Float fishing in snaggy swims
One of my favourite swims at the Town Parks Fishery just happens to be quite snaggy to the right. The carp know whether snaggy areas are and nine times out of 10 this is where they bolt to when hooked. One of the problems with float fishing tackle around snaggy areas is that when the line is pulled through underwater foliage, the shot will often either get moved on the line, or completely ripped off. Having to reshot the line and rearrange the float every time you catch a fish can get a little bit tiresome. So I have now started using a different float fishing method which completely eliminates the need to use shot on the line.
I've had some Middy fishing semi-loaded crystal wagglers knocking around in my tackle box for some time now. I decided to have a look at them the other day and see exactly how they could benefit me. Because they are only partially loaded they require some extra weight to cock them correctly in the water. What I do is lock the float onto the line with a couple of rubber float stops. Then if the float does get caught and pulled up or down the line, all you have to do is slide it back into place. Floats coming all different sizes. The one I was using yesterday requires an extra 0.8 g of weight to bring it perfectly down in the water so only the colour was sticking out. Now rather than using split shot to add that extra weight, I opted for Drennan in-line olivettes. Match anglers normally use olivettes on their pole rigs to replace the need for using bulk shot. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with using them on a normal float set up. Like your standard shot, olivettes come in various sizes so you won't have any problem finding the exact weight you need.Because the olivettes slide onto the line, there is absolutely no chance they can fall off. However, they need to be secured on the line so they don't slide. The instructions tell you to use a couple of very small shot to lock the olivettes onto the line. Personally, that really defeats the object of why I'm using them in the first place. So what I do is use a couple of Korum rubber float stops to lock them in place.
One of the other reasons why I am using one of these semi-loaded floats is that you can fish the lift method. You don't set the float up in quite the same way as your traditional lift method in which your split shot sits firmly on the bottom. The way it works with the semi-loaded float is that you have a small length of line laying on the bottom, I would recommend around 4 inches. You've then got to calculate it so that your weight is about an inch or two above the bottom. It's no good if the weight is actually resting on the bottom. So what happens then if the fish takes the bait into its mouth and lifts your weight up in the water slightly, you will see your float rise in the water, basically going back to position it would sit if you haven't added the olivette. You know then that the fish has the bait in its mouth and you can strike. A lot of people don't realise that fish will often test the baits by taking it in their mouth, they don't see any indication on the float. So this method can be really deadly at catching fish that do this. Mind you, you got to be pretty quick off the mark, as soon as that float rises in the water you've got to strike.
I'll mention my rod and reel because it's important to use fairly strong tackle when you're fishing next to snaggy areas. The fish will bolt as quickly as they can towards any snags so it's important to use fairly robust line. I don't use anything less than 8 lbs line running straight through to my hook. I also prefer to use my Avon rod which has a 1.25 TC which I can rely on if a big carp takes the bait.