Fishing with a Bubble Float for Trout

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Kyle Whitley

fishing with a bubble float for trout

I don’t know about you, but my first fishing experience was using a bobber to catch fish out of a pond. The classic “red and white” plastic bobber is attached to a kiddy fishing pole with my favorite superhero on it. Fishing with a bubble float for trout is my grown-up way of bobber fishing. Bubble floats help spin fishermen cast tiny flies with spinning gear.

Can You User Bubble Floats to Catch Trout

Trout anglers use fly casting because it works best for them. Because fish, especially in streams and rivers, consume large amounts of smaller animals like insects, crustaceans, and tiny bait fish.

Fly fishing requires an entirely different approach from traditional spinning. With fishing, the weight isn’t usually in the lure but in your line. Repeatedly swinging the rod back and forth pulls the weight of the line further and further away from the reel with each passing stroke, increasing the distance between the lure and the fish. You must give it a good tug when ready to let go of the line.

Fly fishing can be hard to learn and expensive. Spin fishermen can enjoy the benefits of using fly fishing flies without having to learn to fly fish.


What is a Casting Bubble

Spin fishermen use casting bubbles to cast longer distances when fishing with fly fishing flies. A casting bubble is usually made from a clear plastic bubble with a rubber stopper.

The bubble attaches to your line and is helpful as a weight for casting small flies. Casting bubbles are also strike indicators, similar to a traditional bobber.

You can adjust how buoyant the casting bubble is by removing the rubber inner core and adding or removing water. Adjust the water level to get the most natural presentation of the fly.

These little devices come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, but they all serve one purpose: to make fishing more accessible and fun.

Fly but no flyrod

What do you do when you want to use a fly for fishing but don’t know how to fly fish or don’t have the equipment for fly fishing? This is when you turn to the bubble float, which makes fishing with a fly more convenient.

It can allow you to use flies for fishing without knowing how to use a fly rod or even buying one. If the wind is blowing too strongly to fly fish traditionally, casting a traditional rod and reel with a bubble float is a great option.

However, the method is generally regarded as the most efficient way to fish for trout when the wind is strong. A bubble float fisher will generally outfish both fly and spin fishers.

Flyfishing… or?

For those fly fishing purists, this isn’t truly fly fishing, and I would agree. This is spin fishing with a fly, which is ok with me.

After all, we are all trying to catch fish, but I know that might not sit well with fly fishermen. Using a bubble float and a fly is an excellent way to catch trout and introduces regular spin-fishing anglers to flyfishing lures. I agree that fishing this way is better than spin fishing for trout and as good as fly fishing for trout.

You never know. You might convert a few of these folks to traditional fly fishing.

group of clear blue bubble floats

How to Use a Bubble Float: The Tactics

Casting the bubble with the long rod can be difficult when using a short leader. Cast the line so you don’t accidentally hook yourself, and so the leader is ahead of the float on the water. You can accomplish both things by using the following method.

After retrieving the bubble from the water, let the fly remain in front of you. Take approximately 2-3′ fishing line from the top of the rod. Move the rod to the right if you are right-handed and increase speed to load the rod for the cast.

Cast the bubble with an even, steady motion. The fly will follow its leader, and the leader will be aligned with the casting line. Slow the fly and bubble down by feathering the spool with your hand right before the bubble float and lands on the water’s surface.

According to the traditional method, you must retrieve the bubble at an extremely slow speed. Don’t be afraid to break traditions. As with any other type of fishing, retrieve as you wish, depending on the situation. Some say that the bubble will scare off the fish. I think the noise of the bubbles will be more likely to draw fish, which will then see the fly, so they will be more likely to bite at it.

Rigging Up a Bubble Float

Remove the rubber core from the fishing line and feed it through, letting 18 to 36″ of the line remain on the other end. At the end of your line, secure your favorite wet or dry flies.

Next, take one end of the core and add some water. If you are using a dry fly add just enough water to make the float just sit at the surface. If you are fishing nymphs or streamers, add a little more water so the float is a little more sub-surface; this allows the nymphs or streamers to sink lower in the water.

A weighted casting bubble allows you to cast accurately from far away and doesn’t affect the fish’s willingness to eat the bait. From there, it can be fished like a panfish float — if it twitched or went down, set the line!

Choosing Your Fly

There are many different ways to fish the fly and bubble rig. You can choose to use a dry fly, weighted fly, nymph, streamer, wooly bugger, etc. But there are a few things to remember when deciding what type of fly to use.

First off, make sure it looks like an actual insect. If it doesn’t look natural, it won’t work well. Next, try to match the color of the water. A dark-colored fly works better in murky waters, while lighter colors work best in clear conditions. Finally, consider how big the fly needs to be. Small flies work great for smaller trout species, and as you increase the size of the fly, the fly will appeal to bigger fish.

clear bubble float for fly fishing

Where to Fish a Bubble Float

You can fish a bubble float anywhere you would usually fish for trout. This includes streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, and even the ocean if you are after saltwater species.

You can use them almost anywhere, but you might want to be careful around areas where you might tangle your lines, such as riprap, blown-down trees, or thick brush.

Summing it Up: Fishing with a Bubble Float for Trout

While bubble float fishing isn’t like traditional fly fishing, it is a great way to fish with flies and use your existing spinning equipment. So don’t worry if you get strange looks from the fly fisherman around you at the river. Just keep fishing, you both there for the same reason, to catch trout.


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