I have to admit to being a bit of an anorak when it comes to pole floats. The ‘T.B.F.’ in these, for those that don’t know, stands for Tunnel Barn Farm; the Midlands fishery that has helped pioneer the F1 carp as one of the number one target fish for match anglers in the UK.

If you have fished for F1s you will know how shy biting they can be – even the big ones, and especially so in colder weather. They bite like crucian carp, so they are a challenge alright and the real beauty is that they feed all year round, so you can catch them long after the carp have shut up shop for the winter.

There are few better exponents at F1 fishing than former Tunnel Barn Farm fishery manager Pete Rice, who has won more opens at the Shrewley day ticket water than anyone can remember (including himself!).

Pete has designed the T.B.F. floats specifically for F1 fishing, and there are several key features to an otherwise fairly ordinary looking float that make them stand out.

For a start they are all very light – the biggest size is 4×14 and they go down to a 3×8. It’s the ideal float for fishing with light baits like pellet or maggot.

The make-up of the float is important. The stem is cane, a much better material than wire when you are catching a lot of big fish because it’s robust, yet does not bend. It’s not as stable as wire in very choppy or windy weather, but otherwise is generally a better choice in my opinion.

The elongated, streamlined balsa body presents minimal resistance and the tip/bristle is cane. This is important too. Cane is a very dense wood that almost sinks, and therefore gives the angler a bristle they can readily see, but that is easy to shot very sensitively.

And it needs to be sensitive, one of these floats might only take three or four No10 or No11 shot or Stotz, but even with such a light float an F1 bite in cold water might only be a tremble of the bristle.

The final point to note is that there’s no side eye. This is not an accidental omission. The side eye is the weakest point of the float and Pete decided the float was much better fastened with silicone around the bristle than using an eye.

Pete actually only uses two pieces of silicone on his float set-ups – one on the tip and the second at the base of the stem. This is not (he insists) because he’s a cheapskate, but he insists that using three float rubbers upsets the balance of the float and shotting set-up.

The Pete Rice T.B.F. floats have become my favoured pattern for fisheries dominated by F1s when conditions are favourable.


Price: £1.50 each or four for £5

Sizes: 3×8, 4×10, 4×12, 4×14

Available from Tunnel Barn Farm Fishery by emailing Sarah at the fishery at tunnel.barnfarm@virgin.net

Website: http://www.tunnelbarnfarm.co.uk/




The Pete Rice T.B.F. floats are ideal for F1 fishing when weather conditions are favourable.