Matt Brown's Top Tips

The humble plummet is vital if you wish to turn a dip of the float into a stunning crucian carp.

Tip 1 – Plumb your swim
In almost all forms of float or pole fishing, plumbing is of the highest importance, firstly to find the contours of the swim and secondly to add some precision to your fishing. Most species are best targeted at the bottom of the marginal shelf but you’ll only find exactly where that is by using a plummet.  
I prefer to kick off my sessions by setting the dept to just a couple of centimetres overdepth. I’ll add more depth if the float is unstable due to the wind or tow but this is something I like to avoid as it can lead to missed bites, especially with species such as roach, tench or crucian carp. If the fish begin taking on the drop I’ll shallow up accordingly but most often I find the optimum is to have the bait just touching the deck. I think this can make the bait more visible in comparison to the free baits lying on the bottom and I feel this leads to more bites. Tip 2 - Be rig safe 
Here is a rig that Bob Roberts and I found where the lead and clip had failed to eject over the loop in the end of the leadcore.  The leadcore loop had been glued which had stiffened the loop and prevented it from compressing.  Test your rigs and if you have any doubts about their safety, stick to running rigs. Tip 3 - Hook Selection
There are a ridiculous amount of hook patterns available and this can be very confusing.  A great place to start would be the Gamakatsu Specialist Wide Gape (GP202) and the Pellet Barbless (GP102). 
The former is superb for barbel, tench, perch and all but the largest of carp. The size 12 is by favourite when fishing maggot for chub or breadflake for big roach. The latter is ideal for those days where plenty of smaller fish are showing to maggot but you have still have the strength to land larger fish.
Tip 4 – Keep it floating 
When stick float or waggler fishing on rivers, always take along a floating line spray.  This will make float control and striking much easier.  It’s also great when floater fishing for carp for exactly the same reasons.
Tip 5 – Reach for the Spod 
Spod and marker floats aren’t just for carp anglers.  They’re a great tool for any angler.  I wouldn’t be without them when fishing larger waters for tench, bream or roach. 
Tip 6 – Clip Up for Accuracy
Whether barbel fishing on a large river, tenching on a gravel pit or chucking a float tight to an island, you simply can’t beat the accuracy afforded by using the line clip on your reel.  I’ve tried all sorts of methods of marking the line but by far the most effective is to tie a waterknot stop using pole elastic (no4 is ideal).  I place the knot behind the clip, as in the picture, because this doesn’t impede casting.