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All You Need To Know - Part 3, Stick and Waggler Floats

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All You Need To Know - Part 3, Stick and Waggler Floats

Jeff now looks at all the floats you can buy and unravels the mysteries of which to choose and how best they can be used.

 

Let’s clear up one small point about this series and this article in particular, it’s called “All You Need To Know” and not “All There Is To Know”. In other words, it’s not every scrap of knowledge that’s ever been written or is known about a subject, its just enough to help you make a sensible choice from what is currently available.


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Saying that, I’d just like to show you this photograph of a collection of old floats that was recently sold on eBay by a chap called Wal Sewell. These floats don’t go back all that far in time, I can remember buying many like these in the 1960s and 70s. In fact some look so familiar they could be the same models as I owned, but the point is, they worked then, they would work now, only now we have standardised on two main types, the stick float for rivers, and the wagglers for rivers and stillwaters.

True there are floats for other purposes and a popular type are the pole floats, for use with long and margin pole fishing. There are also pike floats and carp controllers, but here, I’m more concerned with floats for general situations of coarse fishing.

Waggler Floats

Let’s start with the wagglers and named so because they are attached to your line at one end only, the bottom end where the eye is so that they can – waggle about. Where would we be without these now? There are straight wagglers, insert wagglers, bodied wagglers, and loaded wagglers, so let’s put some detail to them.

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091105adaptors_350835228.jpgStraight wagglers are made from one type of material, be that peacock quill, or sarcandas reed, or crystal plastic. They are usually the same diameter from top to bottom apart from the stubby bit that is attached to the line either by threading the line through it’s little hole or using a silicone float adaptor and pushing the stub into it. Using the adapter means that you can later change floats without breaking down all of your tackle.

For my own preference I like to use the peacock quills as I believe they fly through the air better having come from a bird anyway. However, there is a strong case for the crystal or clear plastic wagglers providing they are well made, but I tend to use these only in stillwaters even though I can’t qualify that choice. Sarcandas reed is very light, very buoyant, but hardly used in commercially available floats these days.

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The insert waggler is very much like the straight waggler with the exception that the indication part, the bit that sticks above the water, is of a thinner and possibly different material. Being thinner there is less resistance to it floating making bite indication more positive, but at the same time more difficult to see at range. In some floats, particularly plastic ones, the insert part can be solid plastic and even less buoyant and easier for the fish to pull under since they can be almost as heavy as the water itself. In my view these are more sensitive to delicate bites.

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Then there is the bodied waggler, named so because of the fatter body towards the bottom of the float. This enables the waggler to carry more shot so you can cast further or make the float more stable. At the upper end, some are straight, whilst others have insert tips and there are those that taper gradually, or stepping little by little towards the tip.

You will also find some like this that have a very tiny hole at the base, much smaller than on other wagglers that you could barely get a hair through and these are ‘sliders’. I think it was the late Billy Lane that came up with this idea (or it was him that told me about them anyway) for fishing really deep waters, 12 feet and more. The idea being the float is free to travel up and down the line for casting, but is stopped at the right depth by a fine sliding stop knot.

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Loaded wagglers can be any of the above that have some weight added to the bottom already thereby saving you putting too much shot on the line. They can have fatter bodies, no bodies, insert tips or be straight. In some, the weight can be changed, swapped with other weights to allow you total control over how you wish to load the float with split shot.

Stick Floats.

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Whereas the waggler can be fished on a river or stillwater, the stick float was designed for one purpose only – the river! (IMO) I think I would be correct in saying that Kevin and his father, Benny Ashurst had much to do with the popularisation, if not development, of the stick float. These are fixed to the line top and bottom by small rubber bands or caps as they’re often called.

Although most tend to follow one basic shape (see picture above) they do vary depending on the materials used in the making of them. The most basic form is the simple cane stemmed stick. The shape and length is decided more by the user than anything else.

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Using the same shape is the lignum stick where the lower half is made from the much heavier wood, lignum vitae, and the top half balsa wood usually. The use of lignum wood gives more stability to the float as it is carried through the faster currents in the river. Also, because it is heavier and sinks in water, this type of float requires a little less shot size for size than the cane stick, but only marginally so if balanced correctly.

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The next type is the alloy stemmed float. In this there is a departure in the shape, especially the top, which is usually made from balsa wood. Very light and buoyant at the top, but with a fine aluminium stem beneath it causing less resistance in the water. Because the aluminium is so dense, these are superb floats in very turbulent swims and used with skill give really fine control by the angler.

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Another type that has hit the market in fairly recent years is one made of balsa at the top and a clear solid plastic stem beneath. I’m not sure whether Peter Drennan designed it (most likely he did), but it’s his company that now markets them as the Big Stick. They normally carry a fair bit of shot and have a highly visible tip to them, very useful when trotting the float at long range – 60 yards and more.

Other Types for Rivers

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                      Top to Botttom, the loafer, the Avon, and a bobber for perch

Not too far from the stick floats in concept are the Avon and/or chub floats. Usually with a thin tip, thickening to a bulbous belly and then a finer stick to the bottom. The can be made from cane and balsa and even with the addition of a heavier wood or plastic for the stem. Then again, they can be plastic throughout with the belly being hollow. They take an awful lot of shot and are more suited to larger baits such as worms, prawns, slugs etc.

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Another very similar type is the bodied crow quill float. A crow quill on its own can be a highly sensitive float indeed, but it doesn’t take a lot of shot and is therefore difficult to cast any distance and worse still control its path. Add a balsa body, similar to the Avon float, and it becomes a superb bite indicator on many rivers and different flows of water. The sad thing about these is that hardly anyone makes them any longer and they can be expensive.

Modern Adaptations of Wagglers

In recent times, the past 15 years or so, many new floats have been introduced with new names, but all, or most, are based on older basic designs.

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For example, the Bagging Waggler. Based on the principles of a standard waggler but much fatter and with a built on groundbait frame, they are used to tempt match carp well up in the water. Attached by the bottom end only like other wagglers they are self-loaded and need no extra shot, although a small one can be pinched on the line just to sink the bait more quickly.

These floats are in popular use on some big reservoirs now like Clattercote and Drayton and in summer they appear to be the method to use. The idea being that upon hitting the water, the groundbait moulded around the base of the float disintegrates and falls down around the hookbait positioned some 18 inches to 3 feet deep. Carp, being greedy, grab at whatever solid food they can in the groundbait cloud grab the hookbait, usually a small 10mm boily or similar.
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Another and even more recent adaptation is the Splashing Waggler and/or the Pellet Waggler. Both are intended to create a disturbance on the surface as they land thereby attracting the fish’s attention to the fact that food is arriving. Bait is almost always a banded pellet fished a couple of feet deep and the angler then catapults 4-6 similar sized pellets around the float at regular intervals.

Again, the idea is much the same as the Bagging Waggler in that it relies on the carp’s greed to grab at food before another fish can get it. A good Splashing or Pellet Waggler won’t travel too far beneath the surface before settling and many are self-loaded to begin with although not always so. Forms vary in shape from what look like strange mushrooms to just short fat normal straight wagglers and they too are attached bottom end only, by incredible contraptions in some cases (see picture).

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The Polaris float is still very much like a waggler only the line is pushed through a small tube in a moulding at the bottom of the float. The bait is fished on the bottom with a running lead close to the hook (a form of float ledgering) and after casting the float rises to the surface where it is almost flat. You then tighten the line to the float until it sits with just the tip above the surface and takes are more often a lift or the float will disappear completely.


That’s not all there is to know, as I said at the beginning, but it is enough to allow you to make a respectable choice as to which float to purchase and what it is meant to do. I’m not going in to pike floats and controller floats or even pole floats just now. These will be covered in separate articles. For now, this has been a description of floats generally available at your store that will be useful in general type coarse fishing situations.

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Comments (73 posted):

Fred Bonney on 18/11/2009 09:05:01
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Excellent stuff Jeff, a well put together article.
Stealph Viper on 18/11/2009 09:07:07
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Thank you Wolfy, A very well put together description of the different types of Waggler and Stick floats available for different circumstances and situations.
Graham Whatmore on 18/11/2009 09:48:42
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Excellent stuff Jeff, easy to read, easy to understand, just the job mate. One waggler missing off that list is a very useful one when fishing fast shallow water or in a down stream wind and thats the specimen balsa waggler taking up to 4SSG or more.
Peter Jacobs on 18/11/2009 09:58:03
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Good stuff Jeff. You might have given a mention though to the Onions, Zoomers and even the Trent Trotters. As for some of those floats working still, you bet they do, I use similar patterns quite a lot - yeah, I know; nostalgia and all that. Mind you, there are a couple of floats in the first picture that would be exceptionally good for Roach fishing (note that Mr. Spiller?)
Ron The Hat Clay on 18/11/2009 11:05:28
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:eek:Ye've forgot lolly floats lad.
Jeff Woodhouse on 18/11/2009 11:06:10
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One waggler missing off that list is a very useful one when fishing fast shallow water or in a down stream wind and thats the specimen balsa waggler taking up to 4SSG or more. You might have given a mention though to the Onions, Zoomers and even the Trent Trotters. And now for those members amongst you who are poorly sighted - Let’s clear up one small point about this series and this article in particular, it’s called “All You Need To Know” and not “All There Is To Know”. In other words, it’s not every scrap of knowledge that’s ever been written or is known about a subject, its just enough to help you make a sensible choice from what is currently available. I hope this helps. :wh:p:) Blind as bats some people! Hehehe!
Peter Jacobs on 18/11/2009 11:57:33
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Oh-er, touchy! Jeff, go pour a large Jack Daniels and go sit in a darkened room. [insert smiling thing - - - - H E R E]
Mr Cholmondeley-Corker (PaSC) on 18/11/2009 12:02:29
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Well, one of the things we need to know is what situations/conditions each float is designed for. Is this the subject of an article later in the series?
Jeff Woodhouse on 18/11/2009 12:05:07
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Well, one of the things we need to know is what situations/conditions each float is designed for. Is this the subject of an article later in the series? I prefer to leave that to experts like Mark Wintle. :o
Graham Whatmore on 18/11/2009 12:27:51
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Oh! dear Jeff we are touchy today and I did say it was a good article btw. It wasn't meant as a criticism, look on it more as an addition to the list you already have.
Jeff Woodhouse on 18/11/2009 14:30:26
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Oh! dear Jeff we are touchy today and I did say it was a good article btw. I wasn't getting the hump, Graham. It just reminded me of an old Spike Milligan sketch whenn he'd finished reading the news and said "And now here are the headlines again for the hard of hearing." Picked up a megaphone and started shouting down it. Funny ..... Hahahah! I just thought I'd reiterate my statement in BIG type for the same effect. I wouldn't mind, but I did make the statement TWICE in the article though. If I'd included every type of float that's ever been made I still be writing the article. Key point was -"currently available".
Wobbly Face (As Per Ed) on 18/11/2009 14:33:02
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Great article Jeff, may mate has most of them floats, after owning them for 40 years, he still hasn't a clue on how to use them. If only this article had come out 40 years ago! Kids, read up.
Sean Meeghan on 18/11/2009 15:52:26
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An excellent summary Jeff. Just a couple of points though: The stick float was originally developed for fishing canals and they were then adapted for fishing the Trent when the north west anglers began travelling there to fish. The buouyancy of the material used in the insert on an insert waggler has no effect on the sensitivity of the float. A 3BB float with a 2mm diameter peacock quill tip has exactly the same sensitivity as a 3BB float with a 2mm cane tip.
Mark Wintle on 18/11/2009 21:35:59
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As Sean says the stick float was developed to fish across canals with casters. One thing I did notice on the pics of the stick floats and other top and bottom floats is the use of very narrow float rubbers. In my experience it is better to use a much longer float rubber (18mm to 25mm) at the base so that it overlaps the base by about 2mm. This reduces tangles, casts better, prevents accidental movement of the float through slippage and sometimes improves bait presentation. I don't bother with a 3rd float rubber apart from crow quill Avons but do make sure the top rubber is about 3-4mm in length.
Xplorer1 on 18/11/2009 22:37:24
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Excellent article - very clear and useful, and the illustrations really help. Not being a carp angler, I had no idea what a baggin' waggler was! But it does perpetuate what I believe to be a myth: that the material of which the tip of a waggler type float is made affects its sensitivity. A float has a mass and a volume: its volume dictates the amount of water it displaces when partiallly or entirely sunk by its mass (including the shot in use). How that mass is distributed throughout the float is irrelevant so far as sensitivity is concerned. The sensitivity of the part sticking out of the water is dictated solely by its diameter (assuming it's round in cross section). The slimmer it is, the less water a given length will displace as its pulled down, and hence the amount of pull needed to sink it lower in the water will be less. Whether it's made of peacock quill, dowel or fibreglass makes not a jot of difference to how much pull is required to sink it lower: that is entirely dictated by its volume. Now in choppy running water where a stick or avon float is being tossed around from side to side, rather than being in equilibrium, then this is clearly not so, and buoyant tips do make a difference.
Steve Spiller on 18/11/2009 22:40:02
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Very good Jeff and I agree, crowquills are hard to find and very expensive nowadays. Also, same as Mark, 3 rubbers on em. Peter, I prefer the float 12 in from the right in the second picture for my roach fishing.............:p
Xplorer1 on 18/11/2009 23:01:51
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Just saw Sean Meeghan's post saying the same thing much more brriefly and eloquently!
Jeff Woodhouse on 18/11/2009 23:23:59
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The buouyancy of the material used in the insert on an insert waggler has no effect on the sensitivity of the float. A 3BB float with a 2mm diameter peacock quill tip has exactly the same sensitivity as a 3BB float with a 2mm cane tip. Nit picker! ;) I think I said of the plastic inserts "In some floats, particularly plastic ones, the insert part is solid plastic and even less buoyant so therefore even more sensitive." Meaning less bouyant than the cane or peacock insert part. It's got to be, the bl**dy stuff sinks whereas cane and quills don't. Also, why do they use wire stems on pole floats, or does that have the same bouyancy as cane, which they get almsot as thin? The stick float was originally developed for fishing canals and they were then adapted for fishing the Trent when the north west anglers began travelling there to fish. Now on this I will agree, but I only started using them on the big rivers and it was indeed on the Trent. I am prepare to sell Mark that Benny Ashurst one if he can come up with a three figure sum without a decimal point in it. ---------- Post added at 23:23 ---------- Previous post was at 23:20 ---------- One thing I did notice on the pics of the stick floats and other top and bottom floats is the use of very narrow float rubbers. Mark, I can't remember when I last used some of these, but some of the rubbers were bought so they are as they are. As I got them out of the old box, I would love a nice small river like the Colne or Loddon to fish once again, then I might use them as you suggest. I usually do put a slightly longer one on the bottom but 15mm would be about it. Oh and for your info all the ones below weren't bought. I dragged them from the rubbish left after a Thames flood. The rubbers there are as was, I think. ;):D Same with my pike floats, I've never ever bought one, but I have six Drennans.
Rodney Wrestt on 18/11/2009 23:32:45
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I enjoyed that Jeff, I was going to mention that Mr Ashurst using the stick on the canals but by the time I got here it was already done...... so nothing else to add but WELL DONE. :)
Mark Wintle on 19/11/2009 07:37:30
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Jeff, You'd lose a bet on dense plastic being more sensitive than say peacock quill as an antenna. See this and try it! The Alternative Scientist - FishingMagic Online Fishing Magazine. It is the overall buoyancy of the float that matters not just the tip therefore only the thickness of the tip matters. The material of a stem or tip does affect the BALANCE of a float which is why a wire stemmed float might be more stable than a cane stem. Prove Archimedes wrong and the world of science will take notice!
Graham Whatmore on 19/11/2009 10:53:07
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I have always been fascinated by the collection of floats that some anglers accumalate during their fishing years. How some proudly display their beautiful (heavy) box with beautifullly coloured floats all lined up and daring the angler to dare use one and risk spoiling it or worse, losing it. My mate John Jones used to have such a box yet still used the same old chubber, wagglers or particular sticks and the rest remained "for show only" :p yet still felt obliged to buy one when he went into a tackle shop because it was there in front of him on the counter. How many anglers have loads of wagglers of all descriptions but tend to use just one or two every time they go fishing? I bet most of you reading this are a bit like that, in fact I would bet money on it.
Jeff Woodhouse on 19/11/2009 11:05:29
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See this and try it! The Alternative Scientist - FishingMagic Online Fishing Magazine. You can't possibly believe that load of old rubbish writen by a disgraced professor after being found on the banks of the Royalty one day reading a copy of Spanker's World folded within a copy of "In Search of Big Fish". That's why we haven't heard anythign from him in the last 5 years, the shame was too great. If you like Mark, I'll have the offending article removed as I wouldn't like to upset the realms of science. I just wonder at times why fishing is becomming so disjointed and then you look at this, a simple statement that may be a little misguided, is taken out of all proportion just to prove some fundamental piece of science and in doing so destroy an attempt to explain some overall basics to newcomers. It's no wonder the likes of Kevin give up at times. Quote as much as you like, but to me, fine tips of carbon, plastic and wire APPEAR to be more sensitive than those of cane or quill. At the end of the day, it's one's self confidence in something that will put fish on the bank and not someone else applying strict rules of science. The differences, for what they might now be worth, are caculated in micrograms of force, possibly, but thank for ripping the piece apart Mark. I look forward to your next chastisement. And yes I do now feel sore!
Sean Meeghan on 19/11/2009 15:43:13
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Poor Jeff! None of the very minor quibbles have detracted anything from an excellent article. ;)
preston96 on 19/11/2009 20:24:20
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I have always been fascinated by the collection of floats that some anglers accumalate during their fishing years. How some proudly display their beautiful (heavy) box with beautifullly coloured floats all lined up and daring the angler to dare use one and risk spoiling it or worse, losing it. My mate John Jones used to have such a box yet still used the same old chubber, wagglers or particular sticks and the rest remained "for show only" :p yet still felt obliged to buy one when he went into a tackle shop because it was there in front of him on the counter. How many anglers have loads of wagglers of all descriptions but tend to use just one or two every time they go fishing? I bet most of you reading this are a bit like that, in fact I would bet money on it. I'm no "class" float angler,i don't spend enough time at it to be so, i can hold my own and bluff my way but one thing i have learnt over the years is exactly what you say Graham.....we tend to have a few favourites.....in fact i have two tubes with my present floats in....one marked "sticks and avons", the other marked "wagglers".....these can see me OK in 99% of my fishing situations....there are usually between a dozen and 18 in each tube. I have a box at home to call on in "special" cases.....in there there are sliders, huge antennae, and other "specialist" floats, just in case ;)
Jeff Woodhouse on 21/11/2009 13:27:17
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From Mark's article - “Make a float out a length of half-inch balsa dowel. Two inches is enough. Put an antenna into each end about two inches long. Make one out of a steel nail with the head cut off and the other out of a piece of cane that is the exact same diameter as the nail. …… You will find that when the float is shotted so that about one inch of antenna is showing that an additional number 6 shot will submerge the same amount of antenna no matter which way up the float is attached to the line.” Well let’s try this and first of all get rid of the material that will be counter balanced by all the rest of the shot first, the length of half inch balsa dowel. In proportion to the tip this may have a factor of 50 to 1 (and this is where your Achimedes theory falls apart, perhaps) and would need perhaps two swan shot just to sink that. Let’s just try with the tips. I don’t have any peacock quill, the lightest and most buoyant of all, in the diameter required, but we have got cane, sarcandas reed, some fluorescent plastic tips and some nails. To each of which I have superglued a short length of 1 lbs nylon monofilament. I place each one in a vase of water – The sarcandas reed floats The cane floats The plastic sinks slowly to the bottom The nail sinks like a brick Based on the above, the latter two must be out of contention for a start, but the plastic one when added to a peacock quill as an insert would be highly sensitive requiring (I would guess) less pulling effort by the fish since it has less than neutral buoyancy anyway. I then added a no. 8 shot to the sarcandas reed and it cocked slightly, and when I added the same to the cane, it sank fully. The effects, I believe, are that little effort by the fish would be required to pull the cane stem under (equal to is it 0.06 gram making it slightly more sensitive than the sarcandas reed which would require more effort (= 3or more x no8 shot) to pull it under. Q.E.D. In short, Archimedes was not an angler and never fished with peacock quills or plastic stemmed insert floats so what the hell would he know? I fall short of calling him a complete idiot as he did, after all, develop the ‘Screw’ without which Sunday mornings would be so boring until the papers arrived. Good old Archimedes. In other words Mark, I don’t reckon too much to your ‘scientific’ theory either. :wh I know, I should be finding better things to do on a Saturday morning, but it's miserable out.
Fred Bonney on 21/11/2009 14:18:31
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Put it away 'til sunday then Jeff;)
beyondrusty on 21/11/2009 15:54:26
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Hi Jeff I'm not going to get into the "science discussion", just to say thank you, I found your article very helpful.:D
Xplorer1 on 21/11/2009 16:57:12
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Woody, I don't know where to start! Let's continue to be scientific. A brick sinks. Attach it to a piece of wood of sufficient size and the composite article floats. By eliminating the wood from your test "floats" you've eliminated the buoyant component. Archimedes is not wrong, he's dead right. A floating body displaces its own weight of water. The distribution of weight within the floating body affects only its equilibrium (stability), not its buoyancy. The diameter of the tip of a float (which in turn dictates how much water it displaces as it's pulled under) is the ONLY factor affecting the float's sensitivity. Rig a loaded insert waggler the right way up and then upside down. Do you think it'll take more shot to sink it one way than the other?! For a given shot load, when it's the right way up a greater length will stick up out of the water, and that's what gives the improved sensitivity.
Jeff Woodhouse on 21/11/2009 18:37:31
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The diameter of the tip of a float (which in turn dictates how much water it displaces as it's pulled under) is the ONLY factor affecting the float's sensitivity. Rig a loaded insert waggler the right way up and then upside down. Do you think it'll take more shot to sink it one way than the other?! Can't be otherwise all three pieces in my test would have floated and sunk under the same weightings, answer that! Or what do you mean by sensitivity? I mean, it's easier for a fish to pull under and therefore more noticeable for the angler to see such a change. In your upside down example, it's still the bulk (body) of the float that is the more buoyant part so that's not a fair test. Surely we're talking about the resistance a fish feels when it tries to pull under the remaining stem of the float. In your upside down example the fish would feel just the same resistance but only a small blob of the float would have been showing on the surface as opposed to a longer finer stem, the insert. But we're not talking apples for apples there, it's about an insert that adds more buoyancy to the float as opposed to an insert that adds no buoyancy to the float even though they're the same thickness. Try my test and see.
Mark Wintle on 21/11/2009 20:29:51
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Whatever you do, Woody, don't try float design. I truly despair. You can't even follow simple instructions that would prove Archimedes and how his theory affects float tips.
Jack Beresford on 21/11/2009 21:36:22
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Somebody explained this very well in a magazine a few years ago. They said that it didn't matter what the shape or material of the tip was, the deciding factor was how much buoyancy remained in the float. If there was the equivalent of 1BB shot of buoyancy left in the float after shotting it, it would take 1BB to sink it regardless of tip shape or what it was made of. He'll correct me if I'm wrong but I think it was Graham who runs this site who wrote the article. By the way, he probably won't remember me but we fished together on a local mere once or twice a good few years ago.
preston96 on 21/11/2009 21:40:12
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He'll correct me if I'm wrong but I think it was Graham who runs this site who wrote the article. By the way, he probably won't remember me but we fished together on a local mere once or twice a good few years ago. Did he invite you to the local for a beer and just happen to have forgotten his wallet? :wh
Jack Beresford on 21/11/2009 21:43:42
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You know him as well Paul!
Jeff Woodhouse on 21/11/2009 22:11:25
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Whatever you do, Woody, don't try float design. I truly despair. You can't even follow simple instructions that would prove Archimedes and how his theory affects float tips. Then be kind enough to explain my test. Why did the plastic one, the same diameter as the reed one, sink and the reed floated and how, if they are both still exposed above the surface, they only require the same force (or weight) in your words to pull them under. Come on Einstein! Oh and I did used to make my own floats, thank you. Inserts of all kinds. If there was the equivalent of 1BB shot of buoyancy left in the float after shotting it, it would take 1BB to sink it regardless of tip shape or what it was made of. Exactly what I am saying, only we're talking just 1 or two no 8s and not a BB.
Mark Wintle on 22/11/2009 08:05:08
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Archimedes theory is simple. In the examples you give the reed has a density of say 0.5 therefore a piece with volume of 1 cc weighs 0.5 grams and will take an extra force of 0.5 grams to sink it. Simple - it floats. The piece of plastic has a density of say 1.5 therefore a piece with a volume of 1 cc weighs 1.5 grams which is more than water, therefore it sinks. We cannot make a float that has an overall density greater than 1 unless we want a slow sinking leger weight. This is why you cannot take the tip in isolation. But, and this is what my experimental float proves, it is possible to have a float where the antenna is made of a material that has a density greater than 1. The French pole anglers did this in the 60s/70s with floats for bloodworm fishing with very fine wire (steel) stems. This wire is finer than the finest nylon stems hence it is very very sensitive which is why these floats are very difficult to shot up as even the very smallest of shot such as no. 13 will register a noticeable movement. In the case of my test float the balsa provides the buoyancy, and as you say a possible overall shot load of say 8BB or 2 SSG. If changes are made to the materials used in the float then the shot load will change even if the overall volume and shape remains exactly the same. Substitute the nail with a piece of cane and you might have to add another couple of BB. The steel nail is much denser than water (could look it up but we know it's several times denser) yet we can successfully shot the float to have an inch of steel above the water despite it being much denser than water. The float is not very stable - it's top heavy - and might not cast very well but regardless of which way up it is put on the line, provided the diameter of the tip is identical (to the cane or reed insert at the other end of the float) a shot of the same size will alter its trim by exactly the same amount. This is useful to know because if we want to make a float more visible yet more sensitive we now know that we need to reduce the cross section area in some way and two means to do this are by using a hollow tube or a cross shape similar to a dart flight. It also helps in that by having a lightweight tip it retains sensitivity yet does not unbalance a waggler float.
Xplorer1 on 22/11/2009 09:38:00
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Spot on, Mark. So Woody, if you now take your inverted loaded insert waggler and draw out the brass insert until it's the same diameter as the tip, you'll have a float with the same length of tip showing for a given shot load and the same sensitivity (responsiveness to a pull from below) whichever way up you fish it.
preston96 on 22/11/2009 17:55:38
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Archimedes theory is simple. In the examples you give the reed has a density of say 0.5 therefore a piece with volume of 1 cc weighs 0.5 grams and will take an extra force of 0.5 grams to sink it. Simple - it floats. The piece of plastic has a density of say 1.5 therefore a piece with a volume of 1 cc weighs 1.5 grams which is more than water, therefore it sinks. We cannot make a float that has an overall density greater than 1 unless we want a slow sinking leger weight. This is why you cannot take the tip in isolation. But, and this is what my experimental float proves, it is possible to have a float where the antenna is made of a material that has a density greater than 1. The French pole anglers did this in the 60s/70s with floats for bloodworm fishing with very fine wire (steel) stems. This wire is finer than the finest nylon stems hence it is very very sensitive which is why these floats are very difficult to shot up as even the very smallest of shot such as no. 13 will register a noticeable movement. In the case of my test float the balsa provides the buoyancy, and as you say a possible overall shot load of say 8BB or 2 SSG. If changes are made to the materials used in the float then the shot load will change even if the overall volume and shape remains exactly the same. Substitute the nail with a piece of cane and you might have to add another couple of BB. The steel nail is much denser than water (could look it up but we know it's several times denser) yet we can successfully shot the float to have an inch of steel above the water despite it being much denser than water. The float is not very stable - it's top heavy - and might not cast very well but regardless of which way up it is put on the line, provided the diameter of the tip is identical (to the cane or reed insert at the other end of the float) a shot of the same size will alter its trim by exactly the same amount. This is useful to know because if we want to make a float more visible yet more sensitive we now know that we need to reduce the cross section area in some way and two means to do this are by using a hollow tube or a cross shape similar to a dart flight. It also helps in that by having a lightweight tip it retains sensitivity yet does not unbalance a waggler float. I had a feeling you were gonna say that Mark....:wh
Mark Wintle on 22/11/2009 18:16:00
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It's why I like fishing whacking great floats nowadays that take 10BB, lovely and buoyant, and an extra no. 4 hardly makes any difference. Jeff's gone quiet; stunned into silence while he ponders how a Greek scientist's workings from thousands of years ago could stand the test of time so well...
George387 on 22/11/2009 18:16:38
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Taking all the arithmatic, algebra, geometry, archimedes theory and the theory of relativity into consideration, I still think Jeff did a cracking job :) with his feature and to be truthful who really cares a float is a tool to aid in catching fish no matter what way you look at it. Well Done Jeff for your work & insight in letting other know about floats.
preston96 on 22/11/2009 18:17:25
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The secrets of the ancients!! :rolleyes:
Jack Beresford on 22/11/2009 20:46:22
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Taking all the arithmatic, algebra, geometry, archimedes theory and the theory of relativity into consideration, I still think Jeff did a cracking job :) with his feature and to be truthful who really cares a float is a tool to aid in catching fish no matter what way you look at it. Well Done Jeff for your work & insight in letting other know about floats. George, I've read all through this thread and I don't think anybody is saying that Wolfman Woody's article is no good, they're just discussing the point that seemed to contradict Archimedes' Principle. Isn't that what forum's are for? As for 'who cares?', well, those who have read and participated in this thread for starters!
carlos on 22/11/2009 21:00:25
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I love the article. I want more .............. deep dive into uses and more on history of materials. I'm a magpie ............... floats and flies love them. I must admit collecting cage feeders haven't grabbed me yet.
Stealph Viper on 22/11/2009 21:02:52
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I'm a magpie ............... floats and flies love them. I must admit collecting cage feeders haven't grabbed me yet. The GripMesh Feeders will ........................... :wh
Jeff Woodhouse on 22/11/2009 21:16:39
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In the case of my test float the balsa provides the buoyancy, and as you say a possible overall shot load of say 8BB or 2 SSG. If changes are made to the materials used in the float then the shot load will change even if the overall volume and shape remains exactly the same. Substitute the nail with a piece of cane and you might have to add another couple of BB. Sorry, I don't understand, are you now supporting what I was saying? Aren't you, or are you, or what are you saying? Unless you're going to hark back to that LOB about being the same diameter again, or have we killed that one. Cane, reed and peacock inserts add buoyancy to a float, wire and plastic don't whatever their diameters. Is that it or are you going to contradict taht which you just said again? The steel nail is much denser than water (could look it up but we know it's several times denser) yet we can successfully shot the float to have an inch of steel above the water despite it being much denser than water. You can't, it's impossible. As soon as you add sufficient shot to counter the buoyancy of the wood IN ITS ENTIRETY the whole thing sinks until the lowest shot touches bottom and then the remainder of shot and the float will suspend due to the buoyancy of the main body of the float. (That's the idea of suspension floats used in pike fishing, but I hope I'm not getting out of your depth there.) In your example with the nail, or let's say fine wire as in a pole float, there has to be a very tiny amount of the buoyancy part touching the surface or the last tiny shot on the deck. You cannot have all the buoyancy part of the float submerged by the shot and just have a bit of wire tip showing because wire won't float. It's one reason the tackle companies sell float grease to add buoyancy to the wire as grease floats, I think, I'm pretty sure it does, or can you prove me wrong on that one? So, are we still on about diameters now or simple buoyancy? ---------- Post added at 21:16 ---------- Previous post was at 21:04 ---------- So Woody, if you now take your inverted loaded insert waggler and draw out the brass insert until it's the same diameter as the tip, you'll have a float with the same length of tip showing for a given shot load and the same sensitivity (responsiveness to a pull from below) whichever way up you fish it. :confused: Did I have a loaded insert waggler with a brass insert? Where did that come from? Still, I refer you in part to the answer given to the Honourable Member earlier.
George387 on 22/11/2009 22:40:45
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George, I've read all through this thread and I don't think anybody is saying that Wolfman Woody's article is no good, they're just discussing the point that seemed to contradict Archimedes' Principle. Isn't that what forum's are for? As for 'who cares?', well, those who have read and participated in this thread for starters! I agree Jack nobody is saying that Jeff's thread is no good but a few seem to be pushing the boundries of discussion a bit close to the edge and trying to wind people up with certain comments & this is how arguements start when people throw dummies. I fully appreciate some people like delving into the principles of how things float etc and want to get clinical over it but as the thread topic states "All You Need To Know” and not “All There Is To Know”. In other words, it’s not every scrap of knowledge that’s ever been written or is known about a subject, its just enough to help you make a sensible choice from what is currently available. I believe this thread was aimed at helping young/inexperienced anglers understand the difference between the types of floats, do you honestly think they worry about bouyancy issues, if nothing else its confusing...thats was my point.
ED (The ORIGINAL and REAL one) on 23/11/2009 00:03:15
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Somebody explained this very well in a magazine a few years ago. They said that it didn't matter what the shape or material of the tip was, the deciding factor was how much buoyancy remained in the float. If there was the equivalent of 1BB shot of buoyancy left in the float after shotting it, it would take 1BB to sink it regardless of tip shape or what it was made of. He'll correct me if I'm wrong but I think it was Graham who runs this site who wrote the article. By the way, he probably won't remember me but we fished together on a local mere once or twice a good few years ago. Hmmmmm Jack Beresford .............. Now that name seems to ring a bell in the far distant past
Stealph Viper on 23/11/2009 06:39:35
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Ed ....................... your Frog Avatar, seems to have evolved, i notice
Xplorer1 on 23/11/2009 07:55:45
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Jack, you're absolutely right. I didn't mean to start an epic debate on Archimedes principle with my (I thought) innocent comment about buoyancy, but I'm a scientist by training and it does irk me when I see mistakes like that. My shortcoming (and not the only one) I'm afraid.
Mark Wintle on 23/11/2009 08:20:47
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The debate wouldn't be epic if we could get Jeff to grasp something so simple. His attempts to obfuscate simple principles are frustrating yet it is important to get this right. This myth of tip density affecting sensitivity is published in magazines and books several times a year by people who ought to know better. Neil (Xplorer) has no difficulty understanding this yet Jeff is not even trying (or is very trying!). Which part of a float is balsa, cane or even steel has no effect on how it behaves when you add more shot only the diameter at the waterline which is where the displacement is happening. Buoyancy as such doesn't exist only displacement. A balsa float with a volume of 1cc weighs less than 1cc of water say about 0.2 grams compared to 1 gram for water therefore the balsa will support another 0.8 grams but if the volume stays the same but we replace part of the float with a piece of steel wire we might find that the float now weighs 0.9 grams therefore the float will now only support 0.1 grams. Unfortunately for Jeff I have just found the experimental float with the steel and cane tips and will photograph it a bit later so that he can see steel floating! That's without the aid of bristle grease which is used (surprise, surprise) to increase the diameter of the bristle and therefore affects its sensitivity.
Alan Tyler on 23/11/2009 13:05:36
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As soon as you grease the bristle it reacts differently with the surface film of the water, and you open a whole new can o'worms about wetability, surface tension, meniscuses (or whatever the plural of meniscus may be) AS WELL as the straightforward modification to the diameter of the bristle... this could run and run. Mark, Neil and Archimedes are right, b.t.w. The real reasons for using as un-dense a material for float tips are stability in the water and "flighting" when cast. A u-boat with one cubic centimetre of steel mast above the surface and a balsa float cocked to leave one c.c. of its tip above the surface will both need exactly the same force to sink them - that needed to displace one c.c. of water. Once my Physics teacher had dunned that into me, I made some antenna floats with small, quill bodies and long, bamboo antennae, with which to take many captives among the roach of Perivale... fat chance; the long, needle thin antennae clung so fiercely to the surface film that they could not be induced to cock! Exit, red-faced, to mocking salutes from the roach. Ain't float-making fun?
ED (The ORIGINAL and REAL one) on 23/11/2009 13:49:33
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You know what will happen to Woody when it finally sinks in that Archimedes was right................ He'll end up running down Marlow High Street naked in a barrel shouting EUREKA-KA-KA-KA-KA-KA !!!!!! ...........and it will be all Mr Winkle's fault!!!
Jeff Woodhouse on 23/11/2009 14:19:12
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A balsa float with a volume of 1cc weighs less than 1cc of water say about 0.2 grams compared to 1 gram for water therefore the balsa will support another 0.8 grams but if the volume stays the same but we replace part of the float with a piece of steel wire we might find that the float now weighs 0.9 grams therefore the float will now only support 0.1 grams. So let me get this absolutely right...... that means - it's more sensitive to bites, right? Come on, it has to be hasn't it? From my article (excuse the wording which obviously must be confusing) - "The insert waggler is very much like the straight waggler with the exception that the indication part, the bit that sticks above the water, is of a thinner and possibly different material. Being thinner there is less resistance to it floating making bite indication more positive, but at the same time more difficult to see at range. In some floats, particularly plastic ones, the insert part is solid plastic and even less buoyant so therefore even more sensitive" Is that not the same using other words, maybe not as complicated. I know you believe you understand what you think it was that I wrote, but I am not sure you realize that what you read is not what I meant. Is that clear? I do believe, Mark, that you have gone deliberately out of your way to belittle my article although why I do not understand except to prove how clever you are. Forget all about Archimedes for a moment and I can only work on past practical experiences of shotting floats with cane, reed, carbon, plastic, and wire antennas of whatever thicknesses. All I know is that it is easier to shot lighter materials than heavier (or denser) ones, but that the latter do show bites better making them IMO more sensitive. That is all I was trying to say before you started off. Or when you shot a float, do you take a calculator with you?
Mark Wintle on 23/11/2009 14:46:41
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No it's not more sensitive to bites but it will behave differently. I'm not trying to belittle your article but perhaps the wording is ambiguous when you mention the insert being less buoyant. I know what you mean about some floats being harder to shot up but this is because when you halve the diameter of an insert it becomes 4 times more sensitive and when you get very fine tips like pole floats (especially the pole floats of old when they fished much shorter poles) it can seem nearly impossible when trying to use no. 13 shot.
Alan Tyler on 23/11/2009 14:55:24
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"...when you get very fine tips like pole floats (especially the pole floats of old when they fished much shorter poles)" So that's why I can't see the beggars - 1960s pole floats with pins or monofil tips - thought my eyes were going!
Xplorer1 on 23/11/2009 15:54:34
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A u-boat with one cubic centimetre of steel mast above the surface and a balsa float cocked to leave one c.c. of its tip above the surface will both need exactly the same force to sink them - that needed to displace one c.c. of water. Alan - extending ideas and theories to extremes is always a good idea of testing them, and the submarine's a great example: it's huge, and (like our insert waggler) a composite of dense (steel) and light (air) material. I was going to cite a seamine (those big round ones with antennae you see at resorts turned into collecting boxes for the Life Boat service) as an example: the sub's even better.
Jeff Woodhouse on 23/11/2009 22:03:09
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but perhaps the wording is ambiguous Well, sod it. I give up, but when it comes to being ambiguous in some areas, Mark, you take the biscuit. I write these things so the ordinary person WITHOUT a science degree can try and understand them. They were never intend for you anyway, but if you think that's being ambuguous, I dread to think what these books of yours read like. I don't suppose you've heard of the word "generalisation" have you? Bit beyond your conception I expect.
Graham Marsden on 24/11/2009 18:25:56
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I hope his books are OK, or that's two of us who are cr*p:D. But may as well use the opportunity to get a plug in:;) Here's [U][B]'Pole Fishing - A Complete Guide'[/B][/U] and our latest effort published a couple of weeks ago: [U][B]'Practical Carp Fishing'[/B][/U]
ED (The ORIGINAL and REAL one) on 24/11/2009 22:06:53
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(COPIED FROM BAITBOX) Roll Up !! Roll Up !! Tickets available soon ......... TICKETS AVAILABLE SOON FOR : ~~~~~~~~~~ ROUND 2 ~~~~~~~~~~ ............. of a fascinating battle of theories and principles............. ----------------------------- BETWEEN ------------------------ -----(The ever bouyant) PROFESSOR WINKLE----- ---------------------AND------------------- -----(The unsinkable) ARCHIE WOODLOUSE----- #########NOT TO BE MISSED#########
Xplorer1 on 24/11/2009 22:13:01
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Copied from Baitbox Archie's sunk before the first bell. I'll stick my money on the Prof, he's no loafer, knows his onions and my antenna tells me science always wins. He'll Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. I'll be loaded after the knockout __________________
Bluenose on 24/11/2009 22:24:38
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Copied from Baitbox Archie's sunk before the first bell. I'll stick my money on the Prof, he's no loafer, knows his onions and my antenna tells me science always wins. He'll Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. I'll be loaded after the knockout __________________ You forgot to insert you know what *coat
Xplorer1 on 24/11/2009 22:32:19
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Damn! So I did. I'll BUNG it in later
Jeff Woodhouse on 24/11/2009 23:26:22
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Unfortunately for Jeff I have just found the experimental float with the steel and cane tips and will photograph it a bit later so that he can see steel floating!Archie's sunk before the first bell. Is he now? I want to see this where a steel insert float floats for sure. I want to see this miracle whereby the balsa is sunk completely and just the steel tip out of the water and it must support ALL of the shot, i.e. none sitting on the bottom, just like he said it would! If it does then he can design me some proper suspending lures, because no matter how many people have tried, no one has as yet produced a true suspending lure that will just sit there in midwater. Or are you going to tell me that is not the same principles at work?
Xplorer1 on 25/11/2009 13:47:23
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Oy veh! 1) As Mark has observed, a submarine can float with just its superstructure above water, and that for sure isn't made of anything lighter than water 2) No one's talking about neutral buoyancy (though a sub can achieve that by careful ballast adjustment) 3) If Mark's experimental float (cane antenna one end, matching steel antenna the other) just floats with a given shot load with the cane antenna at the top, do you really think that it would sink if rigged the other way up? Fact is, it will sit exactly the same either way up. To reiterate, so far as buoyancy is concerned, the distribution of weight within the floating object makes NO difference. Honest injun.
kevineric on 19/12/2009 17:55:47
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May I just say beside all the discussion which although informed is between you sticklers to argue over, I am a returning Fisherman after more than a few years and relearning the ropes. again :confused: It was good to put all of these basic float type in order, now I can go through my kit much of which has been passed on to me by others when they found out I had a renewed interest and sort my floats into river and still water types, it also helps knowing which type of float to use in different situations as explained in plain English. Thanks for the article, very helpful as they all are.
Stealph Viper on 19/12/2009 18:31:31
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See Kevineric is more than happy with the Thread. Hello Kevineric, Welcome to the Marvels of FishingMagic. :D
slime monster on 19/12/2009 19:54:08
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Only quickly read through this thread so forgive me if this has been said previously re steel tip floats I believe the wire top pole floats I used bloodworm fishing had a steel wire tip thus validating Marks comments . ps b#ggers to shot up mind.
redalert06 on 20/12/2009 11:36:59
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yes thickness of tip dictactes the buoyancy, I still have some wire tip pole floats very sensitive due to being very thin tips but hard to get setup correctly In my experience it is better to use a much longer float rubber (18mm to 25mm) at the base so that it overlaps the base by about 2mm. This reduces tangles, casts better, prevents accidental movement of the float through slippage and sometimes improves bait presentation. I don't bother with a 3rd float rubber apart from crow quill Avons but do make sure the top rubber is about 3-4mm in length.completely agree, and with pole floats too, always have the bottom rubber oversized to avoid tangles
Keith M on 17/05/2013 11:11:04
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Good article but am also surprised that the 'Onion' wasn't mentioned. The waggler that gets most use for the waters I fish is the semi loaded 'Onion' (see below) NB. Not to be confused with those 'orrible' insensitive heavy loaded floats that are used on commercials for Carp and pellets LOL Why? For several reasons:
  1. It tends to fly straighter and truer without the characteristic waggle that gave the waggler it's name.
  2. It allows you to cast tight up against the far bank on canals or very close to overhanging vegetation on islands, or up tight to lillies etc. simply because the float flies ahead of the hooklength in flight; and as long as you don't feather the line on landing the hooklength will land safely behind the float and then swing down under the float.
  3. It can be cast a long way even in a wind.
  4. It's longish thin stem and bulbous low body makes it a good stable drift beater.
  5. It is a nice sensitive float and shows delicate bites well.
Great article though.
steph mckenzie on 17/05/2013 11:46:17
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I never really understood why i would need an Onion Float, which is why i never bothered using them. I want to feather my line so as to reduce the risk of the hooklength tangling. Perhaps i need re educating in what i may be missing out on?
peter crabtree on 17/05/2013 12:26:20
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I never really understood why i would need an Onion Float, which is why i never bothered using them. I want to feather my line so as to reduce the risk of the hooklength tangling. Perhaps i need re educating in what i may be missing out on? Re-read Keiths' second point about canal far banks with overhanging snags.
dangermouse on 17/05/2013 17:18:45
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Re-read Keiths' second point about canal far banks with overhanging snags. Might have to give that a try next time I fish here
peter crabtree on 17/05/2013 19:00:22
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Looks about right Mouse, makes sense to follow Keiths ideas innit. This thread may be a few years old but is very interesting. Keith has pointed out another valuable piece of experience he has learnt and explained the tactics extremely well. Amazingly (or maybe not in this instance) someone has questioned it when they admit they have never used it:omg:
loggerhead on 17/05/2013 23:24:24
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Never knowingly used an onion float myself, but I believe the article's author said it all at the beginning of the piece - Let’s clear up one small point about this series and this article in particular, it’s called “All You Need To Know” and not “All There Is To Know”. In other words, it’s not every scrap of knowledge that’s ever been written or is known about a subject, its just enough to help you make a sensible choice from what is currently available. Quite a good piece though all the same. More of these perhaps for newcommers?


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