It is probably true to say that fishing trace wire is one of the pike fishing areas, which seems to cause the most difficulty to anglers new to the sport. Such a common question – do you need a wire trace for pike? Let me say right away – a wire trace is essential for all forms of pike fishing. Only ignorant people who spend more time talking about pike fishing than actually fishing may say otherwise. But you only have to look inside a pike’s mouth at all those sharp teeth to realize that they will take very little work, especially if you are on standard monofilament line.
Having established that a wire trace in pike fishing is essential, let us now look at what we need in order the make a standard bait fishing wire trace which would be both safe and versatile in a wide variety of different situations. Of course, nowadays you can buy good quality traces, although these tend to be expensive in comparison with those you can make yourself.
If you don’t have the patience, then buying a ready-made wire leader is your best bet! I suggest sticking to Rio Products (link to Amazon) as they have a great name among pikers. They even have a leader specially designed for Pike/Musky (check availability on Amazon)!
How To Make Pike Wire Traces
To make a good quality trace wire, you will need to buy the following:
Some size eight treble hooks. When buying treble hooks, you will be faced with a choice between semi barbless trebles or barbed trebles. As the name suggests, semi barbless trebles have two points of the hook without barbs, and there is a small barb only on the third point. This sharp point is the one intended to be placed in the bait, while the other two barbless hook points are the ones that hook the pike. The barbless trebles will be easier to unhook and will be less damage to the fish. However, critics argue that pike are able to shed these barbless hooks much easier, leading to an increase in chances of losing pike. For this reason, many experienced pike anglers still use fully barbed trebles, albeit ones with very small ‘micro-barbs’.
Which ones should you use? For the novice and junior
You can easily buy the hooks at your local shop, or you can have them ordered while you read. Here’re the hooks I’m currently using (2 years using and hasn’t failed me).
There are many good brands of trace wire on the market nowadays. The trace wire you buy should be of the braided type. Braided wire is made up of a number of strands ( usually seven) of thinner wire, which as the name suggests, has been braided together to form a wire that is both very supple and very strong.
The wire should be at least 20lb breaking strain, although most pike anglers seem to prefer the extra security of 25lb breaking strain wire.
If you have no time to do the research, here’s my favourite wire (Amazon link).
A good quality swivel is the only other component you will need for making a very basic trace. Check out Swivels & Snaps dept. at Amazon.
This may seem like a strange component with which to make a trace, but you should, in fact, already have a pair of long (10 to 12inch) artery forceps for unhooking pike, but these can also be made to perform a dual role of making a basic trace. All will be revealed later on!
If you don’t have forceps, then be sure to purchase one before you go pike fishing. And don’t waste your money buying some fancy pair, instead buy the
Pike Traces Making
Now you have your trace making components the next stage is obviously to put a basic trace together. For this you will need:
- Two (size 6 or 8) treble hooks
- One swivel
- A 16 to 20inch length of 25lb breaking strain braided wire.
To attach one of the trebles to one end of the wire trace simply pass the wire through the eye of the hook twice so that there is a length of trace wire sticking out the other side. This is where the forceps come in to play. Securely clip the forceps to the end of this short length of wire, and then swing the forceps around the main length of wire, allowing the short end clipped to the forceps to be twisted tightly around the main length of wire. Once you do this, you should have the first treble securely fixed to the end of the trace. It is, however, important to thoroughly test this twist to ensure it doesn’t unravel when it is under pressure.
The next stage is to add the second treble. This should be slid on the other end of the wire and allowed to slide down until it is about 3 1/2 to 4 inches from the end treble. There have been many ways of securely fixing this second treble to the main line, but this is one of the easiest – simply wrap several turns of wire around the shank of the treble.
Now it only remains to fix the swivel on the other end of the trace. This is done in the same way as the end treble. Simply clip on the forceps to the trace and swing it around so that the wire twists back upon itself. Again making sure to thoroughly test the resulting twist to ensure that it will not unravel under pressure.
As I said before, there are various complicated techniques to make a pike fishing trace wire, and there are many other types of traces for various sizes of baits and fishing methods. But this basic fourteen inches long two treble trace wire will keep you safe in many, many pike fishing situations.