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I recently recieved a pm from a member who posed a very good question. Here is what he asked, and my efforts at answering it...

[quote="A BCFR member" ]
Hey Rib I had something that I wanted to run by you, hope you don't mind.

I was going to post this in the main forum but didn't really know how it would be received. With all the "snag" talk that gets thrown around, I figured I would avoid a major topic flaming.

I was recently talking with another fisherman I know, regarding float fishing in the Vedder. I was telling him that I went out this weekend with a few people and they hooked up and I didn't. I was using some VERY nice roe and the other guys were using Jensen eggs and one was using roe sacks.

He seemed to think that those fish that they caught were snagged and did not bite. I tried to explain to him that we were short floating but he seemed to think that did not matter. He said the fact that the fish hit jensen eggs and roe sacks over fresh roe was a sure sign that the fish were being basically snagged under a float. Similar to fishing for white springs using a tiny piece of wool under a float he said those are all being snagged as well. He told me that I should quit using my roe and just use some scented wool and save my roe.

It seemed to me that the fish that the guys hooked up with, hit their offerings and were not snagged. He was very adamant regarding the fact that the fish were snagged and did not bite. He thought it may also be easier to floss under a float at times than bottom bouncing or drift fishing.

What do you think? Snagged or biting? I would like to think that they are biting as opposed to the floss/snag bit that is taking place elsewhere right now.

If you think that this topic should be addressed to the main forum, feel free to present it, I just don't want it to turn into a "snagging/flossing debate"


[/quote]


Good question for sure. Popular opinion is that fish do not hit wool. I think in many cases anglers fishing with wool or jensen eggs, etc., are flossing, but I do not think that means that fish will not bite a well presented wool tie or or other similar item.

I have personally witnessed steelhead and salmon purposefully move through the water column towards a wool tie and take it. I have watched steelhead rise up to a short floated peach wool tie and "flash" as they twist sideways to intercept it's downstream path and sample the item. Much to my enjoyment I might add.

Fish feed in a river, be it in their juvenile stage or adult stage, whatever one believes, they do feed in a river at some point in their life cycle. They use their eyes and sense of smell to recognize food sources and then they swim over and take it. Obviously they do not have hands to "feel" such items out so to speak, so they take items into their mouths to determine if they are indeed a food source or not...

Case in point. Have you ever observed fish swimming around in someones home aquarium...? If you have, you may have noticed that they will swim around inhaling suspended particles. Sometimes they take them in and spit them out right away, while in other instances, they will ingest the selected item. Why did they spit out those things the purposefully swam over to investigate...? Obviously because they determined it wasn't food, but they couldn't have come to that conclusion until they felt it out with the only method they can.

Their mouths.

This is the premise behind all types of fishing, be it fly fishing a lake somewhere, or fishing the chuck, or even the rivers many of us fish. We try to imitate some food source, and illicit a "strike" from the fish we hunt.

I firmly believe fish in our rivers will purposefully hit wool, and other similar items. I have seen smolts and fry swim up and nip at wool as I retrieve, and believe this instinctive action of sampling possible food sources drifting downstream does not leave a fish as it matures to adulthood. Fish may become a little more particular about what they sample, they may learn over time that a peice of wood, or a cigarette butt is not food, but I believe something that looks like a single salmon egg or insect will still get this response from adult fish.

I do feel that in our smaller flows it is easier to floss under a float than bottom bouncing, in many rivers bottom structure is not conducive to bottom bouncing effectively, and often "dragging" a float can prevent an "angler" from snagging bottom instead of a fish when they are flossing.

But the key to me is the technique, not the terminal item you are using. I would hesitate to say that the fish that were caught in your group were snagged, as I did not witness the technique employed. As for these fish hitting jensen eggs or roe bags over fresh roe, well, I ask this...

...Did the fish see the fresh roe when it passed by them...? The efficiency of the drift is what allows the fish to see the presentation, you can certainly drift fresh roe through a run and if it is not a good drift, then the fish might not have even noticed it was there...Similarly, if a good drift with jensen eggs, or a roe bag, etc. went through the same run then the chances are greater that the fish saw it, and thus might choose to react to it.

One might also consider that just because a good drift is achieved, it doesn't mean the fish will bite. The window of opportunity for a fish to observe your offering is usually very short. Particularly during high water or low visibility. Where was the fish looking when your terminal item drifted by? Was it bumping into another fish, and thus not watching the water column? Was it preoccupied with something else and thus didn't even see your gear? Each drift is different. The circumstances are always changing. Just because fresh roe is used versus single eggs, or roe sacs versus wool, it doesn't mean the fish will bite. They have to see it in order to want to bite it.

Now, as for flossing, Someone who is trying to floss fish will trundle their gear along the bottom, dragging their weight along the rocks, with a float , or without one, hitting anything that remotely resembles a fish.

Thus when you see someone employing this method during fishing seasons where the fish are not as plentiful they will appear to be setting the hook incessantly without hooking anything other than the bottom of the river.

In seasons where the fish are plentiful, you will notice they will hook into a good number of fish, but a majority of them will be foul hooked.

Thus although someone who flosses fish might use wool or jensen eggs, etc...to appear like they are fishing, if their technique is such that they are dragging their hook through the zone that the fish hold in and getting a strike ever second drift, or even ten times a drift, it is likely they are flossing, whether they know it or not.

I do not believe short floating up off the bottom could be considered flossing, although it is possible that occasionally a floss occurs, I believe this is very rare and low percentage event. Short floating, or even tapping bottom occasionally through a drift that is travelling in nice straight lines downstream, will illicit bites far more often than they will floss a fish.

It's all in the technique employed. Flossing will involve "sweeping" your gear through a run, dragging it right on the bottom laterally through the rocks where fish rest, and more often than not, will involve longer leader lengths and hookset happy anglers who honestly believe they are getting bites all over the place.

Short floating your presentation through likely holding water in a way that allows a fish to observe and then inspect the terminal item as it drifts through it's window of sight will illicit a fish to bite and is not flossing in my opinion.

Really what it comes down to is the method employed. This fisherman you spoke with may be right a majority of the time in his opinion of how fish were caught, especially in recent years where flossing has become more and more prevalent, but I think it would be unjust to make that determination unless actually observing how an angler fishes their terminal gear...

I think I will post this one, I'll quote your pm, without using your name of course, and then quote my response and we'll see what others think...

Hope that helps,

rib




What do you guys think...? Agree, disagree...? Unsure? There are a great many skilled anglers here, I would personally be interested in hearing some more opinions on this...;)
 

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I agree with Rib, fish bite wool no doubt about it.
That being said, anglers often use wool as a decoy to disguise the tact they are trying to floss(snag) fish.
A clear sign of flossing is how the float rides and depth of presentation, a float should ride straight up and down and never lay sideways. The float to weight depth of your gear should be less than the water depth by about a foot.
Many snaggers simply use ridiculously long float to weight depth accompanied by a 3 foot leader. One other sign of the snagger is the hookset every cast. I only set the hook when it pulls under and since I short float it is a fish 95% of the time.

I am sure the angler who you spoke with was fully aware of how master snaggers disguise their technique and assumed these guys were of that ilk. Not being there, all I can say is look for the signs and you can spot the snaggers.

Wool catches biting fish, that much is a proven fact.
 

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Scented wool,,, :yummy: ,, one of my favs.....

I agree, I've seen Steelhead go after a scented wool presentation, on the end of my line!! :happy:.

If you are short-floating, you can at least be confident that you are doing all you can to sportingly catch fish. As stated you can tell the long-leaders usually by the action of their floats.
 
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Rib, This question was from a friend of mine , and we were discussing this together, and agree with what you are saying..


I was the one guy with the roebags. and Flyguy was the guy using jensen eggs tied into a sack..

We were all short floating, Float went down set the hook, fish on !!

I do see on a few ocasions where someone will be drifting a run, and the float is laying on its side.. with way to much line between the float and weight.... When i setup for a drift i will go untill it hits bottom, then adjust my float about 12 inches from where it was hitting the bottom. that way i know where my bait is and i can work the water by adjusting different depths.

My leaders are any where between 12-18 Inches long..
I Never leave my weight hitting bottom, I rather have a natural drift and wait for the float to go down.... way better in my opinion.

Besdies having it drag on bottom, your going to be losing allot of hooks and lead getting caught up on the bottom of the river...

I have also seen allot of times, where guys like me drifitng Fresh cured gobs of roe, and some guy stanbding next to me with a wool tie, drifting the same run , and having a Coho smash his offering, before it hit my roe...

Scented wool - Can be very Deadly.... But i would prefer a nice cured chunk of fresh roe....
 

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yup exactly fish freak. It is all in the presentation. I too find bottom then adjust the float to be off the bottom by 6-12 inches depending on the visability of the water. I also never go longer then 18" but it is almost always less then that. Again depends on clarity of the water 18" for cyrstal clear and then shorter for dirtier water.
 

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I find that sometimes u need to be on bottom, thats why i started using a slinky as a weight, so i dont get hung up. i mostly like u've all said short float it, but with a ton of pressure or if the sun is super bright i'll tap the bottom, every 6-10ft. I've had alright success but like i said when fish are under stress most wont bite.
 

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There is a point made int the question that he was being accused of flossing or snagging because they guys using artificials beat the fresh roe. Here's a challange for you put ten guys out on a run and have them each fish a different color and breed of roe. In the past I've found coho and sock roe fish with almost the same succsess rate, where as chum and spring roe is good for feeding the sturgy's. Obviously color and cure technique have a say in the matter also. I often fish with buddies where one of us will drift roe, one will drift wool and another will cast hardware till we find what the fish are honing in on.
As others have put it presentation is the key. Maybe the fish were'nt responding to the roe, but the wool offerings hit the right nerve.
Hey BR you gotta love seeing the guy who drifting a 6 ft deep run with 6+ft between the float and wieght and another four + ft from the wieght to the hook with a little chunk of wool. Then with the float laying at about 45 deg. and the whole rigging dragging behind it it a nice controlled sweep of the run. every other cast float goes down and another back is hooked, sad to hear the plague has swept up to the upper river though.
Crazy D
 

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I think short floating is highly over rated .. If your not touching the bottom every so often then your not going to get as many fish. Dave Vedder in his book talks about taking four guys or two can't remember which out, both were very experienced fisherman, one short floats one ticks bottom. The guy who ticks bottom out fished the S.F.'r more then two to one...
I think this whole short floating was started by a guy on another site and is the current rage...even though its a method that isn't as effective. I've talked to many old guys on the river who fish near daily and catch more fish then most but never say boo about it and they don't short float...
My .02
 

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Rather presumptious of "the guy" to make those assumptions, simple fact is the only way we can tell if a fish legally bit the bait or fouled itself is by the location of the hook point. There is no other way "to prove it". I think the flossing debate creates nothing but animosity.

Gary Borger in a seminar I attended years ago talked about the 1 square inch theory, and I immediately bought into it. It's simple, you put the right immitation for that point in time, in the right square inch in front of a fish and it will bite it. The square inch could be right in front it it's nose, or it could be anywhere within 20 feet. Each fish, in each river is different at any given time. Hence the reason we call it fishing and not catching.

My guess is the prolonged freshet has created some cranky folks...

Very best,

Ian
 

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what style of sinker set up was being used? I have seen many fish flossed while short floating by guys using pencil lead set ups. Switch over to split shot and see how many fish you floss. Next to zero inder the same circumstances. No matter if you are dragging bottom, just ticking it every 5'-10' or not at all., when using a gob of lead in one spot like pencil lead, you can unexpectedly floss fish. With out being there, did it happen the other day? Who knows and if the intent is not there does it really matter?
 

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Hear is MY opinion:

Someone fishing with too long of a lead that drags bottom IS using snaggin practices. I am not saying a fish will not bite that presentation, but most times the line is being pulled over/by the fish thus causing it to get hooked.

Someone fishing "proper" float/drift practices runs a lead that is not dragging bottom, but just above. Yes, even this presentation sometimes gets caught on bottom as the river isn't one exact depth all over. But for the majority of the time the bait rides off the bottom.
When hooking fish using this method, the fish tried to take-in the offer.

That's just my opinion.
 

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These are all excellent points and opinions regarding this topic. It is nice to see that everyone is pretty much on the same page when it comes to what "is" and "isn't" flossing or snagging.
 

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I have personally witnessed a summer steelhead in the gin clear Chehalis turn to take a small wool offering, so I think its safe to say that in some situations the fish are definitely on the bite! I also watched recently as my fishing partner managed to hook two nice springs on scented wool while the rest of us chucked roe. He was not dragging bottom and his leader was about 18" long, and both fish were hooked on the inside of the lip!! The fish in that hole had seen a plethora of roe in the last couple hours, so the change of presentation probably had something to do with the success. I agree with others that it is in the technique used, not the terminal presentation, that dictates whether someone is flossing or not. :naughty: And just for the record, my anecdotal survey(highly unofficial) still shows roe out-performing other options by at least 3-1 for springs this year on the Chilliwack! :thumbup: Hopefully the snaggers will lose enough gear to send them to the tackle shop and open up the hole for a more responsible angler!! :beerchug:
 

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To put it simply, I have snagged :-X I mean caught all of my steelies and coho's this past season on wool, unscented. There is no doubt about it, fish like the wool! I find that it tends to imitate some sort of fleshy like substance tunbling down river.

You can always tell a snagger on the river, to be able to snag while short floating, well that is one talented snagger! Snaggers tend to like the wool over the roe because it is easy to tie, you don't get your hands all roey and iut stays on the hook. Why is it there? Because without it they are fishing illegall. Can't fish with a bare hook. Kinda like when you hear on the Fraser that the secret bait green wool for socks ::)

Snaggers :pissed:
 

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Float Fisher said:
Hear is MY opinion:

Someone fishing with too long of a lead that drags bottom IS using snaggin practices. I am not saying a fish will not bite that presentation, but most times the line is being pulled over/by the fish thus causing it to get hooked.

Someone fishing "proper" float/drift practices runs a lead that is not dragging bottom, but just above. Yes, even this presentation sometimes gets caught on bottom as the river isn't one exact depth all over. But for the majority of the time the bait rides off the bottom.
When hooking fish using this method, the fish tried to take-in the offer.

That's just my opinion.
I think that short floating is but one method of enticing a fish to bite, I know of many experienced fishermen that always make sure their lead is tapping bottom throughout the entire drift ... your presumption that someone who is tapping bottom is snagging is off base IMO

Proper bottom bouncing is a very effective method of fishing and has nothing to do with snagging !! the whole point is to get the presentation down to where the fish are !! in the Thompson BB is the most widely used method due to fast water and deep pools, just like some other people I have heard the "Short Floating" argument one too many times, Intent is what it is all about, not all fishermen are trying to snag fish just because they tap bottom

TR
 

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thickrick said:
I think that short floating is but one method of enticing a fish to bite, I know of many experienced fishermen that always make sure their lead is tapping bottom throughout the entire drift ... your presumption that someone who is tapping bottom is snagging is off base IMO

Proper bottom bouncing is a very effective method of fishing and has nothing to do with snagging !! the whole point is to get the presentation down to where the fish are !! in the Thompson BB is the most widely used method due to fast water and deep pools, just like some other people I have heard the "Short Floating" argument one too many times, Intent is what it is all about, not all fishermen are trying to snag fish just because they tap bottom

TR
TR's got a point. Just because your dragging bottom doesn't mean your trying to snag a fish or "accidentally" put your presentation into an unsuspecting fish. Someone correct me if i'm wrong because i'm not too knowledgable on BB'ing... but, say you've got your weight (bouncing bottom), and about a foot up from that you have your leader, 12-18" long. The presentation is getting down there just like it would with short floating is it not? I understand if you've got a 75 foot leader and it's going all over the place trying to hook into a fish, but this is different in my opinion...
 
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