There has been an awful lot written about Carp safety. However, Pike are a much more delicate species. And with the lack of big Pike in this country, I feel there should be a greater deal of emphasis put on this. I personally use the same equipment for Carp fishing as I do for Pike and have found that a modern style mat like the TF Gear hardcore pack-away which is very light and easy to carry, is just perfect for this job.
I am also a firm believer in the correct style weigh slings/fish retainer should also be used along with a decent mat.
Now depending on your swim (and your safety), once I have unhooked the Pike, I will also place the Pike in a retainer sling and put this in the river/lake. On a river, please be mindful of the direction of the current and the Pike’s head should always face the flow, with the retaining sling, I add a clip on the other end to ensure you never loose your fish in the sling.
With this you can clip the cord to and then attach using a bank stick, thus holding the fish out of the current and close to the bank for a few minutes. Do this is while you set up your photography equipment.
I use a compact Panasonic lumix DT70 camera.
This has a function of time laps shots, I set at 1 every 10 seconds until it’s done 100. I set the tripod up in front of the mat all ready and press start. Then there is no worries about holding a remote, it’s all done in your own time and the safety of the Pike. Once complete, you can safely return the Pike using the retainer sling and the fish can fully recover and move off when ready.
When unhooking pike I carry a very comprehensive array of stuff as you can see below.
Forceps, pliers and cutters are all essentials! I am not a fan of gloves as you can’t feel the fish very well when putting your hand in their gills and could easily damage them without knowing. If you use your hands, you are more careful in handling them and less likely to cause any damage to the fishes vital; layer of protective slime.
Last but very important, strike quickly – gone are the days of leave it for a minute just to be sure – we can ill afford to have deep hooked Pike, as this is a big cause of Pike death’s.
With a bit more attention to quality pike care hopefully, we may one day start to see a good head of decent 30lb plus river pike building up again around the country.
Hope this is helpful.
Till next time, Richard.