Each kind of shot used with this tackle has a specific function. The job of the stop-shot is to keep the float off the bulk shot and so minimize tangles on the cast—but do not confuse it with the stop-knot. This stop-shot should be as small as possible, say a No 6, to keep bending of the line or ‘waggling’ to a minimum during casting.
The bulk-shot is used to get the bait down to the fish and also to pull down most of the quill. The weight will be found by trial and error.
The tell-tale shot’s function is to show bites, and remember, you get a lot of ‘lift’ bites with this method. This tell-tale must be heavy enough to alter the setting of the float noticeably. In deep water I seldom use shot smaller than a No 4 and often as large as a BB shot.
You may wonder, why there are so many ‘lift’ bites—when the fish actually lifts the tell-tale shot and so causes the float to rise in the water—when using this method. It seems to result from the way a bream feeds. A bream’s body is distinctly oval in shape and so has to tilt forward to pick up a bait from the bottom and when it comes back to an even keel it inevitably lifts the shot and the float rises.
The tell-tale shot also helps get the depth without using a plummet. Keep moving the knot to a deeper setting until the shot does not act on the float; the tell-tale must then be on the bottom. Once this is done, measure the position of the stop-knot by holding the hook at the rod-butt and seeing where the knot lies—fishing 20ft deep with a 13ft rod, for instance, will put the knot around halfway. Make a careful note of this because if tackling up again no time need be lost in resetting the right depth.
Shotting is very important and ex-periments over the years seem to show that the following distances are correct for use in water over some 14ft deep: from hook to telltale shot 17in; from tell-tale shot to bulk shot 43in; from bulk shot to stop-shot 66in. The last two distances can be scaled down in shallower water.
The loaded slider float really scores when casting, giving greater accuracy and distance. This is because the weight of the float has it pushing against the stop-shot and consequently helping it out while the weight in the nose gives the float a ‘flight’ as in a dart. An unloaded slider float is far more likely to waggle in the wind and, in the case of a facing wind, actually ‘climb back’ towards the angler. Both of these situations take the force out of a cast and so limit casting distance.
Casting the slider
Many anglers cast a slider underhand, but it might be better to put the float well up in the air with a smooth action, avoiding snatching. Then, when it is starting to drop from the highest point of its flight, draw back the rod and ‘feather’ the line off the reel with the forefinger. This holds back the rig and straightens it so that it enters the water with the minimum of fuss and also reduces tangles. This last point is important, because the risk of tangling puts many anglers off.
When the float hits the water, get the rod tip well under the surface to sink the line, after winding three or four times to take up the slack, then start the ‘countdown’ as the bait sinks. It is possible to establish a standard time between tightening the line and the tell-tale shot pulling the float to the fishing position. If subsequent counts go more than five seconds past the standard time, strike for there is every chance that a fish has the bait in its mouth, holding up the tell-tale—known as a bite ‘on the drop’.
Remember if you tighten up the line to the float that the bait will drop much more slowly than if allowed to run freely off the reel. Make sure you fish to the same pattern each cast, although when fish are taking ‘on the drop’ slowing down the bait gives the bait more time in the catching zone.
Following these points provides a good basis to practise slider float techniques. These can often provide interest—and fish—when other more conventional methods fail.