Choosing a Fishing Rod

Fishing rods come in many different lengths, actions, materials and styles for either coarse, game or sea fishing. The primary deciding factors when choosing a fishing rod are what size and species you intent to fish for, what size leads, floats or lures you are going to use and how far you need to cast. Fishing rods range in price from budget to custom built and there are loads of great brands to choose from. If you want a unique or personalised rod there are many custom rod builders out there who can build a rod specially designed for you.

What is the right fishing rod length?

Fishing rods are built in many sizes to suit their purpose. Generally they range from around 6ft to 13ft. Shorter rods are used for stalking, close range fishing and boat work. Longer poles are more suited to distance casting and specimen hunting on bigger waters.

Long fishing pole

Long fishing pole for bait fishing near the rocks

Which rod material should I choose?

Fishing rods come in many different designs and can be made from a variety of different materials depending on their intended use. Each of these materials have their own advantages and disadvantages, and you should research each type of material to decide which one is best for you.

Most modern fishing rods available today are built with carbon fibre and Kevlar. Carbon rods are extremely light, yet extremely strong and can be made any length and with any type of action. Casting is effortless with a carbon rod as is the best option. Fibreglass and split cane rods preceded carbon but they are much heavier than carbon and nowhere near as responsive.

Fishing Poles

Fishing Poles ready for some action

Slow, medium, or fast action?

There are three basic rod actions to consider when buying a fishing rod, slow, medium and fast action. You should understand each before you make your purchase. Depending on the rod action you’ll be able to fish different types of lures or bait. Also, each fishing technique requires a different action.

Slow (or through) action rods have a large bend and are generally soft rods. This type of fishing pole is suited to very close range work for small to medium size fish. The through action absorbs the lunges of a fish under the rod tip to avoid hook pulls.

Medium action rods are more suited to casting up to 100 yards. Medium tapers are general rods that are useful in many different all-round fishing situations.

Fast action rods are generally used for distance casting for specimen sized fish. The fast tip action and quick recovery allow larger leads to be cast a long way.

What about rod markings?

Modern custom fishing rods can have various markings add. Maybe the angler’s name can be painted on the blank, coloured whippings, custom reel seats, handles made from cork or Duplon or maybe stainless steel caps. The possibilities are endless, speak to your rod builder about the various options available and create a rod that is unique to you.

Fishing rod guides

Rings Fishing pole

Rings guides allow the line to follow the arc of the rod

Rod guides (or rings) as they are often called play a vital job on a rod. They are whipped onto the blank with the largest guide at the front down to the smallest at the tip. Guides allow the line to follow the arc of the rod and allow smooth casting. There are many types of guides from various manufacturers. Ideally they should be light, silky smooth and kept clean to allow the line to flow freely on the cast.

Fishing rod handles

There are many different types of fishing rod handles on the market today. Rod handles incorporate a reel seat so you can fix your fishing reel to the rod. Generally handles are made from Duplon or cork and the required length should ideally match the length of the angler’s inside arm measurement. Handles can be of the split variety with a separate hand grip on the butt or full length.

Normally fishing charters provide the right fishing rods, reels, lures and bait for each different fishing technique they practice. When choosing a fishing rod, explain your local tackle dealer what fishing techniques you want to do or which fish species you want to target.