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Unhooking a Pike

Safe Pike Rigs

Fixed lead rigs have become common in carp fishing and other circles in recent years, and their use is now widespread in pike fishing, too. However, care must be taken to ensure that the lead is not attached in such a way that it cannot be dislodged from the rig should the baited trace break off from the line. Rigs like this have become known as ‘tether rigs’ or ‘death rigs’ and must never be used.

  • Do not attach bomb weights directly to trace swivels using snap links. Use an intermediate link of weak nylon. Better still use one of the many purposely designed safety bomb links or in-line leads that are designed to be a safe push-fit onto a trace swivel.
  • When paternostering ensure that the bomb link is of weak nylon (6-8lb breaking strain) which a pike will be able to snap if the bomb snags. Further weakening this link by tying overhand knots in it, and using a blood knot to attach the bomb, will help the link snap more easily.
  • Do not fix bullet weights on to traces in such a way that they cannot pull over the trace swivel. If you must put a weight directly on a wire trace use the sort of weight that is interchangeable without breaking down the tackle as this will have some chance of coming free should the worst happen.

To avoid losing rigs, and hooked fish, always use sensible strong main line – minimum of 15lb mono, or 30lb braid for bait fishing and 50lb braid for lure fishing. ANY rig, however good, is potentially a death rig if it is left unattended, or fished without good bite indication. There are other rigs and items of tackle which can prove fatal to pike:

  • Stainless steel hooks should not be used for pike fishing as they will never corrode should they become left in a pike.
  • Always use good quality swivels for trace construction. Swivels with twisted wire eyes should be avoided. The use of swivels which have a stated breaking strain is highly recommended in selecting reliable components.
  • Snap links which open up accidentally can result in the loss of lures or baited rigs. Avoid snap links which operate like a safety pin, and those which have a ‘hook and eye’ closing mechanism – these are fine for attaching bombs or floats to rigs but should not be used for trace or lure attachment.

A PDF file of this fact sheet is available here: Safe Pike Rigs

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