Body talk

Anglers Mail - - Front Page -

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…

Jean Fran­cois

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.

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