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  1. #1

    Default It’s 2019: Let’s Have a Ban on Trebles.

    It’s rarely good or wise to state – in any context – that you know it all; that there’s nothing anyone can tell you about something, but I’m on safe ground when it comes to the safe handling, care and unhooking of pike: I’ve seen it all.

    I’ve been catching pike on all the conventional methods since the age of 11 so I’ve successfully and cleanly extracted single and treble hooks from any number of cavernous, toothy mouths. However, like any other honest pike angler I’ve had my fair share of worrying moments too; yes, I’ve deep-hooked pike, sometimes on treble tandems with both hooks out of sight and nothing more to see than the wire trace – and that’s nothing less than horrendous…an appalling prospect.

    Suffice to say here that even the most experienced hands will have an awful job trying to remove hooks so lodged in a pike’s throat: the fish will suffer greatly and very likely die. In a bid to avoid this if or when the predicament arose again I bought, some six years ago, a pair of Prowla snips but, thankfully, there has been no need for me to use them. Before then, two pairs of locking forceps were adequate for the majority of tricky jobs but, perhaps, the snips could have proved useful at times.

    There is no need for gory descriptions of what can go wrong if a fish gobbles and quickly swallows your bait because I believe we can eliminate the problem entirely if we choose to go ‘singles-only’ or, indeed, support legislation banning the use of trebles for fish-baits.

    There – I’ve said it.

    One needn’t think too deeply to see the revolutionary effect this would have on pike-fishing. Remember…for every proficient, conscientious pike angler you know, there are hundreds…thousands, all over the British Isles, day in and day out, dead-baiting, live-baiting, spinning and plugging in every type of water – from park pond to Highland loch. The incidence of badly-hooked pike must be enormous and the effect this must have on our pike population must be devastating – if unseen.

    But it’s not un-noticed. All keen pikers will know of waters that no longer produce, and all keen pikers will know that, unlike carp and tench, pike are not a hardy fish despite their tough appearance. Just four years ago, spinning the Wye with Geoff Maynard in the next swim, I took a bloodlessly-hooked 22lb pike and returned her to the river within minutes. She was found dead by a canoeist the very next day. That fish had gone back virtually undamaged and had keeled-over through organ (heart?) failure most likely so there was little I could have done to obviate this unfortunate death and little I can do to avoid further similar fatalities other than to pack-up piking altogether. But the incident does illustrate all too starkly the fragility of Esox Lucius. We must look after them.

    We cannot afford to risk losing fish of this calibre.

    I shall state the bleedin’ obvious in order to paint a convincing picture: imagine a banked pike that took your bait undetected or ‘too’ quickly; indeed, imagine such a fish hooked deeply through your or someone else’s irresponsible method or lack of attention… the ‘how’ and ‘why’ is immaterial here: there’s a deeply-hooked fish and it’s in trouble. If the very worst predicament obtains and the hook simply cannot be retrieved without pulling and poking and twisting – possibly by a lone, young, inexperienced angler in the middle of nowhere – the forfeit of a single hook (if absolutely necessary – let’s be realistic) is far, far more preferable than leaving a snap-tackle in situ.

    I am, of course, only too aware of what I am implying here but I write of the real world where anglers of all pedigrees and none venture forth daily in search of pike. Thanks to the revolutionary campaigning and instruction given to the angling world back in the 70s by the late Martin Gay, the species continues to receive far more respect than was once the case but alas there will always be the inexperienced, the feckless and the unlucky. For all our sakes – but mainly for the pike – let’s see the abandonment of trebles in our piking methods. A large, strong single will secure a perfectly good hold in a pike’s jaw; it’s easily removed and will do infinitely less damage if the worst comes to the worst: is this even arguable? Maybe. I know of near-fanatical Esox-hunters who fish live-baits of rarely less than a pound in weight only and for them single hooks would almost certainly lose them a fish occasionally. It is my belief that they and we should adopt a fresh philosophy that considers a lost fish preferable to a potentially damaged fish – and wish it well.

    Who would support legislation banning the use of trebles other than on artificial lures which usually (but not always) hook-up in the mouth only?

    I look forward to readers’ comments.

    Cliff Hatton.

    Source Article...
    Last edited by Cliff Hatton; 04-01-2019 at 00:51.

  2. #2

    Default Re: It’s 2019: Let’s Have a Ban on Trebles.

    Never trust the obvious. As far as I know there is no evidence that a ban on trebles would do any good to pike. Please let me know of any research which supports the idea, of course I might have missed it.

    Fishing with natural bait and treble/single hooks has been researched. In the research I know of no significant difference between mortality in pike caught on trebles and single hooks has been found (OVB, 1970).

    Population dynamics for pike has been researched as well. As far as I know, studies showed that even taking pike from a water on purpose can practically not wipe a population out. The effect is that numbers go up and the size of the individuals goes down (Mann, 1985).

    As a result I would not be in favor of legislation against treble hooks. Also because on the pro side treble hooks enable early striking. I feel the strongest argument against it however is that it doesn't address fundamental problems behind dwindling pike stocks. And that's where the effort should be.

    Best regards,


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Bradford, West Yorkshire

    Default Re: It’s 2019: Let’s Have a Ban on Trebles.

    I would go along with such a ban Cliff. I would also support a ban on chromium alloy hooks and stainless. I have the greatest respect for pike, indeed all fish and know all too well a deep hooked fish is in trouble the moment it swallows your bait. It's all very well blaming the angler for his/her (are there any women or gender X pike anglers?) lack of attention but the truth is, pike fishing is usually a waiting game and who among us can sit starring at a pencil float for hours on end or endure the cold winter temperatures without losing concentration? Some pike also snatch bait and swallow it, some can do it without disturbing the line and buzzer!

    Small baits are more easily swallowed. Anything less than a 6" fat lamprey is easily snaffled deep by some girls. Trust me I know about these things.

    About 5 years ago I fished a well known pike venue and was catching and unhooking a few. Half way through the session I realised I'd almost used up my deads. Needless to say I started using smaller cut portions. Low and behold the deep hooking started. One fish (a jack of about 6lb) was so badly hooked deep I wasn't able to see the trebles let alone remove the hooks. Not even by pulling the trace to reveal its guts. Unfortunately I'd had it out of the water too long and so returned it adorned with it's new bling. It did recover before letting go but I am fairly certain it died of starvation.

    These days I use circle hooks made of carbon steel variety. I have only lost a couple of fish due to poor hookups, most are in the scissors and although they look impossible to remove with forceps, I can honestly say I have never had a problem removing circle hooks. A bit of practice unhooking a circle hook from deep inside the wife's old slipper... and your good to go it alone!

    Another method is to devise a rig with a stiff boom to prevent deep swallowing.

    Count me in.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    leafy cheshire

    Default Re: It’s 2019: Let’s Have a Ban on Trebles.

    I cannot really comment on whether a ban as proposed will have the desired effect or indeed any effect! In truth I'm not sure banning anything works! I have never caught a pike but intend to redress that issue this year! I respect all fish and appreciate that pike are less resilient than even the humble roach!

    I will embark on my first piking trip equipped with all the tackle needed! I have bought a large rubber mesh landing net, long handled forceps and snips, Kevlar gloves, bandaids, barbless hooks( circle variety) , trebles with just one barb and bait flags!

    It is also possible that my first excursion will be in the company of two very experienced anglers and one an expert piker! That would be my preferred route as the theory is far removed from the reality! However one has to start somewhere or decline completely to do it!

    I have watched as many videos as I can find but ultimately the safety and successful return of any pike caught is in my hands and I do not take that responsibility lightly! If I feel I am not competent then there will be a hardly used Esox rod featuring in the for sale section!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    on the move

    Default Re: It’s 2019: Let’s Have a Ban on Trebles.

    I was taking a break from posting on here that was until I read this anti-angling post.
    Why anti-angling, because calling for a ban on any part of angling on fish welfare grounds is in my mind yet another nail in the coffin of fishing for pleasure in this country.
    I have been fishing now for nearly 60 years and in all that time I have never gone fishing for the welfare of the fish. Yes I have deep hooked pike but have deep hooked far more other species and dug hooks from the back of their throats.
    What others shouldn’t we fish for in case we damage them with our single hooks?

    There are already too many bans in angling on so-called fish welfare grounds without adding to them.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Subtropical Buckinghamshire
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: It’s 2019: Let’s Have a Ban on Trebles.

    Quote Originally Posted by steve2 View Post
    Yes I have deep hooked pike but have deep hooked far more other species and dug hooks from the back of their throats.
    What others shouldn’t we fish for in case we damage them with our single hooks?

    One of the biggest problems in angling is deep hooking perch. They gobble maggots and the hook down like there's no tomorrow and often are deep hooked in the back of the throat, which means many are returned bleeding after attempting to retrieve the hook. Why? Because with a perch, their kidneys are just behind their throat and easy to catch with a disgorger or forceps and once you burst them, there's little hope for the perch's survival.

    Sorry, Cliff, I do have to disagree with you anyway. Your story about the fish hooked in the mouth and then found dead illustrates the fact that it doesn't matter if it's a treble or a single, if the fish is going to die, it's due to other circumstances. How long did the fish fight for? Any longer than 20 minutes and the lactic acids start to build up in their muscle tissue and that alone can kill them.

    I have toyed with the idea of using double hooks, some good ones seem to be on the market with a small hook one side for the bait and a larger one to hook the fish. Then again, I am currently considering trying out this idea of circle hooks where the point doesn't catch until it reaches the jaw. The question with both of these is: is the system always guaranteed to save the fish? Apparently not according to your story.

    I do agree with not using highly chromed and stainless steel hooks for live/deadbaiting. We had that argument a long time ago with Geoff Maynard and another member tested some hooks in water, lemon juice and vinegar and they all disintegrated at an astonishing rate. So, so long as you use standard steel and bronzed hooks, any deep hook fish will have them rot away with their stomach acids pretty quickly and a pike can live without eating for a few days, weeks, or a month and more.

    I'm all for fish welfare (and do plenty enough to help them with better habitat), but somewhere a line must be drawn. As Graham Marsden (sorry to keep quoting him) often said; if you're that keen on fish welfare and don't wish to cause any undue stress, injury, or pain (highly questionable) then don't go fishing, take up golf.
    "I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!" - Theodore Roosevelt

  7. #7

    Default Re: It’s 2019: Let’s Have a Ban on Trebles.

    Even from being a small kid and catching pike I never liked treble hooks, especially two sets on my traces.way back then I would cut off one of the hooks. Obviously that would leave a double hook which was better, one hook to hold the dead bait on and one hook to hook the pike. I often used one larger hook and hooked the dead/livebait through the tail root or through it's lips or nostrils.
    If i'm honest i'd rather not use livebaits nowadays....but that's a whole new topic!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    leafy cheshire

    Default Re: It’s 2019: Let’s Have a Ban on Trebles.

    I have often said that I respect all wildlife and do not hunt or kill for sport! There are some in society , like vegans , who take things to extremes and hair shirtism will play into their hands not ours! A vegan friend ( former friend probably) said we should never kill another living being! What about a rat or a lion about to attack you or a bacteria like mrsa? She didn't have an answer!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2002

    Default Re: It’s 2019: Let’s Have a Ban on Trebles.

    I’m all for having the Treble hook follow the Pike Gag into history and obscurity, and like most other Pike anglers that I have fished with over the years I’ve had several Pike swallow trebles deep and out of sight and it always makes me feel a bit guilty and sad for the Pike when this has happened.

    In the last couple of decades I’ve been using ‘double hooks’ with the smaller ‘barbed’ hook inserted into the deadbait and the larger ‘de-barbed’ hook potruding out away from the bait and I’m sure that I’ve lost no more Pike than when I used to use trebles; and they seem much easier to remove both from the pikes mouths & throats and from landing net mesh.

    I’ve still yet to try single circle hooks on my traces but will soon be trying them out. And I won’t be putting treble hooks onto my trace wire again.

    I don’t think that having treble hooks banned is likely to play into the hands of the antis any more than the Pike Gag did when it was banned; and In my own view they are both as bad as each other and both unnecessary dated items which in themselves are just as likely to have invited antis to our sport.

    So I would also go along with such a ban Cliff.

    Last edited by Keith M; 04-01-2019 at 22:07.
    Happiness is fish shaped (It used to be woman shaped but the wife is getting on a bit now)

  10. #10

    Default Re: It’s 2019: Let’s Have a Ban on Trebles.

    Your 'example' would have also happened with a single hook. But you're still happy to take those risks. You're more than happy to go chucking single hooks in to unsuspecting fish and pulling them out of their habitat and causing them great stress for nothing but your own pleasure.

    Less of the martyr b#llsh1t. All pikers know that education and the correct equipment is all important.
    I realise you are only trying to keep a forum going (for your own benefit) and an off the rails suggestion is going to get the most interest but I've said my bit and I'll come back no more.

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