The 4 Best Pike Floats You Need to Know About
This article will provide anglers with an overview of the essential considerations to keep in mind when choosing a pike float, along with covering a few of my favourite floats to use. There’s a whole range of pike floats on the market, ranging from cheap pike floats to expensive ones.
Here, we focus on the best pike floats for the task at hand and how they’re used in various angling situations. The float styles covered in this article include the pike slider float, pike pencil float, pike drifter float and the pike bobber float. Let’s go!
Pike Slider Floats
Generally speaking, I tend to fish my floats over depth. Therefore, my favourite choice of pike float would be a simple sliding setup. You can learn how to put this pike float setup together in step-by-step detail here.
The position of the stop-knot determines the depth at which you’re fishing. Make a series of casts with the rig, and each time move the stop-knot up the line, away from the float. Eventually, the float will lay flat on the surface. At this point, you know you’ve reached the bottom. Some anglers fish the float flat on the surface; however, I like my float to be ‘half-cocked’, i.e. neither flat nor entirely upright. That way, I know that my weight is touching the bottom with the trace running off it. Also, I do not want an excessive amount of line on the bottom, as this can result in deep hooking the fish.
Often my preferred option, the slider float
This method is ideal if you’re fishing in an area where you’re confident pike are hiding. If you’re not totally sure pike are present, it might be best to use one of the approaches described later.
The sliding setup works best on a lake or river bed that is clear of weed or debris. If the bottom is full of dead leaves or chod, I prefer to bring the bait off the bottom using a different type of float, like the drifter float, which I’ll come onto shortly.
When it comes to slider floats, I recommend Korum Snapper Slider Floats. These tough, hi-visibility floats are finished matte black and high gloss fluorescent paints, fantastic for bite indication. The float features brass inserts which protects them from damage when using heavy braids, which is quite common in pike fishing.
These pike floats are available in 15g and 20g weights, making them an excellent choice for medium and distance fishing. Personally, I trust them because of their design and resilience, which is essential for pike fishing. Launching heavy dead baits and catching large predators puts stress on all your gear – so it’s got to be strong!
Pike Pencil Floats
The slider float is a fantastic option; however, sometimes, you may need to reduce the effects of ‘line drift’. Line drift occurs when the surface current creates a large bow in the mainline, which can then collect leaves or other debris. The result is that you have less contact with the float and ultimately, poor presentation. This can be an issue with sliders, due to the line exiting via the top of the float.
I recommend using a pencil float that can be fished waggler style, with the line passing through the bottom of the float only. Passing line through the swivel eye allows you to drop the line below the water’s surface, thereby avoiding line drift.
The pencil float is an excellent choice for close to medium range fishing. As with the slider float, I recommend fishing these ‘half-cocked’ to reduce the chance of deep hooking a pike. A bite can be observed by the float lifting and laying flat, or by disappearing below the surface.
I recommend the Premier Floats Deadbait Pencil. A long, slim pencil float that is durable and highly visible.
Pike Drifter Floats
The drifter float is an entirely different option from the slimline floats we’ve already covered. This float style is designed to suspend the bait at a set depth and cover as much water as possible, using the wind to carry your bait along. Large veins or dart style tips feature at the top of the float, designed to catch the wind and carry your bait across the water.
The depth you’re fishing is set by a float stop or Powergum stop-knot. This can be moved up and down the line, allowing you to explore different depths. Drifter floats have an added advantage in that you can search out areas you might not otherwise be able to access from the bank. For example, this technique would allow you to let the float drift out of casting range.
A large gravel pit pike taken in winter
If this is the style of fishing you’re planning, I recommend that you use a floating braided mainline. A braided line has minimal stretch, enabling you to effectively set hooks, even when the float has drifted out to long-range.
The drifter float is particularly effective when you’re struggling to locate the pike, since the rig covers water and searches out the fish for you. This method is also a great choice when bringing the bait off the bottom due to weed, dead leaves or debris.
I recommend the Fox Rage Predator HD Dart Swivel as an ideal drifter float option. It’s almost indestructible. The large dart flight catches the wind effectively and can be seen at long range. It has a large, chubby body that provides stability in the water, and it’s available in a range of sizes (15g – 50g).
Pike Bobber Floats
Traditional bobber floats are usually associated with anglers targeting fish that are significantly smaller than pike. Worm hook baits are frequently presented underneath the bobber on lakes and rivers when fishing for perch or grayling. This float is larger in size than a traditional bobber, and again it’s fished as an inline float, similar to the slider.
The Bobber Float is an excellent choice when a subtle technique is required. The short dimensions of the float are advantageous when fishing shallow venues or canals, possibly with smaller dead baits.
This subtle approach makes it ideal for not only pike but also for zander and perch.
I would recommend the Korum Snapper Bobber Float, a tough hi-visibility float. The matte black base provides stealth in the shallow water, whilst the fluorescent coloured tip facilitates visual bite indication.
I hope I’ve provided a decent overview of the best pike floats available to you. Always consider the scenario and environment in which you’re fishing before choosing the appropriate method and tackle.
My final piece of advice is to avoid cheap pike floats, as they’re often poorly constructed. Pike floats need to be much more durable than floats associated with smaller species and other fishing styles, so quality is key.