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A beginners guide to floater fishing with a range of useful hints and tips
Since Isaac himself noticed a likeness of carp for bread a bit of floating crust has proven a deadly method for tempting a fish. It is also worth a shot on those days when the carp are cruising and won't even take a sniff at a bottom bait.
Since then there have been many notable captures on the floater including the Pet at 49lb to Dave Magalhaes and Steve Pagulatos with Arfur at 50lb+.
Probably the most common bait for floater fishing is the veritable Chum Mixer. As well as offering the choice of superior hooking arrangement possibilities flooaters can be catapulted easily up to 20 or 20 yards. By soaking the chummie then allowing it to dry slightly they gain a rubbery texture which allows for easy side hooking. A short fine hair is also worth a try though and allows more reliable hook positioning. Yet another technique is to cut a groove in the mixer and superglue this to the hook shank.
As fish become more spooky some of the finest floater anglers propose using a variety of size baits. This gives the carp less uniformity in bait to recognise and minimises the chance of them spooking off the hook bait. Cat biscuits work well for this purpose.
Other baits include floater cake, made from boilie mix with baking soda whicked in to add bubbles. This is rarely necessary as dog or cat biscuits are more convenient, just as effective and cheaper. However if fish have been hammered on traditional floating baits or respond well to a particular flavour this could be worth a go.
Bread is of course worth a try and as an individual bait to intercept a cruising fish is still hard to beat. Small fish attention and bait softness mean it is surpassed by mixers as a day to day floater bait though.
If fish are feeding confidently artificial baits will happily be snaffled and have the advantage of staying on the hook reliably. It has been known for floater preoccupied carp to snaffle anyhting from bits of foam to a fag butt!!
Whilst a freeelined piece of crust is the classic method it is more common and versatile to use a controller. This gives some casting weight. Ally this to a long 6ft plus fine hooklength, drennen double strength in around 10-12lb breaking strain is ideal although 8lb is fine for smaller fish.
Hook choice is obviously personal although a size 10 EST raptor has worked well for me, the matt finish minimising spooking and providing necessary strength.
Controller choice is personal and there are a wide range available depending on preference and casting requirement.
As floater fishing is usually conducted close in and often close to pads a through action rod of around 2 to 2.5lb test curve is ideal for floater fishing. Reel wise anything with a smooth progressive drag will do the job. Fishing around pads is not for the faint hearted though so should really be practiced when expereince has been gained. Fights are usually violent and heart stopping!!
Main line wise as we are using a weaker hooklength than normal a lighter breaking strain, say 10-12lb, with good absorption capabilities aids casting of light baits and minimises spooking the fish. Nowadays fluoro lines with their superior light refraction properties can be worth a shot although as these are often higher diameter than nylon lines so most still prefer nylon.
Perhaps the biggest mistake the beginner floater angler adopts is to cast too soon. Given carp may be spooky at first it is worth working them into a feeding frenzy by steady application of bait until they are happily cruising mopping any available floater. When you achieve this state overcasting the controller and inching the bait back into the area can help avoid spooking fish. A controller smashing down amoungst nervous fish usually spells carp offski!!
Line floatant is available which as for fly fishing allows the hooklength to float on the surface and limit visibility to the fish. An older technique is a bit of grease from yer nose or forehead.
Unlike with modern semi fized rigs there is now lead to set the hook so a strike is required when the fish has taken the bait. A good indicator is usally when the controller is being pulled away.
For fishing at greater ranges than possible with a conventional controller a lead can also be used running above the controller to allow it find a suitable depth. This also allows a bait to hold station in winds or currents, not necessarily desirable if the freebies are floating away.
The beachcaster set up is also a deadly method and banned on many water. With this set up the rod is set high and a lead is used on the end of the line with a controller/float on the surface and then hooklength attached paternoster style. This allows the bait to be set just touching the water with the hooklength in the air.
Last Edited by: erikb on the 03 June 2009