I agree with the technique for using live bait, however, Titanium leaders are WAY better than steel. Steel is much stiffer and I think the pike can feel it (I guess by the time they feel it its probably too late). Titanium is smaller diameter and more flimsy. Its real comparable to heavy mono. Theyre more money but worth it. The ones I bought were 14" and were $10 a piece I think. I use the same rig on my tip-ups as I do on my rod and reel. Just replace the tip-up with a rod and the flag with a bobber and your in business. I have a 7' medium heavy casting rod with 30 lb braid and a 7' medium heavy spinning rod with 50 lb braid. I use the casting rod for lighter stuff like spinners and jigs and use the spinning rod for bigger baits like large plugs and swim baits. 50lb is a little much for just pike but I also use that rod for salmon and cats, plus with the rod having large guides and some backbone its makes casting those 1/2 lb swim baits and 12" jointed creek chubs a little easier. I tried fishing heavy baits before with a 6'6" medium spinning with 14 lb mono and its just way too flimsy, sure you can cast em a long ways but its hard to get a good hookset at 100 yds with a 6 1/2 foot medium action rod.
treat every situation like a dog. If you cant eat it or hump it just piss on it and walk away