Selecting a fishing rod can be a little frustrating, as there are so many choices available. The following information will give you some guidance in relation to the things you need to consider before you part with your hard-earned cash.
Balanced outfit. You need to ensure that your rod and reel are balanced. This means firstly that the line weights designated by the manufacturers as suitable for both your rod and reel must match. Also, if your system is balanced, when you lay the rod on your fingertips, just forward of the reel, approximately where you hold the rod with your forward arm, then the outfit should tilt neither one way nor the other. If the outfit is not balanced, then you will lose casting distance if the outfit is too heavy at the reel end or if the rod tip end is too heavy, your arms are going to get tired very quickly.
If you have chosen to use a spinning reel, then of course you must choose a fishing rod that is suitable for spinning. On a spinning rod, the first runners after the reel seat are quite large to cater for the spiral loops that come from the spinning reel spool when you are casting. This is different from, say, a baitcaster fishing rod, where the line leaves the baitcasting reel in a relatively straight line. The first runners in the case can be quite small. Use a spinning reel on a baitcasting rod and you will lose casting distance and you might also end up with a bunch of grapes.
Type of fishing. Just as for reel selection, you need to consider what type of angling you will be doing. If you are going to be fishing from a boat, then a longer fishing rod can be a bit awkward, especially if you intend to net the fish yourself. Lifting the rod tip high enough to get the fish close enough to net can often result in a broken rod tip, especially if the rod is made of graphite – not a good feeling. If you are fishing from rocks or from the shore, then longer fishing rods in the order of 9ft to 13ft or even longer may be appropriate to allow longer casts, or if you are rock fishing, to give you more opportunity to steer a fish through the maze of rocks. If you intend to cast between tree stumps or snags, then a shorter rod with a fast action will allow you to cast with more accuracy and to set your hooks quickly for the ensuing battle.
If you want a general purpose rod, then one in the range of about 6ft to 8ft or so might be appropriate, but it really depends on the type of fishing you will be doing. If you buy a rod without giving thought to the type of fishing you’ll be doing, then there is a good chance you will be wasting your money.
Manufacturer’s specifications. If you look at the side of fishing rod, you will find that the manufacturer has specified the range of line weights and in some cases the lure weights that the fishing rod has been designed for. Be guided by these specifications and choose a reel that matches these rod specifications. If you already have a reel, make sure that the rod matches the reel specifications.
Action. Rods are also identified by their action or taper. Apply some pressure to a rod tip at right angles to the rod and the rod will take on a particular shape, this shape determining its action or taper. Rods will be classified as fast action or slow action or somewhere in between. In a fast action rod, 20% of the rod at the tip end will bend significantly – great for casting accuracy and setting that hook quickly. The slow action rod will have a uniform bend between the tip and the butt – great for casting a long distance, especially if the rod is relatively long. Medium action or other actions will lie somewhere in between the extremes of fast and slow action.
Material. A further consideration is the material that the fishing rod is made of. Fiberglass rods, although not as popular as they once were, are slow action rods and relatively heavy, but they are still available and are relatively hard to break. They are well priced and have served generations of anglers, so they can’t be that bad. Graphite and graphite composite rods are now more common. They are very light and you can fish all day with them without wearing out your arms, especially if you are casting lures, but you have to treat them with kid gloves to avoid breaking them. More than one manufacturer makes fishing rods by using graphite or graphite composite at the butt end and just fiberglass at the tip end – perhaps the best of both worlds.
Check the summary in learnacademy.org. To summarize, determine the type of fishing you will be doing and ensure that the reel and rod you choose will balance each other and cater for that type of fishing. Do you intend to lock horns with some brutes or do you need a less powerful and more sensitive rod? Look at the rod length and action and consider which is more important, distance or accuracy. Perhaps a compromise is required. Lastly, consider how much you can afford and the material you would like your fishing rod to be made of. Good Luck with your fishing.