Sporting Fish logo


Basic float set up

Float fishing is normally used to catch those fish that swim between mid water and the surface, such as, bass, mackerel and garfish. However, when the water is shallow or when fishing over rocks, a float set up can be adjusted to catch other species such as wrasse and pollack.

This is a useful tactic for when crabs are quick to steal the bait near the bottom. When fishing at a depth greater than your rod length it is imperative to use a sliding float. A fixed float would jam against the end ring of the rod when reeling in leaving a hooked fish dangling frustratingly out of reach. On the other hand a sliding float slips down the line when taken out of the water and comes to rest just above the lead making casting and retrieving relatively easy.

As soon as the float settles on the water after casting it slides up the line until checked by a stop knot or float stop. This can be slid up or down the line to adjust the depth your bait is fishing. The illustration below shows the basic set up for float fishing that can be used in many different situations.


Bubble float

There are times when you need to achieve some distance and under those circumstances a bubble float is the ideal choice. The bubble float is simply a float that when filled with water acts as a casting weight ensuring your bait can presented at distance away. On the top of a bubble float you will see two plugs, pull them out so they let water in one side and let air out on the other. Fill the float with water and replace the plugs. On each side of the bubble float are eyes cast into the plastic. Clip a small swivel clip to these and tie one to the main line. You can tie the line to the eye without a swivel but the line has a tendency to break because the eyes can be very rough plastic.

Now all that is needed is to tie a hook length of about four or five feet to the other side swivel eye. Bait up the hook and cast out. The float will drift along in the current trailing the baited hook a few feet away just below the surface. Sandeels, ragworm and strips of mackerel and squid are particularly good bait for this kind of fishing depending on what fish may be present.

Bubble float


Light float set ups for mullet

Quiet harbours and saltwater lagoons are often populated by shoals of mullet. These can provide fantastic sport on light float tackle. The best time to try for these is early in the morning before boat traffic is underway. To get them feeding it is essential to groundbait with sopped bread at regular intervals.

A light float rod partnered with a fixed spool reel, waggler float, 5lb line and size 8 or 10 hooks baited with bread flake, crust or paste should score. Two versions of a float set up for Mullet are shown below. The 'Sugar Puff' rig is designed so that the bait fishes higher in the water.

SP rig Floats

Back to previous page

© Sporting Fish 2010-2016