How to Center pin?

Discussion in 'Center Pin Fishing' started by Duck-Hunter, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. Duck-Hunter

    Duck-Hunter Staff Member Mods

    Messages:
    3,735
    Likes Received:
    1,291
    Location:
    SE MI
    I tryed to figure out what exactly center pinning is, but came up with really nothing besides modified bobber fishing. I googled it(i only looked for a little bit). anyone any sites were i can find some info on how to start out an what i need to do so?
     
  2. victorv

    victorv

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

  3. quest32a

    quest32a Mods

    Messages:
    7,269
    Likes Received:
    128
    Location:
    Eagle River AK
    Guys I am going to ask that you don't link other sites with message boards very similar to ours that are Michigan based...... Thanks
     
  4. Speyday

    Speyday

    Messages:
    442
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Bolingbrook, IL....kinda by Joliet

    Ive got a little time, had some high octane coffee, so I am prone to babble a bit. Perhaps we can make this post sticky, and it will answer some often asked questions....so here goes.

    BACKROUND

    Centrepin fishing (aka float fishing) is a method of delivering a presentation to a fish in a natural, drag-free manner. It pre-dates fly fishing, and originated in Europe where rough fish are highly desired, and stealth and proper presentations to spooky fish are a must. Because of the simplicity of a centrepin reels design, it was a good tool to make long casts in lakes, or to get long drifts in rivers. The basics of the reels design remain unchanged today, but the technology and materials have advanced it such that it is still an effective method to deliver a presentation.

    CENTREPIN REELS

    The centrepin reel is a large drum with a free spinning spool that rotates in any direction. Its design looks similar to a fly reel, with a larger diameter (usually about 5") but the big difference is that the spool is free-spinning. Usually bearings or bushings are created around the stem to allow this to happen. If you pick up a centerpin reel and give the handle a whirl, the spool will continue to whizz around for minutes if you don't touch it again.

    Aside from a small clicker found on some reels, which places a tiny bit of resistance on the spool when the angler needs to rig up or do something,(it has no purpose for actual fishing) there is NO DRAG on the reel whatsoever. Fighting a fish means that when a fish is pulling out line, the angler must creatively use palming the reel or placing fingers on the spinning spool to apply resistance.

    Some of the more widely known reel makers are: Islander, JW Young, Okuma, Mykiss, Hanson, Vectra, and Sheffield. There are many more.

    RODS

    A float rod is usually a longer, more limber type, and designed in a spinning style. No special guides are needed. Typically, rods of 13 to 15 feet are used, though some anglers will fish shorter rods if they are in tiny creek situations, or longer ones if they are on huge water. We can cover why these long rods are used in a moment.
    Rods generally are softer in the tip, and firmer at the butt, a charachteristic also found in good salmon and steelhead drift rods. Even though these rods are long, they are usually very lightweight, and because a properly balanced rod or reel is important, it is surprisingly easy to manage.

    Some of the more common makers of float rods are: Loomis, Raven, Frontier, Batson, St. Croix, and Sage. There are many more.

    MAINLINE

    Usually, if one were to spool an entire reel with line, it would hold over 300 yards easily. If that line near the spool was wound tightly , it could cause the spool to actually warp a bit..........this is very bad when dealing with such a finely tuned reel.

    As a result, most people will put dacron backing on about 75% of the reels capacity, and then attach to thier mainline and fill it up to within about 1/4-1/8th inch from the spools rim.

    The mainline used on a centrepin setup is open to interpretation, but most people use standard monofilaments, and a few select anglers actually use braided lines. Be advised that braided lines can stiffen and freeze in low temps unless treated, and some warn that braided lines do eventual damage to high quality line guides.

    Among the monofilament lines, (the most popular) some people prefer high visibility lines, and some choose lines that have a tendency to float. Common lines used are maxima, ande, siglon, and iron silk.

    FLOATS

    The floats used on centrepin rigs vary in size and shape. Narrow, thin floats are generally used when fishing slower, smoother flows. Think about floats that are almost pencil-shaped.The theory is that the float goes under easier, with less resistance to the fish. Some examples of float types would be wagglers, drennan loafers, and Blackbird Avon style floats

    In moderate flows, the diameter is usually more like a cigar, and will have a taper at either end.

    In choppy or fast flows, the float takes on an egg or teardrop shape, offering a wider surface area that is less prone to bobbing under all the time if the presentation bounces along rocks or bottom debris.

    Some people are very picky on the floats used; and shape thier own. Companies that are commonly making centerpin floats that I know are Redwing tackle, Blackbird, Thill, and Drennan.

    Most floats are secured to the line using differrent diameters of surgical tubing. this allows someone to adjust the placement of the float along the shot line (more on that below)when moving from spot to spot where the depth is always changing.

    SHOT and the SHOT LINE

    Generally, there will be shot hanging below that float on something referred to as a 'shot line'. This is different from the mainline in that it is usually a bit smaller in diameter, and will ideally be less visible to fish.

    Usually, the main line is connected to the shot line via a knot or tiny swivel.

    On the shot line is where the float-- and the shot will be placed. Any standard line can be used; but keep in mind that since shot will be placed on it and slid around in different conditions, so you want a line with good abrasion resistance. Some flourocarbon lines quickly get thier outer coatings shredded when tightly bound shot are slid up and down.

    There can be any number of shot below the float, but generally people will place larger shot near the float, and the size shrinks as one gets further down the shot line.

    In slow flows, a lot of people will evenly space or 'shirt-button' thier shot down the line.

    In medium flows there is a tendency to group them more heavily on the middle part of the shot line.

    In fast flows, there is a tendency to cluster more shot in the middle or lower parts of the shot line. The theory is that a condensed amount of weight will punch down through fast currents better than the same amount of weight evenly distributed across the shot line.

    The total weight of your shot is generally an amount that will get your bait down near bottom, and have the float just barely floating/hovering above water, so that it is easily pulled down if a fish takes.

    The size of some shot is in grams, or fractions of a gram, and so are some floats. So if you buy a 6 gram float, that means that 6 grams worth of shot will submerge it.

    **Some anglers insist on using round or oval shot, and avoid the removable split shot with "wings".....claiming that it sometimes twists the line and causes the line to tangle upoun itself when the rig is in mid-air being cast.

    Some common shot manufacturers are:Water Gremlin, Blackbird, Raven, and Dinsmoor.

    Attached to the bottom end of the shot line is the leader/tippet. some folks will use tiny tiny ant swivels (they are sized like hooks, and using a size 16 or 18 is common) to connect thier shot line to thier leader.

    Leader lengths vary by preference, but most people lengthen them in clear waters, and shorten them in cloudier. A good starter distance for a leader is usually around 18".

    Leader material is usually the smallest diameter of the three lines on your rig. This helps to ensure that if you are snagged on bottom, that only the leader will break and you won't have to retie all that rigging above it.
    Of course, it also ensures that no line is visible to the fish as they consider your offering.

    CONCEPT--WHY IT WORKS.

    When you cast a rig like this out into a flow, you generally are working water downstream of you. You will notice that some centrepinners actually line up perpedicular to a run, and stand above it; directly opposite from anglers who line up parallel to the current. Generally, the more directly upstream of a targeted area you are, the better.

    As the rig lands in the water, the rig will align itself with the currents such that the offering gets downstream of everything (shot & float) above it when a tiny bit of tension (known as "checking" is done) is applied for the first couple of seconds of the drift.... Thus, when it goes downstream, the offering will be the first thing that the fish sees as it approaches. If you were to be underwater and view the rig from the side, you would notice that a properly configured rig would be set up at about a 45 degree angle.

    Thus a general rule of thumb in determining how deep to set your rig is that the distance between your float and your offering is *usually* 1.5 times the depth of the water you're fishing. But remember that time and experience, and the way your shot is rigged will be the variables later on; and a constantly evolving game.

    This is one advantage. The fish sees the offering first.

    The second advantage is that once the currents begin to move and pull the float downstream, the line will begin to gently peel off the spool......the spool will begin turning......and will pull out line at the ****exact same speed of the current.****

    Combining this with the fact that the offering is drifting downstream of all your rigging makes for a presentation that hovers downstream in the strike zone and stays there for a very, very, very, long time.

    Additionally, by placing your rig on a seam between slow and fast water, the float will "find" the seam, and stay right on it....its amazing to observe this.

    Sometimes, in larger eddies, you can steer the rig into the eddie (another long rod advantage) and by carefully taking up line as it approaches back at you, and pivoting your rod properly, you can make your rig do 'laps' around and around in that eddie without a lot of effort.

    When the angler is using a long rod, elevated,it allows line to be kept off the water, and connects directly with the float. This prevents currents from catching the line and modifying your rigs speed or behavior in the water. If your depth is set properly, the top of the float will be tipped upstream, or towards you. This is an indicator that the stuff below the float is downstream of it. If the float tip is pointing downstream, your rig is set too deep, and is dragging bottom.

    THE TAKE

    When a fish hits, the bobber goes down, and many times you actually 'feel' the strike as well. Some strikes are a toilet bowl flush and the float dissappears, and other times (if you can clearly see the float) you will see the tip of the float point in a different direction. INSTANTLY.....THE FIRST THING YOU MUST DO IS CLAMP YOUR HAND ON THE SPOOL TO STOP ITS TURNING; LOCKING IT IN PLACE....(this is *easily* done with your rod holding hand by pushing available fingers down onto the spool)

    Just strike back, slow and deliberate.....(fish dont often drop the offering as quick because there is no resistance felt)..and hold that rod high for a good long time, (it sometimes takes a second for the fish to realize its been hooked) and the rod will start bouncing and the fight is on.

    Fighting a fish with a centrepin is cool because you learn how to apply finger or palming pressure properly when a fish is running. Later in the fight, the long limber rod absorbs a lot of shock when trying to land the fish; and of course, the limber rod allows the use of very light leaders or tippets....some anglers can effectively and quickly fight big steelhead with 4 lb tippets if they have a proper rod.

    Another neat advantage of fighting a fish is that if you get a real hottie on and they scream towards you, you can "bat" the reel, and with an easy flick of the handle, bring in a TON of line instantly because of that free floating spool.

    Maybe if somebody (or me) gets some photos, I will learn how to paste them in and you can see some of whats been explained here........hope this helps!!!!

    speyday
     
  5. live2fishdjs

    live2fishdjs

    Messages:
    2,705
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Edwardsburg, MI
    Wow, great post Ken!
     
    taxi and MichiganWild like this.
  6. subocto

    subocto

    Messages:
    671
    Likes Received:
    738
    Location:
    Canton, MI
    thanks for the thorough explanation, now I am beginning to see what all the hype is about
     
    taxi and MichiganWild like this.
  7. TheSteelheadBum

    TheSteelheadBum Guest

    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    2
    SpeyDay,

    I need some of that coffee..................:)
     
    MichiganWild likes this.
  8. Eggsniffer

    Eggsniffer Guest

    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    3
    Ahh, a request for pictures. since I happen to err on the "picture heavy" side, I went and cropped some photos to demonstrate how you palm the reel.

    let's assume your right handed. This first pic will show you the typical US and canadian way that the reel is palmed. In the UK, they use their thumbs. That's not going to be as much help to you though because the style of float fishing we use here is teaked from thiers. we fish bigger heavier stuff, take longer drifts, and (with the exception of carp), catch bigger fish:evil:

    there are 2 reasons you wrap your hand around the reel like this (as opposed to holding it like a spinning reel, which you'll be inclinded to do, or at least I was when Istarted) 1. it gives you more fingers to use while fighing a fish ...things happen... and 2.when it's very cold out, your hand can keep the reel slightly warmer to prevent freezeup. this is really important if your reel gets a little wet on a freezing day. Some guys attach cork tape to the reel back where you wrap your hand around so the metal doesn't freeze your hand too much. this also helps the reel lose heat slower, and thus will freeze slower.

    Ok. pics. all of of these are action shots, and as far as palming with your rod hand goes, you won't be able to tell the difference if I were drifting or fighing, the only difference is I'm putting pressure on the rim as opposed to letting it spin free.
    [​IMG]

    here's another look at the same grip -->and yes, I'm goofing off for the camera, if you're not laughing your @ss off the whole time your on the water you're just doing it wrong:lol:
    [​IMG]

    Now, while you're fighgint the fish you're hand might tire out, or your hand might be wet or somehow you just can't get the pressure right and you'll need to switch hands. there you can use the traditional opposing hand brake that you've probably seen fly fisherman do.

    this was fighting a striper, and my right hand was really wet and it was difficult to apply enough pressure.

    [​IMG]

    another pic of the same steelhead as above

    [​IMG]

    That's palming. I'll see if I have any good pics of shot patterns or the like. Thanks for giving me an excuse to look back on some old pics and remember what having time to fish was like. :):rolleyes:
     
    MichiganWild likes this.
  9. Eggsniffer

    Eggsniffer Guest

    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    3
    Found a good pic to demonstrate the even space or "shirt button" shot pattern. You can even see 2 shot close toghether that are directly under my float which isn't in the pic. the even space gig will get you fish 19 times out of 20. just make sure you have enough weight. most guys go wayy light and have to run longer leads to get their fish... which, often leads to lining fish under a float inadvertantly. but that's a story for another day:tdo12:

    You'll see 2 smaller sized shot that are on my lead, I added these to get down. This was back in my "light shot" float fishing days. Instead of using the 2 added small shot on my lead, I could have just fished heavier shots on the mainline. You'll get a feel for this in time, and I'm trying not to make it sound complicated becase it IS NOT that complicated. just get out there, make sure you're baits near the bottom without dragging and have some fun. you'll pic it up quick. also, once you get your first chromer on a centerpin, the next step will be rehab since you won't want to leave the river:evilsmile
    [​IMG]
     
    MichiganWild likes this.
  10. Sawcat

    Sawcat

    Messages:
    781
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Roseville, MI
    Thanks for taking the time to explain the centerpin fishing gear and technique. I always wondered what the big deal was and now I think I understand, It's always a good day when you learn something. Take Care and good luck out there.:cool:
     
    MichiganWild likes this.
  11. bumpbottom

    bumpbottom

    Messages:
    669
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    White Lake
    A Virtual wealth of info. Thanks to everyone that took the time to expalain. I too was confused :confused: about centerpinning
     
    MichiganWild likes this.
  12. quest32a

    quest32a Mods

    Messages:
    7,269
    Likes Received:
    128
    Location:
    Eagle River AK
    Alright guys, I cleaned up everything that was even remotely off topic on this thread and I am going to make this a sticky. We need a post explaining exactly what Center Pinning is and this is a good thread to start.

    I would like to thank Eggsniffer and Speyday for thier informative posts and would ask that if anyone has anything else to add that they do so.
     
    MichiganWild likes this.
  13. TheSteelheadBum

    TheSteelheadBum Guest

    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    2
    One thing about your shirt button shot placing is you always want the smaller gaps towards the bottom unless you have them each spaced the same amount. In other words starting at the bottom your shot are smaller and closer together as you go towards the float the spacing gets larger as well as the size of shot. I also like to have the 2 biggest shot right below my float which acts kind of like a keel. Judging by the fish in his hands it did not effect him in hooking up or the shot slid around while fighting the fish but as a general rule you will want to follow my guidelines. As you get more advanced you will be able to move your weight around to match specific situations.
     
    MichiganWild likes this.
  14. Eggsniffer

    Eggsniffer Guest

    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    3
    what steelhead bum said is correct. bunching your shots toward the leader works. Lately I've been trying to K.I.S.S my float fishing, and have been fishing bigger shot which takes the place of concentrating your weight down toward the leader. I've found that works pretty good too. Definitely experiment. A lot of times I just bulk shot, and it gets funny looks from a lot of centerpin guys who are into the shot pattern thing, but it's the Only way to go on some of the NY rivers I fish, you either get down, or you get skunked.

    the "Keel" thing is very good. I always like to have a few under my float. It helps the float cut funny surface currents and will defintely help your drift.

    But, to anyone starting out don'y sweat the particulars too much. when you'll know a good drift by the way your float acts.. from there you can experiment with your shot patterns. the most important thing, no matter WHAT is to make sure your depth is right.
     
    MichiganWild likes this.