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A guide to fishing floats for beginners to Angling

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Fishing the Pellet Waggler





What is a pellet waggler ?
pellet wagglerA pellet waggler is a short, thick float, used by anglers when fishing for carp and other species of fish that are feeding on or near the surface of the water.
These floats are made from materials such as balsa wood or high density foam. This makes them ultra buoyant, which helps to lessen the diving under the water when cast.


About the pellet waggler
Pellet wagglers are used on many commercial fisheries and have accounted for some massive weights in fishing matches and for pleasure anglers. The main purpose of the float is to present a bait in the top 2 or 3 foot of water. If fishing deeper than this then a normal fishing waggler may be better.

Since the emergence of the pellet waggler, manufacturers have come up with a few different styles. Some floats have a flight built into the top of the stem similar to the flight of an arrow. The reason behind this is that when casting the float, it will travel through the air straighter. Another version has a flat base, similar to a washer placed at the bottom of the stem. The theory for this is that it will aid in stopping the float from diving under the surface like a normal pellet waggler, thus not as likely to scare the carp or other fish that are feeding on the surface.
Pellet wagglers can be purchased either loaded or unloaded. There are pro's and cons for both and the choice is the preference of the individual angler.

Although called a 'pellet waggler', pellets are not the only bait that can be used with them. Almost any bait can be used with the wag such as sweetcorn, meat, particle baits, maggots . . . . some anglers stand by sinking pellets as the best bait for this type of fishing.


selection of pellet wagglers




A small selection of the different types of pellet waggler.














Setting up a pellet waggler rig. . . see diagram below
There are a few ways to set up a pellet waggler, loaded and non loaded, with and without hair rigs but I will describe a very simple method for a non loaded float.

    green diamond icon  First choose the float you are going to use. For example I will say this is a 2SSG.
    green diamond icon  Thread the main line through the eye at the end of the float and slide the float up

        about 2ft (30cm).
    green diamond icon  Pinch an SSG shot onto the line under the float in this position.

    green diamond icon  Now pinch another SSG shot above the float eye (trapping the float between).
    green diamond icon  Fold the end of the line over a couple of inches (5cm) and tie a loop in it. This is

        used to tie your hooklength to.
    green diamond icon  The hook you use will depend on what bait you will be using and what fish you will

        be targeting.
    green diamond icon  Using a short hook length (with a lesser breaking strain than the main line) of

       around 6 inches (15cm) with the appropriate hook, tie this to the loop.

       Attach your bait and that's it, all set up.



When attaching the float, some anglers like to leave a half inch space between the shot. This is said to make a larger spalsh which attracts the carp.

Depending on whether you are getting bites the float can be moved up or down to shorten or lengthen the depth of fishing.

Using shot can damage or weaken line. To give the line some protection you may want to use some Micro Silicone Tubing such as the Guru 0.3mm to pinch the shot onto. This will act like a cushion and help protect the line. If you decide to use the tubing it will need to be placed on the line prior to the shot.

Feeding and fishing the pellet waggler.
Feeding is an important part of fishing the pellet waggler and must be done correctly.  'Feed - Cast - Feed'

The idea is to get the fish into your swim and feeding.
Using the 'little and often' technique fire out between 6 and a dozen pellets (or the bait you are using) every minute or so. The noise of the bait hitting the water and constant stream of bait falling through the water should attract the carp or other fish into the area. You may see swirls on the surface as the fish start competing for the bait. Cast over the baited area and be prepared for a bite. Quite often these bites can be hard and fast with the carp tearing away.

Don't forget to keep the feed going in at regular intervals.


simple pellet waggler set up




Using a bait band

If you want to fish with a bait band on the hook, the simplest way is . . . . .


1. using eyed hooks -  tie your hook with a clinch knot and use the surplus line to tie the bait band to

2. if you are using spade end hooks do not cut off the surplus line after tying - use this to tie the bait band to



Tying a bait band to a hook using a Clinch Knot
tying a bait band using a clinch knot1 .pass the end of the fishing line through the eye of the hook and pull about 4 inches (10cm) through.

2. double back and make about five turns around the line.

3. hold the 'turns' so that they don't undo and thread the end of the line through the first loop next to the eye and then through the large loop.

4. lubricate with saliva and slide the 'turns' down tight against the eye to pull the knot into place.

5. onto the surplus line slide a small piece of micro silicone tubing.


6. Double this line over and slide the tubing onto the point of the hook and work it round to the shank. This will hold the line in place against the hook.


7. next, tie your bait band to the surplus line at the distance from the hook you prefer. (usually from just touching the bend of the hook half an inch long)


Note: Personally I do not advocate the use of a bait band when pellet feeding. The carp or other fish will be concentrated in a very tight area and can end up going crazy competing for the bait; in this situation the chances of a fish being snagged in the eye with the bare hook or otherwise foul hooked is far more prevalent than with a baited hook.


Article and images by Jim Boswell






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