The majestic “Lady Of The Stream” becomes the target quarry for most game anglers after the trout and salmon seasons come to a close. However, most anglers will target these magnificent species using fly tactics. In this article, we will show you how to tie a float trotting rig for grayling and how to fish it, a fun and exhilarating form of angling that provides another weapon to your grayling fishing.

grayling fishing Scotland

When the conditions are right, trotting for grayling can be a successful style of angling, with fish often being caught on-the-drop as well as when the hookbait is tripping along the riverbed. Ensuring the float and shotting have been perfectly balanced correctly will help avoid tangles and to present a quick-sinking bait. Use a float with a thick buoyant tip that resists being dragged off line or under when the hookbait catches the bottom. An alloy stem float will minimise the amount of drag on the float providing a more natural presentation in the flow and also allows you to control your float more accurately – in the current as well as the cast. Bulk the shot evenly to ensure a constant sinking rate and to avoid tangles. If you follow these simple steps your set-up will work effectively giving you some fantastic sport.



1. Thread on two float bands to your mainline, then trap the alloy stem float between the two bands. This will allow you to adjust the depth of your rig.

2. Next tie on a size 14 rig swivel to your line, this will be the connection between your mainline and hooklength. The swivel will reduce line twist which may be caused by the maggot hook bait as they are a likely to spin in the current – causing an unwanted twist in the hooklength. Alternatively, a loop to loop connection can be used if a more finesse approach is desired.

size 18 rig swivel

3. Cut a piece of 4lb fluorocarbon line and tie it to the end of the swivel, this will be the start of your hooklength.

4 inch hooklength

4. Your hooklength should be 4 – 6″ long, tie in the size 12 – 14 size maggot hook. Grayling are not hook shy and we do on occasion even go as big as a size 10.

5. Add your bulk AAA shot 3 – 4 inches above the size 14 rig swivel, this will allow your hookbait get down to the river bed quick and deter nuisance species from picking up your bait. TOP TIP: Match your float and shot to your conditions and river size.

bulk shot

complete float rig


Once set up you need to ensure the float is fishing at the correct depth, to do this, try and gain inside knowledge from locals of the river you are fishing. Then set your float to this depth as a rough measurement. TOP TIP: To alter the depth accurately, hold the hook at the butt section of the rod and then use the guides as a depth marker. Remember you want the bulk shot to bounce along the bottom of the riverbed, keeping the bait close to the riverbed.

grayling float fishing

Once happy with the running depth of the float, allow the float to trot down the river, if the float is running too deep you will see the float go under as it snags the bottom. We do recommend carrying out these initial trots with an unbaited hook, this will indicate a truer depth reading and will not be mistaken for a fish.


Once satisfied with the running depth, throw a hand full of loose feed maggots into the swim, then followed by your float. The loose feed will encourage fish to feed confidently and bring them into the area you’re fishing – if they’re present.


A catapult is beneficial for presenting loose feed maggots accurately

When trotting your float down the river, it pays to manage the line out with your forefinger, if a bow starts forming in the line, stop the line from peeling off the spool and allow the line to straighten up. Not only will this keep you in constant contact with the float. It will also allow your bait to swing up through the water column in front of the float, allowing you to cover water more efficiently.



When fishing a stretch of river, don’t write it off if you have not had any takes. The fish might be present but are possibly finicky. Try and scale down your tackle. By this, we mean lighter breaking strains of hooklengths and smaller hooks. For example a 2lb hook length and size 18 hook. These subtle changes could make the difference.


Float fishing is a very effective method of targeting Winter grayling, hopefully, after reading this article, you will have a better understanding on how to target these fine species with the correct float fishing tackle and how to tackle a river. Why not give it a go and let us know how you get on.

For more information on Grayling fishing or float fishing tactics, please feel free to contact the Angling Active team.