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Float Rod ico

Float Rods

article and illustrations by J.Jelev

When I first started fishing as a kid, my go to float rods were either poles with no guides of around 9', or spinning rods no more than 7' in length. I found them quite adequate for their application. Similar rods still represent the backbone of float fishing in Europe where spinning reels are the norm, and the centerpin float reel is the exception.


Float fishing for trout

Using a pole with no guides is quite handy in small rivers and creeks where fish rarely grow bigger than 30cm.  The casting distance in this case is limited by the length of the pole. When a trout is hooked, it is quickly lifted out of the water and onto the bank. A fish of over 40cm is likely to run and break the line off if enough room exists in the pool.

This method allows a high degree of stealth in the presentation of both live bait and flies; they can be quietly lowered over the water without the slightest splash or noise.

It is a lso a very active form of fishing since an angler has to be constantly on the move walking upstream and fishing in all likely holding spots.

Lines used are in the 0.16-0.22mm (4-6lb) range. Hooks in sizes 14 to 8 and the tiniest of floats (Please see Floats - Short casts)

Spinning rods for Float Fishing

Float Fishing

Spinning rods are among the most versatile tools in float fishing.  In combination with a spinning reel, they can offer unbeatable casting distance and reliability.  Short rods are practical in tight quarters along heavily forested shores.  The long rods, on the other hand, are good for the big rivers and lakes, where distance is important. Spinning reels are easy to operate and quite reliable even in windy conditions. This method allows the use of the heaviest floats on the market.

When floatfishing with a spinning rod in a river, one has to be careful with the belly formed in the line by the currents or winds. A big belly will prevent hook set when a fish takes.

Centerpin Rods

Float Rod

A typical float rod is 12'-15' long, with a relatively soft upper section and a full flexing action which allows it to preserve thin leaders. It is used in combination with a centerpin reel. Most float rods are made of graphite, but fiberglass or bamboo are other possible options. Because of its length and usually light action, a float rod is very reliable in playing big fish like salmon and steelhead.  However, it may take longer to bring a fish to shore than with a conventional spinning rod.  Centerpins require some skill and a good knowledge of lines as they have no drag system.  When line should be paid out to a running fish and how much of it, is entirely up to the angler.  A long float rod is therefore advantageous in giving us enough reaction time.


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