Landing, Handling and Unhooking Pike

GrahamM

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Give us a shout here if anyone wants to know more about handling pike and taking care of them.
 
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STUART JOHNSON

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About 18 months ago I started fishing again after a lay off for 12 years. One species I have not had any success with is Pike. As I always go fishing alone(my mates think fishing is boring)it is difficult to get help when it is needed. So off I go looking for Pikers to ask for there help and advise on how to un hook and handle Pike. What a waste of time, they look at me as though I am from Mars at snigger at my simple but thougtful questions with no help or guidance given. As I always put the welfare of the fish first, I have not been Pike fishing. As a result I am missing out on some great times. So can you help please.
 

GrahamM

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We certainly can Stuart, so if there is anything you need clarifying in Paul's article, or any other specific questions, please fire away.
 
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Stewart Bloor

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Good article Paul.
When I started to do serious piking for the first timer last winter, I bought a John Roberts Deep Throat Pike Disgorger. It was a brilliant purchase and 'saved' the life of a least two pike that were deep hooked.
Sedge
 
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paul williams

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Stuart, sorry you were treated so bad by the morons, I will not call them pikers! Don't let them put you off, none of us were born knowing it all, and we will go still not knowing it all, so ask away, I JUST HATE ****HEADS LIKE THOSE GUYS YOU BUMPED INTO, there now it's off my chest!!
 
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Andrew Miller

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One thing that had help is having a landing net with large mesh as it less likely to get all tangled up with the trebles as the small meshes.
 
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STUART JOHNSON

Guest
I am new to this technology stuff and did not read the article. It is is full of good basic advise for a novice like my self. I will now go fishing for Pike with more confidence and hopefully catch and return the fish with no ill effects, and put two fingers up to the people who would not help. But there is no substitute for practical guidance. So if there on any Pikers in Cheshire who are willing to help please get in contact.
 
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Daniel Whitelock

Guest
great article, there's loads of smaller pike where i go chubbing on the ouse but idaren't fish for them with out the confidence to inhook them safely, the article has helped loads, the one thing i don't quite understand is the bit about placing the hand behind the gill cover and holding open the lower jaw, would it be possible for you to go over that once more in some detail??
it would be a great help.
cheers Daniel
 

DAVE COOPER

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Stuart - Join the mailing list attached to the site. We have a Pike fish-in organised on 11 November on Rydal Water in the lake district. You will be very welcome and can get some practical advice. Won't cost you a penny (apart from a beer afterwards maybe).
 
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Chris Bishop

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They're easier to hook on the ground when you start off. Lay the fish on the unhooking mat, roll it onto its back and kneel astride it. You should be able to carefully slide the first couple of fingers of your left hand down the gill slit and grip the bony ridge of its jaw. If you lift your hand, the fish's mouth should open and you can quickly turn the hooks and pop them out with the forceps.

Always make sure you know where the hooks are before you put your fingers in via the gill opening. You can usually tell if one or more of the hooks is in the scissors/side of the mouth etc.

You get the odd cut and nick from their teeth, but generally speaking it's the safest way for both pike and pike angler.

When you get more experienced, you can chin (hand land) the smaller ones and unhook them without even touching the ground.
 
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BUDGIE BURGESS

Guest
Great stuff!Not so much the excellent advice given but the fact that people new to piking are now trying to get all the information about handling/unhooking sorted out before they actually go out killing them!It has always amazed me the many people who only start to think about these things once they have actually got a pike on the bank!I won't go into all the horror stories lets keep the tone of this post positive.One thing that I would like to say is that over the years many of my piking mates and I have started to move away from the putting the Pike on the mat and straddling it routine.Most of the damage done to Pike (and indeed Pike anglers!) at this stage is due to the fish twisting on your hand.It can only do this by levering its body against something ie the ground or the anglers body.I now much prefer and recommend not putting the fish on the ground at all if it starts to kick just hold it away from your body and let it!Don't worry you can't drop it it will just sit on your hand doing its thing.This greatly reduces scratches from the gill rakers and more importantly damage to them and tears to the throat membrane.As for the unco-operative "pike anglers" that you encountered I am sad to say that a lot of these are out there.The main reason they dont tell you nothing is cause they are noddies who havn't got any thing to tell.Now I am back in the country (due to the flooding on the Po)I am considering a Pike teach in in the South East area.Just how many of you would be interested?Suppose I best post this sepperately as well.
 
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paul williams

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Budgie, i agree it's great that more are asking before they go piking, personally though i still think the straddling method best for newcommers, best for both the fish and the angler so long as it is performed correctly, i think there is a far greater risk of the fish being dropped if it is held up, (by it's gill's?) unless i have misunderstood your style.
 
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BUDGIE BURGESS

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The reason I have moved away from the traditional method has been documented in my origonal post.Done correctly there is no risk of dropping the fish and the problems of torn throat membranes become none existant.As with all these things a practical demonstration is a lot better.Nev uses this method along with a lot of experienced pikers now and if memory serves me right you can see him using it in one of his vidios.
 
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paul williams

Guest
Budgie, i will take a look at the vidieo if i can get my hands on it, but is this a method suited to a seasoned piker rather than a nervous newcomer without the confidence to get to grips?
 
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BUDGIE BURGESS

Guest
I think it would be ok for both Paul.The biggest fish that I have used this on are mid twenties.I must admit that with bigger fish I have still put them on the mat.One problem I have found with bigger (therefore longer)fish is that when they kick you have too hold them a long way from your body to avoid the problem I have mentioned.This would possibley be difficult for a small person.I suppose, as with a lot of things,the answer is to give it ago and see what your limits are and if it suits you.
 
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paul williams

Guest
Being a short arse i think i will stick to the mat!!! Rai!! espesially when boat fishing!!! then again i've only had a couple of handfuls of fish bigger than mid twenties...seriousley though it's right what you say Budgie, its what the individual feels comfy with that matters so its probably wise to show both teqniques at a teach in (imho)
 
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Chris Bishop

Guest
I agree that lifting small fish up is often the only way to get them to open their mouths, but most of the cuts and scratches I've suffered over the years have come when I've lifted a fish and it's squirmed and twisted on my hand. I actually find it harder to unhook smaller pike, largely because the mouths/jaws are so small your fingers are in far closer proximity to their teeth. I also think it's better to lay them down when you're starting out, because you can make sure you know where the hooks are before you put your finger under the gill slit, avoiding the chance of a fish twisting and driving a loose hook point into a finger.

There are several other things which make handling and unhooking easier - good, strong forceps, barbless hooks etc. And have wire clippers handy in case a flying treble snags in the landing net mesh.
 
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paul williams

Guest
Budgie is obviously an experienced piker and his style suits him and his mates but imho i still think a mat and a glove the best method to show a beginner, another site is having a similar discussion and a guy had his finger broken by using the lift method! another point raised was weils disease, hence the glove! i have fished for pike for almost 30yrs and i still get blooded (not bitten!) in my macho gloveless mood, on some waters rats are a real problem so forget macho,weils loves macho!
 
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STUART JOHNSON

Guest
All very interesting stuff. I am a novice piker angler and I am becoming more confused. I am hopefully attending a Pike fish-in, where I will be able to get first hand help. I am of the opinion that practical help and someone actualy showing you and indeed helping you un-hook apike is the best solution for the Pike and the angler. The teach-in is a great idea depending when and where it is I would be would be interested.
 
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