Practical tackle



The well-being of the angler might seem like an unlikely topic for a book about catching pike but when you are in the middle of a long, hot, day's lure fishing things will look much different. The main enemy of efficient lure fishing is tiredness. When you get tired, which you will do after a three a.m. start, don't force yourself to keep on fishing. Not only will you begin to fish in a mechanical, almost robotic way, but when a take does come your reactions will have slowed and it's an odds-on chance that you'll miss it. Take a break, sit down, lie down, have a nap. O.K. so you might miss out on a fish or two, but it is better to start again refreshed in the long run. It will also make a long drive home much safer!

During hot weather ensure that you avoid dehydration by having plenty of drinks. Glucose tablets come in useful too for replacing lost energy. Casting and retrieving all day is hard work, especially so with large lures, and really takes it out of you. You will find muscles aching that you never knew existed. Wrists are another weak spot, and wrist supports help relieve the strain here. I find that my neoprene mitts help me in this respect, the adjustable wrist being particularly useful. Back ache is another problem that some anglers suffer from. It could be well worthwhile investing in a back support. Shoulders, too, take a lot of punishment. One solution is to pump iron. Weight training is not everyone's cup of tea (it's certainly not mine), so fish as often as you can to keep muscles in shape - I know that even a brief lay off can see me suffering again next time out.

Every pike angler gets cut from time to time, either from the teeth of the fish or from hooks. Should you get into the habit of hand-landing most of your pike, and keeping your hooks as sharp, there is a chance that the incidence of minor cuts will increase a little. Because much lure angling is done in the warmest weather hygiene is of paramount importance. Keep up to date with your anti-tetanus injections, and carry antiseptic wipes and sticking plasters at all times. It might not look very macho to have a plaster on a finger or two, but it is far more comfortable than fishing with a gaping slash on the ball of your thumb. Trying to control a multiplier spool with a thumb in this state, a spool which is soaked in sticky blood from the wound, is a painful experience. How do I know? Three guesses!