternoster, float fished live bait and ledgered live bait rigs. Again this prevents the pike from getting the mainline into its mouth and allowing it to bite through it. Shorter hook traces are used with up traces, so if an up trace is 60cm, then the hook trace should be around 30-40cm

Here is how I set up my up trace, it is quite simply 2 swivels either end with a bead trapped between the 2, the run ring can freely pass over the swivel so can be put on after tying up the trace

The length of the mono attached to the run ring, determines how far off the bottom you require your bait to work. A snap link swivel is attached to the swivel nearest the lead. The hook trace is then connected to this.

The above rig is the same I use for ledgered live baits without, obviously, the float.

This rig is safe because if, in the unfortunate case, the line should break above the trace the lead is ejected from the trace so the pike doesn’t carry the lead around, whilst trying to rid itself of the hooks.

There is a different up trace, which is commercially available, readymade, which works on the same principle as above, called a rotary or helicopter up trace, but it is semi fixed not free running.

Both are easy to make and safe in the right hands. Just remember to use strong mono/braid and the chances of you snapping up are very slim.

Hooks

Trebles, as with wire, are down to personal preference. You need to find one that you have total confidence in.

I have used may hooks over the years, and the best ones I have found have been Fox Carbon XS, drennan extra strong and more recently eagle claws. All are sharp, and will not bend under normal fishing situations. The eagle claws are my number one choice when fishing near snags, this is because if the hooks get caught up in the snag, a straight pull with 15lb line will bend the hook out and you will retrieve your tackle instead of leaving baited hooks in the water for a pike to snag itself later.

The newer Wychwood hooks come highly recommended to me, but they are not ones I have used myself, yet!

Deciding which hook size to use depends largely on the size of bait you intend to use. I would use size 8 trebles for very small baits or live baits

I use size 6 for most of my general piking; they are a good size for medium to larger baits

I have recently started using Fox Size 4’s, as they seem to be easier to deal with when a fish is being unhooked. They are also used if I am using larger than average baits.

You can purchase cheaper bulk lots of trebles from places like ebay, these are not of a very good quality. A Friend of mine used some and found out they can straighten all too easily, so one to be avoided. I much prefer to pay for quality hooks, at the end of the day, they are what is keeping you in contact with the pike.

Baits

Knowing what baits to use when targeting pike can be difficult, a bait that works one day may not work the next.

I always carry a selection of baits with me, most can be purchased from your local tackle shop, there are online companies such as www.baitsdirect.com or you could try your local fishmongers, here you can buy bulk bags of herrings, sardines, larger mackerel baits for cheaper than tackle shop or mail order prices.

Below is a small list of baits that are always in my bait bag, I use other baits too, but this small list will get you started as they are proven fish catchers

Roach – A great natural bait that pike are used to eating. This makes a really good live of dead bait.

Mackerel – This is an all time classic bait. Silvery/blue in colour. Great oily smell that leaks into the water. Cast out

A mackerel and water the flat spot appear on the surface. Its tough skin makes this a very good casting bait.

Smelt – Beige in colour, the smelt has a cucumber smell that pike find hard to resist. A great bait for wobbling or fished on the bottom.

Sardines – Cheap and very easily available, you can buy a bag of them for around £3 from a fish mongers containing around 20 baits. This bait is best fished at close range once defrosted as the skin is very soft and will not withstand a long cast without being tied to the trace. If you want to fish these at any distance, they are better used frozen.

Herrings – Another soft skinned bait, but more durable than sardine. Has a silvery/beige colour to it. This bait accounted for my first 20lb pike.

Rudd – Similar to roach, natural food for the pike, make good wobbling baits and great ledgered live baits as they are a surface feeder, so they will continually swim upwards from the bottom.

Perch – I have not used perch a lot. Mick Brown rates them very highly. Don’t worry about the spiky dorsal fin, the pike isn’t worried. Definitely a bait I should use more often

Trout - excellent bait used live or dead. They make hardy live baits and they will tow a float around all day if hooked correctly. Another good bait for wobbling, but must be used freshly killed as they go stiff quickly, pike will still take them like this though. Some waters provide trout live baits for sale during the winter, and although these can be expensive at around £1 each, they make very good baits.

Lamprey – An Eel like bait, can be cut into 3 of 4 sections depending on the overall length of the bait. Best fished in 6-8 inch pieces. This bait will leak blood for hours, a great bait for rivers as the blood creates a scent trail through the water. Allow more blood to escape by putting slices on the side of the bait. Has accounted for fish over 40lb

Eel – Similar to Lamprey. although not as bloody. These baits can be a god send if you are getting plagued by Eels on other dead baits, as Eels wont eat there own. So one to bare in mind if you fish the lakes or places where Eels are active at night.

These are the main baits I would recommend, with this small list it should provide you with enough of a variety to get you started.

How to rig baits

How should I hook my baits? This is a question I am often asked, and also one I see people on the bank getting wrong. Whichever bait you are using, be it a live or dead one, the pike will nearly always grab the bait across the flank, then turn it to swallow it head first. When it turns the bait depends how hungry the pike is, sometimes it will turn and swallow the bait straight away, other times it will grab the bait and run with it, before stopping and turning the bait. This is why it is imperative that your bite indication detects any movement of the bait, and why you must strike straight away.

All my baits are hooked in such a way that as soon as I receive any indication on the float or drop off indicator, I can strike straight away and hook all the pike I get takes from.

For dead or live baits fished on a ledger rig, or live baits fished on a paternoster set up I hook them as below.

Live baits are hooked this way so that they are continually trying to swim away from the rig, or up from the bottom if being used on the ledger rig.

For dead or live baits fished under a float I hook them like below

If I am using small live baits then I will use a single size 6 or 4 treble, and hook the bait through the top or bottom lip, not both though obviously, as it wont be able to breath!!

You can purchase small red plastic tags, known as bait flags, these can be added to the point of your treble to add attraction, or better still to keep baits on the hooks when casting out.

For wobbled dead baits, I hook my baits like this,

One hook through both lips the other down the flank, the reason for this being that the pike will grab the bait side on across the flank and I can strike straight away. For wobbled baits you will sometimes need to add a swan shot of 2 to help the bait sink a little quicker. I actually use the Fox quick-change weights, as these do not damage the wire.

Popping up baits

For popping up baits, I use 2 methods.

The first one I have been experimenting with is how to pop up baits effectively without causing tangles. Until now, attaching poly balls to your trace to pop up a bait consisted of using a small length of fuse wire or mono, but I have come up with a way that uses wire so that the pike cannot bite through and swallow the balls.

It features a hair rig, both hooks are attached the same way, and a small loop is formed using a crimp.

Pop up rig

Next I have made up some small links of wire, with a small swivel one end and a crimped loop the other end

Pop up wire

The poly balls are push onto these short lengths of wire, how many balls depends on how heavy the bait is that you wish to pop up. The top ball is pushed over the swivel to hide it away.

Pop-Up balls

This is then connected to the hair rig on the hook trace via a snap link

Pop up rig

And there you have it, an easy way to pop up your baits. If you need less buoyancy then you can simply undo the snap link and put a smaller ball on. The links are long enough for 3 large fox poly balls, which should be enough to pop up even the biggest baits.

The other method I use for popping up baits is to use a balsa stick. This is made using exactly the same hook trace above, but instead of having a visible poly ball, the stick is inserted into the bait, provided a natural looking bait, which can be set to waft around on the bottom. I like to put a couple of swan shot on the trace next to the bottom hook, so the bait just lifts off bottom, like a carp anglers pop up boilie. You don’t obviously have to add shot to the trace, and you cant fish the bait popped up straight from the lead, the pike don’t care and I have caught them on both methods. If the water you fish contains Cray fish or crabs (like the Thames) then you are better off popping up straight from the lead.

Pop up stick

Pop up stick 2

Never tie poly balls or balsa sticks to your trace with mono as it can damage the pike if swallowed, due to the pike not being able to digest the foam or wood causing an intestinal obstruction. This could ultimately cause the death of the fish.

Rigs

Below are the rigs and tackle that I use, they are very simple, but also very effective, these are not all the rigs I use as there are variations plus a couple of others that I use now and again, but for a beginner this is what I would recommend.

Live bait float rig

This is very simple to use and to set up, you don't need any extra bite indication, as you will be watching your float. The float in question is an egg shaped dumpy float, this aids the live bait as it tows the float around and stops the bait pulling the float under causing false bites.

Live bait rig

As I said its very simple to set up, all you need do is thread a float stop or tie on a stop knot at your chosen depth followed by a bead onto your mainline followed by your float followed by another bead and then your weight to cock the float.

It is important that the weight used to cock the float is fixed to the swivel with either a rubber sleeve or a float stop above the weight, if it is not fixed then this can cause a problem is a pike takes the bait but swims up towards the surface, the weight would slide back up the line and the float would remain still, if the weight is fixed and the pike swims up then the weight comes with it and the float lies flat on the surface, and you know you have a fish on. All that is left to do is tie a stop knot on your mainline (I use power gum) at the depth you want to fish, tie a wire trace on and attach your bait. Don't over tighten the power gum stop knot as this can kink you mainline which in turn weakens it. Make sure you moisten all knots before you tighten them up.

Dead bait float rig

This is exactly the same as above but the float shape is different, this is because you do not need the added buoyancy to hold the bait up, as your bait will be dead.

What is important to mention for all float rigs, (aside from a float ledgered dead bait, as the float isn't supporting the bait) is to match the size of float to the size of bait you are using.

For instance if you are using a whole mackerel you wouldn't want to use a small float as the weight of the bait would sink the float. So as a general rule, the bigger the bait, the bigger the float. Small baits such as smelt, roach, perch, and sprats can be used under a small to medium sized float, whereas bigger baits such as herring, mackerel, larger roach need large to xxl floats. You may also find that if you try live baiting that more lively baits such as trout will probably need a larger float than would be necessary if it was dead, this is due to the trout being a very lively bait and using a smaller float would have it pulling the float under the surface every few seconds.

Float ledger rig

This is a rig I use when I'm roving around as I don't need bite alarms or rod rests, I just cast out and rest the rod on my rucksack. Again the rig is very simple to set up and use, thread a bead onto you main line, followed by your float (this will be a bottom end only, waggler type, float), next thread a run ring and shock bead and the attach your wire trace. Above the top bead you should tie a stop knot using power gum approx. 2 - 3 ft deeper than the water depth, next attach a 2 oz lead to the run ring.

The idea of this rig being over depth is so that you can tighten down to the lead leaving the tip of the float showing above the surface. Then when Mrs. pike comes along and picks up your bait, if she swims away then the float will slide under the surface, or if she swims towards you and dislodges the lead then the float will lay flat on the surface, either way you will know the pike has picked up the bait, watch out for signs of the float moving but not going under, this could mean the pike is just mouthing the bait, if this is the case, slowly pull the line tight until you just dislodge the lead, moving the bait slightly in the process, this could tease the pike into taking the bait, as it thinks the meal is getting away. This method is very similar to the popular lift method rig used for tench.

Ledger rig

Probably the easiest of all the rigs to set up, Quite simply thread a run ring and rubber bead onto the line, followed by your trace, add the required weight, 2 - 3 oz. (I use 2 oz for most of my ledger rigs, although I will use 3 or even 4 oz if I need to hold bottom on a fast or flooded river)

What is very important with this rig is the bite indication. You must have adequate indication, as you need to see when the pike has picked up the bait. Indication is simple really, carp front swingers have no place here, you want a drop off indicator, either electronic or just a plain and simple clip on one. This is explained more in the bite indication part below.

Sunken/surface float paternoster rig

This is a slightly more advanced rig and a little harder to set up. Firstly thread a stop knot, bead and float onto the mainline, next tie on the swivel of an up trace, this is a length of wire roughly 10 inches longer than you main bait trace, this prevents the pike from picking up the bait and swimming upwards and biting through the mainline, on the up trace you will have a run ring and shock bead, to the run ring you need to attach a weak link (also known as a rotten bottom) I use 8lb mono with a couple of knots tied into it, you want about 2-3 ft of this so that your bait is just off bottom, next to the other end of your up trace clip on your trace.

This rig can be fished with a float on the surface so you can watch for a run, or with the float under the surface used with a bite alarm set up as with the above ledger rig.

Weed ledger rig

This is only slightly different to the standard ledger, the main difference being a plastic boom of around 12 inches long, one end has a run ring and poly ball the other has a clip for your lead weight.

The idea behind this rig is to keep you mainline and bait away from any bottom snags, weed or debris, fished along with a popped up Dead bait you can keep your rig out of weed and in sight of the pike. I use this rig for fishing the margins of the River Thames once all the cabbage weed has died back, there is still some on the bottom, this set up keeps my rig above this.

That covers my basic rigs, and these cover 99% of my fishing. There are some more advanced variations of some, but the above will cover all your needs.

Bite Indication

I don't use a bait runner for pike, unless I'm float fishing, preferring to always fish with an open bail arm. I prefer to use an open bail arm in order to give as little resistance as possible to a taking pike. Some people prefer to use bait runners to keep a steady pressure on the pike. This maybe true, but you will have to find out what works best for you, if you feel that you want to use the bait runner facility on your reel then you should do. All the rigs I have detailed can be used in conjunction with a bait runner or with an open bail arm. I will add that I very rarely have any dropped runs using the set up that I do.

I use audible alarms for my pike fishing, this allows me to keep an eye on the water looking for pike feeding activities or if I am wobbling a dead bait then the alarm alerts me the second a pike takes my bait. There are four bite alarm set ups that can be used ranging from very simple to advanced.

The first is one I would recommend to a beginner starting out; it is also the cheapest as a rear drop off indicator costs around £3 - £5. With this bite indicator set up it's very important that you keep an eye on it, as there is no audible alarm.

The next is the same as above but with the added benefit of a front bite alarm to be used as an audible warning that the pike has picked up your bait.

The next set up consists of an audible rear alarm; this works in exactly the same way as the above set up. More is explained below of how this alarm actually works. The use of a rear alarm is likely to be better if you intend to do any night fishing for pike. This is due to the rear alarm emitting a constant tone once triggered, should you drop off to sleep.

The next set up is one that gives an early warning of the take on the front alarm, and a constant alarm on the rear when the line has pulled free from the clip. As mentioned above, this is important for night fishing

If you are just starting out into pike fishing then the simple drop off indicator will do. But like I said above if you do use this you must be prepared to watch the indicator at all times.
Please don't think that because I have put these alarm set-ups on here that they are the ones you have to use, they are not. You can use any alarm set up you want, provided it shows both forward runs and drop back runs.

How to set up the rear indicator or alarm

this works for both audible rear alarms and simple drop off indicators. Firstly cast you rig out the distance required, tighten down to the lead and put the rod on the rod rest. Keeping the line tight, open the bail arm and clip you line in the clip provided on the rear indicator

You are now ready to catch a pike,

Your indicator will behave in one of 2 ways; if the pike picks up the bait and swims towards you, the indicator will start to drop

If the pike still continues towards you then the arm will continue to drop

If a pike picks up you bait and swims away from you then the line will pull free from the clip, and the arm will fall away giving the pike slack line to run.

Once the arm starts dropping, or the line pulls free from the clip, pick up the rod, close the bail arm, wind down until the line goes tight and sweep the rod back over your head. Remember you are not trying to rip the pikes head off with the strike, Keep firm pressure on the pike by keeping the rod bent into the fish. By winding down to the fish you are tightening the line and the sweep over your head will set the hooks.

Unhooking

Once you have netted your pike, you will then need to start the job, which every beginner dreads, unhooking your prize.

Although the pike is ferocious in the water, when it is out of it, its another matter completely. It is a good idea, where ground conditions allow, to peg your mat down, as you can guarantee that when you come to use it, it would have blown away!!!

Before you lift the net from the water, your unhooking area should already be laid out.

Here is my unhooking mat set out ready for action, forceps, net, weigh sling and scales are all at the ready, having it set out like this will minimise the length of time the pike is out of the water.

When you are sure everything is close to hand, lift the net from the water as below. With the fish on the unhooking mat, lift the pike clear of the net and move the net to one side. Once the pike is on the unhooking mat, lay it on its back, exposing the gill covers

When you insert your fingers into the gill cover of a pike be careful of the red gill rakers, these can be easily damaged.

Once your fingers are in the gill cover, pull the jaw upwards; the jaw is hinged so the mouth will open when you pull upwards. This will expose the hooks. Carefully slide the forceps into the mouth and turn the trebles out.

Something that is important to mention here is that if the pike starts to tense (like a muscle flexing) then its about to thrash about, you can either hold the fish close to you or you can put the fish back onto the mat, and hold it gentle down, until you can pick it up again.

Look at all those teeth, could you imagine fishing for them without the proper equipment such as wire and forceps!!!

If your fish is such that you wish to weigh it, simply slide the pike into an already wetted weigh sling, zero your scales, and hook them under the sling, and lift the sling off the floor.

Next all that is required is to pose with your capture, keeping it low to the unhooking mat in case it flips

I wouldn’t normally take pictures of fish this small, but it was taken for demonstration purposes only.

If i'm fishing on my own, I will only photograph fish I weigh, so probably anything over 10lb. When i’m fishing with others, I normally have a quick snap whilst i’m unhooking a fish as someone else can take it quickly

Please don’t feel that because I have written or photographed something within this article that you must use it, there are many different methods in pike fishing, and the ones listed above are the ones I use. It should be used as a guide to keep you on track without over complicating things.

I hope this goes some way to helping beginners understand what they need to enjoy their pike fishing safely.

All the best

Tony Stone

 
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