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APA015: How do you keep a deadbait on at range?

I had a lovely email from Rob Harriman that made smile when he said…

I have been fishing 45 years, still love it, and get a buzz every time I load the car up. I have been carp fishing too much so for the past 2 seasons I have gone back to my roots, back to basics, and started normal fishing again. I am truly loving it. The thing is, I am have trouble keeping deadbaits on at range. I am using either a ledger or a float. What do you advise?

Thanks for the question Rob. I love the quote about going ‘normal’ fishing instead of carping. I have done plenty of carp fishing so I know what you mean.

There are a couple of things you can do to keep deadbaits on the hooks but it is inevitable that you will lose some baits from time to time. There are a few different issues that affect casting a deadbait a long way. Here’s a few tips…

Use a tough bait

Casting a deadbait puts a lot of force on the hook hold. Stick to baits with tough skin like eel section and lamprey. Smelt is another good choice and some course fish, like roach and perch, can also stand a couple of big casts. Avoid soft baits like sardine, herring and trout.

Use a small bait

You might have noticed that the baits recommended in the first point are all fairly small. If you think about carp fishing, casting a ledgered bait a long way is not a problem because the rig has a heavy lead and a small bait. This can be replicated for piking. Avoid heavy baits like mackerel and herring which place too much strain on your tackle.

Change the hook position

There is lots of advice around how to hook a deadbait and I gave my thoughts in APA014: How do you hook a dead bait for pike? When going for a big cast with a softer bait I switch the hooks around, putting the top hook, which takes the force, into the bony head of the bait.

Use the correct rod

Carp fishing at distance is all about fast taper rods because the boilie is firmly attached and won’t fly off. This is not the way to approach piking. A through action rod will cushion the force placed on the hooks during the cast by creating a wider arc, yet still deliver good power.

Switch to braid

Braid is incredibly strong for the diameter when compared to mono-filament line. It is more expensive but this should be viewed as an investment because it will last many times longer.

Tie the bait on

Tie some carp braid around the tail root and the top hook to keep the hook in place. I have an old spool of Kryston Merlin which is perfect for the job. I would not use elastic bands because you have to tie them and the knot always comes undone.
View Kryston Merlin on Amazon

Use a Fox Deadbait Clip

Fox deadbait clip

The Fox Deadbait Clip is attached to the trace swivel; A short piece of braid with a loop on the end is tied to the bait; the braided loop is placed on the clip to take the strain of the cast. Using thsi method, the hooks can be lightly nicked into the bait. Then when you get a run, the hooks are not buried in the bait, and the chances of hooking the pike are increased.

Do away with the float

A float will create a lot of wind resistance, slow down the bait in the air, and reduce the distance of the cast. Stick to ledgering unless you are fishing a suspended bait.

Use a drifter float

Drifter floats are a great method for fishing a suspended bait at range. Fished on the back of a steady wind you can work a bait a long way out into a lake. If its too windy though the vane won’t stay upright.
View Pike Drifter Floats on Amazon

Thanks for the question Rob. I hope this has given you a few ideas. Good luck with your pike fishing.

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