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The Magic of Float Fishing

The Magic of Float Fishing

It's difficult to explain what makes float fishing so special. It is incredibly effective, being the most natural and most sensitive method of presenting bait, but it goes beyond that.

Float fishing becomes an addiction fuelled by anticipation, your eyes become transfixed by every movement of the float, waiting for it to disappear. There are few moments that are quite as magical as the instant that your float pulls under.

Europeans have been float fishing for centuries and view floats as an essential part of their gear, as important as hooks and line. It has only been over the last few decades that Great Lakes Steelheaders have embraced float fishing and floats have now become the weapon of choice among the best Steelheaders in the region. Float fishing is also becoming increasingly popular in the Pacific North West as more and more anglers realize just how effective it can be, both in presentation and sensitivity.

The primary purpose of a float is to help create a perfect bait presentation. Properly rigged floats can suspend the bait a fraction of an inch above bottom and allow it to drift downstream naturally at the exact speed of the current. As float fishermen become more proficient with floats, they learn to adjust the spacing between their split shots to allow the bait to either drop slower or faster, to wash along catching all natural breaks in the current or cut deep to the bottom of pools and eddies. When combined with light fluorocarbon lines and small hooks, it is almost impossible for a fish to identify the bait from any of its natural food sources.

The secondary purpose of the float is as an ultra sensitive strike indicator. When a float is properly shotted (by adding split shots to the line below the float), so that just the small fluorescent tip sticks up above the water, it will pull under on the lightest bite and hardly offer any resistance to the fish. This sensitivity allows anglers to identify takes instantly and reduces the chances of the fish dropping the bait before the hook set. For very light biting fish, floats can be the only fishing technique that is sensitive enough to produce fish.

Float fishing is a highly interactive angling technique, where the angler is constantly mending or giving line and must keep his eye on the float, watching for the slightest movement. A trained eye can tell the difference between the float slowly pulling under because the hook has caught bottom, from a delicate take that barely twitches the float or simply stalls its progress downstream.

Float fishing is one of the true arts of angling that is both a delight to master and extremely effective.

Paul Almanza
Anglers International Inc

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