DoorGunner

Just about finished.

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Lots of work putting the float rig together. Every slip bobber has to be drilled out then reamed to get the paint out of the tube. Then each pack gets four short leadered hooks with either red or green beads. A second bag with a snap swivel and five split shot weights and a pack of bobber stops. All I have to do now is put them all in their individual plastic bags. Good to be finished. 

 

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Wow, that a lot of bobbers, love the colors in that pic.  I have never used one of your rigs but have read your info on how it is used.  Might have to take a ride to see you this spring 

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You can see in the pic of the floats that they have a tube running right through the middle of the body. The old style floats or bobbers have something like a spring loaded clip that holds it in position on your line. These new slip floats have a hollow tube that you simply pass your line right through but before you do you need to put a bobber stop on your line.

stopper, Outdoor, fishingaccessorie, Yellow

You pass the end of your line right through the little hoop at the end of the bobber. Then pull the stopper off onto your line the way your mother would thread a sewing needle. 

The hole in the stop that your line goes through is very very tiny and your line is pretty snug on it to where you have to hold it in your fingers to pull the line through. Wherever you place this stop is where the float will stop. 

So it's bobber stopper, sliding float then the end of your line is tied to a snap swivel. all thats left is a split shot weight or two and a hook. The slip bobber will freely slide between the snap swivel and the bobber stop. 

What you need now is a general knowledge of your water depth. One place I have taped a few shows is a narrow waterway with a channel about seventeen feet deep. I position the boat and drop the anchor then set the stopper for about fifteen feet. 

I have two favorite baits for fishing like this and they are live minnows or the frozen shiners or spearing. I'm mostly targeting summer flounder and they love both. I messed with float fishing for years before I finally found the sliding float and worked out just about all of the kinks. Flounder live on the bottom but they hunt prey all the way to the surface. Anything one or near the bottom where the upward seeing flounder is lurking is in trouble. The float does the drifting for you and I can spool my reel and see my float for hundreds and hundreds of feet down current with ease. With my suspended bait a few feet off the bottom I avoid the snags, the seaweed and just about all of the so called junk fish I'm not targeting. The biggest plus is that the float rig factors out the wind. On windy days where I would be either drifting too fast or across the channel forcing me to constantly work the motor to keep me in the strike zone I can now just sit back and relax because the wind has no effect on the float. You drop it in the water and it goes straight down the waterway. 

If you fish from land or even from a boat and want to spread your line around you will find this rig very easy to cast. The sliding float will be right down by your snap swivel and a neat little package to cast whereas the old clip on bobber would cast out like a big slinky and you couldn't cast at all if it was set fifteen feet from the hook. When this rig hits the water the split shot, swivel, hook and bait will be enough weight to pull the line right through the float until it hit the stopper set at the desired depth. Neat to watch because the float will be on it's side while the line is passing through then when it hits the stop the float snaps to attention. 

Little tricks I have come up with have helped me over the years but none better than a little chum. It's a killer world on the bottom and everything like small crabs and grass shrimp are hiding. The flounder lay on the bottom motionless waiting for anything to make a mistake and mover revealing itself. Chum will start the party and get everything down the moving. Before I drop the anchor I just move a little up current from where I plan on anchoring and toss out some chum. It can be anything like regular ground up chum or canned cat food or even scraps from the cleaning table from the last trip. There will sink and roll along the bottom where my rig will drift by and all the little critters will come alive to grab some food and this will get the flounder up and moving about on the hunt. 

One last trick. I keep feeding lots of line out while float fishing because if the line draws tight the hook and bait will be pulled back up through the float. Keep feeding line and when the float goes down you know it's a fish. As soon as this happens I flip the bail and reel in all the slack until the line goes tight then set the hook as hard as I can. Then as fast as I can I reel my rod tip back down to the water and set it again and do it a third time. Then I know the hook is set. Lot of line to straighten out and with a hundred or two feet of line out there is a lot of stretch so by setting it the three times you do drive the hook home. 

Still have more to write about but my fingers and eyes are tired. Any questions, keep them coming.   

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Target species. 

The great thing about the float rig is that it targets just about all the species we want or at least species that swim freely and don't live in structure like tog although I have caught them with the float near structure.

 

I use this rig in our back bay areas behind North Wildwood. Grew up fishing with dad back here and never seen the need to hit the ocean for what we have here right near our dock. Dad always said, "people run over fish to get to fish". 

 

Every fish we seek in our back bay waters will cruise near the bottom for food. Think about it and remember how many times you look in your cooler at the end of a trip and find small crabs or grass shrimp that have been regurgitated in the bottom. Always check the stomachs of your catch and it's mostly small crabs and shrimp and these are living on or near the bottom. A few feet off the bottom is a kill zone where large predators swim to fill their stomachs. 

 

Everyone wants a big weight or bucktail to hit the bottom but thats where all the problems are. Snags, big clumps of weeds and rough bottom make it a real pain to drift at times. Back in the 70's when I fished my flat bottom boat in the back I used two rods. My light spinner was thrown off the back then placed rod butt on the seat and across the transom. Seemed like every few seconds it would bend and I would grab it to set the hook only to find out it was the bottom so I tried something different. A simple swivel with about a four foot long leadered hook and a small split shot above the swivel. Would cast it out off the back and lay the rod down again only no more problems with the bottom. Just wasn't enough weight to put it down all the way. Then I started catching more fish than I ever had before. Weakies, flounder and blues actually hit more than the two hook rig that I was holding and on the bottom. Figured I had taken my offering and kept it clear of the bottom and all the problems. So neat to see when a flounder hit. Weakies and blues would grab and run but the flounder were different. They would hop up off the bottom, grab the minnow then go right back down to the bottom. If it was a calm day I could see where my line entered the water and watch the line drop as the flounder went to the bottom. 

 

Thats when I started messing around with the float rig. Keep it off the bottom and you won half the battle and I firmly believe that I catch more fish in the area I fish with it than if I made multiple drifts through the same area. The best part about it is that the fish don't have a clue that you are even there. It's as quiet as you can get and in shallow water like the flats thats the most important thing.  

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Here in South Jersey we are lucky to have so many large flat shallow areas that are food pumps for the entire ecosystem. These waters receive more direct sunlight, warm faster and produce enormous amounts of food for all the critters that will be born this spring. It's the nursery of our saltwater.

 

These shallow mostly flat nurseries are also some of the most visited waters by predators. So many more targets than deeper water and in a more confined area so pickings are easier. however, in these shallow nurseries a predator can quickly become prey. Besides the chance that a larger predator is right behind them doing the same thing they are doing there is also death from above. Ospreys can spend almost the entire day just floating around above these nurseries and in shallow water there is no hiding for a fish moving around. We see many ospreys returning to their nest with a flounder in their hooks and they aren't picking them off the bottom in twenty feet of water. From the surface to the bottom these shallow flats are kill zones.

 

So take into consideration that any predator that moves into the shallows is on high alert for danger. A shadow of an overhead bird will cause the fish to either freeze or take off for deeper water and you don't have that in deep water where shadows from above are minimal. So here we come, in a boat or kayak making noise and spreading a large shadow and scratch our heads because we aren't catching what we thought we would. I always picture an enormous circle of empty water around me when I move into these shallows. I have spooked everything within casting reach well out of my area. Enter the float style fishing.

 

Move in and pick my spot and drop the anchor. Now my shadow is locked into one location and eventually small fish will move in under the boat once they find out it isn't dangerous. Next I remove my shoes because a boat is nothing more than a huge drum and walking around with heavy feet is just constant noise that echos out keeping things on edge. No dropping the net or banging of buckets or anything else that sends vibrations out across the water. 

 

Next is some of the chum. always neat to watch as the water behind the boat starts to come alive. Tiny baitfish begin to move in to where it almost looks like a fine drizzle on the surface. The chum will begin to concentrate the baby fish and shiners, crabs and grass shrimp right behind your boat. Hang a baited hook under a float about a foot or two off the bottom and be ready. The chum isn't to draw in the predators but it will fill the waters behind you with what the predators are looking for. Still amazes me at the size of some fish that venture into shallow waters but the old rule always applies. Find the food and you will find your targets.

 

Another great thing about this type of fishing is the lack of competition. Most boaters are a little timid when they see shallow water. No channel markers usually means no company. First few times out just go slow and go towards the top of the tide when the water is getting deeper. Doesn't take a lot of water to float a boat. I have had some great catches in waters where the very tops of commercial crab pots are above the surface. 

 

Quiet, chum, float and just sit back and wait for the nursery to kick in. Early morning and evening are my favorite times and have proven to be the most productive times for me. Direct sunlight isn't something the fish seem to enjoy especially in shallow water. 

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I have to try the bobber stops. I've seen several types and I keep getting hungup on whether these get reeled in onto the spool for casting, or if you have to leave everything hanging, and not actually following your description (if you meant "bobber stop" vs. "bobber" etc)

 

" You pass the end of your line right through the little hoop at the end of the bobber. Then pull the stopper off onto your line the way your mother would thread a sewing needle.  "

 

I'll have to stop in some time.

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Had Uncles w boats and got to fish/explore

back bays and channels as a kid. Thanks

for the posts DG. Bring back some fun

memories. Miss the crabbing and weakfish

trips.

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DG is absolutely correct, using this system is simple and very very effective.....and you don't run around all day wasting gas.  Usually I use my trolling motor with spot lock instead of the anchor, makes it easier to move 20 feet over there or wherever.  And, you will be shocked as to the species you will catch on this if you give it a chance.....I've had stripers, weakfish, blues all hit is as I'm fishing a minnow for fluke.....but hardly any sandsharks or sea robins, etc.  And although this is a great way to do it on windy days, it great on "regular" days too!

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1 hour ago, pioneeratsea said:

DG is absolutely correct, using this system is simple and very very effective.....and you don't run around all day wasting gas.  Usually I use my trolling motor with spot lock instead of the anchor, makes it easier to move 20 feet over there or wherever.  And, you will be shocked as to the species you will catch on this if you give it a chance.....I've had stripers, weakfish, blues all hit is as I'm fishing a minnow for fluke.....but hardly any sandsharks or sea robins, etc.  And although this is a great way to do it on windy days, it great on "regular" days too!

X 2....I’ve been catching fish is the south jersey backwaters for 10 years with gunners float rig... it flat out works and honestly I feel like a 10 year old all over again when the float goes under. I’ve put a lot of fish in the cooler on days that would have just been no fun to try and drift fish..... also almost boated my first jersey cobia a few years ago on the float rig out on the TI reef while drifting for flounder, tossed it out off the bow on a bait runner with a live spot set at 4’ and watched a 50 lb class   Cobia crush it....fought it for 10 minutes before it wrapped a fish pot buoy and broke me off.

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2 hours ago, Bluetaildragger said:

Wow, some great info here.  On these south jersey flats in the summer, are you mostly after flounder?  

It started out for summer flounder but quickly changed because it covered all the game fish I was after. Always had the float rig since I first picked up the float in a big outdoors store back in the early 90's. Then it just sat in my tackle box as one of those winter time, this will work ideas but don't waste time with it when you finally get out there the next spring. 

 

Then one day we were out taping an opening day show and we hit what I thought was dead low tide. I was near a sod bank along a very narrow channel and that was where I wanted to fish when the tide changed. I tossed the anchor up on the sod and decided to wait about  forty five minutes until the tide began moving. I was checking the tackle bag and found the float. Checked the instructions which are vague and went to work. Worked on it for a few minutes and got it together with a minnow on the hook and tossed it out. Water was flat calm and I noticed the float was still moving a little with what was left of the tide. Camera guy had shut down and stretched out with his hat over his eyes when while I was looking right at the float it vanished. Fished little floats for sun fish my entire childhood and the same jolt ran through my body when the float went down. I tightened the line and set the hook and a nice keeper flounder hit the deck. Camera man woke up and got busy as I tossed another minnow out and sure enough it only took about a minute for the float to vanish again and another keeper hit the deck. One more short followed before the tide came to a complete stop. It was then that I knew I had something here and decided to get to work on it. 

 

The next weekend was miserable weather with wind and some rain so I decided to just go out for a little while and use nothing but the float. Headed to one of my favorite spots that has a decent size feeder creek running out to a long narrow waterway and dropped the anchor. Water depth about twelve feet and I drooled as I dropped the float along the sod bank and let it go. Right across the mouth of the creek like I had walked it out there. Expected a hit but nothing happened and was ready to reel in and run it again but then I could see the current was going to run it right by the point of the other side of the creek. I can still remember glancing away for a second then looking back but couldn't see the float. Squinted and stared for a few seconds but it was no longer on the surface. Went to reel in when the rod almost shot out of my hand. Great fight that I knew wasn't a flounder because this fish was taking me for a ride. Finally got it to the boat and it was the prettiest seven pound weakie you ever saw. Repeated the same drop and as soon as it hit the point another weakie hit. Third time it didn't make the point as a flounder struck as soon as it hit the mouth of the creek. For about an hour and a half it was one hit after another with weakies if I could get it past the flounder. 

 

Another time we were out doing another show and this was about crabbing and fishing. Can't sit in a boat crabbing without dropping a line in. Had minnows and frozen spearing and caught a few throwback flounder but nothing else. Had every crab line and trap baited with bunker so I gave it a shot. Took a almost thawed bunker and cut it into some strips and let the float go. Suddenly the flounder were keeper size along with about five weakies and the last was a thirty three inch striper that I screwed up with royally. Using light tackle I got the striper up to the boat when it made a big slow turn that went right around every crab line I had out. That was the end of the show that day. But it proved to me once and for all that this rig is deadly for any species out there and a few feet off the bottom is the kill zone that every fish checks out. 

 

It's a float for all fish but I have found out a few things on how to screw it up by making many mistakes over the years. I think I have figured out the problems and will explain them on the next post.  

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13 hours ago, robtf said:

I have to try the bobber stops. I've seen several types and I keep getting hungup on whether these get reeled in onto the spool for casting, or if you have to leave everything hanging, and not actually following your description (if you meant "bobber stop" vs. "bobber" etc)

 

" You pass the end of your line right through the little hoop at the end of the bobber. Then pull the stopper off onto your line the way your mother would thread a sewing needle.  "

 

I'll have to stop in some time.

The bobber stop or what I now use called the gummi stop is a small piece of rubber that is tapered at each end and your line does pass through the small hole in the middle. The hole is small enough that your line is snug when it passes through but not so snug that you can't move it. You need to be able to pull and slide it up and down your line to change your depth setting. It is made to pass right through your guides and onto your spool. 

 

Thats the great thing about a sliding float. It always slides down to the swivel making it easy to cast yest you don't have to adjust the stop every time you reel in. The stop stays in the same position but the float slides up and down. Reel in and the float slides down to the swivel never getting in your way. Toss it out again and the weight from the split shots and tackle pull the line through the bobber until it hits the stop. Set the stop at twenty feet up from your hook and drop or cast it in. Bobber lays on it's side as the weight pulls the line through then when the stop hits the bobber it stops and your hook is twenty feet down and the bobber flips upright.

 

One trick I did learn was that even though the stop is snug it will move without a whole lot of pressure. It will move but not on it's own and the only other thing that will move it besides your fingers is the rod tip especially if you have a fish on. Picture fighting a fish and the rod is bent and you are reeling in. Then the stopper comes out of the water and hits the rod tip. Your line is at a severe angle at this point and sometimes the stopper will hang up on the rod tip and as you continue to reel there is enough pressure to make the stopper side down your line. What I found out that as you reel in you keep an eye out for the stopper to come out of the water and nears the rod tip. Then real quick I just point the rod tip down to decrease the angle making the stopper slide right over the rod tip. Once you are passed the tip you are good to go. 

 

After a trip or two the stopper will start to loosen up especially if you slide it up and down your line adjusting to different depths. Thats why the ring that has the bobber stops on it comes with 27 stoppers so you can change them whenever needed. .   

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Short leaders.  Took a while to figure this one out. On some trips I was plagued with knots in my leaders. Couldn't figure out how the hell I was getting knots in my leaders. Would notice that at times I could see the bobber slowly spin as it drifted down current and figured it had something to do with that. Then one day I was demonstrating the rig to a friend and I found the real reason for the knots.

 

I keep preaching about near bottom is the kill zone and none know it better than a live minnow. When I demonstrated the rig to my friend I walked down to our floating dock and tossed the rig in. It was early spring and the water was crystal clear about six feet deep. I set the bobber at about five feet and even put a minnow on the hook to show how it's the weight of the split shots, swivel, hook and bait that pulls the line through the bobber. Back then I was using about a two and a half foot long leader so as not to spook a predator with the swivel and shots. As we watched we could see the minnow trying to swim to the bottom for cover because leader to loop it and swim through.  hanging a foot above makes it visible to everything. The minnow was way to small to pull the float down and he went carzy swimming all over the place to get away. While I watched I saw the minnow swim around and loop the leader then swim straight through it causing a knot like it knew what it was doing. The leader was too long and gave the minnow too much freedom to move around and by accident swim the leader into a knot. My lucky day to demonstrate it in clear water where I could actually witness it happening.

 

Eliminated the problem by shortening the leader to about fourteen inches. Minnow can still swim around but not enough leader to form a loop and swim through it. And the snap swivel and split shots doesn't seem to spook or annoy the predators at all.  

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