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Back To Basics - The Float
by Brian Poole


Clear plastic wagglers can often produce extra bites in very clear water. Some top carp matchmen swear by them. They also have the advantage of being almost unbreakable. Loaded wagglers are good when fish aren't biting very well. Because you only need a couple of small locking shot, there will be less resistance on the float when it goes under.

When river fishing the best way to plumb the depth is to cast out and let the float run through the swim. Add two or three inches to the depth each cast until it starts to drag under. Then take an inch or two off and you'll have the perfect depth for the whole of the swim.

When waggler fishing, use line that can be made to sink easily. This will help you keep the line below any surface drift and it won't be affected by the wind. You can give any float a camourflage effect by dabbing it with a tiny piece of sponge dipped into a contrasting paint colour. Our peacock quill is straight otherwise you won't be able to cast in a straight line. When stick fishing use three rubbers to fix the float onto the line. If one breaks you can use the reserve and you won't have to tackle up again.
To get more distance when casting, don't use main lines heavier than 3lb unless you're fishing for carp. The thinner the line the more supple it is and the less resistance there will be through the rod rings.

The thinner the tip of the float the more sensitive it will be. If you are getting shy bites change to a model which has a thinner tip. Always make sure you're able to slide shot up and down without damaging the line. When shotting up wagglers, keep a couple of spare dropper shot with the bulk around the float so you have the option of moving them down the line if you want to get your bait to the bottom more quickly. When casting, feather the line as the float is about to hit water. This will eliminate tangles and ensure the hook bait falls through the water as naturally as possible. Try and obtain wagglers which are made from peacock quill. This natural material is hard wearing and has an excellent degree of buoyancy.

When fishing in open water use a float with a black top as this colour will stand out much better than a fluorescent colour. Always use a hook length which is at least two feet long. This will provide an extra 'cushion' when playing a big fish. Carry your floats in tubes rather than loose in your tackle box. It protects them better and they are less likely to bend.

Once the depth has been found, mark it on the rod by either noting the position of the float against a rod ring or better still, mark the depth with Tippex. In really windy weather use a bodied waggler which has more stability. This will stop the float from rising and falling with the ripple or waves. Use a float adapter so you can change a waggler for another in a matter of seconds. Position your reel at the front of the rod handle. This will give you the required leverage for casting as well as balancing the rod and making it more comfortable to hold.

Use several small shot on stick float rigs as opposed to three or four large ones - in other words if it says 4xNo4 on the float don't shot it with four No4s! Using small shot means you'll be able to vary the presentation depending on how the fish are Use a floating line on the stick float so you can easily 'mend' the line to keep it behind the float. In bad winds, use a back shot which should be fixed around a foot above the float. This will sink the line above the float so it's not dragged out of position by the wind.

When river fishing - regardless of what float you use - always cast slightly downstream so the line is behind the float at all times. If you cast in front of you, a bow will form and drag the float towards you. Always carry a bottle of Tippex, float paint and a black waterproof pen so you can quickly change the colour of the float tip should the light change.



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