The pike is a predator that has plenty of teeth that can bite through your monofilament or braided mainline with ease. I have fished for pike my entire life and learned that you cannot just use your mainline when fishing for this sharp-toothed fish. So, do you need a wire trace for pike?
Because of their sharp teeth, wire traces for pike are an absolute must. When fishing with smaller lures that the pike can inhale easily, or when using baitfish, a longer wire trace should be used. If you are fishing with large lures or trolling, you can instead use somewhat shorter wire traces.
This article will go through all the advantages of using wire traces for pike and what types of wire traces are the absolute best ones for pike fishing.
Why Do You Need a Wire Trace for Pike?
Pike have up to 700 teeth in their mouths and all of them are razor-sharp. If you are tying your lure or hook directly to your mainline, chances are very high that the hook or lure will end up in the pike’s mouth when you get a bite.
This means that your mainline, be it monofilament or braid, will get exposed to those teeth.
Coupled with the pressure of the fight, your line will most likely suffer serious abrasions from being exposed to the pike’s teeth, and the ultimate result will more often than not be a line break.
Especially when using smaller lures, the risk of them ending up in the pike’s big mouth is very high, as such lures are often also rather light-weighted. Pike virtually suck in such small prey and can engulf them in mere seconds.
Similarly, when fishing more statically with dead or live baitfish on the float or bottom, you often give the pike a little extra time in order for it to be able to get the baitfish, and hence the hooks, into its mouth.
During those extra seconds, the pike has more than enough time to swallow your baitfish whole, which increases the risk of its teeth getting to your mainline.
So, in order to prevent losing fish due to a bitten off mainline, all you have to do is use a wire trace.
How Do You Use a Wire Trace?
A wire trace is the safety link between your hook and mainline. On the one end, the trace’s swivel connects to your mainline.
If you are fishing with lures, the other end will have a snap link swivel, which you can attach your lure to.
If you are using baitfish, then the other end will instead have one or two treble hooks that are attached to the trace with crimps. Your dead or live bait will then be hooked to those trebles.
With a wire trace in place just above your lure or baitfish, you can now be 100% sure that a pike that’s taken your bait will not be able to bite through your mainline and hence be lost.
How Long Should a Pike Wire Trace Be?
This also depends on whether you are fishing with lures, what size they are, or if you are fishing with live or dead baitfish.
For bigger lures, such as jerkbaits, swimbaits and crankbaits, a shorter wire trace is perfectly fine, as it is very unlikely that the pike will swallow your lure in its entirety.
But even if it does, there would still be the trace in between its teeth and your mainline. Hence, for larger-sized lures, a wire trace of about 8-12 inches is sufficient.
On the contrary, when fishing with smaller and lighter lures, such as inline spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons or jigs, as well as with dead or live bait, your wire trace should be considerably longer.
As mentioned above, the pike will have a much easier time swallowing your smaller lures or baitfish.
Sometimes, your bait will already be down the pike’s throat and it can hence have a longer length of your trace down its throat and in its mouth as well.
In order to be absolutely sure that the pike’s teeth won’t reach your mainline, a wire trace length of 15-25 inches should be used when fishing with smaller lures or baitfish. Why take the risk, right?
RELATED ARTICLE: Make sure also to read this article if you want to get helpful tips on the best pike fishing gear out there!
What Is The Best Wire Trace for Pike?
The absolutely best wire trace material out there is titanium. This is a relatively new type of wire trace, which more and more anglers resort to.
The biggest advantages of using titanium wires include the following:
- ultra flexible
- stretches and recovers during a fight
- ultra thin
- low visibility
- high kink resistance
Titanium has revolutionized wire traces and will very soon become the natural choice for any serious pike angler, there is no doubt about that.
If you want to buy ready-tied titanium wire traces, I can recommend the Daiwa Prorex Titanium Wire Leader. It comes in lengths of both 8 and 12 inches and has a resistance of 25-50lb.
It’s hard to find a smoother and more qualitative ready-made pike leader than this one!
If you instead want to make your own titanium wire traces, a superb choice of wire trace material would be the Savage Gear Raw 49 Steel Wire.
This super soft and flexible 7×7 strands wire is very easy to work with and will last for a very long time. It comes in three different breaking strains; 24lb, 35lb, and 50lb.
At 10m, this spool equals plenty of wire traces for your upcoming pike fishing trips.
Should You Use Ready-Tied Wire Traces?
There are a wide variety of ready-made wire traces available on the market, both for lure and dead and live bait fishing.
Of course, there will be models that are of a lesser quality and models that are of very high quality. The trick is to find the best ones in order to ensure that you will get the best possible results when fishing with them.
I have used plenty of ready-made wire traces over the years and, to be completely honest, quite a few have been a big disappointment.
Loosened crimps, broken hooks, and even bitten through wire trace, can you imagine that!?
On the bright side though, there are also plenty of high-quality ready-tied traces, and those are simply a pleasure to use.
Can You Make Your Own Pike Wire Traces?
If you want to invest the time and can acquire the necessary skill level, you can most certainly make your own wire traces.
Their is a definite cost advantage to making your own traces over buying ready-made ones, but you will have to consider the balance between time and money that you want to invest in your end tackle.
Either way, just make sure you are comfortable with your choice and that you use quality material, regardless if you use ready-made traces or make your own. That is all that matters!
Can Pike See Wire Traces?
The fish can probably see a wire trace against the light, but in my experience, most of the time, this does not at all prevent them from taking the bait!
If you are fishing in really clear water and the fish are hard to catch, you may of course consider using a very thin trace material, in order to make your end tackle less visible underwater.
For such venues especially, ultra-thin titanium wire traces are your perfect choice.
It is not guaranteed that the fish will bite better, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to try and optimize your setup.
Essential Gear Tips
If you’re looking for solid and reliable pike fishing equipment, these tips might be useful for you.
The following tackle is of top quality and sells at a very reasonable price on Amazon:
A versatile and beautifully made medium-heavy 7′ baitcasting rod that’s perfect for bigger predators. Casts anything up to 2 ounces extremely well. Has an awesome balance, action, and sensitivity.
An affordable, high-performance baitcasting reel with amazing strength. Casts super smoothly and will last you forever! Makes for a great pike combo together with the St. Croix rod.
Mainline: Power Pro Spectra
One of the best braids available today. Zero stretch, great feel, and immense strength make this line the perfect pick for pike in both open and snaggy waters. Put on a 30lb test and you’re good to go.
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Featured image courtesy of Catalin Rusu