Waggler Fishing



A waggler is a float which is attached to the main line at its base, the main line is threaded through an eye or swivel & locked in place with 80-90% of the floats weight capacity, with the remaining split shot used on the line below to give different bait presentations. Although the waggler has lost some favour with anglers in recent years due to the rise in popularity of pole fishing, it's still an effective tactic to employ in many angling situations & is an exciting way of catching fish, especially when the float twitches and sinks rapidly out of sight.

Below are the most common types of wagglers used with rig diagrams showing how to set them up.


Types Of Waggler




Insert Wagglers give super bite indication with their delicate inserts, they can be shotted down so finely that only the smallest tip can be seen to help bite detection.


Straight Wagglers are good at holding station on a rippled surface. Like Insert wagglers they can be shotted down in calm conditions to provide that all important bite indication.




Pellet Wagglers are best used when fish are feeding up in the water. For this float to work at its optimum, regular loose feeding is required to get the fish competing strongly for bait.


Bagging Wagglers are loaded with groundbait at the base of the float, they act like small swim feeders by creating an enticing cloud in the water which encourages fish to feed in the upper layers.





Splash Wagglers are a variation on the pellet waggler & Its distinctive shape causes a splash on the surface when it lands. This splash attracts carp which have been feeding on the regular "plops" of loose pellets being introduced alongside the float.


Full Bodied/Wind Beater Wagglers are long full bodied floats designed to cast long distances and provide stability in windy conditions due their buoyant base.



Fishing Insert & Straight Wagglers


This rig is designed to get the bait down quickly in the water past nuisance smaller fish, and fish a hook bait on the bottom.


1 - The float should be held in place with locking shot with enough weight to aid casting and cock the float


2 - The 3 small number 6 bulk shot  should be placed below half depth and situated together - the purpose of this is to get the hook bait down quickly through the water & help avoid the attentions of smaller fish which may intercept the bait on the drop


3 - Two smaller shot should be placed at equal distance relatively close to the hook, this allows the bait to fall in a controlled arc to the bottom - this fall within the last foot of water can sometimes produce a bite, so be ready to strike!


If conditions are windy or there is a large under tow which is moving your float, try fishing an inch or two over depth. This extra line laying on the bottom will act as an anchor and prevent the float from moving out of position. If fishing slightly over depth doesn't work and the float is still being moved out of position, you will need an anchoring shot which will pin your hook bait to the bottom and counter the movement of the wind or water.


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This rig is designed to catch fish feeding up in the water, particularly roach & rudd on warm summer days. When the hook bait hits the water it falls naturally in a downward arc so that fish can intercept the bait.


1 - Make sure the majority of the weight is used as locking shot at the base of the float


2 - Now place 3 dropper shot at equal space descending in size towards the hook


3 - The descending shot size going down the main line promotes the line and hook length to fall in an enticing arc which will encourage fish to bite, especially when used in conjunction with regular loose feeding


To get the best out of this rig you will need to loose feed a small amount of bait before or after casting to attract fish to the area around your falling hook bait - loose feeding five or six maggots on each cast will keep fish actively competing for food & leads to more positive bites.


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This rig is called the lift method & is used to pin the bait on the bottom and give a classic lift bite should a fish lift & dislodge the weight adjacent to the baited hook. This rig is regarded as the classic tench float rig, but can be equally successful with many other species including carp.


1 - The float should be held in place with float stops, these are small rubber beads which hold the float in place instead of using locking shot


2 - The weight used for the bottom shot should be heavy enough to cock the float & be situated 3 - 4 inches away from the hook - the closer the weight is to the hook, the more sensitive it is as a bite indicator, if however the fish are suspicious & not feeding confidently, you may need to have a longer space between shot & hook


3 - When the fish picks up the hook bait & dislodges the shot, the classic lift method bite is shown by the sudden rising of the float 4


As this is a very sensitive form of float fishing, it is best to keep the main line as taught as possible & have your rod rested on stable rod rests to help give the best indication of a bite.


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Fishing Bagging & Pellet Wagglers


The bagging waggler is primarily designed to introduce a cloud of groundbait in the first 2-3 feet of water, for this to work the groundbait must be fluffy enough to explode into a fine cloud when coming into contact with the water. Strong line is also required when using this rig as carp will be main species inspecting the cloud for food, so if there are low to mid sized double carp in the water, it is wise to use a strong hook length of 8lb coupled with a mainline of 12lb.


1 - The float should be threaded onto the main line and held in place with a rubber float stop, the line should then be tied onto a swivel with a buffer bead in place to stop the float causing damage to the knot at the swivel.



2 - The hook length should then be tied to the swivel & set at a depth of around 2-3 feet - The depth can be changed throughout the course of a session to find the ideal depth where carp are feeding.


For this rig to be a success, regular casting is essential to have a constant cloud in the water which fish will investigate. Bagging wagglers are generally self cocking (have their own weights attached) so it's easy to see when the groundbait has left its wire frame by the float rising in the water, once this has happened it's best to wait a couple of minutes for the cloud to dissipate before reeling in & reloading with groundbait.


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The pellet waggler is a great way of catching hungry carp which are feeding in the upper layers during the summer months. Like the bagging waggler it's a very active form of fishing & requires the regular introduction of loose feed in the form of pellets to be successful. It's this regular plop of pellets surrounding the float which encourages the fish to compete hard with each other for food.


1 - The float should be held in place with sufficient locking shot to enable the float to sit upright in the water


2 - The main line & hook length should be tied to a micro swivel with the bait being presented at 2-3 feet in depth


To get the most out of this rig, pellets must be constantly trickled into the swim on a little & often basis to encourage the carp to compete with each other, this type of feeding behaviour often means bites are quite savage affairs so always keep your rod to hand.


The only difference between a pellet waggler & a splash waggler is that the splash waggler has a flat top which creates a plop in the water when it lands, much like the sound of pellets when they hit the water - this type of float is best used on venues where carp have associated the plopping sound of pellets to that of a dinner a bell.


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Fishing Full Bodied Wagglers


Full bodied wagglers are designed to be cast large distances & counter the tow created by moderate wind speeds, it does this by having its buoyant base anchor the float in the water to help provide the stability. One drawback which can occur as a result of long distance waggler fishing is line twist, this occurs when a hook bait such as double maggot spins in a propeller like action when it is retrieved, this rotation of the hook bait then creates a twist in the line. To counter line twist, add a micro swivel to the rig to connect the main line & hooklength together, now the hook bait will only spin the micro swivel on the retrieve & not the main line.


This rig is designed to fish at range and get the bait quickly to the bottom.


1 - The float is held in place with the majority of the weight as locking shot, this is to help keep the weight concentrated to aid casting distance.


2 - Three bulk shot should be placed about a foot off the bottom, this allows the hook bait to get quickly down past nuisance smaller fish


3 - A small tell tale anchoring shot should be placed 5-6 inches away from the hook bait - should this shot be lifted when a fish picks up the bait, the float will rise in the water to help provide a signal of a bite.


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