Larry's Fishing Hole


I am sure by now you all know how much we like to fish vertically and last month as we drifted over brush and marking suspended fish, we thought about the simple and unique technique "Float-n-Fly". When we say Float we do not mean the oversized red & white bobbers we all grew up using.
The Float-n-Fly method is not new but has been around for about 10 years and just never made a big splash except with the smallmouth bass junkies. Similar rigs have also been used by crappie anglers as an effective presentation for deep fish in clear lakes.
In the early days this system was developed using a fly that impersonated a fish fry and now this simple system usually consists of a small hair jig under a small float set at the depth of the suspended fish.
For years this method was thought to be a deadly presentation for mid-winter suspended smallies.
Lately the Float-n-Fly method has been found to be effective all year round in most waters; clear or murky and even streams. This is an ultimate finesse presentation for those light 1/16 to 1/8 oz jigs.
We all know suspended fish are not very aggressive and you must get a bait right in front of their noses and keep it there to get a bite.
In the past we would try jigging spoons, bladebaits or tailspinners but found it difficult to fish slowly enough or to keep at the proper depth.
We have been using clip on floats due to the lack of finding a good slip float (until now- read our Product Review below), but casting this rig was kind of like Fly-casting anytime you were fishing over 5 foot deep.
To use this system you cast out just past target, wait till the hair jig sinks and slowly twitch rod to activate some motion in the hair jig. You can also raise rod tip to lift bait some and let settle again for some action, reel in line and repeat back to the boat or shore. If the float disappears or leans over, it means "Fish On". Do not overwork the Float-n-Fly especially in cold water and sometimes doing nothing but just letting the float bob gently in the chop of the water is best.
WHERE TO FISH: We will motor around looking for suspended fish on our sonar and note their depth and set our float to position a hair jig in their face.
Winter- A great time to use a Float-n-Fly when fish are less active, start with a 1/16oz jig of shad colors with touch of chartreuse if cloudy or sunny days use touch of pink and set depth at 8 - 9 feet. Next try setting depth at 10 -12 feet with 1/8oz and target main lake points, along channel breaks or bluffs. During these times we find a light chop on the water will help this presentation.
Spring- This is the time to fish at the tributaries, at coves or flats in 8 -12 foot water.
Summer- This is when we will look for current and maybe little more stained water and fish submerged humps, rock piles and along weedlines and again set float at about 8 foot.
Fall- A great time for stream smallmouth in eddies.
MORE TIPS: -Keep an eye on the float when fishing near the bottom, if it leans over sideways could mean your hair jig is on bottom or a fish has picked it up.
-Use clear mono lines and if in murky water try chartreuse or hot pink jigs
-Try tipping your hair jigs with power baits, waxies or minnows.
-If you are using a clip on float, cut off above float and rerig after catching several good size fish.
You will find this an ideal presentation for spooky stream smallmouth, just cast out into current and feed out line so the float bobs slowly along likely area in the stream. Even though this is a good smallmouth rig, you will also catch Spotted Bass, Crappie, Bluegills, White Bass, Striper and Trout but only a few Largemouth Bass will hit this.
Just because you are using small hair jigs, do not get the impression it only catches small fish. This method is more versatile then you can imagine.
Once you practice and gain confidence in the Float-n-Fly, you will find it catches all types of fish and is FUN.
PRODUCTS: We have used many slip floats and found the Hand Made "Cast Away Bobber" to be the only one we need. Due to its weight the Cast Away Bobber casts further, is not affected by winds, last longer and requires no bead at the slip knot. Because it has an off center of gravity, the Cast Away Bobber can be cast without any added weights and because of this it is easier for the fish to tip up with very little resistance. The components of this bobber will not wear out over time; the body is bonded to the stem so it is made to last years not a fishing season or two. It has a glass bead that will not wear out even if braided line is used, like we see with a majority of other bobbers. In fact this bobber can be stepped on and will come back to its original shape.
It comes in couple sizes and is bright colored to see above water but is black on bottom and is excellent for the shore angler. We really like the Cast Away Bobber and recommend you can get yours at or by calling 574-259-7794.
And as we have said in the past, this rig would not be right without using the Hand-tied Calftail Hair jigs that seem to breathe in the water and are irresistible to fish. They come in all colors and sizes for Bluegills, Crappie and Bass, check them out.
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