Combats strong wind and drift. Driftbeater’s have quite a large buoyant body which have a high shot carrying capacity. A Thin antenna to help stop the float drifting and a Sight bob to keep the float visible in choppy water.
The float is fixed at the bottom end only and held in place by two small shot. I like to use two No.4’s which are equal to a BB. The shotting is very simple. Start with the bulk shot, add enough until only the antenna is showing, but as much of the antenna as possible.
Add one AAA as the anchor shot six inches from hook. To avoid tangles on the cast, ensure the distance between the anchor and the bulk is greater than the distance between the anchor and the hook. I like to play safe and have the bulk 12 inches above the anchor. The single AAA anchor shot may not be heavy enough to sink the whole float including the sight bob and all. But it will be enough to sink all of the antenna, which is fine.
If you have not plumbed the depth yet, you can use the rig as it is to set the depth. Move the float up or down the line until two inches of the antenna shows above the surface. At this point you can be sure the anchor shot is resting on the bottom. Some anglers recommend setting exact depth between anchor and float. But unless you can place the anchor in exactly the same place time after time, small variations on the bottom will cause you problems.
Make sure your rod rests are positioned so that the rod tip is under the water when the rod is in the rod rests.
Use an overhead cast and always sink the line with the driftbeater float. Unlike other wagglers, a driftbeater float does not precede the rest of the rig during the cast. Instead the bulk precedes the float and the rest of the rig, so long as you feather the rig down it should cast tangle free.
Place your rod in it’s rests and gently reel in until the float is pulled down to the sight bob. Fishing a couple of inches over depth and then tightening down to the float avoids problems with an uneven lake bed.
If the float moves before all the antenna is sunk or the wind is moving the float, then change the anchor shot to something heavier. In extreme conditions one or even two swan shot may be needed. Only use an anchor big enough to stop the float drifting, don’t use more weight than you need to. You are looking to create a balance with only a slight bias towards the anchor shot making it easy to disturb by fish.
Because of the time it takes to put the rod in it’s rest and tighten down to the float, I don’t use small baits which can attract nuisance fish. But anything from a grain of sweetcorn to a 15 mm boilie on a hair is fine.
The amount of line between hook and anchor shot is important. Too short and the fish may not have the bait and hook in their mouths before you see a bite. Too long and you may not see a bite at all before the hook is felt and the bait rejected, without disturbing the anchor shot. Ideally the hook and bait need to be properly in the fishes mouth and register the bite while the fish is thinking about it. It depends on how big the fish are and how confidently they are feeding. As a guide, I like to start at six inches and then adjust the length to suit the fish on that day.
When the rig is fishing, any movement of the anchor shot will cause an indicated at the float. This can be the usual pull under bite or it could be a lift bite. Some anglers use a driftbeater float to target tench because of the way they feed. They tip forward to pick up the bait and then lift back up to eat the bait causing the anchor shot to be lifted, which in turn causes a lift bite at the float.
The thin antenna and use of an anchor shot go a long way to stop the driftbeater drifting, for more information on drift and waggler fishing in general, please see my film Waggler float fishing in the how to section.
Special thanks to Hassocks Angling for allowing me to film on their waters.