What do you need to know about buying the right fishing rod? The answer is a lot more than most people think about. People pick up the rod and shake it to watch the flex. That does not tell you anything about the rod. Today’s fishing tackle is a high tech piece of fishing equipment.
The first thing to understand is all the terms. These include action, power, length, and a few others. Then the components are a consideration, what handles, guides, and reel seats are the best. Once you understand the terms the choice will be easier.
Fishing Rod Blanks
Fishing rods will list all this information on the blank above the handle. You can tell what power, action, length, and material the rod is before buying.
The power also known as the back-bone indicates the strength. It tells you how much it can lift, also it is different based on line strength and species of fish. A Heavy powered rod will break the light line and consequently, a heavy line breaks a light power rod. The heavy power rods are designed for lines ranging from 30 to 80-pound line. An ultra-light only takes a 2-6 pound line. The rest fall somewhere in between.
The power is different among a rod’s intended use also. A medium heavy bass rod uses 12-25 pound line and other medium-heavy rods use 20 to 40-pound line. Add in these factors; in heavy cover, a stronger rod is needed versus a lighter rod in open water. So it depends partially on where you fish also. This is why the average angler uses a medium-light to medium-heavy power. The serious anglers have multiple rods to cover different conditions.
Fishing Rod Action
Action is not the same as power. It is how fast the bend starts towards the tip. Choosing the right action also depends on how you fish. Using live bait or single hook lures need a fast tip. The hookset will be better. Fishing reaction baits like crankbaits, spinnerbaits, topwater, and jerk baits use a medium action rod. Since lures with treble hooks will get better hooksets with a medium action. This also reduces pulling the lure out of the fish’s mouth. The medium-fast action will be sufficient for the average angler.
The length of rods ranges from 30 inches to over 12 feet. Where you fish and how determines the length. Fishing lakes and rivers are different then shore casting from a beach or pier. A rod 6 to 8 1/2 feet is common. They are used in the bass, walleye, and other freshwater fishing. The longer rods are for surfcasting. You need to fit the rod to where you fish.
The length affects casting distance. Throwing lures in search of fish uses longer rods than one for pinpoint casting into weeds. The shorter rods will be stiffer making pulling fish out of cover easier also. The length is critical in selecting a rod. A 6′ 6″ to 7′ 6″ rod is likely an all-around length for an average angler. A serious angler will have multiple lengths, power, and action rods.
This refers to how the rod reacts under a load during casting. A lighter fast action rod will flex more increasing casting distance. This holds true for fiberglass rods as well. The thinner tip allows quicker loading and transfer throughout the rod’s length. All the energy is then released on the cast. Take it into account when choosing a high-end rod.
Fishing Rod Materials
Look at rods in a store and 8 out of 10 will likely be graphite. Anglers like them due to their lightweight and increased sensitivity. Bites are easier to detect with graphite. In addition, graphite is rated. An IM6 or IM7 rod are considered standards by many anglers. As a result, they believe it applies to all rods. Each manufacturer makes rods differently, therefore the rating only applies to their rods in comparison. In other words, one maker’s IM6 may or may not be better than another’s manufacturer’s rod.
Fiberglass is the other option, although heavier it does have advantages. It is harder to break and has more flex. Flex aids when using crankbaits, jerk baits, topwater, and spinnerbaits. People have the tendency to do fast hard hooksets with fast-moving baits. The fiberglass’ flex slows things down at the lure’s end allowing the fish to get a better hold. This results in a better hookset.
The fiberglass blanks get better with age since they get better flex with more use. This gives them more loading when casting and fighting fish.
Fishing Rod Components
These are the visual elements to check. How many guides and what quality? What material is used for the handle? Look at the reel seat, is it a quality material and design?
The handle on a fishing rod is for more than holding the rod. The handle is where you feel a bite in some presentations. There are light biting fish and a handle’s sensitivity will let you feel the bite. Cork is best suited for sensitivity but must be of good quality, however, this will increase the price. A foam handle will suppress this effect and a plastic handle gets slippery when wet. If you can afford cork it is a superior and your best option.
An often overlook part on a fishing rod, although it is important. It also plays a role in the sensitivity. Metal reel seats are okay if lined with plastic but beware of ones with cardboard. The preferred material is graphite. A graphite reel seat with a cut out allows the blank to make contact. As a result, light bites transmit to your hands and are felt. This will increase the cost also.
The number of guides and quality are what to look at on a rod. A rod with more guides casts farther and bends more uniform. Ceramic compounds are preferred for guides. These guides are smoother reducing friction, thereby, reducing heat. Heat damages line. The best is silicon carbide but is expensive. The majority of rods use aluminum oxide or other ceramics materials. Try to avoid stainless steel, it breaks easily. You will need to repair or replace the rod. You will pay more for quality and the number of guides, but it will be money well spent.
A good fishing rod is an investment. Think of it as a tool. It will take time to find the right rod, but is a worthwhile endeavor. A quality rod will last a long time. I suggest buying the best quality you can afford to have more enjoyment.
Keeping fishing simple for tight lines and bragging rights.