Kev Durman knows a thing or two about catching big pike in deep water. With a warm weather front due, he put a plan in place that would see him land some 2018 stunners. What a way to start the New Year. Below, Kev takes up the story:

"With conditions leading up to Christmas being freezing cold with northerly winds I decided to work and save my time off for more favourable conditions. Mild westerlies combined with low pressures are what I've been waiting for, these finally arrived between Christmas and New Year which had me heading for the big deep pits that I like to do my pike angling on. First call was a chalk pit with a depth one rod length out of 20ft, float fishing in this depth is not particularly practical so I opt for the straight leger. With these kind of depths you can just imagine pike patrolling the shelves close in so no need for big casts here. A bait dropped in the margin is often the best bet. Whilst my leger rig may be simple it still requires some thought, let me explain. 

"I use the Korum run rig kit, but rather than use the swivel that the kit comes with I use an Avid quick change clip. The clip enables me to change traces quickly should I wish to, it also means I can remove the trace at the end of the day so I can leave the rod made up ready for my next trip. I can also remove the lead so as not to damage the rod in transit.

"Lead size is also important, I prefer 3oz. The reason for the heavy lead is that I want to tighten up to it before putting the line in to a drop off indicator such as the Korum Swindicator. By doing this I know that any movement of the bait will give me an indication. A light lead could be dragged around meaning I might miss the start of a take, I like to know what is happening at all times when deadbaiting for pike, you just can’t afford mistakes.

"A sardine flicked up the left margin was the first bait to be taken. I picked the rod up, made sure line was running out smoothly and then closed the bail arm on the Neoteric before reeling in to pick up the slack line between rod tip and pike, once I start to feel tension I pull into the fish. The initial head shaking soon turned into a solid weight on the end as the pike started to move away. In the depths of winter pike rarely fight too hard and she was soon in the net. And what a fish, turning the scales at 26lb 9oz, a superb Christmas present. An hour later the right rod was away, this time just a Jack.  

"If you are looking for something to keep your frozen deadbaits in make sure to check out the new Korum ITM Cool bag, it’s been superb this winter. At the end of every trip I refill it with deadbaits and put it back the freezer all ready to take next time out.

"Next trip out was New Year's day. This time I targeted another gravel pit, yet again the margins were deep at 16ft so with my rods made up from a few days previous it was simply a case of clipping on a lead and a trace and again dropping baits in the margins. I've fished the pit a few times for pike over the past few years and have found that bite time is generally between 10 and 11. Although I do always like to get to the lake at dawn, there are occasions when that time can produce the only take of the day, being early also gives me the best choice of swims. As it happens I had the lake to myself, none the less it’s good practice. The first few hours were quiet but sure enough at 10.15 the swindicator dropped off signalling a take.

"The same routine as before, winding down to the pike to be met with something decent. Two trips, two venues and two twenties, this time 22lb 2oz, again on a sardine. I recast with a small Bluey and had another take with an 11lber. Not long after a Jack came along to another sardine. Three takes during bite time then swim went quiet. 

"What a great way to end 2017 and start 2018. Good luck in your own angling for 2018."