Steve Rowley tells you why he rates float legering so highly for catching quality tench.
Float legering is a method very close to my heart; after all it was the very first technique that I learnt as a very young boy while fishing with my Dad on his work’s pool. The pool in question was dug out to create railway embankments, and in most parts was 20ft deep, so fishing a sliding float was the perfect solution, as we sought to catch the BIG perch, roach and tench.
To this day, I still use the same Stillwater Blue float, with a small bullet trapped between Float Stops and a nylon stop knot set at the appropriate depth. These days I use this method to great effect on my local gravel pits, where the margins slide away to 10ft deep, just a rod length or so out.
Nowadays, I am lucky to have a perfectly balanced setup. A Drennan 13ft Tench Float rod, coupled with an FD4000 reel, which, when loaded with 6lb Supplex offers a lovely, smooth, balanced combination, allowing forgiveness when the fish go on those early lunges, while providing exactly the right amount of power when needing to turn the fish away from danger. For me, there is nothing better than fighting a large tench on this balanced set-up.
So what is it that I like so much about this method? As mentioned, it is a perfect float fishing solution for deep water. Anything over 10ft makes it very difficult to fish a fixed float, and the fact that the float slides up to a stop knot means that there are no difficulties with casting, whether over distance, or underarm to a nearby drop-off. The best part for me is the fact that the majority of bites are lift bites, which I particularly enjoy on an early summer morning when the tench are fizzing. The float lifts and dances, before lying flat (if you can wait that long!) and that feeling of solid contact when you strike is priceless.
I also like the fact that you can fish the main line straight through, with no knots required, other than a nylon stop knot, and the hook knot. This is a great advantage when fishing relatively light line for hard fighting tench. I use 6lb Supplex and a size 16 Super Specialist hook baited with double red maggot – the perfect combination for tench, in fact, most of our species.
Another great advantage with float legering is the fact that you can adjust your sensitivity to whatever the conditions allow. You set the float to the correct depth, and you can then lower your tip to whatever height you want showing by simply winding your reel slightly, or releasing the line slightly, depending on visibility. Hooklengths can also be changed to whatever length you want, by simply moving the two float stops which keep the bullet closer or further away from your hook. I generally fish a six-inch hooklength if fishing on a clean bottom, or a 12-inch plus hooklength if fishing in a layer of weed. If fishing on weed I add a Buoyant Maggot to my hook to counteract the weight of the hook and my bait, allowing it to lie on top.
Give the float leger method a go this summer, you won’t be disappointed!