Pencil floats are made in lengths from three inches to as long as sixteen inches and from a half inch to one inch in diameter. Essentially, they are long thin floats that can be pulled under the water with little effort. These floats are used where noise is not necessarily desired, and usually in deeper water. They come packaged with a small red bead and a stop knot. The stop knot is tied to your line well above the float. The bead is then threaded on your line followed by the float itself.
Below the float on the line is a small egg sinker, and below that is the swivel and leader. The whole rig is only a few inches longer than your leader. Making this rig easier to cast.
Here is how this rig works. Suppose you are marking fish holding at fifteen feet deep in thirty feet of water. Simply slide the stop knot up your line about fifteen feet. The knot will move through the guides on your rod and even onto the reel. When your bait, weight and float go in the water, the weight pulls line through the pencil float until it comes to the stop knot. The small red bead is too large to go through the pencil float, and the stop knot is too large to go through the bead. The net result is your bait suspended under the float at a fifteen-foot depth.
What Size Pencil Float Do I Need?
The size of the float is directly dependent on the speed of any current in which you may be fishing. Use an egg sinker only large enough to take the float vertical in the water. Smaller pencils need smaller weights; larger pencils need larger weights.
For the float to sit vertical and the bait to stay at the desired depth in a current, the weight is the determining factor. The stronger the current, the more likely it will swing a lighter weight up toward the surface, defeating your attempt to fish at that depth. A heavier weight will prevent that from happening, but it will also mean you need a larger float.
Use only the weight you need to keep your bait down. That means use the float that matches that weight. When you see someone at the dock with very large pencil floats on their rods, one of two things will be true. Either they dont know what they are doing, or they are fishing is some very fast current situations.
Other Float Tricks
Try fishing a small jig under a popping cork. The noise will attract feeding fish, and a colorful jig with a tip of cut bait will usually be hit.
Many times these corks will be hit by feeding fish. Some have been known to fight for several minutes before releasing the cork from their mouth. Industrious anglers have wired small treble hooks to popping corks in hopes of catching the fish that strike the cork. Its a good idea, but only in water void of floating grass. The treble hook will invariably catch every piece of grass.
Any way you choose to use these floats, they can help you increase your catch. Just pay attention to the basic rules, and catching fish will be easy!