Tips to boost your pole fishing

For the past couple of sessions, I’ve been on the bank pole fishing. So I thought I’d pass on some of the tips and techniques I’ve gathered, some my own invention and some gleaned from experienced match-anglers.

Nowadays, when I’m making up pole float rigs, I put what used to be called a ‘float rubber’ on the bristle of the float. Use dark coloured silicon tubing, which acts as a sight indicator, to break up the fluorescent colour of the bristle. It will help you identify those small dips and bobs from wary roach and crucians.

But the main reason for the float rubber is to stop wrap-overs, this happens when the float bounces over the main line and tangles around the eye of the float, usually caused by poor handling, shotting patterns, etc.

So, instead of the main line coming directly off the eye of the float, it runs up the bristle to the float rubber, about two to three millimetre of tubing is enough to secure the line. Position the tubing around three millimetres from the top of the bristle, virtually making an in-line float. Well worth the effort, give it a go.

Different bristle materials make a big difference to how a float performs and shots. My favourite at the moment are the ‘Carp Specials’ made by Gerrys of Nottingham.

They have a cane insert, which really helps with the shotting; it’s also highly visible with its perfectly proportioned red, yellow and black tip. It’s a versatile, very stable float, which I would be happy to use in most situations. Ignore the carp bit of the name, it’s good for all species!

People often ask me how long a line should be used from pole tip to float. I personally use around 18 inches, but there are exceptions.

When fishing shallow, I use about six feet of line, so I can move the pole to one side and avoid casting a shadow and spooking the fish.

Check out the adjustable connector from Nisa, which makes adjusting line length easier.

Another tip I’ve been experimenting with is back shotting; putting a shot on the line between the float and the pole tip. It looks strange but certainly helps stabilise the rig in choppy conditions. I’m also using bristle grease to really fine-tune some of the more sensitive floats.