Different Kinds of Floats

Written by carol wiley
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Different Kinds of Floats
A large collection of fishing floats. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

For people who fish with a hook and line, float fishing is the use of a floating indicator the fish pulls underwater when it grabs the hook and swims away. These indicators, called floats, have bright tips for easy visibility. Although floats are available in many shapes and sizes, the three main kinds of floats are waggler floats, stick floats and pole floats.

Waggler Float

The waggler float is generally considered the most versatile kind of float, working well in still water or slow-to-medium flowing rivers, turbulent water or still water in windy conditions or with big waves. Waggle floats, usually made from plastic, come in two basic shapes: straight and bodied. The bodied waggler has an additional bulblike body at the base of the float, which improves its stability in windy conditions and gives it extra weight that usually lets it be cast further. A waggler float is attached to the fishing line through the bottom eye only. A waggler float can be locked in one fixed position or left free to slide up and down the line.

Stick Float

Stick floats are good for choppy and open water, running waters with a strong current and river fishing. However, because these float in a fixed position, they have limited use for fishing in deep waters. Stick floats offer less resistance to wind and water, drift slower, cast farther and respond quicker to light bites than waggler floats. Stick floats are usually made from balsa wood or plastic. The floats are attached to the top and bottom of the line using rubber bands at both ends or using a rubber band at the top and through eyelets at the bottom.

Pole Float

Pole floats are light and sensitive, making it easy to see any tug on the bait by a fish. The streamlined pole floats have small bodies and slender stems, and they come in many shapes and sizes, with each type designed for fishing in specific conditions. The tips of pole floats are made from balsa, cane, wire or nylon with the float stems usually made of durable carbon fibre, which is heavy enough to provide stability. Pole floats work well for river fishing (using the float with the widest part of the body at the top), fishing in still water with windy conditions (using the float with the widest part of the body at the bottom) and fishing in deep and shallow canals and lakes.


Floats are fragile and easily damaged. It's a good idea to store them in a float tube in a tackle box. The cost of a float depends on its style and size. Floats are sometimes called bobbers, although technically a bobber is a round floating device while floats are shaped differently and more sensitive than round bobbers.

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