Sunday, 25 August 2013

Crow Quill Zoomers

A short time ago I noticed some floats a forum friend had been using whilst out Roach Fishing & they looked quite smart, so I contacted him to find out where he had got the idea and it turns out they came from an old book he recently purchased.

"I picked up a copy of "Match Angling" by Bill Bartles a few days ago, Bill was a match angling legend in Sheffield in the 60s and 70s. Looking through the section on floats I came across one I hadn't see before and surprisingly traditional in design for a match angler, called the Crow-Zoomer"

My friend had dabbled in making them and the results he produced were what I had seen and commented on so I decided to dabble in a few for myself. They are all loaded with weight in the base of the float, which I have done by the means of a brass insert inside the base of the float.

As yet I have only tried them in my shotting bottle with being unable to get onto the bank at present, so judgement is still out on how they will perform.

I made 3 different sizes, but all with the 3" Crow quill protrusion as this was found to be the most efficient in the original write up by Bill Bartles.


  1. Bill was an amazing angler. He really should be credited with inventing the "Zoomer" style of float. His secrecy was his downfall...

    He tried to keep the subtle design to himself at first, as it was his secret weapon for getting right to the other bank of the Witham and the big drains during the very big matches. He knew all the best fish would be scared to the other side of the river by the crowds of spectators, media folk and the judges who kept patrolling by on the skyline. He won a good number of times with this ploy.

    He was actually a very generous angler with his knowledge, when he left the match circuit.

    It was uncanny how he seemed to know when a fish was going to take his fly or bait. He was superbly proficient in any discipline of our glorious Sport.

    I think Bill's floats had lead inserts. The Midlands lads used brass, once they understood what on Earth Bill was doing with his floats. I also think the Midlands lads came up with the name "Zoomer". No matter, Bill was the first with the design...


  2. HI RR,
    Since this post I've been sent Bill's sketches and his write up about the zoomers, he uses fuse wire in his design to weigh them but still an ingenious method.

  3. Zoomer - there's a name from the past. As a Midlander I well recall my father introducing me to zoomer float fishing in the early 70's. I equally well recall using porcupine quills as standard float fare and I equally experimented in making floats for my canal and river fishing, mainly loaded sarcandas inserts and peacock wagglers. Happy Days.

  4. Thanks for posting Colin, I was more familiar with the loaded sarkandas Reed and floats from the Billy Lane stable as I am an avid fan of his work but when I saw Bills Crow Quill Zoomer I took an instant liking to I as its unusual and not many seen around.
    Cheers G


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