Winter is coming, and along with the drop in temperature comes an increase in predator angling around the country, as millions of anglers set themselves the challenge of landing a tooth filled pike or perch. As I type this, my carp rods are still in the front line and I haven’t even cast out for perch or barbel yet. However, in the spirit of preparedness, I am already organising my pike tackle for the imminent cold spells ahead.
So what items from the Gardner range will supplement my pike fishing and provide me with the best components for the task in hand? There are more than you think, and in this piece I aim to share with you all, some of the hidden gems in the Gardner range to make your predator angling more efficient and enjoyable this season.
Starting on the bank, there is the excellent Specialist Rucksack. With more than enough room for a day’s pike tackle, including tea kit and Rig Bins, it’s a firm favourite of mine for the day trips that these pike sessions usually consist of. Other bulky items of terminal tackle are stored in the soft tackle boxes and my made up traces are kept on the classic Rig Bin which has been a staple of my pike bag for decades now. Gardner also make lots of bags and pouches for various things such as scales and ‘odds and sods’ which we all carry and like to protect once we are on the bank. I find the Lead/Accessories Pouch fits my electronic drop off indicators and spare batteries perfectly.
I do like the look of the new Modular Tackle System for a drop in tackle storage pouch. It will fit easily in the tackle bag and should hold all you need for a comprehensive piking season. Plastic boxes are becoming a thing of the past for me, having smashed many of them to pieces over the years.
Bankside hardware is made up of individual original Extending Banksticks, so that I can point the rod at the bait, with the ever faithful ATTs Bite Alarms at the front end, coupled with Pike Drop Off Indicators so that I never miss a bite. Fished high so that the rods are seen easily and the drop-offs have room to actually drop back, they are sturdy and last for years, even on gravel pits and their harsh environment. Rod butts are held firmly with the Dual Gripper Butt Rests and work fine with both bare blanks and shrink tube handles or either duplon or full cork handles.
Having moved over the braid for my pike fishing many years ago, I have utmost confidence in 30lb Kinetic and have used it exclusively for the past 5 seasons on a rather large local gravel pit and it has never let me down. Again, one of those important items that you need to perform for you when you need it to, and I trust it implicitly when setting those trebles at range. Another thing I don’t have to worry about and allows me to focus on the other important tasks in hand.
Terminal tackle and rig components are where the Gardner range really excels in the pike anglers tackle armoury and there are a few items that I will simply not leave home without.
The free running Rig Rings make excellent ledgering booms when tied to a 20cm piece of 80lb Slinky sea leader. Add a Covert Speed Link at the bottom, covered with a Covert Silicone Sleeve and you have the perfect ledger boom for fishing over low lying weed and detritus.
Speed Links are ideal for attaching traces to Covert Swivels, as like most pike anglers I remove my traces at the end of each session. However, the Covert Corkscrew Swivels also serve this function rather well, especially when covered with some Covert Silicone Tubing. I love this stuff, the Covert Silicone, as it covers a multitude of tangle enhancing aspects, yet don’t overdo it and cover all your swivels as they will lose their rotation properties!
Target Line Stops are perfect for both mono and braided main lines and glide through rod rings very easily and I have yet to experience any serious slippage during a hard cast. Backed up with a Covert Safety Bead, the inner bore of the bead just about fits onto the Medium Target stop and will help keep your float at the desired depth. A good alternative to Power Gum Stop Knots and are nice, neat and unobtrusive.
A range of marker floats are available, and all of them are suitable for presenting deadbaits. Attached bottom only, fish them as you would any other pike waggler, but decidedly beefed up to cope with holding station in currents or simply keeping the line out of the way when fished at long distance on an inland sea. For this particular application I would deploy a Seeker Marker Float, and anchor it down with a substantial lead at long range. Otherwise, it’s the usual couple of swan shot on the trace and tighten up to the bait, but make sure it’s a nice large bait like a whole herring or bluey.
Baiting needles are obviously a personal choice, and I find a barbed Hair Needle ideal for small chunks of fish on the kebab rigs. For threading of whole baits onto a looped trace, then the Hard Bait Stringer Needle is my go to choice for pushing through frozen baits. I also thread my pop up Polyballs with one of these, just in case I want to lightly lift a bait off the deck for whatever reason. Simply push through the bait, pull the polyball line/wire/braid through and loop around a treble before sticking into the bait. Easy and mess free.
Hopefully the above will give any keen pike anglers some ideas on how they can enhance their predator tackle boxes with the Gardner range. None of it has let me down, and I spend the majority of my personal angling out on massive windswept venues where it literally all gets thrown at you, so it has certainly earned a place in my bag, where any half measures are soon exposed. It’s not all about choddies and carp you know!