Puff Balls® were tested and designed by a Northern California guide as a simple and effective means to better present his bait offering and reduce hooks from snagging on rocky river bottom. The primary target was winter Steelhead and the success was surprising, especially when conditions were not perfect. The small amount of flotation kept the bait just off the bottom neutralizing the hook weight, creating a more natural presentation and right in the strike zone. Once the presentation was perfected, the addition of color was really the turning point that made Puff Balls® so desirable. Not only did we have a perfect presentation now we also have an attractor that would entice the fish to take a bite at times when they wouldn't necessarily be interested.
Realizing that colors made a big difference, the challenge to come up with the best colors for attracting different species of fish in different watercolors and conditions. For the past twelve years we have tested hundreds of different colors, paints and dyes to finally come to the conclusion that we would have to have our own paints manufactured to our specifications. The end result is having the exact colors, fluorescents, and pearl essences in a non-toxic water base paint that will change color and highlights in different light conditions. There is no other place in the world these exact colors and paints are available.
Puff Balls® are now used for many different species of fish -- Steelhead, Salmon, Trout, Bass and pan fish, Walleye, Muskie, and others. Presentations have also varied depending on the conditions, species, baits, and whatever unique ideas available by fishermen.
After twelve years of research and development Rivers West Manufacturing has perfected the art and design of flotation attractors. Through out the years there has been a constant research and development process to prefect the right sizes, colors and shapes that will give the catching advantage to those anglers using Puff Balls®. This is an on going process with our field researchers, pro guide staff, and fishermen. We encourage comments, suggestions, pictures, and stories of successful fishing trips.
From the designer
Many fishermen are under the assumption that Puff Balls® are a simple flotation device to keep bait off the bottom and relief from bottom snags. This is partly true, but in the past twelve years of development many other benefits have been discovered.
Let me start with the original and very basic design of the Puff Ball®. While drifting roe for Steelhead on the north coast rivers, I noticed two things that were very irritating, my hook kept getting caught on the bottom in the rocks and gravel, causing me to take the time to either jerk so hard I would lose my bait, or break off. I tried many of the flotation devices available, they were all designed to use on the line above the hook sliding up away from my bait, again hung up. My desire was to make a flotation device that would essentially neutralize the weight of the hook and not slide up the line. The Puff Ball® was the perfect solution, put the hook through the flotation and keep it there. Testing different sizes of hooks I found that just one size Puff Ball® wouldn’t take care of all my needs. I have come up with a formula that works for me, hooks from #4 and smaller I use a #1 Puff Ball®, hook sizes #1 and #2 I use a #2 Puff Ball®, and all larger hooks a #3 Puff Ball®, I have found by using this formula I get a neutralizing effect from the hook weight giving the bait a more natural presentation in the strike zone.
Having the flotation problem corrected, I found that specific colors or even shades of a certain color made a big difference in how many fish would bite and how aggressive the fish were. Perfecting these colors took years of testing on the rivers by many professional guides and myself. I just couldn’t get the exact colors I needed; we were close but not perfect. I spent 11 months working with paint manufactures to come up with our colors, adding fluorescents, pearl, and special color pigments to get exactly the desired effects. If you hold one of our Puff Balls® in the light and turn it, you will see the colors change slightly, that’s what happens underwater as light and shadows change so will the Puff Ball®. This will make your presentation highly visible in all conditions and depths.
Today and in the future I will continue my efforts in research and development to improve Puff Balls® and other products that will improve fishermen’s success. Many of the suggestions we get from professional guides and fishermen have been a great help in improving our products and ideas for future development. I encourage and appreciate any and all comments and ideas.
Thank you all,