How do I effectively fish for drain pike in the frost and snow? A drain system often seems unspectacular to a pike angler at first, a daunting location and it’s difficult to see why pike should roam these waters, but look closer and small features start to stand out. For the interested pike angler my topic and tips are on drain fishing in the winter and I hope they help you land a beautiful big Esox.
Find the right hotspot!
There are potential pike drains in many places, but when choosing, care should be taken to ensure that the drain is at least one meter deep. Along the often monotonous featureless banks you will come across features such as bridges, inlets, even just a slight widening or bend are all areas worth targeting.
The tackle I use for my pike fishing here consists of a Mr Pike12ft Classic Bank dead bait rod or a 13ft model which is teamed up with a Mr Pike ‘The Releaser ‘free-spool reel. This is loaded with Quantum Quattron 35lb mono onto which I attach either a 20g or 30g Mr Pike float. Onto the mainline then goes a slide sinker before attaching a single size 6 treble Mr Pike 30lb Float Rig Leader.
Clever bait selection!
Bait wise for ditch pike, all sorts of dead bait are suitable including sea baits such as mackerel, herring, sardines and smelt being among the best; however my favourites remain the native bream and roach, as they occur naturally in most waters.
Three methods you can try right away.
Method 1: The float assembly with a natural dead bait hooked in the back which is allowed to drift freely around any feature.
Method 2: Hooking either a sea dead bait or natural in the tail root and offering this under a float set up or a free-running ledger setup. When ledgering I use Mr Pike Drop Back Indicators and alarm.
Method 3: When fishing an area that has no obvious features I like to suspend a bait close to the bottom and allow this to follow the course of the flow. When using this method I find lip hooking a natural best and simply cast this to the centre of the drain and follow it down a few yards behind. This method allows me to cover loads of ground and sooner or later it will pass by a hungry pike. This method often uncovers a hotspot which can then be targeted closer using method 1 or 2.
Drains may look barren and lifeless but believe me they contain plenty of big pike; you just have to find them.
Andre Schmidt, Team Quantum