Slip Floating for big blues and flats using live bait fish.
Written by: RobertRBobeJr1960
I like to use a 12 ft spinning rod, surf spin rod with a med to heavy action. A decent reel with a large line capacity. I use ether 20lb big game or 50lb tug of war braid by team catfish. I use an 8 to 10 inch Little Joe slip float non weighted. As small an egg sinker as I can get away with, just enough to right the slip float. A 1/0 brass swivel. For a leader I make sure it allows the hook to be even with the top of the float or slightly less. This way the bait doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get caught on the main line when casting long distances. I use a 5/0 to 8/0 circle hook.
I set the float to where I assume it is just above the bottom of stumps or brush. I do this by casting out moving the stop knot up the line until I reach the bottom, then I bring it up roughly a foot or so off the bottom. If heavy brush in the lake or river I bring it up 2 feet or so to keep the bait fish out of the snag, but close enough it does its best to swim down to the brush. While I am setting my depths, while reeling back in I coat my main line with ether dry fly/line float paste, or Chap Stick will do. This is to keep the line floating on the surface, so 1) the bait fish doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t twist up the bobber into the main line and 2) so there is less drag on the line when the cat fish takes and runÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s with the bait. When using line dressing in a pay lake, try to fish to where your line drifting is not going to affect other fisherman.
I generally use as big a bait as I can manage, within reason. Big Gills are one of the best. But any legal live fish will work. My goal is to have the bait fish swim and thrash around with the bobber as much as possible. I like a gill that can pull down the bobber for a short period of time and able to move it about in the lake or river, as much action as possible is the best. Flat Head are predators that prefer live bait. And big blues like those lively baits as well.
Once the fish takes down the bait I let it run with line for abit to make sure it has it in his mouth before I set the hook.
This method fished in pay lakes, behind damÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s or dikes with a good eddy, also drifting along a step mud bank with a deep drop off with the bobber floating in front of your boat I have had amazing results with at times. Also using this method for blues with cut skip jack, shad. Or whole baby shad can really do wonders.