Confused? It’s not surprising with the vast array of pole floats out there to temped you, and if your like me you just can’t help yourself. ‘you can never have enough floats’.
There are loads of ready-made rigs out there these day’s many of which are really good the Middy X5 range are some of the best I’ve used. But there’s nothing like making your own rigs up, tailoring a rig for a venue yourself then catching on it always add’s to my enjoyment.
So where to start, is there a float that covers all bases, what size of float, what do I need? these are some of the many questions you might ask yourself.
To start with I would ignore all these floats that say this is for corn this is for pellet and this is for meat. Yes some shapes are better for certain baits but it can get to confusing to start with. The only venue that shape is more important is rivers, but we’ll touch on this later.
So how do you select one float from another?
You can make things easier by looking at a floats make up and design so lets start there.
Pick up any pole float and they’ll all be a variation of a shape. round, pear, straight, and diamond. They will all tend to be made of balsa, nylon, plastic, cane and wire. All these variations make a float act and work in different ways. We could go well in to depth with this but lets start with some easy to use basics.
A round shape will give better stability than a straight stick shape. But a straight stick will give better bite detection than a round shape as there is less resistance. So you wouldn’t want to use a straight float on a flowing venue like a river or even a lake in the wind. I would stir clear of straight pole floats until your knowledge and confidence builds.
Float make up is important and also makes a difference in how the float works. I will go in to this in another chapter, but to start with stick to carbon stems balsa bodies and plastic or nylon tips.
So is there such a thing as an all-rounder that suits just about all venues like lakes ponds and slow to medium flow rivers?.
In sort yes there is, what you’re looking for is a round-bodied float or sort of rugby ball shape. The best stem to look for is a nice long carbon or nylon stem, the tip of the float wants to be either nylon or plastic.
The long carbon stem and plastic/nylon tip with give good stability in all sorts of conditions with all sorts of baits. Making it ideal for fishing up to 10ft deep, fish this float at full depth shirt button style as you’ll get a nice even fall on the hook bait.In bigger sizes from 1 gram up wards you can bulk shot to get your hook bait down, bulk shotting by grouping the shot together will work better in deep lakes or moving water.
A 4×14 / 0.4 gram sized float will cover many still water venues from around 4ft to 5ft deep, any deeper than this I would go for a minimum of 4×16 / 1/ 2 gram float. Pushing 10ft I would be reaching for a 4×20 / 1 gram float. Rivers slow moving I wouldn’t go any smaller than 1.5 gram and I would bulk shot the float at around 3/4 depth.
For fishing up in the water or really shallow margin areas. Look for a round bodied float with a short nylon stem and nylon tip. Shot shirt button style the float will normally lay flat on the surface before slowly sitting up right as each shot sinks.
Shotting pole floats can be difficult, the use of small shot far from helping. One of the best things you can get for setting up pole floats is a Dosapiombo. This simple little device has neutral buoyancy in water, all you to do is clip your chosen pole float in to the top and place in a jar of water that is deep enough to allow the float to sink to the correct depth. I use a glass vase as shown in the picture below.
Slowly add shot or styles to the Dosapiombo until the float sits in the water at the correct height. The table below will help give you a rough guide on which size shot to use. One thing to bearing mind it that tap water in denser than river or lake water so you may need to remove a weight once at your chosen venue.
Pole float size Weight Equivalent in shot
3 x 10 0.10g 2 x No’10
4 x 10 0.15g 3 x No’9
4 x 12 0.2g 5 x No’10
4 x 14 0.4g 6 x No’8
4 x 16 0.5g 8 x No’8
4 x 18 0.75g 3 x No’3
4 x 20 1g 4 x No’3
5 x 20 1.25g 5 x No’3
6 x 20 1.5g 6 x No’3
All calculations are approximate
Want to know more, keep an eye out for the next chapter on Pole float confusion an in depth look.