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

Best Float Fishing Rod

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.

In this article, we are going to look at exactly what goes into the best float fishing rods based on our experience of fishing for over 30 years.

We will also provide suggestions of proven float rods to cater to different individual circumstances.

Quick answer...

Haven't got time to read the full article? The following float rods boast the features required to be up there with the best and are our top picks...

ImageProductFeaturesQuick Link
Best Overall Float Rod
MAP Parabolix 12ft Waggler Rod
MAP Parabolix 12ft Waggler Rod
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Great All-Round Float Rod
Mitchell Impact R 12ft Float Rod
Mitchell Impact R 12ft Float Rod
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Best Pellet Waggler Rod
Shimano Aero X1 Pellet Waggler Rod
Shimano Aero X1 Pellet Waggler Rod
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Mid-Range Float Rod
Shakespeare Sigma Supra Fishing Rod
Shakespeare Sigma Supra Fishing Rod
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Best Carp Float Rod
Preston Innovations Supera 13ft
Preston Innovations Supera 13ft
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Beginners Float Rod
Hunter Pro 10ft Float Fishing Rod
Hunter Pro 10ft Float Fishing Rod
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Best Budget Float Rod
Shakespeare Omni Match Rod
Shakespeare Omni Match Rod
More Info

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 them 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 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 slightly, to say a feeder rod, which 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.

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.

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.

We are now going to take a look at a few suggestions for rods that could all compete for the prize of best float fishing rod on the market today. 

There are premium rods featured and some 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 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

Key Features:

  • Carbon blank
  • DPS reel seat
  • Aluminium Oxide guides throughout
  • Cork / EVA handle
  • Supplied in clear front rod bag with hangtag

  • 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.


    • DPS reel seat provides good stability for the reel
    • Aluminium Oxide guide flow line with less friction
    • Low price point


    • Lacks subtlety and finesse compared to the more premium models 


    Best Float Rod for Beginners

    Hunter Pro Match

    Key Features:

  • 10' Carbon-X Match & Float Rod
  • High quality fishing rod supplied in cloth bag
  • Medium Fine action
  • Brushed aluminium adjustable screw reel seats
  • Neoprene handle
  • Ceramic line guides
  • Anti-reflective matt black finish

  • 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 lightweight. 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.


    • Strong and robust
    • Nice anti-reflective finish to prevent spooking fish
    • Fantastic value for money


    • A lot bulkier than more premium float fishing rods 


    Best Float Rod for Carp

    Best float fishing rod for carp

    Key Features:

    • Both 13ft, and 14ft lengths have two casting weight variants
    • Perfect for larger sliders
    • Suitable for most types of waters, including rivers
    • 3-sections

    The Supera float rods from the fantastic Preston Innovations have been designed with strength, subtlety, and quality in mind.

    There are 2 versions in the Supera float rod range. The lighter version at 3-10g and the heavier version at 6-18g.

    When float fishing for carp, we found that the heavier version played fished with relative ease and definitely had enough to it to comfortably land larger, harder fighting fish.

    Just because the rod is slightly beefier than the lighter version doesn't mean that it's not suitable for smaller, silverfish.  

    In fact, it performed admirably to this task with the tip still being soft enough to handle fishing for mixed species.

    All in all the Supera is a versatile rod that balances strength and subtlety, beautifully.


    • Great balance of strength and subtlety
    • Great when fishing for mixed species
    • Good for rivers and still waters


    • Slightly more expensive than some of the other rods featured


    Best Mid-Range Float Rod  

    Best mid-range float fishing rod

    Key Features:

  • Slim and strong 24-ton carbon blank
  • Titanium Oxide insert guides throughout
  • Screw down EVA Reel seat
  • Quality Cork / EVA handle
  • Modern progressive actions
  • Supplied in quality cloth rod bag

  • Let's say you’ve been fishing for a while and are looking for a mid-priced upgrade from a beginner's 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.

    Check out the following video that shows off some of the features on the Sigma Supra:


    • Really strong, progressive action to the blank
    • Really decent cork handle
    • Solid reel seat
    • Low price point


    • Not as subtle as some of the more premium rods


    Best Pellet Waggler Rod  

    Best Pellet Waggler Rod

    Key Features:

    • Available in 10 and 11 foot lengths
    • Single-leg intermediate guides
    • Cork EVA mix handles
    • Slim & Lightweight

    Pellet waggler fishing is becoming a popular method in modern day angling and, as such, specialist made pellet waggler rods are being produced by a lot of brands.

    Shimano is one of those brands and this offering exudes the quality that we know and love about them.

    The Aero X1 pellet waggler is available in 2 lengths with us opting for the 11 foot version when testing.

    The rods beautifully lightweight, slim blank makes the rod look and feel well over its great value price point.

    The responsive action of this rod makes it a great option for larger fish such as carp, barbel, and tench.

    In summary, the Aero X1 is robust, strong, yet lightweight, and ticks all the boxes needed for a quality pellet waggler rod.

    Check out this video that showcases some of the features on the Shimano Aero X1:


    • Crisp & responsive action
    • Strong yet lightweight
    • Nice, sleek finish
    • Great value


    • We wish they were available in either 12 or 13 foot lengths.


    Best All-Round Float Fishing Rod  

    best all round float fishing rod

    Key Features:

  • 30T High-Density carbon
  • Perfectly positioned braid resistant SIC guides
  • Quality EVA and/or cork handle material
  • Pro designed blank action
  • Modern look and feel

  • Mitchell has 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 to all your coarse float fishing needs.


    • A really nice look and feel to the handle
    • Lovely play action
    • Good looking rod
    • Great value for money


    • Doesn't come in a 13 foot version


    *Best Overall Float Fishing Rod - Editors Pick*  

    Best overall float fishing rod

    Key Features:

  • Ultra-high modulus carbon
  • Parabolix through action
  • Unique anti-slip handle design
  • Fuji reel seat
  • Supplied in a padded bag with 2 x neoprene rod wraps

  • This amazing rod by MAP impressed us to no end when we fielded tested. You’ll be forgiven in thinking that the rod is really only suitable to 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 headwinds.

    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 finish off a fantastic float rod package that was a pleasure to review and a rod we thoroughly recommend.

    Checkout this video that shows the MAP Parabolix in action:


    • Great mix of subtlety and strength
    • Really smooth, playing action
    • A quality rod bag and neoprene wraps are included
    • Amazing blank recovery


    • Not the cheapest however we feel it's absolutely worth every penny.

    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 reels themselves, you can check out our article on the best float fishing reels here, that does.


    Well, we’ve given you plenty of choices. 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.

    Thanks for reading.

    Tight Lines!

    All of the fishing tackle featured in this article can be found at one of the following online shops...

    Total fishing tackle

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