Kick-start your fishing: Wagglers basics

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Wagglers are the most versatile float to use with rod and line on still waters like ours. However wagglers come in all shapes and sizes and differing materials so it can be confusing choosing the right one.

confused clint
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confused clint

For general Stillwater running line float fishing situations I would advise a straight peacock waggler and these come with or without a tip insert. A thinner insert makes a float more sensitive and the fish do not have to bite so boldly to make the float disappear. This means you can see takes from the shy biters and the bold ones too! As for size I have selected a 4AAA insert pattern which is an ideal general float for our White Acres lakes.

Lines
With a lot of good sized hard fighting fish like carp in our lakes I would advise a main reel line of a 4 to 5lb breaking strain like Maxima or Drennan Super Specialist which are good strong and durable.

Reels
The best type of reel is an open faced model and the spool needs to be filled with line to within an eighth of an inch of the lip which will allow the line to peel freely when casting.

Rods

rods
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rods

Rods for waggler fishing on lakes tend to be 13 ft long which is a good length for casting and controlling the float and hooked fish. The Preston Innovations Dream 13 foot float rod fits the bill and it comes in three sections. Make sure that you line up all the rod rings when assembling the rod. This rod has a fixed reel fitting at the head of the handle. This is the very best place to locate a reel for balance and control. If your rod has sliding fittings get into the habit of placing the reel at the top of the handle. With the reel in place make sure you thread the line through each rod ring, missing the odd one will reduce the action of the rod.

Float Links
Attach the float to the line using a rubber float link instead of the fixed eye in the base of the waggler. Drennan Float links have a swivel at one end and a silicon sleeve which is pushed over the base of the float to secure. The reel line is threaded through the eye of the swivel. These links are very flexible and allow the float to collapse easily on the strike, the swivel avoids tangles and the real benefit is that you can change floats without taking all the shot off the line.

Shot

shot
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shot

You will need to carry some larger non toxic split shot and smaller dust shot with which to cock the float so that it sinks down to the brightly coloured tip. If not enough shot are used too much float will stick out of the water and it will not be sensitive enough to work as a bite indicator so make sure only the coloured tip is visible. Most floats are clearly marked with the approximate shot loading on the side to help when shotting up.

Having threaded the float onto the the line the waggler is locked in place with two AAA shot (called the locking shot) leaving a short gap between them which lets the float hang down freely when casting and collapse without resistance on the strike. Jamming between the two shot creates more resistance and the float will not work properly. One mor AAA shot is placed next to the lower locking shot, and an AB (slightly smaller than an AAA) shot next to that. The result is one shot above the the float and three below which is important to eliminate tangles when casting. In this case four number 10 dust shot are needed to trim the float down to the fluorescent tip. I place these ten’s on the line which will then be adjusted so that they are spaced out evenly to achieve a natural fall of the hook bait through the water. (see rig diagram) After adding what you think is the right amount of shot test the float in the swim and add or subtract shot as necessary.

Hooks
The hook trace needs to be thinner and lighter than the reel line in order to achieve natural bait

hooks
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hooks

presentation and fool the fish. There are some excellent pre tied hooks to nylon available and these are as good as tying your own in manty situations. I would advise a hook length which is slightly lighter than the reel line. They are matched with an appropriate size and strength hook. In this case I have a 3lb 8oz hook length with a size 16 Pro Carp barbless hook. That completes the rig but you will of course need to adjust the depth of the rig to suit the swim you are fishing and I will deal with plumbing up and casting on another occasion. This set up is simple but very effective and can be fished with a variety of hook bait including maggot, casters, pellet and corn. Now get cracking and see if you can put a bend in those waggler rods!

How to use Hooks

hooks
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hooks

The hook traces come with a loop at the end and to attach it to the reel line I strongly advise the loop to loop method. Tie a figure of eight loop in the end of the reel line know to be a strong knot. Pass the loop in the hook trace over the loop in the reel line. Bring the hook through the loop in the reel line and pull the hook trace away from the former. The two loops will be secured when the trace and reel line are pulled under tension in opposite directions.