Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Floatmakers references

I have been asked by a couple of float makers starting off if I would publish a list of books which I consider would be beneficial to anyone starting off in the Traditional Float making way.

The first book which I would advice anyone starting off in float making to buy would have to be The Floatmaker's Manual by Bill Watson first published in 1978 but still very much relevant today as it was then, and is probably the only book dedicated solely to floatmaking.

 The next book(s) which I would recommend although not aimed at floatmaking but more float fishing but so much information can be gleamed from them is Billy Lane's Books, starting off with Encyclopaedia of Float Fishing first published in 1971 then the updated version The New Encyclopaedia of  Float Fishing updated in 1981.

Other books which I would include would have to be the Book by Keith Harwood called "The Float" a relatively new book published in 2003 and a limited edition but it covers the float from the dawn of fishing through to modern day and has many good pictures & drawings to reference.

A personal favourite of mine would have to be an old sales catalogue from Ultra floats which shows the floats in colour then gives a detailed write up about them and how to fish them.

 And finally another relatively modern book worth a mention would be The Complete Book of Float Fishing by Allan Haines published in 1989

There are many other books which I use for reference but if I had to choose the ones for anyone starting out these would have to be the ones I would pick. Its nice to see that younger float makers are coming through and keeping the tradition alive as its most definitely worth preserving.
Happy Float Making Guys. 


  1. Have been busy collecting swan quills this last couple of weeks. That Floatmaker's Manual looks like just what I need,

  2. hello mate nice of you to drop by again. Bill's book is now getting like hen's teeth, very scarce but if you keep an eye on the usual places it pops up from time to time, just dont pay over the odds for it.

  3. Great to see a kindred spirit writing on fishing. I was recently asked to re-ring an old glass fibre rod for a friend....it's been years since I last built a rod but it 's got me thinking it might be nice to make a few floats and repair the occasional rod....somehow it's very satisfying to produce the things you fish with.

  4. no better feeling Drew than catching fish with something you have made yourself, a great sense of satisfaction.

  5. Thanks for your reply George. I was lucky enough to grow up in the tackle trade in the early 60's childhood memories of cane rods hanging the 'pear drops' acetone smell of shrinking dope and spools of Elephant silk scattered here and there....but perhaps we souldn't dwell in the past.
    I've acquired several of the books you recommend above, they are well worth the effort of an Internet search. So looking forward to a new year of float fishing, with some hints and tips from the books and a handful of homemade floats.
    Tight lines

  6. Hello George, great blog, I've bought the Billy Lane books you have recommended, but can't find an Ultra catalogue despite hours of keyboard pounding. I grew up in the 70's fishing Ultra Onions with my grandfather and remember those days as amongst my best. Any ideas as to where I could get my hands on a copy? Thanks in advance.

    1. They are very rare nowadays, I've only ever seen 1 on ebay last year but apart from that I've not seen them, if your desperate I can photocopy mine? let me know who you are as you haven't left your name....lol


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