Ledgering tactics for pike in winter..food for thoughts

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Post  RCostantini on Thu Dec 11, 2014 2:19 pm

Hello,

With few days of holidays and not enough time to go piking today, I take some time to contribute to the forum. I would like to share some thoughts with you and hear your opinion.

I've always been fishing pike and zander with live bait. Live baits are absolutely the best way to induce predators to bite, even if they are not relatively close to the spot where you cast. Nothing is effective as the movements of an injured fish. Only recently I started to ledger dead baits and I have to say that's another story.

When I fish a new water there is ONE thing I want to immediately understand in order to come up with the most productive tactic: is there any structure below or above the water, either natural or artificial? This is always relevant for successful fishing, but my opinion is that with dead bait is a necessary but not sufficient condition for catching.

If the answer is no and I am tackling, for example, one of the classic gravel pits, with shallow water close to the bank that then goes down deep to many feet I am pretty confident that I can cast my rods in open water, waiting for the pike to swim around and find my bait (what else should I do...?). Especially in winter, I expect also the vegetation to be pretty scarse (in summer it might be different) and for this reason I consider the water close to the bank a second best. Also, other elements should be taken into account!

With any sort of structure instead it is completely different story. We all know that pike prefer to hide deep on the bottom in colder months however, unless we are fishing big natural lakes offering depth up to many feet - and I mean more than 60/70 ft - I really doubt the temperature varies a lot from 4/5 ft down to 15/20. To the contrary, especially in the presence of narrow boats, their proximity can be warmer than the rest of the swim (have you ever entered in one during winter? they are incredibly warm!). I consider then water temperature, per se, is not  the main element to locate fish, with an equal chance of finding them either close or far away from the bank, even though they will always swim close to the bottom. What really matters in these circumstances is the presence of any sort of structure above or below the water and our ability to present the bait as close as possible to that. This is of course the basic of pike fishing, but this might not be enough, especially with dead baits.

It's been now few months that I started using dead baits and, after a discrete number of catches, this is my experience: the common denominator of almost all the run I had is that they happened within 5/10 minutes from the moment of the cast. Additionally all of my catches cluster within an hour from the dawn and the dusk or the 2 central hours of the day. In a nutshell:

1. With any sort of structure, the pike will swim or lie there around always inspecting their proximity (in a few of my spots you can literally see them).
2. Even if you manage to put the bait 10 inches from the mouth of a pike, with dead bait there is a 50% chance that the predator will disregard it.
3. Fish become active with changes in their environment, either in terms of light, weather or elements appearing in their sight, and no, they do not have memory (at least not the memory we have).

For these reasons I think that, in these circumstances, the tactic cast&wait it is not the most effective. Even when you focus on one specific spot, it is much more productive to cast your bait, wait no more than 15/20 minutes and then recast. Every single time, if a predator is there, she will come out and will inspect the meal you are offering: once she can say "no thanks!", another she might go for it! From a fish perspective each cast is a totally new situation and we should exploit that! When fish are more static, this is very different from leaving a bait in front of them for 1 hour. Needless to say, this can be even more effective if we focus on the time of the day when light conditions change...dawn and dusk.

As I said, just some food for thoughts.

Ciao,

Riccardo
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Post  piketastic on Thu Dec 11, 2014 6:52 pm

I am usually a sit and wait man, 90% of the time , with deads, and for the last few months I have started recasting every 20 minutes or so, and I must say that I agree. I have caught more fish this way.
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Post  Dave-Newman on Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:44 am

if i know the venue i stay put, but do cast about.

if im on a drain and know the hot spots, as above

if im on a new drain ill rove about

if im on a HUGE RESSY ill do my research and then stay put
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Post  welsh piker on Sat Dec 13, 2014 7:24 am

Many things, and many pikefishermen have answer to dead bait fishing... Most common practice of course is the sit it out practice,and while this can produce fish it is of course can been seen to be a boring,sometimes long day of pike fishing. When you are going from a live bait way of fishing,ie we know the cons of this method which of course is the pikes natural food source, to then go to the more static practice of dead baiting can be seen as the wrong way to go fishing for pike... But there are many,many factors to take into account way people fish this way, to many to mention, but dead baiting can be a productive way of fishing, it's up to the angler himself,or herself to make it productive, review your water, ask fellow anglers, sometimes a change away from the basic, can reap rewards,  I do agree with you on the casting,  I find that you need to show the pike that your bait fish is worth taking, and by this I mean recasting, this way I find that even if you don't get a sniff, you have done your best to make a static bait, look more fruitfully to the pike,, but I don't write off deadbaiting in general, I just try to make it a little more proactive, of course it's not just the casting, a more a few yards along a bank can reap rewards...  To some people deadbaiting is a poormans livebaiting, it's not really, it's how you use your bait... And like most things. If you get it right, you are on a winner.... Very Happy
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Post  stubbo on Sat Dec 13, 2014 9:07 pm

in my earlier years I used to fish mainly lives and used to catch a lot of pike maybe more than I do now on an outing but the majority were nearly all jack pike say upto double figures
not saying there is anything wrong with catching jacks but as you get more experienced and you want to catch the bigger fish I switched over to using large deadbaits as a lot of the waters started to ban live bait fishing that's probably the main reason I started to use deads

yes I did have to wait a bit longer for a run but overall the size got bigger and had my first 20lb fish on a deadbait

its all about location find out where the pike are on any water and they can be quite easy to catch when the timing is right but back then there was not the interest in pike fishing like today if you put a bait amonst them just had to wait for that fish to show up

a canal I fished on a regular basis years ago with a reputation of some big pike , I used to fish a live bit under a float and a legered dead bait rod on the far bank , The float rod used to out fish the ledger every time but the size where always jacks and big fish to the deadbait rod used to fish really big deadbaits whole herring and big mackerall as to select the bigger fish some times it worked some times it didn't but when it did they where big fish high doubles and 20lb plus fish...........

I like to do my home work when I go fishing trying to get every scrap of info on a new venue which does normally pay off





I think we all know the benefits of fishing a live bait but give me a dead bait anytime I have full confidence in them and my methods
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Post  Idlepiker on Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:55 am

I'm a lob a dead bait out and sit back and enjoy the day sort. But after reading this topic my New Years resolution will be not to be as "Idle", recast more often and perhaps move about a bit more. study scratch Smile
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Post  Eric Edwards on Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:47 am

Those of you who sit it out, would you behave the same if you were fishing from a boat?
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Post  treble on Sun Dec 14, 2014 5:04 pm

interesting reading, woken up my pike brain Smile
i like to cast the dead bait and think the splash might waken a pike from a snooze but i like using fresh sardine so every 20 mins would be too often for that soft bait and it wouldnt be long before any prey fish would of moved from the area possibly and pike follow but might be time for a change of tactics and tougher bait.
iv not long started fishing a new loch thats almost 7 mile long and 200ft deep in places so i'll never find the best spot but i might try setting rods up at the car and leaving most of the gear in it and moving up the loch every half hour.

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Post  stubbo on Sun Dec 14, 2014 9:43 pm

treble wrote:interesting reading, woken up my pike brain Smile
i like to cast the dead bait and think the splash might waken a pike from a snooze but i like using fresh sardine so every 20 mins would be too often for that soft bait and it wouldnt be long before any prey fish would of moved from the area possibly and pike follow but might be time for a change of tactics and tougher bait.
iv not long started fishing a new loch thats almost 7 mile long and 200ft deep in places so i'll never find the best spot but i might try setting rods up at the car and leaving most of the gear in it and moving up the loch every half hour.
most of the time I probably recast every half hour to a different spot even if its a yard either way of the same spot
I also like to suspend a deadbait about a foot of the bottom under a float which I prefer moving if possible around the area of the static ledger rod .also like to inject oils into deadbait and dye a fish red or gold........ Very Happy
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Post  Trevski on Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:37 pm

I'm really pleased to read that others recast at around the 20 minute mark, I do that but have always wondered if I'm moving my bait around too early..... mind you, if there's nothing happening I just feel that doing something is better than doing nothing to change the situation. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
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Post  mwillis551 on Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:28 pm

treble wrote:interesting reading, woken up my pike brain Smile
i like to cast the dead bait and think the splash might waken a pike from a snooze but i like using fresh sardine so every 20 mins would be too often for that soft bait and it wouldnt be long before any prey fish would of moved from the area possibly and pike follow but might be time for a change of tactics and tougher bait.
iv not long started fishing a new loch thats almost 7 mile long and 200ft deep in places so i'll never find the best spot but i might try setting rods up at the car and leaving most of the gear in it and moving up the loch every half hour.

I fish alot of deep loughs too, do you usually target the deepest areas? or is that not a good idea.
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Post  stubbo on Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:52 pm

mwillis551 wrote:
treble wrote:interesting reading, woken up my pike brain Smile
i like to cast the dead bait and think the splash might waken a pike from a snooze but i like using fresh sardine so every 20 mins would be too often for that soft bait and it wouldnt be long before any prey fish would of moved from the area possibly and pike follow but might be time for a change of tactics and tougher bait.
iv not long started fishing a new loch thats almost 7 mile long and 200ft deep in places so i'll never find the best spot but i might try setting rods up at the car and leaving most of the gear in it and moving up the loch every half hour.

I fish alot of deep loughs too, do you usually target the deepest areas? or is that not a good idea.
depends on how deep you are talking Cool
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Post  mwillis551 on Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:07 pm

stubbo wrote:
mwillis551 wrote:
treble wrote:interesting reading, woken up my pike brain Smile
i like to cast the dead bait and think the splash might waken a pike from a snooze but i like using fresh sardine so every 20 mins would be too often for that soft bait and it wouldnt be long before any prey fish would of moved from the area possibly and pike follow but might be time for a change of tactics and tougher bait.
iv not long started fishing a new loch thats almost 7 mile long and 200ft deep in places so i'll never find the best spot but i might try setting rods up at the car and leaving most of the gear in it and moving up the loch every half hour.

I fish alot of deep loughs too, do you usually target the deepest areas? or is that not a good idea.
depends on how deep you are talking Cool

Right down, 200ft?
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Post  fatcaff on Sun Jan 11, 2015 3:07 pm

I wouldn't go any deeper than 30ft. .
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