As an ancient pastime, fishing has been practiced since the dawn of civilization. While our ancestors fished for their dinners,…
There will always be fishing situations that we have no control over which will result in losing a fish. It hurts, especially when it’s a big fish, but it happens it’s part of the sport. What we can have control over is making sure that we don’t lose fish because of faulty equipment. Spending some of your off water time taking care of your fishing tools will help you spend your on-water time being a more productive angler. Let’s take a look at some ways to care for fishing equipment.
Even though a fishing rod is nothing more than a lever it does have components that need to be checked. Start with your rod handles they should be glued down firmly and not be able to spin around the blank. Are the handles smooth enough to not cause blisters during a days fishing use? Make sure that the reel seat is glued in place and not cracked. Do all the screw down parts work smoothly and hold the reel tightly in place? Examine each guide and the tip making sure that none are cracked and that the thread wraps holding the guides in place are not torn or frayed. Check to see if the tip is loose and that all guides and tips are in line with the center of the reel seat.
Slip floats do as the name implies. They slip on the line to a predetermined stopping point, allowing you to fish any depth you desire. Most floats can be used as slip floats. Any float with a central hollow core from top to bottom will serve. To rig the slip float, you need only two additional items – a bead a stopper .
To rig your slip float first attach a stopper to your mainline. Next thread your mainline through a small bead. Then thread your mainline through the hollow tube of your float and attach a swivel in the usual manner.
Many of you must be wondering if these techniques would work as well for trout and salmon. The answer is an emphatic yes. In British Columbia, where the float is used by almost every river anglers thousands of salmon and tens of thousands of trout are taken each year. The line control and natural presentation offered by floats should work well for any riparian species. It has proven deadly for salmon steelhead and trout and the potential is still unknown for other species.
The first step in steelheading with a float is to adjust for proper depth. Your goal is to place your bait or lure about one foot above the bottom. If your float continually drags under or tips downstream as it drifts through the run you a dragging bottom. Shorten the distance between float and lure until you can make the drift without touching bottom.
Your float should drift at the same speed as the current. When your float is upstream from you it should sit straight up and down in the water. As your float passes in front of you begin free spooling line while gently thumbing the spool to maintain just enough tension to tilt the top of the float slightly back upstream.
Veteran steelheaders tell us the one skill that separates the top rods from the wannabes is the ability to feel the subtle pick-up of a steelhead. Learning the elusive difference between a pick-up and a rock is vital, but difficult. With floats the angler immediately sees that a fish is mouthing their bait. Even the novice will be able to detect most pick-ups.
Strikes are signaled in one of two ways. The most obvious strike indicator is the sudden sinking of the float. If you have properly adjusted the distance from your float to the lure, only a fish can cause it to sink. STRIKE!!!
Another advantage of floats is the ease of placing your lure smack-dab in the middle of a steelhead’s lie. Suppose you want to fish a long seam where slow and fast currents meet. No problem. Simply cast your float past the lie and retrieve line until your float is just at the edge of the seam. Now free spool line while the float bounces along in perfect position to pass over the fish.
The float really shows its stuff when working pocket water behind boulders. You can flip the float past your target, then reel in until the float and its payload are swirling merrily in the back eddy. You can let your lure swirl in the back eddy as long as you like. Try that with conventional gear and odds are your tackle will look as though its been in a blender.