It can be interesting to see what pike fishing setup others use. I often stop to talk to other anglers and at the same time take a look at their setup. So, to save you the trouble, I thought I would just tell you about the equipment I use for dead baiting. I’m not saying you should copy me, nor am I trying to tell you what to use, I’m just saying – Hey, this is what I use.
Pike fishing setup
Like many Pike anglers I use my Carp rod for dead baiting. I use a 12 foot Greys Prodigy SX with 2¾lb test curve (discontinued). This may seem quite a powerful rod, but rods are not just about playing the fish. A dead bait ledger rig can easily weigh several ounces, a strong rod is needed to cast a heavy rig any distance.
My reel is a general purpose “big reel” I use for Pike, Carp and anything else where I need a bit of power. It is a Fox Stratos FS 10000E (discontinued). It has a front drag, which I prefer, a spare spool and bait runner facility. I actually have two of these reels, both of which I have managed to break the bait runner switch off of. Despite that I like their smooth action and smooth drag, so I continue to use them.
Given a choice I will always use braided line, mainly because it has no stretch, better for setting the hook. The local lowland rivers I fish have soft banks and bottoms. With no rocks or stone to abrade or cut the line, I can use 30lb braid all the time. Monofilament is more resistant to abrasion, making it better for use in waters with rocky snags that could cut the line. I understand mono of 12lb to 15lb is commonly used in these areas.
To stop the Pike’s teeth cutting through the hook length, a trace made of multi strand wire is used. After years of Pike fishing I have settled on 20lb trace wire to make my traces. Ready made traces are available and for a while I did use them, but now I prefer to tie my own. A recent trend has been for anglers to use 250lb mono as the trace, no doubt former sea anglers. I have not tried heavy mono myself, but I see no reason why it should not work and it may be kinder to the fish. I will leave you to decide which you want to use.
Swivels and snap swivels
There must be a zillion different swivels of all makes and sizes on the market. After a great deal of faffing around I finally found swivels I like for my pike fishing setup. Berkley size 7 rated at 60lb, I use these and only these for all my dead bait Pike rigs, sorted.
Treble hooks are by far and away the most popular hooks used for dead baiting. Two trebles tied to the trace set at a distance apart that suites the size of the bait. Some ready made rigs boast a sliding second treble hook to allow for different baits. But the hook can move on the cast and the two hooks can end up close together in the Pike’s mouth, making unhooking more difficult than it needs to be.
Like swivels, there are a zillion different treble hooks available. I use Owner size 4 or 6 ST 36BC in black chrome, mostly size 6.
For double hooks, what else other than Partridge CS1ST Pike Double Hooks, size 6 or 8. Single hooks, Kamasan B940s size 1.
Various inline floats, both surface and subsurface which I use for float ledgering. For drift fishing I still use a traditional Pike bung. Several years ago I bought a selection of loaded Pike floats, none of which I have ever used. They seem to have no proper use in my pike fishing setup.
For ledgering and float ledgering I use flat pear leads, 1oz, 1½oz and 2oz. Plus a few drilled bullets to slide on the line to act as a weight for drifting inline floats. Drilled bullets can also come in handy for wobbling or twitching. I also like to carry some swan shots, beads and float stops.
Being much weaker than both the main line and trace, I use 6lb monofilament for making a weak link to the casting weight. If the weight gets snagged while playing a fish, the link breaks leaving the weight safely behind. Ideal for Paternoster and running trace rigs.
Forceps, long nose pliers and side cutters
Forceps and long nose pliers are used to unhook the Pike. Side cutters to cut the hooks or trace wire when there is no other option.
Landing net and unhooking mat
I use a 36 inch landing net that has a spreader block. The arms of the net are not fixed, they pull out of the spreader block making it much easier to move and weigh the fish once landed.
My unhooking mat is nothing special, it is just a simple mat I can roll up and strap to my bag.
I use an electronic bite indicator in conjunction with a monkey climber. The bite indicator is simple and cheap, it just makes a noise, singing and dancing not required.
The monkey climber is an old fashioned visual indicator popular in the last century. I use one because it clearly registers lift and drop back bites, I can adjust it’s weight and it is unaffected by the wind.
Bait and a knife
I tend to use frozen dead baits, leaving them in the freezer until the last minute. They will often still be frozen at the water, ideal for a good hook hold. The knife is for cutting and puncturing the bait.
A small towel, gloves, sun glasses, plasters, tissues, Paracetamol and a lifejacket.
Fishing without permission (including attempts) is a ‘theft of fishing rights’, all anglers must hold a Fishing Licence. You will also need permission to fish from the land owner or fishing club.
It can get very cold on the bank, so the other important equipment in my pike fishing setup is my clothing. A water proof, wind proof outer layer with warm layers beneath. I like to wear a balaclava, neck warmer and woolly hat too, but not normally gloves, they get in the way.
Best of luck.