Autumn is just around the corner, or to be more precise, by now it has already arrived. Here and there the last warmth fronts are still flying around our ears, but in nature, it has been more than clear since mid-August. The transition period is coming, and so there must be hoarding again. In terms of hoarding, I notice little of it underwater, like everything this year the underwater balance has slowed down with a few weeks, but the big feast can not wait long anymore. And so it’s time to take out the big lures again!
”A 4 footer going back in its element”
XXL, that’s what it was! In the first month of the predatory season, 4 footers were literally flying around my ears. Days with multiple Monster Pike were no exception, and that was not all, also the somewhat ”smaller” Pike were also happily caught. The summer was again a top time for Pike and many beautiful fish were caught. Like every year after the closed season, the fish are really active, as long as you land on the right spot at the right time, and that’s all there is to it. The Fall and Winter are just THE time for fishing with large softbaits, and we all know that no soft bait catches by itself, so in this article, I will elaborate on the modification of these softbaits!
When it comes to Pike fishing, the extremely wide range of softbaits on offer is starting to make you break your legs. However, there are a few brands that stand out from the rest, and it is always a challenge to find them. I have been a big fan of Eastfield Lures for years. This brand, which originates from Sweden, produces softbaits of unparalleled quality and that is why I would like to show you how beautifully you can rig these softbaits yourself. Eastfield is known for quality, and you can find that in everything. The quality of the rubber, the finish in a wide variety of colors, can only make any angler happy. For this article, I have chosen to show you the Viper 40cm, the Tomcat 35cm and the Wingman Curly XL 30cm. Of course, we fish for big fish, so with lures like these, a top-quality rig is a must-have!
”Its all about the details”
Let’s get right to the point and do so with the Eastfield Lures Viper 40cm. This soft bait is BIG. By big, I mean massive. 40Cm for any softbait, that’s a lot, and of course you catch big with it. However, sometimes you catch small fish with it and a small Pike can bite your lure right in the middle in a fit of rage. That’s why I made a special release rig for the Viper 40. There are many ways to rig these, but this rig is of the highest quality and makes sure that when you get a take, the fish can’t use the weight of the softbait (620grams) to swim away.
For rigging the Viper 40cm I used the components of the company Pikecraft Fishing, which in addition to The System also supplies numerous other terminal tackle. I opted for a triple swivel, and I used 3 of them. The big advantage is that it is heavy duty and the whole rig is balanced. It makes no sense to use small leaders on soft baits of this size, so this is the highest quality you can get. The Viper 40cm comes standard with an internal harness, on which you could attach trebles. However, I have chosen not to do this in order to increase the lifespan of the lure.
”The Biggest hooks for the Biggest baits”
In the pictures, you can see that the whole rig looks super professional, but also very innovative. A rig like this guarantees many hours of fishing fun when it comes to hooking the biggest fish. I chose the Triple Super-rings by Wolverine Tackle from the USA, and they produce triple stainless steel split rings that will never come off. Because I use sizes 4 and 6 I can also easily determine the length of the entire rig. I also used 2 AFW Ball bearing swivels, so that when a Pike bites, I can offer a completely flexible rig that can turn in all directions. The Pikecraft Fishing softbait pins speak for themselves, and of course, the treble hooks from BKK Hooks should not be missing either! This brings us to the most important point of rigging an XXXXXL soft bait like this, which trebles do you use and why? I have chosen the Spear-21UVO 5/0 trebles from BKK. These will be released brand new in 2022, so please be patient. These UV trebles by BKK have a super large hook bend, are extremely strong, and at the same time crazy sharp. The fact that they are UV is not necessary, but it looks great! With these UV trebles, you will create some kind of target for the Pike to take the bait.
There is always the question of what kind of trebles to use on such a large soft bait as the Viper 40cm, but I have been a fan of using 5/0 trebles for years. Now, BKK’s 5/0 trebles are bigger than other brands, so you can compare them to a 7/0. Of course, on a soft bait like this, you can use smaller trebles, or even several smaller ones, but I don’t prefer that. It is a wide bait, so you need trebles with a wide bend. A treble hook like this has the perfect combination in terms of wire and hookup ratio. Big lures need bigger trebles, you need to match the width of the body, but you also want to keep the proportions nice and even. As far as I’m concerned, this rig on this Viper 40cm succeeded!
”Over 15 inches of rubber, ready to roll in deep water for Giant Esox”
A smaller soft bait from Eastfield’s family is the Tomcat, and this is the 35cm version. This soft bait which has the profile of a herring is one of my personal favorites. This soft bait is very flexible and because of its large tail, it moves beautifully through the water. The Tomcat weighs 225 grams, and therefore you can cast it with most soft bait fishing rods. For soft bait fishing, whether casting or trolling, I now use the new Abu Garcia Svartzonker Classic Motor oil Series rod. This version in the ”Heavy Lure” has the right parabolic action, but also a sensitive tip to steer softbaits perfectly while reeling them in!
”The Abu Garcia Svartzonker Classic Motoroil Heavy Lure”
The Tomcat in 35cm is a very special soft bait. It is not built as thick as the other softbaits described in this article. The Tomcat has a V-shaped body that makes it move very naturally through the water. Because this is a soft bait of a large size, I also chose a top-quality rig system. In this case, the triple swivel flex rig from Pikecraft Fishing. I used three flex rigs, and connected them together with again the Wolverine Tackle Super-rings. I chose a smaller size of split rings, in size 4, and they fit very nicely under the thin body of the Tomcat. Of course, it is equipped with The System, which makes changing stinger systems very easy. The Flex rig from Pikecraft Fishing can be used on the Tomcat, but because there is an oval split ring at the beginning of all stinger rigs that are compatible with The System, you can easily change the whole rig as well. As trebles, I have chosen a combination. The BKK Hooks Spear-21 5/0 in front, and a Spear-21UVO 4/0 behind. It’s the little details that make the difference, and of course, you can also choose 2 UV trebles, but I personally liked the highlight that this system gives the best. Because the Tomcat is a long softbait, I used 3 Stinger XL pins, also from Pikecraft, and they hold the rig nicely against the body so that when there is a take, the hook is set immediately!
”Eastfield Tomcat 35cm rigged with The System & The System flex rig”
And last but not least the Wingman Curly XL. This 30cm soft bait is the smallest of the three, but with 155grams it still packs quite a punch. The Wingman is an all-around lure, and you can fish it in many ways. Because the soft bait is fished with The System you can easily switch weights, so you can drag it up to 4-5 meters. This also applies to the other softbaits that are rigged with The System. But the Wingman Curly XL looks more like a hard bait. You can just reel it in monotonously, but when you make movements with your rod accelerating and jerking, the Wingman gets a very nice wobble. Of course, a shallow screw rig like The System also contributes to this. I fitted this soft bait with the original Pikecraft system. The Stinger, with an oval split ring over the eye of The System, and the leader material of American Fishing Wire. This 175lb Shark Leader cable, which I also use to fish regular leaders, can be bent, twisted, and abused countless times by pike without it kinking. For the convenience of the pictures, I have dragged it 2 times, but you better do it yourself 3 times. 2 times is possible, provided you squeeze it with force. Again, the treble hooks from BKK Hooks. I have chosen for the Spear-21UVO in 3/0. A very flashy setup if you ask me. When you see a setup like this going through the water, then success can’t take long. Don’t settle for less, fish Only The Best!