Being fanatical about surface angling like Elliot, it has spurred my to post this guide up. It may seem complicated, but if you take your time it is all fairly simple stuff.
Some issues have been raised regards to tethered fish in weedy situations and there is simpy no excuse for anglers to leave fish in this manner for dead as a result of bad rigs. This is for anglers experienced and otherwise to read, but more with a focus to the more inexperienced, so please take note
You can use a controller, if you are willing to loose it, like you would a lead. That is the crooks of the matter - It must be able to detach from the line! Fox Exocet Controllers come with their own specially designed safety clip, meaning you are fishing exactly the same system as a bottom rig. I use these floats and believe me, they eject with no worries at all and in the event of a break they will leave the fish trailing a length of line only, either with or without a swivel.
However i fish them differently. I fish with Fox Exocets in a unique way. I use a loop method. Now this may sound daft to some, however in my opinion it is probably the safest surface fishing method if you want to have a chance of keeping your float. I tie a loop in the hooklink, which creates a weak point, then tie a Grinner Knot on the Mainline to the loop. My controller is then free running on the mainline above this knot. The knot is big enough to provide a buffer for the float, so it will remain above the kooklink knot. In the event of a break, whether the loop goes, or the Mainline knot goes, or if the mainline goes, there is no possible way for the float to remain on the line and tether a fish. It will ALWAYS come off 9 times out of 10, it will be the Hooklength loop that goes, so this is also a 'gear loss friendly' set up, as you will not loose your float Win win situation for the fish and yourself.
The other set up you can use is a 'Fox Bolt Bubble'.
These are mounted in-line style, however there's a way to fish them so that they will eject the float if needed. Thread your mainline through the float tail rubber, but DO NOT thread it through the float like you normally would. Then take a Korda flexi-ring Swivel or a similar product (http://www.korda.co.uk/products/view.php?id=155) of the relevant size that fits the base of the float and then attach the tag end of your mainline to the large ring at that end of the swivel, as normal, using a Grinner Knot. Then push the normal end of the swivel, with nothing tied to it in to the bottom of the float and push on the tail rubber and pull it all tight. So what you have is the mainline running outside the float and because the swivel is still sat in the base of the float and tail rubber is in place it, the float will not come off. Once you are satisfied the swivel is sat snugly inside the base of the float and you find that a suitable amount of pressure is required to dislodge the swivel, then remove the swivel and tie your hooklink to the same large ring that the mainline is attached to, either with a loop knot to aid hooklink changes, or with a grinner (which i would reccommend). Try to ensure your mainline knot is at one side of the ring, the hooklink knot symmetrical on the other side Then push the normal end of the swivel that should still have NOTHING tied to it back in to the float and pull everything tight. You should be left with the flexi ring end of the swivel out of the float.
What you have created here is the safest surface rig you could possibly use (in my opinion). So the float is attached/trapped on by the swivel that is pushed in to the base and by the float rubber, which keeps the top end of the float attached. In the event of a fish snagging and breaking the line, the swivel will pull free of the base of the float and because the float is at no point actually attached to the mainline, it will eject completely (With any luck it will float to the surface and you might be eble to retrieve it ;D ). It is likely it could even eject on a take, leaving you in full contact with a fish. In the event of a Break above the swivel, the tail rubber will slide off with ease and the fish is left trailing a hooklink and that is it
For Freelining use PVA bags. Fill the bag with mixers and a decent pebble weighing and ounce or so. Place your hookbait in the bag and voila, enough casting weight to get your bait where you want it [smiley=thumbsup.gif]
The main aim of craftycarping has always been to provide a forum by through which fellow carp anglers could swap ideas and thoughts, but more importantly the need to provide a suitable place and platform to help all carp anglers, no matter what there experience, through every part of there carp angling, even if that means asking and answering the most basic of questions.