What should I look for when buying a fishing rod?

What fishing rod to use?

Various types of fishing rods are designed for specific types of fishing. Spinning rods are the foremost common and are designed for rigging almost any lure or bait. Casting fishing rods are designed for the more experienced fisherman who seeks the thrill to have better control and accuracy. And Fly fishing rods are used to target specific fish, such as Trout and Salmon by using artificial flies and insects.

There are many different makes, models, and styles of fishing rods out in the market today.

If you are new to learning how to fish, you should consider a few basic things when shopping around for a fishing rod. The choices are either a carbon fiber made rod or fiberglass rod.

You want to use a carbon fiber fishing rod, the pole also called a "blank" is stiffer and a lot more sensitive than a fiberglass rod. If you are planning on fishing with live, soft baits or jigging, a fishing rod made out of carbon fiber materials (graphite fiber) is a preferred choice. The reason being is they are more responsive, sensitive, allowing you to feel the fish nibble or strike your bait.

Fiberglass rods will suit your price tag much better and are a preferred choice for crankbaits as they are better in setting the hook. If you are running off downriggers on a boat, you definitely don't want carbon fiber rods because they are not made to stay bent in one position for a long duration of time. Whereas a fiberglass rod will take that bend and stay bent. They are meant to stay bent much longer without causing any structural problems to the blank.

One piece, two piece or multi piece rods

The most common are one-piece or two-piece. If you have the opportunity, the one-piece rod is the way you want to go. They are much stronger, more sensitive, and more durable than the two or three-piece rods.
Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to fishing rods is the rod action.

Each fishing rod is labeled on whether they are medium action, light action, medium heavy or heavy, you can also find Extra and Ultra variations. If you have to make one choice, get yourself a medium action rod because it will allow you to handle all types of fish sizes. But if you get an X/Ultra Light Action rod it should be used for small fish like small perch, crappies, sunfish.

Fly fishing rods and what you should know before buying one. 

A critical piece of fly fishing equipment is the fly rod. The wrong rod is a wonderful way to, potentially, ruin an otherwise fine day of fly fishing.

The right fly fishing rod will make the difference between a precise cast and casts that are just wide of their mark or being able to reach that rising trout or being just short. If there is any place to skimp on putting together a fly fishing gear outfit, the fly rod should not be it.

There is a lot of specialized gear that is needed for fly fishing, with all the gear that is available, it can be expensive.

For a beginner, purchasing gear for the first time can be daunting. A few things to consider when buying a fly fishing rod:

Fly fishing Rod Action: putting it simply, a measurement of how flexible the fly rod is.

In general terms, there are three main actions.

  • Fast action, also referred to as TIP FLEX Rods.
  • Medium action, also referred to as MID-FLEX Rods.
  • Slow Action, also referred to as FULL FLEX Rods.

The only flexibility in fast action or flex tip fly rod is near the tip of the rod, while the rest of the rod remains stiff and basically straight. Fast action rods are ideal when long, consistent casts are needed.

A fast action fly rod makes it easier and quicker to land large fish.

The speed generated by a fast action rod is easier and more effective to cast in windy conditions.

The stiffness of a fast action fly rod makes casting very quick, meaning the more casts made the possibility of catching more fish, however, there are some disadvantages to the fast action fly rod. Due to the length, it makes it difficult to fish small streams when short casts are needed. They are designed for long powerful casts, not short confined casts. Fast action fly rods are stiff and do not absorb some of the strain on a light tippet when fishing wary trout. A fast action fly rod is not a great choice when using light tippet when fishing for trout.

Learning to use a fast action fly rod is difficult and has a higher learning curve than a slower action rod. Due to the speed of the fly line, beginners will find a fast action fly fishing rod is more difficult to handle and may become frustrated because many casts will not go where he or she wants them to go. Basically, the fast action/Flex tip fly fishing rod is for someone who needs to make long consistent casts, fish for very large fish and usually fishing in windy conditions.

Medium action or mid-action rods are the workhorses of the fly fishing world. This type of rod has a fair amount of flexibility but is still somewhat stiff. Medium action fly fishing rods, when casting, the fly rod will bend for about half of its length, from the middle up to the tip. The lower half will remain fairly stiff. Therefore they are the most popular and are the most versatile rods. In the hand of an experienced fly fisherman, long casts can be made quite adequately and function well enough to be used when fishing in a spring creek or close fishing conditions. Thus this rod can be fished in a wide range of conditions from big rivers to lakes to spring creeks. 

Slow action or FULL FLEX tip fly rod means it is a very flexible rod. A slow action fly rod will bend significantly for most of the length of the fly fishing rod. So much so, it will form a shallow U shape at the height of the back cast. Due to the flexibility, these rods do not generate much speed so, short very accurate gentle casts can be made. More of the strain of a fish strike can be absorbed with the use of light tippet resulting in fewer lost fish because of breakage. It will be more fun to catch smaller fish with a slow action rod, even a 12-inch fish will feel like a monster.


What type of Rod Power should I choose?

The Rod Power depends on what size of fish you are after and a guide on what fishing line test to use. If you are targeting on catching small fish, the lighter the power you want. However, it is not necessary but it will make your fishing experience much enjoyable because you will be able to feel the fish and have that extra rod sensitivity. Ultralight Fishing rods are best for catching small fish species. Medium power rods are a choice for targeting medium-sized fish and heavy power would be for targeting large fish. Below is a summary of what fishing line is suitable to its corresponding power and a general idea of how heavy lures you can use. 


Rod Power                     

Line Test (Lbs)             

Lure Weight                 

UL - Ultra Light  1 to 4 pounds 1/64 - 1/16  ounce
L - Light 4 to 8 pounds 1/32 - 1/8    ounce
ML - Medium Light 4 to 12 pounds 1/8 - 3/8      ounce
M - Medium 8 to 14 pounds 3/16 - 1/2    ounce
MH - Medium Heavy 15 to 25 pounds 1/2 - 1 1/2   ounce
H - Heavy 25 to 45 pounds 1 1/2 - 2      ounce
XH - Extra Heavy 45+ pounds Above 2      ounce

What type of Rod Action should I choose? 

The action refers to the speed at which the fishing rod tip returns to its neutral position. An action may be slow (S), moderate (M), fast (F), or anything in between for example Extra fast (XF) action. Rods with a fast action allows the fisherman to make longer casts because the tip of the rod is stiffer given that the cast weight and line diameter is correct. When a cast weight exceeds the specifications lightly, a rod becomes slower, slightly reducing the distance. When the weight on the fishing line is slightly less than the specified casting weight the distance is somewhat reduced as well, as the rod action is only used partially. I personally go for the fast (F) action rod because you will still get a far cast and you can combine different line weight and lure sizes and have a comfortable fishing experience. 



XF - Extra Fast                                                                         

Extra fast action rods provide a high degree of tip sensitivity and provide quicker power throughout setting the fishing hook. Extra fast action rods are used in a variety of fishing situations, it is most popular with applications like worming and jigging due to its ability to feel the fish bite.

F -  Fast

Fast action rods are a good alternative when you need a rod for all fishing applications. This is because the rod has a balance of fast tip and sensitivity, while still providing you with the power for a softer hook set.

M - Moderate

Moderate action rods, you trade a bit less sensitivity for somewhat additional casting range. These are great fishing rods for treble hook applications like crankbaits which result in the lighter action on hook set that keeps the lure within the fish’s mouth.

S - Slow

Slow action rods bend most of the way down but have become much less popular in today’s fishing applications due to the technology advances in fishing rod designs. However, they are still used in fly fishing applications.