There are so many different shapes and sizes of pole float out there that choosing the correct one can be something of a minefield. So here’s the BobCo guide to pole floats…
First of all make sure you pick a size which is right for the depth and venue. If you use too light a float it will provide poor presentation and be carried about by wind and tow. Too heavy and fish might drop the bait early because of the resistance of so much weight.
On a calm stillwater you’ll generally want 0.1g in float size for every 1.5ft of water. So for example a 0.2g float is ideal for 3ft of water and a 0.4g-0.6g for 6ft of water. If its windy however, you will probably need to use a heavier float than this guide because of the increased tow.
A lot of pole float sizes are given in styl sizes, rather than in grams or shot. These can be converted via this simple table:
4 x 10 = 0.1g
4 x 12 = 0.2g
4 x 14 = 0.4g
4 x 16 = 0.6g
4 x 18 = 0.75g
4 x 20 = 1g
Slim bodied floats are ideal for fishing on-the-drop because they cock easily and you can watch the body and bristle straighten up without having to mend or move the float. They’re great when you expect a bite instantly when the bait reaches the bottom too because there is little water resistance and the float bristle settles quickly, so they’re great for fish such as roach and F1s. We recommend:
Preston F1 Pellet
Preston F1 Maggot
This float is exactly as its name suggests and is great when you want some stability for fishing on the deck. Ideal for fishing with pellets and meat, or for skimmer bream too. You’ll often find this float has quite a long bristle so the float body and the line sit a bit deeper in the water. We recommend:
Middy Carp Grey 2
A completely round body is ideal for running down a river, especially if you want to hold back. These floats will be in heavier sizes to allow for the flow of a river and you might use them with olivettes too, in sizes of 1g or heavier. We recommend:
This is typically a carp float with a thick diameter centre and narrow at either end. It’s ideal for big baits such as meat and paste, again a very stable pattern for fishing on the bottom. We recommend:
Preston Inline Diamond
Drennan Carp 2
A very short float with a fat buoyant tip. A brilliant choice for fishing up-in-the-water at less than 2ft deep. They sit straight away and don’t tangle easily. The bristle isn’t sensitive enough for fishing on the deck or deep however. We recommend:
Body down / short
Typically a very short float which is tailored to fishing in shallow water, for example to islands or down the margins. Fish these with a simple bulk shot close to the hook and use slightly heavier, such as 0.4g, even in 1ft of water. This is to anchor the bait in amongst the turbulence of big fish feeding in shallow swims. We recommend:
There are three types of pole float stem. Carbon, fibreglass and wire.
Carbon stems are the strongest but also the lightest, but they’re great for silver fish and for fishing on the drop so the float gradually cocks.
Wire stems are the heaviest and are very stable, perfect for windy conditions or for presenting a bait still on the deck. They are prone to bending however.
Finally a fibreglass stem offers the best of both, it’s weighted to an extent and strong. These are ideal for heavier rigs such as carp and margin fishing.
Pole float bristles can typically be either hollow or solid. Solid are more sensitive but also more difficult to see, they are best for very small fish. Hollow plastic bristles tend to absorb sunlight and stand out brilliantly.
The thickness of the bristle depends on the fish targeted. For small fish go for 1.2 – 1.5mm, for F1s 1.5 – 1.8mm and for carp and very large baits an extra thick 2 – 2.5mm tip is best.