The adrenaline rush that comes with hooking into a ferocious pike, and the sight of a finely tuned, big-toothed predator in your landing net is what keeps anglers coming back to pike fishing every winter.
Here in the UK, the pike fishing season runs from October through to March. Some anglers will pike fish in the summer months, but generally, it is accepted that if the water is over 21 degrees, you should not be targeting pike.
Pike are a species that are very sensitive to water temperature changes, but as trophy fish they are fished all year round. In collaboration with the Environment Agency, Angling Trust, Pike Anglers Club, and the Broads Angling Services Group, Angling Direct have installed a 'Live Broads Water Temperature' graph in our Wroxham store. The aim of which is to educate all anglers to the current water temperature and what sort of species they should be targeting and the tackle they need to fish for alternatives.
Whether you hook into a small jack pike, or a 40lb croc, pike are powerful fish and require a strong, powerful rod to combat.
The type of rod you opt for also depends on what style of pike fishing you are looking to do – lure or bait fishing?
If it lure fishing that takes your fancy, you will need to get your hands on a spinning rod between 6ft-10ft, you will notice these rods are rated on the rods casting weight, which will be listed in grams. A casting weight of 15-40g is ideal for a beginner as it will be comfortable casting a small, medium or large lure – it offers you flexibility.
There are two types of reels associated with piking, fixed spool reels and multiplier reels. Fixed spool reels are the traditional go-to for most fishing disciplines, whereas multiplier reels are more complex, but are lighter, cast further, have better drag systems, and do not suffer from line twists like the fixed spool alternative.
If you’re looking to dead bait, you will probably be able to use your existing carp setup, any carp rod with a test curve over 2.50lb will suffice. When piking the test curve corresponds to how big a dead bait you can cast out and how far you can cast it.
If you’re looking at a short chuck with a 4in lamprey section then a 2.5lb test curve will be plenty, however, if you want to use a bigger bait and fish at range, you will need to get your hands on a rod with a test curve over 3.00lb. In terms of dead bait reels, a fixed spool reel with a large line capacity is ideal and will have you covered in a plethora of situations.
You have two options when spooling your reels for pike, either mono or braid. Braid has many advantages over mono, it is incredibly strong and thinner in diameter. Braid also has no stretch; this means it is much more responsive than monofilament made lines, allowing you to apply more pressure setting the hooks, increasing efficiency when a take occurs, and more action into your lure.
Another advantage of using a braided mainline is bite indication. Couple with alarms and drop-off indicators, bite indication is greatly improved when dead bait fishing. It is extremely important to use a strong reliable lines when targeting predators, a pike left trailing any hooks or a lure is potentially a dead pike. A minimum of 15lb mono or 40lb braid is a must.
A wire trace is of paramount importance when targeting pike. Pike will easily bite through inadequate trace wire and line, resulting in leaving hooks in a pike's mouth, which will almost certainly kill the pike.
Dead bait traces need to be a minimum length of 18 inches long, lure traces can be slightly shorter. Any connecting swivels, or snap links must be strong enough for the job too, a medium-size pike is a very powerful fish.
Large 42in specimen nets, that you would use in carp fishing, will comfortably net a pike and are at least a good size for pike, however, a wily pike will figure out that it can soon bite through one of these nets – trebles can sometimes accidentally tear you net as well. To save yourself the bother, it is worth investing in a rubberised landing net, not only are they more robust than its mesh equivalent, but also usually feature a stronger and shorter net handle, making netting the pike easier on a solo trip.
One look at a pikes mouth and you will think twice about removing the hook with your hands, a pair of long-nosed forceps (12in) are much better suited for the job.
Once in a while you will land a pike that is hooked awkwardly, in this situation it is usually easier to cut the wire trace, allowing you to move everything above your trace wire out of the way and just focus on removing the treble and short trace that is left.
As aforementioned, your choices are lure or dead bait. Lure fishing is by far more mobile and allows you to fish multiple swims and walk great lengths of the bank in a single session, whereas, dead baiting tends to be more of a sitting behind alarms session. You can also predator fish by boat.
Here in the UK, the pike fishing season runs from October through to March. Some anglers will pike fish in the summer months, but generally, it is accepted that if the water is over 21 degrees, you should not be targeting pike. The adrenaline rush that comes with hooking into a ferocious pike, and the sight of a finely tuned, big-toothed predator in your landing net is what keeps anglers coming back to pike fishing every winter. In addition to pike, predator angling for perch, zander and catfish will also take place in the cooler months of the year.
What Tackle Do I Need for Predator Fishing?
Although many predator anglers prefer to travel light with their predator rods, reels, line, lures and fishing tools, you will find our predator section is stocked with all the predator essentials one may need. Pike and predator rods tend to be made for lures or dead baiting tactics, whereas reels are mostly fixed spool or multiplier to assist with the line twist that comes with battling predator species.
When it comes to the fishing line, it needs to be strong. Predator fish are known for their fighting once hooked and can bite through many lines which is why mono and braid tend to be the options many predator anglers opt for. In addition to your mainline, trace wire is also used for pike angling for connecting your swivels, or snap links.
Like everything else in the predator tackle armoury, your fishing nets need to be built to withstand those pike teeth or fighting action when netted. As big as some carp and specialist nets maybe, a net made with stronger mesh and net handle is worth investing in. Your tools for then removing hooks and lures from predators' sharp mouths are a must with many packing at least long-nosed forceps and wire cutters.
As predator tackle requires stronger construction and materials there are fishing brands that specialise in just items for these fish. Reputable brands such as Fox Rage, Daiwa Prorex, Savage Gear, Catfish Pro and Drennan to name a few! Advanta also offers predator tackle at a lower cost and features across the nets, reels, nets and fishing chair sections of our predator tackle collection.