Float Rods

Fly-fishing-floatrod is a term that describes a long rod that is used for both general and match fishing. Usually 12 or 13 feet in length the maximum weight of line it can bear is in the region of 5lbs breaking strain.

There are basically two types of float rod: fast-action and slow-action rods. The former are flexible and capable of bending to a significant degree.

A slow-action float rod is a general purpose rod, is usually made of glass-fibre and has a much stronger tip than its match-fishing counterpart.

The fast-action rod is used for match-fishing and has a smaller tip. As a result it can only accommodate a line of 1 to 2lbs breaking strain. However, match-men, on the whole do not pursue large fish, so the low breaking strain is not a problem. The exception to this is on rivers such as the Severn where match-winning fish are often good-sized chub and barbel.

Fly-Fishing-Floatrod Development

As match fishing has changed so has the equipment used. These days the majority of float rods are made of tubular glass fibre, though carbon-fibre rods are taking an increasing share of the market. Generally they have cork handles with the reel held in place with sliding rings.

In addition some rods are fitted with a threaded tip-ring allowing a selection of attachments to be used, such as swim-feeders. However, care must be taken to ensure that the rod is strong enough to handle the extra weight.

The Ideal Fly-Fishing-Floatrod

Match rods need to have certain characteristics. They must be lightweight as the fisherman may be required to hold the rod for the duration of the contest: they must be well balanced for the same reason; they must allow the angler to cast his bait a considerable distance with a certain degree of accuracy and they must be able to strike into the fish, both close to and at distance.

To achieve all this modern match-rods are designed with a fast-action plus a soft top, which acts as a shock absorber to help prevent line-breakage. They are commonly made of glass-fibre though they are also available in a combination of glass-fibre and carbon-fibre. In this configuration the top is made of glass-fibre but the middle of the rod and the butt are made of carbon-fibre which provides the necessary stiffness. This combination produces a powerful rod which is sometimes too powerful for fine low breaking-strain lines.

As to the dimensions of the rod a compromise between length and ease of handling has been reached so that the ideal length is 12 - 13ft. Less than this makes it harder to control the fish, longer makes the rod difficult to manage.

Pole Fishing

Has become very popular in this country over the last few years. Here the rod is much longer than a standard floatrod at 20-28ft. The line is directly attached to the end of the rod. There are no reels or rings to worry about either. The tackle is fished extremely close to the top of the rod which means that the angler is aware of very small bite indications as he is in almost direct contact with the bait. Some rods have a plastic shock-absorber fitted between the rod and the line so that when striking the rod does not snap. Pole fishing is popular because it allows the fisherman to place the bait accurately and strike quickly.