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View Full Version : Looking for Info on PorcupineQuill Float use



inkminers
08-05-2012, 01:27 PM
Hi all. When I grew up in the Catskills of New York, my grandfather taught us how to use porcupine quill floats for trout in the real clear, shallow streams here. We always rigged with a loop through the eye and then up over the tip to form a half hitch of sorts. It made it easy to not only loosen and adjust the depth, but also to remove them without having to take off the hook and bait by just back-feeding the loop with some slack.

I hand-make porcupine quill floats and sell them on my website. I used to get them from the old Netcraft catalog, but when they stopped selling them, I couldn’t find them anymore. I finally gave up and started making them myself about a year ago. I figured if I couldn’t find them, there were probably still fishermen out there looking for them as well.

Over the years, I discovered that they probably originated more for panfishing, and I know they’re still very popular down South and up Michigan/Wisconsin way. I know they’re often used with a small rubber band, the line being threaded under the rubber band and down through the ring. I recently got a call from a fellow in Birmingham who requested a slightly larger size specifically for Crappie fishing, so I'm assuming the size minnow they use was pulling under the smaller floats. I’m trying to get a feel for just what sizes folks prefer, and how they rig ‘em, and what they most often use them for, etc.

Any info you can provide from your neck of the woods is appreciated.

Dave

deathb4disco
08-05-2012, 02:07 PM
The Brits use peacock quills and rig them waggler-style, with most of rhe weight around the base of the float. Since I learned from a couple of Englishmen, I do the same.

inkminers
08-05-2012, 04:43 PM
Thanks - what size float do you prefer. I've found bream/brim fisherfolk are generally happy with 6 to 8 inch floats, but I'm starting to get requests for 9 to 10 inchers specifically for crappies and bass. I usually don't use a split shot with my minnows, and I've had good results with the 6 to 8 inch size, and 6 to 8 is more than enough to handle garden worms and small night crawlers, crawfish and grubs, etc. Some of the things I've read from other fisherman, however, indicate that when they use a minnow, they also use a weight to keep the minnow at depth. I'm thinking that may be the difference?

yankee doodler
08-05-2012, 04:44 PM
Yup. I've used them that way (w/ rubber band) with minners. They work better laying down on the water and flip up/under when you get a strike. I've used them in the 10" length. Finding them harder to locate tho. PM me your info. Might be interested in some. thx.

deathb4disco
08-05-2012, 06:16 PM
Thanks - what size float do you prefer. I've found bream/brim fisherfolk are generally happy with 6 to 8 inch floats, but I'm starting to get requests for 9 to 10 inchers specifically for crappies and bass.

I just measured the floats I use most often. They're 13". I use 'em for everything: bluegill, trout, catfish, carp -- whatever. Longer floats take more weight to cock, so you can cast them farther. The only time I use shorter floats is when I'm fishing really shallow water. If you use a 13" float in 2' of water, you might spook the fish. A 13" float in 8' of water is not a problem.

eagle 1
08-05-2012, 06:44 PM
I bream fish with several that are 50 yrs. Old . They belonged to my grandfather( I AM 56 ) . They have been smoothed down and spray varnish applied many times . Been many fish caught with these quills .

Gomer Snerd
08-05-2012, 07:04 PM
as a youth that was all i used. Now the advantage of a slip floater is too great to go back to the quill.

deathb4disco
08-06-2012, 08:44 AM
as a youth that was all i used. Now the advantage of a slip floater is too great to go back to the quill.

You can easily rig any quill float (porcupine or peacock) as a slip float.

inkminers
08-06-2012, 03:12 PM
as a youth that was all i used. Now the advantage of a slip floater is too great to go back to the quill.

Do you have a rigging method that allows for regular depth changes? Most of the rigs I'm familiar with require a bit of work to change the depth setting with the knot, or have an obstruction (like the little plastic cinch) that inhibits the line moving through the guides. I always found the half hitch over the quill to be about as easy to adjust or even remove as I could want. That said, however, it is definitely not going to compete with a small, rounded float with weight concentrated in a small area for casting distance or accuracy. On the other hand, if you're after really sensitive responses and lack of resistance when pulled under, you just can't beat a quill (or quill shaped plastic/wood). I don't know that it much matters with a good sized panfish when he's hungry, but it's a world of difference with trout or on days when all the finny types are being tentative in their eating habits.

skiptomylu
08-06-2012, 03:39 PM
would like to see your info so please PM me so I can see what you have.

NeonMoon
08-06-2012, 06:58 PM
Probably not applicable, but be sure (for whatever reason) they aren't a protected species in the area(s) you fish, otherwise there's the possibility of "problems" with the DNR (Fish & Game) for being in possession of animal parts of a protected species. We don't have Porkies here, so I don't know if they're protected anywhere.

inkminers
08-06-2012, 09:52 PM
Good thought! They're african porcupine quills - the American version has much smaller quills - too small to be useful for this. I know they're imported from South Africa under license by my supplier, so they're legal at the federal level and definitely not 'protected', 'threatened' or 'endangered', but I'm not familiar with every state's regs, and I suppose it's possible that they have a stricter policy for some reason. I know they ship all over for arts and crafts purposes, and I have not seen a notice from any sellers that says "cannot ship to......." But if you think your state has any restrictions/prohibitions, please do drop me a line so I can check it out with the DNR/Conservation Dept. The primary reason I don't ship outside the U.S. is the lack of time to wade through the various and sundry international import/export laws per country.

Charles Ray
08-06-2012, 10:02 PM
Here in louisiana you can get them with wire eye at bottom and a small cork at top. I use them brim fishing and with grass shrimp for white perch.

inkminers
08-07-2012, 06:56 AM
Thanks, Minnow. The wire eye tied on the bottom was how I was introduced to them as well, but the cork on top is a new twist for me. Is the cork glued on? or is it just a slip-over to cover the point when not in use?