by Angling Times |

Pike fishing season is here but what rig will you be using this winter? As pike turn off from the idea of chasing a lure around the most logical choice is to turn your attention to deadbaiting. We’ve gone to current Drennan Cup champion Dai Gribble on what his preferred choice of pike fishing rig is.

Dai with huge pike.jpg

One of the most exciting ways of catching pike at this time of year is to drift deadbaits under a float.

This allows you to cover lots of water and depths, and you can search out areas you might not be able to access from the bank or boat with other styles of pike fishing.

The key to it is a rather unique-looking float made for the job. Despite looking rather complex, this set-up is actually quite straightforward to put together and fish with.

In years gone by the biggest obstacle to fishing a drifting float effectively was getting your mainline to float, but now there is a plethora of floating braided lines available that are all perfect for the task.

Braided lines have another big advantage over mono in that they have very little stretch. This enables you to set the hooks even when the drifting float is 100 yards or more out from the bank.

Watching any pike float disappear is exciting enough, but there is something extra special about watching a float that has travelled across many yards of water sink from sight. Give it a go!



A trace is tied to the braid mainline using a five-turn grinner knot.

The trace is chosen to match the size of the bait – the bigger the bait, the bigger the hooks I use. With small baits such as a smelt or roach I choose size 8 trebles, going up to size 4 for a larger herring or mackerel deadbait.


It helps if you have some idea of the depth of the water you are going to drift over. I like to set the float so that the bait is about 18ins from the bottom, as generally pike are lying up on or near the lakebed.

If you find the bait is catching on weed or on the bottom, wind in and reduce the depth. Similarly, if the float has travelled to the end of the drift without catching on anything you can increase the depth a little each cast.


The float’s buoyancy comes from the foam, egg-shaped part of the float, and different sizes of egg allow you to use different size weights and baits.

For small baits up to about 3oz I use the smaller egg. I use a drilled bullet as weight and stop it with a small rubber bead to protect the knot.

You want the combined weight of the drilled bullet and deadbait to cock the float with the vane standing just clear of the water. Too much weight and the vane will be partially submerged, too little and it will blow over rather than move in the wind.


The main part of the drifter float is a vane attached to a long stem. Adjusting the elastic band holding it in place can set the degree of curve in the vane. The degree of curve dictates how fast the float will travel – the greater the curve, the more the wind will catch it and the faster it will drift.


To set up a drifter float, first thread a rubber float stop on to the braid. This enables you to set the float at your chosen depth.

The float is attached by threading the braid through the long piece of tubing with a small float at the top.

The drifting part of the float is attached to the bottom end of the tubing. This means that when you strike, the float will offer little resistance and ‘fold’ over, much like a normal waggler float.

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