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Friday, 30 October 2015

Bobber's or Trotter's.

Over the last week I've had correspondence with two anglers via email, one an experienced Grayling angler like myself and the other a relative newcomer to Grayling fishing, we have been discussing the advantages & disadvantages of bobber floats and trotting floats for Grayling fishing, quite relevant seeing as the trotting season is now upon us and a lot of anglers will be switching across to a float setup.

Like always things have got to start somewhere and the very early float anglers used whatever they could to act as a float, quills, sticks, but predominately cork shaped into an egg shape what we have come to know as bobber shaped, floats designed to carry a lot of weight and made to be very buoyant to allow bigger baits to be suspended below them, such as heavy lob worms for Perch. This then transpired across to Grayling bobber's as at the time this was what was mainly used for float fishing because this was what was readily available, but is it the correct float for today's Grayling anglers?

This is roughly what the Perch bobber/Grayling bobber looked like.




In these examples bulbous bodies mounted on porcupine quills, but the stems could be made from wood, such as in the next picture down.















My personal opinion I would say not anymore in MOST cases but keeping an open mind I would say you have to use the correct float for the appropriate water your intending to fish. And the Grayling bobber is not always the preferred float of choice, although some would have you think otherwise.

Here is my personal views for not using a Grayling bobber for all of today's Grayling angling.

  1. Do you really need to have such a bulbous and buoyant float to suspend 2 maggots, a piece of sweetcorn or a small worm below, in gentle slow glides? Not all Grayling are found in fast turbulent water.
  2. The disturbance they cause when retrieving them creating a wake behind them on some of the larger bobber's I've seen used for targeting Grayling.
  3. If using a centrepin reel you exert more energy and become tired very quickly reeling in a bobber which you are trying to retrieve back upstream against the current.
  4. Distance of long trotting, these floats sit low to the water in most cases and at greater distances are less visible than other floats.
  5. Smaller fish, such as par and fingerlings don't always register bites on a more buoyant bobber float and this results in unnecessary deep hooking of smaller fish.
The list could go on but for me these would be my top 5 reasons not to use a bobber float in all your Grayling fishing you intend to do.

I prefer what has become known by a lot of anglers as a trotting float, or Avon style floats depending on which part of the country you fish, specifically designed to be used on rivers where sight at distance is the main factor, not too dissimilar to a bobber except in the fact that the body is less bulbous and more streamlined,  such as the examples below.





More cigar shaped than the bobbers,they sit higher in the water using less weight allowing greater distances to be fished, I've used these floats to long-trot in excess of 50 meters and still see the float clearly.










Not always fitted with long stems such as the examples below to be fished in shallow water.


Reg Ryghini a founder Grayling angler and advocate of today's Grayling Society nailed it in my honest opinion.

Reg a Yorkshire-man made it his life long ambition to fish as many Grayling rivers as he could and up to his death in 1987 he had accomplished 142 separate rivers in search of Grayling.
Reg describes the bobber float as sufficient for fishing small pools but you need to know what your looking for as fish will not always register bites on the float, and of no use for trotting, in the fact that it is too difficult to see at distances and unless it is over shotted  (which makes it more difficult to see) is not sufficiently sensitive to register bites quick enough. The fish feels the resistance of the float and lets go of the hook before it can be driven home.

In my opinion it cannot be explained any better than that.

Reg experimented with a multitude of float designs and settled on a long balsa body with a wire stem.

something not too dissimilar to these.


Streamlined, very visible at distance, easily retrieved along the surface with the minimal of resistance and very sensitive to bites.

So is the Grayling bobber still relevant today as a float for all occasions? Personally I think the answer's are above, but you can decide for yourself, whatever your views enjoy the Lady of the Stream and treat her with the respect she deserves.


Thanks to Mark & Tony for an interesting topic of discussion.

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