Of all the angling innovations that have impressed me over the last 10 years or more, one of the best must surely be the Cralusso Torpedo float. It’s a float that makes you sit up and wonder what kind of brain worked out that particular form of float design. When I first produced a feature on Cralusso flat floats, I highlighted the various prototypes that led to the development of the final Torpedo shape. This was a enormous intellectual feat for Cralusso company director, float designer and Hungarian match star Karoly Kralik.

So when I heard that they'd brought out a new range of wagglers, the Rocket and UFO, I was intrigued. I looked at the floats and what they had to offer but I must admit that my first reaction was a bit disappointing. I don’t know why but I was expecting something totally revolutionary, but what I saw looked a little gimmicky and seemed quite expensive. As the year progressed I heard lots of things about these wagglers. Some reflecting my initial reaction, but others, such as those from 2X World Champion Tamas Walter, claim that these are the best range of wagglers the's fished with. Stories abound that these new 'missiles', especially the Rocket, will outcast both normal and big wagglers by anything up to 10 metres!
With so much 'hype' being talked about them, I swallowed my initial misgivings and 'begged' some Rocket and UFO samples from Cralusso's UK distributors, Angling Concepts in Hayes, Middlesex. The garish blue and yellow float bodies came with some nice tips and bristles. But I come from the old school of angling which believes that the best wagglers are made from natural materials such as peacock quills and that no plastic wagglers can come close to them... yet here I was testing them! The suspicion that I had the word 'MUG' invisibly tattooed across my forehead was difficult to shake off! That was until I started fishing with the Rocket. The first few casts left me totally stunned. It seemed to fly out straight, with little or no effort from me, cutting through a strong side wind and landing with a very discrete splash. I fished with it for a day, taking a couple of bream, at a distance I would normally never have reached. I left the bank with a totally revised opinion. These certainly seemed to be something out of the ordinary and would warrant serious examination into just how good they were. Which brings me to the basis for this month’s test and how they'd actually compare when lined up against their classic counterparts?

 The 'Contenders'
I fished a couple of different venues during this test, spread over several weeks just to get a subjective comparison. Fishing at distances between 25 and 35 metres, I concentrated on just two sizes, 6 and 8 grams, although I did have a quick fling with the 10 and 12 gram models, just to see how they cast (the findings proved the same as the lighter models). What I did was to use quick-change waggler adaptors so I could swap the floats around, on the same rig, during the sessions. This genuinely allowed me to compare one waggler against its rival.
I used three models for the test, the two new Cralusso patterns and a classic peacock loaded waggler, the Perfect Match Winner. The purpose would be whether the Cralusso's were as good as they say. I could have chosen any standard bodied waggler, from any manufacturer, but I picked the Perfect as a 'typical' big wagg. This would represent all the standard bigg wagglers out there. I wasn't trying to compare a whole series of bodied wagglers but rather focus on whether these new Cralusso floats truly lived up to the hype and justify their price tag!
Here's a quick look at the specifications of our three contenders:

The Cralusso Rocket
This is the flagship of the new Cralusso range. The main features of these floats are:

  1. The long distance casting attachment on the side of the float. This is an elongated wire loop on the side of the float which allows the adapter to slide up the float body during casting, making sure that the rig always follows behind.
  2. The long distance casting attachment on the side of the float. This is an elongated wire loop on the side of the float which allows the adapter to slide up the float body during casting, making sure that the rig always follows behind.
  3. A long profiled body with golf ball style dimples on it, which is supposed to aid casting and stability.
  4. Body made from polyurethane which will not take on water. This is the same material used on the famous Torpedo flat floats.
  5. An interchangeable bristle system with up to 20 options, from long thin bristles to hollow high-visibility tips.
  6. Clear plastic stem that will not take on water or bend if exposed to very strong sunlight.
  7. An adjustable float stem which lets you fine tune the shotting simply by sliding the stem higher or lower. This has graduated markings to let you gauge just how much you are affecting the floats shotting capacity.
  8. The shotting capacity stated on the float allows for a maximum weight of around one gram down the line. The weight at the base of the float is fixed but there are small weighted shot balls which can be locked inside the stem of the float. These can be removed or added to, in order to increase or decreased to amount of shot you may require down the line.

The Cralusso UFO
This is the second of the new Cralusso wagglers. I wanted to test this float side by side the Rocket because the features are the same, with the exception of the sliding bar. The main difference with this float is that it has a normal weighted swivel attachment at the base of the float. This would show an ideal comparison as to whether the Rocket's sliding bar made any difference to the overall casting performance.

The Perfect Match Winner
It seemed logical to me to compare the two Cralusso wagglers with a conventional loaded bodied waggler. So I picked the Perfect Winner, and although they may be difficult to get in the UK, they represent the average bodied wagglers that are available in most tackle outlets, they feature:

  1. An elongated balsa body.
  2. A straight thick peacock stem.
  3. Two interchangeable hollow bristles
  4. Adjustable brass rings in the base allow for weight variations down the line.

These are well made classic peacock wagglers of the type we are all used to fishing with. These would give a clear comparison and indication of the Cralusso's abilities.

The the basic rig used for the test and tackle breakdown
Rod: Normark Avenger 3.90m (13ft). This is an original Normark rod and one of the best medium to big waggler rods ever built. It has a subtle power in the blank and a forgiving, yet authoritative action when playing fish. I've had this for years and apart from the old style reel fittings, I think it is ideal for this type of work.
Reel: Shimano Stradic 4000. Again a classic and well made reel which was built to last.
Line: Gamakatsu G-Line 0.18mm. This is a relatively strong reel line and has a stated breaking strain of 3.4 kilos (or 7.5lbs) at this diameter.
Shotting: One of the great advantages of this sort of test is the ability to alternate the test floats without changing the rig being used. This guarantees that the test floats are always casting the same rig. On all the trips I made for these tests, I standardised the rig with a bulk down the line of two or three number 4 shot, followed by a couple of number 8’s with a size 22 micro swivel for attaching the hooklength.

Waggler attachments
In keeping with the spirit of the test, I also managed to get my hands on Cralusso's new waggler attachments. They have two models, a classic peg attachment and the more unusual anti–tangle adaptor. Both are fixed in the same way. You thread the two plastic sleeves onto the line first, then to fix the float you pass the line round the plastic peg twice and lock with the silicones. The anti-tangle link looked a bit strange at first, with a long angled wire down from the float. There seemed to be quite a step away from the base of the float to where the line was going to be falling to the bottom. Once again I looked at the attachment and thought that this was another gadget which has been invented for the sake of inventing something. Well, I was wrong again!
The standard link worked as expected, but the anti-tangle rig was even better. I fished in some tricky wind conditions and the adaptor worked really well. It didn't tangle and certainly kept the rig away from the body of the float during the cast. I do, however, have a couple of minor criticisms of the build of the actual attachments themselves. First I would have liked the actual link section on the swivel to be properly rounded rather than its angled manufacture. Secondly I would have preferred the top of the peg attachment to be sealed (right). On one occasion, the line got trapped behind the swivel itself and as a result I was unable to move the adaptor which forced me to break the rig down because I had created a weak spot on the line. These apart, the two attachments are basically well-made and the anti-tangle link does help when using awkward groups of shotting fairly close to the float in strong winds.

CASTING – Distance
The first test day I fished into a large bay between two islands on one of my favourite venue's, Marsh Farm in Surrey. There was a blustery crosswind, blowing right to left, which created a reasonable chop on the water. The bay extended some 35 metres out from the bank so I started with the 6 gram Rocket and cast it right across the bay. I clipped up and cast it comfortably another eight or ten times, just to check the distance and see how it landed. Each time, the float hit the clip gently and the rig straightened behind it... perfect. My plan was to cast to the clip every time then sink the rod tip under the water and give five turns to sink the line. This would pull me out of the bay onto the edge of the main channel where I wanted to feed and fish.

My friend Mick had joined me and was chatting and watching what I was doing. I was all set up and happy with my plan so I decided to quickly check the other floats for casting, just to make sure I could swap easily during the day. This was were I ran into my first problem, or rather my first result! Initially using 6 gram floats for all three models, I found that the UFO couldn't hit the clip when cast with the same pressure as the Rocket, neither could the Perfect as both fell short by some 3 or 4 metres. In order to reach the clip with these two floats I had to step up to a the 10gr models! This effectively meant an extra 4 grams of loading in order to match the Rocket, quite an initial eye-opener. While I'm not claiming that the Rocket is an extra 10 metres better than its rivals, as some have stated, there was at least a consistent and comfortable 4-5 metre margin between them, perhaps even more.

Why the extra distance?
The only factor that could explain the difference in distance between the wagglers was the casting bar on the Rocket. But why exactly does this make the float fly further?

First the transmission of power from the back-cast to the forward-cast is much cleaner when the float can slide forward on the cast, rather than being fixed and restricted. This is an odd thing to explain, but when I cast either of the two fixed wagglers I could feel the float pivoting on the swivel as I went through the casting motion. On the Rocket there was no such feeling whatsoever, the whole process felt incredibly smooth as I believe a lot less power is lost during the casting motion itself.

 The second reason is the main claim from Cralusso themselves. They point out that because the shot flies behind the float, as it slides up the bar, the float travels through the air lower and therefore further. I agree with this although it took me a while to believe it.

When you cast a Rocket you start with the waggler attachment in the usual position, namely at the base of the float with the float hanging down like other wagglers. On the forward-cast the idea is that the waggler attachment slides up the bar, dragging the rig behind the float, with the base of the float pushing out in front. This allows it to travel lower and with more momentum as it doesn't seem to have the initial drag factor of the rig. The Rocket effectively gives several inches head start in the floats initial power surge.

To be honest, I didn't quite believe or understand what was happening at first. When you cast the float it looks like a normal waggler, and when you bring it back it still acts like a normal float. When you fish with one you can’t see the attachment sliding as you cast. However, I wanted to try and take some pictures of the float travelling through the air as I cast to a swim about 30 metres away where my friend Mick was standing with a camera. Trying to pick out a float flying through the air at speed and against a background of either trees or sky is not easy task, but we got a few as close as we could. Not all the shots were in focus, but a few were sharp enough to notice one thing, that was to illustrate that on every cast through the air the float attachment was at the TOP of the bar, not at the base. Shot after shot, cast after cast, the waggler attachment slid up the bar to the back of the float every time, just like the attached diagram. Had I not seen the photographic evidence as well, I'm not sure that I would have quite believed the way in which these floats worked, but they DO and the bar system does seem to send the Rocket out to greater distances.

The golf ball style dimples on the Cralusso bodies seem to have little or no impact on casting distance. The UFO's cast about the same as the Perfect's, which don't have any dimples!
If the golf ball dimples were to be of any sort of factor in distance, then the UFO waggler would have outperformed the Perfect. This initial trial did not bear that out. The difference in distance between the Rocket and its counterparts seemed to be explained only by the bar on the side of the Rocket and the fact that the waggler attachment can slide backwards during the cast towards the rear of the body. I suppose you can liken it to a boat towing something behind it. It doesn't tow from the front because the weight would prove a hinderance to stability, direction and speed, therefore it's towed behind, or past the point of the ship's balance. In essence the trailing part of the rig acts like a rudder, both for direction and stability, while the point at which the float attachment settles at the rear of the bar creates a much more streamlined effect effectively allowing the float to travel further distances!

CASTING – Direction
So which wagglers flew the straightest during my test? Once again the camera shots will help illustrate what happened. Following another visit to Marsh Farm, this time with my eldest daughter Ruth we set up the camera with the intention of looking at how the wagglers landed in the water. To photograph the impact of the floats as they hit the water I asked her to use a powerful zoom lens on a tripod and then focus on an area of water which I would target for splash-down. I cast out with the Rocket about 30 metres and Ruth would set the focus on the splash. The long telephoto lens meant that Ruth was looking at the water down a narrow tube and could only see about two square metres of water. The idea was that she would take a quick burst of shots as the floats landed. With the Rocket we tried a few casts and got a couple of decent shots. Then we tried the same thing with the UFO and Perfect. Cast after cast they both skewed slightly to the right or left of the area, leaving Ruth with plenty of shots of the surface of the lake and occasionally a splash on the very edge of her frame but no float in the tight confines of the picture frame she'd focussed on.

Now the parameters we set for this may seem a little extreme, but it did highlight once again just how much better the Rocket's overall performance was, compared to the other two. The reason why they veered slightly left or right was because the wind was coming at an angle over my left shoulder. This meant that although the surface of the lake was relatively calm, the wind was picking up the wagglers in flight and sending them off course. You could see and feel it happening as the waggler shot out, only to be pulled a metre or so offline.


The Rocket undoubtedly flew truer than any other waggler. Our camera test at Marsh Farm was not the only piece of evidence of a straight and accurate course. We'd originally met up with MA.com's illustrious leader, Dave Johnson, on a large open expanse of water in Petersfield, Hampshire, renown for its bream shoals. Here you needed to get about 40 metres out to contact the resident bream shoals in the shallow water. It was a very windy day with gusts around the 35mph mark and I'd arrived with my son 'Little' David and ex-England Disabled team member Paul Chudyk. We all set up with Cralusso Rockets that day because nothing else looked as though it could cope with the gusty conditions. I fished in a reasonable sheltered area and could get away with a 6 gram float but Paul was fishing into the teeth of the wind so used the 12gr version and was able to cast and fish fairly tightly. It was clear at this early stage that the Rockets were cutting through the wind better than anything else. I believe it's ability to fly true is down to the streamlined effect and stability that its sliding bar and the trailing rig gives (similar to that of a boat's rudder) as it sits back on the sliding bar, something definitely lacked by the other two styles of float.

ENTERING THE WATER – the 'Splash' factor
There was a real craze several years ago in the UK for fishing with wagglers that deliberately entered the water with a lot of splashing. This was NOT what I wanted the wagglers on the test to do. I wanted to look at two things. Did the wagglers enter the water discretely once feathered onto the clip and did they come up quickly or dive deep on impact? Both aspects are related, of course, because if a waggler lands softly it tends not to dive too deep.

Here both the Cralusso wagglers outperformed the Perfect float. The Cralusso wagglers enter the water very discretely and come up quickly. When you straighten them and feather the entry the splash made by the waggler is only slightly more than the splash made by the hook bait landing. The Perfect wagglers landed with a bit more of a splash. Not too badly, by any means, but in a comparative test they were clearly less discrete.
This is down to two things in my opinion.

  1. The aerodynamic shape at the base of the floats. When you look at the shape of the loadings on the three floats side by side the Perfect waggler has the bulkiest and clumsiest weight loading. This is the classic brass rings system that is used by a lot of manufacturers. Both the Cralusso wagglers have gone with a non-adjustable loading which is much more profiled and streamlined. There are also those extra shot weights inside the body of the Cralusso which make the overall load less bulky and a bit more spread out along the body's shape.
  2. The golf ball dimples on the Cralusso's body! I've taken some delight, thus far, in pointing out that the dimples seemed to have had a negligible effect on the casting performance of the wagglers, but here I must confess that they do seem very smooth when the float both enters and comes out of the water. I suspect these dimples create a better control in water than air, a little bit like drag.

Both Cralusso wagglers entered the water smoothly. They are as discrete as any big waggler I've used of equivalent size and are very quickly into position ready for fishing. The only problem you may experience with the Rockets is if you haven’t properly laid the rig out before casting the float adaptor may still be at the top of the sliding bar. I did the odd cast like this at the start of fishing with these floats but this was more down to my bad casting and not feathering the float enough, rather than any design floor.

During my various tests, I fished in some tricky wind and drift conditions, as I've already mentioned. On some of the venues I had a very strong tow whipping across the lake and on other venues I had to cope with both bottom drift and surface skim. So how did the floats perform? Was there any difference in design and performance when they had to cope with wind and drift? The answer was a simple No. Once in the water, I found that all three performed well, so this is not a criticism of the floats and at no point in the test did I feel that if I put on one waggler I would catch better than if I had another one on.

There are a couple of fine details worth noting. One is that with the Cralusso wagglers you have more bristle options. In particular there are the long bristles which allow you to get the float a little lower down in the water, below any surface tow. Equally, you could buy some Perfect Match Sensitive wagglers which do exactly the same job, so it is not an inherent design issue with any one of the floats. There is however a case to be made for having the right floats and the right attachments with you.

The advantages of the Rocket waggler over the other two I tested have all been in terms of casting accuracy and distance. However, once in the water there were no discernable differences between the three floats. I cannot claim that a golf ball body had any effect of resistance to tow because I could detect none. The Cralusso wagglers whipped through the swim at exactly the same pace as the Perfects. On all three wagglers I had to drag the shot across the bottom to slow the bait down and once the wind had pulled a bow in the line no amount of dimples on the float body was going to hold it back. The same goes on the reaction of each float on the 'strike'. With the float adaptors working well all three wagglers performed cleanly on the strike.

One of the big selling points of the Cralusso wagglers is the degree of flexibility you get with each waggler. This goes from the bristle selection provided (which is excellent) to the calibration system employed. Let’s take a look at each in turn:

The Cralusso wagglers come with a range of bristles as standard and you can buy additional bristle packs separately to add to your options. Each bristle is attached with a thin piece of carbon into the tip of the float stem and this attachment is very secure and reliable. I particularly liked the large high-visibility hollow bristles and the long sensitive type bristles. The ability to quickly swap across such a range of bristles is an impressive and well thought out feature. My only criticism of the system is that if the bristles are so good and effective why did the float body itself have to be painted orange and yellow at the tip as well? I understand that you can fish it without a bristle but to be honest black would have been as good a colour as any. The result is that the garish tip looks strange when you add another bristle onto it and I felt it was a bit too much for my colour co-ordinated mind!

The Perfect wagglers come with two hollow bristles, one orange and one yellow. Both were fine, with the exception of one bristle which came off whilst fishing. There is the possibility with the Perfect floats to add a Match Sensitive waggler which has the long stemmed bristles, but there was no doubt that the Cralusso bristle system was more complete, as well as being well made and thought out.

Fine tuning the shotting
There is quite a degree of fine tuning possible with all the wagglers. On the Perfect floats you can take off one or more of the brass loading rings on the base of the float. This allows you to takeoff one or several of the rings. One advantage of the brass rings is you can actually take quite a bit of weight off the float and fish with more shot down the line if you need to. This is not possible with the Cralusso's as the main bulk loading is fixed weight.

In the 'Fine-Tuning' area the Cralusso's do take some beating. The main stem of the float is adjustable, being held by a small rubber ring in the base of the float. The stem can be moved in and out of the float body allowing you to make very fine adjustments on how the shotting of the float without touching the shot at all. For example if you want a bit more tip showing because the wind gets up just slide the stem out a fraction more, if you want to dot the float down more push it in. This is a real advantage and one I used a lot, particularly when swapping from one bristle to another.
I really liked the ability to regulate the sensitivity of the Cralusso whilst fishing, but I would limit the use of this calibration facility to relatively small adjustments. If you look at the floats you could be forgiven for thinking that you have as much as a gram to play with simply by pushing the stem in and out of the float body. This is not the case. First the amount of actual play only adds up to half a gram at most and second if you have the stem too short it does affect the casting action of the float. More useful was the fact that each float comes with a couple of shot inside the body which you can remove should you want some more shot down the line.

To be honest with you I found the yellow calibration lines a bit gimmicky and rather odd. I thought the markings were the wrong way round. The numbers went from ZERO at the base of the stem of the float to ONE gram at the top of the markings. This seemed illogical to me as the longer you had the bristle the MORE shot capacity you had on the rig, so I felt the one gram marking should have been at the BOTTOM of the stem to show the most shot available down the line. I also believed that these graduations were a little unnecessary. I was capable of showing more or less of the float tip with my own judgement, so they seemed a bit too neat and over-complicated for my purpose.

FINAL CONCLUSION – Value for money
Ultimately our big test does come down to money. The difference in price between our three wagglers is quite a lot. I hope that in this test I have covered all the aspects of each of the wagglers enough to give you an insight into just what you are buying. The decision on whether a float is worth buying depends on a number of factors. I will not pretend to make these decisions for you but here is my own PERSONAL take on whether each of our contenders represented good value for money.

The Cralusso Rocket: (Cost: £5.99/€9 approx). These floats are the most expensive of our three test models, but by far the best performer. The Rocket will cast straighter and further than anything I've ever used. You also get a great selection of bristles and the ability to FINE tune them. In short, and despite the price tag, I've never fished with wagglers as good as these. It's worth noting that there's also a lighter version... called the Rocket Light, and while this was not included in our bodied waggler test, as it is a straight waggler, both Dave Johnson and myself have used these models on several outings and been amazed at just how well they perform... exactly like their 'Big Brother'. Once you become comfortable with casting them, you'll find it hard to use anything else. They range from 6gr to a massive 20gr. If it's quality you want... then the Rocket's price is NOT an issue!

The Cralusso UFO: (Cost: £4.99/€7.50 approx). You get the bristle system, you get the adjustable float stem and they enter the water well, but what you don’t get is the incredible casting performance of the Rockets. They come in the same size range as the Rockets. For my money I would invest in a Rocket – you get much more float for your money.

The Perfect Match Winner: (Cost: €4.10 approx). There's not a lot to complain about with this type of waggler and apart from the main casting test, they performed reasonably well. Crucially, they seemed as stable as the Cralussos and caught just as many fish. I like the black finish in particular and the use of good quality peacock. I think this type of loading system is a bit bulky and old-fashioned. The floats could do with landing in the water a bit smoother, but they are well made and very realistically priced as standard bodied wagglers go. Definitely good value for money and, in performance, are almost as good as the UFO range, which are pitched in at nearly double the price. Don’t forget that the Match Sensitive float is also available from Perfect, at the same price as the Winner, and it comes with the finer, long-stemmed bristles. They range from 6gr to a massive 16gr. You could therefore have nearly two floats for less than one of the UFO's.

So there you have it. I can thoroughly recommend you try some of the Cralusso Rockets, both bodied and light. I'm definitely sold on how well they cast and perform in all conditions. I think more than anything else I've enjoyed spending a few weeks just waggler fishing, as it got myself and 'Little Dave' away from constant pole and feeder fishing. I have tried to relate what I found and felt as honestly as possible, but have to admit at the end of this article that my initial misgivings on the Cralusso Rockets were totally wrong! I still think they look a bit too flashy and bright, but they are DEFINITELY NOT a gimmicky product. Once you cast one, you'll feel difference!