How to buy the right rod


By Mark Frendin | 14 March 2018

SOONER or later every angler will buy a rod. There are many brands on the market, each offering a selection of models. Some are crafted from bamboo but most rods are now built on blanks made from graphite, carbon fibre, composites of these materials, or fibreglass. Today, we are spoiled for choice. 

You can buy fishing rods in big chain stores, online, from specialist local tackle outlets or go to a rod builder for a custom-made model. Rods vary in price from a under $50 to thousands of dollars.

This article is aimed at helping an angler develop a basic understanding of fishing rods. It examines rod types, terminology and the selection process. Finally, it offers some advice about care and maintenance.

The small print

Many manufacturers place information on their rods. This may include rod length, recommended line breaking strain, lure weight and, in some cases, “power” setting. Some use a series of letters that might refer to the rod’s purpose (BSR – bream spin rod), its “action” (MT – medium taper) or the model within the range. Some rods have a serial number for warranty purposes. These markings are found on the bottom third of the rod.

Fly fishing rods will provide a recommended line weight suitable for that blank. Many game rods are built to suit a specific line class i.e. 10 kg. Most rods are built to suit a range (2-4 kg for example), which means you can fish lines from 2 – 4 kg over this rod.

There may also be a recommended cast weight that could be in grams or ounces. Again, this is likely to cover a range of weights i.e. 1/4 to 5/8 oz.

There are no standard labelling conventions so some lengths are in inches, feet or centimetres. Power ratings range from 1 to 5 with 1 being less powerful and relate to the rod’s use. An offshore3 power is not the same as a light estuary 3 power.