Quills, swan, goose, crow, pheasant, peacock and porcupine. Then there’s reeds, Balsa, Norfolk and Sarkanda. These reeds are best to be dried once cut for a year or two before using them.
Sarkanda is a delicate reed to work with and many will avoid this beautiful reed because it’s soft and can easily snap during the processing stage. I know of a few that will substitute this for Victorian Reed, found in the Cambridgeshire fenlands. This Reed is extremely strong and is made from floodwater reed. Because of this the reed is stained dark and mottled.
The porcupine quill is by far the best. The original quill float still used by the Injuns, Light and very sensitive. The quill itself has beautiful markings. There’s no need to paint it, but maybe a little sealant varnish to protect it during its time in the water.
Handmade floats date back to over 2500 years ago and traditional methods are still being used today to make them. There’s nothing like making your own fishing float, then going out to catch fish with them.
I’ll post another blog soon detailing how a feathered quill is transformed to a fishing float.