When to strike?

sapperrich

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Hi all, Finally got all gear to try my hand at piking. Watched dozens of videos, but am still a bit confused as to when to strike at a bit. I will be float fishing deadbait on my local canals, do you guys have any advice? Cheers.
 

juttle

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What are you using, circle hooks, twin trebles, etc? If you’re using circle hooks, let the bite develop a few seconds and then just tighten down on the fish, do not strike! That way the hook will (should) move forward and turn into the pikes scissors. Striking a bite will just pull the hook out of the pikes mouth. If you’re using trebles just strike with enough pressure to set the hooks, don’t let the bite develop as that way lies deep hooking! This is just what I do, your mileage etc...
 

Yuccaman

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You will hear 10,000 different answers to this question. Mainly, it's something you learn with experience, but if you are new to it, definitely go on the earlier side than later - the last thing you want is a deep hooked fish.

Personally, when float fishing (which is what I do probably 80-90% of my piking), you will see the float start to twitch as a pike picks up the bait. As soon as it starts to move off, it's strike time. Occasionally, it isn't quite as simple as that, which is where the experience comes in. If you are fishing the float ledger (I would imagine probably the most commonly used pike rig), don't be too far overdepth to make sure that any interest transmits to the float. Sometimes, you will get a float twitching with no real take for what seems like eternity, sometimes (this was the case with the last fish I caught actually) there was no indication at all until the float just went screaming across the lake.

EDIT: Yes - as Juttle said, wind down to feel the fish...
 

sapperrich

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I'll be using semi-barbed trebles, and its the deep hooking I'm concerned about. Its the whole counting strike business, don't want to strike to soon and loose my first ever pike, but don't want to leave to late and injure/kill the Pike (obviously).
 

Yuccaman

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Counting is total *********. Ignore anything which says that. Sometimes it can be instant, sometimes it can take 30 seconds, so to say you should count to 5, 10 whatever is irrelevant. I've watched a pike in gin clear water nose a bait and take over a minute to actually pick it up, yet as I said in the previous post, the most recent fish I had must have picked it up on the fly... I'm not sure what you would count from, if I'm honest. You do learn to read it pretty quickly, but essentially, you will see the float have a definite movement...and that's what you want.
 

sapperrich

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Counting is total *********. Ignore anything which says that. Sometimes it can be instant, sometimes it can take 30 seconds, so to say you should count to 5, 10 whatever is irrelevant. I've watched a pike in gin clear water nose a bait and take over a minute to actually pick it up, yet as I said in the previous post, the most recent fish I had must have picked it up on the fly... I'm not sure what you would count from, if I'm honest. You do learn to read it pretty quickly, but essentially, you will see the float have a definite movement...and that's what you want.
Cheers mate, does make sense.
 

brian carragher

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Glad to see you're on the semi barbed as theyre a lot easier on the pike, there is a real chance you'll deep hook pike especially as a novice pike angler, its something thats more common than a lot of folk let on

With the semi barbed and a decent set of long forceps then you'll be able to handle any eventuality, get yourself a pair of side cutting snips just in case theyre needed and as a bit of a confidence boost, it is very easy once youve got experience to remove hooks from a pikes stomach if thats where they end up but usually thats as a result of previous anglers snap offs leaving trebles/traces in the fish or water which eventually get picked up not usually down an individual angler on the day leaving it to long

The best way of avoiding issues like described is by using strong enough mainline and decent traces

How long to leave it?, well I guess if you're a half decent float angler to start with then you'll have a pretty instinctive idea as to when to hit the fish, if the float is wobbling from side to side it generally but not always means a pike has settled on the bait and is mouthing it (blowing it in and out) getting a taste before it decides to engulf it and swim away, if you see your float doing that then as soon as it dips and/or sails away then wind down to take up the slack line and hit the fish

I dont like the term "strike" because what happens is most folk give it big licks on the "strike" almost strong enough to damage the very thing youre trying to catch, dont use too big a hook and make sure theyre sharp
Some anglers I know use braid at 60 odd lb and meathooks for trebles and they'll hit the fish three or four times whilst the lines under pressure to ensure a good hook hold, big heavy guage hooks take some driving home whereas smaller size 8's and 6's if they're sharp take no more than firm pressure when you pick up the rod to set the hooks

Float movement is just another indicator in your armoury, your eyes are another, keep watching and if you see any unusual movement or if it lifts (lift bite generally means the fish has taken the bait and moved the weight) so be prepared to move fast and grab the rod

Its generally better to pick up your rod and hit the fish early and miss it than it is to let it develop and have to deal with a deep hooked fish, exactly how long and when you wait to hit it will only be gained by experience, forget all the old ******** about waiting for the second run or giving the pike minutes to turn the bait in its mouth, in my opinion advice like that which is still given is tosh, be prepared to lose or miss a few fish by hitting them early rather than waiting, a pike going belly up isnt what you want to be seeing

Good luck
 

sapperrich

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Nov 29, 2018
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Glad to see you're on the semi barbed as theyre a lot easier on the pike, there is a real chance you'll deep hook pike especially as a novice pike angler, its something thats more common than a lot of folk let on

With the semi barbed and a decent set of long forceps then you'll be able to handle any eventuality, get yourself a pair of side cutting snips just in case theyre needed and as a bit of a confidence boost, it is very easy once youve got experience to remove hooks from a pikes stomach if thats where they end up but usually thats as a result of previous anglers snap offs leaving trebles/traces in the fish or water which eventually get picked up not usually down an individual angler on the day leaving it to long

The best way of avoiding issues like described is by using strong enough mainline and decent traces

How long to leave it?, well I guess if you're a half decent float angler to start with then you'll have a pretty instinctive idea as to when to hit the fish, if the float is wobbling from side to side it generally but not always means a pike has settled on the bait and is mouthing it (blowing it in and out) getting a taste before it decides to engulf it and swim away, if you see your float doing that then as soon as it dips and/or sails away then wind down to take up the slack line and hit the fish

I dont like the term "strike" because what happens is most folk give it big licks on the "strike" almost strong enough to damage the very thing youre trying to catch, dont use too big a hook and make sure theyre sharp
Some anglers I know use braid at 60 odd lb and meathooks for trebles and they'll hit the fish three or four times whilst the lines under pressure to ensure a good hook hold, big heavy guage hooks take some driving home whereas smaller size 8's and 6's if they're sharp take no more than firm pressure when you pick up the rod to set the hooks

Float movement is just another indicator in your armoury, your eyes are another, keep watching and if you see any unusual movement or if it lifts (lift bite generally means the fish has taken the bait and moved the weight) so be prepared to move fast and grab the rod

Its generally better to pick up your rod and hit the fish early and miss it than it is to let it develop and have to deal with a deep hooked fish, exactly how long and when you wait to hit it will only be gained by experience, forget all the old ******** about waiting for the second run or giving the pike minutes to turn the bait in its mouth, in my opinion advice like that which is still given is tosh, be prepared to lose or miss a few fish by hitting them early rather than waiting, a pike going belly up isnt what you want to be seeing

Good luck
Most of my fishing over years has been on the float (hence so many questions on other methods since joining site). After read one of my John Wilson books I opted to start with size 8's (that's all he seems to advice in his 1992 book) and see how I get on.
 

rd115

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Semi barbed trebles is defo the way to go (size 6 plenty big enough), my last 2 fish the hooks have fell out in the landing net, not had to pick my forceps up yet this week.

Also I'm only fishing 4-6 inches overdepth (float ledger), reading takes seem a lot easier, as soon as the bait is picked up the float pretty much goes under and I'm striking as soon as i can pick up my rod and lock in the clutch (5 seconds maybe?)

No deep hookers yet! ?
 

sapperrich

Regular member
Joined
Nov 29, 2018
Messages
142
Glad to see you're on the semi barbed as theyre a lot easier on the pike, there is a real chance you'll deep hook pike especially as a novice pike angler, its something thats more common than a lot of folk let on

With the semi barbed and a decent set of long forceps then you'll be able to handle any eventuality, get yourself a pair of side cutting snips just in case theyre needed and as a bit of a confidence boost, it is very easy once youve got experience to remove hooks from a pikes stomach if thats where they end up but usually thats as a result of previous anglers snap offs leaving trebles/traces in the fish or water which eventually get picked up not usually down an individual angler on the day leaving it to long

The best way of avoiding issues like described is by using strong enough mainline and decent traces

How long to leave it?, well I guess if you're a half decent float angler to start with then you'll have a pretty instinctive idea as to when to hit the fish, if the float is wobbling from side to side it generally but not always means a pike has settled on the bait and is mouthing it (blowing it in and out) getting a taste before it decides to engulf it and swim away, if you see your float doing that then as soon as it dips and/or sails away then wind down to take up the slack line and hit the fish

I dont like the term "strike" because what happens is most folk give it big licks on the "strike" almost strong enough to damage the very thing youre trying to catch, dont use too big a hook and make sure theyre sharp
Some anglers I know use braid at 60 odd lb and meathooks for trebles and they'll hit the fish three or four times whilst the lines under pressure to ensure a good hook hold, big heavy guage hooks take some driving home whereas smaller size 8's and 6's if they're sharp take no more than firm pressure when you pick up the rod to set the hooks

Float movement is just another indicator in your armoury, your eyes are another, keep watching and if you see any unusual movement or if it lifts (lift bite generally means the fish has taken the bait and moved the weight) so be prepared to move fast and grab the rod

Its generally better to pick up your rod and hit the fish early and miss it than it is to let it develop and have to deal with a deep hooked fish, exactly how long and when you wait to hit it will only be gained by experience, forget all the old ******** about waiting for the second run or giving the pike minutes to turn the bait in its mouth, in my opinion advice like that which is still given is tosh, be prepared to lose or miss a few fish by hitting them early rather than waiting, a pike going belly up isnt what you want to be seeing

Good luck
Last question(maybe), My main plan of attack going to be smelt/roach and small skimmers(saw an area last year where roach an bream were breeding great to watch, bream throwing themselves in reeds to spawn). Do you hook these baits frozen/semi-thawed or thawed, thinking that I'm only going to be casting across cut? Sorry but total novice at piking at the age of 51, just want to start of right. There's an old military saying " If you don't know ask" (because it can cost lives) a saying that has served me well all my adult life, hence some times might sound like a muppet LOL.
 

juttle

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If you’re not hurling your baits to the horizon it’s not going to matter whether they’re frozen or not, just a gentle soft cast should get you to the opposite bank if it’s not that far. If you’re hurling half a mackerel in excess of 100 yards they need to be frozen to withstand the cast. Don’t forget to puncture the skin on both sides just before the cast to release the juices!
 

Lee Richards

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Rich is West Mids and mentions using small baits on canals, so it might be worth considering if there are any Zander in the water. (Very likely)
By their "plucking and dropping" the bait they complicate things a little as from my experience their bites need to be hit immediately where Pike need a bit longer to mouth and turn the bait.
Always a conundrum when both species are present.
 

rd115

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Bait elastic is quite handy for keeping soft baits like smelts on for a good chuck.

Half a bluey is a good bait, very tough skin and plenty of juices ooze out when thawed.
 

brian carragher

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You can mount your deads on your trebles still frozen solid, they soon thaw out quick enough in the water,sometimes you get runs on frozen bait so dont be surprised if that happens, if they want it bad enough they dont wait for the baits to defrost

Try pricking your frozen baits on the underside from the anal vent to the head, two things happen, scent will leach out and water will get in and help defrost but it will also puncture the swim bladder of the dead
 

Simon R

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For small baits (which is all I use most of the time) I just lip hook them using a double hook - something similar to this pattern but with the barb of the larger hook crushed down.


Almost always a float fished bait, set just off the bottom and allowed to drift with any current, breeze or tow. It may not look very natural presenting the bait vertically but the pike really couldn't care less. Once the bait has reached the limit of the swim I'll retrieve it very slowly - almost like sink and draw style but with the sink limited by the float.
My main aim is to cover as much water as possible, pike are pretty lazy fish, especially in winter, and often won't be actively hunting, however if you run a bait over it's nose the pike is unlikely to refuse the free meal.

Biggest advantage of double hooks is that they're a doddle to unhook and I don;t find I miss anymote takes than if I was using trebles

Simon
 
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