How to Buy a Fishing Rod
The most important thing about choosing a fishing rod is to get the one that works for you.
The prices of the fishing rods that are available will vary according to the quality of the materials used, as well as the size of the rod. We all know that 'you get what you pay for', but we also know there are products that are overpriced for what you're actually being paid. Fishing tackle is like any other product, there are 'bargains' that aren't even worth the time you spend to carry them out of your trunk, and there are products that cost so much they should make the fish jump into your basket. Rods are one of the most expensive components of fishing tackle. Selecting a good rod can be a confusing experience for someone who wants the most for their money. We ask question "Is this $400 rod really twice as good as this $200 rod?" With the huge selection of good rods available to serious fisherman today it's easy to find a great rod that is perfect for you. And at the same time, you could have something that you won't use even spending some good money. The most expensive rod you own is the one you never use.
If you're just starting out and want a good all around type rod look at the rods that will work well for most techniques and lure types, and as you progress as a professional angler they will always be useful to you. If you are buying the rod as a gift for somebody and/or donít know much about it there are 3 most important questions you need to answer in order to choose the right rod.
All these questions must be answered before you can match the correct rod to your fisherman.
Choosing a rod is not as simple as running to the department store and grabbing the first pole you see. There are several different types, each with their own features and purpose. Buying the correct rod will ensure that you have the best fishing experience possible.
- 1. How often and where do you fish?
The more you fish the higher quality of rod you want to get. Where you will be fishing beach, ocean, lake, pond, river, stream, jetty, bridge, freshwater or
saltwater fish? Decide how much youíre going to fish and pick a rod that matches your commitment.
- 2. What are you trying to catch?
It is simple: bigger fish, bigger rod; smaller fish, smaller rod. Pick your spot, pick your species then pick your rod.
- 3. Spinning or bait casting?
If you're throwing small, shallow running crank bait, you need a rod with the proper action and tip that lets you cast accurately. On the other hand, if you're throwing a big, heavy deep-diver you need power and a rod that'll let you make long casts. Accuracy is less important.
When making your rod selection, remember the four most important components - Power, Action, Length, and Material.
Power - How stiff is the rod? A heavy rod requires more power to bend it, while a light rod bends easily. The power or stiffness must match the size of the bait, the attached weight, and the weight of the fish expected to be caught. For very large fish, like grouper, stripers, and muskies, you need a strong, stiff rod, and for smaller fish, like crappie, bluegill, and other panfish, a light rod is sufficient.
Action - How flexible is the rod? There are fast, medium and slow action rods. To discover which category a rod falls into, hold the rod and give it a quick jerk with a snapping of your wrist. With a fast-action rod, only the tip will move. With a medium-action rod, the tip and a little below the tip will move, and with slow-action, the entire rod will quiver when jerked. A fast-action rod is more sensitive, so it makes setting the hook easier, but a slow-action rod is better for casting light baits and for fighting fish. A store attendant will be able to help with this when you tell him the kind of fish your angler will (hopefully) be catching.
Length - How long is the rod? Long rods are usually reserved for surf fishing and pier fishing, when long casts are needed. Short rods are often preferred on a boat because they are easier to maneuver in small spaces. For most freshwater fishing from a bank, medium length rods are best.
Material - What is the rod made of? The best quality rods are made of carbon fiber. The good quality rods are made of reinforced composite materials, and average rods are made of this same material - without the cross-winding reinforcements. The insert material is very important, too. The inserts hold the guides to the rod and must withstand the friction of the line constantly rubbing against them. Choose a rod with titanium or silicon carbon inserts, and avoid rods that use inferior materials like plastics for guide inserts.
--- A pistol grip is the shortest type of grip.
--- It is contored to the shape of your hand with a hook for your index finger.
--- This hook helps in casting more accurately.
---A longer triggerstick is used for two-handed, longer casts
--- Materials come in two general styles - cork or EVA foam.
--- Cork is a traditional material that has a good feel and solid grip.
--- EVA foam offers more durability because it is more resistant to temperature changes and water wear.
Line guides can be made of plastic, metal or ceramic, listed from least to best quality. These circles are positioned to the rod's shaft to control fishing line.
In casting rods, line guides are positioned on top of the rod. They are smaller to reduce the play in the line and allow for easier casting and quicker retrieve.
Spinning rods place the line guides on the rod's bottom. These guides get larger toward the base of the rod.
The number of line guides is determined by the rod's length.
There are two main types of rods--baitcasting and spinning. The type of rod you buy depends as much on the reel you buy as the type of fishing that you plan to do.
--- Baitcasting rods take a baitcasting reel.
--- The reel and line are seated on top of the rod.
--- A trigger grip, a grip that looks simimlar to a trigger on a gun, lets you hold the rod securely while releasing the thumb bar/line release.
--- Spinning rods use a spinning wheel.
--- These rods have three main differences from casting rods:
1. The reel hangs from the bottom of the reel seat, and the line guides are on the bottom as well.
2. The handle length is balanced against the rod's length.
3. Triggers are not used on spinning rods.
The better your rod the more sensitive it will be, the more responsive it will be, and the more accuracy you will be able to achieve. There are rods out there that claim they won't break but you won't see any of them on the decks of serious bass anglers or in the hands of any tour pros because they demand rods that are light, sensitive, and powerful. Sure those rods cost more, but for those they're worth every penny.
A good rod may not instantly make you a better angler but a poor rod will be a limiting factor for any angler. A good rod will allow you to feel much more of what's going on with your lure. For instance, you'll be able to tell if you're dragging your jig through mud, sand, rock, sticks, etc., and more importantly, when you get bit, which can often be hard to detect.
Part of being a good angler is the ability to place your lure exactly where you want it, often as quietly as possible, and a good rod will definitely help your casting ability with more responsive graphite and perfectly engineered actions. The ability to create actions for specific techniques only comes with rod building expertise and the ability to use the best materials, which adds considerably to the expense. As a general rule then, a good rod will help and a poor rod will hurt your fishing ability.
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