How to tie a stickfloat rig ideal for trotting on slow flowing rivers and streams

Trotting a small river for roach, chub, bleak, dace and skimmer bream is a fantastic way to spend a day fishing. It’s an active method that involves flicking your rig out, paying out line from the reel, mending the line to make sure the float travels along the right line, and occasionally holding back the float to make the bait flutter off the bottom. Then wham. The float ducks under and a fish is on. Brilliant!

This type of fishing requires a different approach to stillwater fishing where the float is cast overhead. A stickfloat rig needs to be cast underarm, from one side. This means that tangles can prove a problem, but not if you have set your rig up correctly. And this one, below, is not only ideal for catching fish at all depths as the bait falls, but it’s also virtually tangle free! Here’s what you need to do…


A Choose a light floating mainline, something like 2-3lb Drennan Floatfish would be ideal for this rig. The floating line lifts off the water easily, therefore you can mend your line to keep control of the float really easily, plus you’ll be able to strike fast bites easier too.

B The best type of float to use when fishing slow-paced rivers and streams is a plastic, cane or carbon stemmed stickfloat as these are nice and light. It needs to be attached to the line using three rubbers. Thread them onto the line first and then pass the float inside the rubbers. One rubber needs to be positioned under the sight tip, the other in the middle and the final one over the stem. Once you have found the correct depth, mark it using a single No8 shot directly underneath the float.

C The shot needs to be equally spaced down the line, but the majority of the weight needs to be positioned in the top two-thirds of the rig. Here pairs of shot have been used, equally spaced down the line. Pairs of No8 or No6 shot are ideal.

D The last two shot should be set singularly to produce a slow and natural fall of the hookbait through the last foot or so of water. No8 shot are ideal for this.

E As with all rigs, your hook needs to suit the bait that you are fishing with.