Dr Paul Garner

Paul Garner's pick of the best types

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

Our bait ex­pert on pike deadbaits, and when to use them

DEAD­BAIT­ING is the num­ber one big pike tac­tic in the UK. But while deadbaits are easy to buy from your lo­cal tackle shop or fish­mon­ger, the more I have fished for pike, the more fussy I have be­come over the ones that I use.

Not only should they be as fresh as pos­si­ble, but they also need to be the right size. Smaller is of­ten bet­ter in this case, sim­ply be­cause it is easier for even a big pike to pick up a 6ins bait than one twice this size.

Smaller baits are easier to use and lead to fewer dropped runs. So, if I can only get hold of big baits, I will nor­mally halve them to give me a more man­age­able size.


The stan­dard trace, with its twin tre­ble hooks, is ideal for dead­bait­ing, with the up­per­most hook nor­mally po­si­tioned in the tough mus­cle at the base of the tail. The sec­ond hook should be around a third of the way down the bait, with one or two of the points in the flank of the bait.

For float­fish­ing, the hook

A Bait Flip­per will add buoy­ancy to your deadbaits. Trim it to suit your needs.

po­si­tion can be al­tered to give a more re­al­is­tic pre­sen­ta­tion.

Most coarse fish rest with their heads down at about a 45-de­gree an­gle. To mimic this, place the top hook just in front of the dor­sal and the lower hook in the base of the pec­toral fin.

For sink and draw tac­tics, or for pa­ter­nos­ter­ing on a river, put the top hook through the bait’s lips and the lower hook in the flank.

Nor­mally I add some buoy­ancy in the form of a Bait Flip­per fixed be­tween the hooks. Trim this down and the bait will sink slowly and al­ways land with the hooks sit­ting up­per­most where they will not catch on the bot­tom. This sim­ple tip, makes it much easier for the pike to in­hale the bait, and will lead to more fish in the net.


Keep deadbaits in sealed pack­ets in the freezer. Once the pack­ets are opened, the baits will start to de­hy­drate and even­tu­ally suf­fer from freezer burn. I have no ev­i­dence that this makes them less ef­fec­tive, but they look much bet­ter if stored cor­rectly.

Baits from the fish­mon­ger should be in­di­vid­u­ally wrapped in cling­film and stored in air­tight bags.

It’s worth think­ing about how and where to use each dead­bait. All will catch fish, but on most venues one or two will al­ways out­shine the rest.

Try a va­ri­ety of baits and see how you get on. Right is my guide to the baits I use, and why...

what the pike want on the day. Al­ways carry a range of deadbaits to cover

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