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Basic Things to Remember While Buying a Fishing Rod

Rohini Mohan

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Don't just buy the first fishing rod that catches your attention. Being aware of what to look for when buying a fishing rod should help you pick one that suits your style of fishing.

Did You Know?

The longest fishing rod in the world was built by Schweizerischer Fischereiverband from Switzerland, and it measures 22m 45cm (73ft 7in)!

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Any fishing experience can be improved by buying the right type of fishing rod. However, a lot of newbie anglers/fishermen do not know how to pick a fishing rod that is suitable for the type of fish they intend on hooking.
✦ First, you need to decide the type of fishing rod to buy. Would you prefer a conventional casting rod, spinning rod, fly rod, ice rod, or saltwater rods like saltwater casting or surf casting rod? The choice of fishing gear and its longevity will depend on whether you plan on fishing in freshwater, saltwater, or both as saltwater may damage fishing gear.

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✦ It is also very important to know the power and action of a fishing rod, and it is equally imperative to choose the right length.
This guide discusses these facets along with things to consider before buying a fishing rod.

Rod Action

The material used in making the rod and its design can significantly determine the action of a fishing rod. Therefore, fishing rods with more action are suitable for baiting heavier and aggressive fish. Thus, slow action rods are flexible and form an almost U-shaped arc, whereas fast action rods bend slightly from the tip and resume position immediately.
The action of a fishing rod is not the same as its power. The two terms are often confused and used interchangeably, which can adversely affect our choice while selecting a good fishing rod.

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Rod action refers to the extent to which the rod bends because of the pressure being exerted on its tip. The rod action includes the speed with which the rod returns to its original shape and position.

Rod Power

✦ A rod weight of 2-5 lb. is preferable for fishing panfish, redear sunfish, bluegills, and crappies.

✦ On the other hand, a rod weight of 7-10 lb. will be more appropriate for catching bonefish, muskie, salmon, smallmouth and largemouth bass, and northern pike.
Rod power refers to the weight of the fishing rod. You can assess the weight of the rod by reading its specifications mentioned on the main frame. Some examples include ultra-light, medium-heavy, medium-light, light, heavy, etc.
Light fishing rods are meant for baiting small and lightweight fish, whereas the heavier the rod gets, the more weight it can handle. Therefore, the heavier the rod, the more suitable it is for sea and surf fishing.

Length of the Rod

✦ Shorter fishing rods help in control and technique of the rod and fishing at a distance of 5-8 feet.

✦ The area for fishing also determines the length of the rod. For example, water bodies that aren't wide open will not permit fly fishing, and needs you to use a shorter rod.

✦ Shorter and thick rods are right for catching bigger, heavier, and volatile fish.
The length of the rod is from the tip to the handle base and includes the grip. The lengths of fishing rods vary to a large extent and can range from 4'6" to 15 feet.

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Longer fishing rods are meant for catching fish in the deeper end of the water body, whereas shorter ones are more suitable for inshore fishing near the shallow end. You must choose the length based on the type of fish you aim to catch and how far off you plan on throwing the bait.


✦ The higher the modulus of the rod, the more stress and weight to withstand and release during flicking the cast accurately. For example, graphite composite fishing rods with high modulus tend to be sensitive, efficient, and lightweight, but are also vulnerable to breaking.

✦ Carbon and graphite carbon rods are strong and durable, but sensitive and light.
Responsiveness refers to the 'Modulus of Elasticity' of the graphite fishing rod, which indicates the material's stiffness (tensile modulus) to weight ratio.

Therefore, do not go in for a rod just because it claims to be high modulus; consider its additional features that help make the rod stronger.

Rod Guides

✦ Standard metal guides are most popularly used for leisure fishing and are also affordable, thereby, making them easy to replace.

✦ Stainless steel guides are meant for heavy-duty wireline fishing.

✦ Plastic guides are neither sturdy nor durable and cannot withstand aggressive fishing techniques.
✦ Ceramic guides are perhaps the most expensive ones available in the market currently, and substantially add to the cost of the rod. That being said, they are smoother to use and allow the angler to make longer casts with less line frays.

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Finally, the grip of the fishing rod should be constructed with the handle, instead of merely being glued on it. Depending on your need and comfort, you can choose to have a handle made of wood, foam, or cork.
When it comes to cork grip, it should be waterproof and comfortable to use. In case of foam grips, it should be lightweight and resistant to breaking.