Do Fishing Rods Float? [This Will Save your Day]

Do Fishing Rods Float

Dropping something into the water from a pond shore may not be a problem, but if you drop it from a boat, that is a completely different experience.

It would be very cool if all fishing equipment had the ability to float, but that is not the case. And because some items, especially rods, can be expensive, keeping them safe is required. So, do fishing rods float?

Some rods can float, but not all of them. Although some can float on their own, majority of them will sink if the reel is attached. Additional weight will drag it down, and if you drop it, you can say goodbye to it.

To prevent this unfortunate scenario, there are some precaution measures you can take to secure the rod. There are leashes and floats that will prevent the rod from sinking.

Even if it sinks, sometimes you will be able to retrieve it, but that is not something you should count on, and it is better to avoid it.

Here I will tell you more about rods, their floating ability, and how to keep them on a surface.



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Do All Fishing Rods Float?

I already answered this question, and here I will tell you more about it ...

Shape, size, material (different types), and other features do not affect the floating ability, at least not on their own. Density of the object matters.

When an object (a rod in this case) ends up in the water, it will displace water. This volume of water is the same as the object volume that is in the water.

At this time, gravity will pull it down, while buoyancy will push it up. Weight of the object will determine gravity force that pulls it down.

Buoyant force is equal to water weight displaced by the object.

If the object in the water displaces water amount equal to its weight, it will float. If not, it will sink. It is simple physics that most of us learned in elementary school.

Majority of rods will float on their own, and if you drop them, there is nothing to worry about. But rods are used with reels that add extra weight, and they are not buoyant. Rod does not have enough buoyancy to keep the reel that is not buoyant on the surface too.

So, we can basically say that rods, at least when paired with necessary equipment like reels, do not float.

Do Cork Handle Fishing Rods Float?

Cork is light, it floats on its own, so does it affect the rod`s ability to float? Well, it helps a lot, but it is not perfect.

Cork handle rods will float on their own, and in some cases, if you are using tiny reels, they may even float with the reel attached. However, most often, even cork handle rods will sink under the weight of a reel.

Cork handles on rods have some advantages over second most popular option, and that is EVA foam. Cork is lighter, it maintains residual heat in low temperatures, and it transfers vibrations better, which means that it makes a rod more sensitive.

But the main advantage is that cork is not as slippery, which means that you are less likely to accidentally drop a cork handle rod.

Of course, there are some disadvantages, but that is not related to this subject. Both cork and EVA foam are hydrophobic, and float well.

DIY: How to Make Your Fishing Rod Floats?

Firstly, I have to define fishing rod floats ...

These are devices, made from foamy material (similar to material used to produce pool noodles). Typically, a few inches long (5-7, but can be more or less), they are mounted around the rod plank, near the reel. Velcro straps are used to attach them. There is no negative impact on your rod or reel performance.

Other types exist too, and some are used for rod retrieval when you drop it. These are mounted on a rod butt, and I will mention them later.

Instead of buying a fishing rod float, you can make it yourself. It is easy, cheap, and you can customize it completely. DIY rod floats are frequently made from pool noodles or similar flotation devices which are available in many stores at a really low price. Choose a thin model, cut off a desired length, and cut it along one side to reach the middle. Position them around the rod, and attach them with zip ties.

This is the easiest option, but the downside is that you can`t easily remove them from one rod and place on another. Also, cleaning under it will require cutting off the ties. Some anglers use any kind of laces to tie them, but there is a risk they will untie. Strong rubber bands can do the trick if you position DIY rod float below the reel, near the handle.

Another downside of these floats is that they can be a bit big, but if you have no problems with that, they will work just fine.

Do Fishing Rods Float - Pool Noodles for DIY

What is a Fishing Rod Leash and How to Use it?

Do fishing rods float or not is irrelevant if they are tied up ...

Of course, using some rope you found at home will do the trick, but fishing with it is a nightmare. Either it will be dragged around if too long, and you will step on it, or it will limit your movement if too short.

You can buy a fishing rod leash made specially for this purpose. These are lanyards that are very short and easily managed when there is no force applied. Their coiled structure enables them to elongate when you pull them.

This means that you can move your rod around and you will never have too much or too little. Their length goes form a few inches when not pulled, up to several feet when pulled.

Using fishing rod leashes is super-easy. Attach one end to the rod, and the other end to you (your vest, belt, or anything else).

Leashes are very convenient because their plastic body can’t rust. Their lifespan is long, even if you use them in saltwater.

Attaching and removing them takes a second, and they have no negative impact on the fishing experience.

Various models exist on the market, and you can choose the one that suits your needs.

Can Fishing Rod Holder Protect my Fishing Rods?

The answer to this question is YES, at least in a way.

Obviously, rod holders do not float. On smaller boats, rod holders are designed as holes in which you insert rod handle. These are not going to do you much good. The same goes for DIY rod holders that are basically PVC pipes used to accommodate the rod handle.

To properly secure your rod, you should invest in a proper, adjustable, holder.

These holders are available for different boat types, including small kayaks (check here >> best kayak fishing tips for beginners). These holders will hold your rod better, and there is less chance that it will accidentally slip out.

Keep in mind that rod holders are not buoyant, so if you install them wrong, and they fall off your boat while holding a rod, sinking is inevitable.

Not all holders are used on boats, and many anglers use them when fishing from the shore, especially for carp. It can happen that a large fish gets hooked, and if you are not ready to grab the rod as soon as it happens, the rod can get pulled into the water. Some rod holders are better than others, but none of them can be considered completely safe. Always set up the holder in a way that it firmly stands on the ground, unable to flip over, even when force is applied.

Keep an eye on your rods, and don’t drink beer on the other side of the lake!

Do Fishing Rods Float - Rod Holder

Is it Possible to Get a Sunken Fishing Rod Back?

Well, this depends ...

If you are fishing in warm, clear, and very shallow waters, you can probably get it out yourself, if you can swim and dive to a small depth.

Unfortunately, when you drop the rod, it will probably be somewhere where bottom can’t be seen, let alone reached.

When fishing in calm and not too deep waters, you can use your second rod, or ask a nearby angler, to save the sunken rod. You can try to fish it out. Use a heavy lead and large treble hooks. Try to hook the rod. If you are lucky, you will fish it out!

Fishing rod retrieval device is something that can come in handy, because it is better to be safe than sorry. These devices are mounted on a rod butt. If you drop the rod and it sinks, a float gets deployed and it will dive out itself. There is a long and strong line attached to the rod and you simply pull it out, even from depths larger than 50ft. The deeper it sinks, the faster the float will activate. It is constructed in a way that it will not deploy if you accidentally dip your rod in water. It takes certain water pressure to activate it.

These devices can be used for cameras too, so if you are one of those anglers who likes to take pictures of fish, think about it. Downside is that it comes at a bit higher price.

It is not a flotation device, but it enables fast and efficient retrieval.


Fishing rod saver float is something that every angler should have when fishing from a boat. Protecting your expensive gear has never been easier. Numerous floats, leashes, and other helpful items exist, and many of them are very cheap.

Do fishing rods float or not is not relevant if your rods are protected. Keep in mind that even if the rod floats, weight of the reel will make it sink.

Although you can’t completely eliminate the possibility of dropping the rod, to minimize the chances, use quality made rod holders, and use rods with handles that do not slip even when wet.

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I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind and eBook writer. This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

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