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You may not have given it much thought before now but think about how important the rod is when you cast, hook, and reel a big fish. The rod will have to be flexible, but not so flexible that there is not enough stability to hook a fish, but not so stable that it breaks when the fish puts up a fight as you reel it in.
With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to find the best fishing rod for what you are fishing for. Naturally, a deep sea fishing rod will have very different characteristics from a lightweight fishing rod designed for small freshwater gamefish.
You shouldn’t buy a fishing rod that is too big for the job because you will likely be spending entirely too much money on a rod that is overqualified for the job. On the contrary, you shouldn’t buy the cheapest rod if you are planning on fishing for large gamefish.
This is exactly why we are here today. We are going to give the fishing rod the attention that it deserves by listing the best fishing rods with a buying guide to follow so that you know exactly what to look for when buying a fishing rod.
A baitcaster reel sits on top of the fishing rod with the open spool of the line running parallel to the rod. A baitcaster reel uses your thumb to stop the spool from spinning and releasing the line.
The Cadence CR7B baitcasting rod is designed only for baitcaster reels. They are 1-piece rods made from 40-ton graphite blanks with a carbon-wrapped veil, making them lightweight, sensitive, yet strong. The line guides are stainless steel, so you don’t have to worry about your line become hung or stuck on the material of the eyelets. This creates a smooth transition as you cast and reel your line.
The baitcaster reel sits on top of a Fuji reel seat with cork handles wrapped in EVA foam. This gives you the most comfortable, ergonomic, and effective experience when using the rod.
A spinning reel sits on top of a spinning rod and spins the spool of the line perpendicular to the rod. When it comes to spinning reels, the PLUSINNO Elite Hunter fishing rod is one of the best.
The PLUSINNO Elite Hunter fishing rod is made of IM6 carbon fiber, which makes it incredibly flexible and strong. The rod length is 7 feet, and there are stainless steel line guides with ceramic inserts to keep the fishing line from snagging or catching on the guide. This creates both smooth casting and smooth reeling as the line moves through the guides. On the tip of the rod is an eyelet that reduces the chance of the line becoming tangled.
The grip of the rod is carbon with a non-slip EVA cork handle to make it comfortable and ergonomic. The reel seat where the reel will sit on the rod is made of sturdy plastic and double locks. This means the reel will always be securely fastened to the rod.
The rod is two pieces with a spigot ferrule design. This means that one piece of the rod slides inside the other and locks into place. This makes the rod easy to store without compromising the sensitivity or durability of the rod.
There is also a carrying case included with this spinning rod.
Stainless steel guides with ceramic inserts
Not as much sensitivity in the rod as other options
Telescopic fishing rods extend to the rod’s full-size length and collapse to return the rod back to a short rod. This can make storing and carrying the rod easy.
The Sougayilang telescopic fishing rod is made of 24-ton carbon fiber with a stainless steel hooded reel seat. A stainless steel reel seat is resistant to rust and corrosion, making it a durable rod that will withstand the elements. The line guides on the rod are also stainless steel with ceramic inserts. This creates a durable and smooth action when the line is cast and reeled.
The handle of the rod is EVA foam, which makes it comfortable to hold in the hand. The handle, as well as the main shaft of the rod, is wider than most rods, which makes this telescopic fishing rod a great option for saltwater fishing or big game freshwater fish.
Stainless steel reel seat
Stainless steel line guides
Cork piece is threaded onto the handle and can fall off
Another spinning rod on our list is this one by BERRYPRO.
The BERRYPRO spinning rod comes in 8’6”, 9’, 9’6”, 10’, and 10’6”. This gives you the option of choosing the right size rod for what you need.
The rod is made of IM8 X-Carbon technology. This type of carbon fiber is lightweight and strong, making it a great option for many types of gamefish. The pole is slim and light, which makes it easy to cast any type of bait or lure. The line guides are stainless steel with ceramic ring inserts that allow the line to move smoothly through the line guides without getting caught, snagged, or tangled.
The handle of the rod consists of cork and nonstick rubber that is painted onto the handle. It has a comfortable and ergonomic design. The reel seat where the reel will attach is nonslip rubber as well so that the reel can stay securely in place as you cast and reel.
The BERRYPRO rod has increased sensitivity due to the alignment and the placement of the stainless steel line guides. This means you will be able to feel a fish strike the line the moment that it happens, which is important because you won’t miss the opportunity to set the hook. With decreased sensitivity, you may not feel a fish strike, which means you can miss the opportunity to hook a big fish. With increased sensitivity, you never have to fear this will happen.
Another more affordable baitcasting fishing rod is the E-Series rod from Entsport. It is a 7-foot, 2-piece rod that comes with two different tips. This means you can choose which tip you want to use for the type of fishing you are doing.
One tip is medium, and the other tip is medium-heavy. The medium tip of the rod means it will begin to bend in the middle of the rod. Medium tip rods work best with lures that need to be reeled to attract fish rather than bait that will sit in the water like a jig or a soft plastic lure. This is because you don’t need to feel the line move as much when a strike occurs to know that you need to set the hook. Essentially with a spinner lure, you can set the hook simply by reeling the lure in, which doesn’t require the rod to be sensitive.
A medium-heavy tip will be able to handle a heavier fishing line and heavier lure. Thus, the tip will also be able to handle a heavier catch when hooking and reeling the fish in.
This baitcasting fishing rod gives you the option to pick the right tip for the right gamefish.
Both rod tips are 24-ton carbon fiber, which is lightweight and durable. The reel seat on the rod is where the reel will attach to the rod, and it is made of corrosion-resistant aluminum hoods. This means the reel seat will stand up to harsh elements when becoming exposed.
The line guides on the rod are K-R and Finesse, which allows the fishing line to move smoothly through the eyelets on the rod.
The handle of the rod is made from high-density EVA foam with an ergonomic design. This makes it comfortable and functional as it is held.
2 different tips; medium and medium-heavy
Rod tip can break if you have the wrong size combined with the wrong type of fishing line
User rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars
Daiwa Ballistic X Tele-Spin Telescopic Fishing Rod
Another telescopic fishing rod on our list is the Daiwa Ballistic X Tele-Spin telescopic fishing rod. The rod is available starting at 6.23 feet and goes up to 9.84 feet long. No matter what size rod you choose, the transport length of the fishing rod goes down to 22.44 inches; less than 2 feet long for easy transportation.
There are six total parts to the rod, with each of the pieces collapsing into one another when retracted. There are 5 Fuju O line guides made of deep-pressed aluminum, which makes it light and sturdy.
The Daiwa X45 carbon fiber is durable, lightweight, and flexible, making this a highly-functional rod setup for many types of fishing lines and lures. The handle of the rod is made of EVA rubber, making it comfortable and easy to grip while casting.
Daiwa got everything about this telescopic fishing rod right. The line guide material and spacing is optimal for both sensitivity and durability. The rod itself is lightweight and collapsable for easy casting and transportation. The handle is comfortable both in ergonomic design and material composition. It’s no surprise that this telescopic rod by Daiwa has been rated 5 out of 5 stars.
When fishing for crappie or other small panfish, you will want to use a sensitive rod. A sensitive rod will help you feel when those smaller fish bite; that way, you won’t miss a strike when it happens.
This two-piece rod by Sougayilang is made of graphite composite. This makes the rod lightweight and sensitive so you can feel even the smallest fish strike. The handle is made of cork, so it is lightweight and comfortable. The action of the rod is light and ultralight, which gives you the most sensitivity from the rod.
There are 6 line guides on the rod made of stainless steel with stainless steel inserts for easy casting and reeling. The reel will need to be a spinning reel so that it fits the rod and handle correctly.
Perfect for crappie and other small fish
Rod can break if using a line that is too heavy or hooking a fish that is more than the weight limit of the rod
Shakespeare makes many good fishing products, and the Wonderpole spinning fishing rod is one of the best. It is three pieces and a long 10-foot rod, making it great for crappie, bream, and other panfish. It is designed with ultra-sensitivity with its lightweight design.
The line guides and line tip are fluorescent and come with a spare rubber cap for the pole. The handle is made of fiberglass and rigid but comfortable in the hand. The rod is made for a spinning reel to attach to the fiberglass handle. For the money, the Shakespeare Wonderpole spinning fishing rod is hard to beat.
Only recommended for small fish (crappie and bream); pole can break with big gamefish
This two-piece fishing rod is the last on our list. It is made of 24-ton carbon fiber Kastflex blank technology. This makes the rod flexible, strong, and accurate. You can order virtually any size and action KastKing Perigee II rod, as there are 29 different lengths and actions to choose from. You can also choose a baitcaster or spinning rod to accommodate either type of reel you have. This model rod can essentially work for any size fish with any size action you need. Just make sure you select the correct size and action for the type of fishing you will be doing.
With the Fuji-O guide rings, the line will never snag or catch as it is being reeled. It will also allow the line to be easily cast with no snags or tangles. There is also a Saf-T Keeper hook holder that will safely and securely hold your hook while carrying the rod. The handle is made of EVA foam that makes it comfortable in the hand as you fish.
The KastKing Power Transition System between the joints of each section of the rod prevents power from being lost in the cast. This technology means you will get the most out of your cast each time.
User rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
How to Choose the Best Fishing Rod
Fishing rods have many different characteristics that set them apart from each other. To be a simple concept, fishing rods are actually very complex. With terms like medium-heavy and telescopic, it can be difficult to know which fishing rod to choose.
That’s why we’re here.
We will help you understand the difference between an ultra-light rod and a heavy rod, with everything you need to know in between. At the end of this article, you will know exactly which rod to buy and why.
Types of Fishing Rods: Baitcaster or Spinning
When choosing a fishing rod, you will need to know what type of reel the rod will accommodate. Is it made for a baitcaster reel or a spinning reel? This is the first question you will need to ask yourself when choosing a fishing rod.
A baitcaster rod will fit a baitcaster reel, and a spinning rod will fit a spinning reel.
If you’re unsure if you have a baitcaster or a spinning reel, look at the spool and see which way the line is spun. If the line is spun on a perpendicular spool, you have a spinning reel. If the line is spun on a parallel spool, you have a baitcaster reel.
Most fishing rods will be made of fiberglass or graphite. Fiberglass has historically been the most common fishing rod material, but graphite has become a new fan favorite.
Fiberglass fishing rods are durable and have medium flexibility because they are made from glass. Fiberglass rods are generally less expensive than graphite, so they make a good backup rod to have onhand.
Graphite fishing rods are more expensive than fiberglass because they are lighter, sensitive, yet stronger. The way graphite is made creates an extremely strong yet flexible product that can easily bend without breaking.
Graphite is also more sensitive than fiberglass because it is lighter. You can easily feel a fish strike when using a graphite rod, whereas a fiberglass rod might be a little less noticeable. Graphite rods are best used for small fish, like crappie and bream, so that you can feel their paper mouth bite.
There are also fishing rods that are a combination of graphite and fiberglass. This combination often gives you the best of both worlds. These are known as composite rods. Composite rods generally cost more than fiberglass but not as much as graphite. Composite rods are best suited for larger fish so that you can feel the strike of the fish. Additionally, a composite fishing rod will be able to withstand a greater fight with a larger fish.
The action of the rod refers to how much the rod will bend when reeling a fish. Action is also related to sensitivity because you will need to feel the rod move when a fish strikes, and where the rod bends will determine how soon you feel it strike.
For example, a rod with extra fast action will bend starting at the upper ¼ of the rod, which gives you the best opportunity to hook a fish, unlike a slow action rod that bends at the lower ⅓ of the rod.
Action is classified in the following categories:
Extra Fast (Ultra-Light) – bending at the upper ¼ of the rod
Lures to use: light lures weighing less than ⅜ oz
Fish to target: panfish
Fast (Light) – bending at the upper ⅓ of the rod
Lures to use: light lures weighing up to 1/16 oz
Fish to target: panfish and small trout
Medium – bending halfway at the rod
Lures to use: lures weighing ¾ oz or less; spinnerbaits, jigs, and soft plastic lures
Fish to target: small to medium gamefish; bass, trout, walleye
Slow (Heavy) – bending at the lower ⅓ of the rod
Lures to use: lures weighing between ½ oz and 2 ounces; spinnerbaits, soft plastics
Fish to target: medium to large gamefish
Power and action go together like rods and reels. The amount of power the rod has will directly affect the type of action it will produce, and vice versa.
A rod that has extra fast action will also have ultra-light power. This means that you may have to work a little harder setting the hook than you would with a heavy rod. The power of the rod will tell you what size line you need to use with the rod. Using fishing line that is too heavy or stiff for your rod can cause the rod to break. On the contrary, using a line that is too weak on a rod that is heavy will be ineffective as well.
The power of the rod will tell you what size line you should use, and you must follow the recommendation so that you don’t lose a fish because of an inadequate fishing line.
Line guides are the eyelets that follow the spine of the rod that keep your line in place. Without line guides, the fishing line wouldn’t follow the length of the rod. Instead, it would fall immediately to the side as it is cast from the spool. This would render the rod useless, and as you have seen, the fishing rod is a very useful component of fishing.
But keeping the fishing line in position with the rod is only one of the benefits of the line guides. Line guides are also important because they will keep the line from catching or snagging on the eyelets as the line is cast out or reeled in.
The best line guides will have an insert in the eyelet, usually made of ceramic, that will allow the fishing line to smoothly glide through without getting caught or hung. This is important for both casting and reeling.
Let’s say you’ve just gotten a strike on your lure, and you need to get your lure quickly back in that same spot to try to get the fish to strike again. The last thing you want to happen is to have your line to become tangled or caught on the eyelet of the line guide. Time is everything when it comes to fishing, and a small delay in untangling your fishing line if it is caught on an eyelet can mean the difference in hooking a monster fish or missing it altogether.
The same example can be used in reverse.
Let’s say you’ve just gotten a strike on a lure, and you need to quickly reel it in to cast it again. Unfortunately, your line has just gotten snagged on the eyelet of your line guide, causing you to have to untangle it from the eyelet. This can also create a delay in casting your lure back into the water, potentially missing the fish that had just struck your bait a few minutes prior.
While they may seem small, line guides are an important component of the fishing rod. Not only do they keep the line in place, but they also help create a smooth casting and reeling experience.
The last component of the fishing rod is the reel seat. The reel seat is where the reel will sit on the fishing rod when it is attached. The reel seat is often made of fiberglass or stainless steel. Choosing a fishing rod with a stainless steel reel seat is best because it will be resistant to rust and other corrosion when it gets wet.
Ultimately, the best fishing rod for you will be the one that will check all the boxes for the type of fishing you are doing. You will want to make sure that the fishing rod you choose will be strong enough for the line you will be putting on it, but not too strong that you won’t be able to set the hook when a fish strikes. If you need an extra fishing rod to take with you, fiberglass is always a great option. It will get the job done without breaking the bank, allowing you to fish for many species as long as you have the right line and lures for the job.
Outdoors, I’m in my element, especially in the water. I know the importance of being geared up for anything. I do the deep digital dive, researching gear, boats and knowhow and love keeping my readership at the helm of their passions.
Established in 1998, BoatSafe is your independent guide into the world of boating, fishing, and watersports. We provide expert insights and detailed guides to help you find products tailored to your needs and budget.