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How to Make a Slip Float

By Edited Dec 23, 2015 1 0


Homemade Slip Floats

Remember the joy you experienced when you were first learning to fish?  You would just wait for that float to disappear like a submarine under the water.  You knew when this happened a fish was actually taking your bait.  Would you enjoy living that experience again?  Has it been awhile?  In this article I will show you how to construct a slip float.  Then you can relive those memories and even make some new ones.  

Slip floats or bobbers as they are commonly called have been a mainstay of anglers who fish with bait.  They are relatively inexpensive so why make them you may ask?  If you have children this project will yield some quality time between parents and children.  Life isn't always about doing things that cost a whole lot of money.  As the saying goes, "Some of the best things in life are free".  Many projects (this one included) are geared more for building a lifetime of memories rather than just making something.  It only takes is a small financial investment and a short amount of your time.  This is a good venture for the cub scouts or brownies could undertake as part of their fishing merit badge.  

Construction of these devices is quite simple.  The materials used to make these devices are usually thrown out in the trash.  You will be contributing to recycling products that normally become part of a landfill.  The main component needed to manufacture these floats is the outside case of a hi lighter.  The second piece that is used to manufacture your slip float is a plastic coffee stirrer (the kind you find in convenience stores).  I refer to myself as the frugal fisherman.  That is why the cost of my projects is minimal.

Preparing the Parts for Assembly


Step 1 Slip Float
Step 2 Slip Floats



Step 3 Slip Floats
Step 4 Slip Floats

I will now show you how to prepare the parts for assembling your slip float.  The first thing you must accomplish is the removal of the point and ink cartridge from the plastic tube.  This is an easy task.  Simply use a pair of needle nose pliers.  Hold the entire hi lighter with one hand while grasping the tip of the hi lighter with the pliers.  Pull on the needle nose pliers and the tip will come straight out of the case.  Next you will need to remove the cap from the other end of the hi lighter.  This is done in order to remove the ink blotter from the plastic case.  Remove the cap by holding the case in one hand.  Pull on the cap using a pair of slip joint pliers until the cap separates from the case.  The ink blotter is now removed simply by holding the case with its cap side down.  This will allow gravity to do the work for you and the ink blotter will fall out.  Place the cap back on the case now.  What is left is a hollow plastic case.  A hole is now drilled in the cap.  The size of this hole is approximately the outside diameter of your coffee stirrer.  

The end that housed the writing tip is prepped for assembly next.  To realize this task you will need to use a pair of pointed scissors.  When it's tip was removed a small opening was left in the hi lighter.  Oftentimes this opening is too small to fit your coffee stirrer.  Therefore this hole must be enlarged.  This is done by using one blade of the scissors as a reamer.  Twist the case while holding and pushing your scissors into the hole.  Repeat this process until the coffee stirrer can easily fit into the hole.  The hole is where where the writing tip was located originally located.

The coffee stirrer can be rinsed in order to remove the coffee, cream and sugar build up.  You can cut the stirrer to a length approximately 1" longer than the hi lighter shell.

Assembling the Slip Float


Construction of Slip Float



Slip Float Assembly

With all of the preparation work completed assembling the slip float will now begin.  Place the coffee stirrer through the two holes in the hi lighter.  Allow each end of the stirrer to protrude about 1/2" beyond the hi lighter end. Adhere both ends of the hi lighter shell to the coffee stirrer.  This is done with a silicone based adhesive or caulk.  A liberal amount of the adhesive should be used in order to ensure the water tight integrity of the slip float.  Allow time for the entire assembly to dry.  Your slip float is complete and ready to use.  Notice that in the first picture different colored caps were added.  This was done to add contrast to the float.  That will make it easier to see in low light conditions. 

You Will Need a Few More Items in Order to Use Your Slip Float

To fish with this slip float properly you will need a bead and a bobber stop. Small beads can be purchased at a craft store.  You can either purchase the bobber stops from a tackle shop or learn to tie them yourself.   Here is a helpful tutorial to teach you how to tie the bobber stopper knot.[1]

The bobber stop is tied to your fishing line at the spot that puts your bait where you want it to be.  This can be slid up or down to control the depth of your bait presentation.  The bead is placed on the line next.  The bead is added so that the bobber stop does not slide through the coffee stirrer rendering the slip float useless.  When you get a nibble on your bait, the bead gets pushed up against the stop by the float.  The slip float remains on the surface until the bead and stop are pulled against the float.  This causes the float to be pulled under the water signaling that you have a fish taking your bait.


How To Rig A Slip Float

Now you are ready to go get some bait and have at it.  It will not be long until all those memories come right back to you.  Or better yet maybe this will be an opportunity to make some new memories with someone in your life.  Touching lives is always a special experience for both parties.




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  1. "How to Tie A Bobber Stopper Knot." www.netknots.com. 7/05/2015 <Web >

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