The best float rods for silvers

The best float rods for silvers 

by Mark Sawyer |
Updated on

There has never been a better time to go and wet a line by float fishing for silvers. Silverfish can provide awesome sport on a float rod, with both commercials and rivers being plentiful with roach, skimmers, chub and bream.

Kit and bait-wise, what you need couldn’t be simpler – a small reel is ideal, loaded with 3lb-6lb breaking strain line. A few peacock waggler floats from 3AAA to 5AAA will get you up and running, along with couple of packets of ready-tied size 18 and 16 hooks and a pint or two of maggots – reds or mixed, it’s your choice.

Best float rods for silvers at a glance...

Best Commercial Silvers Float Rod - Shimano Aero X1 13ft Float Rod - View offer on Very

Best Float Rod For Usability - Drennan Acolyte Float Rod - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle

Best In Class Float Rod - Daiwa AIR Z AGS Rod - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle

Best Stillwater Float Rod - Maver Reality Match Rod - View offer on eBay

As for rods, there are some fabulous heart-stopping priced top-end models available, but there are plenty more good quality rods that work very nicely indeed and are a good deal kinder on the wallet. Along with these are a few models that are ideal for bigger river fish. Here is our full guide...

Best float rod (2023 National Angling Awards Winner)

The newest incarnation of the legendary range is the Daiwa Tournament S 11ft 6ins Float. It has been updated with Daiwa’s latest technologies, including HVF Nanoplus and V-Joint Alpha, but more notably, the action has been geared slightly more towards natural venue fishing.

The 11ft 6ins Float is a superb offering, brought about by the rise in winter silverfish matches on commercials, along with the need to serve anglers fishing small rivers and drains, making it already the best- selling float rod in the range. Perfect for smaller wagglers and casts of 15m to 25m.

Seaguide TYG and TDG, premium skeletal guides are used throughout and perfectly complement the fast, yet forgiving action of the rod’s gorgeously thin blank.


  • An awesome rod for more traditional waggler fishing techniques.
  • Lightning fast line pick up.


  • Not our first choice if big carp are the target.

Best float rod for stillwaters

This two-piece Maver Reality Match rod delivers an all-round float fishing performance equally suited to natural lakes, ponds and commercial fisheries. 

Despite being at the lower end of the price spectrum it delivers quality features, including a full-length cork handle, graphite screw-down reel seat and a folding keeper ring. 

It’s easy to use and perfect for the newbie angler. The through action is, in our opinion, better suited to stillwaters than to rivers.


  • Great for stillwaters.
  • Lovely through action.


  • Not the best for rivers.

Best comercial silvers float rod

The Shimano Aero X1 13ft Float Rod has everything and more than you might expect to find on a Shimano rod. It’s dressed in quality lightweight lined guides and fitted with a secure lock-down reel seat on a cork and EVA handle.

Constructed from a high-grade carbon, it has quite a crisp action and its steely mid-section lends itself well to fighting bigger fish.


  • Strong rod.
  • Great pick-up speed.


  • A bit too powerful for really small fish.

Best float rod for trotting on rivers

Tri-Cast carbon rods are designed, built and dressed right here in the UK. Renowned for its super-strong poles, the firm also produces some of the best float rods around, including the famous John Allerton range. But for out-and-out river work the award-winning three-sectioned Tri-Cast Trilogy X 14ft Float Rod takes some beating. 

At only 142g (6oz), it’s comfy to hold for long periods and has a razor-sharp strike action that whips up slack line in the blink of an eye. Casting weights of 0-15g and 0-20g are offered, and longer lengths are available if you want them.


  • Fantastic quality.
  • Perfectly balanced.


  • A bit long for beginners.

Best all-round float rod

Wild water fans hold Daiwa’s iconic Connoisseur Match rods in the highest esteem. Benefiting from some of the best carbon cloths and technical processes, these Daiwa Connoisseur Pro rods will perform at the highest level on any still or running water. 

Light and comfy in the hand, they cast crisply and cleanly, and their somewhat tippy action will cast everything from the lightest of stick floats through to the heaviest of sliders. 

Viper-fast line pick-up speeds make them ideal for long trotting, so it’s little wonder the Connoisseur has a fine river fishing heritage.


  • Fast line pick-up.
  • Plenty of power.


  • Better for use with low diameter lines.

Best float rods for usability

These rods need little introduction, as the multi award-winning Drennan Acolyte Float Rod range is a household name among silverfish anglers. With models from 11ft through to 17ft, there’s something for everyone.

There’s power to burn in the stepped-up Plus versions, while anyone fishing with gossamer hooklengths and small hooks should have a waggle with an Acolyte Ultra – they’re ridiculously light in the hand. 

Acolytes are also available in compact versions with a removable handle section, and a guide configuration that enables the three-sectioned rods to be effortlessly packed away. One thing all Acolytes have in common is their sublime cushioned action and lightning-fast, bounce-free tip recovery speed.


  • Sublime to use.
  • Incredibly lightweight.


  • Tip sections are delicate, so be careful.

Best long rod for float fishing

Crisper than a freshly fridged lettuce, Middy’s flagship Reactacore XZ Ultra Control Waggler rod blends a lightning-fast tip response with a fast-taper build that picks up line very quickly, even at distance, making it ideal for long trotting tactics. 

The 14ft length makes mending the line behind the float very easy, as little more than a quick flick of the wrist is needed to make sure the float isn’t dragged out of position.

As you’d expect of a flagship rod, it comes with only the highest-quality fittings, and is made from the very best materials.


  • Great for trotting.
  • Super quick line pick-up.


  • A bit cumbersome for small waters/rivers.

Best value float fishing rods

Korum Glide rods deliver a soft, parabolic action through their middle and butt sections, but still have super-fast line pick-up speeds and lightning tip reactions, making them ideal for dealing with chub and barbel on the float.  

Rather interestingly, these versatile rods are ringed to suit both fixed-spool and centrepin reel enthusiasts, so the purist angler who enjoys using vintage tackle will surely admire their classy old-school look and build quality.

The rods, that come in three different lengths, are designed and built for the serious big-fish angler.


  • Fast tip speed.
  • Parabolic action.


  • Not the best for casting light floats.

Best in class float fishing rod

Daiwa’s flagship Air Z AGS rod epitomises the firm’s no-compromise approach to design, engineering, materials and build quality.

Premium grade carbon fibre with additional nano reinforcement is further combined with Daiwa’s X45 carbon layering technique. The slim blank gives an unbelievable casting performance, and its line pick-up speed and tip recovery rates are astonishing. You also get exclusive carbon guides. 

I once asked Daiwa why the company built this rod, and the answer it gave was very apt: “Because we can,” was the reply.

It’s quite simply an exquisite rod.


  • The complete waggler rod.
  • Light and balanced, with a great action.


  • One of the most expensive float rods on the market.

What to look for in a waggler rod for silvers

When it comes to a rod for silverfish there are a few variables to consider. Where will you be fishing and what will you be targeting are the main questions you need to ask, as the rod specification will vary deepening on the answer.

If you intend to target roach, ide and skimmers on a commercial, then a soft through action rod of around 12ft in length will be perfect, as there are no snags to contend with, so you won't end up bumping the fish off.

If you are targeting chub on a river though, this type of rod will struggle. You will need a stronger rod of around 13-15ft, depending on the size and flow of the river. You will need to be able to control the float, whilst having the power in reserve to steer those big fish away from snags and against the flow towards you.


Blank: The hollow carbon fibre tube that the rod is made from, attached to which are the guides and handle.

Guides: The rings that line the length of the rod that the line passes through.

Reel seat: The part of the handle that your reel attaches to. Almost all UK coarse rods have screw-down reel seats, where the fore-grip on the handle rotates and closes the seat to hold the reel in place.

Test curve: Usually measured in pounds, it's the weight that needs to be applied to the end of the rod to make it bend over 90 degrees. The greater the test curve, the more powerful the rod.

Casting weight: Depending on the manufacturer, it is either the best suited or maximum total weight in grams that you should cast with your rod. You will normally find your rod will perform best at around half its total casting weight. For example, a 120g feeder rod best suits a 60g feeder.

Fish playing action: A way of describing how good a rod performs when reeling in a fish. A rod with a good fish-playing action will provide plenty of cushion to a thrashing fish, preventing hook pulls (lost fish) and line breakages.

Progressive action. A rod that quickly powers up from its tip through to its middle area, providing the ideal coordinated playing action for powerful fish.

Tip action: This normally applies to traditional three-piece float rods that need a 'tip or tippy action' to be able to whip out light floats when casting, as well as pick-up line very quickly on the strike.

Through action: A rod that has a softer top section but still produces a cushioned bend throughout its entire length, giving a good fish-playing action.

Parabolic action: A rod that can bend throughout its length but stiffens towards its butt section, providing a controlled cushioning action when playing a fish.

Rod taper: How a rod changes in diameter along its length. A fast taper rod will typically thicken up very quickly as you move away from the tip. Although other factors come into play, like carbon types, weave and construction, typically, a fast taper rod will bend more at the tip than the butt (tip actioned).

Frequently asked questions on float rods

Why do float rods come in some many different lengths?

Float rods, as their name suggests, are designed and built to cast lightweight floats of all shapes and sizes, and to that end, they all serve exactly the same function. The length variations come about as float rods that are, for instance, power float rods commonly used on rivers, will have longer lengths of line to pick up when mending or striking, plus they also require a longer length for additional float control in flowing water. Commercial pellet waggler rods are generally used to cast heavier floats, and they are built with progressive rather than tippy fish-playing actions, which are functions best served with shorter-length rods.

What length rod is good for a beginner?

A good question. If you're new to float fishing, be that on a lake, canal or river then we recommend something around the 12ft mark, with a through action. This will be more than comfortable to use without being cumbersome and difficult to manage, whilst also providing you with enough length to cast easily and won't be out of its depth on a smaller river. So you have a great all-round rod to begin your journey.

What is a line rating?

A line rating is a guide a manufacturer gives to a rod to give the angler an idea of its power and capabilities. Softer, more forgiving rods will tend to have a lower line rating of say 3lb, whilst the more powerful rods will have a line rating of 6lb-plus. This doesn't mean you can't use heavier lines, it is merely a guide to consider.

Author Mark Sawyer holds the position of Tackle Editor at Angling Times, boasting more than thirty years of experience working within different fields of the angling industry.

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