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
- 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.
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.