wazatherfisherman

Show us your Luderick floats

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I know there are heaps of keen Raider Blackie fishers out there. Show us your floats! Here are many of mine. These are for ocean Luderick fishing, most are "fixed" -set at a particular depth and don't slide on the line- the majority of these were made by Alan Skelton, famous float maker and rod craftsman, who lived at Bronte.

IMG_20181008_191103.jpg

Edited by wazatherfisherman
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6 hours ago, wazatherfisherman said:

I know there are heaps of keen Raider Blackie fishers out there. Show us your floats! Here are many of mine. These are for ocean Luderick fishing, most are "fixed" -set at a particular depth and don't slide on the line- the majority of these were made by Alan Skelton, famous float maker and rod craftsman, who lived at Bronte.

IMG_20181008_191103.jpg

You need a retail outlet Waza mate. Good stuff. bn

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I don't have a pic of all my floats handy, but these are the ones I make. Obviously for ocean rocks but I also make a slimmer design for the estuary.

26239349_1984203741595991_3627557728407775817_n.jpg

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6 hours ago, Green Hornet said:

I don't have a pic of all my floats handy, but these are the ones I make. Obviously for ocean rocks but I also make a slimmer design for the estuary.

26239349_1984203741595991_3627557728407775817_n.jpg

Nice looking floats Green Hornet! What materials do you use for stems, tops and bodies?

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9 minutes ago, wazatherfisherman said:

Nice looking floats Green Hornet! What materials do you use for stems, tops and bodies?

The upper stem is plain old 6mm dowel and the lower stem 3mm carbon fibre rod. The bodies are western red cedar.

This photo was taken before I weighted the stems. For that I use a length of cord solder to suit the sinker used in the rig, simply wrapped around the stem and held in place with a little heat shrink. 

Starting out with more solder than you need and trimming off a little at a time makes it real easy to get the weight perfect.

Most of my estuary floats have a 1 piece, 4mm dowel stem. Below the waterline its planed and sanded down to about 3mm.

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6 hours ago, big Neil said:

You need a retail outlet Waza mate. Good stuff. bn

Hi Neil a lot of friends say that, however I couldn't part with a lot of my stuff! 

As a young bloke growing up in Sydney, for "daytime" fishing (locally I mean) the regular "kid options"-fish wise, were Bream/Whiting/Flathead or Mullet or Blackies. To be assured of a bag of fish from the Parramatta River, the first 3 required worms (to catch heaps- as young blokes want!) you could pump in a couple of places(that had "cleaner" sand) turn rocks over or dig your own from the mud down the bay/s until the "defacing the foreshore" laws were introduced, from then on you had to buy Cribb Island (Moreton Bay worms- Bloodworms) which were 20 cents each and required a separate bus trip to the bait shop beforehand. As the paper-run only paid $2 a day plus tips (3 hr run!) worms were then a 'luxury' bait and reserved for special occasions! Mullet fishing was a good option because you only needed white bread and the Mullet always gave a great account of themselves on the whippy rods and old stretchy 6lb line, however Mum refused to cook them if caught from the river, stating pollution the reason. We used to eat them if we caught them at Windang (Grandparent's caravan) or from a beach- I still love a "clean" grilled Mullet! So that left Blackies, which were available all throughout the Harbour almost all year round, fought really well and are great to eat (if handled properly). Better still, bait was free! Weed was everywhere and if cared for would last a couple of weeks. So Blackies became "it" for many of us and big bags of fish were the norm, which were distributed up and down the street and there were always heaps in the freezer for the relo's. This of course lead to rockfishing for the real big ones etc etc. The chap who made most of the floats in the picture- Alan Skelton- was known throughout the broader fishing community. He had a huge range of float styles and did custom orders. He told me that he had floats designed for every significant spot around Sydney (and beyond!) and was a master craftsman of both floats and custom built rods. His work with cork, including cork grips, is still spoken of and he built/restored rods for T.V etc. Cane rods were also his specialty. He was also the fishing "grapevine" as he dealt with heaps of great fisho's from his home at Bronte on a daily basis, Alan always knew what was caught or being caught and what was biting. He passed away quite a few years ago, but is known still throughout the Blackie fishing community as the "yardstick for comparison" when it comes to workmanship and design. 

I'm really happy to have a nice collection of his floats, you would be surprised at the amount of offers I've had for them, but of all my mass of fishing tackle, they'd be the only things I'd never part with. One of my mates once said to me "I know we're close friends - you gave me a Skelton float!"

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47 minutes ago, Green Hornet said:

The upper stem is plain old 6mm dowel and the lower stem 3mm carbon fibre rod. The bodies are western red cedar.

This photo was taken before I weighted the stems. For that I use a length of cord solder to suit the sinker used in the rig, simply wrapped around the stem and held in place with a little heat shrink. 

Starting out with more solder than you need and trimming off a little at a time makes it real easy to get the weight perfect.

Most of my estuary floats have a 1 piece, 4mm dowel stem. Below the waterline its planed and sanded down to about 3mm.

Thanks! I use solder and heat shrink for stem weighting also. Haven't had a go with the cedar yet, bought a giant bag of unused corks from "reverse garbage" and have sanded them down on my fishing rod lathe, but have had plenty crumble when sanding thinly for estuary floats. Love the cedar as a material and carbon fibre rod better than the old cane stems. Really hard to get decent length straight cane in 3 or 4mm these days. Thanks for sharing.  Happy fishing. Regards Waza

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7 minutes ago, wazatherfisherman said:

Thanks! I use solder and heat shrink for stem weighting also. Haven't had a go with the cedar yet, bought a giant bag of unused corks from "reverse garbage" and have sanded them down on my fishing rod lathe, but have had plenty crumble when sanding thinly for estuary floats. Love the cedar as a material and carbon fibre rod better than the old cane stems. Really hard to get decent length straight cane in 3 or 4mm these days. Thanks for sharing.  Happy fishing. Regards Waza

Personally, I find wood far easier to work than cork. I'd be keen to give balsa a try for the next batch, if I can source a local supplier who has the sizes I need.

Do you use the carbon fibre rod for the full length of a stem? I haven't and just wondering how it goes fine tuning the float, being heavier than water?

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I've only used the carbon fibre a few times as I only found a couple of lengths (again at Reverse Garbage- great source of used materials, ex government stuff etc) and I pushed it through the cork and glued it into the dowel tip. A few years ago I bought a huge bundle of rod top halves (about 220) on ebay, Shimano, Daiwa etc with guides on as I was rod building and wanted the guides, tips etc. Ended up with a heap of bits of blank (still have heaps intact also) which have been used for all sorts of things like tomato stakes, mini curtain rods etc- also make great stems for floats, especially some thin solid glass ones that were for kids rods-pink. green and blue- these are great for heavy ocean floats and the hollow ones I've used the thinner tip section for stems and the thicker mid section for pencil floats by sealing the ends.

Last year, while looking at English "pole floats" I found 2 "job lots" of them and bid on them, thinking they were a bargain for such a lot (70 and 40) of floats- unbeknown to me was they are tiny things about 3-5 inches long! I won both auctions and now have 110 floats that are so small they'd probably only be good for Garfish in Australia! Most of them have either carbon fibre or fibreglass stems

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On 10/9/2018 at 7:32 AM, Green Hornet said:

I don't have a pic of all my floats handy, but these are the ones I make. Obviously for ocean rocks but I also make a slimmer design for the estuary.

 

Hi Green Hornet. Some beautiful craftsmanship there. Thank you for sharing.

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21 hours ago, wazatherfisherman said:

Alan Skelton- was known throughout the broader fishing community. He had a huge range of float styles and did custom orders. He told me that he had floats designed for every significant spot around Sydney (and beyond!) and was a master craftsman of both floats and custom built rods.

Hi Waza. Nice collection of floats. You have said something about Alan which has me curious. You said he designed floats for every significant spot in Sydney. Just wondering how this works. Colours, stem lengths, materials, buoyancy? Could you provide a practical example(s) thereof. While I know there are many float designs, for blackfish I usually stick to the one rig.

Regards,

Derek

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14 hours ago, DerekD said:

Hi Waza. Nice collection of floats. You have said something about Alan which has me curious. You said he designed floats for every significant spot in Sydney. Just wondering how this works. Colours, stem lengths, materials, buoyancy? Could you provide a practical example(s) thereof. While I know there are many float designs, for blackfish I usually stick to the one rig.

Regards,

Derek

Hi Derek spent ages on a really long reply but computer dropped out (wireless bb) and page auto rebooted- lost the whole thing grrrr! Anyway here's abridged version! 

As most locations have their own characteristics in regard to how the water moves around (or over) them, I think it best if I use various location examples to answer the question. Most of the locations have times when they are most likely to produce fish, many of these have been 'worked out' based on regular use. Once a spot becomes well known to the user, most genuine effort (expectation!) is based around this knowledge. 

I'll start with old favourite White Rock around the east side of Bradleys Head. This spot is about 4 metres deep and you fish in a narrow L shaped crack which is only about 4 x 2 metres in length and a bit over 1.2 metres wide. It is only affected by waves from passing vessels and there is only minimal drift. Fishing this spot requires a bit of specialised technique as you need to maneuver your bait down quickly between waving kelp arms without landing it on either side. As it's basically a 'still water' spot, a light float is used and weighted down to only about 1 cm above the water. After describing the location, water movement and depth, Alan made me a lighter version of a float commonly used off the harbour wharves called "Luna Park" ballasted towards the lower end of the stem and fished virtually completely submerged, bar about 1 cm. The difference with the 2 floats was the Luna Park held more than double the lead, which was necessary to sink the bait in the faster drift and equally limited space between 2 pylons at Luna Park wharf. 

From the ocean rocks, 'characteristics' generally come from the geographical features, including water run-off locales on different ledges, combined with food supply and general sea-to-land water movement. As the majority of oceanic Luderick pursuits revolve around lesser sized swells- due to fishing where the Luderick's food source grows- the 'green' wave swept areas- we know that in differing swell directions, there are places to go and places to avoid for safety reasons. For example Dobroyd Headland is generally regarded as 'safe' when the ocean swell is from the North or N/East and pretty much any westerly airflow, however a Southerly swell above 1 metre makes the spot dangerous as this whole location is best fished on the higher stages of the tide. So we've established the type of conditions when we're likely to go to Dobroyd- Nth swell on a rising tide. As swell isn't a big factor and water depth at the spot is less than 5 metres we know we'll be fishing between 2.7 to 3.7 metres deep. We also know that as there will be wash from ledges becoming wave-washed that there will be a degree of turbulence which points in the direction of higher ballasted floats- not as buoyant as oceanic rock floats but more buoyant and 'stable' than Luna Park style. A good float for this spot is the bottom left hand blue one in the picture, which is more streamlined than most of the others and purpose built for the spot- It's actually called "Dobroyd" and there are a few the same in the pic. 

Next examples are from 5 spots, all within 200 metres of each other at my old haunt the Mattens at Dover Heights

Spot 1- A permanent wash known as Scarecrow on the southern end of "greeny" the most southerly extent of the spot. Only fishable on a falling tide and flat seas as the ledge is barely above waterline and drops into 8-9 metres of water. There is a large cunje bed here and boulder strewn bottom, as water is constantly falling back off the ledge, the wash is milky and foamy topped- genuine white water fishing. Due to constant turbulence and 'suck down' of the ocean, a more buoyant float is used in this spot- which is very much like a "typical" ocean Luderick wash, with 'soupy' water and natural burley going in. Because access to this spot is pretty much only available in flat conditions, when you fish it you know that broader, top ballasted floats are required to maintain stability in the rougher water. In the picture the diamond shaped light blue one in the top-center and the all black 3rd from top left are good examples of floats made for this wash.

Spot 2- Greeny- as name suggests another wave swept cabbage covered ledge. Greeny has a small water run-off depression in the center falling into 8-10 metres of depth and far less turbulence than previous spot. This means the use of a slightly more aerodynamic shape can be used examples are the top right hand black one and the black tipped green one next to it. These are probably best known as "conventional" floats and are probably the most used throughout the Luderick 'community'.

Spot 3- "front boulder" 10-12 metres deep with a boulder the size of a shipping container submerged about 5 metres down and 15 metres out from the edge. The boulder formed an eddy towards shore and the fish bite there in a different manner. The float will go down about 1-1.3 metres, and stops, then usually comes back up towards the surface, only to go down again. Any striking from the angler results in either lip hooked and lost fish or no hook-up at all. Technique here is to wait for secondary downward movement, which happens after the initial rising of the float from first down movement.  A specialised float was used here (and other spots) for this exact type of bite- the 2 floats in the center of the picture with the "upside down" or teardrop ballast are used here as they are slower in coming back up, which gives the fish that extra few seconds to re-take the bait. These were my favourites and the first ones I ran out of from about a dozen I had. Made a few myself but nowhere near the same quality. 

Spot 4- the"front"(actually faces S/East 15+ metres deep, only minimal wash with hardly any natural features or burley going in, yet the number one spot for big catches and giant sized fish. Here a lighter "conventional' shape is used, with a minimal amount of lead, even though fishing depth is around 3.5-4 metres deep. The striped tipped smaller floats were made for this spot as often the fish would be up to 50-60 metres out when you started fishing and float harder to observe when out that far. Striking a down was often done by moving backwards a few metres to gather slack line before lifting the rod. 

Spot 5- The "lake" a shallow open ended tidal lagoon roughly 2 metres deep at it's entrance and 50 cm deep at the other end. White topped and foamy from incoming wave break at the entrance- this place "filled up" with fish on the higher stages of the incoming tide. As it is shallow with plenty of water movement, shorter yet buoyant floats are used. Examples are the bottom row in the picture. The shallow end was fished with really small bobby corks set about 45 cm deep- sorry no photos of them yet.

As for materials, for the ocean floats, cork bodies, cane stems and either dowel or sugar pine tops. Estuary and river floats have cork, balsa or cedar bodies.

Colours varied due to location/conditions- example blue or green bodies for murky (and "the" murk) water, black for clearer water. Black tips for looking towards the sun. I've had fun trying different colour schemes on my own home made floats, as you're often watching them pretty much submerged, in varying light and at a reasonable distance.

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Reading back over the post I'm not sure I answered your question well enough. If you meant how did he know what to make for where, he was also a Luderick fisherman with great experience and made float orders for many of the great Luderick fishermen of the East coast. As much of his stock came from making custom orders, he knew what those "in the know used and wanted, also where they were using them. He kept a written record of orders and styles and was very savvy with how water movement affected different spots, either from fishing them or custom building floats for those that had regular spots such as the Mattens. With fine tuning over years of supplying floats, he would explain why a particular style was the best option for particular locations and usually would say "this one;s your best bet for that spot". Happy to answer any other questions if this wasn't what you wanted to know! Regards Waza

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