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APA 006: How to plumb the depth

Garry Tilley sent in this question to Ask Pike Angler: I know that this must be a basic question but when float fishing for pike, how do I plumb the depth? I want to ensure that I do not deep hook a pike!

This a good question Garry and thank you for sending it in. As a trainer in my day job I often tell people that no question is too daft. If you are thinking it, the chances are that someone else is too.

All pike anglers should be looking at ways to minimise the chances the of deep hooking. Maybe that will be the subject of a future post.

In this post I will describe how to plumb the depth.

Two fishermen

The Gear

    You will need:

  1. a pike rod
  2. a reel loaded with with minimum 10lb line
  3. a two ounce swivel lead
  4. a run ring or ledger bead or
  5. a Fox ledger stem and bead
  6. a link swivel
  7. a pike float
  8. a piece of tape

The set up

  1. Mark the rod 12 inches from the front of the spool with a piece of tape. This will enable you to count the depth as you pay out the line.
  2. Thread a run ring onto your line and attach the 2 ounce bomb.
  3. Note on soft bottom lakes you can substitute the run ring with a Fox ledger stem or make your own extension as I have done (see right picture)

  4. Add a bead to the line.
  5. Tie a link swivel to the end of the line.
  6. Attach an unweighted pike float to the link. (Do not use a self cocking float)

fishing plumbing rigs

The cast

Cast the rig to the chosen spot and remember to feather the line to prevent getting a big bow.
Pointing the rod tip towards the rig, wind down slowly, taking up the slack line until you can feel the resistance of the lead.
If the lake bottom is soft you might need to dislodge the lead so the float can rise.

The depth

Engage the baitrunner or open the bail arm.
Carefully pay out (release) the line one foot at a time using the marker to control the amount.
Count the depth until the float appears.

The float rig

Follow the fifteen steps set up your float ledger rig in this earlier post.

Best of luck with your pike fishing.

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All the best, Andy

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