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float or no float?

by James
(Tucson, AZ)

I've been using my Suntech Kurenai HM63R for some still water trout lately and have been wondering what floats are best for it. I use the smallest thill floats I can find (a bit over an inch and a half in length) and they work fine but I'm wondering if there are some better floats out there. I enjoy fishing "traditional" seiryu for these little trout but should I even use a float, or just a casting line? Any suggestions are welcome.

Comments for float or no float?

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Dec 22, 2018
Go Japanese!
by: Les Albjerg

James - I love the Nakazima floats, that Chris sells. I have a dedicated line set-up with a float. I find it easier to change lines than clipping off the tippet ring to get the float off. I like the 3/8 inch size the best for all-round use.

The Nakazima floats cast well, provide good visibility. They seem to provide good strike indication as well. They are light weight, much lighter than the floats that you are using. I use floats a lot more in the winter because of the subtle take of the fish, and the Nakazima floats work as a great strike indicator, if you don't want to call it a float!

Dec 22, 2018
Craft Foam Strike Indicators
by: John Evans

Several years back I wrote a brief blog entry for Tenkarabum about some simple strike indicators that I make from craft foam. They work well for tenkara, I think. Anyway, if you google "Craft Foam Strike Indicators Tenkarabum" I believe you will find the article. See what you think.

Dec 22, 2018
Thanks for the tips
by: James

Thanks Les and John. Quick question. My floats I use cock properly with about a no. 7 shot and some bait, are the nakazimas (which are tempting to buy) more sensitive and do they take less weight? Thanks

Dec 22, 2018
by: Craig

Thanks John - I don’t know how I missed this post. Your craft foamy flags are exactly what I’ve been looking for when carping.
Chris is evil. He has brought me back from flies to bait and floats - just on ever increasingly better rods which I keep buying. Calling it a fancy Japanese name doesn’t change that I am back to where I started as a 4 yo with a simple cane pole, cork float, and worms. Just with better gear and, hopefully, wiser.
But these floats are the first truly innovative but still simplistic design I’ve seen in a while. very nice thanks. I’ll have to compare to my collection of Chris’s naga balls on the creek and see which I prefer in practice - but I’m already leaning to yr Diy version which i can size to needs, and it should flag the soft mouthing investigation that the carp do.

Dec 22, 2018
Float Sensitivity
by: Chris Stewart

James, the Nakazima Ball floats are not even close to the most sensitive floats. No round ball floats are. The most sensitive would be similar to the floats the Japanese use for hera fishing. Those floats are long and thin, and are balanced with enough weight that just a small amount of the bristle (long skinny top part sticking up like an antenna) shows above the water. It takes almost nothing to pull it the rest of the way under.

Dec 23, 2018
Thanks Chris
by: James

Thanks for the info Chris. I've seen and thought of buying hera floats in the smaller sizes, but have decided to save those for when I get more seriously involved in the sport. The floats I currently use are somewhat similar in the fact that they are stick floats, but no multicolored antennae. They are plenty sensitive though. I'll post about a trip as soon as I can.

Dec 23, 2018
A bit confused??
by: Les Albjerg

James - The nice thing about a round float is it is "always" floating in the up position. Not the most sensitive, but very easy to see and forgiving. I often fish them with two #10 Dinsmore split shot. I don't have a Suntech Kurenai HM63R, but often fish the Keiryu Sawanobori 63 with a worm and a float. I guess you really have to ask yourself the question, "Am I using the float to keep the worm or fly at a certain depth or as a strike indicator?" I use a float more to keep a bait at a certain depth.

In my opinion, the most sensitive strike indicator is the high viz sighter line that Chris sells. There is a lake up in the mountains I fish every year that is very clear. I use 6 feet of 8x tippet with the Sawanobori and 4 feet of sighter followed by level 3 line, and let the Red Wiggler sink slowly. The takes are almost always subtle, and using the sighter makes a take very obvious. Using the sighter really increased my percentage of caught fish. It works well up there with Utah Killer bugs too.

Float fishing is an area that I would like to explore more. So many fun nuances to our sport!

Dec 24, 2018
My float uses
by: James

Les-the lake I fish is not very clear. The fish vary between wild browns and stocker rainbows. Both take the bait shyly as they are quite pressured in that lake. I use the floats to keep my bait above the bottom and to detect strikes. The trout in this lake hang around drop offs cruising at their preferred depth. This and the fact that the water is quite discolored make for difficult presentation and strike detection. They'll hit a slow moving fly or slow sinking bait, but not often. The best baits are those suspended right above sunken rocks and logs near the bottom. The floats also help with hook sets. the less line I have to move from the bottom, the easier it is to hook a fish with a super soft rod.

Dec 25, 2018
Thill floats
by: bill piatek

From time to time I use the Thill Ice Floats. The smallest is a little less than 3/4" long. Also use the Cortland peg strike indicator. Both show as about .2 - .3 grams on my digital scale. But I use these for stream not lake fishing. The lakes are something I want to get into with Tenkara next year.

Dec 27, 2018
by: Chris Stewart

The mention of the peg indicators reminds me of some peg indicators I imported from Stonfo years ago and never put on the website. they are about 5/16" by not quite 1/4", and come with what looks like a plastic toothpick that is not quite 1 1/4". They do float, but they won't support any weight to speak of - not even a size 10 split shot. I suspect they would still float if you used an unweighted wet fly, or unweighted red wiggler, and would give a pretty good indication of a strike.

You really couldn't use them if you were doing any tenkara manipulations, though.

Dec 28, 2018
Those sound Great!
by: James

Chris- those indicators sound super cool. And light enough that they can’t float a no.10 shot!! You just may have to put them on the site for us crazy ultralight guys.

Dec 28, 2018
Ultralight Indicators
by: Chris Stewart

I will try to have them on the site by tonight. I'll probably call them Ultralight Indicators rather the the proper name Stonfo Segnafilo.

Dec 30, 2018
Can’t wait
by: James

Chris- thank you for your information and suggestions, can’t wait to place an order for the ultralight indicators

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