I fish in Northwestern Ontario in waters that have a lot of Northern Pike. We sometimes think about pike as being just found in shallow water in the weeds but that is not the case. In summer months some of the bigger pike can be found cruising the same deep water humps as the walleye.
When pulling a walleye nightcrawler harness over one of these humps it is common for aggressive pike to attack the bait and their razor sharp teeth slices right through the thin fishing line usually used to make walley spinner harnesses. Not only do you lose your spinner and crawler but the poor pike is left with hooks lodged in its throat which may be a death sentence.
This year I started to make my harnesses using 40 pound test fluorocarbon fishing line. Fluorocarbon is virtually invisible under water so the extra line thickness does not act as a deterrent to walleye. I have not had a pike bite off a harness this year since I implemented this strategy.
Since the line is a bit thicker you will have to use larger hooks in order for the line to pass through the hook eyes twice when snelling the hooks. I find that if the line is cut cleanly it will just barely fit through a #2 Octopus hook. That is what I tend to use since I also like using the red hooks and can’t find #1 hooks in the red colour. I have made the harnesses with #1 hooks (not red) and it makes snelling the hooks easier – and really, the fish don’t seem to care that the hook is bigger and not red.
In this case, the red hooks may be just an angler preference and not a walleye preference but I like to give myself an edge just in case 🙂