Trotting in a straight line

Zerkalo

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Any tips on this? I'm not bad at it and often use long rods which seem to help. I think it is mostly down to flow (as well as mending the line and feeding it out properly) and you need a smooth glide to get it 100% of the time. As sometimes when I'm trotting on faster parts of the Severn, the float will sometimes swing back towards the inside bank?
 

adriang

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In this situation, I'd move to a heavier float, so its easier to boss about. Heavier float could be taking more weight, or something with a heavier stem. Might also be a case to play about with shotting, for example a bulk part the way down, and then shirt buttoned shot below that bulk.
 

Zerkalo

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I think that's where I went wrong to start with. I'd followed the rule of one no4 per foot of depth but I think in a fast peg it can help to go heavier so that's part of my plan for next season.
 

Neil ofthe nene

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I suppose it is basic physics. The float will travel in the direction of the flow unless it is acted upon by a lateral force. The only place that lateral force can come from is the line to the rod tip. To me therefore for the float to swing sideways you must be allowing too much pressure from the line to float.

One thing I have done when trotting is to follow the float with the rod tip with slightly slack line so there is no lateral pressure applied. Then when the tip is pointing nearly downstream sweep the tip back to point upstream allowing line to come off the reel (fixed spool) without hindrance. Trap the line and follow the float with the tip again. The float will move slightly off line when you sweep the tip back but not that much. But you will be buying yourself a few yards of straight run between sweeps of the tip.
 

alsur

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Any tips on this? I'm not bad at it and often use long rods which seem to help. I think it is mostly down to flow (as well as mending the line and feeding it out properly) and you need a smooth glide to get it 100% of the time. As sometimes when I'm trotting on faster parts of the Severn, the float will sometimes swing back towards the inside bank?
It comes with practice, knowing when and much pressure to put on float when mending line an important thing as is using a line that floats well. Also it's a lot easier if the wind is from behind and slightly upstream sometimes it's impossible to do especially with a downstream wind it that case is important to get float running straight where the fish are or you expect them to be.
 

alsur

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I think that's where I went wrong to start with. I'd followed the rule of one no4 per foot of depth but I think in a fast peg it can help to go heavier so that's part of my plan for next season.
That is a rule of thumb and not fixed in stone speed of flow has big impact it's sometimes necessary to go much heavier than a no4 per foot.
 

Robwooly

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I've always thought the 1 xno4 per ft depth a weird rule but that's another matter. Line diameter is also key, I find the difference between the 4,4 drennan floatfish and the 3,2 staggering when it comes to mending line. Also some swims with a strong downstream cross wind are just going to own you no matter how good you think you've got. The Severn is a case in point sometimes that extra foot on or so on the rod or being able to wade out makes so much difference, throw in a bad wind and a bad swim and it's always going to be tricky.

Get a good wind and favourable flow and the size of float you can get away with can be ridiculously light
 

Zerkalo

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Cheers for all the tips. I've only had one season proper float fishing on the Severn and although I enjoy it for ease on the slower stretches, I like fishing some of the faster stretches as it seems like there's a lot of fish there in summer. Catching them is a different matter. I have had some ok sessions and some bad sessions where there's only seemingly been Bleak there. It tanks through and maybe around 6 or 7' deep on the pegs I fish and being the tree lined Severn there's often a pronounced crease. If I don't cast into the right spot it seems to happen more. It's not easy but I think with the right set up and technique I should fair better this season.
 

Dave Spence

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This is a question that will be almost impossible to answer in words but would take less than 5 minutes on the bank. Wait until June 16 and have a session with someone who knows what they are doing.
 

Silverfisher

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As others have said you need conditions in your favour to start with as wind non existent or upstream and/or behind you and a swim where the flow doesn’t misbehave too much. Downstream or in your face wind and messy flow and you can almost forget getting it perfect. Then in terms of what you can do a big enough float to boss the flow and light enough line that’s easier to mend and doesn’t drag too much will definitely help. But it’s really just practice. As you do it more you learn when to hold the float and when to let it go and how little or how greater pressure and contact to keep with the float for the various swims. There’s definitely a bit of an art to it which is part of why it’s so fun. When you get it right it doesn’t half improve your results!
 

Ken the Pacman

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The number 4 per foot was a guide from years ago and refers to smooth even paced swims more like the trent or thames maybe and it was never a good guide to begin with.
The essence of stick float fishing is mimicking what your loose feed might be doing so everything revolves around that in shotting patterns, size of float how much over depth you may fish and lots of other factors like swim terrain,wind strength and direction to name a few.
Without seeing the swim in question as regards the flow etc. its impossible to tell what is causing this but the most likely are the swim deepens at that point so the flow reduces allowing the float to wander as it might in a pool after a run, the rig is too far away for the control you have but there are other possibilities, if you cant get you rig to progress down the full swim in a straight line it will reduce your chances of getting a bite at all.
I remember watching a very good angler fishing the Trent with a waggler at fairly short range and catching to which I commented "had he forgotten his stick floats" to which he replied that the bad conditions earlier had improved as it was impossible to put a double rubber float through the swim and he was not going to change anything now he was catching consistently.
 
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Deejay8

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Long trotting with a stickfloat really requires just one thing to perfect it. And that's practice. In different types of swim, different conditions, different flows. Just getting the feel for it. It's one of anglings true skills and to master it, is a real achievement. It's rare to have a method where everything from the baited hook to the angler, via float, line, rod and reel are as one.
 

Bullmoose Jackson

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One no. 4 per foot of depth is too light for the vast majority of my running water fishing. A couple of general trotting points that might be of assistance:

1) Use a float that 'bosses' the current, rather than one that is bossed by the current.

2) Consider 'body-up' or bolo type patterns, which are easier to mend line against,

3) Generally, a shotting pattern that involves a bulk of shot closer to the hook is easier to mend line against without disturbing the float;

4) Thinner diameter line is easier to mend than thicker (antyhign up to 0.16mm is fine);

5) If you have a consistent speed of flow across the river, pay out your line and let it float on the surface. If the flow varies across the river (which it often will), you will need to rely on the length of the rod to keep the line off the water. This is where you can easily pull a lighter float off course, if you are not careful.

6) The method described by Neil of the Nene (trapping line against the spool and moving the rod tip with the flow, before releasing line and bringing the rod tip back to its starting point) is very useful. In fact, there are those who would say that it is the optimum method for controlling the speed of a float.

7) It might be obvious, but cast downstream to commence and trap your line to ensure that your bulk takes effect and the rig is 'fishing' before you release your line and begin your trot.

8) A 'top and bottom' float gives two main advantages over a waggler: (i) it can be put through the swim slower than the current and (ii) you can bulk the majority of the shot closer to the hook. If neither of these points is important to you on a given day, ask yourself whether you need to fish a 'top and bottom' float in the first instance. I suspect that rod and line anglers see running water and reach for stickfloats or avons automatically, when a waggler might suffice. Which leads me to my next point...

9) DON'T PERSEVERE WITH TROTTING A STICKFLOAT IF THE CONDITIONS ARE AGAINST YOU. In the case of an awkward wind, or when fishing at distance, or when the fish don't necessarily want the bait slowed down, a waggler might be more appropriate. You should get used to fishing a waggler in a flow, anyway - it's a useful tactic. Cast out, close the bale arm, sink the line, open the bale arm, allow a 'bow' to develop and practice striking the 'bow' out of the line when you get a bite.

10) For general trotting (and this is a personal thing), a closed-face reel is unbeatable. You trap the line with a forefinger and strike and then by turning the handle the pin is engaged and you are in direct contwact with a fish. No need to manually trip the bale-arm (which can allow roach, in particular, to spit the hook).

11) Olivettes are your friend. Invest in various sizes. For rod and line work, I find the inline models best - a big roach nodding its head in a reasonable flow can quickly dislodge the olivettes that are fixed to the line with rubber sleeves and pegs.
 

Zerkalo

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Some great tips here and so hopefully this thread will act as a good guide for anyone else who runs into this problem. (y)

5) If you have a consistent speed of flow across the river, pay out your line and let it float on the surface. If the flow varies across the river (which it often will), you will need to rely on the length of the rod to keep the line off the water. This is where you can easily pull a lighter float off course, if you are not careful.

This is a key bit for me on the Severn where I fish as it's never consistent speed, you have big creases, slow bits and fast bits all in the same run.
 

BBear

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I’ve never used or even thought about the one no4 per foot ‘Rule’. I assess type and size of float and shotting based on years of experience as I suspect most of us do. You learn by getting it wrong, making changes, and then getting it right - not by following silly rules.
 

dave brittain 1

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The biggest mistakes I see on a river in matches, is other anglers trying to make something work when it's not quite right. What also doesn't help is a total lack of tackle control emphasized by selecting the wrong float, too thick a line and sometimes a rod that isn't long enough to control the tackle at the range the angler is trying to fish.

The other thing is in a high number of instances the waggler will out fish the stick but for some reason anglers are reluctant to master what is for me the most deadly methods the majority of rivers I've fished.

For stick floats the one number 4 per foot is a basic line. Some may be surprised to know that apart from my bulk rigs, (usually an ollivette with pairs of No 8's followed by 2 No 10 droppers above the hook), all of my strung out rigs are No 8's only. They are grouped in pairs apart from 2 single No 8 droppers above the hook, however I just don't see the need for big shot particularly when you are trying to emulate the natural fall and presentation of maggots and casters as they fall through the water.

I don't like closed faced reels, they don't peel off light lines as well as a good fixed spool, you can't back wind a float down the peg with them and the clutch isn't as good as a modern fixed spool. The retrieve is also a lot slower so for me I'd advise most anglers to learn how to use a fixed spool reel correctly.

The first part to master is the cast and on any river this is what sets you up for the run and is critical in terms of eliminating drag, (where your line is going faster or slower than the float, or travelling on a different line thereby causing the float and rig to track off line).

Always cast down stream at an angle that allows you to lay you line on the water in a manner that will give a drag free drift and will give you the control you need. In order to mend line you need the line to float and need it to lift cleanly off the water so you don't pull the float off line. Floatant such as Leeda fly spray sprayed on the spool before you start will see lines like Maxima float like a cork. Hadrian Whittle without a doubt one of the best river anglers in the UK uses Maxima for stick float fishing on the Wye and although I prefer Tubertini Gorilla Float fish, for chub waggler fishing I'll always reach for Maxima as I have ultimate faith in it.

The float has to be heavy enough to control the rig, it's as simple as that. A little too heavy is fine however try to keep a nice balance as there's a fine line between too light and too heavy. If you want a good recommendation for a float simply stick with Drennan Stick floats with the glass/plastic stems. They are hard to fault and in the bigger sizes when you need to use a bulk, (10 No 4 +), they are superb.

Sticking with the basics you should try and get into the habit of holding as much line off the water as possible and as the float goes down the peg and the line starts to sag, a little flick laying it over should enable you to lay it on the water in a straight line behind the float so it tracks straight. If it starts swinging, it's time to reel in.

Longer rods give better control, I'm not going to go into Avons and Bolo floats because putting it simply these aren't finesse floats and if you can't mend the line to get them to track straight given their loading, you are doing something seriously wrong.

Now the waggler, if you are fishing 3 rod lengths out, unless you are fishing a long rod, you should be fishing the waggler. Shotting can be as simple as 2 No 8's, to a small bulk and 2 or 3 droppers, to a strung out pattern however I tend to favour the prior two.

Casting is on a swim with the flow from right to left is at the 10-0-clock position, 11-0-clock if you have mastered very good control. Like a stick float after the float has hit the water you need to lay the line out so that the float tracks straight. The difference with the waggler is you can either fish the line on the surface holding line off the water if the flow is faster on the inside or on consistent flows, you can sink the line which is very useful in windy conditions. Like the stick float you have to feed the float line and keep in touch with the float, keeping a controlled line to the float, (some say tight but to tight and you'll drag it off line). If you sink the line feed the bow off the rod tip as the float will track straight proving you have fed it sufficient line and importantly strike against the bow, upstream keeping the rod low.

There are plenty of video's to watch, the only other tip I can give is feed first, cast and pull your float back into the feed as you lay your line out so the hook bait falls with and through your feed. You'd be amazed at how many people get this basic fundamental wrong.
 

alsur

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Must admit I agree with dave on close faced reels, I always used to use a Abu 506 but since I've got back into river fishing I've been using a small fixed spool and prefer it.
 

The Runner

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Brilliant post from Dave there.
Just one thing to add re the stick re casting and getting the rig to lay right; if the flow's left to right, cast from your hand from the left with the rod held low. If you're fishing a strung out shotting pattern , with a bit of practice this should then always land with the rig in a straight line downstream from the float
 
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