How To Make Deadbait Pop Up Sticks For Pike Fishing

{This article was written by Budgie a number of years ago and published elsewhere. It was part of his 'Tackle Workshop' series. Digital cameras have come a long way since then, so we hope to change some of the photographs in the future.

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Pike Deadbaoit Pop Up Stick   Tackle Workshop

An angler recently contacted us with this project. He is a keen Pike angler and, like most of us, finds popped up deadbaits to be very effective at this time of year. He has asked if there is an alternative to using foam or injecting air. I will show you a piece of tackle I have made and used for a long time. I like it as it gives your baits a very positive buoyancy, is easy to use over and over again and, most importantly, is safe and fish friendly. A nice simple project, but a good piece of tackle.

The materials you will require are;
 - a length of round balsa wood dowel of about 10mm diameter
 - a sharp knife
 - glass paper
 - a tin of sanding sealer
 - some old sea hooks (preferably the old “bait holder “ design, with the slices in the shank)
 - some standard Araldite
 - trace wire
 - a length of fine bore silicon rig tube.

The first stage is to take your balsa dowel and cut it in to the required amount of lengths. Roughly shape one end of the stick to a rounded point with your knife. Finish the shaping with some glass paper. Paint the balsa with several coats of the sealer, sanding smooth in between.

Pike Deadbait Pop Up Making Pike Fishing Tackle

Take a wooden cocktail stick (or similar) and stick into the flat end of the balsa. This supplies you a temporary handle for the next stage. Mix up some standard Araldite and coat the balsa stick with it. Try not to get any glue on the flat end, otherwise you might damage the balsa when you remove the temporary handle. The usual dodge of using a hair dryer to heat the glue and help it flow not only gives a good finish, but speeds up the drying time. Remember to keep rotating the balsa stick for some 15 minutes until the glue has set enough not to run. Stick the handle, upright, into a piece of polystyrene and leave the glue to fully harden overnight. The resulting coat of glue will not only waterproof the balsa, but also give it some protection from the Pike's teeth!

Once the glue has fully hardened, remove the cocktail stick. Take one of the hooks and cut off the shank as shown. Dip the end of the shank into some glue and push into the hole in the flat end of the stick left by the cocktail stick. With the excess glue that comes out of the hole, coat the end of the balsa. Once again leave over night to fully harden.


Making Pike Fishing Tackle  Making Pike Fishing Tackle

The actual stick is now finished. We now have to fix on the system to attach the stick to the trace. After all we don’t want to leave a lump of balsa inside the pike. There are several systems you can use, the simplest being to just attach a length of fuse wire to the eye of the deadbait stick, which can then be attached to the trace. I like to use a method that is slightly more complicated  to make, but which is easier to use on the bank. Take a length of trace wire (I use some old Duncan Kay Kevlar trace wire. I use this as you can actually knot it and it is very resistant to kinking and damage. If you use a standard wire, then use a heavy one and use either twisting or crimping) and attach the wire to the eye and make a loop in the other end. The length of the wire will vary due to the size of bait/trace. Push a small piece of rig tube over the loop. The easiest way to do this is to get a short length of mono, thread it through the loop, thread the tube onto the mono and pull it on to the wire loop.

Pike Bait

The deadbait stick is now complete. This is how to use it. Take your deadbait, frozen or fresh (I prefer to prepare mine before freezing), push the stick down the bait's throat, put the loop over one of the hooks on the treble and push the tube up tight to keep it in place. Nice and easy and it gives you a safe reusable system for giving your deads a very positive buoyancy. I hope this helps you, as it certainly has caught some nice Pike for me.

Pike Fisherman