Tools for the job
Most pike anglers today are aware that a decent pair of forceps is essential for efficient unhooking. If you are lure fishing, then a strong pair of long nosed pliers are even better for getting a grip on lure hooks. I always carry both, and also a spare pair of forceps in case I either lose or break them. You just can’t carry on pike fishing without them. Another thing I always carry, and I don’t often see others carrying, is a decent pair of side cutters. When you just can’t get the hooks out cleanly with forceps or pliers, there’s often no alternative but to cut the hooks to avoid the risk of damaging the pike. Early striking when deadbaiting or livebaiting can normally avoid this, and most times lures are not too difficult to remove. Once in a while though, you may be faced with a situation where cutting the hooks is the only option.
Last season, I never had to call on my side cutters at all, but Sods Law dictated that on my second session of the new season I had to use them twice. First of all a deadbait was taken too far back and the bottom treble was out of sight. I eased it forward, but it would not turn to pull out. With a bit of gentle teasing, I exposed the points of the treble one by one, and snipped them off, as close to the shank as possible. With more gentle manoeuvring, I managed to turn the treble and it was swiftly out.
My next pike came on a spoon, and Lo and behold, I had a treble wedged between the gill rakers. It had caused no damage, but fiddling around trying to turn it would have done so. Once again I just snipped off the points of the hook and gently removed what was left of the treble from between the rakers.
It’s a tool I’m pleased I invested in as, when it’s called upon, it is invaluable.