Dr Paul Garner
Paul Garner's pick of the best types
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