To make your own quick strike rig, start by assembling the necessary components. For trebles, Stange opts for the Lazer Sharp 374 by Eagle Claw. He keeps sizes #8, #6, and #4 on hand. The L384 has a beaked (curved) point, which helps hold the hook on baits and hooks pike well. Mustad offers the V.B. Instant Strike Hook by Partridge. The V.B. Partridge is a double-tined hook, with the smaller tine used for hooking bait while the bigger tine remains exposed. VMC offers the Double Ryder hook with a small and large tine set off at 90 degrees.
The standard wire for quick-strike rigging is 18- to 27-pound test Sevenstrand uncoated stranded. Another option is American Fishing Wire’s Surfstrand, also a seven-stranded uncoated wire. They also produce a more flexible Surfstrand Micro Ultra (19 strands) and an even more flexible Micro Supreme (49 strands), which is knottable.
About the only drawback to using thin stranded wire is that it tends to curl after icing a fish or two or three. Curled leader material is more visible to fish and doesn’t hold baits as cleanly, so have some replacement rigs to tie on as needed.
Single-strand wire like Sevenstrand Magnum is another option. The 32-pound test has the same diameter as 27-pound Sevenstrand stranded wire. Although single-strand wire is stiffer than stranded wire, wire testing under about 20 pounds is supple because it’s thin. Single-strand wire tends to bend and curl after a pike’s caught, so carry extra rigs. The life of a single-strand rig can be extended by removing kinks and bends with a wire-straightening tool, like the one available from DuBro.
Other wires to experiment with are coated, stranded, and knottable wires like Cortland’s Toothy Critter, the Surflon Micro lineup from American Fishing Wire, and leader wire from TyGer. The coating makes the wire a bit more kink and curl resistant, but potentially more visible than an uncoated wire of the same break strength.
Many manufactures offer color choices in wire materials. Toothy Critter is available in green, American Fishing Wire offers red Bleeding Leader Wire, and multiple color choices are available from TyGer. We haven’t experimented with colored wire on our rigs, but it seems logical that at times it may be beneficial, while at other times a subtler approach is better.
It’s easy to learn to tie your own rigs. Lindy Legendary Fishing Tackle’s Rigger X-Treme is a good way to transport pretied rigs. There are also waterproof storage jars on the inside that can hold your spare components.
To tie stranded wire, slip the end of the wire through the eye of a hook or swivel, leaving about a 2-inch tag end. Clip a hemostat to the end of the tag end and hold the hook in one hand and the leader in the other with the hemostats dangling. Swing the hemostats around the mainwire making tight coils for about an inch, then trim the tag end.
Tie single-strand wire by slipping the wire through the eye of the swivel or hook, leaving a 3- to 4-inch tag end. With your fingers, make seven loose wraps around the main wire. These wraps serve as a cushion. Then bend the wire at a right angle to the main wire and finish with a tight haywire of 5 to 8 wraps. In all cases, make more wraps with lighter wire and cut down the number of wraps with heavier wire. Trim the tag end close to the wraps by bending the wire back and forth so it breaks clean. Or use a small wire cutter to cut it clean.
Although the end hook is fixed, the upper hook can be made adjustable to change the distance between hooks. One way to do this is to slide a sleeve and the upper hook on the mainwire, and then make a second pass of the mainwire through the sleeve. The hook dangles on the loop, and the hook’s position on the mainwire can be adjusted by working the sleeve-loop-hook trio up or down the wire. Then attach the end hook and swivel. The distance between hooks is typically 2 to 4 inches, depending on the size of the bait. Extending the distance between the hooks doesn’t increase the hook up rate. The final rigs should be 15 to 20 inches long.
Another way to make the upper hook adjustable is to slide a piece of shrink tubing on the mainwire followed by the upper hook. Then pull the tubing over the hook eye holding the hook shank snug to the main wire after it’s heated with a match or lighter.
In some states, the addition of a spinner is necessary to make a quick-strike rig legal. All legalities aside, however, the added color and flash may offer advantages, and it’s something we should consider regardless of what the technical definition of a lure is in your jurisdiction.
There are probably instances when the added color and flash helps attract pike from a distance or from close range in murkier water. The extra attraction might be just enough to make a pike commit when it otherwise might have remain tightlipped.
Experiment with four basic color patterns — silver, gold, hot orange, and chartreuse. Stick to smaller spinner sizes #00 to #2. Directly thread the spinner (and maybe even a colored bead or two) on the wire just above the top hook. Add a quick-change clevis to rigs you build to change spinner colors in a snap. On pre-tied rigs, you either can snip off the swivel, add the spinner, and re-wrap, or clip the spinner to the wire with a small Cross-Lok snap.