How to Choose a Fishing Rod: The Complete Guide
Mar 12, 2021 | 10 minute read Comments
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Reading Time: 10 minutes

If there’s one thing an angler needs for a productive day on the water, it’s a good fishing rod. But just like you wouldn’t take an SUV to NASCAR, you can’t cast an old Bass rod and expect to land a Marlin. With countless types of fishing poles on offer, the question is, how to choose a fishing rod that’s right for you? Well, that’s exactly what you’re going to learn today.

a number of fishing rods racked on a stand

Choosing a fishing rod can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. From length and materials, to action and power, the list of things to consider can make your head spin. With that in mind, we’ve summed up the most important things you should know, as well as the pros and cons of various types of fishing poles out there. 

By the time you’ve read this guide, you’ll be ready to find a rod with your name on it. Let’s dive in!

What’s the right fishing rod length?

Length is one of the first things you’ll need to look at when choosing a new rod. From stout close-quarter fishing rods to long casting poles, rods range anywhere from 4–14 feet! These extremes come with a few trade-offs, so it’s important to match your rod with the type of fishing you’re getting into. Here’s why.

a fishing rod

Rod length has a big impact on how far you can cast. Longer rods typically make for longer casts, but they’re a lot harder to maneuver. On the other hand, shorter rods give you a lot more control, but you’re pretty limited with how far you can throw the line.

Let’s say you’re fishing underwater structure from a kayak. In this situation, you don’t really need to cast that far. What you do need is a rod that’s easy to handle. This is where a 5–7′ rod really shines. Shorter rods are also more powerful, so if you’re gunning for large fish, this is the way to go. 

An angler fishing from a kayak

On the other hand, if you’re wading or throwing topwater walking lures, a longer 8+ foot rod can be a life-saver. Swinging these rods can seem like a chore, but you’ll be able to make some seriously long casts. 

For beginners, most anglers will agree that a 7′ fishing pole is a good all-round choice.

Which rod material should I choose?

Fishing rods are made out of fiberglass, graphite or composite (a mixture of the two). Rod materials have a huge impact on performance, so knowing which one to choose will have a massive effect on your fishing success. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each type.

Fiberglass Rods

The old reliable of the angling world, fiberglass fishing rods have been around for ages. Strong and enduring, these rods can really take a beating. They’re also easy to make, which makes them relatively affordable, too.

a closeup of a fishing rod with a cork grip

The durability and relatively low price of fiberglass rods makes them a good choice for newbie anglers. But using them doesn’t come without a price.

Because of their pliable nature, fiberglass rods provide limited feedback, and that makes lighter bites a lot harder to detect. They’re also relatively heavy, making them less than ideal if you’re fighting fish for a long time.

Graphite Rods

In use since the 1970s, graphite rods offer a lighter alternative to their fiberglass counterparts. These are deservedly popular fishing poles, but they seem to attract a lot of misconceptions. Let’s clear some of those up.

If you ever looked at a graphite rod, you probably noticed those IM6, IM7, and IM8 markers. These are identifiers for different degrees of stiffness, a.k.a. modulus. The higher the modulus, the stiffer the material. In other words, with a stiffer graphite, a manufacturer can use less material to achieve the same stiffness. What that means for you is a lighter rod.

a closeup of a green fishing rod with a spinning reel and a green fishing line

The misconception here is that an IM8 rod will be stiffer than an IM6 rod. In reality, both rods will exhibit the same stiffness, but the IM8 will be the lighter of the two.

The great thing about graphite rods is that they’re very sensitive to bites. This, along with the lighter weight, can make casting and overall handling a real joy. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows with these rods. Because they’re stiffer, graphite rods can be a lot more brittle, too. Another drawback is the price, which is often steeper compared to a fiberglass rod of the same class.

Composite Rods

If you’re the type of angler that’s looking for performance above all else, chances are that fiberglass and graphite rods won’t cut it. This is where composite materials come in. 

an angler getting ready to cast a heavy fishing rod

A mixture of graphite and fiberglass, composite fishing poles give you all the flexibility you need without adding much weight or sacrificing sensitivity. In plain English, this is how you get to handle a 100-test lb line on a 20–30 lb frame rod. 

Because they’re so versatile, composite rods are a great choice if you’re used to fishing a variety of different waters. As you’d expect, composite rods are the most expensive variety out there. There’s no denying that they get the fish aboard, it’s just a matter of if the extra cost is worth it for you.

Slow, medium, or fast action?

Action is one of the key performance components of a fishing pole. Defined by the shape of the rod and its material, action dictates how much and where your rod will bend. Action also controls the speed at which the rod goes from “loaded” back to its original position. That’s where the fast, medium, and slow designations come from.

an angler holding a bent fishing rod on a boat

Obviously, action has a major influence on the way you handle your rod as well as what kind of fish you’ll be able to land with it. The three main rod actions you want to know are:

Fast (Heavy) Action

Fast action rods bend at the uppermost part, right below the tip. They’re sensitive to the lightest of nibbles, sending vibrations straight to your hand. Fast rods can snap back very quickly, which is ideal for powerful hook setting.

Speaking of hooks, fast action rods work well with single hooks, and worms as well as large jigs. Thanks to their fast moving tips and strong backbones, fast action rods are great for pulling fish out of heavy cover.

The strong backbone also allows you to pursue very large fish. In freshwater, a fast action rod can land you anything from a Largemouth to a Muskie. In saltwater, you’re looking at large Tuna and Billfish of all sorts – pretty much the cream of the crop.

Medium Action

Medium action rods bend in the top half of the pole. They provide good hook-setting capabilities and feedback and allow you to cast decently far. Because they move a bit slower than fast action rods, medium action rods work well with multiple-hook setups. They also give the fish more time to bite.

an angler holding a bent fishing rod on a boat

That doesn’t mean that you can’t use single hooks, mind you. It’s just that medium action rods give you the added versatility. Versatility also means that you can catch fish big and small, as well as try out a number of different waters.

Slow (Light) Action

On the other end of the spectrum you have the slow action rods. Bendable all the way to the butt of the rod, slow action rods make battling even the smallest critter a lot of fun. If you like fishing for Panfish or Trout, you’re gonna love these.

an angler holding a bent fishing rod on a fishing boat

Slow action rods allow for truly impressive casts. That said, you really have to match your lure size to the rod when casting. A good rule of thumb to follow is to use the smallest lure that allows you a good cast.

Why small lures? Because unlike the fast-setting heavy action rods, slow action rods need time to lodge the hook inside a fish’s mouth. Treble hooks work particularly well in these situations, because their small tips require less pressure to penetrate the fish. Other fast moving lures like spinners and rattle baits are good choices, too.

The downside to slow action rods is that they are not as easy to set the hook with. Unlike fast action rods, the rod’s bend requires you to pull back farther when the fish bites. But once the hook is in, maintaining the right amount of tension on the fish is a lot easier.

What’s the right rod power?

Closely related to rod action, power is a rod’s capability to withstand pressure. As you’re probably guessing, heavier rods are good for larger fish, while lighter ones work better for smaller ones. 

a heavy duty fishing rod

Using the same logic, you’ll want to use heavier lines with heavy rods and light lines with light rods. There’s obviously some leeway here, but you generally want to stick close to the markings written on the rod blank. Use too heavy a rod and the line might snap. Too heavy a line, and the same might happen to the rod.

Rod power typically goes from Ultra Light, Light, to Medium, Medium Heavy, to Heavy and Ultra Heavy. Keep in mind that a heavy offshore rod and a heavy Bass rod are two completely different things. One might be rated for a 25 lb line and the other for a 80 lb line.

What about rod markings?

Alright, you now know what goes into choosing a fishing rod. But how do you actually know that the rod you just picked up is the type you’re looking for? Well for one, almost all fishing poles have clear markings on them. These numbers and letters will tell you all you need to know about the rod you’re looking at.

The first three or four numbers you’ll typically see are connected to the length of the rod. The type of action comes second, followed by the recommended line and lure weights. A common rod marking will look like this:

Spin MH 732 Line Wt 10-15 lb, Lure Wt ¼ – ¾ oz

What this means is that you’re looking at a medium heavy 7′ 3″ spinning rod, that can handle lines of 10–15 pounds and lures from ¼ to ¾ ounces. The number “2” after “73” signifies that this is a two-part rod. 

Most manufacturers show their rod specs in this order, but not all. If you’re buying your rod in a store, you can always ask the salesman to explain what each symbol means.

Other Parts of a Fishing Rod

Most of the rod parameters we talked about are part of the rod blank, i.e. the actual stick. Those aside, there are a few other rod components you should know about before choosing a fishing rod.

Rod Guides

a closeup of guides on a fishing rod

By now, you must be thinking “Do I really need to know about rod guides too?” We can’t blame you, but you’d be surprised by how much these little rings can affect the quality of your angling. There’s not a lot to them, but there are a couple of things you should know about.

Most guides are made out of metal with a ceramic coating on the inside. The coating reduces friction on the line, allowing it to move smoothly. Almost every modern fishing rod has guides with ceramic coating these days. If you happen to see one with crude metal guides, we’d advise that you avoid buying it. 

a closeup of guides on a telescopic fishing ord with blue waters in the background

The second thing you should pay attention to is the number of guides. For example, a 7’ rod can have anywhere from 6–9 guides. As a rule of thumb, the more guides a rod has, the better. More guides will distribute stress on the line and rod more evenly, and allow you to cast with more precision. Having more guides will cost more, so it’s ultimately up to you to decide how many you want to have.

Rod Handle

The last item on our list is the one you’ll be in contact with the most, and that’s the rod handle.

Material

The rod handle comes in two basic materials, cork or EVA foam. Most anglers agree that cork is a more comfortable material, offering more cushion and warmth on a cold day. More importantly, cork is a lot more sensitive than foam, transferring vibrations up to three times as much. 

a closeup of a fishing rod with a lake in the background

The drawback is that cork won’t last you nearly as long as foam, plus you’ll need to shell out more money for it. Cork is also harder to clean, and gets dents a lot more, especially if you’re used to keeping your rod in rod holders or leaving them on the rocks while wading.

For anglers who don’t want to stress about keeping their gear clean and tidy, foam is probably the better option.

Nowadays, you can even find carbon fiber handles which boast excellent sensitivity, but without any reliability issues. Similar to the rod blank debate, carbon fiber is a superior alternative, but it will stretch your budget a bit more.

a closeup of a number of rod handles lined up

Shape

Rod handles come in many shapes, but two stand out as the most common. These are the pistol grip and the trigger stick. The pistol grip is a short, contoured handle with a hook for your index finger. This type of handle is great for casting accuracy and precise jigging movements. 

a closeup of a fishing rod with a pistol grip handle

The trigger stick is a longer handle that allows you to cast with both hands. It allows you to cast much further than the pistol grip, and is generally better when battling larger species. There’s no price difference between the two, so it’s just a matter of what kind of fishing you’re into.

a closeup of a fishing rod being held by an angler

A Whole World of Options

Knowing how to choose a fishing rod doesn’t come easily. There’s a lot to consider, especially if you’re buying one for the first time. The good news is that you can avoid a lot of guesswork just by knowing what you need your rod for. As for the rest, we hope this article sorted that out.

If you’d like to go back to this guide or have it with you on the go, you can download it as an e-book here.

two fishing rods on a fence with the blue sea in the background

And that about covers it. Is there anything else you’d like to know about choosing a fishing rod? What are some other things you think first-time buyers should know? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Comments (73)
  • Mark Armstrong

    Jul 7, 2021

    Sean,

    Great article and timely as well. We just bought our first boat (Key West 263FS) and I’m trying to outfit it as efficiently as possible. We’ll typically have 3 – 5 people fishing.

    We plan to bottom fish (snapper, grouper, trigger, etc.) about 60-70 miles offshore.

    Then there’s trolling for mahi, wahoo, tuna, etc.

    Not to forget the lighter rods for sabikis and smaller species (yellowtail, etc.).

    What rods would you recommend for me to keep on the boat? I have 9 storage holders plus a bunch of rail rod holders.

    Thanks in advance, Mark

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      Sean

      Jul 8, 2021

      Hi Mark,

      Sound like you’ve got some adventures to look forward to!

      For your offshore bottom fishing outfit, you can go with one of the Shimano Terez rods. They have a 7’2” Medium Heavy, fast action rod that’s going to work wonders when paired with Shimano’s Tekota 600 series reel.

      For trolling, there’s really a ton of options out there. Anything from a 5 ½-foot, Daiwa Saltist Medium-Heavy, fast action rod, to a 6′ Penn Bluewater Carnage heavy composite pole. The latter has a little more power and durability, but comes at a higher price.

      For catching bait, you can go with a specialized Okuma UTG sabiki rod. It’s a little longer and more powerful than most sabiki rods, which will give you some nice jigging action. It also features a thought through design which will help you store your sabiki rig without snags.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Tight lines!

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      Mark Armstrong

      Jul 11, 2021

      Sean,

      Thanks for the quick response. This gives me good working content.

      It’s also good to know that there is a specialized sabiki rod….who’da thunk it.

      Here’s to slamming!

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  • Danny

    Jul 6, 2021

    I learned a lot reading this article and really appreciate it! I’m looking into buying my first rod so I can join my friends muskie fishing. Without breaking the bank, are there any solid rods I could look in to?

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      Rhys

      Jul 7, 2021

      Hi Danny,

      Thanks for reading and for your kind words. When it comes to fishing for Musky, you’re going to need some strong, almost specialized equipment. I suggest a 7.5–9′ rod, with a braided line anywhere from 20–80 inches, and specialized Musky reels. While this kind of gear is more expensive than lighter tackle, you can shop around to find some good deals. I hope this helps.

      Tight lines,

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      Sean

      Jul 7, 2021

      Hi Danny,

      Thanks for reading.

      Muskies are big and feisty fish, so you’ll need a powerful rod to land them.

      The length of your rod will ultimately depend on where you’re fishing from. If you need to cast far, or are fishing from a boat with high gunnels, you’re going to need something like a 8’6″ to 9′. If you need something that’s easier to manoeuvre in tight spots, go for an 8′ rod.

      Medium heavy, fast action rods work well, because they’ll give you a good backbone with enough feedback.

      A few options to consider are Fenwick Techna 8′ medium heavy rod, or the St. Croix Mojo Musky, a great alternative to the pricier St. Croix Legend Tournament rod. Both of these go for around $200. There’s also the Cabela’s Predator Musky Casting Rod, which boasts similar performance for just $100.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Tight lines!

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  • Alfredo

    Jul 4, 2021

    Excelente article. Looking for a great rod and reel for flounder. Fishing mostly out of bridges and piers out of the North East .

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      Rhys

      Jul 5, 2021

      Hi Alfredo,

      Thanks for reading and for your kind comment. A medium rod with a medium-heavy reel is probably your best bet for Flounder fishing. However, if you’re also looking to fish for some bigger creatures, you might want to take a look at some bigger models. All the main brands have something suitable, and they’re usually pretty affordable – in the $100 range. I hope this helps you get your fill of fish!

      Tight lines,

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  • Carl from Saint Louis

    Jun 22, 2021

    Thank you for the very informative article. I’m a newbie and I’d like to buy a good, all purpose fishing rod to fish at the lake of the Ozarks while I’m on the pontoon boat. Can you please recommend one or two models please?

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      Sean

      Jun 24, 2021

      Hi Carl,

      Thanks for reading.

      Lake of the Ozarks sounds like a great place to wet the line. You’ll have a lot of different fish to catch there, so I’d recommend a good versatile rod.

      For pontoon boat fishing, a 7-foot, medium action rod should work well. You could go with something like the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2. That’s an affordable option with a good build quality. When paired with a 2500-sized reel, it can produce some really good catches.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Tight lines!

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      Filipa Zeeshan

      Jun 24, 2021

      Hi, I want to buy as a gift and don’t have any knowledge. What is a good one for river fishing?

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      Sean

      Jun 25, 2021

      Hi Filipa,

      Thanks for reading.

      There’s a whole variety of rods you could buy for river fishing. Spinning combos (fishing rods combined with spinning fishing reels) are most commonly used, especially by beginners, so this might be the best option to go for.

      Length-wise, I’d go for at least 7 feet because you’ll want good casting ability in a river.

      There’s the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 spinning combo, which is around $100. There’s the equally good but more affordable Okuma ROX Spinning Combo, which is around $70. Both of these easy to handle, which is a big plus when fishing on a river. They also have a reputation for being durable, something you definitely want in a present.

      I hope that helps.

      Have a great day!

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      Sean

      Jun 25, 2021

      Hi Filipa,

      Thanks for reading.

      There’s a whole variety of rods you could buy for river fishing. Spinning combos (fishing rods combined with spinning fishing reels) are most commonly used, especially by beginners, so this might be the best option to go for.

      Length-wise, I’d go for at least 7 feet because you’ll want good casting ability in a river.

      There’s the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 spinning combo, which is around $100. There’s the equally good but more affordable Okuma ROX Spinning Combo, which is around $70. Both of these easy to handle, which is a big plus when fishing on a river. They also have a reputation for being durable, something you definitely want in a present.

      I hope that helps.

      Have a great day!

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      Phil Nuttle

      Jul 4, 2021

      Only been at this fishing game since 1967. That said, and having received a few ‘gifts’ for my sport as well, if this is a ‘surprise’ gift that you don’t want them to know about until that day, try to wrangle some info fron them by asking what they would do when shopping for a rod. Use that info to purchase the gift, and make sure it is returnable in case you missed the mark just a bit. Or, my alternative in such situatuons, give them a gift card and let them select the ‘Perfect’ rod.

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  • Aimee

    Jun 19, 2021

    Hi! I read your article, and I’m no fishing expert, at all. However, my boyfriend is! He likes catching any and all types of fish! I want to get him a really nice fishing rod, and I was hoping you could guide me a little better in where to go with picking one. He likes to ocean fish(house on Cape Cod) but, he also likes fresh water fish as well! Is there one you know of that is versatile in both? Please help!

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      Sean

      Jun 21, 2021

      Hi Aimee,

      Thanks for reading.

      There are a few things to consider. Number one, if your boyfriend is casting from the shore, a rod that’s at least 7′ 6″ long will work best. A medium power, fast action rod should cover most fishing situations, both in saltwater and freshwater. When it comes to choosing a fishing reel, most shops now offer rod & reel combos that are already paired for the best performance.

      If your boyfriend is an experienced angler, you can get him a baitcasting reel. If he’s more of a novice, a spinning reel might be easier to handle. Sizes vary, but a size 2500-3000 reel is probably in the range you should be looking for. Here’s a whole article on fishing reels if you want to learn more. Otherwise, you can simply choose a rod & reel combo that’s along the lines of what I mentioned.

      Some of the most notable rod brands include Shimano, Okuma, Penn and Ugly Stick.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Have a great day!

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  • Big E

    Jun 19, 2021

    Thank you for this ton of information. I enjoyed it!!!

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      Sean

      Jun 21, 2021

      You’re most welcome, Big E,

      I’m glad you found it useful.

      Tight lines!

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  • David Lee

    Jun 14, 2021

    I’m trying to purchase the perfect fishing rod but before reading your blog I was clueless regarding the different varieties available. I wanted to bring this with me as a present and was wondering if any of these fishing rods will fit a standard luggage allowed by most airline companies? Are these a specific standard size or we can assemble them by parts?

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      Katie

      Jun 15, 2021

      Hi David,

      Thanks for reading the article. Good question! We actually have another article on our blog about how you can travel with fishing gear.

      Basically, you can choose a 4-piece travel rod that can be disassembled. These types of rod are usually best for fly fishing or extremely light tackle fishing. According to the US Transportation Security Administration, you can take these rods on board as carry-on hand luggage.

      If the rod you’re purchasing is heavier-duty, such as the ones used for trolling or beach-casting, then you can always check it in as a piece of sports equipment.

      We hope this information helps! Let us know if you have any other questions.

      Tight lines,

      Katie

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  • Bruce

    Jun 12, 2021

    What a timely article! I am just getting into surf fishing especially for Pompano. Today I purchased a Cadence Stout 5000 and now looking to pair it with a 12’ Rod. This helps clear some of the questions. I’m going to start with a Fiblink 12’ 2 piece rod that has a fast action and using Power Pro SS V2 20lb braid. Hopefully it will be a good learning experience. Thank you for your article!

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      Katie

      Jun 14, 2021

      Hi Bruce,

      Thanks for your comment. It’s great to hear the article cleared up some questions you had 🙂 If you have any more, feel free to ask away!

      Tight lines,

      Katie

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  • Joel

    Jun 6, 2021

    Hi Sean,when it comes to Rods & Reels..Iam a novice.

    Went to Bass Pro Shops the other day to buy a combo and the salesman recommended this Spinning Rod & Reel Combo:

    Penn Fierce III 4000 paired with Ugly Stik Elite 8’6” Heavy.
    Is this the right match? My plan is to go some bank fishing in lakes and the Fraser river. Your thoughts please. Thanks

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      Sean

      Jun 9, 2021

      Hi Joel,

      Thanks for reading.

      The combo you mentioned is certainly a good one. However, whether or not you want to go with a Heavy rod will come down to the species you want to catch. If you’re after Sturgeon and large Salmon, I’d say that this is a great option. But if you’re after something smaller, you can go with a Medium Heavy rod to have some versatility.

      As far as the Penn Fierce 3 4000 reel is concerned, it’s a great option for the money, and it provides a nice drag system with a smooth retrieve.

      I hope that helps.

      Tight lines!

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  • Joel

    Jun 6, 2021

    Thank you for your very informative article.

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  • fazi

    May 27, 2021

    hello how is this rod/reel combo,FRCIII6000902MH, I would like to buy as a gift for lake fishing.

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      Sean

      May 27, 2021

      Hi Fazi,

      Thanks for reading.

      The Penn’s Fierce III spinning combo is a quality piece of equipment, and pretty versatile. Since it’s primarily designed for inshore and nearshore saltwater angling, I’d say that it will work well as long as it’s used to catch larger freshwater species.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!

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      Brian

      Jun 4, 2021

      I’ve been looking at a Penn Fierce 3 combo for flats and mangrove fishing in South Florida, usually targeting redfish, snook and some trout. Would this be a suitable choice with the 4000 reel size? Thank you.

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      Sean

      Jun 9, 2021

      Hi Brian,

      Thanks for reading.

      Absolutely, the Penn Fierce 3 4000 combo is a versatile option that will get you any of the species you mentioned. It’s also relatively affordable for what you’re getting: an excellent drag system, quality build and smooth operation.

      I hope that helps.

      Tight lines!

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  • brady schroeder

    May 22, 2021

    Hey i need a good rod for fishing at my local pond/lake and am new to fishing any suggestions.?

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      Andriana

      May 24, 2021

      Hello Brady,

      Thanks for reading and for a great question. Since you’re new to the fishing world, starting on a pond is a great idea, because it’s fairly simple and can be productive, as long as the pond has some good fish in it.

      The type of rod depends on different factors, mostly on whether you’re fishing from shore or from a boat, as well as what fish species you’re targeting. A simple, yet effective, medium action fiberglass spinning rod paired with a spinning reel is a good start. This combo is versatile, affordable, and suitable for targeting different species, small and big.

      Enjoy your first pond fishing experience Brady, and feel free come back and let us know how it went.

      Tight lines!

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  • Celeste

    May 21, 2021

    Hi Sean,

    Thanks for the article! I’m a complete beginner shopping for my first rod/reel, and this is the most informative page I’ve found so far. I would mainly be fishing in freshwater lakes in B.C., looking to catch trout or really anything else that’s out there. Casting from the shore or from a small aluminum boat. Do you have any suggestions for rod, reel and lure size?

    Much appreciated!

    -Celeste

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      Andriana

      May 24, 2021

      Hi Celeste,

      Thanks for reading, I’m glad you liked the article and that you found it useful.

      Good on you for going into fishing! You’ll have a lot of fun fishing on lakes, mostly because they’re a great place for newbies to get a feel for fishing, and there’s usually a lot to catch in the gorgeous British Columbia.

      Spinning gear is always a good choice for beginners because it’s versatile and easy to use, not to mention affordable. The size of the rod can be anywhere from 6–9 feet, light or medium action is best. Add to that a simple spinning reel spooled with a 4–8 lb test monofilament line (another alternative is using a braided line).

      When it comes to the types of lures, spinning gear is great for a great variety of lures and even some fly patterns, if you’re feeling adventurous. Small spoons and spinners (1/8 ounce) are a good choice for lake fishing. Remember to add a split-shot weight ahead of your lure, on the leader – that will give you longer casts. You’ll need to keep your lure moving to get the fish’s attention – be sure to let your lure sink to different depths, and change up how fast you retrieve the line every once in a while.

      Have an awesome time fishing in British Columbia Celeste, feel free to come back and let us know how it’s going.

      Tight lines!

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  • Kathryn

    May 13, 2021

    I want to purchase fishing gear as a gift. They do not have anything (no poles, tackle) They will be fishing in saltwater in Lopez Island, WA. They will only be fishing off of the boat. Can you advise on exactly what I will need. I don’t want to spend a fortune, but do want to get products that will last for a long time, since this is a gift.

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      Sean

      May 14, 2021

      Hi Kathryn,

      That’s a truly awesome idea for a gift.

      Since you’re buying a gift for someone who doesn’t own rods or tackle already, I’d recommend getting a ready-made rod-reel combo.

      If the person you’re buying the rod for is fishing from a boat, they might be up for trolling, which would require a trolling rod. However, casting rod and reel combos are much more versatile, because they will allow them to fish from the boat as well as from the shore.

      There are many rod and reel combos that are specifically tailored for species you can catch in the Puget Sound. For example, you can get a good Salmon/Steelhead rod and reel combo for around $70.00. This would be something like a 8′ 6″, medium-heavy, graphite rod with a size 3000 aluminum reel. The good thing about pre-made rod and reel combos is that they are already made so that the rod goes ideally with the reel, which takes out a lot of the guesswork for you.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Have a great day!

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  • Shaun

    May 11, 2021

    What about a good salmon jigging rod and reel set up

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      Sean

      May 13, 2021

      Hi Shaun,

      Thanks for reading.

      A Salmon jigging setup will require a good quality rod with enough backbone and tip sensitivity. Since you’ll be jigging vertically, something like a medium heavy, fast action, 7-7’9″ rod should work well.

      As far as reels are concerned, the sizes are dependent on the size of Salmon held by the waters you’re fishing in. For jigging, it’s important to get a reel with a good retrieve ratio. Go for at least 4 to 1 or 5 to 1. If within budget, you can get a counter reel, which will allow you to know the exact depth you’re jigging. You can definitely catch Salmon without one, but it’s a nice tool to have, and it doesn’t put a lot of extra weight on your setup.

      I hope this helps.

      Tight lines!

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  • Ty K.

    May 7, 2021

    Hey! What would be a good recommendation for a beach rod? I just need an all around good rod for the surf, dock, creeks, and everything. I have a bigger rod and real in mind(but not too big). In other words, I just need a reliable all-around beach/ocean rod. Hopefully that makes sense haha.

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      Sean

      May 7, 2021

      Hi Ty,

      Thanks for reading.

      Surf fishing rods can range anywhere from 8 to 14 or even 15 feet. For beginners, something like a 10-12 foot rod should work well, especially if this is to be your all-purpose fishing pole.

      Similarly, a medium power, medium-heavy action rod should cover you in most situations. If you’re fishing in saltwater, just make sure that you’re buying a rod with non-corrosive handles and reel seats. Speaking of reels, a 5000-6000 size reel should serve you well. Couple that with a 20- to 25-pound-test line, and you’ll be able to land most species that you’ll encounter.

      I hope this helps.

      Tight lines!

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  • Kelly

    Apr 21, 2021

    Thank you for being so supportive in answering all the questions and responding to the comments! Tight lines to everyone!

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      Sean

      Apr 21, 2021

      Hi Kelly,

      Thanks for reading, I’m glad that you found the comments section useful!

      Feel free to let us know if you have any other questions.

      Tight lines!

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  • Denise

    Apr 19, 2021

    Very helpful and informative article! I am wondering what you might suggest for the two fishing places I use. I fish for trout in rivers and walleye and perch in a lake. I only fish from the banks at both these spots and ideally want one setup that can be used in both scenarios. Thank you.

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      Sean

      Apr 21, 2021

      Hi Denise,

      Thanks for reading.

      I think that something like a medium power, fast action 7′ to 7’6″ rod would serve you well, especially if combined with a 3000 series reel. This combo should allow you to sense the bite while providing enough pulling power to land good sized Trout and Walleye.

      If you’re fishing in the North where temperatures are often near freezing, I’d advise going with larger rod bearings because those won’t collect frost as easily, letting the line flow smoothly.

      I hope that helps.

      Tight lines!

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  • Carlos

    Apr 19, 2021

    Hi,

    Iam new in Fishing,I just bought Two types of Reel. ones is Banax ST-3000C and One Viking V5060. Now which rod is perfect for my Reels? Thanks in Advance

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      Sean

      Apr 21, 2021

      Hi Carlos,

      Thanks for reading.

      There’s really no set rule to what rod you can pair with your reels, other than to make sure that the two are well balanced. The 3000 series reels are pretty versatile in that you can use them in bays and inshore waters for decently sized fish.

      For your Banax ST-3000C reel, something like a 7-foot medium power rod should work well. But again, it comes down to balance. To check the balance once the reel is attached, put your index finger on top of the reel handle and see if the rod is hanging in the balance or tipping over. To be honest, I’m not familiar with the second reel you mentioned. Perhaps somebody else could let us know in the comments?

      Another thing to pay attention to if the line designations on the rod and reel are matching. There’s some leeway here, but it’s best for the line weight capacity of the rod and reel to match.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Tight lines!

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  • Hanaa

    Apr 11, 2021

    Hi Sean, Thank you for providing a great wealth of knowledge about fishing rods. In the past I used to fish few times a year. But, due to COVID social restriction people (I am one of them) started to look for something to do to fill out our free time. I’ll tell you, since last spring I have been more interested to learn about fishing and fishing gears. I am about to buy my first fishing rod and reel and I came across this one from Canadian Tire “Quantum Metrix 2-Piece Medium Spin Combo, 6.5-ft”. Do you think this would be a good rod to own?

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      Sean

      Apr 12, 2021

      Hi Hanaa,

      I think we can all relate to that – the past year has put a clamp on many things we used to do – fishing included.

      It’s great that you’re getting your first rod and reel!

      The Quantum Metrix rod you mentioned is a good all-round option, especially if you get it for the discounted price that’s being advertised online. I think you can get the combo for around $35, which is great considering that you’re getting a lightweight graphite rod. It should be pretty easy to handle considering its length. Also, the number of ball bearings should indicate that the reel in this combo enables a smooth action.

      So to answer the question, I think that yes, this would be a good rod to own, especially for a beginner.

      I hope this helps.

      Tight lines!

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      Andrii

      Jun 2, 2021

      How to put rod Quantum Metrix rod together? My top and bottom parts look equal in size and look like the rod got shrunk or something like that? I don;t know if I need to force it in or heat it up.

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      Sean

      Jun 7, 2021

      Hi Andrii,

      Thanks for reading.

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re having trouble assembling your rod. Typically, there should be just enough of a difference in size between the top and bottom parts, so that you can squeeze one into the other with minimal effort.

      I honestly wouldn’t recommend trying to force it, because you might end up chipping or deforming the rod blank, which will make it almost impossible to reassemble.

      If you’ve already assembled your Quantum Metrix rod before, heating up the shrunken part could work. I would recommend that you use the lowest temperature possible, perhaps even leaving the shrunken part of the rod in the sun for a while and then trying to fit them together.

      If this is actually the first time you’re trying to put the rod together, it might be worth taking it to the store to see what’s going on.

      I hope this helps.

      Good luck!

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  • shayan

    Apr 5, 2021

    hi i was wondering what rod i should get for me i do rock and surf fishing and i just started fishing and would like to find out whats better lures or bait
    thanks!

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      Sean

      Apr 8, 2021

      Hi Shayan,

      For rock and surf fishing, you’re going to need a longer rod, probably something in the 10-foot range. This will allow you to cast further out.

      If you’re a tall person, you’ll likely be able to handle rods over 10 feet, which is useful if you need a longer cast. In terms of power, a medium-heavy rod should prove handy.

      But when it comes to using lures vs. bait, it’s pretty much a matter of personal preference. If you go with single hook lures, a fast action rod will work better because they’re easier to set the hook with. Fast action rods typically allow you to cast further, too.

      That doesn’t mean that you can’t get a decent cast with a medium action rod. Medium action rods can work well if you’re using treble hooks or live bait, because they give the fish more time to bite. They also work better than fast action rods if you’re using heavy sinkers.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Tight lines!

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  • Jay

    Mar 30, 2021

    This is a great guide and answers a lot of questions. I am looking for a rod to run straight off the back of boat with 10-12oz weight to run double wobbler rig. What would you suggest.

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      Sean

      Apr 1, 2021

      Hi Jay,

      Thanks for reading.

      For a sinker of that size, you’ll going to need a rod with plenty of backbone.

      Something like a fast action, heavy 7′ to 7′ 6″ rod should work well. Since you’re fishing from a boat, I assume that you don’t need to cast far. You’ll have plenty of pulling power, though, which will come handy if you’re dropping those wobblers in strong current.

      What sort of fish are you targeting?

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  • Ian

    Mar 23, 2021

    I don’t recommend using a G Loomis NRX or any of the higher end G Loomis’ or Shimanos like the Conquest…because you’ll be ruined for the rest of your fishing career. I’ve been fishing for over 25 years and won’t (can’t) use anything less than the $675 rods because nothing else even comes close to the feel, extreme light weight and strength of a NRX spinning rod. Buy a $19.99 Brawler from Bass Pro to start with.

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      Sean

      Mar 24, 2021

      Thanks for sharing, Ian!

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  • Sohad

    Mar 2, 2021

    Sean, I think this is a great article for people that don’t understand fishing rods. And for them buying a new one can make your head spin! I think along with what you covered, the thing a lot new fishing rod buyers overlook is the lure size

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      Sean

      Mar 2, 2021

      Hi Sohad,

      Thanks for reading.

      That’s a good point. Anglers often overlook the fact that the rod they’re buying might not be well suited to the lure sizes they need in their respective waters.

      The good thing is that most rods have markings that show their ideal lure size.

      Thanks for sharing, and have a great day!

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  • Kenneth Campbell Jr

    Mar 1, 2021

    I noticed that you didn’t get into spinning rods, casting rods or spiral wrapped casting rods.

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      Sean

      Mar 1, 2021

      Hi Kenneth,

      Thanks for reading.

      That’s actually a good point, thank you. We’ll add a short section on the most common types of fishing rods.

      In the meantime, you can check out a related article we wrote on the most common types of fishing reels.

      Al the best!

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  • Danny York

    Jan 28, 2021

    Sean I think this is a great article for people that don’t understand fishing rods. And for them buying a new one can make your head spin! I think along with what you covered, the thing alot new fishing rod buyers overlook is the lure size. It is very important for the performance of the rod. Play close attention to the lure size on handle.

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      Sean

      Jan 28, 2021

      Hi Danny,

      That’s a very good point!

      A quality rod will do you little good if you’re using an inadequate lure. In addition to length, action and material, lure compatibility has a huge influence on what fish an angler can catch with a certain rod.

      Thank you for bringing this up, Danny. Definitely a useful tip for beginners to know about.

      Tight lines!

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  • Avril Harding

    Jan 1, 2021

    Hi Sean, thanks for great article! Im from Cape Town and we fish in the ocean known as The Cape of Storms. Most fishing buddies believe bigger is better thus rods are 14 and even 15 feet. I personally use a 13 feet composite rod because I found that those long rods are better handled by taller guys, which Im not. Your thoughts please? Regards

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      Sean

      Jan 4, 2021

      Hi Avril,

      Thanks, that’s a great question.

      While longer rods certainly have their advantages (primarily casting distance), they also have a few trade-offs, mostly to do with precision and handling.

      A person with longer arms could arguably find it easier to handle a long rod. For example, a longer rod handle wouldn’t get in the way as much as it would to a shorter angler. But these are edge cases, I would say. We’ve heard a lot of anglers talk about rod length as it relates to height, and as cliché as it sounds, things come down to what you’re most comfortable with. A 13-foot rod should let you achieve very good casting distances, without sacrificing as much on precision and general rod rigidity.

      In short, if it works for you, it works!

      Thanks for reading, Avril.

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  • Twila

    Dec 19, 2020

    Hey Sean!! Some great information on rods, I’m looking to get my Mom a new reel, for Christmas. Can you give me some tips on buying one?? She is a bank fisherwoman. Thank you!!

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      Sean

      Dec 21, 2020

      Hi Twila,

      What a great idea for a present!

      It all depends on how experienced your Mom is and what kinds of fish she likes to catch.

      If she’s a novice, a spinning reel would be a great option. They’re dead easy to use, and they can produce some really nice catches.

      Baitcasting reels are a little more advanced, and require some getting used to. However, these reels offer more precise casting and typically a lot more pulling power, too.

      You can check out our in-depth guide on fishing reels to learn more.

      Have a great day, and Merry Christmas!

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  • Luke

    Dec 9, 2020

    Thanks for this blog. I was looking for ideas regarding my unfinished self created BC rod. Thanks for ideas. I used a sensitive type of bamboo with a mangrove root handle. I plan to buy the fazelite fuji ring guides but I’m lacking a good reel seat. Thanks for the blog once again

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    • Reply icon

      Sean

      Dec 14, 2020

      Hi Luke,

      Thanks for reading, and kudos to you for making your own rod!

      We’ve seen a number of manufacturers sell their reel seats on Amazon. Most fall into the $10-$30 price range, but there are more expensive options, as well.

      I hope you catch loads of fish with that rod!

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  • Nikki

    Dec 5, 2020

    This is exactly the information I have been looking for. A simple guide. Thank You!

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      Sean

      Dec 8, 2020

      Hi Nikki,

      Thanks for reading.

      I’m glad to hear that the article was useful.

      Tight lines!

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  • Dave R Leal

    Oct 8, 2020

    Thank you for your Fishing rod article.
    My wife and I are old newbies. We haven’t fished for more than 20 years. Now that we’re retired we plan to be out on the lakes more often.
    We just bought 2 fishing kayaks and can’t wait for them to arrive.

    Dave

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      Sean

      Oct 8, 2020

      Hi Dave,

      That sounds like a good retirement plan!

      Hope you have a great time fishing from those kayaks.

      Tight lines!

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  • Bobby Sboray

    Sep 24, 2020

    I really learned a lot about fishing rods. Amazing the difference in length, action, etc. will make on landing that fish!!

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      Albert

      Sep 28, 2020

      Hi Bobby,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Yeah, the smallest thing really can make a difference when fishing!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

      Tight lines!

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