Float fishing for Pike.

Silver fan 82

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I'm still relatively new to Pike fishing but want to do more float fishing for this beautiful species having mostly caught the on lures in the past many years ago.
I just have a few general questions. Do you generally prefer your bait over depth on the bottom or suspended off bottom? Also if fishing off bottom do you like the float to drift around your swim?
If fishing off bottom how do present your bait? So it's hanging naturally? Ie hook through the dorsal area?
I understand there are many variables that determine how you fish on the day but want to gain as much information as I can.
Thanks in advance for your advice guys.
 

SerialBlanker

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I do both. I always fish 2 rods and generally have one rod static so over depth and one drifting in the breeze.

How i hook the drifting one depends on the bait. If its something quite tough I'll hook it so it floats like a fish would swim. If I'm using sardine, which I use the most, I hook it in the tail as I'm not confident they would stay on otherwise
 

Silver fan 82

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I do both. I always fish 2 rods and generally have one rod static so over depth and one drifting in the breeze.

How i hook the drifting one depends on the bait. If its something quite tough I'll hook it so it floats like a fish would swim. If I'm using sardine, which I use the most, I hook it in the tail as I'm not confident they would stay on otherwise
Thanks for the advice. In your experience does the static rig outfish the drifting one or visa versa?
 

Silverfisher

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A lip hooked roach on a light waggler or stick set up seems to get lots of pike bites for me! I bet I wouldn’t catch them if I tried though ?
 

rd115

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Never had much luck on the float, doesn't matter how i present them.

Float ledgering has brought me the most success, so a static bait on the bottom.
 

Silver fan 82

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Never had much luck on the float, doesn't matter how i present them.

Float ledgering has brought me the most success, so a static bait on the bottom.
I will have to try this. Only reason I'm a bit hesitant is the bottom in the margins which is usually the best areas is quite snaggy so will try but fish further out.
 

juttle

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I usually have two rods set up with floats. One is left to make its way down the margin, the other is a drifter which goes further out to cover more water. Both have single hooks and are set at about 30” deep with a small roach hooked in the tail wrist. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the bait is hooked to appear natural or head down or up but I always hook in the tail as a pike prefers to take a bait headfirst in my experience. That’s probably not true for the warmer months but I only fish for pike in the winter! Pike tend to look up for prey and once again, in my experience, nearly always strike from underneath hence the baits being set at mid water (ish)

Hope this helps!
 

Silver fan 82

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I usually have two rods set up with floats. One is left to make its way down the margin, the other is a drifter which goes further out to cover more water. Both have single hooks and are set at about 30” deep with a small roach hooked in the tail wrist. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the bait is hooked to appear natural or head down or up but I always hook in the tail as a pike prefers to take a bait headfirst in my experience. That’s probably not true for the warmer months but I only fish for pike in the winter! Pike tend to look up for prey and once again, in my experience, nearly always strike from underneath hence the baits being set at mid water (ish)

Hope this helps!
It does help a lot thanks @juttle. Do you use this set up for both live bait and dead bait?
 

Yuccaman

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90% of my piking is on float rigs of one sort or another. I don't think it's possible to say that one rig is better than another - it depends on the day and the venue. That said, I would suggest that a standard float-ledger set up is probably the most universal - certainly the one that I do, and have always used the most. There are times when a drifted bait works - particularly early season when there is weed around (and I fish them horizontally (i.e. like they're swimming)). In terms of over depth, you basically want the trace flat on the deck, plus a little - 3oz lead is my usual in that it doesn't move when they pick up the bait - the movement goes straight to the float. Anything that you're fishing within 20-30 yards, float-ledger is pretty much my go to rig and the vast majority of the time, you know it is fishing right. Always worth giving it a twitch of a foot or two every 10-15 minutes as well - the number of takes after that is not coincidental.
 

Silver fan 82

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90% of my piking is on float rigs of one sort or another. I don't think it's possible to say that one rig is better than another - it depends on the day and the venue. That said, I would suggest that a standard float-ledger set up is probably the most universal - certainly the one that I do, and have always used the most. There are times when a drifted bait works - particularly early season when there is weed around (and I fish them horizontally (i.e. like they're swimming)). In terms of over depth, you basically want the trace flat on the deck, plus a little - 3oz lead is my usual in that it doesn't move when they pick up the bait - the movement goes straight to the float. Anything that you're fishing within 20-30 yards, float-ledger is pretty much my go to rig and the vast majority of the time, you know it is fishing right. Always worth giving it a twitch of a foot or two every 10-15 minutes as well - the number of takes after that is not coincidental.
Some good advice to put into practice there.
 

SerialBlanker

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Thanks for the advice. In your experience does the static rig outfish the drifting one or visa versa?
As the others have said it depends. I find drifting floats useful for getting close to over hanging trees that you can't cast to. I did try a fox drifter float once but it fell apart so now I use a cheap polystyrene set of sea floats off amazon. For static I use my home made wagglers.

I have found dusk and into dark the best times for a bite when floats are no use so have to ledger with alarms and fox drop offs
 

160642fishing

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I sold all my piking gear earler this year,once prolific areas in the Fens now seem devoid of Pike,loads of reports of dead lines being found but when I did fish for them I liked to use a float either suspended or laid on,the laid on rig was usually a heavy cage feeder which I filled with a piece of foam and then soaked in Predator Plus via a syringe,tended to get better fish on the laid on rig but I didn't care as long as I was getting runs,such a shame the piking has gone down in the Fens.
 

Silver fan 82

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Exactly the same except liphooking the live bait. I tried tail hooking but, for whatever reason, it was a total failure whereas liphooking presents a much more natural bait.
Would you fish as shallow as 30 inches in a deep water venue?
 

Silver fan 82

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I sold all my piking gear earler this year,once prolific areas in the Fens now seem devoid of Pike,loads of reports of dead lines being found but when I did fish for them I liked to use a float either suspended or laid on,the laid on rig was usually a heavy cage feeder which I filled with a piece of foam and then soaked in Predator Plus via a syringe,tended to get better fish on the laid on rig but I didn't care as long as I was getting runs,such a shame the piking has gone down in the Fens.
It is a shame to hear of fish stocks disappearing. I like the idea of the soaked polystyrene in a feeder, quite an original idea.
 

BURNING

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I have had good success so far this winter float fishing on rivers with a static ledgered float, moving upstream to a new position after every hour as an hour will be enough time for a hungry pike to sniff out your bait even if the water is dirtier than hot chocolate

instead of two trebles, consider just the one forward treble and then where the back treble would be, cut out a notch into the flesh and wrap sea fishing bait elastic, seems to hold the bait better than 2 trebles + much kinder to the pike with no real change to hookup rate, I have had fears that the elastic could somehow break and end up down the pike's stomach but so far zero problems and never lost a bait off the hook

I prefer small bait to big bait pretty much all the time, problem with large bait is you need to give the pike time to actually get the thing down its gob (this is where that ridiculous culture of waiting 60 seconds or whatever between getting a bite and setting a hook comes from) and in that time you could end up stomach hooking if the pike snarfs it quicklike, so yes, use small baits and strike the second wyou get indication

the float rig I have had a lot of success is amateurangling's float pike rig, it requires you to plumb the depths perfectly which is a pain if you are in a bad mood, the rig has barely any resistance to prevent spooking the pike and you can present the bait pretty much anywhere in the water level, I like to have the bait 3 or 4 inches off the bottom to keep it out of the silt and mud and dead leaves/twigs that autumn/winter creates
 
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