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My Introduction to fishing floats
With over 50 years of fishing experience, from local clubs to Open Matches, Nationals, and World Championships. World champion "1987" and runner-up Silver Medal "1986" Gold Medal Team Wales "1989" Clive Branson passes on all known fishing float methods and techniques through his float-fishing Website
Clive has collated the most comprehensive float fishing range possible:
Now available to all anglers whether experienced or a beginner. Including all the latest information and technical advances, with first hand knowledge and experience's.
Throughout the Website he discuses the history and the evolution of floats, where and when they were discovered and developed, how to use them, showing you diagrams and illustrations, techniques and methods used by himself and other World class Anglers, ensuring greater understanding.
Contents of float directory
The waggler was once called the waddled float, the story goes, that as the float was retrieved in the water, anglers would say it was waddling. Peacock quills only came to our shores just after the S econd World War and before the import of peacock quills, waggler floats, came in many other materials; swan quill, goose quill, porcupine, condor quill, crow quill and even celluloid, which was perhaps the inauguration of the modern day plastic floats
Fishing the straight peacock waggler on the river is an ideal tool, the method for slowing up the bait, is to under shot the float slightly, over depth and string a line of shot so that it drags the bottom of the river bed. Getting the right balance is very important, it must be slowed down so the float doesn't get pulled under. Instead it will have a tripping affect, the float will dip and pull in a constant rhythm, when a fish stops the bait, the float will go under.

The inserted waggler has many advantages, firstly it has greater sensitivity, ideal for shy biting fish, secondly it is perfect for lift and on the drop bites, thirdly inserts can be interchangeable, making it easy and convenient for swapping lengths and colour's of tips. The colour of the insert is important, yellow or white is a good colour, especially with a darkened backdrop of trees or hedges, but no good with a light skyline or bright coloured hay, grass or corn.
The peacock stepped waggler is made up of a series of reducing diameter peacocks, inserted into each other, creating a stepped affect. Used in conjunction with a loaded base it is a perfect float for distance fishing, yet still giving the angler good distinctive vision and sensitivity. With the long stepped peacocks, they can be coloured in a series of different shades so that with the changing backdrop that is common in big lake fishing the float can be seen easily
The body act's as a stabilizer in windy and rough conditions, these floats are more efficient to combat very windy and choppy conditions, slowing up a bad drift on slow moving and stillwater venues. The shape of the body also affects, the performance of the float, for example a body that is wider on the top will give more balance and ride the waves better, striking also becomes easier, because of the aerodynamics, less resistance in the water, problem's may only arise when casting, as it might not be as accurate as a body with the thickness at the bottom. Evenly shaped body's however will have both qualities of casting and balance.

The top eye wagg, is also a perfect float for surface feeding carp, of course a larger float will be needed to cast the distance,
Because of the antenna is so long and sensitive, seeing the most shy of bite would always be easy, especially when the fish intercepts the bait on the drop, to help spot these bites, the long antenna could be painted with black and white bands, counting the bands down would be a sure way of seeing those very shy bites.

Because of the antenna is so long and sensitive, seeing the most shy of bite would always be easy, especially when the fish intercepts the bait on the drop, to help spot these bites, the long antenna could be painted with black and white bands, counting the bands down would be a sure way of seeing those very shy bites.

This float has a dual purpose; (1) Can be set, so that the angler with poor vision can see a bite clearly (2) When set normally it can have a positive connection to the fish when striking

The float is aerodynamically shaped to cut down on any wind drag, with a built in loaded base to assist the flight and keep it in a staight line, when casting just like an arrow. A flight, is moulded into the antenna part of the float and some missile wagglers have been reported to cast well over 100meters.
Casting the Dart is very simple and with only a few No 10 shots on the line it has fewer tendencies to tangle, under arm sideways, or overhead. Checking the float as it bits the water helps the shots to spread out, however if the float isn't checked then the shots will follow the float into position which is ideal for getting close to obstacles on the far bank ie.. Boats, bushes, tins etc..

It is a specialized float that I made many years ago and now I am re Introducing them back into the market place with Gold Medal Floats.
Venues that hold Carp, Bream, skimmers, and even punched bread for roach, crossed my mind and this float could do all this and at distance
A float that is worth carrying and using on clear conditions, especially when fish shy away from darker floats that go over their heads and with less chance of frightening them upon casting.
This balsa waggler is best used on still or slow moving waters, in fast water it would probably not cock in time, before reaching the end of the swim. The balsa waggler is ideal on canals and can be used in conjunction with the whip.

Introduced into angling in the 1920s became one of the most popular floats in its era, particularly in the 1950s, used and illustrated widely by the all-great old timers, namely Dick Walker. Fred I Taylor, Billy Lane.

The onion float can in some circumstance's out fish big body waggles, simply because the body on the onion is much smaller and is ideal for choppy wind conditions, on still and slow moving waters.

The crow quill when used, as a waggler should in fact be a reverse crow quill, in other words the finer tip should be on the top of the float and the wider at the base. These days the float should have an eye whipped to its bases, as in old times they used rubbers, and as you can imagine the twists and tangles this occurred.

The sliding waggler is a float generally used when the means of a fix float to a rod and reel can't cope with the depth. A body waggler combined with a tiny eye attached to the base of the float, which allows the line to pass through and stop at a required distance with the help of a stop knot.

Casting this float is easy and tangle free except if back shotted, another words a shot above the float to hold bottom which allows the float to lay on, care must be taken when casting, a side cast is better.

The basic stick float is made up of a careful blend of balsa and cane, the cane at the bottom supplies the weight for casting and balance, and the balsa at the top supplies the buoyancy and the bite indication. The balance of the two materials must be spot on; otherwise the float may not work properly. Rising out of the water when held or sinking when released Stick floats are always fished with rubbers attached to the top, middle and bottom, they are shotted down in the water with just a small dot, and with combinations of shots the float becomes a very delicate too

The lignum stick is a big stick and best fished at distance, carrying between 5bb and 8bb shots. It is an ideal float to use as an alternative to a waggler giving a different presentation altogether.

Shotting the long stick can be done, either by a bulk down or a string of reducing size split shots, this float has a good record in local matches, and I can see the time when it may be a recognized float in all tackle box

Because of the light float and amount of shots that it takes, it has much less disturbance on the water when casting. As the lighter shots sink at a slower pace, the float responds by tilting downwards slowly to each settling split shot. When putting your finger on the reel spool it checks the float then the shots will rise up in the water, and when releasing the shots will sink again slowly, this is when most fish will find the bait irresistible, and a bite will occur.

Plastic stem stick floats are almost as good as the original cane sticks, and with precision engineering.

This float would present the bait almost perfect, especially when the surface skim was faster them the current below.

This float would with the slightest movement show a bite, slightly over shotting and using pole bristle grease to help keep the bristle just above water, this float became perhaps the most sensitive of all stick float fishing

Using this method stick float can produce fish in high water conditions, slowing the bait up for the fish to respond. I have caught on this float on many occasions when after a flood the water is still running fast and clearing, the fish feed well after a flood and this float is ideal for those times.

The basic balsa running water float is very adaptable, with a double rubber, holding the float on the line, anglers could trot a swim with ease

Developed for catching big chub and big bags of chub on big rivers. This float comes in an assortment of materials as well as balsa
This unique float has been tailored for use on big wild rivers, although smaller versions are just as successful on smaller rivers. The importance of using this big shoulder becomes evident when fishing the bread flake

The Balsa Loaf and a stream line body with a shoulder, fished top and bottom and the best type to use in clear water is a white Float. This float can give an ideal camouflage affect, almost like a bubble in the water. In low clear swims this is an unbeatable float for catching shy biting fish.

This float is an ideal tool for deep swims on running water, it can be fished at almost any depth of water and yet set at only 4ft to 8ft allowing ease of casting.

The Avon float is used with great affect on rivers like the Bristol Avon with a medium flow and a depth of between 8ft and 14ft The Avon float fishes it self with the weight bulked down and a few droppers, it is an instantly fishing float another words as soon as the float lands in the water the float sets and starts to fish instantly.
Shaped with four fluted wings that are designed to catch the current of the river and travel the stream naturally, this float is so adaptable in running water it can be held against the current to slow up the presentation of the bait.
The bolognese float is perhaps a large version of a pole float. Yet made aerodynamically for holding back and slowing the bait in the fast flowing river.
Due to its shoulder this float would hold under the surface of the water when mending the bow in the line, therefore not disturbing the float and the natural presentation of the bait, thus allowing anglers to catch more fish.

Using a traditional Avon shape that works well on most rivers I found this design ideal for the deeper faster flowing stretches that worked perfectly. With the weight down it is an instant fishing float presentation And using an Olivetti and swivel on the line thus allowing to retrieve at long distances across or mid river without the hook length twisting and tangling allowing a good presentation every time.
The two basic designs are pear shapes, a drop pear and a reverse pear. From these two shapes most pole floats are developed. A rule of thumb is a drop pear for still water and a reverse pear for running water, although the opposite can work equally as well if controlled.
A very sensitive approach that shows a bite indication with the slightest pressure on the line below the float, making this float sinks easily. A constant pressure of water is required when using this float.

Although the float is very similar to the drop pear shape this smaller squatter shape makes the method work a lot better. I have used this method with good results; it can only be used in deep water, where the pole over the top of the fish and under the water cannot spook them.
This float is shaped perfectly for holding back against the flow, developed by French anglers for their big heavy flowing rivers
Laying-on is a big advantage with this float as the float will not ride out of the swim it can with confidence be held back knowing the bait is laying on or near the bottom depending on shotting.

This smaller version of the reverse shoulder float, does the same work as its larger cousin, except this one can be used with finer presentation, on smaller river's and in some cases moving canals and the like. This float comes with more of a squatter shape, allowing perfect control at all times and the shape allows it to be held back in a static position.

The long shoulder pear pole float is one of my favourite pole floats, due to the way it performs in running water. The streamline body now starts to resemble more of a stick float in design. An elongated pear shape with a high shoulder,

The long body river pole float is an ideal float for trotting a long swim and taking fish on the drop. Similar to the long shouldered pear float, this float has a slightly different applications due to its long body and very small shoulder, this float can be used when fishing shallow or deeper swims whilst presenting the bait on the drop.
The nature of this float is that you can do both hold back or let it drift. Smaller version can be seen on small canals, used by anglers in the know.

This barrel float is unique; perhaps the beginning of big river/canal pole floats, as we know them

The shape is like a wine bottle with a neck and barrel body, eye on the shoulder to allow to be held up against the flow, a small neat looking float. Best shotted with the bulk down and dropper shots, using this float in shallow swims is a must, as well as deeper swims up to 8ft.
The round body-float is used when the surface skim is very strong and the drift near the bottom is slower, so this-float can be used to counteract any unnatural movement from top water skim to bottom.

Used in deep or shallow fast swims, it can be held back at any pace, even held still. It is very sensitive to shy biting fish. Because of the shape it acts like a boat rudder, steers the turbulent flow, yet holds perfect still.

The river dipper is a flat top peacock, designed to trot the swim, off bottom or dragging lightly with a good visible flat tip

Still water pole floats are developed very differently to running water pole floats this is generally for the benefit of working the float in the still water.
As described in the introduction to pole floats the basic designs are developed from a pear drop or some times called tear drop. The aerodynamics of this float is the tapering affect, allowing a sharp taper of the body, which in turn becomes more sensitive as the float is weighted down in the water. The broader base of the float being down most, allows balance and stability in the still water, from this shape most still water pole floats are developed.
The Stillwater pear shaped float, is perhaps the most popular float for Stillwater fishing, this is particularly true with canal or lake fishing, the shape of the float can hold against a wind drift and at the same time, can be very sensitive to shy biting fish.
Although the reverse pear shape is mostly associated with running water venues, there are times when this float works exceptionally well on still water. That is when there is a strong tow caused by the wind. The need to hold back in a tow is very important to produce a still bait presentation, for many reasons, sometimes the top flow is going the opposite way to the bottom drift, and some fish prefer static baits presented to them. Sometimes the presentation of the bait will need to go with the tow other times the opposite way from the top surface.
This design of float does very well in deep water, canals, docks, lakes, lochs etc.. Venues that don't pull hard. Lifting the float and letting the body do the work of a slow drop, finds this shape to be excellent.
The extra long cane tip pear, is a float that works exceptionally well on most still waters when you want to catch fish at all depths.
The long oval type of shape pole floats are generally recognized as whip or pole to hand floats, although they can work equally as well on a breaking down pole.
The nature of the shape of this float, lends it to be very sensitive

This extra wide base pole float is used for stabilizing the presentation in the water, fished with a bulk down and light droppers, on small canals and Stillwater.

Because of the delicate float can its presentation of the bait, this float can be used for far bank canal techniques, joker and bloodworm, squat pinkie, and laying on the shelf with caster. The lightness of the float can help for a natural presentation especially when the canal starts to tow, and by letting the float drift naturally, can account for a lot of fish.
a very sensitive float used in conjunction with pole float grease, this float worked exceptionally well when fishing bloodworm just off or on the bottom. By pulling the float slightly the float will move upwards in the water, lifting the bloodworm off the bottom, just enough for the bait to attract a fish.

The Balsa tip allows more buoyancy; and better sight for long pole fishing, some floats come with quick-change float adaptors, so the use of an eye is made redundant.
This float is very versatile and can come as a flat top, or with a bristle top, it can also be used with a top and bottom attachment as well as bottom fixed only.

The float is called a funny float, because of the way it acts in the water; it is shaped with a long working antenna and bristle, sat on top of a pear shape body. The float eye is situated on the top of the body, the float is set in the water up to the nylon bristle, and by pulling the line the float pops up to the surface, this brings the bait off the bottom like a natural bloodworm jumping action, and when releasing the float, the bait presentation falls.

The float is a tapered flat top balsa construction with a small wire base and a nylon tip bristle, the secret is the way the float is shotted and fished in the swim.

Most commercial floats have been developed only in the last few years, with the advent of catching fish on commercial fisheries. As with most commercial fisheries these days, carp being the most common species anglers now have a huge range of pole floats to suit the bait and fish.
As in most pole floats the shape and design is very important when it comes to controlling the presentation of bait to the fish. Using the right float for the correct species of fish is important, for example when fishing up in the water for F1 Carp or mirrors then a small self cocking float will work best, (Less shot on the line is better). When the float is slapped on the water surface attracting the fish to the float then In-line floats are very popular as they are robust and less likely to tangle and cut any silicone float sleeves.
Marginal floats have to be robust too, as larger fish can have a devastating effect on poor quality floats breaking tips and stems when the fish dart for underwater cover; strong carbon float stems are best used.
In essence commercial floats have to be strong, yet sensitive and shaped to combat the drift in the water, I have designed a range of floats for you to choose see below....
The long antenna also becomes a very important intricate part of the float as when fish filter feed most floats would indicate a phantom bite. However a long antenna would compensate for this, when fish do not take the bait properly into its mouth, as the float lifts and dips as the fish suck and blow the bait. It is best to allow the float to sail away before striking. The very long antenna also allows you to notice the bait being nibbled by smaller fish, as the float will rise slightly in the water. Also in the case when the bait comes off the hook completely the long antenna will stand high in the water as if the float was under shotted. - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy