overriding principle when considering the make-up of a pike rig, and its attendant
indication, is that pike drop baits when they feel a change in resistance. A running
lead will offer constant (low) resistance so long as it is heavy enough to stay
put when a pike moves off with the bait. On a clean bottom, sand for example,
a light running bomb can be dragged along if a pike moves off at an angle to the
line. This is not a big deal if it doesn't encounter any obstructions, but if
it does there will probably be a decrease in resistance if the line is coming
off an open spool. When the bomb stops moving its weight will stop being applied
to the line and the pike will feel less drag. This might result in a dropped take.
I realise this isn't going to be an everyday occurrence, but it is worthy of some
course the same can happen with a semi-fixed weight, but I believe that a weight
fixed to the trace swivel is less likely to encounter obstructions for a couple
of reasons. If the trace is not too long then the weight could actually be hanging
above the lake bed, dangling from the pike's mouth. If not, then the chances are
it will be getting dragged along at an angle to the vertical, so it should have
a better chance of sliding over obstacles.
is guaranteed, of course, but having now used semi-fixed leads for a few years
I am becoming more and more convinced of their effectiveness. I have a couple
of mates who have been using semi-fixed leads for much longer than I - so as usual,
I have been late in realising how good something can be!
reason I think semi-fixed leads are successful at avoiding dropped runs, which
do seem to be a rarity when using them, is that they operate as anti-eject rigs.
At least this is how I read things. If the pike has lifted the bomb off the bottom,
then that will constantly be creating a downward force on the end of the trace
which the pike will have to overcome in order to eject the bait. If the bomb is
being dragged along the bottom, the trace will, if the bait is right inside the
pike's mouth, be coming out at the scissors. At least I think this is what is
going on. In order to eject a bait the pike must open its mouth, at which point
the weight pulling or dragging on the trace could possibly lodge a hook in one
side of the lower jaw or the scissors.
you accept this premise, the effectiveness of the rig's anti-ejection properties
can be improved. Firstly use big, super sharp, hooks. Forget those size ten or
eight trebles, and step up to sixes at least, and better still fours. The pike
won't know how big the hooks are until it has the bait in its mouth, by which
time it is too late. While you are at it make sure the bomb is at least an ounce
and a half in weight. The combination of a heavyish lead and sharp hook points
standing proud of the bait could even (in theory) make the hooks take an initial
penetration as soon as the pike moves the bait.
interesting factor that is becoming apparent with the use of semi-fixed leads,
but of which I am not certain yet, is that the incidence of deep hooked pike is
much reduced. If, as I suspect, the set-up is a self-hooking one, that would explain
this. I am reluctant to suggest that stepping up to four ounce bombs and size
two trebles would completely eliminate deep hooked pike on legered deadbaits -
but I have a sneaking suspicion it might go a long way towards that ideal. I'd
welcome any feedback on this from other users of semi-fixed lead rigs.
semi-fixed lead leger rig is simplicity itself to rig up. All you need is a trace
and a semi-fixed lead. There are a number of quick change devices that push over
the trace swivel on the market these days - one good thing to come out of carp
fishing, I guess. These have the advantage that the bomb is readily interchangeable
and can pull off the line if the fish drags it into a snag, leaving the line still
attached to the trace. You could attach the bomb via a weak link to one of these
devices, giving you the best of all worlds - a bomb that will release if the fish
snags it up, and one that will release if it snags on the retrieve. However, so
far, I have had very few snagging problems using inline leads, my preference being
for the flat pear shaped ones which I feel tend to plane up on the retrieve.
often than not when fishing a semi-fixed lead I also have a small sunk float on
the line. I set the stop knot for this float at least ten feet from the trace.
You don't want it too close to the bait as its purpose is to keep the line off
the bottom while a run is in progress. A one inch poly ball, or similar sized
streamline slider is sufficiently large to do the job, and small enough to not
cause problems with undertow and so on.
goes without saying that the fixed lead approach has been standard practice when
legering deadbaits using a float for bite indication pretty much since the method
was invented. Indeed, this was partly the inspiration for my conversion to their
more widespread use. I had been using one and a half ounce in-line bombs (and
heavier) on my boat fishing rigs for some time before it finally clicked with
me that they would work without the float. I told you I am slow on the uptake!
use surface floats in conjunction with semi-fixed leads when fishing from boats,
when fishing over rough or weedy ground, and on flowing water where I want to
keep as much of the line off the surface as I can. I hardly ever use them when
fishing stillwaters, largely because the waters I have fished most over the years
have been fairly large and exposed requiring fishing at distance, and float rigs
are not best suited to these circumstances. Floats cut down casting distance,
and drag under when the wind gets up. If I fished small sheltered stillwaters,
then I might well find a use for surface floats there.
main drawback with using a float rig is that it is impossible to get the line
from rod to bait super-tight as the presence of the float puts an angle in the
line. When boat fishing this is not too big a deal. The line is kept from spilling
off the spool either by a line clip taped to the rod above the spool, by setting
the Baitrunner on, or putting the clicker on a multiplier. By keeping a watch
on your floats you will generally see the take before there is any movement of
the line at the rod and be able to free the line from the spool before the line
tightens. Quite a number of runs are towards the boat in any case.
you are sat right by your rods when bank fishing the same procedure applies. But
mostly this is not the case. So, when using a surface float from the bank a compromise
has to be reached as far as clip tightness is concerned. The situation to aim
for is tight enough to keep the indicator on the line against the action of wind
or waves, but light enough to drop off as soon as a pike moves the bait. As always,
a drop-back indicator should not be able to move upwards before the line pulls
out of the clip. Using floats demonstrates how heavy bobbins can be counterproductive
to good bite detection. Heavy bobbins always have to be set up in such a way that
the pike has to raise them before it can pull the line out of the clip. So for
surface float fishing a light bobbin is preferable.
are alternatives to drop-back indicators for float fishing. A clip taped to the
rod handle will allow you to get the line as tight to the float as any method,
and still give you the open bale arm presentation. Slack line takes can be shown
by a bobbin hanging on the line. For many years I used plastic tubes with a lengthways
slit cut in them for this kind of indication. The trouble with indicators hanging
on the line is that they can spin and tangle the line when it pulls free of the
line clip. At the worst they can jam in the butt ring, causing either a dropped
take, or worse still a dragged in rod! I suppose going carp style and using swinger
type indicators is another option, even using a Baitrunner or a multiplier to
give line. But this is not an approach I have adopted myself.
may well ask why you need an indicator at the rod when using a surface float.
Quite so, in most cases the indicator (drop-back) serves mainly to keep the line
from coming off the reel, but if using a front alarm as audible back up indication,
you also have to have some means of making the alarm sound if the line goes slack,
which means a bobbin of some type on the line. There are also situations where
you are unable to see the float. Fishing under the rod tip from a high river bank,
while sitting back to keep off the skyline, being one such. Or when fishing a
gap in the reeds with baits cast to either side of the gap.
choice of float styles is worthy of some consideration. For boat fishing, and
when fishing flowing water with the rod beachcaster' style to keep the line off
the water, I prefer a tubed slider. A fairly dumpy float of this type holds up
well and resists being pulled under by drag on the line. The alternative is to
use a longer, but not too slim, tubed slider. I don't feel that the pike are affected
a great deal either way, as far as resistance goes, so tend to opt for the dumpy
other option is a bottom end, unloaded, waggler style, float. These are great
for bite indication as they fall flat when a pike moves the bait. However, they
can drag under quite easily if there is a lot of flow or strong wind. Also when
fishing from a boat that is not completely stationary they will continually fall
and rise as the boat swings. In severe conditions they can be replaced by a bottom
end dumpy design which lacks the positive indication of falling flat, but holds
up better. When it comes to size of float I always err on the side of larger rather
than smaller if it is being used on the surface as a visual indicator.
sliders are easy to rig on the line. You simply put a bead either side of them,
and tie the stop knot at the desired depth. Bottom end floats are attached to
a small link swivel between two beads, with a second stop knot added a foot or
so above the weight. This lower stop knot prevents the float sliding down to the
lead and tangling with it on the cast. An alternative to the second stop knot
is to add a length of rig tube above the bomb. Both methods work equally well.
While the rig tube has the added advantage of tangle prevention as mentioned in
an earlier part of this series, the stop knot method has the advantage that should
you remove the trace the float and beads won't slide off the line into the grass.
Another advantage of using bottom end floats is that they can be quickly removed
(leaving the snap link and beads on the line), turning the rig into a straight
leger if conditions alter - say when a drain starts running off causing the float
to drag under or collect floating weed.
setting the stop knot, no matter what type of float you are using, the knot should
be set somewhat deeper than the actual depth of the water being fished. I usually
set inline sliders less over depth than I do bottom end floats. Quite why I can't
say, but it seems to work. Because of the way bottom end floats register a take
they can be set around half as deep again as the water depth without any lack
of sensitivity of the rig. This will make the angle of the line from bait to float
shallower, so the chances of a pike approaching the bait brushing the line are
reduced - although I doubt this is likely to worry the pike. However, as the more
dumpy inline floats don't give as positive indication of a take as wagglers do,
unless they go under, I prefer to set them just a couple of feet or so deeper
than the water depth. Longer inline sliders, on the other hand, sit at an angle
in the water, and will fall flat when a pike picks up the bait.
thing that you have to be aware of when float fishing with a fixed lead rig, and
I have noticed this a lot on drains over the years, is that pike can pick baits
up and move off with them without any immediate indication at all at the rod.
I think this is a combination of the close range being fished, the effect of wind
and/or flow, and the movement of the pike. I have noticed that pike often pick
up baits from the far side of a drain and swim around in a circle, towards the
near bank and back to the point they picked the bait up. Swimming in an arc like
this keeps the line tight to the rod, but allows a fair amount of distance to
be covered by the fish before the line goes slack enough to produce a drop-back
indication. Whenever using a float rig an audible alarm shouldn't be relied on
as the primary indicator. As I said earlier, the float puts slack line in the
system which cannot be eliminated, and so makes any rod end indicator less than
part four I look at some rigs that are suitable
four using with livebaits.