Best river fishing floats and when to use them

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

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There’s no better way to explore rivers than trotting a float, and with our simple guide to river fishing floats, we’ll show you how to choose the right one for the job.

A few trots in a swim will quickly give a clear picture of likely fish holding areas, and instead of attracting fish to a static bait where they have plenty of time to scrutinise it.

Trotting will present a moving bait straight over their noses, giving the fish less time to make a decision before it passes downstream and into the mouth of another fish.

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Different factors dictate which float fishing float pattern should be used, including the speed of the current, the depth of water and weather conditions.

Delicate stick floats are the most popular choice, but try trotting one through boily glides and it will quickly get dragged under in the heavy flow.

Bigger baits are also tricky to present effectively with floats that usually only require a string of No.4 shot to cock them.

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Stick floats are the most popular choice and are suited for trotting baits through medium depth swims with a medium flow.

Wire stemmed sticks offer stability and control.

Cane, lignum and plastic stems that cock only under the weight of the shot are good for shallow gentle glides or for nailing fish on the drop, when shotted shirt button-style.

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Traditional Avon floats have a buoyant cigar-shaped body with cane, plastic or wire stems.

Avons handle bigger baits better than ordinary stick floats and are the number one choice for long trotting in deep water.

Large Avon floats requiring plenty of shot offer a stable trot though creases in the river – a classic fish haunt.

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Loafer and chubber floats are a step up from Avon floats, carrying more shot so they are much better for casting longer distances.

They sit well in boily swims and are great for medium depths with a quick flow.

Bulk shotting close to the hook will ensure that the bait is always presented near the river bed, which is often the best catching zone.

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Little puddle chuckers designed for stillwaters are spot on for shallows, and unlike other river floats, are attached bottom end only collapsing on the strike and fold back neatly on the retrieve.

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Balsas are extremely buoyant and require plenty of shot to cock them.

They are a suitable pattern for floodwater conditions and a bulbous tip and shoulder presents large baits, such as a big pinch of flake, being constantly dragged under in boily swims.