The right shotting pattern gets your bait into the strike zone.
Split shots are the essential counter balance to the float that help get the bait into the strike zone and increase the sensitivity of the float. They are available in a variety of sizes, from the tiny No.8 to the larger AAA, to match any rig. It is important to carry a range of sizes to be prepared for any situation. Whenever shotting a float, it is essential to use good quality round shots to reduce line twist under the float (avoid using split shots with easy-to-open ears). We recommend using RAVEN® split shot dispensers as a convenient way to carry a full range of shot.
A soft split shot can be easily repositioned on the line to quickly adapt the shotting pattern to changing conditions. It is best to avoid any hard shots, as they are difficult to reposition and may damage the line.
Some anglers prefer preparing a variety of shot line in advance to save time on the water. A shot line is a length of low-vis or fluorocarbon leader with split shots attached along the length of the line. Each end of the line has a micro swivel. One end gets connected to the leader and the other end gets connected to the main line below the float. The shot line can then be easily switched on the river when needed.
When conditions call for smaller floats and less shot on the line, you can remove a few shots from the top of the shot line by cutting it just below the upper swivel, sliding the unwanted shots off the line and re-tying to the swivel. This is a more effective method then trying to pry open the shots and risk damaging the line.
Please note that lead split shots are considered toxic and should be crimped on the line with forceps, not by biting down on them.
The standard shotting setup has all the shots equally spaced on the line below the float. The largest shot at the top to the smallest shot just above the leader. This allows the heavy shots to cut through the faster surface current and the small shots to gently taper the line downstream. With the float held back lightly, the bait will drift ahead of the float – ensuring that fish will see the bait before the rest of the rig. This shotting pattern will work well with most floats and in most conditions.
The tapered shotting pattern calls for the split shot to be placed in increasing distances down the line. Most of the shot is used to cut through the surface current and only a few small shots help slowly carry the bait to the bottom. This gives the bait a very natural appearance, especially on the drop. Tapered shotting works best on slow water, where a natural presentation is essential. RAVEN® SS and SM series floats are the perfect match for this shotting pattern. Remember to really shot the float down properly in slow water as the takes are generally fairly delicate, especially in cold conditions.
Accelerated shotting is basically the reverse of tapered shotting – the spacing of the shot decreases down the line. This brings the bait down quickly to the bottom, yet still allows for a natural tapered presentation – making it ideal in faster water. The float is held back lightly against the surface current to allow the bait to drift ahead of the float. The RAVEN® FM and FD float series are ideal for this shotting pattern. When using larger baits in faster water try adding a tiny shot directly onto the leader line to help keep the bait close to the bottom.
Slip Float Shotting
When fishing deep water, a slip float must be used. Slip floats allow the line to run through the center of the float until it is stopped by a stop knot or rubber float stop. Bulking the shot above the leader will drop the bait down to the fish quickly. Using a small soft shot on the leader helps keep the bait near the bottom in rough currents. Raven® SX slip floats are ideal for slower water and RAVEN® FX slip floats are perfect for faster flows. To help the float get cocked quickly and also reduce tangle-ups, try adding a second float stop between the shots and the float (about 6-8′ above the hook). This will keep the float from sliding all the way down to the shots during the cast.