Author Topic: What are the best leaders for pike?  (Read 2032 times)

Offline StrikeandCatch

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What are the best leaders for pike?
« on: Nov 20, 2020, 04:34 PM »
Hi guys,

I thought I'd share this little info-article I wrote on leaders for ice pike fishing. I hope you find it helpful and interesting!

Here is a link to the article: https://strikeandcatch.com/best-leader-for-ice-fishing-pike/

What're your go-to leaders for hard water?

Have a great weekend!

Max

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #1 on: Nov 20, 2020, 05:15 PM »
On the titanium, I'm seeing mixed reviews on this...some say you can tie it, others say you have to crimp. Some say it kinks, others no. Not really sold on this stuff. Change my mind.  ;)
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Offline StrikeandCatch

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #2 on: Nov 20, 2020, 05:34 PM »
On the titanium, I'm seeing mixed reviews on this...some say you can tie it, others say you have to crimp. Some say it kinks, others no. Not really sold on this stuff. Change my mind.  ;)

Hi man, you make very good points! As mentioned in the article, crimping it is def the way to go! You can tie it...but honestly, trying to do that with stiff, cold fingers on the ice is pretty much impossible! :) Even at home, it's kinda a pain in the ass...I like to use crimps for my leaders, so for me, it's an obvious choice.

When it comes to kinking, I really gotta say that I only have good experiences with titanium in this regard. Sure, it'll kink eventually, all wires do sooner or later. But it really takes a lot of pike or musky before you'll start noticing kinks in the wire. That doesn't hold true for all types of titanium wires of course. But I have found the AFW and the Daiwa Prorex to be of a really high quality in this regard.

Tight lines and enjoy your upcoming weekend! And thanks for the read! :)

Max

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #3 on: Nov 20, 2020, 05:54 PM »
Sent you PM Max.
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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #4 on: Nov 20, 2020, 07:11 PM »
I happen to have a pile of opinions on this particular topic, a great portion based on my first hand experimentation. First blush, I'll respectfully disagree with your choices Max. Here's how(and why) I roll:

Fluoro: Despite whatever marketing and anecdotal evidence fluoro still cuts. Period. More safety with greater diameter (higher pound test) but still cuttable with pike/musky teeth. Seen 80# cut with a guy that always bragged how it was all about how he was able to finesse fish on even light line. It just plain happens because it can. Additionally the flexibility of fluoro compared to a confident test of wire is very much stiffer. One day I'll do the study and publish here but the difference between 20# steel wire and even 50# fluoro is significant. Can that possibly be a plus? Sure, but most of the time folks are leaning toward a natural, frisky presentation.

Titanium: Ahhh, the sexy choice. I hate it. First, the single strand stuff that you have a link to is definitely NOT what I would characterize as flexible. I will agree that I would prefer crimping to tying (done both). I DO love how it resists curling and kinking. Second, it's very expensive. and third, it is not reliable.

My main gripe with Ti is it's durability. What ever kind you have, single or multi strand it stretches. A lot... Try it. Cut off a foot or so, what you might use for a leader. Hook something to each end so you can hang on, hold it out in front of you and pull. It Streeeeetches. It's really kinda fun. Go on, keep stretching. Do it a bunch. Know what happens eventually? It breaks. No warning, no visible damage, nothing. It just breaks. That makes me wary of using it as a leader material. Only if I change it out routinely, before it breaks would I have confidence in it. But then, there goes some of your savings on longevity.

So for me: It's steel wire. Cheap, easy to work with and truly cut-proof. Does "invisibility" matter? Fluoro is not really invisible but that's another discussion. And it's more expensive too.

Just my opinions based on my experiences. I've been reading about some using light fluoro (like 20#) for pike but it would take some convincing for me to believe that.

This is the short version  ;)2 And thanks for sharing Max!
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Offline Raptortrapper

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #5 on: Nov 21, 2020, 12:03 PM »
I'm not a fan of titanium.  Oh wait- I've never tried it.  So I guess I have no opinion there.  But the reason I haven't tried it is because my red coated wire works so dang well.  I don't have a reason to "fix" what's working.  Interesting read though about Ti.  Thanks for taking the time to post it. 
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Offline FreshwaterPhil

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #6 on: Nov 21, 2020, 05:51 PM »
Hand tied flouro for my money. Never had a line cut yet. Steel line great too, but seem to have slightly better hit ratio on fluoro. Stay away from not2kinky, total garbage.
There's got to be bigger ones in here :)

Offline WARRIOR_ON_ICE

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #7 on: Nov 21, 2020, 06:36 PM »
20 pound fluoro with a size 6 treble tied on with a clinch knot and the smallest split shot that will keep the bait down. I will never use a steel leader again after seeing the huge increase in the number of flags since going to fluoro. Easy to live with the rare bite off when you know the flag would never have gone up anyway with a steel leader on.
The Ultimate Warrior is possessed with great power from the heavens above ! Against the mighty lake trout and pike and schools of crappie, the power of the WARRIOR will always ......... PREVAIL !!!

Offline Remps17

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #8 on: Nov 22, 2020, 02:32 AM »
This will be the season finally where I do a side by aide of steel and fluoro. I donít like ti. Pain to work with.

I currently use 50lb fluoro  and no breakoffs. We get into multiple 20s a year. I would rather fish steel to save some money and maybe I will after my head to head comparison.

Offline VTLakers

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #9 on: Nov 22, 2020, 02:40 AM »
4ft of 17lb Berkley Floro circle hook.

All I know is I've tried 30-50lb floro leaders and every type of steel leaders there are and I've caught more fish with the 17lb floro.

Offline WARRIOR_ON_ICE

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #10 on: Nov 22, 2020, 08:41 AM »
VTLakers, now you are talking. You came to the same conclusion that I have. In Champlain  where I do most of my fishing, my 2 biggest pike were caught on panfish tipups using 6 pound test STREN with a size 12 treble presenting a fathead minnow.  The small hook seems to avoid deep throat hooks and most of the time ends up hooking the pike in the extreme corner of the mouth, where the line is not even in contact with any part of the fish. It is heart stopping but when you know you have a big fish on you need to stick with the plan that works - NO HORSING and let the fish run as many times ( 10 plus runs in my extreme cases ) as necessary to get it tired out and vertical in the hole.

The 2 biggest pike that I mentioned, on 6 pound STREN ??  Very girthy 35 and 34 inch fish, easily 13 pounds each.

Another myth that I may as well bust while I am at it is " You can't catch crappies on tipups, only on tipdowns "  WRONG ! Tipups with super sensitive flag trips and no resistance on the spool have put many, many crappies on the ice for me.
The Ultimate Warrior is possessed with great power from the heavens above ! Against the mighty lake trout and pike and schools of crappie, the power of the WARRIOR will always ......... PREVAIL !!!

Offline Papa Sly

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #11 on: Nov 22, 2020, 09:00 AM »
This will be the season finally where I do a side by aide of steel and fluoro. I donít like ti. Pain to work with.

I currently use 50lb fluoro  and no breakoffs. We get into multiple 20s a year. I would rather fish steel to save some money and maybe I will after my head to head comparison.
I have personally done the side by side comparison in NY at Simon pond. Fished half the day and then switched the three with steel with the 3 tipups with 40# flouro. You get 7 type in NY. Exact same length leaders and blades and beads on, same size and color. Used medium large bait as that is the size of the hatch. The tip-ups were every other in a straight line and alternated half way thru the day. I did this 2 years in a row there but the first year I did not alternate half way thru, thought every other was a fair comparison. The results were astounding, between the 2 years it was 2 1/2 times more hits on flouro then there was on wire. Im not sure if it would have been different on titanium but this was wire. I have never had a bite off with flouro however am very aware it will happen some day. When I fish around here im Ma,NY,VT,NH, I would rather get 250% more flags and risk the bite off. I like many of you, live to ice fish so with the right set up and knowing how to fight the fish as long as it takes I am willing to take the time necessary. I watch my friends right next to me all the time get 2 flags all day while I run around all day because they insist on steel! If I am using a very large dead bait on 1 tip-up I may put steel out on that one. My biggest Pike was 42 1/2 inches on 8lb test with a $8 hook wgile fishing for bass and it was hooked deep and I still got it in with mono and no cut off!
A bad day of ice fishing is better than any day at work!
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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #12 on: Nov 22, 2020, 09:02 AM »
VTLakers, now you are talking. You came to the same conclusion that I have. In Champlain  where I do most of my fishing, my 2 biggest pike were caught on panfish tipups using 6 pound test STREN with a size 12 treble presenting a fathead minnow.  The small hook seems to avoid deep throat hooks and most of the time ends up hooking the pike in the extreme corner of the mouth, where the line is not even in contact with any part of the fish. It is heart stopping but when you know you have a big fish on you need to stick with the plan that works - NO HORSING and let the fish run as many times ( 10 plus runs in my extreme cases ) as necessary to get it tired out and vertical in the hole.

The 2 biggest pike that I mentioned, on 6 pound STREN ??  Very girthy 35 and 34 inch fish, easily 13 pounds each.

Another myth that I may as well bust while I am at it is " You can't catch crappies on tipups, only on tipdowns "  WRONG ! Tipups with super sensitive flag trips and no resistance on the spool have put many, many crappies on the ice for me.

That is exactly why I like my HT ETU-10's. Large plastic spools and I can set the sensitivity surprisingly well even with that plastic wing nut. I get a few false flags now and then from a lively minnow or wind but I can adjust as needed. Just takes a little finessing. But it is rare that a fish will drop it. And they're cheap.  ;) 
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Offline WARRIOR_ON_ICE

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #13 on: Nov 22, 2020, 09:26 AM »
I have personally done the side by side comparison in NY at Simon pond. Fished half the day and then switched the three with steel with the 3 tipups with 40# flouro. You get 7 type in NY. Exact same length leaders and blades and beads on, same size and color. Used medium large bait as that is the size of the hatch. The tip-ups were every other in a straight line and alternated half way thru the day. I did this 2 years in a row there but the first year I did not alternate half way thru, thought every other was a fair comparison. The results were astounding, between the 2 years it was 2 1/2 times more hits on flouro then there was on wire. Im not sure if it would have been different on titanium but this was wire. I have never had a bite off with flouro however am very aware it will happen some day. When I fish around here im Ma,NY,VT,NH, I would rather get 250% more flags and risk the bite off. I like many of you, live to ice fish so with the right set up and knowing how to fight the fish as long as it takes I am willing to take the time necessary. I watch my friends right next to me all the time get 2 flags all day while I run around all day because they insist on steel! If I am using a very large dead bait on 1 tip-up I may put steel out on that one. My biggest Pike was 42 1/2 inches on 8lb test with a $8 hook wgile fishing for bass and it was hooked deep and I still got it in with mono and no cut off!

PapaSly, nice post with a great amount of details to make people understand. Wow, and congrats on that monster pike on any rig, especially on light line like that. Fish of a lifetime ! :clap:
The Ultimate Warrior is possessed with great power from the heavens above ! Against the mighty lake trout and pike and schools of crappie, the power of the WARRIOR will always ......... PREVAIL !!!

Offline VTLakers

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #14 on: Nov 22, 2020, 09:37 AM »
Last season was the side by side test for me. In Vermont you are allowed 8 lines in the water unless your fishing the ocean between Vermont and New York where you can have 15 lines or on trout lakes where you're only able to have 4 lines. I split my lines and had 4 steel leader and 4 floro set ups with 12lb Berkly vanish test. I had double if not triple the amount of pike on the 12lb floro than I did on the steal leaders. I WILL NOT GO BACK TO STEAL LEADERS. This year I retied all of my leaders with 17lb Berkley floro in case I catch a bigger one, if I'm not getting a lot of hits i will go right back to 12lb.

Like a few people mentioned above there is no need to absolutely horse the fish in, let it run and use your hands as the drag applying just enough pressure to the line as needed. You'll know when you applied too much.... Biggest I've hooked into was 35 inch fish around 13ish pounds and it ran four to five times and I let it have as much line as it wanted, when it stopped making a run, it was my turn to play.

A lot of people are also into using big ol meaty treble hooks. Ill take a 1/0 or 2/0 circle hook all day over treble hooks. 9 out of 10 times you'll get a prefect hook set right in the corner of the mouth and wont gut hook them. No need to worry about sticking your hands into their mouth or gills and getting diced open.

If you're into catch and release like I am, all you have to do is take the couple extra minutes to make sure the fish is strong enough to swim off on its own. Don't just shoot it down the hole like a missile, make sure it has a nice good hard kick to it and let it swim down by itself.

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #15 on: Nov 23, 2020, 10:12 AM »
Gonna stick with steel. One, I really don't go out to target them. It's an extra line in the water in the hopes of hooking one while jigging for gills. Two, if I do hook into one I don't wanna mess around and finesse the thing. Just give a yank and pull it through the hole. Would my bite  rate go up if I went with fluoro or something else? Maybe...probably. But a couple of pike a year is good enough for me. Fair amount of meat on one of those critters.
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Offline DR.SPECKLER

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #16 on: Nov 23, 2020, 10:40 AM »
Idk how i feel about wire now.in the last 2 years ive tried it just havenít caught much.hate to say it esox xtm but im going back to 25lb mono and see if my catch rates go back up.i like eating pike..fried or pickled.i was catching 10 a year but  im down to 1 in 2 years.maybe i ate them all.i only keep them 26 to 30Ē mostly,all the rest go back.

Offline VTLakers

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #17 on: Nov 23, 2020, 10:44 AM »
Idk how i feel about wire now.in the last 2 years ive tried it just havenít caught much.hate to say it esox xtm but im going back to 25lb mono and see if my catch rates go back up.i like eating pike..fried or pickled.i was catching 10 a year but  im down to 1 in 2 years.maybe i ate them all.i only keep them 26 to 30Ē mostly,all the rest go back.

Give fluorocarbon a try... you wont be disappointed.

Offline nbourque

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #18 on: Nov 23, 2020, 03:23 PM »
You guys using 17 or 20# flouro are pushing your luck. Only a matter of time before u break off on a big fish. I use 60#+ flouro.

Offline DR.SPECKLER

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #19 on: Nov 23, 2020, 03:26 PM »
Give fluorocarbon a try... you wont be disappointed.
ive used it before.i like the stretch of mono,its a little more forgiving if i find myself horsing the fish in.

Offline DR.SPECKLER

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #20 on: Nov 23, 2020, 03:32 PM »
You guys using 17 or 20# flouro are pushing your luck. Only a matter of time before u break off on a big fish. I use 60#+ flouro.
id use 7 strand wire again before i use big 60# flouro.i can count on my 1 hand how many fish have broke me off in 30 years of fishing for pike using 20 or 25lb mono.think 3 have.i have caught alot of big pike.i just dont get as many flags using wire or huge pound test line or i would use it.rather get flags and maybe have a breakoff then drown shiners all day.

Offline PikeKing23

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #21 on: Nov 23, 2020, 03:51 PM »
You guys using 17 or 20# flouro are pushing your luck. Only a matter of time before u break off on a big fish. I use 60#+ flouro.

This.  I've had 40lb cut through like butter!

Offline nbourque

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #22 on: Nov 23, 2020, 05:27 PM »
id use 7 strand wire again before i use big 60# flouro.i can count on my 1 hand how many fish have broke me off in 30 years of fishing for pike using 20 or 25lb mono.think 3 have.i have caught alot of big pike.i just dont get as many flags using wire or huge pound test line or i would use it.rather get flags and maybe have a breakoff then drown shiners all day.
Mono is absolute garbage for leader material.

Offline DR.SPECKLER

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #23 on: Nov 23, 2020, 05:43 PM »
Mono is absolute garbage for leader material.
well i use it for every species that swim here in mi.from monster flatheads,sturgeon and king salmon.everyone has their own opinion but i think flouro is coily stiff crap.i will add overpriced too.lol plain old berkley big game gets it done..

Offline nbourque

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #24 on: Nov 23, 2020, 05:55 PM »
well i use it for every species that swim here in mi.from monster flatheads,sturgeon and king salmon.everyone has their own opinion but i think flouro is coily stiff crap.i will add overpriced too.lol plain old berkley big game gets it done..
To each their own. Mono is not very abrasion resistant. Flouro is.

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #25 on: Nov 23, 2020, 06:13 PM »
To each their own. Mono is not very abrasion resistant. Flouro is.

But there is no plastic out there...as far as leaders...that can match steel. Period. Will it get you as many hits? Debatable. But you won't lose the ones that do because of cutoffs.
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Offline nbourque

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #26 on: Nov 23, 2020, 06:18 PM »
But there is no plastic out there...as far as leaders...that can match steel. Period. Will it get you as many hits? Debatable. But you won't lose the ones that do because of cutoffs.
I agree. Out of all the plastics flouro is best IMO.

Offline FreshwaterPhil

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #27 on: Nov 23, 2020, 06:38 PM »
Each material has it's place. I use 80 mono shock leaders on my carp rods when fishing zebra mussel covered rocks of the St Lawrence river. typically 30 to 50 feet long, no way I'd be able to distance cast flouro of that length, not to mention afford it.

However, there is a good reason most musky guides switched to fluoro from wire long ago.

What I'd say is most important, is to hand tie you leaders directly to avoid chances of store both leaders with snaps popping open, no matter what they may claim the breaking strength is. Haywire twists for steel line, clinch or single uni for leader type fluoro.
There's got to be bigger ones in here :)

Offline VTLakers

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #28 on: Nov 24, 2020, 07:19 AM »
I guess we will see how the season goes this year. All I know is I'm using florocarbon and no ones going to change my mind.

Offline nbourque

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Re: What are the best leaders for pike?
« Reply #29 on: Nov 24, 2020, 10:59 AM »
I guess we will see how the season goes this year. All I know is I'm using florocarbon and no ones going to change my mind.
Same here.

 



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