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Dave Cooper 08/10 /2002 10 :18:18
Dave Cooper with the last class in the float fishing section of his popular beginner's series. Part 8 deals with fishing Balsa and Avon floats.
FIRST CLASS FISHING 'First Class Fishing', a series of classes for beginners and improvers conducted by Dave Cooper, an all-round experienced angler with a string of good fish and good catches to his credit . The classes are aimed at those who have recently discovered the joys of fishing and need guidance on using tackle correctly and wish to improve their basic skills. Dave will cover a specific topic at a time in this bi-weekly column . The first section will be really basic with subsequent ones building on the skills covered previously . His aim is to explain things as simply and concisely as possible and will assume that the reader knows absolutely nothing about the subject.
First Class Fishing
The Balsa Float
FLOAT FISHING Part Eight - Avons and Balsas In part seven of Float Fishing I introduced you to fishing with the stick float. In this part I will be looking at the stick floats big brothers, the Avon and the Balsa. Avon and Balsa floats are designed to take on water that a stick float isn't capable of dealing with. They can fish fast, deep and turbulent water and, due to their larger shotting capacity, can also be adequately controlled much further out than a stick float can be fished. Many anglers shy away from fishing fast water , especially with a float, but in summer months when rivers are low and oxygen levels are depleted, the faster water is often where the fish will be. Fast and turbulent water has a much higher oxygen content than still and sluggish areas of the river and hence the fish will congregate here to take advantage. So running a float fished bait down with the current through the fast water can often produce a big bag of fish . The Avon and Balsa floats are the tools you need for this job. What is an Avon float ? Avon floats are made in much the same way as sticks with the buoyant body and denser stem, but they have a much bigger, bulbous body with a slender stem and have a longer, slimmer tip that can be easily seen at distance or in choppy water . They take a lot more shot than a standard stick and are usually shotted with a bulk down near the hook to get a bait down to the bottom quickly. They were designed originally to fish the fast gravel run swims of the Hampshire Avon . There is also a special design of Avon float that was developed for use on the Bristol Avon which is known as the Topper Avon. It was created by local matchman Topper Haskins who used the float to win many a match on the Bristol Avon. It is made from balsa and crow quill, with a body that is narrower and longer than a standard Avon and with along slender tip to
either because of the force and depth of the current .12 inches or so from the hook. shallow water where a rocky or uneven bottom causes the water to chop and change direction. but with its long thin tip still gave a high degree of sensitivity. very buoyant tops capable of taking a lot of shot with versions requiring multiple SSG's. or maybe because you want to fish a bit further out and therefore need additional weight to maintain control or possibly because you have a long swim where you want to trot maybe forty yards or more downstream. Fishing an Avon Float You would choose an Avon float in swims where a stick will struggle due to it's lightness. Use a string of BB's bunched together rather than larger AAA's or SSG's as these are more streamlined. . Next time First Class Fishing will see the start of a new topic. soft baits like bread or luncheon meat as the weight of the float is easier to cast a reasonable distance without the soft bait flying off the hook. If the water is just fast and the bottom is pretty even. 4 dropper shot around 2 inches apart to within 6 inches of the hook. Balsa floats ride very turbulent water well and are ideal where you encounter fast. somewhere between 10 and 30 inches from the hook . One particular version of the Balsa. is often referred to as a 'chubber' float being synonymous with fishing soft baits like bread for chub in fast water. with no need for droppers. A Balsa solves these problems. They are also ideal for fishing large. The Balsa is set up in much the same way as the Avon with a bulk of shot placed below the halfway point between the float and hook. the Topper gets the bait down to the quality fish feeding near the river bed. with a no. The high buoyancy of this float prevents it from being dragged under as a lighter float would be. swirling water like that encountered in weir pools or over faster . Avons are generally shotted with a bulk down the line. Trotting the Balsa Use the balsa to fish really turbulent water . The standard stick float wasn 't man enough for the job as it required an overhead cast to reach the swim which was handicapped by the rivers high banks and often resulted in tangled rigs. could be cast a fair distance with an underarm cast. then have one or two dropper shot below this bulk. like a weir pool for instance . all the bulk can be set about 30 inches or less from the hook with a dropper pattern of no. What is a Balsa Float Balsas are made of a single . like a gravel run. though you can get polystyrene and hollow plastic versions these days. which carried a good bulk of shot down the line to get the bait down quickly. Tackling the Topper On the Bristol Avon. Topper Haskins wanted to fish the deep water under the far bank of some the match stretches. The standard stick also didn 't have enough weight down the line to get the bait down quickly enough to his target fish. However. which makes keeping a soft bait on the hook difficult. The shot is there to get the bait near the bottom quickly and keep it there. Ideally suited to swims deeper than 5 feet and with an even flow . Today the Topper finds similar uses on many deep but pacy swims on many rivers for anglers targeting roach and chub. swirling water. Lighter stick floats don't have the buoyancy to support a heavy bait like meat and require more effort to cast out. with part 1 covering the initial basics and kit required. if the bottom is rocky or uneven you will need to closely space a few droppers below the bulk to combat the turbulence caused by the rocks and undulations on the river bed. you can get away with having all the bulk set just 10 . so subtle shotting is not usually a requirement. either deep. Again.give the float maximum sensitivity despite its shotting capacity. This set up is ideal for targeting fast water chub and barbel. being very fat and stubby.6 being about the smallest required . very buoyant material . The first eight parts of First Class Fishing has introduced you to the principles of float fishing. Spread no. legering. You don't need very small droppers. Due to the fact that the water is likely to be travelling reasonably fast.4 's below this . See you then. To solve these problems he developed this unique float. usually balsa wood surprisingly. fish have little time to make up their minds to take a bait and usually do so very positively. They have fat. It is designed to fish steady water that is more than five feet deep.
Float Fishing Part 2 Avon Float Trotting Rig First Class Fishing Make Your Own Floats .Legering First Class Fishing Part 5 .Part 2 Make Your Own Floats .Part 3 By the Same Author First Class Fishing First Class Fishing Part 6 .Legering First Class Fishing First Class Fishing First Class Fishing First Class Fishing First Class Fishing All articles by the same Author .Legering First Class Fishing Part 4 .Legering First Class Fishing Part 3 .Related Articles First Class Fishing .
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