OF all the bits of tackle we accumulate over time, I think that pole floats take up the most room in the tackle den. I’ve got boxes full of them, all designed to do different jobs and taking in a weird and wonderful array of shapes and sizes!
When it comes to putting them on to winders, it’s very easy to pick a float based on how many fish you’ve caught using it in the past, or simply because you’ve seen the float online or in magazines and think that it’s the one that you have to use.
Although that’s partly fine, because all floats will go under and catch you fish, have you ever stepped back for a minute and asked yourself ‘is this really the best float for the job?’
The body shape of your pole float is one of the most crucial things to get right and, for much of my fishing, that boils down to two basic shapes – a slim pattern and a diamond-shaped float. As far as I’m concerned, as long as the conditions are favourable, the slim pattern is always the first rig I’ll take out of the box.
Pick the slim
When to use a slim float is down to depth and whether I’ll be waiting long for bites. If the peg is deep and bites slow, a slim isn’t right. It’s better for shallow lakes when the rig isn’t going to be long in the water, for example when lifting and dropping for F1s. It’ll also sit up quicker in the water.
Get the right size
You rarely see a slim float being used above 0.4g because that would defeat the point of fishing with one! You want bites to come just as the float settles, which is why a light float is a must. In good conditions, a 0.2g float like the Guru AR or F1 Slim will work perfectly well in 5ft of water.
Shotting up slims
Fishing a slim float is all about using a strung shot pattern, namely my favourite strung bulks. The shots are placed 1.5ins apart if I’m catching as the rig settles. However, if I’m waiting a little longer, then I’ll tighten the shots up to half-an-inch apart to get the bait down that bit faster.
Diamonds in wind
So, what do you do when it’s windy and a slim is no use? My other most commonly-used float pattern is a diamond. This offers more stability to help when nailing a bait on the bottom, especially for bream. Floats from 0.5g upwards are used, with the 0.6g Guru Diamond being my favourite.