Gear Review. 7 Factors When Choosing a Float Rod: Length, Action, Power, Castability, Performance, Comfort and Price By eric martin.

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1 Gear Review Individual Reviews eric martin photo float rods 7 Factors When Choosing a Float Rod: Length,,, Castability, Performance, Comfort and Price By eric martin The Breakdown power Does the rod contain enough power to comfortably handle fish in the 8- to 14-pound range under situations where the ability to chase hardfighting fish via boat or bank may be limited. It s a technique likely responsible for most of our earliest angling memories. A piece of nightcrawler or a couple of salmon eggs suspended by a piece of cork several feet below the surface of a sleepy farm pond, with a promise from dad or grandpa that if the float went under the water, a fish was on. While time has brought changes to everything from the bait and equipment we now use, to the waters which we ply, one thing remains unchanged: Float fishing is fun and effective, but you better pay attention because when your float goes under, you ve got a fish on! One of the most popular and successful methods to target salmon and steelhead, float fishing is an extremely versatile technique with few constraints. It is not limited to boat, bank, lure, bait, species, location or even level of experience. In fact, there are often situations where utilization of a float may be the only way to effectively cover sections of fishy water such as boulder patches, narrow slots, deep boils, small pockets and slow, mundane stretches. Holes can be sliced up and dissected with a few well-placed casts, allowing for a quick and efficient run and gun type approach to covering water and finding fish. By presenting your gear suspended above the bottom and most snags, you ll lose less gear, spend less time rerigging and more time fishing. A suspended presentation also permits a very natural, unhindered, free drifting presentation of your lure or bait thus greatly increasing fish appeal and drawing strikes which can be easily seen by the sudden disappearance of a float a great benefit when fishing with kids or anglers inexperienced in detecting the feel of subtle bites. These broad ranges of applications can not only make it a bit difficult to narrow down a specific style or continued on page 39 action How close the rods followed the manufacturer rated action and how well the action applies to float fishing scenarios. casting Evaluated on casting distance and accuracy when using lure s within the rated range of each rod. ease and comfort was also reviewed. balance The balance point of each rod was checked using the same reels and line appropriate for the particular style of rod. Spinning models were checked with Shimano Symetre 2500 and Stradic CI reels. models less than 9'6" were tested with the Abu Garcia Revo STX, rods over 9'6" were matched with the Abu Garcia 5501 C3 reel. 36

2 Rods okuma sst-c-1062m 10'6", lb. line, 3/8-1 1/2 oz. lure, moderate action, medium power 202 grams (7.1 oz.) + + HHH msrp $79 okumafishing.com The Okuma SST-C-1062M proves that a rod can be easy on your wallet while being tough on fish! This is a great float and bait rod for large steelhead, coho and even chinook. There is plenty of power to control fish quickly and the moderate action loads deep and feels great when fighting fish. was optimized with s over ¾ ounces, and should you run an ounce or more, prepare to launch casts into orbit. The overall of 7 ounces was very respectable, especially given the length and power of the rod. The SST 1062-M did feel a smidge tip heavy but this can easily be overcome by adding a little to a slip on style butt cap. The rich, chestnut colored blank and composite tipped cork grips look and feel great. At $79, there s no reason not to pick one up. lamiglas x96jc 9'6", 6-15 lb. line, 1/4-3/4 oz. lure, fast action, medium power 170 grams (6 oz.) + + msrp $330 lamiglas.com A well-known and popular model, the X96JC by Lamiglas has been tackling tough fish for years. This nimble rod felt great in hand. The balance point was right in the middle of the fore cork and the action seemed a bit softer than its fast rating that proved to be perfect for tossing floats to steelhead. The X96JC really performed well when s were bumped up to the 1/2- to 3/4-ounce range while bobber dogging pink worms with slinky s and using 1/8-ounce marabou jigs in combination with a 3/8-ounce inline. Should you happen to break off your last float, don t be afraid to toss a few spoons, both the action and sensitivity of the X96JC did well under some double duty hardware tests. The Lamiglas X96JC is an excellent match for both summer and winter steelhead on small to medium sized rivers. st. croix lec96mhf2 9'6", 8-17 lb. line, 3/8-1 oz. lure, fast action, medium heavy power 164 grams (5.8 oz.) H H + msrp $400 stcroixrods.com One of the lightest rods in the review, the LEC96MHF2 packs a serious punch. This is one fast action, powerful rod thanks in part to a blank utilizing 3M Nano Matrix Resin. Not a traditional float rod style design, what the LEC96MHF2 offers is the ability of a high-end rod to adequately perform mixed duties. For optimum performance, stick to presentations that lean towards the heavier end of the specified lure rating as its action definitely responds well to casting heavier s and performed well fishing eggs with sliding style floats with inline s. The balance was near perfect and fell just in front of the face of the reel. This, matched with a unique Fuji exposed blank reel seat with finger grooves, provided for exceptional comfort, sensitivity and secure grip. There is more than enough power to handle big strong fish and heavy water and I wouldn t think twice about matching it up against burly winter steelhead and coho. g.loomis str1165-2c 9'8", 8-17 lb. line, 3/8-1 oz. lure, fast action, medium heavy power 185 grams (6.5 oz.) H msrp $370 gloomis.com If you target big fish in strong water, check out the STR C from the Steelhead Series of rods by G. Loomis! Not sporting a traditional, softer float rod specific action, the STR1165 was selected for this review due to a little prior personal firsthand experience. My two favorite fishing methods are drift fishing and bobber dogging, so finding a rod that performs both duties well, frees up the clutter of extra rods in the boat or gear to lug on hike in trips. Enter the STR C! Remarkably sensitive and comfortable in hand, the length and action are great for line control and precise casts with floats and bait or big pink worms under dink style floats. Like fishing the overlap periods when fall coho and winter steelhead may be sharing the same water, or late spring for native steelhead with the chance at an early spring chinook? The STR1165 provides the power needed to cover such applications perfectly! Salmon & Steelhead Journal Winter

3 Rods xrodz xr pro 963-2c berkley a92-9-6m 9'6", 8-14 lb. line, 3/8-3/4 oz. lure, medium power 192 grams (6.8 oz.) + msrp $109 berkley-fishing.com The A92-9-6M, designed by Buzz Ramsey, is a great example of the functional, durable and affordable performance offered by the Air IM8 line of rods by Berkley. Built from sensitive, advanced modulus IM8 graphite and sporting light, braided line compatible titanium coated stainless steel guides, the A92-9-6M performed quite well with fixed position and sliding style floats, and worked great for bobber dogging yarn balls and pink worms. The power of the A92-9-6M felt great on fish up to 15 pounds and provided plenty of control to keep fish contained in the hole from which they were hooked. The balance point when paired with an Abu Garcia Revo STX reel was found to be at the leading end of the fore grip and created a slight tip-heavy feel when fished while gripping the reel, however this could be easily remedied with a bit of counter or use with a different size or style of reel. All in all, a great rod for a great price. wright & mcgill wmescmdr96c2 9'6", 8-12 lb. line, 3/8-3/4 oz. lure, fast action, medium power 254 grams (8.95 oz.) msrp $99 wright-mcgill.com Another budget friendly option that has some great float fishing qualities is the Medium Drifter by Wright & McGill. At 9-feet, 6-inches, the Medium Drifter is long enough for mediumsize rivers while also being easily manageable on small, brush-choked coastal systems. The line rating is one of my favorites for a steelhead rod and matches well for both summer and winter fish, especially during more limiting situations such as bank fishing. Described as having a fast action, I d rate it more of a moderatefast, which felt great and favored several float fishing styles. Though the rod balanced quite well, the overall becomes noticeable after several hours of casting. Palming the reel was also somewhat difficult due to the proximity with the large diameter rear grip. Slimming down the diameter of the rear grip could help to reduce overall, increasing comfort and performance. The Medium Drifter offers a lot of bang for your buck, especially considering it comes with a lifetime warranty. edge str1065-2hm 10'6", lb. line, 3/8-1 1/2 oz. lure, moderate action, medium heavy power 162 grams (5.7 oz.) H H H H H msrp $499 edgerods.com Edge Rods marks the re-entry of a familiar name to the finished rod market. Yes folks, Gary Loomis is back; designing and fine tuning actions, overseeing construction, selecting finish materials and components, and once again signing his name on his rods. Designed, constructed and finished by Gary and his team at North Fork Composites in Woodland, Wash., the Edge HM StR epitomizes all that can be gained from investing in a supremely wellbuilt, light float rod. Look at those numbers above: 10 6, line 5.7 oz! It is one of the longest, most powerful rods in the review, yet out of all spinning and casting models tested, only one rod was lighter, the Edge StR The advantages of the Next Gen HM graphite constructed blanks allow anglers the ability to step up to longer and more powerful rods while remaining feathery light, comfortable and user friendly. Kiss the dreaded sore casting arm goodbye. With Gary s commitment to state of the art innovation, Edge Rods will be giving serious anglers the performance edge they ve been searching for. 9'6", 8-12 lb. line, 3/8-3/4 oz. lure, fast action, medium power 264 grams (9.3 oz.) built with a counter balance H + msrp $450 xrodz.com Some manufacturers build fishing rods, but XRodz founder Jim Mercier has a different goal in mind: to build fishing weapons. His philosophy is simple. Pull out all the stops, assemble the best available materials and components with precision craftsmanship and attention to detail, and don t cut any corners. The results speak for themselves. The XR Pro 963-2C, one of several models available in the Steelheader line by XRodz, packs both sharp looks and excellent performance. ease and accuracy, along with all day user comfort are the result of a balance point which falls directly at the reel. This is especially nice if you are someone who prefers to palm the reel while holding the rod. The grip and handle configurations are especially unique on the XR Pro 963-2C. A 10-inch graphite rear grip sports a special machined aluminum ed butt cap to provide the perfect amount of counterbalance. The textured exposed blank reel seat provides excellent grip even when wet and the high-density foam fore grip remains comfortable and warm, even during cold rainy weather. Titanium plated ALPS guides and black thread wraps perfectly complement the glossy gunmetal gray blank. 38

4 Jack Hanselman with an Alaska steelhead caught while float fishing. continued from page 36 pat hoglund photo method of float fishing, but also the appropriate rod to use. This review is going to take a middle road approach: Rods that work effectively for both bank- and boat-bound anglers on medium-sized rivers fishing for fish in the winter steelhead to fall coho size range. These are rods that can be adaptable to multiple methods of float fishing, from small baits to large jigs, covering fisheries and scenarios typical to the Pacific Northwest. When most anglers hear the term float rod, they envision long, slow action rods stretching 10, 12, even 14 feet in length. While such rods do make good float rods under specific applications, it is important to understand that there is no set-in-stone rule for length that determines a rod to be a float rod. All that is needed is a rod that performs key duties on the water which you will be fishing; ability to cover all the intended water, easy casting, perform necessary line management, contains enough power to control the fish you are targeting and feels comfortable. For a person who primarily fishes small coastal waters, a 9-foot rod rated 4 to 8 pounds may suffice, whereas someone tossing big pink worms on the Skeena may require something 10 feet or longer, rated for 10- to 17-pound line. What benefits do longer rods provide? Perhaps the greatest advantage for float fishing is ease of line management and the ability to pick up a lot of line during a hook set. Unlike other fishing styles where a relatively straight line from lure to rod tip is maintained, slack line is critical to proper presentation while float fishing and considering this slack line leads to a float, beneath which lies continued on page 43 Salmon & Steelhead Journal Winter

5 Spinning Rods berkley a94-109ml 10'9", 6-10 lb. line, 1/8-1/2 oz. lure, medium light action 179 grams (6.3 oz.) + msrp $109 berkley-fishing.com At 10-feet, 9-inches, the Berkley A94-109ML is capable of managing line and controlling drifts over expansive pieces of water. The overall at just a touch over 6 ounces was very respectable and the slightly longer fore grip was matched well with the balance point of the rod, allowing comfortable control and ease of casting with all lure s falling within the rated range. The power felt good on fish weighing less than 10 pounds, however several coho in the low teens gave me just about all the fight I could handle from a restrictive position on the bank. This would make a great float and jig rod for both summer and winter steelhead. edge str1002-2hm 10'6", 6-10 lb. line, 1/16-3/16 oz. lure, moderate action, light power 120 grams (4.2 oz.) H H H H H msrp $439 edgerods.com Cutting edge materials and design come together to form one of the most impressive steelhead rods I ve ever handled. This is a 10-foot rod that weighs a breath over 4 ounces. The StR is a hardcore steelheader s dream come true. A smooth-loading moderate action with a balance point directly above the spinning reel s bail made for enjoyable casting and line management. The 10-foot length is great for typical Pacific Northwest steelhead haunts and there is exceptional strength and power contained in the Next Gen HM blank. Sensitivity is often overlooked in regards to float rods but what is gained from the use of extremely sensitive rods such as the StR is experiencing a much more enjoyable and intimate fight, allowing every roll and subtle head shake to be felt. Did I mention it weighs just over four ounces? Amazing rod! st. croix avs106mf2 10'6", 8-12 lb. line, 1/4-3/4 oz. lure, fast action, medium power 190 grams (6.7 oz.) + msrp $250 stcroixrods.com The St. Croix Avid AVS106MF2 is well suited for big water performance against beefy fish. The combination of 10 1/2 feet of line managing length with a fast action rated for lures up to 3/4-ounce was perfect for launching huge casts and making solid hook sets on long drifts. There was enough power to control winter steelhead in strong water, while not feeling overly powerful for smaller fish. A unique oval-shaped fore grip fit my hand perfectly and felt great and the cork barrel reel seat was especially nice in the cold weather experienced during the review. The balance point fell 3 inches in front of the fore grip and produced noticeable tip, which could be negated with a little from a counter balance system. While the Avid Series are well known for durability, should an accident happen you can rest assured you ll be back on the water quickly thanks to several options available through the St. Croix Superstar Service program. lamiglas si98ms 9'8", 8-12 lb. line, fast action, medium power 176 grams (6.2 oz.) H + H + msrp $499 lamiglas.com With a sharp, sleek appearance, light construction and amazing sensitivity, the all-new Lamiglas Si line of high performance rods were designed specifically with steelhead in mind. The Si is derived from silica, a key component of the 3M Nano Matrix Resin utilized in the construction of the blank. This new resin helps to increase strength by as much as 40 percent, without any added. The ability to increase strength without adding material benefits both sensitivity and performance. The Si 98MS performed well in all areas of the review. Though lure ratings are not designated, it matched well with s ranging from 1/8- to 1/2-ounce. A balance point very near the reel provided excellent comfort and the length was nice for space limited boat and bank applications. If you prefer a softer action for ultra light float tactics, check out the Si 96LS. In addition to great performance with floats, the sensitivity of the Lamiglas Si makes for a killer side-drifting rod. 40

6

7 Spinning Rods xrodz xr custom s wright & mcgill wmescn0106s2 10'6", 4-8 lb. line, 1/8-1/2 oz. lure, moderate action, medium light power 168 grams (5.9 oz.) + msrp $99 wright-mcgill.com The Wright & McGill Float Pro was a fun rod to fish finesse style tactics with. Tiny spawn sacks and micro jigs are perfect for this light leader friendly rod and the impressive, sub 6 ounce allows hours of comfortable casting. The S-Curve technology lends to a soft, smooth loading, resilient blank that flexes, loads and responds to every subtle movement of a hooked fish, greatly enhancing the experience of the fight. A couple tussles with particularly fresh, strong fish left me wishing for a little more power, but overall the rod was very enjoyable and would serve nicely as a summer steelhead rod. Considering it costs less than a hundred bucks and carries a lifetime warranty makes even more impressive. okuma sst-s-106ml 10'6", 6-12 lb. line, 3/16-1/2 oz. lure, medium light action 189 grams (6.7 oz.) msrp $79 okumafishing.com The Okuma Float Drifting SST-S- 106ML was designed specifically for light float fishing applications. The 10-foot, 6-inch length is sufficient to cover larger water and the IM8 graphite blank construction allows for strength and hook setting power without excess bulk. A moderate action provides nice cushion for the lightest of leaders and ultra fine wire hooks. The power felt quite light and made for enjoyable fight with fish less than 10 pounds. Though rated for line up to 12 pounds, considering the action and power, line in the 4- to 8-pound class may be most appropriate. Lengthening the fore grip would enable a more comfortable, secure grip closer to the balance point of the rod. The SST-S-106ML offers attributes well suited for summer steelhead. Should larger float presentations and more power to tackle larger fish be desired, check out the SST-S- 1062M. shimano cvs-l126l2b 12'6", 4-8 lb. line, 1/32-5/16 oz. lure, slow action, light power 228 grams (8 oz.) msrp $80 shimano.com If you prefer a traditional float rod action for presenting tiny offerings on ultra light leaders, you are going to love this rod. The 12 1/2-foot Convergence L126L2B is not a rod for hiking into remote, tiny coastal streams or horsing stubborn fish out of heavy water. It is designed for stealthy, subtle presentations requiring skill for accurate casts and landing fish. Once you fish with such a rod, you ll understand why so many people love them; they are an absolute kick to fight fish with! The slow action bends all the way to the cork and protects even the lightest leaders from breakage, providing a very intimate and unique fighting experience. The length and power are nice for large, slow waters with plenty of room to pursue hooked fish and the extended fore grip allows for comfortable grip at the balance point. This is an excellent choice for summer steelhead fanatics. 9'6", 8-20 lb. line, 3/8-3/4 lure, moderate action, medium power 238 grams (8.4 oz.) built with a counter balance H + H + msrp $495 xrodz.net Exceptionally well built and stunningly beautiful, the XR Custom S was an absolute dream to fish with. Constructed from a unique blend of XR-IM700 and IM 800 graphite which lends to great power as well as durability, it easily handled several strong fish during the review. The moderate action loaded well, benefiting both casting and maintaining control of hooked fish. Length was perfect for easy line management and covering big water, and the titanium plated ALPS guides offer supreme performance and durability for use with braided lines. Sporting a sharp looking nickel finished counterbalance, the XR Custom S balanced perfectly at the reel and was very comfortable over long days of fishing. The strikingly slim hourglass shaped cork, adorned with composite end rings and a special sealing finish is but a taste of what is offered in customizable options from X Rodz. Antler reel seats, feather inlays, airbrush artwork, specialized thread wraps if you can dream it, X Rodz will build it, allowing serious anglers a unique opportunity to custom design their own high performance fishing rods. 42

8 continued from page 39 several more feet of swirling, dangling line, it s easy to see you need to move a lot of line before you feel the reassuring headshakes of a hooked fish. Longer rods also aid in lifting and mending the line throughout a drift, crucial to maintaining a smooth, consistent drag free drift. Another key benefit, especially with spinning rods when throwing light jigs or bait, is easier casting and longer distances. However, casting long spinning rods takes some getting used to, and often lacks consistent accuracy. style rods and the ability to thumb the spool of the reel offer better odds for accurate casts, though they can be difficult to use with super light offerings. The next features you need to consider when selecting a float rod are action and power ratings. Predominately, actions of slow to moderate with a light to medium power are preferred for most spin fishing float rod applications. Slower actions and lighter power matched with longer rods aid in shock absorption and protect light leaders from breakage, fine wired hooks from bending out, rod blanks from damage and keeping fish hooked. A deep bend in a long rod carries a substantial stored load, which maintains tension on the line while fighting a fish and prevents any slack from allowing hooks to work free, even when a fish jumps or rapidly changes direction. As with length, action and power ratings don t have to follow a set guideline and should be something that is personalized to your particular applications. For example, say your favorite river has slow water, easy wading and fish that won t be breaking any state records in the near future. This situation would be perfect for maximizing the experience of the fight by using a slow action, ultra light rated rod that requires a little more skill (and patience) to land fish. Conversely, if you fish technical water for hard charging native fish it may be critical to contain the fish in the hole you hooked it in or risk kissing your spool of line and fish of a lifetime goodbye as it disappears through the rapids. A moderate-fast action, medium heavy rod would better suit this situation. Perhaps you need a rod that can pull a little double duty tossing spinners or spoons, or simply prefer casting style rods for float fishing. Slightly faster actions with greater power favor these methods, as both sensitivity and stored casting energy are increased. Factoring into castability, You Are Now Free To Move About Our Lakes and Streams. For 36 years, Rainbow King Lodge has provided guests with unequaled once-in-a-lifetime fishing experiences. Enhancements under the new ownership of Rodger Glaspey and Ted Sheely extend those legendary fishing experiences with major lodge upgrades and new equipment. Daily you will choose between a dozen different fishing destinations that only RKL guests have access to. You ll board one of our three floatplanes and fly to your own slice of heaven. There you ll fish for world-class rainbow, all five species of Pacific Salmon, Halibut, Grayling and Arctic Char. Evenings bring gourmet-class cuisine served by our detail-oriented staff in an exclusive, luxurious lodge setting Salmon & Steelhead Journal Winter

9 A lone angler float fishing on an Oregon coastal river. performance, comfort and price, the overall of a rod is also very important. I have had many people ask, Why use an expensive rod as a float rod? Rod price is a factor of the construction materials and components. Advanced resins, high modulus graphite, thinner blank wall diameters, titanium guides and skeleton reel seats may act to increase price, but they also reduce. Does this mean you have to use expensive rods? Absolutely not. There are plenty of budget friendly options for great float rods, especially if you frequently fish in tight quarters with trees and brush. What is gained from light rods comes in the form of increased sensitivity and feel while fishing fish, less arm fatigue from a long day of casting and ease in balancing josiah darr photo the rod. The critical aspect concerning is where the is being distributed along the rod. A quality rod should balance very near the point where you grip the rod. It is very easy to determine the balance point and it can even be done while you shop for rods in a store. To do this, take one of your reels to the store, place it in the reel seat then rest the rod across your index finger as if it were a teeter-totter. Within a few 44

10 Salmon & Steelhead Journal Winter

11 A steelhead buck caught on a jig float rig. seconds of sliding your finger closer to or farther away from the reel, you will find the balance point. A rod that does not balance well in hand can be uncomfortable to fish with, producing strain on the wrist, forearm and shoulder, while also being a nightmare to cast. This can be a real dilemma with long float rods, as the extra length tends to make rods feel very tip heavy. Some manufactures have countered tip by shortening rear grip length, shifting the reel seat farther back and lengthening the fore grip. This helps to shift the of the reel eric martin photo Completing your float fishing setup Along with choosing the right float rod, you ll want to be sure to be set up with the proper reel, line and floats. As with most things the answer is not set in stone; in other words there are more than one way to complete your float fishing setup. However, here are several options to choose from, all of which have been tested Choosing reels When float fishing, it is common to make long casts and drifts covering huge amounts of water. In order to do this comfortably for long periods of time, you need a reel that balances the rod at your point of grip, casts almost effortlessly, has a drag strong enough to control big fish in strong current while remaining smooth enough to protect light leaders, sports a generous spool capacity and speedy gearing to allow fast line pick up and retrieval. The compact and powerful Abu Garcia Revo STX-HS is an excellent choice for those who prefer casting style reels. A linear magnetic brake allows for precise fine tuning, 11 bearings provide buttery smooth operation, plenty of line capacity, 18 pounds of carbon matrix fish stopping drag and the revo stx-hs 7.1:1 gearing picks up nearly three feet of line with every crank of the handle. For spin fishing fanatics, check out the Shimano Stradic CI4. At only 7.2 oz, the Stradic CI43000 tested during the review was a perfect match to light rods, providing balance without excess. A crisp bail, fluid movement, a strong and smooth drag and capacity of nearly 200 yards of 15-pound braided line proved more than adequate on all fish encountered. The EVA power handle is nice, especially to hands numb from cold. fishing line Stradic c14 Choosing Line Braided lines can be found on the reels of most float anglers thanks to several key 46

12 farther behind the gripping point of a rod, using it as a counterbalance. There is also commercially available counter balance systems which slip over the butt cap of a rod and allow customizing just the right amount of needed to balance your specific rod and reel set up. It may seem counterintuitive to add to a light rod, but creating that perfect balance makes all the difference in the world after a long day of fishing. Remember, choosing a float rod means selecting something that is appropriate for your particular needs. Don t let somebody behind a store counter or television camera tell you that it has to be X feet in length or rated for X pound line. Do a little research, talk to friends and even guides who fish the areas you fish. As long as you find a quality rod that balances well and feels comfortable, allows you to effectively cover the water, mend line and fish your preferred methods while providing enough power to handle your target fish species, you re good to go. But pay attention, because when your float goes down, you may just have a fish on! features: They float, have very small diameters and are available in highly visible colors. Floating line is imperative to obtaining drag free drifts and easy line mending, creating the most natural presentations of your bait or lure. Lines that sink act like a sail, catching the current and dragging your presentation through a piece of water too quickly and can also pull your intended drift off track and into an undesired position. The relatively small diameters of braided lines in comparison to similar monofilament lines allows for considerably more line capacity on a reel while maintaining adequate strength. Visibility of the line is also important, allowing for easy detection of excess slack line and proper timing of mends. A solid choice when chasing steelhead is yellow Tuf Line XP in 15- or 20-pound test. If salmon are a target, consider bumping it up to 30- to 50-pound test. Choosing Floats There are literally hundreds of makes, models, colors, styles and sizes of floats, all of which have been fixed floats created for specific duties and applications. Alas, there is no magic one-size fits all float, so carry an assortment and adjust as conditions or tactics change. When fishing presentations less than half an ounce or in water less than 4 feet deep, fixed position floats excel. Placing casts in slots laden with exposed rocks? Better opt for the unmatched durability of a foam style float. Deep holes, heavy s, and making long casts all favor a sliding style setup, and when the water gets clear, look to models made from clear plastic. Excellent fixed position models include the Thill Turbo Master, Steelhead Stalker and Dink floats. West Coast Floats and Beau Mac Inline Slider Floats offer supreme durability. slide floats Top choices for clear water are Cleardrift Floats and Drennan. clear water floats Salmon & Steelhead Journal Winter

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