The secrets of successful pole fishing on rivers are the same as for trotting: keeping a steady trickle of feed going in on the right line, ensuring the correct amount and consistency of groundbait, and making sure that the float follows the current without jerking or being pulled off line. In trotting, the overriding principle is to keep contact with the float by having as little line between float and rod top as possible. When “trotting” with the pole you simply follow the float with the pole tip. The restriction is that you cannot fish past the extent of your reach. Another parallel with trotting is that at the end of a trot, a bonus fish often results from holding the float back and making the bait rise in the water. Exactly the same applies to pole work, and by delaying slightly at the end of the run through, as the pole float lifts, the bait will rise, often inducing that bonus bite.
On small to medium rivers, especially those with rush margins, good fish of many species feed tight against the marginal vegetation, and a pole in these circumstances allows presentation that would be impossible with rod and line, no matter how accurate your casting. By consistently running through only inches from the far bank rushes, keeping up a steady feed line at the same time, good catches of fish can be accumulated. Not only is the placement of each bait deadly accurate, it is also disturbance free, two critical factors in efficient angling of any kind. If you are fishing this close to far bank rushes, or even under far bank branches, step up the elastic strength from that which you would normally use. This will give you extra stopping power when the unexpected big chub takes the bait.
Before you start fishing, run your rig through the swim a few times with a bare hook to see if the float buries consistently at one spot, indicating a snag or a rise in the river bed. If you are on a pleasure session, you could move fractionally upstream so that the feature is at the end of the run through. This will mean the float swinging up at the critical point as you hold it back. Also, fish could congregate at the feature as food items become trapped against it. In other words, the bare hook trick could have located a hot spot for you.
With all pole fishing, avoid fishing under power lines. There have already been too many deaths by electrocution. Always take the trouble to warn others.