Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Saturday 16 November 2019

Pondering on - hooks

One aspect of pike angling which seems immune to the passing of time is a reliance on the treble hook. It doesn't matter what approach, somewhere in the mix will be an example of this outdated (barbaric?) hook pattern be that for use with dead baits, live baits or lures. It's an ingrained mind-set from which there is no escape? For all of the incredible advances made since the Pike Society, cum Pike Anglers Club of GB, picked up the reins of pike conservation within the fisheries of the UK, very little has changed in moving forward from the basic "snap tackle". A rig which Alfred Jardine had developed, some One Hundred and Fifty years previous. For sure, the advancement of manufacturing technology has allowed all hooks to become far more reliable, of a superior build quality and finer gauge wire, but pike hooks still remain "trebles".

Top - A "Big S" with trebles like QE II anchors
Middle - a trace which I removed, from the stomach of a pike out on the flatlands
Bottom - one of my own traces with size 8 trebles - unused!
I've mentioned, many times in my blogging, about how fortunate I've been during my angling adventure. My journey has seen me cross paths with so many characters, some of whom have been absolute giants, in their own right, within certain angling spheres. Andy Windmill is one such guy. The R/O of the Luton branch of The Pike Anglers Club in the early 1980's, thus my guru as I started exploring the conundrums posed by this fascinating species. Andy had been instrumental in developing a twin single, instant strike, rig which he publicised in Pike Lines (The PAC members magazine). Looking back, it is crazy that he was advocating the use of a free-lined dead bait at distance but, at least he was challenging the accepted norm - no trebles! It wasn't long after that Vic Bellars started to write about his own hook design which Partridge of Redditch were manufacturing on a commercial scale. His idea was for a "double" hook, two singles, one larger than the other, back to back, which would offer the best of both worlds. Instant striking, but allowing the use of legering techniques, thus removing the potential for deep hooking that is always a possibility when free lining baits. It only took one NASA conference, Loughborough at a guess, and I was sold on the concept - have been ever since.

A trace made with two Drennan doubles - in a popped-up Joey Mackerel section
So nearly forty years on - double hooks? Can't find any - anywhere! Trebles - ten a penny and available to whosoever wants them. Pike anglers, it seems, are much akin to other modern anglers - victims of commercialism. The punter gets what the punter's given; no such thing as choice. Fortunately I still have a stock of doubles, both Partridge and Drennan models, which I am able to use, very sparingly. That I now have access to a hook sharpening kit, as marketed by Nash for the carp clones, allows me to give my doubles an extended period of usefulness. Quite what I'll do when they've finally been used up I've no idea. Circle hooks? Is that where predator angling is headed? I have to say that from what I've seen on the underwater Youtube offerings it's a very interesting development and certainly worthy of further investigation.

Andy didn't stop thinking about his free-lined presentations.
In this example he's already using the Vic Bellars hook design but with his own slant.
Image taken from Pike - Predator becomes the prey. 
It is the beauty of our hobby that individuals are still able to challenge the norm. Trebles are not the answer in every pike fishing situation and all the while there remains a space in which alternative theories can be explored pike angling is in a healthy place. The more I look into my own pike fishing the more thoughts for subjects to blog about I uncover - this could go on for a while?


  1. Rob caught all of his Exeter Canal fish on single hooks, ie, just one single hook, with the bait tied on. Latterly he was using circle hooks (small ones too) and I am fairly sure all 4 of his 20s fell to them. I have never seen or read of anyone using quite the same tactics. Similar, but not the same. Speaking personally, I have found it a challenge to leave trebles behind. I want to, but it's maybe a confidence thing. The last time I went piking I tried all 3 rods on circle hooks for the first time. No runs!

    I must persevere, because I am so impressed with the fish safety aspect of using them.

    Am enjoying your pike series of posts. :-)

    1. Gav,
      I've not actually seen a circle hook, but have been very impressed with Youtube offerings involving this design for Perch and Zander angling. With fish safety being ever more important, anything we can do to remove trebles from the equation has to be a positive?
      Not too sure where this current thought process will end up - I've lots of ideas for pike related blogging, just have see how long the enthusiasm lasts. As always cheers for the comment - Dyl

  2. Read “Pike Fever” it is not the trebles so much as how they are best (and conservation minded) employed. D