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Tips for Selecting a Fishing Rod

July 16, 2015

When you go to the large outdoor sports store, you’ll find hundreds, if not thousands of fishing rods waiting for you to browse. Having plenty of choices is great, but how can you select the right rod from a sea of options?

Take a look at some of the basic characteristics of fishing rods and you’ll have the right information to make the best choice.

Graphite (aka Carbon Fiber) vs. Fiberglass Rods

One of the first decisions you will have to make when selecting a fishing rod is the choice between graphite, also called carbon fiber, and fiberglass. In general, graphite rods are lighter and more sensitive, giving you a better feeling when a fish makes a strike. However, because they are so sensitive, some anglers have said that carbon fiber rods result in a premature hook-set, leading to missed fish. While carbon fiber rods are more sensitive, it is also more brittle, so most anglers looking for large game like muskies, tarpon, and tuna will choose fiberglass rods. For the most part, the average angler looking for a beginner's rod will be happy with a graphite product.

One-Piece vs. Two-Piece Rods

This comes down to strength and sensitivity vs. convenience. One-piece rods come as whole rod, and the only way to make them shorter is to snap them in half. Two-piece rods, however, can be broken down to fit better while in storage or transportation. Anglers who need a rod that can fit in the back of a trunk or in a duffle bag will likely want a two-piece, but all other anglers should probably consider a one-piece. You’ll have greater strength, higher sensitivity, and a better hook-set. You can catch a lot of fish with a two-piece, but one-piece rods offer even better fishing results.

Rod Action: Light through Heavy

A rod’s “action” basically refers to where it starts to bend. Light-action rods will bend very close to the handle, while heavy-action rods will keep a stiffer profile and bend closer to the tip. If you are looking for a rod to catch small panfish like bluegill and crappie, then you will be very happy with a light-action rod, while anglers looking for heavier game like catfish and barracuda should choose heavy-action rods. Most people looking for medium-sized fish like bass, redfish, and bonefish will probably want a medium-action rod. Light action rods give you the sensitivity to make small hook-sets, while heavy-action gives you the torque you need to pull heavy fish from the water.

Choosing the Right Length

For the most part, the longer the rod, the greater the casting distance. Many anglers will find that a rod in the six to seven-foot range will be long enough, but if you are fishing for larger game or think that you’ll want maximum casting distance, especially with heavy lures and bait, you can always choose something longer. Anglers looking for smaller panfish can easily get by with a shorter rod, as short as five feet long.

Keep these little hints in mind before you head to the store and you’ll be able to find the perfect fishing rod for your specific needs.

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