How to Choose a Fishing Rod: 5 Hacks for Picking Right Equipment

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How to choose a fishing rod tips

In the market for a new fishing rod? Trying to figure out the best type of rod to fit your needs? If so, you wouldn’t be alone. Even experienced outdoorsman struggle with picking the right type fishing gear.

To complicate matters, the type of rod you pick is uniquely linked to the fish you’ll be trying to catch. For example, if you are going after bass, you’ll need something long with a minimum of a single foot guide (double is better).

If you happen to be saltwater fishing and going after larger game, you’ll need a heavier rod and one that’s hopefully made from carbon.

Oh, and don’t forget the type of bait you’ll be using also needs to be factored in. Believe it or not, it’s important.

Confused yet? Don’t be. My hope is writing this article is to help you make smart choices when shopping for gear and do it in a way that’s uncomplicated. Probably the most important question you’ll want to ask yourself before buying anything is:

What type of fish am I trying to catch?

Once you know the answer to that question, everything else follows. Make sense? Now that you have that bit of information tucked in your pocket, let’s move on to five essential considerations when choosing a fishing rod.

1. The Right Weight

Like so many things in the world of fishing gear, there is no one right choice when it comes to choosing a rod. It can be a bit overwhelming the first time you hit the local outdoor center, but do not let the sheer number of choices get you down. Once you know what to look for, it will be much easier to choose the perfect rod weight.

If you are going mostly for small fish like crappies, an ultra-light rod can be a great choice. Personally, I like the St. Croix Premier for this type of fishing (See Amazon). These small and lightweight rods are great for the first-time fisherman, and for youngsters who are just getting the hang of their new sport.

Lightweight fishing rods are perfect for sunfish, bluegill and other popular pan fish, while medium and medium light are great for walleye, trout, catfish and bass. If you are seeking bigger prey, like musky, salmon and pike, a medium to heavy rod is the best choice. And if you are after the really big fish, like tuna, tarpon and sturgeon, a heavy-duty fishing rod is a must.

Many experienced fishermen end up with an assortment of rods in various weights, and chances are you will too. Even so, it is best to start with a rod weight that matches the type of fish you are after right now.

2. Length and Action

You could think of length and action as two separate considerations, but in fact they are closely related. Shorter rods tend to be very light, and you will see the entire pole bend when a fish hits the end of the line. These smaller and more lightweight fishing rods are designed for smaller prey, and they will likely not stand up to heavier types of fish, or to fish that put up a fight.

When choosing a rod, it is important to look at the line rating as well as the weight. Shorter rods tend to have lower line ratings, and that could limit the type of fish you can realistically pursue.

The action of the rod refers to the amount of bend when pressure is applied at the other end. A multiple action rod is a great choice for the first-time fisherman, since these rods allow the action of the rod to change depending on the size of the fish at the end of the line.

3. Construction Type

The construction and design will play a major role in the durability and reliability of the fishing rod, and how easy it is to use. You may love the fishing rod in the store, but you need to think about how it will serve you out on the water.

For instance, a fishing rod consisting of a single solid piece will have great feel, making it easier to play the fish and land your catch. On the other hand, that solid piece fishing rod will be harder to move around, and you may regret your decision while moving through a heavily wooded area.

You may also have trouble fitting a long single piece fishing rod in the back of your car. Your solidly constructed seven-foot fishing rod will do you no good if you can’t fit it into your compact car.

If space is limited, a travel ready or multi-piece fishing rod is probably the better choice. Telescopic rods are very popular with new fishermen, and for good reason. Telescoping rods are easy to fold and store away, but they instantly transform into full-size fishing rods once out on the water.

4. Material

Your fishing rod is only as good as its construction, and the choice of materials is critical. Modern fishing rods are made from a number of different materials, and each has its own set of advantages and drawbacks.

Bamboo rods are very popular with both new and experienced fishermen, and they come in a wide variety of weights and sizes. Bamboo rods can vary widely in terms of quality and construction, and it is important to shop around carefully. The best bamboo rods are extremely durable and very reliable, while substandard ones break easily and are not very reliable.

Fiberglass fishing rods are quite popular and widely available, but they tend to be geared more toward the beginning and first-time fisherman. These rods are typically light or medium weight, and they may lack the strength to tackle and reel in larger species of fish.

Experienced fishermen often prefer carbon fiber fishing rods, also known as graphite fiber. These popular fishing rods are built from a series of very thin fibers, each just 0.005 to 0.010 mm in diameter.

When combined, these carbon fibers create a fishing rod that is extremely strong and durable, making it a great choice for heavier species of fish. Carbon fiber rods are popular with saltwater fishermen, but they can be used for many freshwater varieties as well.

5. Price

In a perfect world, price would not be a consideration, and fishing enthusiasts could simply choose the rod that gives them the best feel and the ability to reel in any type of fish. In the real world, price is a very big consideration, and it is important for buyers to choose their rods based on the best value.

I’ve found that visiting Amazon’s bestselling fishing rods is helpful when exploring prices. It gives me a basis point for decision making – if that makes sense.

Beginning fishermen may want to start with a lightweight and inexpensive fiberglass rod. These versatile fishing rods are the perfect way to get a feel for fishing, and they are excellent learning tools for the beginner.

As their experience level increases, fishing enthusiasts can ramp up to a bigger, better and more expensive rod and pass their old ones on to their fishing friends.

Final Thoughts

Knowing what to look for in a fishing rod is very important, and it all starts with knowing what type of fish you want to catch.Once you know that, you can move about the business of making a selection. I encourage people to do a little research before heading to the water.  Check Internet boards on gaming and find out what folks are saying.

As an aside, if you are new to fishing or if you want to brush up on your sporting skills, I’m going to include a link to the book, Fishing for Dummies. Don’t let that title fool you. I’ve got a copy and can tell you that inside, it’s got tons of useful pointers.

I hope you found the material in this post useful. Thanks for stopping by and be sure to like Men’s Culture on Facebook!

About John D. Moore 391 Articles
Dr. John Moore is a licensed counselor and Editor-in-Chief of Guy Counseling. A journalist and blogger, he writes about a variety of topics related to wellness. His interests include technology, outdoor activities, science, and men's health. Check out his show --> The Men's Self Help Podcast