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Float fishing for Barbel

Cliff Turner

Senior Member
I was lucky enough to fish with Keith a couple of times, one of the things he told me that really stood out was that he felt that if he float fished all day (which he usually did) he would probably only get the presentation perfect on a handful of trot throughs. Changed the way I felt about float fishing as until then I thought if I hadn't caught after a couple of hours it wasn't going to happen.
 

Graham Elliott

Senior Member
Yes. I was very lucky to fish many times with Keith. Gave a talk at his request for Veralum.

Barbel on the float.

I tend to use a 6 -8gr Avon float but tend to trot further than most I guess, happy 30-50 yards if possible.

I use an olivette also, but the ones attached with rubber tubing allowing me to move it during the day without moving shot...quite amazing what a difference a foot move can make.

Its usually 2/3 to 3/4 down the length, but I will often use a dropper bb as well 9 inches from the hook.

Straight though on Silststar 10.1 or 9.2 . This on Trent and mainly due the rocky bottom. But never felt the need to reduce strength elsewhere. Normally never fish more than 15 feet out.

I tend to see if I can get the float through without catching bottom, when it first time catches on the bottom, check again, slightly different line and make sure the dragging was not tall snag.

If happy then I add another 9 inches to depth to allow for line / reel drag.

What surprised me many years was the number of barbel that willl take a bait at quite few feet of the bottom when holding back.

A daiwa 14ft spectron xp rod is perfect, and I use one although heavy for me after 5 or so hours.

Have used other rods on less push rivers happily.

Good Luck guys.
 

Ian Sewter

Senior Member
How do you ascertain the depth? As Graham says often by the float catching and dragging under. Generally this could be sufficient but the float dragging under could be a tall snag or uneven bottom which could give you a false picture especially further down the swim. A normal (even large) plummet is often too light on deep fast swims such as the Wye or Trent for accuracy as the plummet is swept away in the flow. So I have made a specially heavy plummet from a 2oz bomb by cutting off the bottom of the lead to produce a flat surface and then aralditing on a piece of cork. Now I can obtain an accurate picture of the swim both across and down the river. It is especially useful to identify gullies, drop offs etc. where barbel could be lying. I can think of one particular swim on the Wye where the float drags under at around 4 feet deep but then 20 yards down the swim, it drops to 8 feet before shallowing again. I only found the deeper spot by using the heavy plummet and caught a load of barbel there. In contrast another swim is deep in front but the barbel are further down where it shallows so I set the float shallow "up in t'air" for in front of me knowing bites will come further down when the bait will be bouncing along the bottom. Such information can also guide you where to leger!
 

Jon Frisby

Senior Member
The beauty of the float is that you find the little troughs and large rocks etc when trotting through, you will also find packer water even an extra foot out. Like Graham says Trotting on a large river means trotting up to 50yds downstream. It may shallow up in the middle and then deepen off after. It's just a case of guiding the float around.
If your on a few though you will find that sweet spot on the trot, it might be just a 6 foot patch. It's not all about fishing the bottom. Sometimes if it's slow, shallow off a foot sometimes 18 inches. They can come even higher.
Baits, well maggots very good and relatively cheap and split the amount with hemp. Mix in some spam and pellets with the dropper too for later. I have lost count how many I have caught running a lump of spam through later in the day. If your getting tired holding the float rod, use a bomb as light as you can, in the sweet spot, but keep feeding as you would, if you were still on the float.
Such a vast subject....
 

Richard Barrett

Senior Member
Nearly all my barbel fishing is with a float. Normally (Drennan Acolyte plus) 6lb line to a 4.4lb hook-length, but that's just mostly with maggots and caster on small hooks. In summer I use a slightly stepped up rod (daiwa 15'0) with a Harrell Truncheon float 4 grams average. 8lb line 6lb hook link. This is basically a big waggler, shot all around the float ( I've made mine almost self cocking with weight in the bottom) they take 4 number four after that. In fast shallow swims that will be bulked just under half-way. In deep Trent swims they are spread out, with the hook link naked. Then a size 10s barbless hook with meat maggots or bread. It works as Jon says, plus you can keep very mobile and just rove in summer. I try to fish just on the bottom with the last number four about 12''' off the bottom to save snagging.
 

Jon Kennard

Senior Member
I know there's been this discussion before and lots have mentioned silstar. However I hear about floating braid foot trotting anyone use it or recommended a brand? Or the reasons to stick to mono
 

Terry Simner

Senior Member
I know there's been this discussion before and lots have mentioned silstar. However I hear about floating braid foot trotting anyone use it or recommended a brand? Or the reasons to stick to mono
Yes, I use braid quite often Jon, when club rules allow ... fluoro yellow "Jig Silk" actually :eek: It mends/lifts off the water beautifully, is visible at 40m+, and with no stretch you are in instant contact with your float. But you do need a 'giving' (/forgiving) rod, and some stretchy line below the float ... at least 4-5ft (as a shock absorber). Can be a bugger though in a strong (esp downstream/facing) wind, as it does lift off so well.
 

Jon Frisby

Senior Member
I tried braid once and can see its appeal. I would only realistically use it on a small river, literally just trotting off the rod end. I used it once on the Trent and tbh in near zero winds it was fine. Trent is predominately down stream and the wind just caught it. I was using power pro 4 strand, which is an open weave. That lied the problem. Guru do a braid called Pulsep, which is fused and to the naked eye looks line mono. Now if I was going to go back to braid, it would be this one 100%.
 

Chris Jones

Senior Member
Similar story to Terry. I used braid for almost all my trotting for three or four years. There are both up and downsides to using it. It can render a rod, that's just fine with mono, to seem almost useless. Get the rod choice wrong and you'll bounce hooks out quite often. I never found any need to use a mono leader with braid, I simply stuck to my normal mono/fluoro hook lengths. However, that undoubtedly made my choice of rod even more critical. Striking and control, even at distance, can be excellent due to how well it floats and how little stretch it has. In benign wind conditions, it's fantastic. However, in less than perfect wind conditions, or uneven, boily water, it's not so much fun.

I've seen people suggest that wind knots are an issue, but I never had that problem. However, though different braids are afflicted to different degrees, the noise through rod rings can be an issue for some. The biggest issue I encountered was actually finding braid in sensible strains. Some brands do braids of around 10lb and less, but getting hold of it can be tricky.
 

Terry Simner

Senior Member
Similar story to Terry. I used braid for almost all my trotting for three or four years. There are both up and downsides to using it. It can render a rod, that's just fine with mono, to seem almost useless. Get the rod choice wrong and you'll bounce hooks out quite often. I never found any need to use a mono leader with braid, I simply stuck to my normal mono/fluoro hook lengths. However, that undoubtedly made my choice of rod even more critical. Striking and control, even at distance, can be excellent due to how well it floats and how little stretch it has. In benign wind conditions, it's fantastic. However, in less than perfect wind conditions, or uneven, boily water, it's not so much fun.

I've seen people suggest that wind knots are an issue, but I never had that problem. However, though different braids are afflicted to different degrees, the noise through rod rings can be an issue for some. The biggest issue I encountered was actually finding braid in sensible strains. Some brands do braids of around 10lb and less, but getting hold of it can be tricky.
Good post Chris. Breaking strain is not an issue for me, whilst diameter is. I started with Power Pro too but as Jon says, it's open weave, so I changed to Jig Silk. Re. the leader ...yes, if the rod is soft enough, and you're not heavy handed, then a leader shouldn't be required. But to me an just adds a bit of 'cushion'. And yes, huge subject ....and this thread in discussing both stick (good post Gra) and waggler fishing, which in several respects are 'chalk 'n cheese'.
 

Chris Jones

Senior Member
Breaking strain is not an issue for me, whilst diameter is.
Don't get me wrong, as I always use a lighter hooklink, I've never been averse to using mainlines with breaking strains way over that recommended by rod manufacturers. However, I am not prepared to use a 15lb+ braid on a float rod. If you end up using a really heavy braid, in place of whatever mono you would normally choose, the disparity in relative diameter is at least partly negated. Breaking strain was never my sole consideration, but if you are forced into using a high breaking strain with its associated increase in diameter, it negates at least one of the positives in using braid.
 

Keith Humphreys

Senior Member
I have been considering trying braid for trotting again since I acquired some 200m spools of 'Sundance Tackle Super Braid' (Roger Baysance's company) in 12lb BS 0.09mm which is a round dyneema braid that floats well. I currently have a few spools in my tackle shop intended for LRF anglers to use but think I will give it a go when we get permission to fish again ;)
 

Bob Watson

Senior Member
Similar story to Terry. I used braid for almost all my trotting for three or four years. There are both up and downsides to using it. It can render a rod, that's just fine with mono, to seem almost useless. Get the rod choice wrong and you'll bounce hooks out quite often. I never found any need to use a mono leader with braid, I simply stuck to my normal mono/fluoro hook lengths. However, that undoubtedly made my choice of rod even more critical. Striking and control, even at distance, can be excellent due to how well it floats and how little stretch it has. In benign wind conditions, it's fantastic. However, in less than perfect wind conditions, or uneven, boily water, it's not so much fun.

I've seen people suggest that wind knots are an issue, but I never had that problem. However, though different braids are afflicted to different degrees, the noise through rod rings can be an issue for some. The biggest issue I encountered was actually finding braid in sensible strains. Some brands do braids of around 10lb and less, but getting hold of it can be tricky.
I've just got some J braid x4 Chris. It's on a new LRF reel in 5.5lb/0.07mm dia. If I were to up it to 9lb/0.1mm I'd give it a bash for Barbel in snag free swims. Never tried braid for stick/waggler but the 5.5lb stuff feels really well behaved on the spool, I reckon the x8 might be better. Both easily obtained!

 

Jon Kennard

Senior Member
Thanks gents for the replies about my questions on braid. Terry I looked up jig silk but the description is sinking not floating?is this correct but it floats when trotting? It seemed slightly strange in terms of the diameter as braid is so thin for its braking stain your likely to them use a much weaker hook length that is larger diameter to the braid. I have used braid on a pin for carp in a lake and just use a 12 inch hook length. Im trying to work out whether I fancy trying it or not. Ive for me 8lb Dave Harrell float line on my pin currently that I am yet to try. Im linking that with a diawa connoisseur 15ft float rod. Does anyone know ifb that would suit braid? Its a strong rod yet forgiving in the tip. In haven't fished with it yet as the flooded conditions didn't allow
 

Chris Jones

Senior Member
I've just got some J braid x4 Chris. It's on a new LRF reel in 5.5lb/0.07mm dia. If I were to up it to 9lb/0.1mm I'd give it a bash for Barbel in snag free swims. Never tried braid for stick/waggler but the 5.5lb stuff feels really well behaved on the spool, I reckon the x8 might be better. Both easily obtained!

Too late for me, Bob. I gave up using braid last year. It's by no means useless, but I tired of the downsides.
 

Terry Simner

Senior Member
Jon, it's the Fox Rage stuff that I use (does anyone else make a 'Jig Silk'? ). I'm not sure if I ever used it without applying spray on floatant, but probably not. I always spray my waggler line, and always grease (I find Vaseline is good enough) about 4ft of line above the float. The Jig Silk sinking has never been a problem for me, ever. And re. 'downsides' .... yeah, it's unforgiving (as it doesn't 'give' :) ), but get it right and it's a joy to use (I find). But, each to their own.
 
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