There are many different types of floats suitable for centerpinning. Most can be broken down into balsa or plastic varieties. Usually, clear plastic floats like those from Drennan, are used in clearer and calmer water. The clear floats give a more stealthy presentation for spooky fish. Blackbird floats are a less expensive alternative but offer fewer choices as far as shape.
Balsa floats are offered in many shapes, sizes and colors. Raven Premium Balsa Floats are very popular. They tend to be more visible in faster water as the entire float is painted. Many are slightly heavier, permitting better casts, as well as “sticking” to the water better allowing the line to peel off the spool easier.
Although it seems like a minor detail, the selection of split shot is important when float fishing. Most anglers prefer lead shots like Sure Shot or Blackbird. Many states such as New York, Vermont and Maine no longer allow the sale of lead split shot within the state. Anglers in these states use non-toxic shot such as Dinsmore and Green Gremlin.
Hooks are the device that keeps the angler connected with the fish. Hook size is determined by the size of the fish as well as the size of the bait and can range from #2/0 for a large cluster of skein in a western river, to a #18 for fishing spooky Great Lakes steelhead with single eggs.
A short shank hook with an upturned eye, such as Blackbird Sabretooth, Daiichi Salmon Egg Hooks, or the VMC TechSet Live Bait Hooks, are very popular. As inexpensive as hooks are, it doesn’t pay to skimp on quality.