The buoyant ledger

The function of the buoyant ledger is rather different but it too is usually heavy and can be cast a long way on light tackle. Where the usual Arlesey bomb or bullet sinks rapidly to the bottom, often into soft weed or mud, the buoyant ledger sinks very slowly and rests gently on the bottom. It can still be fished as a sliding weight so that at distance the angler can fish delicately.

Buoyant ledgers can be almost any shape but the two most common forms are pear-shaped and spindle-shaped. In the former the wooden pear has a certain amount of lead shot sealed in the base so that it sinks bulbous-end downwards. The angler chooses the amount of shot to suit the rate of sink required. Takes are often experienced as the bait sinks, and if the rate of sinking is known then the taking depth of the fish can be found. As with bubble floats the buoyant ledger can be used to fish a sink-anddraw technique $n at depth as illustrated above.

Most types of wood will do for the pear-shaped ledger. File it into a reasonable shape, put in a ring-eyed screw at the top, or drill a small hole and seal in a swivel with Araldite. Then drill a hole at the base for the lead or lead shot. To get the sinking rate needed, add a string of shot to the ring-eyed screw and watch the rate of sink in a bath. When the rate is exactly that required make a note of it in feet per second so that after each cast you can count it to the bottom (fish often take on the drop and you may have detected a good feeding depth). Put the lead in the hole in the bottom and seal it in place with plastic wood, or something similar. It should not rattle around. Next, give the ledger several coats of dark paint and matt varnish to make it both inconspicuous and to keep water from filtering through in to the woodplastic wood joints.

The ideal wood for streamlined buoyant ledgers is waterlogged greenheart. But greenheart is not easy to find and a close-grained heavy wood may have to be used. Drill a hole through the length for the line to run through, and then shape it so that it is like a fat barrel lead. You can have a small ring at each end rather than a hole along the length but it does not look quite so neat. Again, it may be necessary to insert some lead to get a good sinking rate. In this case a strip of lead or lead wire is better than shot since it is easier to arrange symmetrically along the length so that the sink is more or less horizontal.

Deadly for perch

Streamlined buoyant ledgers can be used for fishing tiny floating plugs both well out and deep, and they can, of course, be retrieved very slowly. If retrieving is stopped, the plug floats up from the bottom. Large plugs cannot be fished in this way, for the ledger would have to be large to sink them; but larger plugs cast a long way. Flies can also be fished this way, and it is a really killing way of taking perch.

Remember that perch are often very fussy about their feeding level, and it is often easier to find that level by means of a slow-sinking ledger. Naturally any of the usual baits can be presented on the buoyant ledger, and cause perhaps a little less resistance to a feeding fish since it tends to lift gently on the take. One of the difficulties of pike angling is that of throwing a sprat a long way. If the angler is adverse to heavy lead on the line (bearing in mind that pike run off at all sorts of queer angles), then the buoyant ledger is again the answer. This is because there is little more resistance to a running fish than with ordinary float tackle.