Russ Bailey said, as he explained when a really small float can make a major difference. Sometimes the crappie want the bait just hanging there or barely moving, and the bites are so light that you never detect them with a traditional float. That's where Bailey's tiny pear-shaped floats come into play.
I asked if there was somewhere he could show me the presentation, even with the wind whipping pretty hard, so I could get photos and see it for myself. He said that was easy as he idled toward a nearby riprap bank and said that we'd probably catch some fish doing it.
That was an understatement.
Three anglers aboard, three float rigs and at times three fish hooked. Excepting when we paused for photos, at least one of us was virtually always setting a hook or landing a fish from the time we picked up Russ' signature B'nM Poles until the sun was gone from the sky. I don't have any idea how many fish we caught in a short time and between photo sessions, but it was a bunch.
Making the fish bite and hooking them wasn't just a given, though. At least not at first, for me. Drawing strikes took a very understated presentation, jiggling the rod only enough to make the little float rock and maybe move just a bit and then leaving it suspended. And when the fish bit, they almost never took even those tiny floats all the way under. If the float move sideways an inch, changed angles or bobbed ever so slightly, you had to set the hook immediately.
I'm convinced we wouldn't have caught most of those fish swimming jigs over the same rocks or even float fishing with bigger floats. Russ' point was very well illustrated, and the lesson made for a fun afternoon on Rend Lake.