Fishing rod is the backbone of the tackle. Traditionally, fishing rods are made from wood, bamboo and cane. Since the late 1940's rods material are changing to tubular steel and aluminium to glass fiber, boron, Kevlar and most successful of all, carbon fiber or graphite. Fishing rods vary in material, styles, strength, length, weight and flexibility. Popular manufacturers of fishing rod are Shakespeare, Daiwa, Shimano and Zebco. An expensive rod may not instantly guarantee a good catch but a poor rod will be a limiting factor for an angler. Fishing rods have to be purchased based on the preferred type of fishing style and personal experience.
How to choose the fishing rod you need?
A fishing rod can be viewed as the extension of the arms of an angler. Choosing a fishing rod takes into consideration the rod type, rod characteristic and rod construction and material. Rod construction and material determined the rod characteristic and rod characteristic determined the rod type. But when selecting a fishing rod, the consideration starts from rod type, rod characteristic and then rod construction and material depending on how advanced the angler is.
Rod type is determined by the fishing style, location and the type of fish to catch. Once the rod type is determined, a lot of other varieties can be easily eliminated. Rod type is mainly categorized into saltwater rod or freshwater rod. Saltwater fishing rod types can be divided into boat rod and shore rod. Boat rod can be either inshore rod or offshore rod. Shore rod can be either surf rod or pier fishing rod. Similarly, freshwater rods had a lot of choices. Another rod type consideration is whether it's a single piece, two or more pieces or telescopic rods. The fewer pieces it had, increases sensitivity and durability but makes transportation difficult. Most of the time, the rod type are detailed in the rod description.
Next thing to consider is the characteristic of the rod which is the length, weight, power and action. Longer rod allows the angler to cast longer distance but shorter rod provides more control and manoeuvrability during fish fighting. Shorter rods are preferred when space are constrained such as in the case of boat fishing. Shorter rod will allow the angler to work on the bait more easily. A heavy rod is often more capable of handling heavy lures and heavy fish. However, casting and fishing with an extremely heavy or bulky rod can be tiring and wear out an angler very fast.
Power and Action refer to the way a rod performs when the angler casts and fights a fish. Action describes the responsiveness of the rod to bending force and the speed the rod returns to its original position. Action is normally categorized into slow, medium, fast and its in-between or extremes. The faster the Action, the less bending it had from the tip of the rod. Fast Action rod will enable the angler to detect lighter bites and need smaller distance to move the rod when setting the hook. However, the faster the action of a rod the more casting distance and accuracy is compromised because the more the rod bends also determined the energy it stores in the rod during swinging.
Power or weight value describes the lure weights and line sizes that a rod can handle. Weight value here is not referring to the actual weight the rod is on a weighting scale. Power or weight value is normally categorized into ultra light, light, medium light, medium, medium heavy, heavy, and extra heavy. Power is often an indicator of what type or size of fish a particular rod may be best used for. In general, the more aggressive and bigger the fish is, the heavier the power is needed. It is very important to match the power of the rod with the fishing line rating and lure weight. A heavy line with a light rod can break the rod while a light line on a heavy rod can break the fishing line easily.
Rod Construction and Material
There are three types of rods blank material used in the modern fishing rod; graphite, fiberglass, and bamboo rods. Bamboo rods are the heaviest of the three follows by fiberglass and graphite. Bamboo is still used for its feel. Fiberglass is used because they are powerful and very difficult to break. And graphite is used for its light weight characteristics, sensitivity and its ability to allow for further and more accurate cast.
Taper is the reduction in diameter of the rod blank. It is a combination of the actual wall thickness of the blank as well as the degree of tightness the material is wound on the mandrel. As amount of material reduces along the shaft, the degree to which it can bend increases. This taper contributes directly to the Action of the rod.
Rod guides or rod rings keep the fishing line from contacting the rod and serve to direct the fishing line along the rod with low friction and smooth surfaces. Rod guides range from the bulky, heavy duty roller guides used on boat and big game rods to the slim, light guides of fly rods. Generally, a higher power rod requires a more solid construction of the guides. A baitcasting reel and spinning reel requires different size of the closes guides to the reel. In general, a larger guide ring is required for spinning reel combination. Guides are available in steel, titanium and other metal alloy.
Reel seat need to be strong material and are often made of graphite-reinforced plastic, aluminium, or wood
Material for grips needs to be light, durable and able to transmit rod vibrations. Cork, EVA foam and wood are commonly used.
Rod Specification and Description
Rod specifications are normally printed just above the reel seat and indicate the rod's performance characteristics. The information normally available are the item part number, the rod length, line and lure weight for which the rod is rated and the action and power rating for the rod. The rod length is usually indicated in feet and inches. Line weight is usually in pound and lure weight is usually in ounce. Actions and power are usually indicated in words.
Other rod characteristic information can be found in the rod description that comes along with a new rod or from manufacturer website.