Trout Floats

With water temperatures in the low to mid 60’s live bait becomes plentiful during the late fall and early winter months. Small croaker, menhaden, shrimp, and finger mullet school in the creeks this time of year and it is no surprise they are the bait of choice for Trout fishing. For most anglers here in the lowcountry using live bait for Trout means float fishing in some shape, form or manner. Truth be told there are probably more than a dozen different types of cork rigs for Trout and everyone seems to prefer one or another for their own reasons. The purpose of this article is to simply highlight three of probably the most common types of float rigs and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Sliding tubular balsa floats or more commonly called float highs is the style rig I grew up fishing with. These tubular corks are usually painted with a large band of orange and a large band of white and come in sizes ranging  from 4 to 12-inches inches tall. These corks are available in both weighted and non-weighted versions. The weighted versions allow a bait to swim naturally underneath the cork, are generally easier to cast in windy conditions and do not require a weight to stand them upright. The non-weighted versions allow the weight to be suspended below the cork and allow the angler to set the depth with witch he wants the bait to cover. To put together a float high rig the main line is threaded through a plastic bead and then the tubular cork. If using a weighted cork the line is then attached to a small swivel. If using a non-weighted cork the main line is attached to a 1/ to 1-1/2 ounce cigar sinker also known as a trolling weight. (Note: Obviously with there being different sized corks each size cork requires a different sized weight. With non-weighted corks the weight not only sets the depth of the bait but also serves to hold the cork in an upright position therefore you should consult with your tackle dealer to properly match cigar weights with corks.) On the other end of the swivel or sinker, dependin