I have changed from rod to pole fishing many years ago now, although I do still use a rod it is mainly all pole these days I use and like everything else in fishing you need the right rigs to be at it’s best, although many are based on personal preferences it is not that hard to understand the basic pole rig set up, a lot depends on the weight you use, many will use standard shot, some stots but what is best used for what.

Like everything it is personal preference here really but shots do have a tendency to ping off the line, this can happen on the cast (if rod fishing) or on the take, it can happen when landing the fish even, in other words it can happen at any time because you do not put the shot on tight it leaves it vulnerable to this happening but stots do not ping off the line, they stay in place and are more easy to put on the line, shots are more at home on moving water I think but not so much on static, this is were stots come in to play, they offer you better registration of bites in many cases and of course those lost shots don’t come in to play.

Floats come in all shapes and sizes and all take a certain weight to cock, this is normally on the float body but in pole fishing the weight can be strange because many are used to the weight in grams and shots used but in pole fishing it is normal to see floats with the markings like this 3×7, now this might sound like three number 7 shots but in fact it is markings for styls, so it is not 3×7 shots but 3×7 styls and that works out at lets say 6×13 shots or 0.03 grams, hard to follow maybe but the main thing is to remember it is mainly styls that is being referred to on pole floats not shots.

There are many different rigs around these days but here are a few that always get results and are easy to make and understand, on the drop rig is a simple as it gets, all you need is a light but sensitive float, a boded down type is preferred, the shots/ styls are set out even down the line, this can be done by plumbing up to find dead depth then lets say you have 4 feet of depth, you could put your shot on every foot of line space that means three in total, remembering you have to have a foot from hook and float so only three would be even spaced out, the idea is to allow the bait a normal fall through the water and also it has to be the right weight for the float, that is very important.

Margin carp rig, this is another rig that is easy to make, you need a long bristle to show up line bites better but it is not a must use, because it is margin work you need a short float like a dibber float but again make sure you have it weighted right, the bulk of the weight is put on the last third of line above hook with one dropper shot holding bottom, I like to class these as anchor shots and three inches over depth is about right for the hook bait.

Another simple but very effective rig is the surface rig, it don’t come any easier than this one, all you need is a light hook, line and some poly float and shot, you can use anything that floats as a bite indicator, I say poly float but it don’t have to be, if so you need something for it to be wrapped round so a light shot does the job, the poly float will keep everything on surface, bait should be a floating bait like bread or pellet wrapped around the hook, leave around 3 feet of line between the indicator and bait and around 2 feet from pole tip making it 5 feet line length, it is up to you on this part but the longer the line the harder it will be to land the fish.

These are just three very easy rigs to make and use and it pays to keep things simple, if you know of any good simple rigs for pole use just add them to this if you like but I will try and add some more plus a few little basic tips for those who might not be so up on pole fishing.


As a pole float assembler, I say that because I don’t turn my own bodies.
I spent most of last season fishing mainly match carp venues.
I can strongly recommend the high density foam diamond body design for its versatility and strength.

As a rough rule of thumb, 0.1g per foot of depth. e.g., 0.4g in 4 ft of water.

My favourite rig for carp being a 0.4g foam diamond, 25mm long 1.5mm hollow orange tip for dark water which can be blacked out in bright conditions with a sharpie permanent marker pen, new style spring eye and 0.8mm clear glass stem. Attach float to 016mm SHIMANO silk shock main line for accurate diameter and b/s strength and 3 pieces of silicon on the stem, using no.10 Stots about 2/3rds down the rig can be bulked together to get the bait down quick or strung out for a slower natural fall and finally a no.11 Stots dropper/tell tale shot just above the hook length. A 6″ or 15cm hook length of SHIMANO silk shock 010mm to 014mm depending on fish size and conditions. My preference of hook is a strong gauge Tubertini series 175 for large fish or finer series 808 for smaller fish. Great for pellet, meat and corn.
This float design in other sizes has also worked well for me in the margins and far shelf work.

Are you stuck for the right shot to use for setting up a pole rig?

Do you know the difference between pole float sizes?

Well here’s a guide to the most popular pole float sizes in styl weight and their matching weight in grammes, plus a guide to which split shot/Stots to use to cock them correctly…

float size Weight Shot equivalent

3 x 10 — 0.10g — 2 x No10 shot
4 x 10 — 0.15g — 3 x No9 shot
4 x 10 — 0.2g —- 5 x No10 shot
4 x 14 — 0.4g —- 6 x No8 shot
4 x 16 — 0.5g —- 8 x No8 shot
4 x 18 — 0.75g — 3 x No3 shot
4 x 20 — 1g —— 4 x No3 shot
5 x 20 — 1.25g — 5 x No3 shot
6 x 20 — 1.5g —- 6 x No3 shot

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