PIKE, despite being aggressive predators, are extremely delicate fish and easily damaged in the wrong hands.
It is essential for anybody fishing for pike to be able to handle them confidently and unhook them correctly. Here’s how…
1 The first rule of predator fishing is to avoid deep hooking. That’s achieved by prompt striking allied to efficient bite indication and rigs. Pike swallow their prey head-first and you need to wind down and pull into the fish immediately to prevent the trebles becoming lodged deep inside the throat.
2 Equip yourself with long nosed forceps of varying lengths to clamp on the shank of a treble and extract it from the pike without causing damage. Pliers are useful for lures. Some anglers prefer to wear a glove to grip the pike under the bottom jaw between the gill filaments and gill cover.
3 Control the pike on the unhooking mat by trapping it between your knees without actually putting any weight on the fish. It’s critical to prevent it thrashing around, otherwise you could suffer cuts or even worse injuries from a flying treble.
4 Gently turn the pike onto its back, gripping it under the jaw and lifting slightly to open the mouth and locate the trebles. Maintain slight pressure on the trace to remove the furthest treble first. Gently feed your forceps through the gill cover to loosen a treble that’s deeper in the throat. Then simple remove the other treble and the pike is ready to be carefully returned to the water.
Steve Collett show how to unhook a pike by hand in this short video – note he does not use a glove.