How to use a loaded Waggler float
Loaded Waggler float fishing is a catch anything method ideal for fishing a lake. Loaded Wagglers are best at catching lots of different fish, rather than targetting any particular species.
What are loaded Waggler floats?
A Waggler, is a style of float which is attached to fishing line through an eye on the bottom end of the float. The loading of a Waggler, is the amount of weight needed to cock the float correctly. A loaded Waggler, is a float that has some of the loading weight already built in. Usually a band of metal at the bottom end just above the eye.
The built in weight will only partially cock the float. Split shot weights are added to the line below the float to finish the job.
Unloaded, or classic Wagglers, do not have any weight built in. All the weight needed to cock a classic Waggler is added to the line beneath the float.
How to rig a loaded Waggler
A Waggler must to be held in place on the line to be able to quickly and correctly cock, but the float can not be fixed or tied to the line. The float should be sandwiched between two moveable float stops allowing adjustments to it’s position when needed.
Float stops are tight fitting rubber beads which are pulled onto the line. The stops grip the line enough will hold the float in place while casting and playing a fish. But they are not so tight that they can not be slid along the line to make adjustments.
Find the depth of water
After attaching a Waggler to the line, but before adding the shot. Take the opportunity to find the depth of water you are about to fish. As most plummet weights can be hooked, many anglers tie on the hook at this point to use the plummet. Cast out to see how the float sits in the water, then adjust it up or down the line as needed. For a lot more detail on plumbing the depth, please see our film “Plumb the depth of a lake for fishing”.
How to shot a loaded Waggler
Once the float is attached, the balance of the loading can be put on the line below the float. Loaded Waggler floats are marked with both the amount of loading built in and the balance needed to properly cock the float. Add the required shots to the line under the float, until the float settles correctly in the water.
Loaded floats are marked with the balancing load in whole weights, No.4’s or BB’s for example. This does not mean those particular weights have to be used. The loaded Waggler I am using in this article requires a balance of three No.4’s, but I have used two No.4’s and two smaller No.6’s to correctly cock the float.
How the balance of shotting is made up and how the shots are distributed, depends on how we want the rig to behave as it settles. A spread of small shot down the line will cause the rig to sink slowly as it settles. A slow sinking shotting pattern encourages mid water fish like Roach and Rudd to intercept the bait as it sinks past them.
To better target bottom feeding fish like Bream, Tench and Carp. The shot should be bulked together in the lower half of the rig, causing the bait to quickly sink avoiding the mid water fish. The usual shotting pattern is to have a bulk of shot to quickly sink the rig. Followed by one or two small shot to give the bait a more natural looking fall in the last foot or two of water.
How to use a loaded Waggler
To virtually guarantee catching some fish, a slow sinking loaded Waggler float rig with a single maggot on a small hook is hard to beat. But don’t assume the fish will be there waiting for you. To bring the fish to you and keep them there while you catch them. Throw in a small number of maggots at least every minute. Feed the fish and cast to the same spot to keep the fish coming.
The principal of feeding the fish where you want to catch them, also applies to the fast sinking loaded Waggler rig. Some anglers use ground bait to carry loose feed down past the mid water fish to the lake bed. Others prefer to loose feed with more bait, but less frequently.
There are many baits which can be used to catch fish from the bottom including maggots, casters, worms, sweetcorn, lucheon meat and pellets. The trick is to provide enough feed to the bottom to keep the fish interested while you catch them, but without overfeeding them.
How deep to float a fish
There is no correct depth to fish at. All fish are capable of feeding at any depth, although the different species have evolved to exploit a particular niche. For example, Rudd have upturned mouths ideal for feeding at or near the surface. Bream are expert at feeding on the bottom, whereas Roach can feed well at any depth. So, how deep to fish? The answer is be flexible.
Start at six inches above the bottom using the slow sinking rig or just touching bottom with the fast sinking rig. If nothing happens or if the fish seem to disappear after catching a few, change the depth. Try over depth, under depth and anywhere in between, keep actively trying to find the fish while continuing to feed them.
Float keeps drifting away
Loaded Waggler floats are notorious for drifting out of place. A light breeze can be enough to cause a loaded Waggler to move. Unfortunately, because most of the loading of the float is built in, it leaves few options to fight drift. My film “Waggler float fishing – lake” explores the subject of drifting in some detail offering a number of solutions using an unloaded Waggler.
The best answer I have found with a loaded Waggler is to fish several inches over depth. Allowing the float to drift until the bait dragging along the bottom stops it. This is not an option when fishing shallow. But it is also not so important as the fish will expect things to drift at mid water. Once the float has drifted out of the spot you are fishing, recast and repeat the process.
Other rig options
Float stops can only grip the thin lines used in float fishing so much. When a heavy float is needed to cast a distance or into the wind, float stops can slip on the cast. Use two stops on either side of the float to hold it more securely.
Float stops are a relatively recent invention in the angling world. Previously, Wagglers were held in place on the line with split shot. No doubt the use of float stops has helped the popularity of loaded floats, but there is still the option to use split shots.
The float in my example needs three No.4’s to cock it correctly. If two of these are used to hold the float in place, only the equivalent of one No.4 is needed down the line. Although a single No.4 could be placed on the line at three quarters depth, two no.6 or four No.9 shots spread out down the line will result a more realistic slow sinking bait. A bait that behaves more naturally, will catch more fish!
Thank you for watching and best of luck with your fishing.