Best Float Fishing Rod

The Best Float Fishing Rods (Complete Guide On Coarse Fishing Waggler Rods)

There’s a certain magic to float fishing. Whereas ledgering is a bit passive and generally more relaxed, float fishing has you sat on the edge of your seat, wound like a coiled spring, waiting for that tell-tale nod and dip, before the action starts.

Being successful in float fishing depends very much on presenting your suspended bait in just the right way. That is turn is very much dependant on the rod. 

In this article we are going to look at exactly what goes into the best float fishing rod and how you can make the best choice.

Best float fishing rod

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The Best Float Fishing Rods:

  1. MAP Parabolix 12ft Waggler Rod - Best Overall Float Rod
  2. Mitchell Impact R Float Rod - Best All-Round Float Rod
  3. Shakespeare Sigma Supra Fishing Rod - Best Mid-Range Float Rod
  4. Daiwa Black Widow Stalker Carp - Best Float Rod for Carp
  5. Hunter Pro 10ft Float Fishing Rod - Best Float Rod for Beginners
  6. Shakespeare Omni Match Rod - Best Budget Float Rod

If you have a little more time, please read on to find out more on our choices and what attributes determine the best float fishing rod.

What is a float fishing rod?

In all honesty, pretty much any rod could be used as a float fishing rod. But that’s like saying you could go running in any pair of shoes. Sure, it might work but there are ways and there are ways.

The best waggler rods have several key features that make it perfect for this aspect of fishing.

Floats and the weight attached to them generally tend to weigh very little. Therefore, the best float fishing rod has what is known as a fast action, or to put it in basic terms, it is ‘whippier’.

Generally, the action will be most pronounced at the tip in order to fling a float out effortlessly. This makeup differs lightly, to say a feeder rod, that would have more of a through action so more of the rod can take the weight of a heavier feeder.

Does this action have any downsides? No not really. You might get a bigger bend in your rod when you catch, but the designers of the best float fishing rods sometimes also incorporate some action a little further down towards the middle of the rod in order to avoid stresses and strains on the tip. This is known as a ‘through’ action.

As a general rule you will use a smaller reel on a float fishing rod. Therefore the guides on the rod handle must be able to accommodate this. The reason that you don’t need a big reel is that it is highly unlikely you are going to cast a long way, therefore you can get away with carrying less line.

Also smaller, fuller spools tend to cast better (especially when casting lighter weights) which aids in bait presentation.

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How to use a float fishing rod

With regards to info on how you would use a float fishing rod, there is no magic and there isn’t that much difference in how you would normally fish. You can cast in the traditional style.

However, softer, lighter casts are something that you will really appreciate if you have never used a float fishing rod before. They tend to be very light (and if you are using the best float fishing rod, you should expect that) and are more suited to finesse than power.

When playing a fish, you will be amazed at the difference a softer rod makes, especially if you have caught a big carp. There is slightly more ‘sport’ when using a float fishing rod, as it tends to lack the pulling power offered by heavier rods and feels a lot more flexible.

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What is a good line to use on float fishing rods?

Here is where it gets interesting. Whilst there isn’t anything super specific when it comes to choosing the best line for float fishing there are a few things to be borne in mind. Firstly remember what we said about the best float fishing rod having a softer action.

Well this action also absorbs some of the shock of the fish during a fight. As a result you can use lighter line. Think of a float fishing rod’s action as ‘suspension’ when landing a fish, the best float fishing rod will provide the best shock absorption. (as long as your knot tying is on point)

Also have a think about where you will be fishing when you are float fishing. Chances are, at times, you will be presenting a bait in the upper third of the water in your swim. There’s more light here and greater potential to create silhouettes and shadows on the water. 

For this reason you’ll want to use lighter gear with a lighter line that is less visible. Fluorocarbon is ideal. It is denser so it sinks, and it reflects less light, when submerged. This offers a clear benefit of having less visual distraction as a fish approaches your bait.

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We are now going to take a look at a few suggestions for rods which could all compete for the prize of best float fishing rod on the market today. Some are big names and at the upper end of the price bracket, in particular Daiwa float rods have caught our attention.

Others are at the cheaper end of the scale but just as worthy, so depending on your budget and what ideas you have you will easily find your best float fishing rod under £100. If you are on a budget, it may also be worth considering a float rod and reel combo, we’ve included one in our product reviews.

If you aren't sure what float fishing is all about, check out the video below for some handy tips from a professional using a waggler:

The following are what we consider the 6 best float fishing rods for different situations. We have chosen rods that suit beginners, those on a budget, a general all round float fishing rod and those more suited for larger fish. Enjoy...

The Best Float Rods Reviewed


Best Budget Float Rod

best budget float rod

The Omni rod range that Shakespeare offer has been around for a while now and for good reason. They have provided great quality and performance rods that have helped many juniors and beginners into the sport.

The heritage and respect that Shakespeare has for its entry level products is evident in this superb budget float rod.

The Omni match rod features a carbon blank, DPS reel seat and aluminium oxide guides throughout. The Cork / EVA handle finishes off this good looking rod nicely and for the price offers amazing value on top.


Best Float Rod for Beginners

At such a low price point you can’t really go wrong, and when it comes with some super nice features you might just find this a bargain.

Visuals are important and this rod comes with an anti-glare matt black finish, so you won’t spook the fish.

Coming in at 10ft this waggler rod is easy to use and blends a medium action with a relatively light weight. Casting is made easier by line guides that are coated in a ceramic finish.

An EVA foam handle completes the setup, giving both good looks and durability.

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Best Float Rod for Carp

carp float rod

Just by looking, you can see that this rod is a heavy duty piece of kit. It isn’t perhaps as ‘soft’ in action as our other suggestions, but it still manages to maintain just enough action to make it viable as a float fishing rod.

Wychwood float rods are very much up and coming, and this is one that has the necessary grunt to grow with you as you progress from catching fish, to catching bigger fish such as F1's and larger carp.

Available in 10ft & 12ft lengths some may find it a little stiff for such delicate work, but you can still present a waggler rig nicely, and you’ll be thankful of the extra ‘backbone’ when you lift into a specimen.


Best Mid-Range Float Rod  

Lets say you’ve been fishing for a while and are looking for a mid priced upgrade from a beginners model, well this may be the rod for you. You are getting a quality brand when you choose Shakespeare.

They have given a nod to the traditional cork handle but updated the high use areas with durable EVA foam.

With an action that is strongly geared towards maximum tip movement you’ll be amazed at how this rod bends under load.

The rod will easily lob out a 7g waggler and its shorter length (10ft 6”) means you can cast with utter precision, which is exactly what you need in the best float fishing rod.

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Best All-Round Float Fishing Rod  

best all round float fishing rod

Mitchell have a great reputation in the coarse and match fishing world and this waggler rod does that accolade real justice. The impact R range of rods have been created by avid anglers with a huge passion for the sport.

The rod has a sleek modern look and feel and comes with a quality EVA and / or cork handle material.

What makes this rod a great all rounder is the 30T high density carbon with a very balanced action to it. This makes the rod subtle enough to enjoy the silver fish element of the sport but strong enough to tackle some of the bigger species.

All in all this is a fantastic float fishing rod that offers value for money and will cater for all your coarse float fishing needs.


*Best Overall Float Fishing Rod - Editors Pick*  

best float fishing rod

This amazing rod by MAP impressed us no end when we fielded tested. You’ll be forgiven in thinking that the rod is really only suitable fishing for medium to smaller fish due to its ultra slim look and feel. This rod, however, balances subtlety and strength superbly and really is a joy to use.

This rod is in two-pieces and has enough power in the lower sections to cast wagglers into the most punishing of head winds. This power doesn’t compromise any playing action with the fish at all and you will thoroughly enjoy battling fish into double figures with this beauty.

The rod comes supplied with a quality rod bag and two neoprene wraps that finishes off a fantastic float rod package that was a pleasure to review and a rod we thoroughly recommend.

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Info for a great float fishing reel?

As mentioned throughout this article, the finesse nature of a good float fishing rod needs to be balanced by a good quality, lightweight, float fishing reel.

Important attributes in a float fishing reel include the following:

  • The correct sized spool for the rig / method of fishing.
  • A good drag system (front or rear depending on preference).
  • A decent gear ratio.
  • The correct size and balance of reel to match your float rod.

Although this article isn't focusing on float fishing reels themselves, we thought it maybe convenient to show a list of our 5 favourite waggler fishing reels.

Magnitude Match Reel

 in stock
as of 12 January 2022 01:44

Mitchell Avocet R Reel

£25.99  out of stock
Item condition: New
Time left: 13d
Free Delivery
as of 15 January 2022 14:31

Preston Centris NT 320 Reel

£134.95  out of stock
Item condition: New
Ended: Sep 16, 17:01 GMT
Free Delivery
as of 15 January 2022 14:31

Sonik SKSC Float Fishing Reel

£35.95  in stock
Item condition: New
Time left: 4d
Free Delivery
as of 15 January 2022 14:31

Shimano Match Catana RC Match Fishing Reel

£34.99  in stock
Item condition: New
Time left: 30d
Free Delivery
as of 15 January 2022 14:31


Well we’ve given you plenty of choice. Whether you are just starting out on your float fishing journey, hunting fish that would make people scared to swim, or want the flexibility to fish however you want, our rod selection should have you covered.

Float fishing in itself is an acquired skill that requires practice. You can give yourself the best possible chance by choosing a rod that realises your potential.

If you need any fishing gear please consider visiting one of our recommended online fishing tackle shops or checkout our coarse fishing tackle deals page.

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