THANKS to the regular feedback from
Mail HQ, I’m aware that many readers appreciate the tackle recommendations from Lee Kerry, Darren Cox and myself.
So, this week I’ll reveal the pole floats that I use for species other than carp.
It’s often said that feeding is the No.1 reason why the best match anglers catch more fish than their rivals. This may be true, but bait presentation comes a VERY close second.
Your choice of float is paramount when it comes to successfully tricking fish into taking your bait.
There is a bewildering array available, with many manufacturers still trying to reinvent the wheel.
There are lots of shapes to chose from, including body-down, body-up, teardrop, pencil, rugby ball and lollipop varieties. Then you’ve got a choice between ones with side eyes or those that are in-line. There’s materials to consider, too, with wire, carbon, fibreglass or cane stems and tips. Where best to start?
Being sponsored by Sensas, I get access to all of the company’s vast range, yet I find that sticking to a small selection pays dividends for my fishing in the UK.
I tend to stick to just one body shape, which is rugby ball, for 90 per cent of my pole fishing.
I always carry a variety of body sizes with a selection of stem and tip materials, to suit the venue, bait and species that I’m targeting. Having said that, in certain situations I will use a different shape of float.
My current go-to pole floats are as follows…
This is my first choice of bloodworm float on rivers and canals, and is probably the most popular Sensas pattern of all time. It has a fibre tip, for maximum visibility, and a wire stem, making it very stable for holding back in strong flows or tows. I use the 0.2 g models on shallow lakes and canals, right up to 6 or 8 g versions for big rivers, typically shotted with an olivette and dropper shot below. At times, I favour the similar Series 18, which has a hollow tip, giving even better visibility.
This is my top choice for targeting roach with maggots, casters or pinkies on natural venues or commercials. Along with Mark Downes, I had a hand in designing these floats, which are based on the Jean Francois models, but with a carbon, rather than a wire, stem. I prefer carbon stems for all baits bar bloodworm, as they are great for producing bites on the drop, with either a strung-out shotting pattern or a bulk with several droppers. A similar pattern that I rate is the Thames, which has a hollow bristle, making it a great choice for presenting bigger baits overdepth on stillwaters, or on deep, powerful rivers such as the Wye, Trent and Yare.
This is a small, slightly body-up pattern with a relatively thick, fibre bristle, ideal when fishing shallow for bleak and dace, either on a whip or short-lining with a pole.
For longer whips, or for fishing to-hand in Ireland, the Alberto is ideal, as it is a tangle-free, in-line float with a fibre tip. The similar-shaped Nestor is a conventional pencil pattern with a thick, plastic bristle, perfect for tackling flowing rivers with beefed-up tackle. For serious Irish bagging, I rate the super-strong Somme, an in-line float in 2-15 g sizes, with a carbon stem and a thick, plastic bristle.
At a more delicate end of the scale, I love this pencil float for lifting and dropping baits when targeting quality roach on hard-fished venues such as the Stainforth and Keadby Canal.
Finally, flat floats. I’ve used lots of different patterns, including Cralusso models, but my top two are from Sensas – the Pawel and the Stach. The Pawel is a sensitive model with an offset bristle, ideal for small fish. I’ve used these in sizes up to a whopping 50 g in Spain, for catfish up to
12 oz. The Stach models have a thick, hollow bristle, ideal for presenting big baits for big fish, or for inching baits through at a slow pace.
Sean used the right floats for this recent 15 lb River Trent mixed bag.