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River pike hunting advice and tips
UK RIVERS are a prime hunting ground for predators in the winter months.
Team Korum are already preparing for their winter pike, perch and zander fishing, and so should you. Here’s how to make life really easy.
River piking is all about keeping things simple. By finding the sort of areas pike like to hang out, you don’t need to then over-complicate the situation with your rigs and end tackle.
The Korum Snapper range makes life much easier. I usually grab a couple of packets in the right float sizes for where I expect to go fishing. Some of the float patterns are better suited to river fishing, like the Dumpy Float shape. You can trot baits with this, but it’s also fine for laying on dead baits in a static position near snags, deep gullies and margins.
In the kit, you get three float stops, 4mm beads, a buffer bead, float and a matching weight. Everything you need to set it up. It saves the confusion and as the Dura-Bung floats are easily the strongest and longest-lasting clear floats on the market, they’ll last you a long time to come, too.
On the trace front, some may prefer to tie their own traces, but the Korum Snapper Traces are robust and strong enough to just keep in your kit and take with you when roving down the river. Larger sized hooks are a good place to start, as larger baits tend to seek out better fish. These traces go down to a size 10, though, so when targeted shyer fish, or perch or zander, these are a great option.
Hooking deadbaits can be confusing for some people, but here’s an easy guide to getting it right (see images below). Hooking baits in this way ensures more positive hookups and more pike on the bank!
Setting the depth correctly is always quite simple with pike fishing. Simply adjust the top float stop and bead to the depth of the river. You’ll know if it’s working, because your float won’t be carried down with the current. Set it so the float is just creating a crease in the river – this means it’s at its most sensitive.
On the rod and reel front, you want some pretty sturdy tackle. Go for at least a 14lb reel line, and use 2.5lb carp rods or heavier. Reels are personal preference, but KXI freespin reels can be simply set up with the freespin facility set really loose. When roving along a river, most anglers do away with drop off indicators and alarms and the like, as it just encourages you to sit still and be lazy!
Staying organised when pike fishing is essential, as pike themselves are a big toothy critter that aren’t exactly well behaved on the bank. Make sure you’ve a good unhooking mat, a good set of forceps or long nose pliers, and if you do have fears about unhooking pike, go with somebody experienced, or get a special chainmail glove to help.
Your tackle also needs to be organised. You’re moving swims, so you need to be able to just pack up and go right away. For this reason, we recommend a Korum Ruckbag and use it as a fishing station. Open the lid and then open your tackle box inside the bag, without taking it out. That way, it’s just a case of closing the lid and zipping up the bag and you’re off!
Now it’s a case of romping those river banks and seeking out good areas. Do some research at your local tackle shop and find out which areas have a lot of silver fish, too. The pike won’t be far away. Urban areas are usually good, as the human activity wards away predators so silver fish and therefore the pike thrive. Some of the best local stretches are in town centres or tourist areas, even, so don’t be put off by a bit of urban piking.
Also remember that these tips will work just as well on stillwaters, canals and drains. Pike are widespread in many areas and offer great winter sport. Get out there and catch a big snapper!
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