Pike Pro Terminal Tackle Part Two
Wed 08 January 14
Trace Making Products
Predator terminal tackle hasn’t really changed over the years with the Jardine snap tackle being the building block for the vast majority of anglers fishing for pike and zander. We have all been into our local tackle shops and unless you have a specialist predator shop locally (which are very few & far between), you are presented with only parts of large ranges of manufacturers bits and pieces. With such a wide variety of products available on the shelves, it can be a little confusing for the new or occassional predator angler to what is required.
Bait Box have been supplying deadbaits to tackle shops for a while now, and they have now ventured into the terminal tackle market with a comprehensive range of terminal tackle under their Pike Pro brand. UKSA have been sent a range of the Pike Pro products to review, and we continue with the trace making products from the range.
Treble hooks are the basic starting point for predator anglers when they look at the sharp end of their rigs. Some anglers are moving towards single hooks for their bait fishing, but with the majority still wanting and using trebles, Pike Pro have scoured whats available and bought some crackers to the table.
The Pike Pro treble hooks are available in sizes 4, 6 & 8 and are supplied in packs of 20 hooks at a RRP of £4.99.
The Pike Pro treble hooks are of the de facto standard semi-barbed type, which for the uninitiated means that two of the three points are barbless with the remaining single barbed point used for securing the bait on the cast and when in the water. Just like normal single hooks, there are different bend types available to the angler, but Pike Pro have decided on a round bend pattern. A round bend offers a slightly wider gape than a crystal bend treble which means that the exposed barbless points are a little further away from the bait than a crystal bend style would be. This gives better hooking potential in my opinion in the bony mouth of the pike. The eye of the treble hooks is also slightly more rounded than other hooks I have used which allows for easy movement if you crimp your traces and not use rig sleeves. For those that like to twist their traces or use hook sleeves, the eye allows for neat and easy trace construction.
The points of the trebles are razor sharp and are amongst the sharpest trebles I have seen straight out of the packet.
A good swivel is always required when constructing traces, and Pike Pro have not scrimped on the swivels that they have chosen to include in the range. The Size 2 Power Swivels are of the round eye design which allows for strangulation free knots when tied to braid or monofiliament, and also allows for central hanging when used with crimped wire connection. You can also use tham with twisted wire traces without any worry.
The Power Swivels are free running at both ends and the eyes are smooth.
Supplied in packets of 20 swivels at a RRP of £ 2.75
TOP TIP – When reusing swivels, always make sure that you connect the trace wire to the same end as previous use as wire can make a small groove in the swivel, especially after playing hard fighting fish. If you tie your mainline to the eye that wire has been attached to wire in the past, you could damage the line at the knot on any abrasion that the wire may have caused to the eye.
The Coastlock Swivels are a quick change swivel that is perfect for use on lure traces and for connecting wire traces to rotary uptraces. The Coastlock swivels allow quick release of the trace from the line when a fish is in the net rather than to worry about where a rod is left hen unhooking a lively fish. Using a large round eye swivel as the main body, the attachment component is strong and should not let you down under normal usage.
Supplied in packs of 10 swivels at a RRP of £ 3.99
TOP TIP – Always use one of the Coastlock Swivels on the end of your mainline to attach your wire trace to to give you quick change of a rig or to remove the rig from the setup when a fish is in the net
The Pike Pro Crimps are the perfect method of securing hooks and swivels to trace wire and I would never be without a crimped trace (personal preference over twisted wire). The Pike Pro Crimps have quite a large diameter to allow for a wide range of diameter wires and are suitable for use with both coated and uncoated wire up to 80lb breaking strain! I have made up several traces using the Pike Pro Crimps and found that I did have to place more pressure on the crimping pliers than I did with slimmer diameter crimps, but never had any problems with slippage of the connection even with wires down to 25lb. The Crimps are also shorter than some others available which gives a very neat connection and allows for shorter rig sleeves to be used than with longer, slimmer crimps.
Supplied in packs of 50 crimps at a RRP of £ 2.99
TOP TIP – Always use a proper crimping tool when constructing traces with crimped connections, as pliers or thin electrical style crimping tools will not give a secure enough connection and may weaken the wire inside the crimp, or the crimp itself, and potentially leave a hook or two in a pike’s mouth or stomach which may lead to fatality of the fish. I am sure I am not alone when saying that paying a few quid for a proper crimping tool is worth a lot more than causing the death of a fish through a scrooge-like mentality.
Trace wire comes in many different forms but without any shadow of a doubt the most popular type is the good old 7 Strand wire, and this is what Pike Pro have chosen to include in their range. 7 Strand wire is one of the most versatile wires on the market and lends itself to creating fantastic joins using either crimps or by twisting the wire to secure hooks or swivels.
The Pike Pro 7 Strand trace wire is available in 45lb breaking strains, and supplied on 20 metre spools with a RRP of £6.99 per spool.
Another reason why 7 Strand wire is popular is that it lends itself superbly to all wire trace requirements (other than where solid traces are used for large jerkbaits) and is equally at home with a single or twin hook setup for bait fishing, as it is when used as an uptrace (in the higher breaking strains) or having a swivel at one end and a Coastlock swivel at the other for lure fishing.
The Pike Pro 7 strand wire that we were sent is uncoated and this means that it is also very supple for the type of material. When cut using a pair of trace cutters, it did not unravel at the ends like some other 7 strand wires I have used in the past, and after cutting several lengths off to make up traces, I have not yet had to heat it up with a lighter to make it more supple and to resist the unravelling that multi-strand wire is notorious for. When making up a trace using the twisting method to attach the bottom hook and swivel, using a dedicated twisting tool, it has twisted into a tight, neat coil first time.
I have been using a carbon coated trace wire for making up my traces due to the problems with some other 7 strand materials, but after testing out the Pike Pro 7 strand trace wire, I have now changed my mind about the trace material and looking forward to saving myself a few quid in the process!
Rotary Uptrace Kit
When using a paternoster type setup with or without a visible or sunken float, there is always the chance that the pike or other toothy fish can strike the bait in an upards motion, and if a wire uptrace is not used, could also bite straight through the mainline running above where the wire trace runs. This leaves the chance of a pike taking the hooked bait and becoming hooked, but if it bites through the mainline, leaving the hook trace and hooks in the fishes mouth and stop it from being able to feed. By using an uptrace, the chance of this is essentially eliminated from the equation and leaves the angler with peace of mind that if a fish is lost it will be through mainline breakage or a hook pull. As the mainlines that a pike angler should be using are generally higher than what a carp angler would use, the chance of a breakage is lowered, an uptrace gives the confidence that once a fish is hooked, that it will be landed in the vast majority of cases.
The Rotary Uptrace Kit has a RRP of £ 2.75
Some anglers are put off with using an uptrace as they feel that the rig is too complicated, but given the choice, I would use one for certain where it was required. There are ready made uptraces available from several manufacturers including Pike Pro (the ready made traces will be covered in the next part of the reviews), but a lot of anglers prefer to make their own traces as if anything does go wrong they only have themselves to blame.
The Pike Pro Uptrace Kit includes all the components required to make 2 complete Uptraces (other than the wire itself). In the packaging, the conents are made up of 8 x Rig Sleeves, 2 x Snap Swivels, 2 x Swivel Crimps (with Coastlock attachments) and 2 x Power Swivels. Also inside the packaging is a paper leaflet that shows how the finished Uptrace should look as well as step-by-step instructions.
When using the completed Uptrace it is a simple process of tying your mainline to the Power Swivel, attaching your hook trace to the Coastlock swivel that is part of the Swivel Crimp component, and clipping your lead or lead link to the Snap Swivel at the base of the Uptrace. If you are using a sunken float, you simply thread it onto the mainline before tying on the Uptrace.
I had been making my own Uptraces using a mish-mash of different manufacturers components, but now I have seen the Pike Pro kit, it is less obtrusive than the previous components I had been using, and I look forwrd to putting them through the paces very soon.
TOP TIP – When constructing the Uptrace it is recommended that a higher breaking strain wire is used than the trace wire as the slightly stiffer Uptrace wire will help with eliminating tangles on the cast or when using lively livebaits. It is also imperative that the completed uptrace is at least 3-6” longer than the actual hook trace to eliminate the chance of bite-offs. When using an uptrace, you can use a shorter hook trace length than if you were not fishing using a different rig, but for best results, a hook trace should still be at least 12” in length.
Bait flags have become increasingly popular with predator anglers both as a way of adding additional visual attraction to the bait as well as being a good way of securing the hook that is placed into soft fish baits such as sardines. The Pike Pro Bait Flags are made from a soft, flexible compound which do not have a pre-punched hole allowing for even better grip to the hook wire itself than if a hole was punched in them already. The compound used is flexible and thinner than some of the others available and a hook point is easily pushed through them.
The Pike Pro Bait Flags are supplied in boxes of 25 pieces and have a RRP of £ 2.50
To use them to secure the bait to the treble, it is a simple task of passing the upper barbed point of the treble through the bait completely and pushing a bait flag over the hook point and down to the bait itself to secure for the cast or to stop a livebait from freeing itself from the rig.
TOP TIP – When using semi-barbed trebles, place a bait flag over the barbed point even if using robust baits to give you a visual of which hook point is the barbed one when the fish is in the net or you are about to glove a fish out. This saves you struggling to tell which point has the barb on when a fish is being lively on netting/landing by hand.
The Pike Pro Rig Sleeves are conical pieces of compound with a central bore to thread the line through, similar to the Tail Rubbers that carp anglers use on lead clips. The Rig Sleeves are perfect for neatening and streamlining your traces and slide easily, but sit securely, over the hook or swivel eye and connection (crimp or twist).
Using a tapered Rig Sleeve also lowers the chance of weed or other debris from catching on the connections to the swivel or hooks. Although not essential to a trace, more and more anglers are using them for neatness purposes alone.
The Pike Pro Rig Sleeves are supplied in packs of 50 pieces and have a RRP of £ 3.75
The comprehensive range of trace making components that Pike Pro have int he range may not be as huge as some of the other brands, but have been chosen to create “no frills” but efficient wire traces that will not let the angler down. We have all heard of the K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle and at times less does equal more. In purchasing a single pack of each of the above components, the angler will have all the items required to make hook traces for pike and zander without having to worry that they are missing out on a vital component. With anglers tightening the purse strings when it comes to buying items, the range has been priced to sell without sacrificing quality or amounts in each packet. I am impressed by the comprehensive range and will be gradually replacing the items that I had been using with the Pike Pro items, especially the treble hooks which are as good as any others I have seen on the market.
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