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Gardner Suspender Float

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Gardner Suspender Float
With the current run of reasonable weather (reasonable by British Summer Time standards anyway!) this week the L.A has been doing a tackle test on the Gardener Suspender Float. [see external link below] According to Gardners web-blurb “a unique Gardner product, the suspender is a hugely successful floater controller that catches the cagiest surface feeding carp thanks to its ingenious design”. Now here at L.A we are not entirely convinced that it is 100% unique as other similar, albeit slightly more over-engineered products are out there on the market, however it is certainly a reasonably unusual and innovative design and it by far the cheapest of this type of suspender float which you can currently buy. In essence, the float consists of a hard plastic tube with a brass weight at one end and a movable buoyant sponge ball which is used to counter balance the weight. You thread your line The suspender float
through the plastic tube and attach a 6” hooklength with a hair-rigged floating bait on the end. With a bit of tweaking, you are supposed to be able to present a floating bait without any line lay on the water next to it which could spook wary surface feeding carp.

Now the theory of this float is at heart a brilliant idea, enabling people to fish the beach-caster method which is deadly effective for catching carp off the top, without the complicated set-up and without the associated risks of having fish trailing huge quantities of line behind them if they snag off. However, as with so many theories, communism, government guidelines on alcohol consumption etc, the practical application somewhat falls down. Not too much thought seems to have been given to the design of the float, ignoring the fact that the sponge ball becomes, to all intents and purposes a cylinder when sitting in
Diagram of the Suspender float
the water, and in all but total mill-pond windless conditions, the float has a tendency to spin and it is quite common for the hook length to start winding itself around the plastic tube meaning that you end up having to recast more frequently that you would like, particularly if you are trying to avoid spooking shy-feeding fish. It is also incredibly un-hydrodynamic (that’s probably a made up word but you get the idea) and with perceived wisdom while surface float fishing to cast beyond where you are baiting up and slowly pull your bait into the swim, these flaws mean the float has a tendency to pull to one side or another, pretty much anywhere apart from where you are trying to get it, meaning that your hook bait is not in the area where the fish are feeding, and thus, you are far less likely to catch.

Another downside of the design of the float is a massive increase in line bites.
As your mainline comes out of the counterweight which is a few inches below the surface of the water, there is far more chance of feeding carp snagging on the line while they are swimming below your bait before they even have a chance to get to it. The L.A team watched puzzled several times as the line shot rod from their rod with the float and bait on the surface remaining totally untouched.

One of the few positives of the suspender is that having a short length of line hanging out of the water means that inquisitive wildfowl are unlikely to try to take your hook bait, one of the major headaches of surface fishing, however the L.A team found that most birds were quickly able to distinguish exactly which was the hook bait and still polished off everything else, leaving you no better off than if you were controller float fishing.

The people at Gardner suggest that the suspender float is ideally suited for fishing baits in close to lilly beds, however this would raise the question in our mind, if you are close to lilly beds, chances are that you are fishing in close anyway, so why bother with a float at all.

As mentioned earlier, the theory of the suspender float is great, however there is so much tweaking required in order to try and make it an effective fishing tool, and so many variables, some such as the weather, beyond an anglers control, it just ends up being more complex than the beachcaster method which it is trying to replace.

A far more effective method of surface fishing is simply tying a hook length directly to your main line, possibly with a few small rubber balls attached. With careful casting, you can flick a surface bait out 20 feet or more quite easily, with virtually no splash on the surface to scare off wary fish. Where greater distances are required, traditional controller floats are on the market in abundance and are both simple and effective to use. Indeed, new controller floats, such as the in-line range which has been produced by Korum provide a solution that will enable you to surface fish at distance without worrying about a large splash when the float hits the water as they are designed for minimum impact, and thus minimum splash when they hit the water.

In summary, while it looks like the Gardner Suspender Float fills a niche in the summer surface fishing market, it fails to really deliver and few anglers are unlikely to use it on a regular basis. While cheaper than other similar products on the market, with an RRP of £4.99 it is by no means a give-away and probably falls more into the category of designed to catch the angler rather than the fish.

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Have to say this kind of looks like one of those items that you find yourself buying more because you believe the hype on the packaging rather than using a bit of common sense.

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