Bubble floats

A bubble float enables you to cast a long way out, yet when it touches the water it weighs virtually nothing. First used by trout fishermen, it is now very popular for catching rudd Both bubble floats and buoyant ledgers can be used for casting light and delicate tackle a long way.

The bubble float is a transparent sphere or spindle made of plastic with two stoppered holes through which it can be partly or completely filled with water. It forms a heavy weight for casting, it floats, and the transparent material is made to look bubble-like on the surface and therefore quite natural to the feeding fish. The plastic of these floats is today thinner than that originally used and lasts much longer before going yellow or dirty, and the stoppers are also better made.

Use a stop on the float

Set the float on the line at the required distance above the hook and stop it either with shot or a swivel. Any bait can be fished, either on the surface or sinking, and by retrieving at intervals, a bait such as a fly can be fished sink and draw. This is a pretty deadly technique for rudd feeding near the surface whether fly, crust or sinking baits are used.

The bubble float technique may be used to catch rudd in choppy water. In this case bubbles (lin in diameter) are used as casting weights. The bubble float is fixed with a small shot on each side. The distance between a size 14 hook and the float is about 3ft. A long cast of almost 60 yards is made right into the waves. The tackle is swept round fairly quickly but the rudd are feeding close to the surface over deep water and take the large chunks of bait. In this case the float could barely be seen most of the time. The main purpose here is to use the bubble as a casting weight—not as combined weight and visual indicator.

The same technique can be used in the same circumstances to fish flies or fly-like minnows.

If the surface is calm the bubbles are remarkably visible and bites are indicated more by a sliding of the float than by a knock at the rod end.

This is the more usual place for a bubble float. Under flat calm, sunny conditions, the angler can often get a bait out to those sunbathing, rolling fish and, once the splash has subsided, present the bait in quite a delicate fashion. One of the best techniques is to fish a bait sink and draw style. Allow the maggots, fly or flake to sink slowly to a predetermined depth, and then retrieve the bubble gently towards you. As you do so the bait rises slowly in the water and begins to sink only when the retrieving is stopped.

Bubble floats are a delight to use for pike fishing in clear shallow water, particularly under bright conditions. The pike tackle is quite normal except that the line is finer, the hooks smaller, and the slider replaced by a sliding bubble float. To make some bubble floats slide more efficiently attach them to a short link with a swivel running on the reel line—in really shallow water they can be fixed. Flip the tackle into likely holes, working along the drain or round the shallow edges of a lake. Often the pike can be spotted and cast to, and in clear water less than 2ft deep it appears that the usual dark pike floats do put the fish off.

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