Float Doggin with “Stick Lead”
Call it Float Doggin, Bobber Doggin, or even Float Drifting; it’s basically all the same. The biggest difference between, Float Doggin and Float Drifting is as simple as, are you in the boat or on the bank.
When you are in the boat, and for me it is the Drift Boat, it’s all about running my presentation out in front of the boat, especially in low clear conditions. Anytime you are float fishing and purposefully dragging the weight under the float, from the boat while moving, it is Float Doggin. If you are standing on the bank float fishing, again, purposefully dragging the weight, it is Float Drifting.
No matter which one you choose, it all starts with how to rig. How to rig, really comes down to matching the right size weight with the float.
We are trying to achieve a seamless drift. Another words, I want to be able to let my weight drag along the bottom without constantly getting hung up. When you are Float Doggin and the weight you have selected continuously grabs the bottom, even for a split second, it does a couple of things. The first thing you'll notice is that your float constantly goes up and down all day long. Second you never achieve a free flowing natural drift and or presentation. Yes it’s true the weight is dragging, so the float will point down river as it lies on its side. None the less, I still cannot fish this method effectively if my float stops and submerges every 5 to 10 feet. I need my float to keep moving, matching almost current speed where-by giving me a nice smooth natural presentation.
The way to accomplish this, as mentioned before, is to match the weight with the float. There are several, no actually many, weight possibilities to choose from. I have tried all different weight combinations as well as many different floats. This photo shows a number of different size weights, and types of weights. I’ve used pencil lead, solid core and hollow on a dropper piece of leader. I’ve used drop shot weights, the little ¼ oz size with the swivel. I’ve tried Slinky’s, all with moderate success due to the fact that they all hang up.
My introduction to the stick lead actually came from drift fishing out on the OP with my buddy Herzog, in the boulder riddled waters of the Bogie. Any other type of weight would absolutely get hung up cast after cast. You will spend a whole lot of time out of the water, re-tying, only to lose your presentation within the next 5 to 6 cast if you’re lucky enough to have it last that long.
It worked so well and provided a free moving natural drift that I thought, “I wonder how this would work with a float”? Once I figured out that when paired with a 5/8 oz Beau Mac torpedo float; well let’s just say I thought I had discovered Float Doggin Nirvana.
Since I originally wrote this article in 2012, several variations of “Bobber Doggin Floats” have hit the market. Bobber Doggin Floats are what I use now for all my Bobber-Doggin and Float Drifting needs….
But let's also not forget where the stick lead and I were introduced, "Drift Fishing". This little bugger works great for Drift Fishing, Float Drifting, Float Doggin and of course Side Drifting. I have used it in all applications. For you hard-core side drifters, give these weights a shot. I guarantee you and your clients will spend much more time in the water and far less time re-tying.
It works very well. It provides the snag free, continuous movement I want on my drift. It lightly taps the bottom of the river to keep my presentation in the strike zone in pretty much all water conditions. Well perhaps not all, but I would give it 85% of the time, it’s versatility produces the type of drift I am looking for.
So the number one question I always get, where do I find’em? In the past, my answer was, you don’t…. You don’t find’em because you have to make them.
Fast forward to today's modern technology and you CAN fine them. Beau Mac has been making them for a few years now. The Beau Mac Lil' Doggies stick weight. You'll find them at some retail outlets or on-line. Simply google Lil' doggie weights by Beau Mac. Not pictured here.....
When it comes to building your own, as that is still an option, it’s really very simple. You can find everything you need at Sportco and/or Outdoor Emporium. In store or once again on-line www.sportco.com
Items needed to build “Stick Weights” -1 lb. roll of 1/8in Hollow Core pencil lead -1 package of Brad’s .035 Spinner Shafts, spinner wire. (ss-035)
You simply cut the lead to length, as in length of the spinner wire. Slide it onto the spinner wire and crimp the top end, just below the spinner wire eye. I also like to take the bottom end and bend that completely back on itself, so the lead will not pull off the wire if it does hang up a little bit.
Even if this weight does grab bottom, the thing that separates this little creature from all other weight options is simply this. You are able to pull it up and out of the snag because of the very small diameter. Also because it is rigid, with the wire insert, it will not bend in half. It may from time to time get a bit of a bow in it, but they are easy to straighten and keep on fishing.
If I told you on most days, you could fish a single piece of lead and never lose it, I think you would want to know how that is even possible. Well I just told you all about it. Enjoy….