You will need a variety of pole floats when fishing a canal just as you would if you were fishing open water, or a snake lake commercial venue.
Before we get onto the canal floats, let’s talk about the shape and depth of the canals.
The shape of the canal and why this affects what floats you need.
Some of these canals are deep, old canals that are basically a V shape, quite similar to a snake lake but just on a bigger scale.
Think about it. They were made for the industrial age and not for fishing. Canals are deep on the towpath side as this is the side that the horses pulled the canals along.
The far side of the canal is shallower and this is where you will likely find the bigger fish, especially in the summer.
You likely won’t need a margin float for canals as the margins are deeper than commercial fisheries.
Long Floats For Canal Fishing
When fishing down the track you want long canal floats as the canal will likely be way over 6ft in the middle.
A good example of a float I would use for this is the Sensas Canal Classic Pole Float.
The reason for this is that it’s got a nice big body and it’s available in a lot of big sizes which is I believe, what you want.
The bristle on these canal floats is also nice and big, which means the body of the float can sit well under the water.
I would recommend going for the wire stem if you want to fish on the deck.
Another example is the Tubertini Gobi.
These have a heavier float that has a large body are designed for still waters with a depth of 8ft or more. Again, these have a long bristle and a large body.
Larger sizes of floats are the preferred choice for canals.
Floats For calm canals
If the canal is calm with not a lot of tow on the water and also a bit shallower then a canal float like the RG Canal floats could be a nice choice.
These have a slim body with a nice long bristle and would suit light baits like maggots or pinkies.
Floats For Fishing Shallow on Canals
Just like other venues, fish will come shallow and can be caught up in the water.
For when the fish are starting to come shallow then I would look at using the Des Shipp Commercial Slim F1 Maggot floats. These have a carbon stem which means the bait will have a slower fall through the water so you can catch the fish on the drop. Casters would also work well with this float on canals.
When the fish go really shallow then you could use a dibber float which is a standard float for fishing shallow on any venue when the fish are really having it.
Why do you need canal-specific floats?
You could use any existing pole floats that you have from your local tackle shop, but these probably won’t work as well as “canal floats”.
A canal is likely to have a bit more of a flow to the water when compared to other venues. This could be due to locks nearby that are dragging the water to one side. It’s nothing like a river, but it’s likely going to have more tow than a commercial water.
What about boats?
Boats can be a real pain when fishing as even after they have passed there will be a current or a flow on top and under the water. That’s why it’s important to have bigger body floats with wire stems that can keep the bait still and present it better for the fish.
Do a lot of anglers have canal-specific rigs setup?
Yep, anglers will have a tray or rigs in their box that they likely use just for canal fishing.
Mike has over 30 years of fishing experience in carp fishing and general coarse fishing. He is always looking for the latest fishing kit to try out and talk about and needs a bigger shed due to all the fishing tackle he owns. You can read more about him here.