Float Fishing Techniques

Most fishermen catch their first fish using float fishing techniques. Float fishing is quite versatile and is a technique used to get beginners into the sport; however it's also used as a serious way to catch fish. From cliffside ocean fishing to a relaxing day at your local catfish pond, float fishing has something to offer all anglers.

  1. The basic technique. Lead weights and a hook is the root of all float fishing techniques. You would want the float about three to four feet away from the hook for pond or lake fishing depending upon how deep your fishing hole is and what you are going for. Bottom feeders like catfish will require a longer distance between hook and float while bluegill or bass can be caught closer to the surface.
  2. Ocean technique. There are several float fishing techniques used in the sea, but the action of the currents and waves which rapidly change water depth require different float fishing techniques. Most fishermen employ slip floats which ride up and down on the line depending upon the wave action. This keeps the rig quite versatile to the changing conditions. For this technique you will need float stops which allow the slip float to move between them. The weight is often used at the bottom of the rig while hooks are tied above at varying lengths above depending upon what you are fishing for.
  3. Rivers and creeks technique. The rapidly moving waters of rivers and creeks have spawned tons of float fishing techniques to catch fast-moving surface dwellers like trout, steelhead and even salmon. This rig is kept light and works well with lures like jigs that tumble near the top of the water column. The float shape is up to you. Some prefer an easy to spot float like a red round bobber while others try and stay stealthy with thinner floats. A swivel is used a couple of feet beneath the float (depending upon the depth of the water) because of the dangers of getting snagged in fast moving shallow conditions—tie your jig below this. Always cast upstream and keep your eye on the float.


  • Optional equipment like swivels and leader save you a lot of grief when you get snagged because having to cut your line gets old fast. 
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