Using popped-up pike baits

Predator ace Mick Brown increases his chances of catching by making his bait more visible. We look at pop-up piking tactics...

Even in the depths of winter, a heavy weedbed won’t die back completely. This is when a popped-up deadbait comes into its own.

Using a standard leger rig will see the bait dragged into the weed and out of sight.

It is true that as well as their other senses, pike have an exceptional sense of smell and will eventually find any bait in the water, regardless of how buried in weed it may be.

However, to tilt things further in your favour and speed up times between runs, using a popped-up deadbait will allow any patrolling pike to spot your bait a lot quicker.

Furthermore, similar to carp anglers who use pop-up boilies to alter their rig presentation, there are times when pike prefer a popped-up bait as opposed to a standard deadbait offering where the bait lays lifeless on the bottom.

The beauty of a popped-up deadbait, particularly on large waters where there is a strong undercurrent, is that the bait will flutter enticingly.

To exaggerate this swaying movement, you can drag the bait back a few turns every few minutes to try and induce any pike in the area to make an attack.

This movement can be very appealing to pike, who primarily use sight for hunting purposes for much of the time. They are also one of the only freshwater fish to have binocular vision. This means their eyes see things very much like our own.

The advantages of binocular vision means the pike will still have a spare eye if one is damaged, allowing it to continue feeding.

Also, binocular vision gives the pike precise depth perception – ideal for exact judgment of distances which is an invaluable asset for a predator that primarily hunts by ambushing its prey.

To further enhance the visual stimuli, Mick quite often colours his deadbaits using one of Dynamite Baits’ new pike flavourings.

One of his favourites is red. “All predators love red. By painting my deadbaits this colour it gives me confidence and I’m positive that it also brings a few more pike than a standard popped-up bait might otherwise do,” he said.


There are many ways to popup a deadbait. Some anglers use large hi-density foam popup balls, inject the bait fish itself with air, or insert a length of buoyant material – foam sticks or balsa sticks.

Mick prefers the later – buoyant balsa sticks – for popping up his deadbaits.

He feels that using a Fox Predator Floater Stick is the safest way to pop-up a bait for both the angler and the pike.

The beauty of pop-up sticks is that they have a tiny moulded eye in the top of them. This allows Mick to attach the stick to a short length of trace wire, before the stick is pushed into the cavity of the deadbait.

Once the bait is taken, there is no way that the pike can bite off the link and swallow the stick because the pop-up stick is attached to the trace via a length of trace wire.

“When it comes to making pop-up links, I like to standardise the length of the trace that I attach the pop-up stick to,” Mick explained. “By making every pop-up link the same length – four inches in my case – you can then buy baits of suitable size that can be either hooked on whole or cut down to the perfect length required.”

Another tip from Mick is that he likes to keep a handful of pre-made links in his tackle box, to be used whenever he needs them.

“The trouble with a lot of anglers is that we’re lazy, and even though we know that tying a certain rig will probably bring more bites, we can rarely be bothered to do it on the bank.

“By having a few pre-made pop-up traces already in my tackle box, there are no excuses,” Mick added.

To make one of Mick’s pop-up traces (see sequence, right) you will need:

● A rig trace to mount the deadbait on

● 20lb Carbo Flex trace wire

● Crimps

● Crimping pliers

● Trace blades

● Fox Sea Lead Clips

● Forceps

● Fox Predator Deadbait Floater Sticks

● An appropriately-sized deadbait



This is all the kit you need to fashion one of Mick Brown’s deadbait pop-up links – (from left) crimps, trace blades, crimping pliers, Fox Deadbait Floater Stick, Fox Sea Lead Clip and a spool of 20lb Carbo Flex trace wire


First, snip off an eight-inch length of Carbo Flex wire using the trace blades


Next, thread on a crimp and the Fox Sea Lead Clip then take the tag end and pass it back through the crimp to form a half-inch hoop. Then squeeze the crimp into position using the pliers. This locks the lead clip in the loop



Mick then threads on another crimp at the other end of the trace wire, making another loop so that the distance between this loop and the end of the lead clip is four inches. The new crimp is then locked into place with pliers


The loop (without the lead clip) is then threaded over all three points of the top size 6 treble hook on the pike trace


Make sure that the size of Fox Deadbait Floater Stick you plan to use matches the size of bait



Use a pair of forceps to enlarge the cavity of the deadbait into which the floater stick will be inserted


Having pierced the tail end of the fish (see step seven), the lead clip is inserted into the fish’s rear vent and the wire link is then pulled through using the forceps. Alternatively, use a carp angler’s stringer needle to pull the link through


Fix the lead clip on to the floater stick via the metal loop in the end of the stick



The stick is then inserted into the bait – just be careful not to split the deadbait


The top treble goes into the root of the deadbait’s tail...


...and the bottom treble of the pike trace goes into the deadbait’s flanks



Before adding flavour pierce the sides of the deadbait to ensure that the flavour penetrates the flesh


One of Mick’s favourite flavours is the new Dynamite Baits’ Predator Blood Red which both colours and flavours


The red flavour is painted on and left to dry for a few minutes before it’s cast into the swim. Once settled in the water, it will stand proud of the bottom.