AAA provides answers to reader-submitted questions….

Posted: January 23, 2012 by Hellcat in Fish Reports, Gear Fishing, Salmon, Trout & Steelhead, Tips & Advice
Tags: , , , , , ,

I get pretty excited when commentors come into the site and lay down a list of questions for me to tackle. It gives me a chance to talk directly with a reader about my passion of river angling while providing the rest of you with a peak into one angler’s questions surrounding many topics. Mostly I’ll just answer the questions within the post itself they are submitted to. But in the case of reader/viewer “Scott”….he has made several inquiries over the past month I feel are worth sharing with the rest of you. Although I try to cater this site to you 10%ers out there…it’s true that a large portion of my reader base is beginning to intermediate anglers as well. I figure there are no better anglers for these newer fishermen to learn from than us old salty dogs that eat, breathe and sleep this stuff. In this post I will feature Scott’s questions, oldest to newest….and some answers I hope everyone agrees with.

Questions from reader/viewer Scott with answers from AAA Founder, Christopher H3llcat Heller: I encourage my more experienced angling readers/viewers to share their own opinions to Scott’s questions in the comments section of this post.

Here we go:


I’ve been using a 4 ft piece of 12 lb fluoro for my sliding bobber. I think I should of stuck with maxima. (I’ve noticed) Fluoro breaks real easy…..running the 12 lb…..with an albright knot to my Fireline and the fluoro to my swivel. Then I tie of a piece about 2 feet long of 10 lb fluoro to the jig. I will use the fluoro till its gone then I’m going back to maxima ultragreen. (I) found a 9 ft 6 6 to 12 okuma sst for float fishing as this all they had in stock at (the local sporting goods store). Like the rod. I put the high vis 20 lb fireline on it. Will this work or should I stick with 14 lb?


Scott, you’ve got a lot going on in this question. Let me address each item one by one.

1) Let me start by saying that each fishing line has it’s own personality. Most lines that make it to the main commercial market have at least some redeeming features for one application or another. It’ important to know when to use a particular line and in what fashion you intend to use it. I love flourocarbon lines. But there are things you have to understand about the properites of specific lines and what that means for certain use applications. I agree with you>>flouro is no good as a bumper line. When tied to braid as a bumper the braid will almost always cut the flouro right at your knot…no matter Albright or Double Uni. IF you must run a bumper (which after much experimenting…years actually….I know don’t feel is necessary even in the lowest and clearest of conditions) then stick to your Maxima, like you said. If you want to discuss WHY I don’t like running bumpers we can do that as wel.

2) The Okuma rod you’re running is great. In this day and age of accessible rod technologies the difference between high end and low end rods has shrunk significantly. We could wax modulus-talk all day long but in the end a sub one hundred dollar rod will work just fine. I have two of them in my three rod rotation at all times. Try to add the 10’6″ to your arsenal and you’ll be set. I love to drift split shot with the 9’6″ or to use it for float fishing on really small rivers.

3) After running Fireline in both 14 and 20lb from here to Alaska…I would say both work fine. I certainly prefer the 14lb for castability but I was glad I had on the 20lb for my Twenty-Plus this season. Visibility-wise…it makes no difference.


I have a question on jig fishing….I’ve been useing a 1/4 oz beau mac sliding float with a No. 3 split shot above my knot. Would it be easier to use a 3/8 oz sliding bobber with a 1/4 oz in line weight with my 1/8 oz jig? I’m new to jig fishing and just trying to see what works best. I know a guy that uses this setup and he has punched 16 hatchery fish on this setup. this river is small and the water is fairly clear. Been useing Aero jigs…….are there any other jigs I should try? Trying to stick with pink, white and cerise. I think maybe I should use darker colors when the water is clear like black, reds and maybe purple? Still learning so don’t know (best colors to use). Thanks for answering my questions. saw a guy on the ****** river yesterday with one of your stickers on his truck.

Answers: I would prefer your latter explanation of the heavier float and weight. Even in low water the quicker you get down the better. AeroJigs are great. I’ve caught a ton of fish on them. It’s recommended to have a variety of sizes, colors and brands…..this way you’ll eventually get your preferred rotation. You can find references to Aero and many other jigs on this site. I also have a sponsor page that features some great products and services. Re: Your color reference….I find those darker patterns are very productive in low water. I like nightmare color patterns a lot (reds and blacks w/ different colored heads). And thanks for the heads up on the sticker you saw. We’re starting to see more of those around! Love it.


Cool video on the stream you fished last weekend. That stream is about 15 minutes from my house. On the 10 ft 6 8 to 17 okuma sst……what size reel are you using for silvers, bigger steelhead and nooks? I picked up a trio 30 s from okuma for my 9 ft 6 6 to 12 sst bobber rod. Nice reels for the money. What size bobber do you use when you are floating eggs or other bait and are you useing a in line weight like you would with a jig or are you adding split shot? When using spinners are you using braid or mono? Thanks Scott


Again, we’ll break down this last series of questions as such:

1) I use a Trio 40S (high speed 6.2-1) with 20# Fireline for the bigger stuff. 30 sized Trios and Epixors for the smallers. And NO I don’t have any affiliation with Okuma….I just feel they are the best deal for the money. The drag systems on the Trio series is the very first to have washers on both sides of the spool…(Dual Force Drag or DFD) which allow for very smooth drags on very affordable reels. My one complaint about Trios is they are long to warm up to a smooth retrieve in cold temps. Honest observation. One I can live with though.

2) Bobber size is always a 1 ounce or less…with the exception of fall chinook when I’ll go to a 2 or 3 ounce depending on the water. For most steelhead bait applications I will run the Beau Mac 1/2oz….with either an in line sinker or a sliding egg sinker above the barrel swivel. Usually this weight is 3/8’s or heavier. Again, get down quick. Keep your bait straight down. Perhaps adding a Bait Weight instead of a split shot may also help you achieve a straight up and down float in some conditions. This is also a Beau Mac product.

3) When running spinners or spoons I tie directly to the hardware. You will find I am in the minority with this answer but it’s my answer none the less.

DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS FOR THE 10%ers? EMAIL YOUR QUESTIONS TO CHRIS@ALLAROUNDANGLER.COM or simply reply to this post in the comment thread.

Keep ’em wet,

Christopher H3llcat Heller

  1. Khart says:

    I too have issues with fluorocarbon leaders. I started using it this year when walleye vertical jig fishing. Started off using the double uni-knot with poor success. Solved the problem with using a small barrel swivel to connect the two. This may work for you too in low clear water with a 10’6″ bobber rod. Great answers to the questions Chris. Takes me back to the old days of working together. I learned alot from your experience back then and still do. I like the Q&A stuff. We all learn from it.

  2. captain jack says:

    I’ve gone away from fluorocarbon after busting off a couple fish. I’m sure it works great for some, but for my money I’d rather use 8# ultragreen than 12# fluoro. If you do stick with it, just be very careful tying knots, if you pull quickly or the knot isn’t wet enough when you cinch it down it will break easily. It also has less stretch than mono so if you are running braided main line you wind up with a pretty unforgiving combination.

  3. Great answers and info here Chris.
    You really cant beat Maxima UG, but I do use flourocarbon often, especially when the rivers are low and clear. Chris is right, it has certain properties that must be taken in to consideration. Captain Jacks info regarding tying knots in the flouro and the fact that it does not stretch like mono is key. If you don’t tie carefully, making sure the knot is very wet before cinching, it will break easily. It it wont cinch easily, or binds up and when you pull hard and then it slips tight, I always retie it. I like to wet the knot ALOT and kinda help the knot along with my fingers instead of just pulling on both ends to tighten.

    One thing to remember too is that when fishing braided line, whether you are using flouro or mono, you do not need a Kevin Van Dam hoookset. When my float goes under, I close the bail and sweep the rod up quickly and let the rod load up to the fish. WIth braided line, you are tight to the fish RIGHT NOW and usually that is all it takes to bury that hook. The only thing that will “give” with this setup is the action of your rod, your drag, and the short mono or flouro leader coming from your swivel to your jig. If you try to hit the crack of your a$$ with the rod tip when you set the hook, there is a real good chance you will snap your leader 🙂 .

    I am an avid float fisherman, and 95% of the time I use either 10# or 15# braided line, a 1/4 oz West Coast type float ,and under that a 3/16 oz mojo slip weight (cylindrical weight with a hole in the middle of it, kinda like a short piece of hollow core pencil lead) followed by a small bead for a knot bumper. I personally like all of my items on my line free sliding. I always tie my braid straight to my barrel swivel. Then a length of mono or flouro leader to my bait/jig etc. The size of float and added weight are modified according to the conditions of the river I am fishing.

    This is just my opinion, observations, and input of what works well for me. Lots of great answers and info from Hellcat, Khart, and Captain Jack.

  4. Hellcat says:

    John thanks for sharing so much of your knowledge with us. You make excellent points all the way around. I especially love that you’re running your braid without a bumper. Bumpers to braid loose you more fish than almost anything.

    Willem-thank you as well for such a detailed answer that comes from so many years of experience. I’m humbled by the participation of both of you.

  5. Willbfishing says:

    I started bobber fishing back in the late 80’s and i think i have tryed just about every combination out there. I have loved and lost, cryed and laughed. I started fly fishing as a youth and fished that way for many years before i started fishing with regular rod and reel methods. So when it comes to my bobber rod set ups it is very simular to my fly rod set up. All of my bobber rods are 10’6″ or longer and rated 6-10, 8-12. much like my fly rods. For reels i prefer Shimano line with SYMETRE or higher in the line up. STRADIC is my favorite. 4000 for the size. There is less friction when the line comes of the reel and less twisting in my line because of the spool size. Allowing me to cast further with less weight. It picks up the line quicker than the 2500 size. The bigger size is also a better fit for battling big fish and takes better punishment. I like to have everything slide on my line but the Swivel and the jig. I run a 20lb hi-vis braided line allowing me to see bellys in the line as they develope. Connected to 12lb CXX p-line with the bobber knot, bead, bright corky, sliding bobber,(prefer 3/8) bead, hollow core pencil lead, bead then my size 10 crain swivel. A 2ft leader to jig, bait or weightless spinner. The leader type between swivel and offering depends on water clarity. Florocarbon for clear conditions and moss green for colored water. Why spend more money when we dont need too. I start out with my bobber stop pinned down next to my bobber and fish the water at my feet first, and adjust it as i fish farther away from the bank. Paying very close condition to the painted head looking for chips in the paint as i search the different levels of the river. The most important thing for me is to manage the bobbers attitude as it floats down the river. Never let it drag or be held back as we try to manage alonger drift. FISH THE WATER IN FRONT OF YOU. Then step down and repeat the pattern.Regardless of my favorite patterns that i like to fish i beleave that we really need to pay attenion to what the river is telling us. for example: I see alot of people that fish one color for all conditions,(pink) one size for all water.(1/8th} This is the biggest mistake we can make. Depending on water flow and color determines where and what colors we should be fishing. (I range between 1/4 down to 1/32) Ever notice that pink’s seem to work well in the winter months, its because of the condition in the water. I just dont catch as many fish on pinks in the summer months. If you pay attention to what the river tells us you will catch more fish and often right out from the feet of others. Scent’s lol that’s another day. That’s my .02 cents, Bobber down, anyriver anytime!

  6. David Willis says:

    I run a little different setup then most for winter steelhead 8-10ft rod 35lb braid, 1/2 oz float to a 3/8oz in line weight, then my jig of whatever size and sometimes a splitshot halfway down my leader to help it get down faster and get a better presentation. I run the heavy float on almost every system I fish I feel that I get a more stable, deeper drift out of it that you just cant get with smaller floats, on a very small creek I will run a 3/8 oz float with a 1/4 oz weight then my jig of choice it seems to balance out well. I allways run a 12lb leader most of the time just Big game or Andes I see no reason to mess around and break off fish usung light leaders.

  7. El Padron says:

    I wasn’t planning on commenting here considering the breadth and quality of knowledge that has already been shared but then I recalled this tidbit… K.I.S.S. One February three of us went 14 for 16 on a coastal stream using 8 lb mono, thin Thill wire bobbers and 1/16th oz jigs. No swivel, no nothing. Best day of hig fishibg i’d ever had. The water was low, and we were one of two boats that floated that VERY popular drift that day. A natural presentation wins in low water.

  8. daheller says:

    Good info from some experienced fisherman. Although I have fished bobbers (dink floats) for several years, I picked up some good info from the discussion. Thanks. Sal

  9. scott says:

    hi chris thats a cool video you made of you and your son and your dad. your son looks like a future fishermen for sure. i see in some of your videos you are useing latex gloves when you guys are fishing. do you use these will you are fishing bait only? thanks

  10. scott dyer says:

    i was looking at trying some rubber worms on my jigs. what kind or color besides pink would be good to try for steelhead. looking to throw something new in the mix. i have some berkleys but i see mad river ,x force tackle and eze eggs make them as well. thanks

  11. scott says:

    hey chris got the hat yesterday. i dig the hat it is extremely comfortable. it will my favorite hat to fish with. hopefully it will bring some mojo on the river. thanks

  12. Hellcat says:

    Scott if I would reach out to Rusty Bell and WFO for the best cutting edge plastics around. He’s got it dialed. You can link to him from my site.

  13. Hellcat says:

    Super stoked you dig it, Scott.

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