Tips For Float Fishing Steelhead

Float fishing for steelhead is similar to the drift fishing method in that you cast out, across and slightly upstream, pick up any slack line, and allow your float and jig suspended below it to drift through the holding water. Your drift is complete when your outfit nears the tail out, jig begins hitting bottom, or you cannot eliminate line drag by mending, which is when you’ll need to reel in and cast again. Float fishing consists of a series of casts, drifts, and retrieves. Because you’re fishing with your eyes rather than by feel, you’ll need to keep tabs on your bobber at all times. When your bobber goes down/disappears (signaling a fish has taken your jig) you must quickly/immediately set the hook.In all cases, a drag-free drift with your float moving at or a bit slower than the river current is critical to success. If you’re fishing a current edge, that is: where slack and moving water meet, on the near side of the river, you should have no problem with line drag. It may be a different story if you’re casting out into a hole or drift where the current, especially a strong one, can grab your main line the moment it hits the water surface and push it downstream faster than your float is moving.One way to reduce or momentarily eliminate line belly in order to maintain a natural drift is to mend your line. Line mending is something fly anglers do, for the same reason, to prevent their fly from skating downstream too fast. To mend your line, start with your rod at a low angle and pointed at your float, progressively pull your rod up and backward (toward you) while rolling your rod tip and line upstream. When you mend, its important to do so aggressively enough that your main line will be tossed upstream all the way to your float.

Given a strong current, you may have to mend your line several times during a single drift.Casting out at a slight downstream angle and feeding line off your reel fast enough that your bobber wont be overcome by line drag can reduce or eliminate the effects of line belly on your bobber. If you’re a boater, you can cast out to the side or at a 45-degree angle downstream too, but you may find better success and eliminate all line drag/belly by anchoring above the area you wish to fish and maneuver your bobber n jig directly downstream.~ Buzz Ramsey