Carp floats: everything you need to know

Carp floats - floating carp
Carp floats - there are many different types of carp fishing floats (Image credit: Anglers Mail)

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Carp floats in your local tackle shop today will include a wide variety of dedicated carp fishing floats.

They're not just for the commercial bagging puddles, but also for the proper heavyweights pursued eagerly by an ever-expanding army of specimen carp anglers.

You’ll still find the more traditional and more familiar carp floats, in the shape of straight wagglers and little pole dibbers, which remain the choice patterns for presenting baits along the margins with minimum disturbance, for stalking those true heavyweight specimens.

But there are also carp fishing floats that you’d be forgiven for thinking are intended for pike fishing rather than for hauling smaller carp from densely stocked pools.

Read on to find the right carp float for your fishing needs. 

Carp floats - a carp being caught on a pellet waggler

Carp floats - pellet wagglers are more popular than ever (Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Carp floats: pellet wagglers

Chunky, ultra buoyant pellet wagglers rarely featured among a matchman’s armoury a decade or so ago, but these are now commonplace.

This is due to the simple fact that more often than not they outperform other tactics, especially in the warmer months when carp are often found in the upper layers.

These carp fishing floats are used with no shot down the line, so the pellet hook bait falls at the same speed as the descending freebies. The loose fed pellets need to be drip fed continuously in to ensure competitive feeding and optimum sport.

Fishing for carp using a pellet waggler is a very active method. The idea is to encourage competitive feeding in the upper 2 ft with a steady trickle of pellets.

Loaded ones cast straight and are anti-tangle. Unloaded versions need shot bulked at the float and dive less deep.

Check out: How to use pellets to catch carp

Carp floats - fishing feeders

Carp floats - there's lots of different kinds of bagging/feeder wagglers (Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Carp floats: bagging or feeder wagglers

Bagging/feeder waggler floats follow the same principles as pellet wagglers, but go one step further still in terms of sheer size.

These fat, cigar-shaped floats feature a cage-type feeder at the base and are designed to target fish in the upper layers.

Carp quickly home in on the splash as it lands on the water and immediately begin to mop up the particles of groundbait as they break up and fall free from the feeder.

Ultra buoyant bagging or feeder floats account for bumper match winning carp hauls.

They are designed to be fished in the upper layers with suitably stout gear, using 1 lb-plus test curve rods, freespool reels and heavy mono main line and hook lengths.

Carp floats - Controller floats for catching carp on floating baits

Carp floats - do you prefer an upright or surface controller? (Image credit: Anglers Mail)

Carp floats: upright controllers

Upright controllers, however, as their name suggests, act more like a regular float and can be seen easily. They therefore giving you a better idea as to where your hook bait is among all those busy rubbery lips!

These controller carp floats are designed for targeting surface feeding carp and are a must-have item when fish are slurping down surface treats beyond the range of a simple freelined cast.

Coloured tops provide a better idea of the whereabouts of the hook bait.Carp 

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Carp floats: surface controllers

Surface controller floats are a must-have item for targeting carp of all sizes that are slurping food items off the surface, especially beyond the range of freelined casts.

In-line versions cast like a missile, sit low in the water and are tricky for cagey surface slurpers to clock.

Flat in-line controller floats can be cast 60 yards-plus, lie flat on the surface and are less likely to be seen by cautious surface grazers.

Almost tangle-free, they act like a bolt rig, driving the hook home as the carp takes the bait and meets the resistance of the heavy controller float.

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Carp floats: straight wagglers

Carp floater fishing has changed massively in the past decade or so. The birth of commercial carp pools has brought with it a different stance to yesteryear’s tactics, with large, mega buoyant floats and stout gear being the norm.

Straight wagglers are still popular. Your typical waggler set-up is about as versatile as it gets, and short crystal wagglers are tops for the shallows or presenting baits up in the water.

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Carp floats: dibbers

These little pole dibbers are perfect for targeting carp in the margins.

Bulbous tops enable big baits, such as paste or meat, to be presented effectively. Robust dibbers require little shot to sit perfectly.