Floater Fishing Explained
Nothing is more exciting than surface fishing, having the chance to watch the fish feeding on the surface and being able to watch them swim up to your rig, simply nothing compares with it, when your fishing on the bottom or with zigs, you never have the understanding of what's happening in your swim as you do with surface fishing.
What rig do I use?
Surface fishing rigs are basic to tie, there are a couple of changes you can make to your rig however depending on your angling situation. For hooks, I like to use a size 12 or a size 10 depending on the lake I am fishing. Smaller hooks will get you more bites than a bigger hook as it is less visible on the water to the fish, the smaller hook is less likely to alter the bouyancy of your hook bait as well. A wide gape style hook is the best for this fishing as these hooks turn and catch hold once in the fishes mouth extremely well.
Tip: Never be afraid to go smaller to a 14 with a small hookbait when the fish are feeding weary a, smaller hooks can often have a sharper hook hold.
Always use a floating line for your surface fishing, this will make sure your rig looks as natural to the carp as possible and also will mean that you come into contact with the fish a lot quicker. There are many ways you can tie a surface rig, the first step is to tie a hair for your hookbait before sliding your hookbait onto the hair. After this you want to attach your hook with a basic knotless knot. Make sure the hookbait is tight to the hook to give your rig the maximum hooking potential. This bit isn't essential but I like to use a bit of tubing over the hook to ensure that the knot stays in place and to make the rig a bit more aggressive for more hooking potential.
Tip: use a small bit of tubing on the shank of the hook to make the hookbait tighter to your hook, experiment and see what the results are!
Now you want to decide the length of your hooklink, this can range anywhere from 3ft to 6ft. If the fish are feeding confidently then a 3ft hooklink is ideal as the fish will come into contact with the controller float a lot quicker which will result in stronger hook holds, however if the fish are feeding a bit wary then its worth using a longer hooklink so that the hookbait is further away from the controller float which would look more natural to the carp.
There is a range of different surface floats avalable on the market. My prefference being an inline float like the Nash Bolt Machine or the Korda Interceptor Surface Floats as these floats are a lot less prone to tangling, the swivel from your rig will sit inside the float which gives the rig a bolt effect and also they are more aerodynamic meaning you can cast further a lot easier. The Fox Bolt Bubble Floats are perfect when fishing for wary fish as they look baisically invisible in the water.
What Bait Do I Use?
For surface fishing, there is a range of baits availabe of the market. The most commonly used is dog biscuits but now with Floater Pellets being made by bait companies, there is plenty of options. I personally like to use a mix of dog biscuits and Nash Riser Pellet. Being so small, the riser pellet gets the carp competing for food a lot quicker than just using dog biscuit, the only down side is that you can catapult it as far as you can with dog biscuits, so a spod rod may be needed. At the start of the session I'll use only riser pellet, a small amount to get the fish feeding and then I will start to introduce mostly dog buiscuit into the swim but with a bit of the riser pellet still.
When fishing with riser pellet, it is very easy for the fish to ignore the bigger dog biscuits so you never want to fish with too much riser pellet in the swim otherwise you are not going to get as much bites. As well as this, riser pellet travels on the water a lot quicker than dog biscuits, so always pay attention to the wind direction as the fish can happily follow the riser pellet and end up on the otherside of the lake to where you are fishing!
There is a wide range of hookbaits you can use with surface fishing which can catch you more carp in certain situations.
Pop Ups: Using a brown pop up with dog biscuit is one of the best hookbaits, they look the same to dog biscuits meaning it's easy for the carp to mistake the pop up for a dog biscuits. Something similar to The Krill Pop Ups or the Scopex Squid Pop Ups are perfect for this.
Coloured / Fluro popups can work with surface fishing. If you are fishing a high-stocked venue where the carp are competeing for food then a hookbait which sticks out could get you a quicker bite. However this won't always work as the carp may be wary of the colour.
Imitation Dog Biscuit: A rubber dog biscuit is perfect for matching your loose feed, not only do they look the same. I like to use the Enterprise Tackle Imitation Dog Biscuits as they have a counterweight into one side ensures that the hook always remains on top, out of view of any wary fish. It also ensures that the imitation biscuits sits low in the water, just like real biscuit that has become waterlogged.
Foam: Using a small bit or black or brown foam can result in a bite when the fish aren't confident and only taking a few bits of loose feed every so often. The smaller hookbait appeals to the fish a lot more than a bigger hook bait, just be sure to check that your hook doesn't alter the bouyancy on a smaller hookbait.