Handcrafted Reed Fishing Floats (Bobbers)

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Making reed fishing floats doesn't require many materials and the materials, apart from reeds, are available at any hardware or craft store. The result is beautiful and practical. It can be an addition to your tackle box or a great gift for someone who enjoys fishing.

Supplies:

Acrylic Paints

Wood Glue

Clear Coating (urethane, polyurethane, epoxy, etc.)

Sponges Brushes or Pieces of Upholstery Foam

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Step 1: Get Reed Stems

First, you will need need to find and collect reed stems. Reeds are usually found near stagnant water. Look along the shores of ponds and lakes and marshes, and riverbanks.

Step 2: Sort the Material

Select the most firm and thickest parts of the stems.

Step 3: Cut the Stem to the Length

Cut the stem to the desired length to make the body of the float. In this example, the body will be about 12 centimeters (approximately 5 inches), not counting the mast and keel.

Step 4: Sand the Stem

Clean the stem with sandpaper. Remove loose layers and all dark spots.

Step 5: Make the Mast and the Keel

Use bamboo skewers to make the mast and keel.

Step 6: Make the Mast and the Keel

Cut two short sticks with a knife, about 6 centimeters (a bit longer than 2 inches). These will be the mast and the keel of the float.

Step 7: Make Paper Gasket

The sticks (the mast and keel) need to sit tight inside the reed stem, but they are too thin for the diameter of the stem. Cut a strip of paper tissue that will serve the purpose of a gasket and will help fit the sticks tightly inside the stem.

Step 8: Make Paper Gasket

Take the paper strip, add some glue on the tip of it and wrap it around the bamboo stick, covering each layer with glue every few wraps. Repeat until the diameter of this paper gasket matches the diameter of the opening in the stem.

Step 9: Make Paper Gasket

The strip will need to be completely soaked with the glue at the end. Any glue that bonds to wood will work. I'm using PVA glue, also known as wood glue or school glue.

PVA is water-soluble, but it is not going to be an issue because the float will be sealed with a waterproofing coating to prevent water from seeping inside the float.

Step 10: Attach the Mast and Keel

After the gasket is dry, put glue on top of it and secure the mast inside the reed stem.

Step 11: Attach the Mast and Keel

Repeat the previous steps to make the keel and attach it in the same way.

Step 12: Prepare for Painting

Use masking tape to protect the areas that don't need to be painted. Wrap the tape around the stem to separate the top and the bottom of the float. Absolutely any type of tape will work. Use whatever you have around - scotch tape, painters tape, electrical tape, etc.

Step 13: Paint the Float

Use a sponge to paint the float. It can be a piece of upholstery foam. Sponges do a better job than brushes in this case. They coat evenly and don't leave marks.

Step 14: Remove the Masking Tape

After the paint is dry to the touch the masking tape can be removed. But follow the instructions on the bottle. Paints require air curing before applying a protective coat.

Step 15: Protect the Float From Water

Coat the float with several protective layers of urethane, polyurethane, or epoxy resin to seal the surface. Several coats will be necessary to ensure that the coating is completely waterproof.

Step 16: Enjoy Your Work

Let the coating thoroughly dry before use. Follow the directions on the can. Spend some time to praise yourself for craftsmanship.

Step 17: Test It on the Water

It's time to test it in the water. Put the float on the line and find the right weight by attaching split-shots and placing the rig into a bucket filled with water.

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    9 Discussions

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    CharlesD82

    14 days ago

    Nice job on the bobbers!

    What are the plastic pieces you're using to cinch the fishing line to them?

    3 replies
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    maxmanCharlesD82

    Reply 14 days ago

    I like the attachment method. You could remove the bobber and those little pieces of tubing shouldn't get in the way if you want to bottom fish.

    1
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    aseevCharlesD82

    Reply 14 days ago

    These are pieces of tubing. I cut two pieces from fish tank air pump tube. Wire heat shrink tubes can be used, too. Any rubbery tubing will work.

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    Kevanf1

    Tip 14 days ago

    If you wish to add thin contrasting colour bands, perhaps black on the red tip try using a Sharpie or similar. Far easier and neater than trying to do it with a paintbrush. You might also like to explore the use of nail varnish/polish (cosmetics) to give different coloured tips for differing light conditions. Just a couple of small tricks I have learned in my 40 years career of making my own floats (bobbers).