Know your stuff | What's the best pellet waggler

What type of pellet waggler should I be using? There’s more than one choice in my local tackle shop.

It has to be said that years ago, fishing the pellet waggler was far simpler than it is today. Only a few types of float existed, made of polystyrene and locked on the line with big shot around the base.

Since those early days, the tactic has become more and more refined, with different materials used in the construction alongside a host of gadgets to improve the performance of the float.

Commonly, pellet wagglers are made out of three materials – balsa wood, expanded foam or clear plastic, depending on the brand you buy. Each one will do a very different job.

There’s then the choice of a loaded or unloaded float, while the tip can be plain or have special flights added. 

Some pellets wagglers also have removable discs to help stop the float diving too deeply under the surface when they land, so it’s no wonder you’re finding picking the right one a bit of a struggle.

Help is at hand! We’ve broken down the key components of a pellet waggler, explaining what works and when. As when fishing normal wagglers, though, the prepared angler will have a range of pellet wags to hand so that they can switch over in seconds to deal with a change in conditions.


Original pellet wagglers have a highly visible domed top that lets you see the bite at range, but some models have shaped tops to achieve different jobs. For example, an insert works on the same principle as a standard waggler, showing up very shy bites when the carp are cagey. Some floats have exaggerated ‘mushroom’ tops that make a lot of noise when they hit the water, while others have flights built in to assistwith casting and stability in the water. 

Body material

Pellet wagglers have to be buoyant so they settle quickly, ready to show bites within a split-second of the cast being completed. Balsa wood is the most common material, but even this can be too heavy. 

More modern floats are made from styrofoam or polystyrene, making them somewhat delicate but supremely buoyant. These floats tend not to be loaded, and need a fair bit of shot around the base to help them reach the target.

Then there are clear plastic models on the market that are useful if the carp are proving a little spooky. These floats are not so visible to fish swimming just under the surface.


The size of waggler you use works on the same principle as with straight or insert wagglers – it all comes down to how far you need to cast. 

A short chuck of around 30 yards will see a float taking around 2SSG more than ample, upping that to three, four or even 5SSG for fishing at long range. When a huge cast is needed, you’re better off fishing a loaded float with its maximum capacity inserted in the body.

By having a variety in your box and fishing with a pellet waggler adaptor, you can always change floats in seconds to combat conditions or gain those extra few yards.


Some wagglers come with all sorts of extras added, such as flights and discs – these have their uses. The discs fit around the base of the float and not only give the waggler extra weight for casting but also make a pleasant little ‘plop’ as they land, the same noise as a loosefed pellet hitting the water. This works well when fish are feeding very shallow.

Flights come into their own in windy weather, when you may have to leave the waggler in the water for a while longer. With four fins fixed below the tip of the float, this produces a very stable float in any skim or chop, and also makes the waggler fly more accurately when casting.


If you prefer not to use locking shot around the base of your float, you can buy loaded versions. These have brass disc weights that slot on to the stem at the base of the waggler, allowing you to add or subtract more weight if needed. That results in a rig that won’t tangle or have shot annoyingly sliding down the line when you’re bagging, but you’ll need to usea special pellet waggler attached to the line to fish a loaded float.

If you go for a float requiring shot then these will be big SSG versions with the shot grouped around the base of the waggler – but these can tangle and sometimes fall off on the cast!