Choosing a Fishing Rod
Today's quality fishing rod manufacturers make it fairly easy to select a rod that will give you many years of enjoyment if properly cared for. In fact I have a graphite rod that I have used for about 30 years! A very good investment I would say. With this in mind, it may be wise to spend a little more. However if you are new to the sport or just don't fish that much then you will not need some of the features of the more expense rods. So let's go through some simple steps you can use to make a more informed selection. Of course you can contact us at any time if you have any question at all.
Rod power refers to the line weight and lure weight the rod is rated for. So you will want to select a rod that best matches the Fish you are after and the line & lure weight you normally use. So let's say I fish for Smallmouth Bass that range between 2 and 5 Lbs. The water is very clear so I like to use the lightest line I can so the fish don't see it. So I am generally going to use between 6 and 12 Lb test line. Therefore a Medium power rod would be a great choice. If you are fishing heavy cover like weeds or logs you may want to bump the line weight up and go to a Medium Heavy rod. Another factor may be water current. If you fish in rivers with strong current you again may want a Medium Heavy rod in this example.
* * The guide below is general information and can vary between manufacturers. Keep in mind you may want to bump up the power if you fish heavy cover, hard fighting fish, or strong currents.
Ultra Light: Smaller fish 2 Lbs and smaller. Line weight 1to 4Lb test. Lure Weight 1/32 to 1/8oz.
Light: Again smaller fish in the 2lb and under range. Line weight 4 to 8Lb test. Lure Weight 1/8 to 3/8oz.
Medium: For fish in the 3 to 8lb range. Line Weight 6 to 12 Lb test. Lure Weight 3/16 to 5/8oz.
Medium Heavy: Fish in the 4 to 15 lb range. Line weight 8 to 15 Lb test. Lure Weight 1/4 to 3/4oz.
Heavy: Larger fish in the 10lb and up range. Line weight 15 to 30Lb test. Lure Weight 7/16 to 1/2oz.
Rod Action is just as important as Rod Power. Rod Action Refers to how much backbone a rod may have. A Fast Action Rod will only bend at the tip so it has lots of backbone to haul strong fighting fish from heavy cover or strong currents as well as hook setting power. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a Slow Action Rod will bend in the entire length of the rod. Take a look at the photo below as an example of how rod action works. So now that we know this what is the best for me? Read on.
Fast Action: Lots of backbone for hard fighting fish. More sensitivity and hook setting power. The drawback would be the rod has less flex. If you use a lighter line in the rod's Power Rating Range you can have break offs or the hook can pull out(and we all hate it when that happens!) So definitely heavier line is the ticket here.
Moderate Fast or Medium Fast : Still a lot of backbone but slightly more forgiving. Also very good sensitivity. This is one of my favorites as an all around rod. It just does everything really well.
Moderate or Medium Action: Again more flex so more forgiving but less backbone. Great rod choice if you plan on using lines on the lighter side of the rod's "Power Rating Range". If the rod is not rated by Action it will generally be Medium Action. This rod can be used in the widest variety of fishing situations.
Slow Action: A Slow Action rod will bend throughout the entire rod length. This gives the rod a tremendous amount of flex. The flex in a Slow Action rod is designed to take up shock when using light lines. For example Trout are extremely wary so a 2lb test line may be used. When the fish takes off on a run the rod takes up the shock to help prevent break offs or with the hook pulling out.
Fishing Rod Components:
The Rod Blank: This is the Rod itself. Materials will either be Fiberglass, Graphite, or a Composite of both. Fiberglass has been used since the 50's and is still used today.
Quality Fiberglass rods are known for their durability and toughness . A fiberglass rod will be less sensitive to bites . Generally used in trolling rods or crankbait casting rods.
Graphite rods offer light weight with better sensitivity. Generally the lighter the graphite rod the more it will cost. Perfect for fishing live bait, jigs or soft plastics.
Composite Rods will have some characteristics of both Graphite and Fiberglass. Durability and toughness combined with some of the sensitivity.
Guides: Silicon Carbide will be one of the better guide materials along with Titanium. Ceramic guides are next and the most common. Durable smooth and light weight , all at an affordable price. Steel would be lowest on the totem pole. If you don't fish a lot or budget is a concern steel guides work fine. Basically the cheapest to make and will wear out a little faster.
Handle Material: I have always been a cork guy. For some reason I just like the cork handle but that's just me. The point is the handle material boils down to what you like. Keep in mind the price of the rod will be proportionate to the quality of the handle material (cork or manmade).
Reel Seat: This is the component that holds the reel to the rod. Most are a graphite or graphite composite. Some specialty rods may use aluminum as well. The least expensive again would be steel which can be subject to corrosion and binding. However steel has been used over the longest period of time in rod manufacturing. If properly cared for it will be trouble free for you.
Tips on caring for your new fishing pole.
1. Avoid contact with hard materials like rock, metal or other fishing equipment. Contact with a hard material can put an ever so slight chip in the finish or blank material. Even the slightest chip can result in the rod breaking and of course a break always happens at a most critical time. Like"get the net!" and then snap!! Bummer!!
2. Keep it Clean. Wipe down your rod every so often with pretty much any mild cleaner you like. Dish soap, warm water, ect. Pay special attention to the guides. Clean guides will alow for longer wear and longer casts. WD 40 works well on the reel seal to clean lube and protect.
3. Storage. The best way to store a rod is in a rod case preferably inside. If you don't have a case then a rod rack is the next best thing. If no rod rack is available store them standing up or laying flat with no bend. Some graphite rods can hold an unwanted bent shape.
To sum things up:
Make an informed decision. Ask Questions. Visit the manufacturer website to confirm your choice or to possibly find additional information. I always, always, always do this before I make any purchase online. Thank you and as always, always, always! Enjoy The "Great Life Outdoors!"
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