Hi Jacko, never use this method much, but they can work.
I've been taught that when freelining, best on a river, to use a worm and set it up with just a hook and sometimes with a no.4-6 shot about 8-12in from the hook. then just cast it in the river an leave the bail-arm off for a while. Then once its gone down clip the arm back over and act as if your spinning and you should get some perch or chub[8D]
Free lining works fine on still waters as well. And a grain of maize on the hook is fine. Problem there is the lack of weight to get the rig cast out. One solution is to take 2-4 cubes of sugar and drill them with a bait drill. Then put them on a fine hair. They disolve within a minute or two of hitting the water and then you have just your hook bait floating free in the water. Especially excellent if you can see fish moving around and cast to them.
Floater is similar but you use a bait that naturally floats. Piece of dog biscuit fastened to the hook is usual. You can use those little rubber bands the dentist provides with braces to hold the biscuit to the hook.
If you try either of these methods and enjoy them, consider getting a fly rod & reel because you can fish similarly with it (either the natural baits mentioned above or a fly) and they use the line for casting weight so no problems getting out to the fish. If you watch boot sales or the like, you can probably pick up a perfectly good fly rod & reel for very little money. With the light weight stuff, the reel is just a line holder so no need to worry about high quality with it.