New Float Fishing Traditions that Catch More Fish!
The majority of North American anglers still do not know about modern float fishing. English and Western European Anglers had to develop new floats, and longer rods to reach fish that were heavily pressured from the 1450's onward.
With floats, rather than bobbers, you can catch more fish, more consistently. If you fish for panfish, catfish, steelhead, salmon, walleye, carp, whitefish, or bullheads it will make a huge difference in your catches! Bass, pike, muskie, and striper anglers will also find that they catch more fish with new and better designs for live bait, plastics & flies.
There are thousands of different float designs and many float designs come in over 30 different sizes. Floats will give you perfect bait presentation on any kind of flowing or still water, and are great for ice fishing too! They are successful in depths of water of up to nearly 60 feet, and as far away as 80 yards (which is needed in Italy & England, not the USA yet)! Although they work well in deep water, there are floats that are just over 1-inch long that will catch panfish & bass on shallow beds in as little water as 9 inches.
Many big gills & bass will in fact try to eat the float in warm weather! They think it's a big bee, hopper, or beetle. I have changed the color of my balsa & peacock floats to green for all my new designs to try to attract less interest from hungry and curious fish!
There are many reasons why traditional bobbers are only good for collectors to put in minnow traps. First of all, they cast poorly, and they make a huge noisy splash. Furthermore, they make it virtually impossible to see the majority of bites that come from fish in still, or slow-moving water. Unfortunately, the traditional bobbers are hurting life-long anglers and even worse, beginners, by causing them to catch fewer fish than if they were using floats. Anglers using bobbers think that any movement or rings around the float were nibbles. They were not nibbles. They were missed bites; a fish you should have caught!
Spring and in-line slip bobbers are better, but are still a very bad choice to use unless you have a lot of hungry fish in front of you! Fish feed most of the time buy inhaling their food. Just watch any fish in a tank, and you'll understand. Traditional bobbers make it impossible for any fish that tries to suck in the bait or jig. Impossible, because there's so much buoyancy above the surface, that no fish can suck that hard! Not even a world record bluegill or crappie can suck in a minnow, or cricket that's under a bobber! And if they hit the bait as some aggressive fish will, they'll feel the drag from the poor aerodynamic design of the bobber, and let go! Poor designs make it hard to cast long distances also! Stillwater floats need to be like an airplane wing, so there's very little drag.
The worst of the traditional bobbers are big ol' round red & white ones. You cannot find any bobbers in any European Fishing tackle stores because they do not work well. They would only catch a few pike and perch in Europe!
I have been saying all bobbers are junk for 16 years now! It offends those making a living from selling them, but I'm a teacher first! People taught me all the basics when I moved to England as a boy. Now I'm trying to give back what I was given.
Modern floats and all the methods and techniques that come with them will change the way you fish! However, floats are just one piece in the big puzzle. You need to learn how not to scare fish when you're in a boat or on the bank. Clothing, movement and foot noises travel a long way in water, much farther than sound travels through the air.
Also, it's important to learn how to plumb with a lead weight attached to your hook or jig. You have to know the exact depth of the water you're fishing, and where all the changes are. Fish are likely to hang where there are changes in depths, and structure. By knowing this sort of information you can better understand what size float to use and whether you need a slip, or fixed float. You'll also need to learn about where to place lead shot on the line. Chumming is another important skill to learn about for many fish, where it's allowed!
Balancing the size of your line & hook to the size of bait your are using are also crucial, if you plan on catching a lot of fish. You'll also need to learn new casting techniques as the longer float rods are 12 ft, 13 ft, and 14 ft long. Long take-apart poles that are from 24 to 48 ft long are used for any fish under 10lbs. These poles have elastic inside of them that allow fish to run up to 70 ft away. Many fish up to 30lbs have been caught with this pole method. Long telescopic rods, 16 to 30 ft long are generally used for deep rivers.
A brief history
The 1st World Championship was fished in 1953. Team USA joined in 1982. Today, America needs local, state, and national events to lead the World Championships (bank fishing events) for kids, ladies, challenged, ice, carp (newest) and the National Team (USA's best 5 anglers). As the US National Team Coach I need to find clubs, anglers, and teachers to set-up and run events in their towns, in every state. We also need major national sponsors for all our teams, as all the Europeans have. I hope that you can help these anglers. We need to get fishing growing again, not shrinking as it is today, with fishing license sales down.
This year the US Open Individual Championships will be held on May 19 & 20 on Lake Arlington. The US Team Championship is the 2nd weekend of October. Five hundred thousand spectators will be on the banks of the River Seine in September to watch 35 Nationals compete in the 2001 World Championships in the center of Paris!
Look for future articles, as I will be covering all these exciting fishing challenges each month here at ActiveAngler.com.
Great news - Team USA just returned from Canada. Teams of 11 anglers fished 2 heats on the Little River in Windsor. Team USA won both days, and I was happy to finish 2nd overall! More on this great match later!
For more information on Mick Thill, and to learn more
about his fishing floats, please visit his site at www.mickthill.com