Nick Speed’s Pole Fishing Masterclass | Part 4 – The best pole floats and rigs for commercial fisheries


by Tony Grigorjevs |
Published on

Visit your local tackle shop and the shelves will be awash with pole floats. They will have different body shapes, stem lengths and tip thicknesses, giving you a headache when deciding which ones you need for your next commercial fishery session.

Thankfully, there is a simple way to remove the confusion according to superstar pole angler Nick Speed. The Shimano and Dynamite Baits-backed angler uses just five different types of float when fishing for carp, F1s and silverfish on his favourite venues. Over to Nick to help reveal the five patterns that will cover you in every scenario on commercial fisheries.

Diamonds

The open water of any swim is the area that is most likely to be affected by underwater tow. That means you need a very stable float that will sit exactly where you placed it and not move. A float with a diamond body and a fibre glass stem is perfect for the job when carp and big F1s are on the agenda, especially during the heat of summer. My favourite pattern is a Guru MW Diamond. It is great with bigger baits such as hard pellets, corn and meat, with the buoyant 1.8mm plastic bristle not getting dragged under by them.

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Finesse

There will be plenty of occasions where a little finesse is required in open water and a Preston Innovations Chianti will come into its own. A slimline float with a cane stem, it is just as good at catching skimmers on the deck as it is at fooling F1s on the drop with a strung-out shotting pattern. Shot the float so that only a fraction of the float tip is showing, and you will spot even the ficklest of bites with this style of float.

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The edges

You’re likely to be fishing for big carp in shallow water and that is a recipe for turbulence. Use the wrong float and the inevitable line bites may look like genuine indications, leading to you striking and foul hooking a lump.

A stable float is paramount so that you can distinguish between liners and proper bites. My choice is a 0.4g or 0.5g Malman Adam with an inch trimmed off the fibre glass stem to make it the right length for the 18in-2ft 6in of water that I’ll be looking to fish in. Leave at least half the bristle on show to give you further confidence when deciding whether the movement on the float is one to hit or one to ignore!

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Shallow

The float that I use for fishing has a very similar shape to the Guru MW Diamond but is much smaller and more sensitive. It is a pattern made by a Mark Harris and features a diamond shaped body and a carbon stem. It will sit up quickly once laid or slapped into the water, allowing you to see bites that could occur within a split second of the hookbait going in. Whether you are fishing for carp, F1s or silverfish such as ide, it will do the job for you.

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The 'Jigga'

F1s are notorious for constantly switching the depth that they are sat at and a jigga float is perfect when they are in this type of mood. The float is free running, with your mainline going through the middle of it. It remains on the surface as you regularly lift and drop the hookbait through different layers to try and present it in front of an F1. A bulk of shot sits below the float, with fish almost hooking themselves as they take the bait a split second before you continue with the lift and drop routine of the hookbait.

Setting up

Now that you have your floats, you need to have an idea of how to rig them up. Here are three simple setups that will work on any commercial in the land.

Open water rig

If I am fishing in open water on the deck for carp, then I always have two or three back shots between the pole tip and float. It keeps tension in that length of line, reducing the chances of me missing bites. Mainline is 0.19mm to 6in of either 0.13mm or 0.15mm hooklength and a size 14 or 16 hook.

I’ll start with a tapered shotting pattern, spread over maybe half of the rig starting from the hooklength knot, with the gaps getting slightly smaller as I work up the rig. This disperses the weight of the rig, making it harder for carp to feel resistance and spit the bait out.

If you are out and out bagging and the carp have dropped their guard, switch to a bulk of shot that are 18in-2ft from the hook with a single dropper below to bomb the hookbait down quickly.

Shallow rig

When fishing shallow, the terminal tackle that I use is very similar to that used with the on the deck open water rig. I’ll use a 5in hooklength, bulking my shot on top of the hooklength knot. This is particularly effective if you’ve worked out the depth that the F1s are sat at, creating a bolt rig effect to make it harder for them to eject the hookbait should they take it.

If they seem to be spread throughout the depths, spread the shot out to create a slower fall. A 0.1g or 0.2g float shotted with no10s is perfect for this style of fishing.

Margin rig

There’s no point using light gear down the margins as it’s likely you’ll encounter some real beasts! I’ll think nothing of using 0.21mm mainline to a 0.19mm hooklength and a size 12 or 14 hook, using hookbaits such as double corn or worm.

All the shot are placed just above the hooklength knot to help anchor your hookbait in place and reduce the chances of you mistaking a liner for a proper bite.

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