The Forgotten Art of Float Fishing

In these days where Carp angling is the most popular branch of the sport, float fishing has become a forgotten art. But for those that care to learn this simple discipline, hours of great sport can be their reward.

Float fishing is one of the simplest and best forms of bite detection. You can use a float to catch all of the species of coarse fish and indeed for some it is the best method to use. Using a float gives you the ability to spot even the most timid bites as soon as they occur and offers you the advantage of stealth by causing very little disturbance as you cast your bait into your chosen swim.It is a simple method to learn but not so easy to master.

To the novice angler the number of different types of float that are available to buy can be both daunting and confusing. Which float should you use? The answer can be simplified by knowing that there are two main types of float that are used in coarse fishing the ‘Stickfloat’ and the ‘Waggler’. Simply by knowing what purpose each of them is used for you can bring you to a better understanding of which float you should use.

The ‘Stickfloat’ is a float designed specifically for running water. There are many different types and variations but they all come under the description of a Stickfloat so you would know that you only use them on running water such as rivers and canals. The type of Stickfloat that you use would depend on where you are fishing and what the conditions are like. Avons, Chubbers, Pin sticks and Balsa’s are a few types of ‘Stickfloat and each has its purpose and is suited to use in a certain river environment.

A stickfloat differs from a waggler because the upper body of the float is fatter than its base. It also differs from a waggler by being attached to the line at its top and bottom. This is done by using two or more float rubbers that keep it locked securely in place. The stickfloats fatter upper body allows for more stability in the flow and currents of the river and stops the float from riding up when ‘Holding back’ which is a technique that raises the bait to tempt bites as the float travels through the swim that is one of the great advantages of using a stickfloat.

Controlling a stickfloat is a skill that can only come with practice but when mastered it is a definite asset to an anglers armoury.

The ‘waggler’ is primarily used on still waters but can also be used to fish at range on calm medium paced rivers. There are two types of waggler ‘straight’ and ‘bodied’, straight wagglers are what they say completely straight whereas bodied wagglers indeed have a fatter body which unlike a stickfloat is always at the floats bottom end, this aids both buoyancy and stability and are primarily used in rougher weather conditions or when fishing at long range.

Wagglers are attached to the line bottom end only through the floats eye so there is no need to use float rubbers. As with the stickfloat there are many different variations such as Peacocks and insert wagglers. Again the type you choose to use depends on the swim and the conditions in which you are fishing.

The beauty of the waggler is the incredible sensitivity they give and their streamlined shape for distance casting. Some wagglers can take a lot of weight and allow you to fish at a long range but still provide instant bite detection.

Knowing the difference between a stickfloat and a waggler is the first step to mastering the art of float fishing. You can soon learn how to discern between to the two by having a look at a mixture of different floats in your box or the tackle shop.

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