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I've only just begun seriously bass fishing this last summer and of course that took me out to the lake nearest me, namely Grand Sable Lake here in Grand Marais, MI.  I immediately began to notice an expense I didn't figure on.  That expense is losing lures on a regular basis to pike.  Is it possible to focus on smallmouth bass while avoiding the pike or must I simply accept this as the status quo and try to find a lake with fewer pike?

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Hi Jim

Braided line,,, although not a cure all or the best line for every fishing situation,,, definitely helps with bite offs.

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I like braided line as much as anyone but I would never depend on it to keep me from getting bit off. Pike are fun to catch but if you don't want to lose lures, invest in steel leaders. Any line you can easily cut with scissors can be cut by a northerns teeth. 

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1 hour ago, Fiske said:

Hi Jim

Braided line,,, although not a cure all or the best line for every fishing situation,,, definitely helps with bite offs.

Braided line is actually more susceptible to bite-offs than fluoro or mono.  That's why musky guys always use fluoro or wire leaders.  I think pike are fun to catch.  I often fish for them intentionally.  When I do, I use an 80 lb fluoro leader.

As a bass fisherman, you just have to deal with pike.  I lose tons of soft swimbaits and tubes to pike, which isn't a big deal.  Maybe I'm lucky, but I rarely lose jerkbaits.  I have a couple of Pointer 100s with more tooth marks than paint.

 

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40 minutes ago, portiabrat said:

Braided line is actually more susceptible to bite-offs than fluoro or mono.  

 

How so?

From my personal experience that just isn't the case.

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How do you avoid pike? Move south... :P

 

Commenting on the braid thing, I've noticed significantly less lost lures using braid than I have with mono or FC. The musky guys are using 100-150 lb. leaders, which is basically rope, and even those can get torn up. 

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15 minutes ago, Fiske said:

How so?

From my personal experience that just isn't the case.

Probably because braid is so much thinner than flouro. 80lb fluoro is some thick stuff!

I used to laugh when my wife would catch a pike. She'd always wonder how that would happen if we were smallie fishing?  

I make my own steel leaders. I have different sizes depending on the baits I'm using. I have some very thin, stranded steel, 20lb test, tieable wire that I use when fishing with plastics or suspending jerkbaits. Many guys feel the leaders hinder the action of the lure and cuts down on the number of strikes. If that is true, it doesn't bother me as much as loosing a $15 jerkbait does. Besides, even if I'm bass fishing, I'd rather land the pike than having it get away with a lure stuck in its mouth where it might keep the fish from being able to feed.

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Yeah OK,,, but I'm talking about incidental pike under 10 lbs when  bass fishing with 30-50 lb Suffix or Trilene braid.

Sure bite offs still occur but rarely so. Actually, they didn't occur that often with my old standard Trilene XL 14 lb mono

but if the lure is completely engulfed,,, give me braid.

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You might tie on a length of heavier "leader"material.  For instance, go from 12 lb mono to a 2 foot section of 20 lb mono or fluorocarbon.  It won't stop all the bite offs but it'll help.

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1 hour ago, fishballer06 said:

How do you avoid pike? Move south... :P

We're not immune down here either. Southern Pike are all up in my local reservoir. :doh10:

Not as many in the delta though.

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Yep pickerel/jackfish whatever you call them (as well as bowfin) will cut your line as well, don't see either often except rivers where they are very often

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I switched from straight braid to braid and a 15 pound flouro leader and it worked wonders. Don't jack the hook set either. I think most smallmouth lures need a sweep set anyway. Pike love expensive lures, maybe they don't like the cheap ones?!?

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The reason braid is more susceptible to bite-throughs from toothy fish isn't the line diameter of the whole strand, it's the diameter of each strand.  The sharp teeth easily fray and slice each small strand in rapid succession until the remaining strands fail under load or slice themselves.

If the line isn't in the fish's mouth (face full of hook and the line's clear), you'll be fine with braid.  But, if you're targeting toothers, you'll be better off with a thick mono or fluoro leader.

If you want to test this... Take some paracord and slide it across your knife to cut it.  Then, take another piece and heat it until some of the strands fuse.  Try cutting that bit of cord... You'll feel an immediate difference in how the knife has to cut to pull the line apart.

 

(And I don't mean melt the paracord 'til it turns into a solid blob section... just enough heat to glaze it and fuze the smaller cords.)

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12 hours ago, Fiske said:

Hi Jim

Braided line,,, although not a cure all or the best line for every fishing situation,,, definitely helps with bite offs.

I run nothing but braid...but teeth cut braid like...thread.

10 hours ago, fishballer06 said:

How do you avoid pike? Move south... :P

 

Commenting on the braid thing, I've noticed significantly less lost lures using braid than I have with mono or FC. The musky guys are using 100-150 lb. leaders, which is basically rope, and even those can get torn up. 

I suspect...and know from my personal experience...that they're not using heavy braid as leaders.  I use tieable wire or heavy fluorocarbon for toothy fish leaders.

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10 hours ago, fishballer06 said:

How do you avoid pike? Move south... :P

 

Commenting on the braid thing, I've noticed significantly less lost lures using braid than I have with mono or FC. The musky guys are using 100-150 lb. leaders, which is basically rope, and even those can get torn up. 

yeah here in VA no pike we have tons of chain pickerel, their cousin and they bite me off all the time.

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14 hours ago, Jim Bridger said:

I've only just begun seriously bass fishing this last summer and of course that took me out to the lake nearest me, namely Grand Sable Lake here in Grand Marais, MI.  I immediately began to notice an expense I didn't figure on.  That expense is losing lures on a regular basis to pike.  Is it possible to focus on smallmouth bass while avoiding the pike or must I simply accept this as the status quo and try to find a lake with fewer pike?

Getting back to the OP...why would you want to avoid pike?  Yeah the little guys can be kind of a PITA, but you have to go through them to get to the big ones.  Start tying into them up around 30" and bigger...I'll take that over bass every day.

What to do to stop them from cutting your line is a different question.

I use tieable leader (Tyger Wire, Knot 2 Kinky, others) FG knotted to braid.  I usually start with about 2 ft., trim and re-tie as the ends get beat up.  Albright knots work too.

I run Texas rigged soft plastics like this all year round, catch hundreds of bass on it, and have taken pike and musky well into the 40 inch range...biggest around 48"

3 minutes ago, flyfisher said:

yeah here in VA no pike we have tons of chain pickerel, their cousin and they bite me off all the time.

For bass fly rigs in toothy critter water...about a foot of 15 lb. Tyger Wire FG knotted in as leader will solve the problem.

I have 6, 7, 8 and 9 wt. rods rigged like this all the time.

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13 hours ago, Fiske said:

Hi Jim

Braided line,,, although not a cure all or the best line for every fishing situation,,, definitely helps with bite offs.

Do the pike where you live have teeth? 

If I could figure out a way to make a pair of braid cutters out of pike teeth, I'd be rich.

Fluorocarbon, or an extra abrasion resistant mono/copoly is far and away more resistant to being bitten off than braid. I have had hammer handle pike cut 50lb braid like nothing. 

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So far it's about 5-2 against braid.

It's gotta be that strange phenomena where a minority's experience with something is totally at odds with the majority.

Either that or this is just another average Amazon  product review .:lol:

 

 

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Had this nightmare last night of hammerhandles repeatedly slicing through
50# braid and swimming off with $30 Catch'em Caro Uncle Manny Minnows.

Seriously,don't know how many incidental pike I've taken in the past three years
with an average of 60 days on the water,,, a rough guess would be in the 30's.
However,, I do note bite offs in my fishing logs and only had two.

My biggest pike so far this year,,,I think it had teeth,,.was this 29 incher that slammed and totally engulfed
a rageblade over cabbage on Aug 16th. And,,,you guessed it,,,the line was 50# braid.

img_20160816_134816272%202_zps11lok819.j

 

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I target northerns.  Braid, without some leader is a huge no-no.  My best guess with people that don't have issues with braid is they are using moving baits.  Often, I don't need a leader when tossing a spinnerbait or large crank/plug.  Throw a jig or worm, and your done.  A moving bait, they pursue and grab, then move the bait in their mouth to swallow.  By then, you've set the hook, and aside from the facial and gill cover scales, it's little risk.  A jig or worm on the other hand, they slurp and engulf, like a bass.  Your line is definitely at risk with the teeth.  For leaders, I use titanium, steel wire, or 100# fluoro.  Get a crimping tool for the big line.

Here's a nice fish I caught from a kayak on 8# CXX, and relatively light cranking stick.  I was glad to get my Lucky Craft Flat Mini MR, lol.

 

kayakPike.jpg

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Ah,,,enigma solved,,,at least in my mind.
 

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1 minute ago, Fiske said:

Ah,,,enigma solved,,,at least in my mind.

I don't know if it's solved, but that's my impression, once you throw out all the crazy lucky and unlucky outliers, like my "lucky" fish above.  That day was when I discovered a certain pattern I knew nothing about.  Thousands invade the creek to eat up the little trout smolts the DEC dumps in.  It's nuts.

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4 hours ago, J Francho said:

I don't know if it's solved, but that's my impression,

Maybe not but it allowed an out from this thread without my tail completely between my legs.:unsure:

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No tail between the legs, it's all about learning from each other,and getting better. ;)

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