Spin Fishing Using The Fly And Bubble Method

What’s it All About ?

Fly fishing with spinning gear is often referred to as using the “fly and bubble technique.”  Knowing how to effectively use the fly and bubble technique will allow you to catch more fish. You’ll be able to catch trout and other species where lures and bait are just not working.  The FLY and Bubble (FB) technique  is effective for panfish, trout and bass.  It allows the angler to use tied flies.    It can be used in places that don’t allow bait or lures fishing.   This method can be used from a boat or on the shore.   The key to this method is the bubble ( bobber ) filled with water.  The bubble is designed to slide up and down the fishing line.  The bubble becomes the casting weight taking the fly along for the ride.   FB is one of my favorite methods of fishing for trout because I can use the same spinning equipment that I already have.  And because the FB rig is so simple I can switch to another method of fishing and switch back again with ease.

What Tackle to Use

You probably have most of the equipment and tackle.   Let me start with a list and then discuss each item.

  • Spinning Rod
  • Spinning Reel
  • Line
  • Leader
  • Swivel
  • Bead
  • Bubble
  • Fly Assortment

The spinning rod should be a 6 to 7  foot ultralight, light or medium action.  But the key spec to look for is line weight.  Choose a line weight of 4, 6 or 8 lbs.  Most rods have all this info. printed on the rod just above the handle.  Most of the time I use a 7 foot light action rod.

The key for the reel is also the line size.  Spinning reels have the line size and capacity printed on the side of the spool.  Mose reels are designed to use three sizes of line like  2# 4# 6# or 4# 6# 8# or 6# 8# 10# and so on.  If I want to use 6lb line, I would look for reels marked with 4 – 6 – 8, that way I can change to lighter or heaver line.

For the line, use 6 lb monofilament.  There are hundreds of lines and brands to choose from.  Look for these qualities like low memory and limp.  A good line to start with is Berkley Trilene XL.

Leader size should be less than the main line.  If  the main line is 6lb then use 4 or 2 lb leader.  Buy a fluorocarbon type leader, one of the advantages is, fluorocarbon is invisible in the water.

A swivel is used between the casting line and the leader.  Buy #12 or #14 black swivels. Some people recommend using ball baring swivels but that type are expensive so I use normal swivels.

There are three types of bubbles that I know of.  The tear drop shape , oval with pointy ends and round.  The difference between bobbers and bubbles is bubbles are designed to be filled with water.  Both the round and the tear drop shapes use a piece of surgical tubing attached to plugs at each end of the bubble.  Pull the plug out to fill with water.  The line from the reel goes through the tubing.  The oval bubble uses a hollow tapered peg.  Push the peg out to fill with water and the fishing line is feed through the center of the  peg.  All the floats can be bought from Cabala’s stores or on line.  To buy larger quantity and choose from more sizes and colors on line go to Rainbow Plastics. They have some other neat products you should look at.  Buy some of  the middle size bubbles to learn this fishing method.  The oval bubble is the one that I use the most and it is the cheapest.

One bead is needed.  It is used to protect the knot on the swivel from chafing by the bubble.  I prefer a glass bead but plastic is alright.  Size isn’t important, the only requirement is that the hole in the bead slips over the knot.  I use 8mm ( 1/4 inch ).

What Fly Should Be Use?

Fishing flies is a huge subject and over my head.  I would suggest buying an assortment of flies to start and add to it as you go.  One web site to check out is Orvis.  Select the Fly Fishing department in the left sidebar.  They have an assortment of 20 flies for $9.95 and the shipping is free.

Knots to Learn

Knots are one of my interests.  I could make a web site all about knots but there are already many sites devoted to knots.  When using fluorocarbon leader you should use the Trilene Knot to tie to the fly and swivel.  Go to this link to see an  animated Trilene Knot being tied,   www.animatedknots.com.

How to Rig

Rigging is easy.  Pull some line from the rod tip.  Feed the end of the line through the bubble.  If using the oval bubble feed the line into the small end of the peg and out he large end.  With the tear drop bubble the line should enter the tapered end and out the fat end.   Thread a bead onto the line.  Next tie a on the swivel using a Trilene Knot.  Measure 5 to 6 feet of leader from the spool.  Now tie the leader to the swivel.  Straighten the leader by pulling it through a leader straightener.

How to Use This Rig

Choose a fly and tie it on.  To start use a wet fly or you might try a foam fly.  Fill the bubble about half full with water.  I would recommend using a side arm cast for this rig.  Practice making short casts and try using light finger pressure on the rim of the real spool.  A good cast is when the bubble slows and drops onto the water quietly and the fly leader straightens out past the bubble.  That is where the practice comes in. For now reel in the slack between the fly and bubble.  Keep the rod tip down and wait.  If using a wet fly it will slowly sink and swing in an ark until the fly is under the bubble.  Slowly reel in about 4 feet of line and wait.  When the bubble moves across the surface the fly will move up and forward and  if the bubble stops moving the fly will continue to slowly move forward and down.  This is one way to give some life to the fly.   Another way to fish this rig is to completely fill the bubble with water.  Drop the bubble in the water and not how long it takes to sink one foot.  Now cast the rig and when the bubble hits the water count off the depth you want the fly to be at.  When you retrieve the bubble and fly will stay at the same depth almost all the way back.

I have just covered the basics of FB.  In future posts I will cover, fly selection, presentation and more detail on equipment selection.  I welcome all of your questions and comments.


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Fishing from The Bank (First Post)

Get it All Together

Fishing from shore was my first experience with fishing.  I still enjoy it.  But I can’t do it right because I can’t get around as good as  when I was young.  So now I sit in a folding chair with my rod in a rod holder and watch the bobber.  The main thing here is,  I don’t expend any energy.  Here is a list of the items that I bring when shore fishing.

  • Light wight folding chair
  • Rod and reel  —  long rod 6-7 ft.  spinning real with 4-6 lb. line
  • Bait — worms,  crickets,  meal worms, or small jigs and flies
  • Bobbers — 1 t0 2 inches in diameter
  • Hooks —  size 4 to 10 (10 is smaller than 4)
  • 5 gallon bucket — use this bucket to carry everything that isn’t a chair

The bucket can also serve as a seat when turned upside down.  Or they make a padded lid that fits the bucket.  Sometimes I use the bucket as a rod holder.  If the bucket isn’t heavy enough, place a stone in the bottom for ballast.  I divide bank or shore fishing into two categories, still fishing in one spot and continually moving from spot to spot.  This post will cover stationery fishing.

Lets Start Fishing

I use two methods of still fishing.  The first is bottom fishing, used to catch catfish.  The second method is to use a bobber to keep your bait at some level in the water.  This method is used to catch like bluegill, crappie, trout and bass.  Methods and techniques will vary depending on time of year, temperature and spices.  But I like to keep is simple.

Bottom Fishing

Catfish feed off the bottom so if you put you bait on the bottom you might catch a catfish.  Here is a video that will show you how to set up your rig.  Notice the equipment used is much heaver than I like to use.

The bait he was using in the video looked like a fillet off a bluegill.  I like to use packaged catfish bait.  Berkley make a couple catfish baits in chunk form packed in resealable pouches.  Another type of packaged bait is called dip.  It comes in a tub and thick like peanut butter.  You  use a hook that has a sponge or coiled wire  that holds the bait.   Both types of bait work but I prefer the pouch bait because it isn’t as messy as the tub type.

Bobber Fishing

Bobber fishing is used to fish the upper level of the water.  Attach a small hook to the end of your line. Use a round red and white bobber about 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter.  The bobber is clipped on about 12 to 24 inches above your hook.  If you want to use a sinker, use a pinch on split shot half way between the hook and the bobbber.  This rig is great for bluegill bass and trout.

Picking a Spot to Fish

Fish like structure.  Structure is anything that can provide cover.  Some fish use cover to hide others use it to ambush other fish from.  So from the shore look for stumps, vegetation, large rocks or fallen trees.  The list goes on.  But if all you see is a flat area  of mud or gravel it probably isn’t a good spot to fish because there isn’t any structure.  Also look for shade.  Trees on the shore casting shadows on the water or the shady side of a structure like a stump or rock.   Boat docks are structures and provide shade.

If you are fishing in a area that is new to you, stop at the local bait shop or hardware store and get information about the local fishing.   Where to fish, what kind of fish, what bait to use and always buy something before leaving the store.

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