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 Total Fishing Tackle
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...
This two-piece Maver Reality Match rod delivers an all-round float fishing performance equally
- Great for stillwaters.
- Lovely through action.
- Not the best for rivers.
The Shimano Aero X1 13ft Float Rod has everything and more than you might expect to find on a
- Strong rod.
- Great pick-up speed.
- A bit too powerful for really small fish.
Tri-Cast carbon rods are designed, built and dressed right here in the UK. Renowned for its
- Fantastic quality.
- Perfectly balanced.
- A bit long for beginners.
Wild water fans hold Daiwa’s iconic Connoisseur Match rods in the highest esteem. Benefiting from
- Fast line pick-up.
- Plenty of power.
- Better for use with low diameter lines.
The pencil-slim three-piece 12ft Advanta X5 Float Rod is lightweight and impressively furnished,
- Great for new anglers.
- Not the most responsive.
These rods need little introduction, as the multi award-winning Drennan Acolyte Float Rod range is
- Sublime to use.
- Incredibly lightweight.
- Tip sections are delicate, so be careful.
Crisper than a freshly fridged lettuce, Middy’s flagship Reactacore XZ Ultra Control Waggler rod
- 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
- Fast tip speed.
- Parabolic action.
- Not the best for casting light floats.
Daiwa’s flagship Air Z AGS rod epitomises the firm’s no-compromise approach to design,
- 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.