Building an Alderney Style Long Stem Float

by David Proudfoot

Some years ago Steve Ace from Veals Fishing Tackle developed a float fishing style or bream and mullet that was picked up by Mark Harding and other Alderney anglers and this has has allowed them to fish with a float at distance. They use a long stem float which permits casting with the minimum of tangles normally associated with sliding floats.

This modified float allows them to target pelagic fish such as mackerel and garfish as well as fishing deeper to locate bream and other species.

Two Alderney Style Long Stem Floats

The Float for Distance

Casting with this style of float is assisted if the trace is rigged paternoster style with the weight at the bottom. The leads used to cock the floats can vary from 12gms for fish feeding near the surface to 150gms where extra casting distance is required.

The construction of the float is straight forward as it consists of a pre-made body with a carbon tube stem inserted.

The selection of the float body is dependent upon the weight that you wish it to carry. The slim, long, cylindrical bodies tend to carry lighter weights whereas the rounder, wider diameter float can carry up to 300gms and are suitable for suspending big baits for bass or tope.

the base floats

There are numerous sources on the internet for the cylindrical float bodies and Tronix do a range with various sizes. For larger bodies, cat fish type floats provide the best sizes and shapes to work with and Askari have a competitively priced range.

Plastic bodies should be avoided as they are difficult to work with. Foam or EVA floats can be worked with either hot needles or by drilling. It may be necessary to remove any central core from the float body, a screw can be used to provide a grip on the tube core by screwing it into the core then pulling with pliers, after removing any surrounding lip on the tube. The float body can then be drilled or bored to fit the stem if necessary.

Carbon Fibre Stems

Carbon tube stems are widely available on the internet with various internal and external diameters and Ebay is a good source where you should find 3-4mm diameters in the required lengths.

To get the balance right the stem should be located with 100-120mm above the float and 300-500mm below. The carbon tube can be cut to length with a sharp Stanley knife or with a fine toothed hack saw.

the carbon fibre tube stems carbon tube stem fitted

In either case the area at the cut should be wrapped with masking tape to help stop the carbon from splintering. The more buoyant the float body the longer the section of the lower stem should be.

The carbon stem should be fixed in place using hot melt or epoxy glue, super glues should be avoided as they can melt the float body. With the stem fixed in place the float can be used as it is as a sliding float. The tip of the float can be painted a suitable colour to aid visability.

Adapt for Stability

However, a couple of adaptions can help the float sit better when in use. Firstly, a small slot can be cut in the stem just above the body, a Dremel style tool with a disc is the best for this task but it can be accomplished with a small file.

a slot cut in the stem above the body

Threading the leader through this slot and out of the bottom will enable the float to sit more vertical when bobbing on the sea surface.

crimp cover on the bottom of the stem treble hook sleeve sealing top of the stem


Sliding or Fixed

Instead of using the rig as a sliding float it can be fixed which lets the angler quickly change tactics form bottom fishing. Attach a swivel to the top of a length of line before threading the line through the stem before adding a clip to the end of the line.

Building an Alderney Style Long Stem Float

The float can be locked on to the trace length by adding a Fox Crimp Cover or Safety Sleeve to the bottom of the float stem, and the stem can be sealed at the top with a Fox Treble Hook Sleeve.

Click on image for a larger version

long stem float rig


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