A good fishing rod is the foundation of your entire fishing setup. Choosing the right rod type is also important. However, you can't cast an old Bass rod and expect to catch a Marlin, just as you wouldn't drive an SUV to NASCAR. The question is, how do you choose a fishing rod that's right for you when there are so many types of fishing poles available? Today, we'll show you how.
It can be overwhelming if this is your first time choosing a fishing rod. There are many factors to consider, from length and materials to action and power. We've rounded up the most important things you should know, as well as the pros and cons of various types of fishing poles out there.
How long should a fishing rod be?
If you're looking for a new rod, you'll need to consider its length first. Rods range anywhere from 4 to 14 feet in length, from stout close-quarter fishing rods to long casting poles. Fishing at these extremes comes with some trade-offs, so it's important to match your rod to the type of fishing you'll do.
The length of the rod determines how far you can cast. Longer rods allow longer casts, but they are more difficult to maneuver. Alternatively, shorter rods give you more control, but you can only throw the line so far.
From a kayak, you might fish underwater structures. In this case, you won't need to cast that far. What you need is a rod that's easy to handle. 5-to-7-foot rods are ideal for this purpose. When it comes to fishing for large fish, shorter rods are also more powerful.
A longer 8+ foot rod can come in handy if you're wading or using topwater walking lures. You'll be able to make some seriously long casts with these rods, even though they're tough to swing.
Most anglers will agree that a 7′ fishing pole is a good all-around choice for beginners.
How should I choose the rod material?
The material of fishing rods can be fiberglass, graphite, or composite (a mixture of the two). Rod materials have a huge impact on performance, so choosing the right one will make all the difference to your fishing success. Here are the pros and cons of each type.
Type 1 - Fiberglass Rod
Fiberglass fishing rods have been a reliable part of the angling world for centuries. Durable and strong, these rods can really take a beating. They're also easy to make, which makes them relatively affordable.
Fiberglass rods are good choices for new anglers due to their durability and low price. Because fiberglass rods are pliable, they offer limited feedback, so lighter bites are harder to detect. As well, they’re relatively heavy, which makes them less than ideal if you’re fighting fish for a long time.
Type 2 – Graphite Rod
Since the 1970s, graphite rods have offered a lighter alternative to fiberglass rods. Fishing poles are deservedly popular, but they seem to attract a lot of misconceptions.
The IM6, IM7, and IM8 markings on a graphite rod are probably familiar to you. These are identifiers of stiffness, also known as modulus. A higher modulus indicates a stiffer material. Therefore, manufacturers can use less material to achieve the same stiffness with stiffer graphite. This results in a lighter rod.
There is a misconception here that an IM8 rod will be stiffer than an IM6 rod. The IM8 rod will actually be lighter than the IM8 rod, despite the fact that both rods exhibit the same stiffness.
Graphite rods are known to be highly sensitive to bites. This, along with the lighter weight, can make casting and handling a real pleasure. There are, however, some drawbacks to these rods. In addition to being stiffer, graphite rods are brittle as well. The price is also a drawback, as a fiberglass rod of the same class is usually cheaper.
Type 3 - Composite Rod
Anglers who are looking for performance above all else are unlikely to be satisfied with fiberglass and graphite rods. Composites fill this void. Composed of graphite and fiberglass, composite fishing poles provide all the flexibility you need without adding much weight or sacrificing sensitivity. In other words, this is how you handle a 100-test lb line on a 20–30 lb frame rod.
If you fish in a variety of different waters, composite rods make a great choice since they're so versatile. Composite rods are the most expensive type available. There's no doubt that they get the fish aboard, but it's just a matter of if the extra cost is worth it to you.
Rod Action and How It Affects You.
The Fast Action Rod
Right below the tip, fast action rods bend at the uppermost part. A light nibble will send vibrations straight to your hand. For a powerful hook setting, fast rods can snap back very quickly.
A fast action rod works well with single hooks, worms, and large jigs. Fast action rods are great for removing fish from heavy cover because they have fast-moving tips and strong backbones.
You can also pursue very large fish with a strong backbone. You can catch anything from a Largemouth to a Muskie with a fast action rod in freshwater. You'll find Tunas and Billfishes of all types in saltwater - pretty much the cream of the crop.
The Medium Action Rod
Rods with medium action bend in the top half of the pole. Their hook-setting abilities and feedback are good, and they allow you to cast quite far. Medium action rods are ideal for multiple-hook setups because they move a bit slower than fast action rods. This gives the fish more time to bite.
Using single hooks isn't forbidden, however. It's just that medium-action rods give you more versatility. With versatility, you can also catch fish of all sizes and fish in a variety of different waters.
The Slow Action Rod
Slow action rods are on the other end of the spectrum. The slow action rods are bendable all the way to the butt of the rod, which makes battling even the smallest critter a lot of fun. These are great for those who like to fish for panfish or trout.
Casts with slow-action rods are truly impressive. Thus, when casting your lure, you should match its size to the rod. You should use the smallest lure that you can cast well as a rule of thumb.
Making the choice Easy
Hopefully, this article has shed some light on how and what you can look for in a fishing rod. Even if you do not choose the overall correct rod, you will still be pretty close to what you are attempting to accomplish.