An often overlooked component of the perfect float fishing setup is the rod blank.    Most of us know as regular float fishermen, that your leader must always break first...and relatively easily, as compared to your mainline.   When you snag, which will invariably happen, you must be able to break your leader with relative ease....so as to not break or over-elongate your mainline OR damage or possibly break your rod blank.

Most float fishing rod blanks have a stated "line strength" rating on the blank.   For example, our Iridia series of float rods are rated at 6-10lbs for the 11'6" model and 6-15lbs for the 13' model.   What this means, for float fishing, is that you should run a leader rated between 6-10lbs for the 11'6" blank and a leader rated between 6-15lbs for the 13' blank.

If you run a leader any lighter than 6lbs, you run the risk of blowing up the leader because the blank is too stout for anything lighter.    If you run a leader any heavier than 10lbs for the 11'6" or 15lbs for the 13'...you run the risk of blowing up the blank!

This is why knowing exactly what the true breaking strength of your leader is so critical.   Many float fishermen fall in love with super strong leader from other manufacturers...irrespective of the actual diameter and fishability.   A super strong leader is probably a super fat leader..not good if you are going for stealth and natural presentation of beads, spawn bags or jigs.

But if your leader is incorrectly rated on the package, you do run the risk of blowing it up, or blowing up your blank due to incorrect stated strength.   You also run the risk of blowing up thin wire hooks not designed for stronger than advertised leader.

So pay attention to your true breaking strength of your fluorocarbon leaders and be aware of not only your mainline actual breaking strength but also your rated rod blank weight.   It can save you alot of hassle and frustration in the long run.   Also be aware, most fluorocarbon, even the best of the best such as ours...is only so strong inside the knot.   Fluorocarbon when tied into a knot, depending on the knot, creates tremendous friction build up of heat which ultimately weakens the knot.   Its just a fact of life with fluorocarbon.  Expect up to 15-20% break strength below the number stated on the label, which again in most cases is B.S.   The breaking strength number stated on the label should include the actual strength of the leader, including stretch, without a knot...at the point of breaking.   But again....most manufacturers understate the true breaking strength of their fluorocarbon leaders so watch out!   And pay closer attention to the diameter as a measure of true strength.   Generally speaking, a .006” dia leader should break at 6lbs, not including the knot.   A .008” leader should break around 8lbs, not including the knot.  A .010” leader should break around 10lbs, not including the knot....you get the drift.

Different knots create different friction, and heat, and weakness.   For example, the Palomar knot is a particularly weak fluorocarbon knot...whereas the improved clinch is a particularly strong fluorocarbon knot.      Be aware of all the variables when calculating true breaking strengths of your mainline and leader setup, and then look at your rated rod blank strength and make sure your leader setup falls within that range.

Rod blank ratings are not absolute, but should keep you in a safe zone for normal use.   And as always, never violently jerk upwards in an effort to break a snag free unless you are certain it's just a weak snag.   If you think you have it wrapped good, draw back on your rod blank like a pool cue getting ready for a shot, and break your leader and not your blank!

Below are some scenarios to give examples of what are acceptable setups for float fishing...keeping in mind true leader breaking strengths and rod blank strengths.   Remember...mainline strength DOES NOT MATTER with regards to rod blank strength ratings in float fishing.   Only your leaders actual breaking strength matters...your leader is your weakest link and is designed to ALWAYS break first...to save your mainline/shot/float setup and also to save your rod blank.

Baitcaster - 15-25lb rod blank, 65lb braid mainline, 12lb leader   

NO!  12lb leader is weaker than minimum rod blank rating of 15lbs, you will blow up this leader.

 

Baitcaster - 15-25lb rod blank, 80lb braid mainline, 15lb leader

YES!  15lb  Leader is within the minimum safe zone of rated rod blank strength

 

Float Rod - 3-6lb rod blank, 10lb floating mono mainline, 5lb leader

YES! 5lb leader is within the safe zone of rated rod blank strength.

 

Float Rod - 6-15lb rod blank, 23lb floating mono mainline, 12lb leader

YES! 12lb leader is within the safe zone of the rated rod blank strength.

 

Float Rod - 6-15lb rod blank, 65lb braid mainline, 15lb leader

NO! 15lb leader is too close to the rated maximum strength of this rod blank.  That 15lb leader is likely mis-labeled and likely breaks over 15lbs.

 

Spinning Rod - 8-12lb rod blank, 15lb floating mono mainline, 6lb leader

NO! 6lb leader is BELOW the rated rod blank strength of 8lbs, you will blow up this leader.

 

Baitcaster - 12-20lb rod blank, 15lb floating mono mainline, 8lb leader

NO! 8lb leader is BELOW the rated rod blank strength of 12lbs, you will blow up this leader.

 

Spinning Rod - 10-16lb rod blank, 50lb braid mainline, 12lb leader

YES! 12lb leader is within the safe zone of the rated rod blank strength.

 

Float Rod - 6-10lb rod blank, 15lb floating mono mainline, 10lb leader

NO! 10lb leader is at the max of the safe zone of the rated rod blank strength.  That 10lb leader is likely mis-labeled and likely breaks over 10lbs.

 

Float Rod - 8-12lb rod blank, 15lb floating mono mainline, 6lb leader

NO!  6lb leader is under the minimum rod strength rating, you will blow up this leader.

 

Spinning Rod - 15-25lb rod blank, 30lb braid mainline, 10lb leader

NO!  10lb leader is under the minimum rod strength rating, you will blow up this leader.