There’s nothing quite like making your own fishing floats, then using that same float to catch fish.
I not a professional float maker by far, but I enjoy making them, and I make floats to be used. I use traditional methods and materials. Different diameters and colours of silk and cotton threads are used to whip (a term to tie/wrap around) on brass eyes and to sometimes decorate the body of the float. There’s not too much skill involved, but you need patience, a steady eye and hand. Prepping floats takes time. If bird quills are used they must De-feathered, cut to size, sanded, painted and then varnished. Reeds will need drying up to several years before they are ready to be made into floats.
I use mainly bird quills, my favourite to work with are swan and goose, but you can use crow, peacock, pheasant seagull and more. My classic all time favourite has to be the porcupine quill. Strong, attractive, and super sensitive. I’ve caught many good bags of roach using a porcupine quill. It’s an all round float in my books.
I also make my floats using reeds, Sarkanda. A delicate reed imported from India. This can be hard to find in the Uk but there are suppliers out there that have already completed the drying process and will sell you a nice batch. I make wagglers, both insert and straight. I very recently made one and took it to my local river and caught 15lb3oz bag of roach. Super floats indeed.
There are many float makers producing stunning floats. It’s an art and the more you make the better you get at it. There are secret society groups you can join, where in depth discussions on materials and what methods are shared. You’ll even get a uniform to wear if you get accepted. A cult of the float makers.
This tribal method luckily continues, I have friends in Thailand who continue to make their own floats. They’re nothing special to look at and there’s no complexity to their design, but they catch many fish, lots of them.
A float should be never be judged by it’s looks.
Sarkanda reeds drying after varnishing
Sarkanda Reed wagglers finished
Swan quill prior to varnishing