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Monday Top 5 - Stick Float Fishing

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Monday Top 5 - Stick Float Fishing

Stick float fishing on rivers is a devastating method that can allow you not only to cover a huge stretch of river, but can also be used to target a huge variety of species, from dace through to barbel. Here are our top 5 stick float fishing tips…

Where To Target As with all fishing methods, location is massively important, not only because you want to be fishing where there are fish to catch, but also you want to be fishing a part of the river (or run) which is suited to stick float fishing. Generally an area of steady paced gliding water is perfect for this method. A really fast, shallow area of water or a swim with lots of changeable paces and depth variations wouldn’t be my first choice for trotting. Look for those long, smooth paced glides that work their way towards a feature- maybe a tree on the far bank, or a bridge - and these stretches will be perfect for fishing the stick float effectively. Also have a thought for the species you are targeting, for example, dace love faster water and barbel love a gravel run.

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Hardware As with all tackle it's about balance, whatever you fish for. The most important consideration is that your rod, reel, line and hooklength all complement each other. For example when stick float fishing for dace on the Wensum a 12ft float rod, 3000 size reel or centre pin and 2lb mainline through to a 1.5lb hooklength is perfect. This same setup on the raging, tidal Trent would get eaten alive due to the flow, and strain this causes on the tackle, so you would need to adjust things. Also on wider rivers a longer designated trotting rod of lengths up to 16ft will help control the line and passage of your float better, especially if you are fishing from the bank. If you do a lot of trotting I suggest trying a centrepin reel for this method as it’s a joy to use and adds an element of fine control to your trotting.

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Shotting Tangles can be a total nightmare and can really tarnish your day. Generally the most simple, effective and tangle free shotting pattern to use is a “shirt button” style pattern. Shots are evenly spread from the float to the hook, creating a natural, steady fall of the bait, and stability in the current; this even distribution leads to less tangles when compared to a bulk shot in place, however this is dependent on the river you are fishing and the flow you are working with a bulk maybe needed in really fast runs.

Control The aim of the game is to present your bait as if it was naturally in the current as the fish would usually feed. In order for this to be done you have to control your float and feeding to make it the most natural of presentations for the fish. Feeding needs to be done slightly upstream of your position; the lighter your baits, the more you feed upstream to compensate for the flow. As for controlling your float, use a designated floating mainline that you can mend and puts you in direct contact with the float avoiding and drag, also use you finger to gently hold back the float every now and then to tease a bite.

Wading There's a lot to be said for wading into a river and trotting downstream from your position. Not only does it help avoid dragging your float out of its natural trotting line, but it certainly helps your accuracy, and avoids potential obstacles playing fish from the bank such as nearside snags etc. Always wade safely and ensure you have a wading stick to check the depth and suitability of the bottom as you find your spot.

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I hope the following tips help you the next time you are on the river bank targeting those fish on the stick float.

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