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Pike ledgering, running or fixed rig?

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I nearly always fish one rod on the float, enough weight on an uptrace to sink the bait, (frozen baits and pollan often float),  a changeable sinker held on by a short length of rubber tubing over a central slot, basically the same as a sliding backlead, so that the bait, either livebait (rarely) or deadbait can drift, or add a mono paternoster link to hold it in place.

On the reservoir in midwinter,  fishing for pike will take place midwater where the pike tend to stay close to the roach shoals. Any ledgered bait will be underneath them, and a paternostered float will be needing a long paternoster link. I also normally use a vaned pike float fished bottom end only, although you can use an inline float if you fish both running and still waters.

While the vanes don't catch the wind like a proper drifter float 'sail', they do go with the wind, so a deadbait can cover a fair bit of water. If the pike are in shallower water, fairly close to the bank say around 30metres, then the paternoster float is better.


The other rod is fished with a ledgered bait, which again I add a paternoster link to, tied on the bottom swivel or quicklink of the uptrace. I personally don't like using heavy leads (or Stonze), preferring to stick to a maximum of 2.5oz. The deadbait will usually take the force of the cast, so can be ripped off the hooks with a big chuck.

Essentially the only difference between the two rods is one has a float on the mainline

With whole sea deadbaits I usually use a single upper hook in the tail, and the bottom treble in the flank, so it is easy enough to tie the deadbait tail to the trace swivel. If you get a fish take the deadbait, the bait tied on means you often get it back if the pike knocks it off the trace in the fight.


With coarse fish and smelt or head end halves of sea deadbaits I usually single hook in the mouth so I am retrieving head first, these do have to be cast a little more carefully. 



I seem to catch more on the float than I do on the lead, on both running and still water. It is possibly I see indications on the float, so strike earlier, but I rarely get deep hooked pike on the ledgered baits, so that would put that out.


Indication wise on the lead, I always use a drop-off rear indicator rather than front indicators as in carp fishing.


I mentioned an uptrace, with livebaits this is an essential, a livie tangling up in the mainline as a pike takes will see you bitten off. Even deadbaits can curl back up the line on the cast, so an uptrace will stop you being bitten off and the dead pike that can lead to.


Unlike carp fishing, the only excuse for not landing a pike is a hookpull. Tackle MUST be strong enough to land them, and the only tackle ever acceptable to lose is the ledger weight.

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