A Nice Surprise in an Idyllic Location

I awoke early and walked downstairs into the living room, added another couple of logs to the wood burner. I peered outside the window to see a heavy frost on the ground. My Land Rover had turned from green to white during the night. I looked towards the fire that had now slowly started to burn the two large pieces of ash I had fed it. Meanwhile, my dogs had tiptoed into the living room and were curled up in front of it to get cosy. I was having second thoughts whether to brave the cold, or sit and read a book beside the lovely warm fire. But I love my fishing and there is something about the frost and snow that prompts me to get out there even more. I think most anglers would agree that such weather urges you to wet a line.

My tackle was neatly packed into a rucksack and included spare terminal tackle, two loaves of white bread, cheese paste, a handful of worms that I’d bred over the summer, a small bucket filled with bread mash, some sandwiches and lastly, the good old Ghillie Kettle to make hot beverages.

With the floods starting to settle and the water ebbing, the flow is still slightly more pacy than normal. The location I had in mind was screaming for a stick float to be trotted.

Packed and ready to goI loaded the Land Rover and set off. On route, the sun had broken fully through the clouds and had already started to melt the frost, but evidently it would remain a bitterly cold day. Arriving at the location, I secured my vehicle with its steering and pedal locks just in case an unsavoury character appeared that was up to no good. Isn’t it a shame that in this day and age we have to do such things, no matter where we are or how busy the place is, whether there is CCTV or not, there will always be an opportunist. Since Land Rover stopped making Defenders here in the UK, many are now being stolen for parts and shipped abroad or worse, stolen to commit crimes, normally cashpoint machine jobs, then burnt to smithereens.

My vehicle now fully secured, I began walking to the chosen location. As I neared a small wooded area, just yards away from the edge I sighted a deer, a doe to be precise slipping through the small wooded area, shortly followed by a buck. I think the sound of my boots crunching on the frozen grass spooked them. I remained as still as possible hoping that they would re-appear, so I could capture a photo of them. It’s the first time I’ve seen Roe deer in this particular area and although it was a quick glimpse, they never did return. It was nice to see them before they disappeared into the woods like ghosts.

Finally, I arrived at my destination. A narrow stretch of the river (a bottle neck) laced with an abundance of fallen trees and lots of debris collected over the years, that had built into rafts. It’s fairly pacy through here as the river sweeps over to a sharp right bend, to a narrower area of approximately 4ft wide, before opening up again and joining the main river.

Jungle warfare is the best place to find chub. Quite a beautiful eerie scenery.

For this method I used my 14ft Drennan Acolyte Plus float rod, a 6.4g Drennan loafer float, 4.4lb Drennan float, Drennan 4lb fluorocarbon hook lengths to a size 10 Drennan specialist hook. The loafer was bulked shotted with one small dropper shot approximately 5″ away from the hook. I found that this very simple rig that gives a good natural presentation. Don’t be fooled that chub are not fussy, they will become highly suspicious of any bait that doesn’t look natural in the water, lessening your chances of hooking them.

I set up my acolyte and adjusted the depth. Not using a plummet, due to the pacy water, which wouldn’t allow me to get an accurate reading of the depth. I simply placed the float into the water allowing the flow to take it and adjusted the depth until it touched the bottom or when the float started to drag, then I knew I wasn’t too far out to where I wanted to be. This is why I use loafer as they are unobtrusive and extremely buoyant in running waters. I’m not a believer of dotting the float right down, chub bites are quick and will most certainly take the float down with them with some aggression.

One golf ball sized amount of bread mash upstream to allow the particles to form a nice cloud. My hooked piece of bread flake joined the cloud of mash. I watched my float glide downstream, cutting through the current. It continued to trickle past the first lay of overhanging trees, then the second and at the third I reeled my line back in. That third line of trees was my marker point (35yrds) for this. No takes this time. I repeated this several times with mash thrown in at every other cast trying to gain the Chubs trust. The float kept running straight through. After 30 minutes I wasn’t happy with the depth. Several adjustments later I set the float’s depth much deeper. Fish feed hard in these conditions as food is naturally being brought into the river. In winter, Chub do not like wasting energy and will weigh up their options. Do I chase small bait for little reward? Do I wait for the big bait with a greater reward? The latter being the case more than often. Chub are also a lot heavier this time of year too as they feed up for the mean months of Winter. Once you find them they will feed ravenously. And that is what I needed to do here. Find them at the right depth.

A little more mash and I recast, my float heading towards the first overhangs, then it quickly disappeared under the surface and I struck into a fish. Now there’s not too much room to play a hard fighter due to the number of snags that were lurking around. I had to act quickly, but I wasn’t quick enough, I had no chance. The fish took me straight under a deep rooted tree, losing my float as well…Don’t ask. Not having another loafer with me, I decided to go for a float, that is just as good in my books. A thick heavy porcupine float that I made in the Summer. I make a lot of my own floats. Shotted pretty much the same as the loafer. I set up another hook length and recasted.

The exact porcupine float I made and used.

After a couple more run throughs, I’m into another good quality feeling fish. A messy scrap lasting for some minutes, then the hook pinged out of his lip as I pulled the fish away from cover for the fourth time. Feeling a little frustrated, a couple of deep breaths and some unsavoury words muttered under my breath, I continued. More mash thrown into the pit and soon after I lost my third chub to Mr Snag. Now at this point losing three good size chub on the trot really tests your resilience. So now I set my drag a little tighter. On light line, yes I’ll hook’em and bully’em hard away from cover! And it worked, the next chub tried its best to use all its escape routes to get away, but I managed to bank him.

A nice bronze winter chub.

Followed shortly by a second. What beautiful fish.

All the thrashing and upset that their shoal members had made in the past 40 minutes, clearly proved they weren’t spooked by it.

At this point I stopped fishing, while I prepared my Ghillie Kettle for a hot drink. I always keep a bag of dried twigs which I collected from underneath conifer trees. Water very rarely penetrates the bottom of a conifer, so they remain pretty much dry. Also pinecones, that I collected in Summer which are excellent to start fires in any weather conditions.

The sun had pretty much melted the frost, leaving just odd frosted parts in the shadowy areas. I ate my sandwiches and sipped my hot coffee whilst throwing small amounts of mash into the flow in the hope of keeping any remaining chub in the area interested. I would normally see one or two kingfishers by now, darting across the water, but not today. Maybe the cold weather snap had moved them out of their territory and into another habitat. 

I was content that I had banked two Chub, and if it was the only two of the day, then I go home a happy man. So I planed to stay in this location for another 20 minutes before moving to a final swim for the last half hour before going home.

I re-cast and eagerly watched the float bobbing away downstream. This time when I got to my marker point, I allowed the float to run a little further, just to the narrowest point of the stretch, before it swept to that right hand bend beside a large raft of undergrowth. The float dipped under the surface, I lifted the rod hard, as the float was now a good 45yrds away. I watched the line rise from the surface to meet the sunken float below the water, then my heart fell into my mouth. As hard as I lifted the rod, it got shunted back down in front of me with the force of the fish below the water. Several ferocious lunges that put the acolyte in a permanent arc. “Don’t snag me, Don’t snag me!” I shouted out aloud as the line was whizzing off the spool. By its constant hard bumping that I felt on the tip of my rod, I knew It was a good fish. It headed off to the right towards the narrowest part of the river, so I immediately repositioned my rod hard left, edging him away from his planned destination. This went on for some time, turning him away from cover on both sides of the bank, all the way until he was approximately two rod lengths out. Was he ever going to tire? I’m pretty certain that each time he allowed me to reel him in a little closer, he would recharge his batteries to power up and shoot down deeper into the water, like a torpedo. This time as I managed a few more turns on the reel, he turned towards me, the unmistakable shadow of a chub appeared beneath the surface. With my landing net held out as far as I could stretch with it, I was ready to scoop him up. A little nearer to the top, his large wide mouth now visible. I could see the size 6 hook just nipped in the corner of his mouth. “Come….onnn…iiiin you….COME! ! One last thrash as his big belly flopped into the net.

Now luck must be on my side. This beautiful bronze chub was a beast. Shoulders on him like a Belgian Blue Bull and a head the size of a cow. After unhooking this beauty and zeroing the scales, I placed him into the weighing bag. 6lb 1oz! I had only gone and beaten my very recent personal best of 5lb14oz. To be honest I was lost for words, what an achievement to have accomplished. Two personal best records broken within a week of each other.

As I gently cradled him in my hands, I admired his beauty and strength, not a bronze scale out of place. A quick photo was taken before releasing him back to the dark murky waters of the river, Great Ouse.

Now an extremely happy man, it was time to walk back to the Land Rover and head on home to that warm fire, and who knows, maybe a celebration drink 🍻

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Intimate water gains a personal best.

Kingfishers flying low over the water; a sparrow hawk lunging at a colony of goldfinches perched on blackthorn bushes; two wily otters slowly swimming by the far bank methodically looking for food; an observant hare skipping across a wheat field, and a pair of pheasants pecking at their feeder bin below a willow tree…these sightings are just some of many reasons why I love fishing!

I think we spend more time looking what’s around us rather than our float or quiver tip. And this is why I choose to take up the roving approach in winter. There is so much wildlife to see when you’re sat beside the water’s edge. 

My roving kit consists of a feeder and a float rod, spare terminal tackle, three loaves of bread, some worms, cheese paste and spam, a light fold away chair, landing net and scales, a rucksack full of goodies to eat, the thermals I’m wearing and of course, my Ghillie Kettle for a nice hot beverage.

On this particular day I’m to fish the Great Ouse in search of a few loggerhead chub. Recently, whilst walking my lurcher and whippet, I found what I would call virgin water. After a quick phone call to the council, I was informed the stretch of water was free and not belonging to any fishing clubs. The bailiff also mentioned that due to how overgrown it was, and that it’s a couple of miles from any road, anglers generally chose not to fish there. He hadn’t seen an angler in this location for years and that sounds absolutely perfect to me!

This part of the river weaves through spectacular countryside like a snaking road, with pools, inlets, endless overhanging trees, lots of rafts that have built up over the years, gentle slacks and clumps of brambles with fast glides. Perfect for a spot of chub fishing.

Is there anybody home?

Having made the long journey on foot, scouting for a swim, I eventually find one that looks promising. A crease running along a row of overhanging trees. Carefully trying not to step on the driest twigs and avoid tangling my line as I walk through the dense scrub, I get into position. I pinch a large piece of bread flake onto a size 6 hook and gently lob it into a small inlet. Leaving a large bow in my line, the swan shot bounces its way to the bottom of the riverbed. The quiver tip sets into a slight curve and I wait patiently and quietly for a possible take.

My preferred way of hooking bread flake. Mushroomed with hook point exposed underneath. 

In the meantime, I watched more goldfinches flying tree to tree, with their constant watchfulness for predators and what’s around them. The cock bird’s fluid twittering song soon attracts a sparrow hawk. He comes into view on my right, almost touching the water with his wings and then with incredible speed shoots straight up, zig zagging up and over the trees where the finches are perched. The colony starburst in all directions flying to their nearest cover. Was this the sparrow hawks attempt to take one of those finches, or was he just playing with them?

Two savage thumps on the quiver tip and I strike. I’ve connected with a good fish and it instantly heads for cover. You have to bully chub away from any obstructions quickly, giving them no chances, otherwise they’ll most certainly take you to the nearest snag. I managed to turn him away from one of the overhanging tree roots and into the open flow. He continues to thrash away and heads for the next snag, an overhanging tree to my right, he knows his escape routes by heart, that’s for sure!

My rod continues to thump away, absorbing every head bang from the chub. I change the rods positioning, keeping the pressure on and turn him away for a second time. My line is so tight that as the wind hits it, it produces an eerie high pitched whining sound, like the un-tuned note of a fiddle. He’s trying to head back to the inlet where he fell for my trap, accelerating away and taking more line with him, but I keep the pressure on and turn him away for a final time. My rod is rocking and bucking in my right hand. The swan shot soon appears from under the surface, closely followed by a pair of large white rubbery lips. I instantly know by looking at him, he would be my biggest chub to date and I slowly guide this beautiful specimen into my landing net.

The joy I feel as I slide him into my landing net and peer in for a better look; he gave me such a fight and I sincerely thank him for that. The adrenaline continues to rush through my veins and even more so when I see what the weighing scales are telling me. I’ve just beaten my previous personal best of 5lb 8oz! 

He is a beauty at 5lb14oz…a fighting fit winter chub.

Read about my next session…I fancy my chances in higher water floods, trotting with one of my homemade stick floats. And what a surprise there was in store for me there!

We do it for love

The Christmas shopping has now ended for another year. All that’s left now is to hunt and stalk our Christmas dinner. It’s tradition in my family to provide venison that has been stalked, killed and prepared for the table. This year has been a tough one for me. I was involved in car crash last December. Since then I’ve had lots of physiotherapy and assessments and I’m remaining positive, fighting to get back to full fitness.

Will I be up for the task, to keep the family tradition alive and bring home a plump tasty deer? We shall see…

Today was the coldest it’s been down south at 0c. There was a sharp crisp chill in the air. The gritters were out in numbers spreading salt turning the tarmac to a tinge of orange. Winter is really here. As my wife drives us home, I had this urge of visiting a stretch of river that particular screams chub. Whilst in the car, I calculated the time to get back home, have something to eat, get changed, and head to the waters edge. If my estimate was right I should arrive at approximately 15:00hrs leaving me a little time to maybe bank a chub.

I crouched down, and slowly tip toed to the bank trying not to step on the driest twig. To my left on the opposite bank was a very large overhanging willow tree. I tore off a piece of bread flake and pinched it onto the size 6 hook. A gentle underarm cast towards the tree. The three swan shots hit the water slowly sinking the bread flake. The quiver tip puts in a slight curve and settles. It’s 15:15hrs, I wasn’t far out with my estimations. It’s cold, very cold, I push my hat down as far it can go to cover my ears and neck, then raise my snood to cover 90% of my face. I looked like a ninja, but a ninja with a fishing rod, a loaf of cheap bread, a bucket to sit on, and covered from head to toe in dark green clothing.

I didn’t wait long. The quiver tip smacked around at a rate of knots and I’m into my first fish. This bugger was determined to lose me in the reeds, to be honest the swim was very snaggy, but if you want chub then snaggy swims it is. After two attempts to break free I eventually landed him. A fine conditioned river chub too.

I had enough time to look for another swim. I walked 100yrds or so to a narrow bend. Again I casted a large piece of bread flake and rested the rod. Whilst rubbing my hands together to form some form of heat, a pair of pheasants on the opposite bank were going up to roost. The hen bird took the highest position where the thorns were the thickest. Once she settled and snuggled in, she was not to be seen. The cock bird however chose the lower position. He took a while to settle, calling his hen “COCK COCK, COCK COCK!” but she wasn’t to move any nearer to him.

A quick tap on the quiver tip, shortly followed by a wrap around and I’m me into another fish. This one felt better and was not stopping for anyone. His escape route was to take me downstream and around the bend to another fallen tree and dart into cover. Keeping my rod low and applying pressure soon got him to change his mind. Now with a new direction in mind he heads upstream. I could just about see my line on the surface of the water, zig zagging as he desperately tried to find another piece of cover to dive into. The more line I put back onto my reel, the closer he was getting. Landing net ready, I managed to position it in the direction he was heading for, the nearest margin to my left. Holding my rod high over my right shoulder, his head appears at the surface of the water. I turn him towards me and he greats me with a huge tail splash. Seeing those huge rubbery lips and his large mouth wide open, I guide him into the net.

It will soon be dark, the pheasant is still there, COCK COCK! I video him as he tries to settle for the night. Maybe he was applauding me!

Two takes and two lovely muscular river chub banked. What else would one be doing on such a cold afternoon, who will torture themselves in cold conditions for a couple of fish? I do 👍

We do it for love 🎣

Here is a little clip of the roosting pheasants. The footage may appear grainy.

Virgin Water

I fished a stretch of water today that has been un-fished for many years. I’ve scouted this stretch for a while, Its very hard to get to and a lot walking is involved to get there. There is no sign of man in this area. My final investigative inquiry was to call the council who confirmed that no club owns the stretch of river and fishing is permitted. So with all the boxes ticked, I hit it.

Parking the truck and carrying one rod, landing net, unhooking mat and a small rucksack filled with tasty sandwiches and terminal tackle, I began my long walk. Stopping every so often, watching the squirrels running up the trees, startled that they’ve seen a human-being.

When I arrived at the location, I chose my first swim. I had to rummage around thorn bushes, untangling caught line from my rod and unhooking the landing net off the thorns and twigs to get to the waters edge. This was going to be repeated all day. Each chubby area I found I had to quietly make a small enough gap for me to enter. Most areas I could only undercast as it was so overgrown. I’m scratched from head to toe and I was still taking out thorns from my gloves, hat and boots when I got home.

I covered the size 6 hook with a large piece of bread flake, and lobbed it in beside the big fallen willow tree. My swan shots took a few seconds to settle. I didn’t have to wait long. My quiver tip bounced and curved and I was Into my first fish. It felt solid instantly and then a scatty jig from left to right. It didn’t feel like a chub at all. I then saw a flash of a large silver body. I initially thought it was a feisty bream, until I eventually got it to the top and saw its bright orange fins. I landed it with a huge smile on my face, and disbelief. What a fine roach. I placed it on the unhooking mat, took out the hook that was placed firmly in the top lip, and in excitement I shouted “YES!” I knew he was going to be over the 2lb mark. I catch many roach and have had them near to that mark, but this particular one one had a very large girth and it’s the biggest that I’ve ever caught. I was the over the moon. It has taken me (minus the long break from fishing) 24yrs to catch one over the 2lb mark. He weighing in at 2lb 2oz. Just about made it!

What a great start. I continued on roving, looking for those chubby swims and then making suitable small gaps for myself to squeeze through. I didn’t want to leave big noticeable areas just incase someone finds them.

I didn’t get a sniff at any of the cheese paste and this stuff really stinks, however bread flake this season hasn’t let me down. I banked seven chub in total with most of them being over the 3lb mark and four chublets well over a good pound. I lost three chub, two bounced off the hook during the battles and one in cover. I know there’s decent sized chub and of course roach in here, so I’ll be back there very soon.

I’ve also attached a small video clip to not only show you how overgrown it is, but whilst waiting for a take, have look at who was passing through the thorn bushes opposite me.

You may have to zoom in

Roving 1 Chub 2

The saying goes “Third time lucky” that’s me.

Having covered a fair few miles of river over the last two days and blanking is enough to dishearten you. But us anglers carry on and continue to hunt/stalk those fish. The determination gets stronger!

My plan this afternoon was to cover a stretch of river from left to right, moving swims every 40mins. I arrived around 14:00pm to a location that screamed chub. A tree had decided to live out its remaining life onto the water, and judging by the debris it had collected, it had fallen some time ago. Beside this tree, a small narrow fast flowing cut, which joined the main flow of the river.

It was that crease of the river that I was to drop a large piece of bread flake. For me it’s all about going big in winter. Big hook, big bait and 6lb line straight through to a size 6 specialist.

Two small balls of liquidised bread with a little turmeric added, thrown into the cut beside the margins, this produced a nice cloud which will eventually make its way to my hook bait.

I didn’t wait long for the quiver tip to smack down and then bend right around. I lifted the rod too soon, the fish screamed away towards the low bridge and after feeling two or three heavy knocks the hook gave way. It certainly felt like a powerful chub. With that in mind I was prepared to move on and find another swim, but my gut feeling was telling me to stay.

The rod tip settled and I set my stop watch to 40 minutes. 20 minutes later another great curve in the quiver tip. This time I allowed a little more time, bingo! I held the rod low, applying pressure to keep him away from the possible tree roots and most certainly the debris. The location I’m fishing was risky, a 50/50 chance of getting snagged, if I didn’t steer the fish away quickly. Chub certainly give a good fight and will use every opportunity to get you, the angler, in trouble. Away from cover he continues to fight, my rod absorbing each tail thrash and body dive to get to cover. I was glad to see his huge rubbery lips and wide open mouth as I slid him into the landing net.

As I’m admiring his beauty I notice that a small part of his tail was missing, an old injury that had healed. I named him “The Half Tail Warrior” even with some tail missing he fought like one. Who knows, someday I may get to catch him again.

The light was fading, the wind was getting stronger and temperature dropping. The cold wind was smacking against my face making my eyes water. One final cast into the same spot.

I began to pack my things away and as I was rolling up my unhooking mat, the rod tip bends around and I’m into another fine chub. Not as big, but just as chunky and angry as the first.

I slipped him back into the water. It was pretty much in darkness now, the wildfowl had arrived home and several ducks beside me were waiting patiently to gobble up the fallen bread pieces by my feet. I can’t complain, two great chub taken on bread flake. I gathered my things and made the short walk to my vehicle.

Homeward bound for a hot brew and a seat beside the fire.

Note the tail A big piece of bread used on a size 6 hook

Surprise river carp

Do you ever get those days, when no matter what you do, or what bait you choose and what depth you fish, they just will not take your bait?! Today was one of those days.

It was a crisp afternoon, 3c with no wind and overcast. There was no one in sight. I usually see a few anglers scattered around, trying their luck with spinning rods, but today – zilch!

I arrive at my location, a pretty little swim where I’ve had many a day catching good bags of roach. Approximately 13ft deep with a gravelly river bed. I set up and adjusted my float so I’m touching bottom. Today’s baits were mixed maggots, some leftover castors and bread. On my ledger rod I had a nice piece of spam with a size 6 hook buried inside it.

I always start with 9mm bread punch, then if the roach home in, I’ll move on to 11mm to get the bigger stamp of fish. 30 minutes in and the roach are definitely not liking my Warburtons. Two bites, two in the net. Pristine examples of river roach. It’s so nice to see that roach are making a comeback, but not today. Over the next two hours I changed baits, depth, hook lengths, hook sizes and distances. No matter what I did, they just wasn’t interested. Winter fishing eh!

At around 15:45 I had caught five roach, my ledger rod was as still as could be, not a twitch. As the light was fading away I decided to retire my float rod. I made myself a brew and had a chat with my dog whilst packing the rod away. The plan was to fish until darkness.

I moved my chair nearer to my dog and he took this as an invitation, and jumped up and perched himself upon my knees. The warmth he generated was definitely welcome. I think he was thinking the same about me, we were both content to just sit and wait.

There’s nothing like listening and watching the noisy Canada geese return home after a days foraging, as they circle several times before landing. Adding to the melodies of dusk; The distinctive whistle from mallard ducks as they fly past at speed; The pheasant cock birds calling their hens as they go up to roost, and the sharp clapping of wood pigeon wings as they settle and nestle onto branches above me. I couldn’t be in a better place.

Well what happened next really truly surprised me. I was hoping for a possible chub, a nice sized perch, or even an eel as I’ve caught eels at dusk before. I was about to switch on my infrared light, when my dog jumps off my knees and stares at my rod. I press the switch on my head torch to full beam and see my rod tip twitching. By the time I got to my feet the twitch transformed to a slow deep bending knock, which was getting faster by the second. The bells on my line started to chime in time with each heavy knock. I waited for a further two pulls, then lifted the rod from it’s rest.

The next eight minutes, I was in battle trying to control a fish that felt almost like a barbel. During the summer I had lost four fish that felt exactly like this one.

Each thud it gave, I prayed I didn’t lose it, but each turn of the reel I felt I gained some luck. After several runs and trying my best to keep him out of cover, he starts to tire. When the fish eventually came to the surface, I honestly thought it was a bream, yes a bream – a fighting one! As I got it nearer and ready to land, my head torch shone directly on it. I moved my head forwards with my neck stretched out like a rooster and squinted my eyes. “A carp!” I shouted in excitement. Several unhappy wood pigeons took flight from the woods, slapping their wings in disgust at being disturbed. And in that moment I froze, forgetting to land it. I’m standing there with a landing net in one hand and in the other my rod in full curve. The carp must have been thinking “Come on mate you’ve won, what are you waiting for, bring me in!” I quickly came out of my daze and slid the net underneath him. “Yes!”

I didn’t have any weighing scales so I’m not too sure of it’s weight, however it didn’t really bother me because a river carp to me is special. I may not ever catch one again. What a surprise!

I’ve heard of them being in this area, and now I can truly say they are actually here.

Float satisfaction

There’s nothing quite like making your own fishing floats, then using that same float to catch fish.

I not a professional float maker by far, but I enjoy making them, and I make floats to be used. I use traditional methods and materials. Different diameters and colours of silk and cotton threads are used to whip (a term to tie/wrap around) on brass eyes and to sometimes decorate the body of the float. There’s not too much skill involved, but you need patience, a steady eye and hand. Prepping floats takes time. If bird quills are used they must De-feathered, cut to size, sanded, painted and then varnished. Reeds will need drying up to several years before they are ready to be made into floats.

I use mainly bird quills, my favourite to work with are swan and goose, but you can use crow, peacock, pheasant seagull and more. My classic all time favourite has to be the porcupine quill. Strong, attractive, and super sensitive. I’ve caught many good bags of roach using a porcupine quill. It’s an all round float in my books.

I also make my floats using reeds, Sarkanda. A delicate reed imported from India. This can be hard to find in the Uk but there are suppliers out there that have already completed the drying process and will sell you a nice batch. I make wagglers, both insert and straight. I very recently made one and took it to my local river and caught 15lb3oz bag of roach. Super floats indeed.

There are many float makers producing stunning floats. It’s an art and the more you make the better you get at it. There are secret society groups you can join, where in depth discussions on materials and what methods are shared. You’ll even get a uniform to wear if you get accepted. A cult of the float makers.

This tribal method luckily continues, I have friends in Thailand who continue to make their own floats. They’re nothing special to look at and there’s no complexity to their design, but they catch many fish, lots of them.

A float should be never be judged by it’s looks.

Porcupine Quill

Sarkanda reeds drying after varnishing

Sarkanda Reed wagglers finished

Swan quill prior to varnishing

Goose Quill