My winter pike fishing usually kicks off in mid October, and deadbaiting will be very effective on my local pits, rivers and drains from then onwards. A favourite deadbait is a mackerel tail which is aerodynamic for casting and absolutely oozing with attractive oils and juices which draw pike from far and wide. It's a tactic I've used for over forty years and it is still as effective today as it ever was. My first 20 pounder on a mackerel tail came in 1975 from The Old Bedford River in the Fens and since then I have caught more than 50 twenty pounders with mackerel bait and also a 31 pounder.
It's easy to use on a simple float rig or leger rig, and easy to pop up too.
More and more I am using mackerel tails for zander too, and have found them very effective on some waters, but not all. Certainly on the Fen rivers and some local stillwaters they work very well and have produced several double figure fish for me.
You would be very unwise to ignore the mackerel tail as a pike and zander bait.
TIP: As the water gets colder, use a smaller piece of bait. You may be surprised how much difference it can make.