Pike fishing is a fairly well explored subject. After all, the choice of methods is fairly limited. If you are one the of the huge majority who bank fish, and who fish with baits rather than lures then what is there that is new? Well, there are still a few little wrinkles that can catch you more fish.

For almost a decade now I have spent a fair bit of my Autumn and Winter fishing in pursuit of zander. Now on almost all the waters I can think of, the zander feed much more confidently at night. The exception can be when the drains are very high and coloured, but this is not a hard and fast rule. Zander fishing methods are obviously very closely allied to pike fishing. Generally, I will be using smaller baits and lighter tackle, but the legered deadbaits and paternostered lives are much the same. It is not surprising then that the odd pike should turn up along the way. What is surprising though is that on some venues, at some times of the year, more pike can be caught at night than at more conventional times.

Of course, for the most part, you will catch more pike during the day than at night, but I can think of very few venues which haven't thrown up more than the odd fish after dark. In fact, on many venues the hour before and the hour after dark are amongst the best. If you think about it this makes quite a bit of sense. Pike are ambush predators with very good senses. They do suffer the disadvantage that they are much bigger than their prey, and so are easy to spot. At night though, the pike's ability to stalk it's prey and to move within striking distance with hardly a flicker of the fins gives it a real advantage.

Tactics for pike fishing at night need not vary from those you use during the day. Most of the time I will restrict myself to only fishing short evening sessions to maximise my alertness. I don't like deep hooking fish, and although the rigs I use minimise this, there is still the chance of deep hooking if a run is not hit quite quickly. Having to come to, get out of a sleeping bag, put on boots, walk to the rod and then strike takes an inordinate amount of time in my opinion.

I will travel light and often leap frog the rods down the bank, unless I am certain of the hot-spot. Even then, it is rare to catch more than one or two pike from each swim, because of the disturbance caused by playing and netting a fish. You see, the reason more pike are not caught at night is because most anglers are fishing for them in the wrong spots, a lesson taught to me by a good friend several years ago. At night the pike are willing to follow the prey fish right into the margins. Even if the water is as shallow as a couple of feet deep the pike will make use of it.

Often this will mean that the pike are literally under the rod tips and anything other than lowering the bait into the margins will mean that you are fishing too far out. Obviously, I will cover all the options and fish to other features as well, but generally it is the margin rod which produces the bulk of the action. Fishing this close in does mean that the pike are alerted to the smallest amount of disturbance and it is essential that you are quiet. I will often sit a few yards back from the bank, or fish the baits down the margins so that I am not sitting right on top of the baits. Even so, after a fish or two it is often wise to move, rather than to sit in a disturbed swim.

Perhaps this is something that you are already doing, but if not why not give it a try. I have lost count of the number of times, particularly on dour days, that the only action has come after dark. Just remember that the winter days are nice and short and even a couple of hours extra fishing will still see you home in time for tea. Why not give it a try?