Head to Head - Pole Versus Running Line

Head to Head - Pole Versus Running Line

In this great new video we pit Mick Fordham and Colin Sheppard head-to-head in a pole versus running line challenge. How will they fair and who will win?

Watch by hitting the play button below or find the video (and hundreds more) on our YouTube channel.

uni reel line 1

Black Magic Uni Reel Line

Black Magic Uni Reel Line

This great value new line from Browning is ideal for tough feeder and float fishing.


The brown colour is almost invisible in water, especially when silhouette against the lake bed. Designed with excellent abrasion resistance and knot strength, this is a tough line that can stand the rigours of feeder fishing for big fish.


Available in a range of breaking strains from 4.5lb (0.17mm) to 12.6lb (0.27mm) on great value bulk spools.


Find out more here – https://tackle-box.eu/en/p/2388017/

uni reel line 2

Keep up to date with all our latest match news here.

Find out more about our team of anglers here.


Visit the Browning interactive product catalogue here.

sphere mgti cover

Sphere MgTi Reels

Sphere MgTi Reels

If you are looking for a top-quality reel for float and light feeder work, without breaking the bank, then you need to check out the Sphere MgTi Reels range. For the money, these have some exceptional features that set them apart.

The 30-size reel is the perfect partner for the Sphere 10’ Bomb +10% for catching carp on the mini Method feeder and straight lead on Commercial Fisheries. The incredibly low weight of this set-up belies the quality and carp-stopping power it has, enabling me to land big carp quicker than ever before.  At just 250grams the 30-size reel really hits the spot for both leger and float work. 

The carbon fibre drag on these reels is absolutely silky-smooth, ideal if you like to play fish off a tight clutch. Alternatively, the lack of play in the machined handle means that backwinding is a lot more precise than on many reels. You can let the reel do the work without worrying about whether it will give line at their crucial moment. 

Talking of precision, the line-lay is superb, thanks to the two-speed spool oscillation and stainless steel main shaft. This definitely aids accurate casting, thanks to the smoothness that the line leaves the spool. Many anglers worry about damaging their main line when clipping up to give consistent distance, but the ‘line-friendly’ clip on the Sphere really lives up to its name.

It might be the least important factor of all, but the MgTi reels looks awesome too. A real masterpiece of design that sets off the Sphere rods perfectly. The Sphere MgTi reels really are a quality piece of kit.

Available in 20, 30, 40, and 50 sizes to cover all of your float and feeder fishing. 

sphere mgti reel 3
sphere mgti 4

Line lay on the Sphere reels is brilliant, giving longer, more accurate casts.

sphere mgti 5

The compact body a light weight make the Sphere MgTi reels ideal for float and light feeder work.

Keep up to date with all our latest match news here.

Find out more about our team of anglers here.


Visit the Browning interactive product catalogue here.


Great Value Float Fishing Combo!

Tim Bruce takes a look at this brilliant value float fishing combo from Browning.


Find out more about the Black Magic FD430 here – https://tackle-box.eu/en/p/0342020

A great quality and durable front drag reel with all the advanced features needed when targeting quality fish. The ultra smooth and strong gear set is reliable when the pressure is on – these reels won’t let you down. These reels look good with a classy, subdued finish that matches our Black Magic range.


Find out more about the CFW Waggler Rod here – https://tackle-box.eu/en/p/12202390

CFX is the latest Browning rod range to carry the famous Black Magic® name. The new high-modulus carbon blanks are incredibly slim, but also tough and durable to give many years reliable service. The rods perform well beyond their price and are true “do anything” rods. The range includes float, feeder and bomb rods. The CFX Match rods are perfect general purpose float rods with the classic “waggler rod” action through the top and middle sections. Available in 2 lengths to cover all needs – lakes and rivers – small floats or large – plus a special “power match” version for fishing with heavy floats or bigger fish.

big roach 1

Trotting for roach on small streams

Trotting for roach on small streams - Justin Watkins

Every winter the tiny river Bourne, a tributary of the mighty river Thames see’s a massive migration of silver fish into it. This is probably to get away from predation, but for whatever reason it’s great news for anglers as it offers some fantastic fishing, predominantly for roach. 

For me it gives me some diversity and gets me away from the stillwater match scene and allows me to step back in time and remember the days when fishing such venues was commonplace. There’s a few miles of free fishing here at Chertsey Meads and today I’ve headed for the middle section which gets me away from the more pressured swims, however the swims are far tighter often with low overhanging trees to contest with. 

Bait couldn’t be easier, maggots and it allows me to use up any leftovers from the weekends matches. Bread punch is an option, especially when the rivers running really clear but today it has some colour which is good.

roach catch 1
stick float

Use a decent sized float so that you can hold the rig back without it being pulled off its line.

hooks to nylon

Sphere Match Hooks to Nylon are my choice for river fishing with maggots.

"On these tiny streams it’s a good idea to be stealthy..."

Tackle wise is also relatively simple and I’ve coupled my13ft Black Magic CFX match rod up with a Sphere MgTi 920 reel loaded with a 3lb floating mainline. At the business end is a 4×14 alloy stem stick, attached with three rubbers and this is shotted shirt button style with the size of shot decreasing as it nears the hook and the space between increasing which allows the bait falls through the water naturally and when edged through the swim the bait is slightly ahead of the float which makes hitting fast roach bites easier. Hook length is a pre-tied and shortened Sphere Match size 16 barbed hook containing two red maggots.  


On these tiny streams it’s a good idea to be stealthy and although I have bought a seat box this was set up well away from the bank and quietly poisoned along with everything else so the fish weren’t spooked straight away. In all honesty if I was going to fish all day then I would bring just the minimal amount of kit and rove around yet with just three hours at my disposal, and with a reliable swim available I’ve opted to stay put and try and build it slowly.

First few trots through with a lighter rig simply see’s tiny bleak and roach so a quick change to a heavier float and upping the feed slightly slowly see’s a few better roach netted. Ninety minutes later and the roach are coming thick and fast, mostly net fish to around 12oz along with the odd skimmer and perch. If I had more time I would be doing this so much more as it’s so enjoyable and rewarding and come the end of the session I’m amazed at what I’ve caught from such a small stream, there must be getting on for 20lb in the net including my first ever silver bream!

If you have a river close by then it’s really worth checking out, especially where it flows though rural areas as these can be full of fish at this time of year.

Justin Watkins

sphere reel

Treat your line so that it floats as this allows for a clean strike when you get a bite.

maggots for fishing

A couple of pints of maggots are all you need for this simple fishing.

big roach fishing

Small streams can hold some surprisingly big roach.

Keep up to date with all our latest match news here.

Find out more about our team of anglers here.


Visit the Browning interactive product catalogue here.

NEW VIDEO - Bolo Fishing on the river Wye

We join Rory Jones on the brilliant river Wye in Hereford as he runs through his Bolo fishing tactics. If you are interested in float fishing on rivers then this video is a must watch, with tons of top tips and insight into how to fish the Bolo.


Hit the play button to watch now, or find this, and many other videos, on the Browning Europe YouTube channel.

chub fishing 1

Float Fishing with Bread for Chub

Float Fishing with Bread for Chub

One of my highlights of each winter is heading south to sample the fantastic coarse fishing on Hampshire’s River Test. In particular, float fishing with bread for chub.

Predominantly a game river, many beats open their doors to the hoards of coarse anglers willing to pay for an expensive day ticket and go in search of one of our most graceful and obliging winter species, the grayling, and I’m one of them! 

Plan B

Don’t get me wrong, on a frosty bright day, when the rivers running crystal clear  you just can’t beat catching ‘The Lady of the Stream’, however once booked, if the river conditions aren’t favourable and it has a tinge of colour then it’s worth having a plan B, and for me its trotting bread for chub.

Key areas

Chub swims often reveal themselves on grayling days with the odd accidental capture, yet if I didn’t know a stretch of river the two areas that I would look for first are drop offs, where shallow water abruptly drops away into deeper water, or creases, where fast and calm water meet, often found directly below wooden structures to increase the flow, at the back end of a pool or where the main flow is directed past an object in the water such as a fallen tree or bank side bush. 

Use your loaf!

If allowed, bait choice would always me maggots, lots of them but unfortunately the beat I fish ban worms and maggots as the owners want to protect the salmon and if catching salmon parr, which love maggots, can be avoided then it has to be a good thing. Sweetcorn is an option, especially when grayling fishing but the next best bait to maggots, for chub has to be bread and you just can’t beat a couple of loaf of Warburtons. Bread mush is an option, but I prefer to liquidise a whole loaf, crusts as well, the night before and feed a small ball at a time through the swim. The other loaf is kept simply as hookbait.  

chub fishing with bread 2

Resist the temptation

It’s really important not to be greedy when float fishing for chub, even when using maggots, and its worth getting the chub competing before making the first cast by feeding a small ball of liquidised bread every few minutes. By doing this, in a swim that contains chub, you are almost guaranteed a chub first trot through and if you can repeat this process and resist that immediate next cast, then sport should be steady all day.

Avoiding an abrupt end

Something worth remembering when chub fishing is, if you are allowed its worth retaining chub in a keepnet, not for too long though, as returning them into the swim will see an abrupt end to sport as a disturbed chub returns to the shoal and spooks them. Unfortunately retaining any fish on most game beats is banned so if this is the case then its best to return each fish fifty yards up or downstream.

Refined but robust

Chub are masters at finding any bank side vegetation so tackle used must be refined enough to get a bite but robust enough to extract each and every fish hooked. Float control is also vital as if the bait is passing through the swim quicker than the flow then it will be simply ignored so a 15ft, even a 17ft will provide that extra control. I use the fantastic Sphere 15’6 Spiced-Tip River Rod and team this up with MgTi 930 Reel loaded with Black Magic Gold 0.17mm/4.50lb mono. Although length is important when choosing a rod, its weight and action is also vital as it needs to be light enough to hold all day, the Sphere 15’6 weighs just 175g and has an action classified as ultra-fast and stiff, ideal for picking the line and hitting those bites, yet its soft forgiving 50cm solid carbon tip is perfect when using fine lines and small hooks. Reel choice is also important and in some most cases, especially when grayling fishing, a centerpin just can’t be beaten, yet many of the chub swims here on the Test mean trotting close to the far bank and this is where a fixed spool reel comes into play, just ensure its small enough so that your finger can cover and trap the line coming of the front of the spool. As for the rig itself this consists of a big float, one that is man enough to dominate the swim. Big traditional stick floats are ok, but on these fast flowing, often turbulent swims I prefer alloy stems and you just can’t beat Dave Harrell No1 Alloy Stem Avon’s and I keep a range of sizes to hand from 2g right up to 6g! To shot these floats I use an inline olivette, the same weight as the float (these floats take a bit more shot than stated), and trap it above the hook length with two No6 shot. The hook length, which is usually around twelve to eighteen inches and created from Cenex Hybrid Power Mono is attached to the mainline on a simple loop-to-loop basis and apart from a further No6 and two No8 spaced evenly to the hook the rig is finished off with the non-forgiving, sharp and reliable Beast in a size 12.

chub float fishing tackle

Hybrid Mono hook lengths and Beast hooks give me total reliability. 

chub float fishing olivette

Use an olivette to create a tangle-free bulk shot.

chub float fishing reel

Sphere MgTi fixed spool, perfect in this situation thanks to its brilliant line-lay and precision front drag.

Don’t forget

Two vital items of tackle are a bait apron which contains the bait and avoids constantly bending down and a peaked cap which makes spotting bites easier due to it blocking any unnecessary glare off the water.

Tricky one

For today’s session I’ve picked a reliable but extremely tricky swim, one where rapid shallows drop away into deeper water. It would be great if the chub were on the near bank but the bank side cover on the far bank mean that’s where they live. The rivers faster than normal and carrying some colour so although I’m confident of catching, it’s not going to be plain sailing but certainly far more productive than if I were to fish for grayling!

Bare hook reward

Can you believe it, whilst trotting through with a bare hook and getting my depth set I’ve hooked a chub, fair and square in the bottom lip. Things go to plan with a number of chub gracing the net in the first couple of hours before a dull in action but persisting a further four cracking chub fall in as many casts before two more late in the day send me home a very contented angler.

Chomping at the bit!

Can’t wait for a return; maybe for a grayling session next time, but how can I ignore such a fantastic chub swim.

Colin Sheppard

chub float fishing

Colin’s Float Fishing for Chub Tackle

Sphere 15’6 Sliced-Tip River Rod

Sphere MgTi 930 Reel

3g Alloy Avon Stick Float

Inline 3g Olivette

Black Magic Gold 0.17mm/4.50lb Mono

Cenex Hybrid Power Mono 0.12mm/3.70lb Hook Length

Sphere Beast size 12 Hook

No 6 and No8 Split Shot

Colin’s Bait

Two loaves of Warburton medium sliced bread  

Keep up to date with all our latest match news here.

Find out more about our team of anglers here.


Visit the Browning interactive product catalogue here.

chub float rig 1

Float Rig for Chub

Float Rig for Chub

Float fishing for chub with big baits such as bread and meat, is a brilliant way to spend those cold winter mornings. Simple, robust gear is all you need in a float rig for chub, and in this article Colin Sheppard looks at the gear he uses when fishing fast flowing rivers for winter chub with bread.

float rig for chub 1

  1. Firstly make sure you use an abrasion resistant mainline, I use Black Magic Gold 0.17mm / 4.50lb.    

float rig for chub 2

2. Thread four rubbers onto the line, a big one first followed by three small ones.  

chub float rig 3

3. Choose the right float, one big enough to dominate the swim, a 4g Alloy Avon is often my first choice.  

chub float rig 4

4. Attach the float with the big rubber that goes over the tip and then pulled down to the floats shoulder.  

chub float rig 5

5. Pull the three small rubbers onto the alloy stem. Three rubbers stop the float moving on the strike or whilst playing a fish. 

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6. The first rubber is positioned at the top of the stem.  

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7. The second float rubber goes in the middle of the wire stem. 

float rig chub 8

8. The third float rubber goes at the bottom of the wire stem. 

chub float rig 9

9. Thread an inline olivette onto the mainline. If I’m using a 4g float, I use a 4g olivette.

chub float 10

10. Using a figure of eight knot create a loop in the mainline.

chub float rig 11

11. Lock the olivette onto the mainline with a no6 shot either side.

chub float rig 12

12. Choose the right hook length and hook, Sphere size 12 hooks to nylon are great, especially when using bread.

chub float rig 14

13. Remove a hook length from the spool and reduce the length of this to around eighteen inches and create a loop using a figure of eight knot.

chub float rig 16

14. Place this loop through the mainline loop. Then pass the hook through the hook length loop. Pull straight and tighten down.

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15. Add a no6 shot around twelve inches up the hook length.

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16. Add two no8 shot, evenly spaced between the hook and larger shot.

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17. The final rig, robust enough to land any chub in the fast flowing, shallow swims. 

chub float rig components


Black Magic Gold 0.17mm/4.50lb Mono

4g Alloy Stem Avon Float

Four Float Rubbers

4g Inline Olivette

Sphere Beast size 12 to 0.16mm Hook Length

No 6 and No8 Split Shot.

Keep up to date with all our latest match news here.

Find out more about our team of anglers here.


Visit the Browning interactive product catalogue here.

float fishing for chub

Float Fishing for Chub

We join Colin Sheppard in this new video as he goes float fishing for chub with simple trotting bread tactics. A great way to spend a winter’s day, catching these lovely hard-fighting fish using simple tactics.


Hit the play button below to watch on our website, or find it on the Browning Europe YouTube channel now.


Keep up to date with all our latest match news here.

Find out more about our team of anglers here.


Visit the Browning interactive product catalogue here.

Black Magic SLF Bolo Fishing Trent

Black Magic SLF Bolo Rods

It is on big rivers like the Trent where the Black Magic SLF Bolo Rods really come into their own. Often, you need a long rod that will give better line control when trying to run a float through and match the pace of the river. The Bolo combines many of the benefits of a normal float rod with those of a pole. 

Even when the float is held back quite hard the length of the Bolo rods means that it will track straighter as it runs downstream and not be pulled off line. Don’t be afraid to use a big float carrying 5 grams or more to help with stability.

The Black Magic SLF Bolo rods are a great choice if you are new to this style of fishing, as they are reasonably priced, well balanced, and with a fast action that will help you hit more bites.

Available in lengths between 5m and 8m, these telescopic rods balance well when combined with a normal 30-size match reel, such as the Sphere MgTi. 

Fitted with quality rings that have a nice high stand-off that stops the line from sticking to the blank. The reel seat is the traditional adjustable clamp style that is common on Bolo rods. The handle has a lovely non-slip finish that keeps the diameter down, but stops it from moving under your elbow. 

On tricky days, especially when there is a strong down-stream wind, the Bolo can allow you to fish further down your peg than with a pole, and with better control than a normal float rod, making it a must-have in my rod holdall. 

Black Magic SLF Bolo Rods are available in the following lengths: 

5m – 5 sec – 240g

6m – 6 sec – 310g

7m – 7 sec – 470g

8m – 7 sec – 530g


Keep up to date with all our latest match news here.

Find out more about our team of anglers here.


Visit the Browning poles website here.

Black Magic SLF Bolo 1

The Black Magic SLF Bolo rods are available in a range of different lengths.

Black Magic SLF Bolo 2

The reel is securely fixed in place on the handle.

Black Magic SLF Bolo 3

The non-slip handle is just the right length and balances these long rods well.