Float fishing rivers

is an excellent (out of print) book by Ken Giles and Dave Harrell (isbn 0-947674-23-3). As usual I'm going to quote from a few pages:
I always tend to feed the line off the [closed face] spool by hand.
It is also important, regardless of which brand of line you use, to use them in conjunction with a silicon spray. … it does make a big difference. I always spray it on my spool at the start and even if the wind gets up later on, I find I can still sink the line when I have to and then leave it on the surface again if the wind drops.
If you are fishing a very slow moving river such as the Nene or the Welland, where there is a strong wind, then you need the float to be loaded, because when you cast, it goes into the water like an arrow, completely burying itself and helps you to sink your line without it being pulled away from the far shelf.
Holding back is generally only used after the first frost of winter.
The most important point that must be covered on stick float fishing is the need to keep the line behind the float at all times. This is a must. It just does not work if the line is allowed to go in front of the float.
As a line gets older, it has a greater tendency to sink, so by always having fresh line on your reels this problem is easily overcome.
When I hold back, I do not hold back really hard.
Regardless of the method, be it stick float or wagglier, you must keep changing your depth around between being a couple of feet over depth to a couple of feet below the surface. Also, it is important to keep altering your shooting to find and keep in touch with the fish.
You do not select the float you want, you select the amount of weight you want to reach where you intend to fish and then pick a float to suit that.
I also feel that it pays to feed two lines like this anyway, to allow you to rest one against the other.
When waggler fishing I am ringing the changes far more often than I need to with the stick float.
The worst thing you can do… is to feed out of habit, as opposed to in response to the fish.
I think that work rate is the key to it all.