By Bob Sirois ( Got Stripers )
November, 1999

Thought I would post a little information about the Float & Fly rig under this section as well. Many of you might have read about this rig in Bassmasters, but I seriously doubt many of you have put it to the test. I doubted it's potential as well until my brother-in-law fished with me last fall in Mass. It was late November, cold water and we went to my Rod & Gun club pond because I can bet my life on where the bass stack up in late fall. We went through 3-1/2 dozen live shiners in 45 minutes anchored up on a point. Then the bait was gone and we couldn't get them to hit anything.

My brother-in-law broke out a float & fly rig and started catching quality bass at almost the same rate as the shiners. You don't have to hit me over the head, I was sold. It has proven itself time and time again when the water is cold, bass are extremely presssured or conditions are tough. The rig really shines when it comes to catching quality smallmouth bass.

Forget buying a Float & Fly package out of Bass Pro or Cabelas. The hooks on those jigs just aren't very good, they are not sharp and they are too heavy. It's best to make your own or find someone to make them for you. You want to use the lightest jig possible and weights of 1/32 oz are the norm, with possibly 1/16 or 1/8 if needed. I recommend making the jigs with a fine wire hook (Owner w/cutting point) because a quick and easy hookset is almost guaranteed.

You don't need to get fancy with the dressing and black, brown and white bucktail is all you need. The bucktail should be about twice the length of the hook, with the overall jig about 2 inches long. Purchase from Bass Pro a package of float stops (item #12-493-783-00 out of the 1999 Master Catalog page #242) and your good to go. All you need now is a 6-1/2 foot light action spinning or baitcasting rod if your able to cast light tackle with baitcasting gear.

To rig run 6-8 lb mono back and forth through the four holes in the bobber stop and slide it up your line. Run the line through one of the small beads that came with the bobber stop. I use the 4-3/8" Thill Center Slider (balsa slip bobber #12-440-342-00 in 1999 Bass Pro Master catalog), which goes on next. Then tie on your jig and have a bottle of scent handy and your ready to go.

Set the bobber stop to suspend the jig just off the bottom, the top of the weed bed or the depth you think fish are suspended at. Put a couple of drops of Realcraw or other scent on the jig and let her fly (no pun intended). The best action is no action. You basically let this rig sit and let the wave action work the jig up and down for you. In fact this rig actually works best with some chop on the water.

Patience is the name of the game, especially in cold water. Let the rig sit for a minute or two and then move it only a foot or so in small rod tip movements to give the jig a little action. Then let it sit again. You just repeat this until you are out of the strike zone, but remember slower is better.

This rig works great, but you need to stay focused on the bobber at all times. It might be pulled completely under, just move differently or suddenly lay flat on the water even though your sure the jig can't be sitting on the bottom. At that time a long pull up or sweep of the rod is all that is needed to drive the light wire cutting point hook home.

Don't think this is a bait for small buck bass either. I've caught countless bass over 4 lbs on this rig and smallmouths up to 6 lbs. It works on pickeral, perch, crappie and just about everything else that swims. In fact one of our early spring traditions in Mass is our annual crappie fry. We fish early spring with this rig and load the boat with crappie and catch some nice bass and pickeral along the way.

Give this rig a try if you want a way to put some bass in the boat when things get tough. If I ever get a webpage up and running, I will have the pictures to prove it. Good luck and hope this helps a few people out.

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