Float Fishing with Center-Pin by Justin Haug

Float Fishing with Center-Pin by Justin Haug

We met up early the next day, and I was excited to try out my newly learned tactic. We hit the water, and not even four casts later, my friend is locked into a bright chromer. I fished for over an hour, without any luck, as he continued to catch fish. At this point, I was totally frustrated and wanted to go back to the way I knew how to fish—bouncing my offering off the bottom, as I had always done.

He yelled over to me and said “Just stick with it, and it will happen.”

I continued another twenty minutes, feeling more confident with each cast, and then it happened. I had cast into a perfect seam and watched as my float made its way through the run, and toward the tail-out, the float disappeared. I set the hook, and up came my first float fishing steelhead. It was not a monster, but it was one fish I’ll never forget.
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From that point on, I was hooked. I fished the rest of the season with my newly found technique, and became very comfortable with that approach.

During the off season, my friend and I spent time planning our first steelhead outing of the new season, when he turned to me and said, “Wait ‘til you see what I show you this time!!”

He refused to reveal what he planned to show me, telling me I’d have to wait for our first trip. The weeks flew by and our first trip was suddenly upon us. I anxiously arrived at his house in the pitch darkness of early morning, and he loaded his gear into my car. It was almost light when we got to the water’s edge, and I asked him what he wanted to show me.

He hands me his rod and says, “Look at that reel.” It looked like a typical, large fly reel.

He then explained it was a center-pin, and it was an even better way to fish, by allowing you to float through the entire run with a drag-free drift. Then he taught me how to cast his setup.

I’ve been hooked on center-pin fishing ever since.

When you have a pool all to yourself, you have the option of standing at the top of the run and drifting your bait the entire length of the pool, completely drag-free—providing a more natural presentation.

The rods needed for this type of fishing usually range from 11 feet up to 17 feet. The length of the rod is determined by the size of the water you’re planning on fishing. Most center-pin anglers prefer a 13 foot rod, as they seem to be very versatile, accommodating most rivers.

As far as the reels go, there are many options and sizes to choose from. You can go with an entry level, factory-made reel for less than $200, or you can go with a handmade reel that can cost upwards of $700.

Get your hands on a float fishing set up, and you too will find this a very effective technique, increasing your hook-up rates tremendously.

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