Picking the right float for pole fishing

Steve Ringer reveals his three favourite float patterns and how to use them

Picking the right float for pole fishing

by Angling Times |

Over the years I’ve built up a real mixture of pole floats. Some are tiny delicate things, while you could anchor a boat to others!

A lot of them won’t see the light of day, because I find myself relying on three very distinct shapes to do the lot on stillwaters – rugby ball, slim and margin patterns.

However, it’s not just a case of thinking ‘well, I’m fishing deep water today, so I need a float with a big body,’ or ‘the lake is shallow, so I don’t need to fish that heavy.’ Many of my float choices are down to the way I’ll fish and the species I am after.

If I was waiting for a bite, the rig would need to be held in place. Stability is then paramount, so it’s a rugby ball-shaped float. For fishing through the water with a slow-falling bait, a slim float is better, as there’s not such a need for keeping the rig still.

Rugby ball-shaped

Floats with a large body are called rugby ball-shaped. They are the model to go for if you’re after stability when the bait is fished on the deck and left for several minutes waiting for a bite. Try a 0.5g float for shallow water or as much as 2g for deep swims.

Rugby ball-shaped
Rugby ball-shaped

Slim-bodied floats

Slim floats are sometimes called pencils. Their slender bodies make them great for ‘busy’ fishing when the rig isn’t in the water for long. A slim offers little resistance on the strike and sits up quickly – ideal when bites come as the rig settles.

Slim-bodied floats
Slim-bodied floats

Margin patterns

Margin fishing requires a unique float, one that takes a lot of shot but has a substantial body. In shallow water, carp can ‘wash’ a light float out of position. A rugby ball-shaped float with a short stem taking 0.4g or 0.5g is the one to go for.

Margin patterns
Margin patterns

Tip thickness

I don’t measure thickness, instead focusing on bait size. Bites on a big bait like double corn are more positive than on a maggot, so the tip can be thicker. Dotting it right down isn’t always necessary – I leave a bit of tip showing in the margins to read bites.

Tip thickness
Tip thickness
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