Session 10 (2015) – Back To The Pike…

Monday, March 23rd, finds me wending my way back to the usual pike pool, usual swim… I *KNOW* there’s pike there – see write-up of the previous visit… but it also seemed that *THEY* knew I was there too…

Anyway, I was back there and had my baits in the water by 0830 and was awaiting action, fully expectant of results.

I was on the float rods again for the day – a smelt on the left hand rod fishing the bait about 2 rod lengths and 4′ deep out under an overhanging tree, an area that usually gets indications of fishy interest, and the other rod fished out to the right was baited with a red dyed and lamprey oil injected sprat fished at about same distance and 3′ deep. Both setups consisted of 18lb mono mainline, to 20lb wire traces with 12g pike floats and a small bullet lead to take down the bait. The wire traces were both fitted with a single size 2 barbed hook about 4″ up-trace (bait holder) which was originally put into the tail of the baits and terminated with a homemade back-to-back double hook consisting of a squeezed barb size 2 single hook (the active hook) with a size 10 barbed hook whipped onto its back – to give a version of the old type Vic Bellars hook or the Partridge Ryder Pike Hook…

Partridge Ryder Double Pike Hook

…the smaller hook merely is used to attach and hold the bigger hook to the bait… and this hook was attached mid-body of the baits in the area of the dorsal fin. I’ll add some notes for how to make these double hooks – and the trace itself – to the end of this report.

Anyway, over the first hour a few small knocks, wobbles and pulls were had on the smelt rod but nothing at all on the sprat baited one… and eventually I changed over to using a laying-on method with both rods (ie float set overdepth at about 9′-10′ deep in 7′ depth of water so that the lead lay on the bottom and the float lay flat on the water and then line was tightened until the float just started cocking – a very sensitive method as, as soon as the bait is taken and the weight moved, the float indicates such very quickly and the weight of the lead is semi-supported by the float so only a small weight/resistance is felt by the fish).

As there was very little action on the sprat rod (about 3 nudges in several hours), at one stage I swapped the rods over – and the smelt rod immediately started getting attention whereas the sprat rod remained as impassive as ever – hence why I prefer smelt to sprats! After an half hour or so I swapped the rods back to their original placings.

However, as I say I was getting attention on the smelts and although I was getting some decent ‘run’ type takes I was not connecting… and so I decided to make a slight change to the hooking method by changing from a tail-dorsal arrangement to a dorsal-head one (ie the mid-trace ‘holding’ hook was moved from the tail to the dorsal fin area and the ‘active’ hook moved to the head) as it seemed that the bait was being taken head first… and this, indeed, seemed to be the case as within an hour I’d captured 2 chub of 3lb 9oz and 3lb 0oz… and also as I was almost ready to tackle down for the day, the float on the sprat rod dove under the surface and line started being taken… a strike met a good resistance and what I think was a pike (from weight and fight – boring runs) was on the hook… but unfortunately at the bankside the fish discovered what appeared to be submerged tree roots, took sanctuary in there and threw the hook as when I got the tackle back the hook was covered in thin tree root fibres.

2015-03-23 Steve 3lb 9oz Chub 01
3lb 9oz Chub
2015-03-23 Steve 3lb 0oz Chub 01
3lb 0oz Chub

And so, for me that was the end of the day as I needed to pack up and collect Liz from work…

But there is one problem on the horizon…. I’m due another two pike sessions before the end of my pike season BUT I’ve only 2 smelt left! And one of those was used as bait on this session and taken from the hooks when I finished for the day. Not a major disaster admittedly as I’ve plenty of sprats, herrings, sardines and mackerel in the freezer but I really like the smelts… so Thursday – the household grocery shopping day – could also turn in to a ‘hunt the smelt day’. I bought my last batch from eBay but obviously don’t have time to repeat that… and the ‘real world’ shop that used to stock them has now ceased trading… and I’m not sure if the local tackle shops have stocks as I don’t recall seeing freezers in any of them… :(


Time               Air                  Water

0830                 6.1                    11.6
0930                 9.1                    11.6
1030               10.1                    11.7
1130               10.2                    11.8
1245               13.2                    11.9
1330                 8.7                    11.8
1400                 7.9                    12.1
1445                 8.7                    12.7


 ScreenHunter_32 Mar. 24 12.37


To make the Vic Bellars/Partridge Ryder type hook is quite simple – obviously all you need is 2 standard single hooks, eyed type – barbed are recommended although the larger can be barbless if you desire or you can go the middle ground as I do, which is to use a barbed hook but fold the barb down with pliers… also using a micro-barbed is an option but a full barbed hook is the preferred for the smaller hook as it needs to hold to the bait… the hooks I use are generally a size 2 for the larger ‘active’ hook and a size 8 or 10 for the ‘holding’ hook

OK then what else is needed?

  • A fly-tying vice is a useful tool but not absolutely necessary – you can hold the hooks in your fingers or use small pliers with elastic bands around the handles to act as a vice…
  • Cotton or braid or even thin wire to bind the hooks together…
  • Glue – can be epoxy type (eg 2-pack Araldite) or contact/impact adhesive (eg Bostik)

Steps to make…

  • Smear a little glue on to the shanks of both large and small hooks…
  • Bring hooks together, back-to-back, points facing outwards, and with eye of the smaller hook slightly down the shank of the larger hook… and if using a vice type tool then place and hold in position in the jaws by gripping at the closest point to the bend as possible thus leaving shanks of both hooks exposed to enable whipping/binding….
  • Bind/whip/wrap the two hook shanks together …..
  • Apply a bit of glue over the whipping to protect and to hold…

When connecting this double hook to the wire trace, do so via the eye of the larger hook – that is the one that will actually hook your target fish – and although the smaller hook is not intended to actually to connect to the prey fish it may on occasion do so – but if you securely bind and overcoat properly with glue that connection should be good enough to hold and land that fish. I’ve had that happen a few times and not yet lost a fish by the hook connection falling apart…

OK – now making up a trace with single and double hooks…

  • Take a suitable length of your desired trace wire – I use about 15″-18″ of 20/25/30lb BS stranded wire…
  • Attach the double hook to the end of the wire as per your normal treble attachment method (wrapping or crimping, etc) by using the eye of the larger hook…
  • Feed the loose end of the wire trace through the back of the eye of a single hook (I use size 2 barbed) – this hook will be the main ‘holding’ hook for your bait in order to withstand casting forces, etc. – and position about 4″ from the double hook and hold there between your fingers whilst wrapping the loose wire end around the shank of the hook about 6 times and then feeding the wire back through the back of the hook’s eye and pulling taut slowly whilst sliding the wire wraps around the shank up to the eye… You may recognise this as what is known in carp fishing circles as a ‘knotless knot’. Attaching this way prevents the hook sliding up and down the wire which is almost impossible to do any other way with a single hook.
  • Feed down from the loose end of the wire a small piece of thin silicon rubber tubing and slide over the eye and shank of the hook – or even better, if available, use heat shrink tube and shrink over the knot/eye/shank to give an even more secure and professional finish.
  • Finally, terminate the end of the wire with a suitable swivel…
Finished trace should look like this but with the mid-trace hook being a single not double hook.

BTW – this trace is an excellent one for wobbling small deadbaits such as sprats, roach, small herrings even… the mid trace single hook is attached securely to the baits head (I use a through both jaws method) and the double hook at a suitable place on the body…. although you may wish to use traces with a longer spacing between the two hooks to allow placement of the double hook closer to the bait’s tail on the larger baits.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: