How to select the right pole floats

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

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Whether you’re competing on the pole, or pleasure fishing, here’s some pointers on which pole floats to choose – and when to use them…

Prime location

The nearside margins should never be ignored on heavily stocked commercials, along with island features and reachable far bank havens.

Very often the fish will feed very tight to margin cover, although on some occasions they might drop down the ledge into slightly deeper water.

Fishing open water can be productive at all depths, normally starting on the deck, but be prepared to shallow up if fish start competing hard for loose feed.

Thick tipped

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Thick tipped floats, like the models shown here, are very popular for margin and long range feature fishing.

They work well in shallow water for pushing rigs tight to cover.

These are really elongated dibber style floats but their longer stems make them less tangle prone.

They can also be used set shallow in open water, when fish are competing for loose feed.

Thicker tipped floats like this are good for presenting big baits like meat, corn and large pellets because they don’t sink too easily.

Medium tips

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Pole floats with medium diameter sight tips cover most open water fishing.

The models pictured here have extra robust side eyes and are primarily aimed at carp.

Generally this type of float is fished at full depth, covering all pole lengths from a few metres out to long range.

Tip materials vary between nylon, cane and hollow plastic.

These floats are suitable for presenting all popular baits like pellets, maggots, casters, worm, sweetcorn, paste and small cubes of luncheon meat.

Thin tips

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Fine tipped pole floats with streamlined bodies are worth considering as back up if carp don’t show in big numbers.

Many commercials now offer great stocks of silver fish, which can bring good results in their own right, or they can help to boost carp weights during quieter spells.

Fibre tips are really useful because they are both sensitive and highly visible.

These fine tipped floats work best with strung shot or Stotz weights, looking to catch fish at all depths in open water.

Angler's Mail

Running from 1964 until 2020, Angler's Mail was the UK's leading weekly magazine devoted to coarse fishing, telling readers everything they needed to know about which fish to catch, where to catch them, and what kit they needed to do it. Now, loads of the magazine's expert advice can be found on, as a helpful resource for angling newcomers and experts alike.