Float fishing questions

So i have been going on fishing a couple times the last couple months and have missed more fish than i have landed. The missed fish all came on bobber and jig or bait. I know how to rig a bobber several different ways, and i know about mucillin and bobber stops and all the goodies that come with them (or maybe i dont). So this isn't really isn't a question about how to rig a float, however, more a question about how to improve my technique. I believe the reason i lost the last couple fish is because as i extend my drift i let to much like out and the slack in the line prevents me from getting a solid hook set. I have trouble maintaining my float along the seam while keeping my line from bowing. I would idealy like to like my line follow a straight line too the bobber and am assuming this has to be done while free spooling. So i am curious if anyone has any tips about float fishing, besides rigging, that might be helpful. Especially tips about free spooling to extend the float. Should i be using a heavier weight and bobber.... etc. And another thing i would be interested in is what kind of line people are using while float fishing, are some better than others, braid vs. mono etc, slip bobbers like beau mac vs thill or even a fixed bobber. Thanks for any and all input! And geez... Has anyone from the bank been getting em lately? everyone is so quiet on this clackamas river section and i assume there are a few of us who make it out there everyone once in a while. :) Thanks again ;)
I am by no means an expert, in bobber n' jig fishing. However, I notice that most peeps use a rod in the 10' length range (maybe some go even longer). From what I can tell, it enables them to maintain constant contact with the terminal gear and get more hook ups. In short, it keeps your line OFF of the water (by having a longer rod). You didn't mention rod length, but that came to my mind. Hope this helps.
Mad dog
troutdude said:
I am by no means an expert, in bobber n' jig fishing. However, I notice that most peeps use a rod in the 10' length range (maybe some go even longer). From what I can tell, it enables them to maintain constant contact with the terminal gear and get more hook ups. In short, it keeps your line OFF of the water (by having a longer rod). You didn't mention rod length, but that came to my mind. Hope this helps.

Yep! Longer rod, heavier float, heavier weight for a larger river. It gets pretty tricky trying to stay in contact with your float...especially when there are multiple current seams. Mend your line frequently to keep it upstream of the float if you can, the heavier weight will minimize movement at your bait as you control your float. I would guess that a float and bait set up would work better than a float and jig for really long downstream drifts, you can easily back bounce the bait using the float more as a strike indicator than anything....that's what I do!
try using braid if you havent already, that may help you with your hooksets, and if your having trouble with your line, try a longer rod. you didntr really say what setup you were using though
I am using a 10'6 with a spinning reel. Im slowly trying to get my gear and mind in the right place so i can keep more fish on and intice more to bite. Im gonna give the heavier bobber and weight a shot and that should help with the control. I have been using mono, although have used braid. The reason i switched back to mono from braid is i figured my leader is 2 or 3 feet long, if im fishing at like 8 ft deep i have 5 or 6 feet of high vis braid in the water and was wondering if this would turn a fish off. I have been getting fish to bite, they just keep getting unbuttoned. As far as the size of the river im fishing, its the clackamas, and it is quiet large compared to some rivers like the wilson. Anyone have any recomendations on personal pontoons as well?
the mono stretches a lot, and if your downstream a ways, that is part of your problem with the hooksets. i tied about 20 ft of mono on the end of my braid, and that should fix your visability problems. as far as the pontoons go, i saw one fully setup at costco for $250. dont know much about them though, look around in the inflatable section of boats. Brian
For long extended floats mono can be a killed from my experience plus its hard to keep on top of the water. Try a floating braid like hydofloat, it makes a huge difference. Not to mention the huge help it is to be able to see your line and know where it is. With that 10.6 you should be golden.
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Mend. I'm a kook and still use mono, but the floating stuff is neat and would probably help a bit. The long rod is also key...
I bumped up from an 8'6 to a 9'6, and then up to a 12'. What a difference! I also roll with braid religiously on my float rod, if anything i've had issues with setting to hard, and popping my jig out of their mouth because there's no stretch at all. I prefer it though...just makes you more aware is all. As far as the high vis in the water...steelhead are not as shy as people make them out to be. I had a 2 foot mono leader with the high vis braid, and it was a 7 foot deep hole and had a taker. If you're worried about it though, like has been said, you can tie on a mono bumper.
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gonna try the braid and add a mono leader probably about ten ft long, and try a bit heavier rig. Wont be out until about monday we will see how it gooes. Thanks for all the tips and please keep em coming if you havent chimed in yet.
most the spots I jig fish where i know im not gonna be going more than say 6 ft deep off my bobber i love a fixed float and a bait caster. so much easier to let line out and control your bobber and when you go to set the hook its just thumb down and hit it . there is no trying to flip the bail back over or grabbing the line with your off hand to try and control it its all in the thumb I kinda go against the grain I fish an eight and a half ft rod sometimes a nine. I use mono on all my bait casters I like Izorline xxx I dont seem to have a problem with it sinking or mending my line either and out of the last 23 fish hooked on jigs I have landed 23 fish never had a problem with line stretch and mono hook sets either you can do this all with a sliding rig as well but this is just me i have one spinning rod and it seldom gets used IMO bait casters are supreme to running floats
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Everything that has been said so far is spot on. I use P-Line's hydrofloat line on my spinning reel and it works great, has no stretch either. For deeper holes or shy fish, I use fluorocarbon leader for a couple reasons. First, fluoro has the same refractive index as water, so it disappears when submerged, also, it has little stretch and higher abrasion resistance than mono. In addition, since it is nearly invisible under water, you can bump up to a higher pound test when you need it without worrying about spooking fish. The last main reason I use fluoro is that it is denser than mono and sinks, getting your bait or jig down faster and keeping it there.
Sometimes I find that the fixed floats are too small and fast for the clack any time of the year but low clear summer and get pushed all over the place. I use a 1oz beau mac and a sliding egg sinker above my jig or bait and it slows it down a little and helps it track better I think. It helps when you need a long cast to the far bank too. I usally tie a five foot floro leader
For sure water speed and depth dictates float size! I see so many people using giant 2 oz floats when they can get by with a 1/2 oz float during low water in the summer, and then i see the opposite where people's floats are barely even visible because it's too small. I use those beau macs as well when it's movin' good and i need to slow it down and get my jig down. I used to shot the crap outta my line until I gave up and went with the egg sinker, works more bueno. I usually don't go above 3/4 but the river dictates that.
I have been doing okay float fishing but I want to take it to the next level. Everything has been Chinook and almost always on sand shrimp and roe. I have seen a lot taken on jigs, some with bait, some without. Even had someone hook a couple Chinook on my jigs.

There in lies the quandary, why can't I hook anything on a float with a jig or artificial lure? One small shaker winter run is the best I have done and that was 2 feet off the bank. Coho simply will not hit my presentation.

Here are my basics: 3/4 to 1.5 ounce float for conditions. Adjust to find the fish, sometimes as deep as 14 feet. Leader length will vary but normally under 18 inches.

I plan on getting into making artificial eggs and a skirt type bait for fall salmon and steelhead. Singles, clusters and whatever I can come up with will be what I am gonna try.

So my question is, how much difference is there between fishing bait and fishing artificials under a float? No one fishes plastic here, float or drifted for salmon. I would really like to learn how to make them work. I would also try to keep from having to use bait just to make sure I'm fishing the lures right and not getting bait hits. Do I need to run a longer leader? Smaller weights above it? Faster water or slower water? Make sure it hangs horizontal? How do I get the artificial eggs to drift the same as the real thing?

Bigger question, do Chinook hit artificial lures the same as eggs or will the bite be different and harder to detect?

Why can I not get Coho to hit anything under a float? Are the possibly hitting and the float doesn't go under so I miss the bite?

Might it be a good idea to try tight lining so I can detect bites with artificials that otherwise would be written off a bottom bounces or wave bobs?

And to make things worse, 2-4 weeks of the first part of the season tend to be no bait/scent/anything regulations so making an artificial bait work is really important at times.
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That is a very tall order to say the least. Might want to try fishing with some one that can show you how to achieve what your asking here.
I fish jigs tipped with sandshrimp a lot in the fall...i do tend to get more lighter bites sone just barely tap it and my bobber kind of stops and barely dips... Try a first bite jig in the 5/0 orange or purple... 1-2oz float for chinook.. For coho i do well with a little lighter of a bobber with pink jigs and white heads.. Or pink spinners like a blue fox size 4 for exanple.. Cpho dig the color pink. Hope that answers a question or two.
I would get someone to show me but no one fishes plastics on a float here let alone drifted, not with any success anyway. I have seen some fake eggs tried but they had no luck, out of towners though so basing the fishes willingness to take plastics off that.

Come to think of it, I haven't seen but 3 Coho hooked on a float in the past 3 years since I started using a float for salmon. I have gotten a good 25 Chinook and the occasional chum but no Coho.
Why would you want to use plastics for salmon? Steelhead are easy to catch with plastic lures, jigs, bait and many other things but salmon can be much more picky. I would keep with bait under a float. You can catch coho with small jigs as we do it every year. Think black and purple and small. Chinook will take jigs occasionally but most people tip them with bait so I think its more the bait the fish is eating than the jig. We save our good eggs for salmon and fish them for steelhead a little bit. Good luck.
To the OP. I completely understand your wanting to go to the next level with out the use of Bait. There are quite a few things to have to think about here. But, it has been said above, WATCH your Float. Not always will the Float just go down..........Some times the Float will get cocked upstream, Or a little unusual wandering. Float/Presentation/Water Depth adjustments/Weight, are Key!
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