For many years I have fished fast flowing rivers with float approaches. It's a style of fishing I really enjoy as it's challenging and very rewarding when you get it right. My apprenticeship saw me on rivers like the Derbyshire Derwent, the Upper Trent, the upper Avon, the Wye and, of course, the Severn.

Whenever I fished the waggler float on these rivers I always used peacock quill as the float material. Down the years I've managed to source some quite thick quill and this was important to give me the buoyancy I required for fast flowing water. However, I have often wished that the quill was even thicker on certain days to give me even more buoyancy for a short length of float.

Fast forward now to this season. Moving to the banks of the Severn has given me more practice time and a few sessions on fast swims in June and July saw yet another problem come to light. I pleasure fished on shallow swims for barbel and big chub and needed to use strong line. Maxima has always been my choice for this type of fishing and I wanted to use four, five or six pound breaking strain on the reel, either with a hooklength or directly to the hook.

Now, the big problem was I needed a float that was short, buoyant and capable of taking a lot of shot in order to cast the heavy line off the reel. Quite simply, peacock quill just wasn't thick enough. To get the right amount of shot capacity I had to use a float that was too long. So, it was time to look at other materials.
Normal model shop balsa dowel I found to be too dense so a phone call to float maker Gerry Woodcock in Nottingham followed. Gerry sent me some extremely buoyant light grade balsa dowel; the same as is used for pole float manufacture. I then made up the samples in two different diameters and various lengths and the results were startling! I can honestly say that if I'd had these floats on matches in the past a lot of my weights would have been increased dramatically. I now have floats that will cast heavy line out easily and ride the current with ease. I can fish the rig well overdepth if necessary in order to catch barbel and I can see the float a long way down the river.

The floats will also be available from selected stockists soon so look out for them. If you ever float fish on fast flowing water and you haven't got sets of these floats you will be at a disadvantage, believe me. Once you've tried them and caught with them you, like me, will wonder how you ever fished without them.