How and when to use a Driftbeater float rig

Want to be able to keep your float rig still when fishing a large windswept lake? Well here’s the rig for you – the simple driftbeater rig. When fished correctly this rig can be used to anchor your bait to the bottom in the strongest of undertows.

It works by placing a fairly large shot overdepth, so that it rests on the bottom. This helps hold the rig in place far better than a standard waggler rig fished overdepth ever would.

Driftbeater floats are a little specialised items of fishing tackle so not all tackle shops sell them, unfortunately. They are a bodied waggler having a very long and slender stem that leads to a bulbous balsa sight tip. No other float looks like a driftbeater.

You will need to plumb the depth accurately when using a driftbeater rig, as you have to place a shot far enough down the line so it rests on the bottom.

Here’s how to make the rig:


A Shot the float so that only the body is submerged. Don’t worry that there is 8ins of the stem sticking out the water – you’ll rectify this when you are fishing with the rig properly.

B Your mainline will need to match the species you are catching. A good starting point will be around the 3-4lb mark. Also, sinking mainlines are better as the line will cut through the surface tension and sink, preventing it from being pulled across the water surface in the wind.

C Find the depth of the swim using a plummet, then add another 12ins to the length of the rig. Now place a substantial split shot 8ins from the hook. A No1, or in extreme conditions a BB shot, would be ideal.

D After casting, allow the bottom-most shot to settle on the bottom, then sink your rod tip and wind it a few turns to sink the line between rod and float. Place your rod in rests with the rod tip submerged and slowly turn the reel’s handle until the float sinks to its sight tip. It is now ready to register a bite. Although there are times when the float will be instantly pulled under, most bites will lift the float right out the water.

E Remember to use a hook to match the size of the bait you are fishing with.