Five floats to fit your panfish needs

by Justin Hoffman | September 20, 2016

Panfish floats

For casting light baits to slab-sided panfish, there’s no better tool on the market than a float. Designed to hold your offering at a pre-determined depth, floats are often a necessity in order to get bit.

Not all floats are created equal, though. Each style serves a specific purpose and which one you choose should come down to the conditions you are faced with. Here are five popular styles to stock in your panfish box, and when to use them.


panfish float - spring

1. Spring

Ideal for fishing in water less than four feet deep, the spring float offers a simple design without much in the way of bells or whistles. Attached to your line by way of a spring, this style of float will suspend your bait at the depth you set.

A spring float is ideal when fishing flats of uniform depth, as well as when fish may be in a neutral or negative mood and uninterested in any additional action imparted by way of a slip float. These are also a great choice for fishing with kids.


panfish float - wobble

2. Wobble

The unique shape of this float is what makes it a winner. Like a buoy shifts and moves in the water, the wobble float imparts added action to your presentation with each wave or breath of wind. A perfect choice when panfish need a little extra enticement to strike, or when a quivering motion to your bait is preferred over a vertical one.


panfish float - micro slim

3. Micro-Slim

There are lots of varieties of this style on the market, but the idea is the same – a small, thin profile. This float gets the nod when fishing in crystal-clear water and when panfish are easily spooked. Disturbing fish with a splash-landing during the cast is a concern with larger floats, so this style is the preferred choice when finesse is the name of the game.


panfish float - splashbrite

4. Splash Brite

When the sun sets and ravenous crappie begin to feverishly chow down, staying on the water is a necessity. But without a lighted float to register strikes, your window of opportunity can be short-lived. Enter the Splash Brite. This float instantly lights up when it contacts the water and produces a bright glow that’s like a beacon in the dark. And with over 30 hours of in-water battery life, this innovative float will keep you in the game for days.


panfish float - glow

5. Glow

There’s nothing worse than trying to pick out your float during a dreary, overcast day, except maybe when the waves are rocking too. A cost-effective solution is a glow float. No need for a battery; the phosphorescent paint on these floats can be ‘charged’ with a flashlight, camera flash, or the small amount of sun that’s shining. Easily visible, a glow float is a perfect panfish complement for dark and dull days on the water.

Chasing panfish doesn’t need to be complicated and neither does your float selection. Give these five styles a go the next time you hit the water. The panfish won’t thank you.

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  1. John Kloostra wrote: I am looking for help to find spots to fish around Niagara Falls On. As I have no boat I need an area for shore fishing that is not fenced off or covered in trees and brush. due to health reasons, I cannot fish steep inclines I have tried to fish Niagara river but it is too covered in trees and brush. I hope you can help me find some places. Species does not matter
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: John, Would you be comfortable using a guide? We highly recommend Hooked on Niagara's Lyle Gayder, who is also a contributor to the magazine. The Niagara River can be a dangerous place at the best of times, so perhaps a guided tour is the safest way to go. Please find the link below.