There is very little that’s more exciting in fishing than seeing a float slip away, knowing that an absolute beast of a Pike might be on the end! Float fishing for Pike is something that I look forward to each Winter. This article covers a magic little session I had on a large Lea Valley pit. It’s a large lake that responded very well to a range of deadbaits fished under a float in February 2020. Plenty of action all captured on video too – read on.
As always, I arrive at the lake early. The venue is a large pit in the Lea Valley. Although I’m float fishing I still place the rods onto alarms, just in case I’m distracted and miss the float going under. We don’t want any deep hooked fish so this is just a precaution.
I mount a Smelt deadbait on my float rig and cast it out into the margins. I want to be sure that my deadbait was lying on the bottom. Although I’m using a float, I want the bait on the lake bed. After adjusting the float a few times I leave the bait to settle into position. To my surprise the float starts to move before slowly sliding away, just minutes after putting to rod down. I pick up the rod and bend into the first fish of the day. After a short tussle, a nice Pike slips into the net.
A few photos and the Pike is returned before mounting another deadbait and recasting the rod back into the margin. I’ve found a deep hole down to my left in about 12 foot of water. I can hardly believe my eyes when, once again, the float disappears! I’ve hardly had a chance to put the rod in the rest. I set the hooks into another fish. This time the power takes me by surprise, as the rod arches over and I’m into what feels like a better fish. Several hard runs and ferocious head shakes ensue before I manage to bag my second Pike and we’d still only just started fishing!
What a start! I recast, anticipating another bite but it doesn’t happen. I finally get to sit down and run through the rig I am using on this session.
Float Fishing for Pike – The Set Up
Step 1 – Thread an inline Pike Float onto 15lb b/s main line
Step 2 – Add a Korum Quick Change Weight and a 8mm bead
Step 3 – Tie on a Korum Twin Treble Trace with a knot you have confidence in
Step 4 – Tie on some Power Gum above the float and adjust this on the main line to set the depth
Step 5 – Mount on a deadbait of your choice. Top treble in the wrist of the tail, bottom treble in the flank.
I don’t have to wait long before the same rod is away again. It feels like a Pike of around the same size, so I’m not too disappointed when the fish rolls in the margin and somehow throws the hooks. I am hoping that if the bites keep coming at this rate I might manage to pick up one of the bigger fish that live in here!
I have only been float fishing for Pike on one rod at this point. The other rod was ledgered further out into the lake. That rod had done nothing, whilst the float rod had taken three bites. It was time to switch up the ledger rod and get that on the float too. I decide, this time, to use a Drift Float and set it to fishing slightly under depth, about two foot off the bottom. This float has veins on the top to help it catch the wind and drift around the swim. Hopefully this rod will search out some bonus fish.
The Drift Float is set up in exactly the same way, except slight under depth and the deadbait is hooked horizontally. The float is cast out into the swim and is allowed to roam around on the breeze covering the water in front of me.
An hour or so goes by and nothing happens. The float in the margin has gone quiet and this drift float wasn’t getting a touch. I decide to take off the Drift Float and swap it with a Pencil Float, which I now also set to fish over depth. I cast both baits to the back of the swim and decide to move them a few yards towards me every 25mins or so, therefore exploring the whole swim in front of me but this time with two rods both fished on the deck. It’s not long before this works a treat. I notice the left hand float moving in the water before disappearing beneath the surface. I tighten the clutch, wind down before leaning into another fish. I notice that the fish is very lightly hooked as the Pike thrashes around in the edge. I very carefully bring it toward the net and manage my third fish of the day.
As mentioned, the fish is lightly hooked and so I decide to unhook it in the net. I then walk over the my rucksack, take out the camera and mount it on my tripod before going over the fetch the fish for a few photos. As I walk over the the net I notice the other float bobbing around in the water before disappearing from sight. Before I know it, I’m doing battle with another hard fighting Pike. This one feels bigger and put up much more of a scrap. I already have a Pike sitting in the landing net so I wonder what’s the best course of action here! I could ‘chin’ this fish with my hands, but whilst I don’t mind doing this with lures, I’m less confident about doing this with treble hooks somewhere in the fishes mouth. Fortunately, I had already unhooked the first fish and so I decide to net this one in the same landing net as the first fish. It slides into the net nicely!
After a period of inactivity, the fish suddenly go on the feed! Two nice sized specimens, one after the other on a very productive short session float fishing for Pike. After a crazy 20mins or so the fish are slipped back into the water before I recast and sit back in my chair.
I look down and am reminded that Winter fishing is a filthy business. Mud is everywhere and I have a mix of fish slime and mud all up the shins of my trousers. I stink of fish from the deadbaits and I’m generally in a right old mess – but I wouldn’t change this for the world! What an absolutely epic little session on the floats!
I look at the time on my watch. It’s only mid afternoon but I have a daughter that needs a driving lesson. I’ve had my fun and it was time to return to dad duties. Today I had been rewarded by the Lea Valley. I drive home absolutely stinking but with a big grin on my face! Good luck in your fishing!