Gone Outdoors

How to Use a Thill Balsa Float

by Larry Anderson

Thill balsa floats are available in slip or spring models. The slip floats slide up and down the line, which allows for easy casting. The spring models attach directly to the line and are more difficult to cast if the float is set more than about 3 feet above the hook. Experienced and novice anglers alike use Thill floats. Not only do they serve as strike indicators, but the floats also can be used to suspend fishing bait at a specific depth.

Spring Float

Tie a fishing hook or jig to the end of the fishing line. If you tie on a plain hook, clamp a split-shot sinker or two on the line about 10 inches above the hook.

Place your fingers around the spring and pull it downward to expose the slot on the bottom part of the float. Insert the line into the slot, and then slide the float until it is at the desired spot on the line. The distance between the float and the hook is the distance under the water the hook will hang. Let go of the spring when the float is in the proper position.

Bait the hook or jig with a piece of live bait such as a minnow, leech or night crawler. Or, slide an artificial grub or 3-inch worm into the shank of the hook.

Cast the float rig into the water. The hook and weight should fall toward the bottom and cause the float to stand upright.

Set the hook when the Thill balsa float goes underneath the water. To set the hook, sweep your rod tip to the side to the line tightens and the hook enters the jaw of the fish.

Slip Bobber

Thread a bobber stop and bead -- in that order -- onto the fishing line. Push the line into the top of the Thill slip float and then thread the bobber up the line.

Clamp one or two split-shot sinkers onto the fishing line about 8 inches from the end of the line.

Tie a fishing hook or lead-head jig to the line. Bait it with a piece of live or artificial bait.

Slide the bobber stop until it is at the appropriate spot on the line. If you want your bait to hang 5 feet below the water's surface, for example, there should be 5 feet of line between the hook and the bobber stop. Tighten the bobber stop around the line by pulling on the tag ends.

Cast the Thill balsa slip float rig into the water. The hook and weight should fall toward the bottom and cause the float to stand upright.

Set the hook when the Thill balsa float goes underneath the water. To set the hook, sweep your rod tip to the side, so the line tightens and the hook enters the jaw of the fish.

Items you will need
  • Fishing rod and reel
  • Fishing line
  • Bobber stop
  • Bead
  • Weight
  • Hook

About the Author

Larry Anderson has been a freelance writer since 2000. He has covered a wide variety of topics, from golf and baseball to hunting and fishing. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including "Fargo Forum" newspaper. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from Concordia College.

Photo Credits

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