Do you love big bluegill?
At this point my longest float rod is the Zebco 8" Slab Seeker .I am enjoying this rod more and more .Had to replace the tip top as the one that came on the rod was a ridiculous design that snagged the line .Also the hook hoder is in a bad place so I'm thinkin about bending that down .Its a cheap rod that I've been managing to catch fish on .
uhmmm make that 8' lol
This is a great discussion and one that is relevant for cold weather. In the colder weather as your water starts to drop - especially when fishing for fine-biting gills or sheepish bite days, slip floats will NEVER beat a fixed float when you are given the choice. I continue to learn each time out. While I might enjoy the long cast of one float, or how cool it looks, the fish will tell you they want a smaller float, a lighter choice. Many, many days, you should be fishing lighter with a float under 1 gram for success. Once you venture outside of that and use more split shot you are risking sitting there. Another way to look at it - how many fish could you have caught if you had better floats? How good are the lakes around you? If you use a plastic slip float with a tube or a foam float- you might have missed a lot of activity. Fish takes that you couldn't notice. When it comes to fixed float or a slip float, I nearly always choose a fixed float.
By choice I mean, pick the fixed float 90% of the time because it is lighter, more precise and less effected by surface winds. Also, your bait presentation is impacted by the shot pattern you are forced to use with a slip float. The best example I can give you is opening day Fall trout fishing here in Chicago's suburbs. The trout were taking the bait but would swim away and the float would rise back up. Now- this is what I saw on my 1.2 gram waggler fished in 7 feet of water. Others fishing larger floats never got to see the float go down like mine as their setup was too bulky- had too much mass. Also- if you didn't burry ALL the line underwater and keep the bait still, the fish were not chasing it. Slip bobbers have line coming out the top. Fixed floats attach beneath the water and under the wind current. On some days, this is your ticket out of a slow day of fishing. Keep the line entirely under the water and score. I can say I took on a boater who pulled anchor to get in on my spot (I was fishing from shore). The boater saw me catch and was casting his 1.6 gr float - one of the better setups on the lake right over my line and landing it 6' from where I was fishing.
This rude boater captain got me fired up, so I tweaked my rig, worked my tookus off changing bait and recasting (avoiding his intruding line) and proceeded to get my son to hook up on 8 trout - landing 6 of them. I caught 3 more to hit my limit and boat man had none. I invited him to bring his boat even closer - speaking in a normal voice since he was so close - I invited to have a seat right next to me on shore.
As my son was netting the last couple of trout, the slunked-down boat captain got some more advice from me. I recognized his float was a Thill waggler - not a bad off-shelf choice, but still 30% heavier than the float I was catching on. I could also hear his .56 gram Water Gremlin shot crashing into the water like mini-cannon balls - kaploop! Three chunky lead shot on a bulky float was the next-best finesse setup on the lake.
I asked him if that was a Thill waggler and he said ya " they're good floats" and I told him that Thill was my teacher and that those are just o.k. floats. I had to rub it in. I recognized this guy as he was the one who drove his boat over my spot in the Spring, but that time he was telling me how spinners are superior to float fishing. My Spring limit must have convinced him to buy a float. He bought the right one because I was using a float similar in size to his, but it was the wrong float on the day. Too much float above water, too big of a float and too much split shot in a really bad shot pattern.
Nope in the Fall the trout were taking it so lightly we were waiting until the float went under, resurfaced and then repeated. By the late morning we had to wait until the 3rd time the float went under to act. The light float was barely floating, but it was needed to score on the light bite.
This was a day NOT to use slip bobbers - smaller fixed bobbers were the key as the shot had to be entirely up by the float - not down the line.
I wasn't finished. I had to rub it in even more on this guy.
I had my limit, my son had his limit. My neighbors shared 3 fish between the 10 of them.
My nearest neighbor had no fish. He was nice though. He had cast over my line several times in the sidewind with little space between us and he was more than nice - apologizing and getting his line off trying not to bother my rig.
I wasn't finished so what I did was offered help to my neighbor. I rigged him up with one of my lighter floats, gave him some of my smaller finer .20, .30 split shot, balanced the float and cast it out. Bang - he had a trout on just 8' from the rude captain's float. I helped him land that and get the float back out on the water. A couple of minutes later, down goes the float and we land a second trout. I give my captain a couple of last looks from shore as I pack up our limit, the neighbor thanks me and we leave boat captain and his 5 crew with just 2 trout caught to our 15 trout.
When the going gets tough and most days you don't want a slip float and the bulk of that float in the way. If you don't have to fish the deeper water- don't, it is harder and you will catch fewer fish. There were many, many slip bobbers being fished that day that never went under. I didn't say the fish didn't hit them, it is just that the angle never saw it.
By the way I tried out a 12' Crappie Maxx Pro Series Crappie Rod which I found on sale to be a great angler buy. I would probably get the 10' and recommend that for float angling. I think it is the bomb at $59. The medium-light action gives it just enough backbone to punch out a float cast. I caught all my trout on this with a small peacock quill float - 1.2 grams and some Super Doux split shot (yellow container for the small ones)... The other key- I was using a size 14 Owner hook on my trout - the weight of that hook was also a help. This was not US Owner though- I bought these from a Polish store which had a lot of stuff from Poland, Japan and Europe. Now all I have to find you guys is some good panfish line - some good stuff!
I keep reading this and will be going more and more in this direction I'm thinking .
"If you don't have to fish the deeper water - don't. It is harder, and you will catch fewer fish."
I believe that there's truth in this statement. Deeper water can be more difficult to access by a shorebound angler, and placing your bait at depth can present a challenge. However, It is generally recognized that BG may seek out the deeper, 39 degree water during certain winter periods, provided that the DO content is to their liking. Most places that I have ever fished tend to have these deeper water areas well out of reach of a 10-12' rod....unfortunately, I have found casting a distance of 60' or so, then fishing at a depth of 16-18', to be beyond the scope of a fixed float presentation.
Perhaps there may be smaller fish to be had in the shallower water, but where cold water BG are concerned, BIG cold water BG, I have my best luck fishing deeper. Trout on the other hand, being a cooler water species anyway, are far more active during the winter months.... I have witnessed other pondmeisters break the ice to feed them, on the surface... I have no doubt that they might be taken on a shallower, fixed float presentation.
As always your enthusiasm, dedication to your fishing style, and willingness to share information is appreciated.... Good to see you posting again Johnny.
Tony and Johnny- I'm all ears .Thanks for the info ! Still doin' it wrong but I slip floated at 5' tonight for an hour and caught a 6lb,13oz Channel Cat and Seven 10" Yellow Perch I'm pleased to say .My pal was throwing a spinner and got skunked.I offered him to try my 8' rod Slip Float Marabou Jig tipped with a mealworm ,4#test line rig .He declined and continued to throw a spinner .I'm gonna make a prediction that after tonight he's entertaining slip float fishing for his arsenal and will be doing slip floating next year if not sooner before iceup.He was almost as happy to see me hook,play and land that Cat on the riprap we were both fishin'.
I have good luck with the B&M Russ Baily rod. A great rod for slip bobber fishing, with a jig rod.