What better way to catch Barbel, Chub, Roach and Dace than to trot the swim, whether it be a slow meandering river or the fast and deep Severn or Wye. All can be fished using the present day alloy stemmed floats. The upper body is made from high density balsa wood and the stem is a mixture of aluminium and magnesium, with the end product being a float with ultimate balance which present day anglers prefer. Shotting capacities across the range of different floats go from a delicate 4xNo.8 up to a hefty 10 grams.


Rods can vary in length from 11ft. up to a long 17 footer, depending on the depth of the swim. The top needs to be on the soft side as this will pick up line quickly and aid casting. Main lines, depending on target species, would normally be from 3-6lb and all floats should be fitted with three rubbers on the stem and one on the tip.


[Go to the Alloy stemmed shouldered stick]

The slim, smaller patterns are ideal for medium paced waters at depths of three to eight feet, while gently holding back to let the bait stop or rise enticingly. They are best fished with the bait very close to the bottom using a shirt button style of shotting. Loose feed is best when the pace is not too fast, with ground bait being used if the river is pushing through.

The larger, shouldered sticks are best suited to depths of seven to fourteen feet in quicker paced waters. The bigger area of shoulder gives good ’holding back’ properties for slowing the bait down against a faster top current. For the big sticks the best shotting pattern is groups of shot, spread equally throughout the bottom half of the rig with no shot in the last nine inches. These are good in fast water and in this style of fishing you would be using balls of ground bait laced with samples of hook bait, or even a bait dropper. With all the shot concentrated in the lower half of your rig, you can stop the bait or inch it through the feed area. All this will give better bait presentation and positive bite indication.


[Go to the Alloy stemmed avon]

A heavy weight cousin of the stick float family, designed for fishing at close range in fast water, the float being controlled in much the same fashion as a shouldered stick. The shoulder allows for holding back slowing or even stopping the hook bait, although it can be extremely effective when allowed to run through at the same speed as the flow. Shotting the float is very basic, with a string of BB or AAA bulk shot around 2ft. from the hook along with two or three dropper shot, some anglers use olivettes in place of shot as their bulk. If the fish are wary, moving the bulk up the line and adding a few more droppers can make a difference, don’t forget to reduce the bulk shot taken up by any additional droppers.


[Go to the Alloy stemmed bolognese]

This float is an over sized version of the avon, whereas the avon is for close in work, the Bolo allows for fishing much further out and into deeper water. One subtle difference is the length of the tip, it is longer, which gives better visibility at distance enabling better bite detection. The rods for Bolo fishing tend to be longer than average due to fishing deeper swims, at the same time the extra length will give better control when the further out. Using the float is very similar to the avon, with the same shotting pattern being applied. It is an extremely successful method of fishing, but takes practice to master, some anglers are real experts at this style of discipline, in particular those fishing the Severn or Wye.


[Go to the Alloy pointed stick]

This delicate float is made for slow moving waters and is popular for fishing maggots, casters, hemp and punched bread. The pointed tip has minimum buoyancy so that fish, which do not have to chase baits, merely stop it and this will still give positive bite indications. A shirt button shotting style is best when using this float with small shot such as No.8s or No.10 being ideal.


The key to stick float fishing is to keep in touch with the float at all times. Let the float move downstream in a controlled manner ensuring that the line is never allowed to overtake the float. This is easy when the wind is blowing directly upstream but unfortunately perfect conditions are not always present. In these situations you may well need to go to a larger float. The extra weight will keep you on line and give you better control. Back shotting the float with two or three No8s helps to avoid an adverse wind from pulling the float off line.

Most anglers when using trotting control the float by allowing line to pull off the spool, slowing or stopping the float with their finger tip. Whilst this works it tends to give an erratic movement to the bait. A far better method is to move your rod upstream, trap the line against the spool and follow the float down at the speed that produces most bites. If you need to travel further down simply repeat the process. In this way you are in control allowing you to slow the float down, speed it up or even stop it. You can now see that inching a bait through your feeding area is highly achievable.


[Go to the Alloy domed stick]

Domed stick floats are perfect for fishing waters that have a clear bottom of gravel or clay for example. The large dome at the top of the float holds most of the buoyancy, this allows you to drag line on the bottom slowing the bait down, without the float dragging under and without the need for ’holding back ’. When using small bait for wary roach and dace or crafty chub, the best shotting method is to string out the shot shirt button style. Alternatively, when fishing with larger bait such as a bunch of maggots, sweet corn, meat, banded or hair rigged pellets then a different pattern will be required. In this case, bulk all of your shot around two feet from the hook with just one or two No.8s or No.10s as droppers. Being low the bulk will give stability and help slow down the bait. You will have to experiment with how much line to drag, but have your bulk at least twelve inches off the bottom. Depending on how the fish are feeding, they may feel the bulk shot and reject it before you can strike, in this case you may need to string out the bulk.

When using domed stick floats, you are fishing over depth allowing the bait to drag over the bottom, which in turn slows it down, giving the fish chance to take the bait. Make sure that you choose the correct size float. If the float is too small it will keep pulling under due to the drag. Either undershot the float or move to a bigger one.


[Go to the Speci-wagglers]

When the swim you are fishing is to fast or the wind is to troublesome to run a domed stick float through successfully then a speci-wag is usually the answer. Because the float is very buoyant and has a thick tip, it is the perfect float for fishing fast shallow water with a clean bottom, the thick buoyant lets you slow the bait down by dragging lots of line and droppers along the bed of the river. The shotting pattern for this float is normally shirt button style using a combination of No.4, No.6 and No. 8,s as droppers, with the main bulk up under the float. Larger baits may call for more shot down the line, in this case, still keep the shirt button style but move it down into the bottom half of your rig. With this method you will probable be fishing further out, or even close to the far bank, for this reason the rod should be on the long side, as this will give better control and pick up the line quicker, especially as the bites will be fast.

Premier Floats and Tackle, 29 Primrose Hill, Doddington, March, Cambs. PE15 0SU
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