One of the first tasks when beginning a fishing session should be to plumb the depth of the water-way so we can accurately set our bait at the optimum level required. For example, if we are fishing a lake and have ground-baited an area, it is important that we set the bait to hang suspended beneath the float but down just off the lake-bed where the food is, (particularly if we are specimen hunting). On the other hand, if we are 'trotting the stream" or river fishing, it is to our advantage to find the deep holes, shelves and other structures where fish lay in ambush looking for prey. This we can do with plumbing.
The most common and simple method of plumbing, which I also think is the best, involves using a large cone or pyramid shaped lead sinker; with a large eye and a flat bottom (sounds like a girl I used to go out with). We attach the float where we guesstimate the depth to be and tie the hook as usual at the end of the line. We thread the hook and line through the eye of the plummet weight then, with the help of a strip of water-resistant sticky-tape stuck to the flat underside, we embed the tip of the hook to the tape to hold it fast.
Then it is just a matter of dropping the weight into the water and adjusting the float until the correct setting is achieved. The only thing to remember is that the line between the float and the rod-tip be kept slack so as to not effect the floats required vertical position.
Of course there are always limitations to any technique you use when you can't see the measuring device under water. We have to keep in mind that submerged timber could have a branch above the bottom that will give a false depth if the plummet lands on it. Also the effect of a strong current can also confuse the angler and it is only until you experience these things that you learn how to accomodate for them.
It may seem like a rather time consuming practice, particularly at the start of your fishing day when you are keen to get the bait in the water. But the resulting information that plumbing gives you is very valuable, and the more you can commit to memory of the levels in the river or water-course, the more success you will have in the future.
For more detail on this method and other techniques of coarse fishing, visit my site at http://www.mycoarserods.com
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