Waggler Float Fishing

The waggler is one of the oldest methods ever used in angling. It has always been a popular method with all forms of fisherman, from match, to pleasure anglers, and the specimen boys too. The waggler float itself consists of a bottom end only float, where the float is locked onto the line with shot, although, as you will see in this article, other adaptations have evolved.

The waggler has taken a bit of a back seat to poles in the last few decades, but there is no doubt that this cracking method is still winning matches on all venues throughout the country and most definitely always will be. Below are the various wagglers fishing styles and set ups that are effective nowadays, although many ways are still the same as in the olden days!


Setting up The Float

1 - Fishing "On the Drop".


This is where the hook bait is allowed to fall through the water slowly and a fish takes it on the way down.

The bait can be kept moving by re-casting. The lighter the shotting pattern the slower the bait will fall through the water column.

If you use a weighted waggler, slide a small ledger stop onto your line then a float adapter followed by a second ledger stop, this allows you to lock the float in place without using the shot needed to fine tune the float.

These can go down the line as needed or put under the float.









  • A...Float insert or a full bodied waggler depending on your bait and what you are fishing for. larger fish use the full bodied waggler, and also have more of the tip showing. Big fish cause the float to dip and rise when they are feeding, this helps to spot real bites.
  • B... Locking shot and the place for the bulk of the shot.
  • C... Idealy this gap between the float and the first shot on your line must be just over half way between float and hook to stop tangles.
  • D,E,F and G before placing these shot I would plum the depth, set the hook to whatever over depthI needed, then place the lowest dropper shot,then the mid point shot (D) fine tune the float at point (E) if needed. Any other shot needed for the float to go at point (B) as bulk shot.


2 - On the Bottom, often called "Laying On".


With this method the rig is fished over depth, so that the bait lies on the bottom. You will often hear anglers saying "I'm laying on 6 inches".

This means the rig is set 6 inches over the depth of the water, so that 6 inches of line lies on the pool bottom.

I prefer to put a group of shot here and clip a plummet to the shot to get the right depth with up to 6 inches of line below the plummet so that the shot grip the bottom in windy conditions.

This image shows a lift bite.

A is alift bite where the float comes up out of the water, this is caused by the fish rising in the water with the bait in its mouth.

By taking the weight of the shot off the float it rises, you can strike at this point.




The bulk shot is on the bottom holding the float in position used for windy days and when there is undertow on the lake. Either large shot or a row of smaller shot to anchor the float, bites are the normal the float slides under or as illustrated a lift bite.


3 - Fishing the water column.

Float setup as the first image but with the hook being of the bottom.

Here the bait is presented off the bottom. The rig can be set so the bait isoff the pool bottom, or anywhere in between. This method is ideal for catching on the drop, fire in your bait in small amounts, no more than 1 dozen maggots, the fish will rise of the bottom and intercept your bait in the water column itself. BUT you have to keep the bait going in in small amounts but every minute or so, Cast over your fishing point and reel back sinking the line until your float is in the area where you are baiting up.

Small tweaks on the line can induce fish to take. The secret is little and often for this style of waggler fishing. Ideal baits are maggots, but pellet can be used as well. it this instance a full bodied waggler is the better choice, also allow for the extra weight of larger baits when shotting up the float.



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Instead of using a loop to loop connection for the hook link, use a micro swivel. This stops the line spinning when you reel in on larger baits.

Never be afraid to alter the method being used. For example you might find while fishing on the bottom as you introduce feed, the fish may move up in the water as they follow the bait trail. It's all a case of experience and thinking about your fishing

Bear in mind that when fishing on the bottom, you should be aware that fish can take your bait whilst falling through the water. Also when fishing on the drop I like to leave the bait for a short time when it reaches the bottom (or what ever depth it is set to). This gives any fish feeding in that area to pick the bait up.

using a float adapter allows you to change floats without taking the rig down, and you can save the rig to a pole winder for your next visit, just take off the float cut the line 3 or 4 feet past the float and tie a loop in the end.Wind the line and hook onto the winder. The extra length of line will allow you to fish this saved rig in a different swim with greater depths.


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