Fishing Rod

How to Choose a Fishing Rod [Special Guide]

Fishing has a lot more to do with skill and the right equipment than it does have to do with luck. This fishing rod guide will help you to choose the best rod to help ensure you are fully prepared to be successful.

This guide will provide you with key definitions that you need to know about fishing rods, the best rods for a wide range of fishing types, setups, maintenance and more.

Terms You Need to Know

There are a few terms associated with fishing rods that you need to know.  This is some of the basic fishing rod descriptions you need to know:

  • The Rod – a rod is the long stick like part of the setup.
  • The reel – this is the spool like setup that holds the fishing line.
  • Hook – is tied to the end of the fishing line.
  • Bait – is what is used to entice the fish, it is secured to the hook.
  • Sinker – is the fishing rod line weight that helps your line to “sink”.
  • Butt cap – is the end of the rod, it can be made from rubber, cork or plastic. It sits on the end of the rod near the reel set and makes it easier to hold the rod.
  • Ferrule – on rods that break down into two pieces there is a male ferrule and a female ferrule that screw together, they are the fishing rod connectors.
  • Guides or Fishing Rod Rings – these are little rings that guide the line down the rod and keep it in place.
  • Tip guide – this is the section at the very tip of the rod that keep the line in place. Fishing rod tips have metal rings that are fastened to the tip permanently.
  • Action – the action of the rod is how flexible the rod is.
  • Fishing rod length – refers to how long the complete setup is.
  • Fishing rod without reel – many times a rod is sold without a reel setup.

Fishing Rod Structure

How to Choose the Right Fishing Rod

There are several considerations you need to make when you choose a fishing rod. There are plenty of fishing rod types to choose from and plenty of things to consider. A fishing rod with reel is the most expensive part of any tackle set, so you do want to be sure that you evaluate your choices and choose the rod that is going to be best for your needs. Some things we will look at here to help you narrow down your choice include:

How to Choose a Fishing rod for Beginners

As a beginner the first thing you want to do, is to be sure that you are choosing a rod that is budget friendly and simple. In other words, you can buy a fishing rod without rings and without a reel and must deal with the fishing rod construction on your own, but as a beginner it is not recommended. Keep your choices budget friendly and easy to use to get started. There are plenty of great fishing rods for beginners available that are affordable fishing rod and reel combos, that will allow you to get started without having to stress over construction of the rod.  Get familiar with fishing rod terminology and choose your rod from a trusted fishing rod manufacturer. Spinning rods are great for beginners!  Continue reading to learn how to choose the right size and how to use your new rod.

How to Choose a Fishing Rod Length

Rod length can range from 4 feet to 14 feet. The lower end lengths are great fishing rods for kids or to fish off a dock into a still body of water like lake.  A simple rule of thumb is the shorter the rod the shorter the cast. For example, if you are wondering “what size fishing rod for bass fishing should I get” you would need a rod that is about 6-8 feet. When you are considering what size fishing rod do I need, you really need to consider, what and where you will be fishing. Shorter rods are excellent for kayak fishing where space is a premium and casting is being done from a seated position. Longer rods will cast further.  A lot of beginners mistakenly believe that fishing rod length has to do with their own height, one has nothing to do with the other. The proper length is determined by where you will fish, what you are fishing for and how you will fish!

Fishing Rod 5

How to Choose a Fishing Rod for Saltwater

There is a difference between saltwater fishing rods and freshwater fishing rods. Saltwater rods and reels must be more durable because they are exposed to the corrosive effects of the saltwater. When you are choosing a saltwater rod be sure to check the fishing rod specifications. The rod specifications will tell you if the rod is made for saltwater.

Rods made for saltwater fishing are made of very specific materials to help them survive in the tough corrosive conditions. Some of the best rods for saltwater fishing are composed of graphite, fiberglass or a fishing rod of carbon.

The rod actions will play a critical role in whether the rod and reel are suitable for saltwater fishing. You want to choose a fast action rod or an extra fast action rod and reel for saltwater fishing for casting accuracy, but you lose some casting length. Medium action and even slow action rods bend more from tip to mid-section and are recommended for blackfish, small grouper, sea bass and other live bait casting. Most experienced anglers choose the medium to slow action rods.

The length of the rod matters in saltwater fishing. The longer the rod the longer the cast. A combination of length, power and action all play a role in choosing the perfect rod. A 12-20-pound line does great with a 7-foot rod, a 50-100-pound line is best with a 6-foot rod. The heavier the line capacity the shorter the rod.

How to Choose a Freshwater Fishing Rod

A freshwater fishing rod setup is typically less expensive than a saltwater setup. You will follow the same guidelines for choosing a saltwater rod. Keep in mind when choosing a freshwater rod, the longer the rod the less sensitive it is to nibbles. Consider where you will be fishing, the type of water you are fishing in, what you are fishing for. For example, if you are fishing off a pier on a lake, where the water is still, you want to choose a sensitive rod. Spinning rods work great with light baits and lures and are great freshwater rods. Pay attention to the fishing rod details when choosing your rod, most rods are rated for saltwater or freshwater use. The right fishing rod model for freshwater fishing is a personal choice. The fishing rod price, the fishing rod types and uses designation and what you plan on fishing for and the bait you are using all come into play. You can find freshwater rods for under $20 and over $1000, it all depends on how much you want to invest. A good rule of thumb is to choose a quality rod that fits nicely in your budget and that will offer you the most flexibility in game choices.

Fishing Rod 2

How to Use a Fishing Rod

Once you choose your rod you will need to know how to use it. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Grip the rod in your dominant hand.
  2. Let out about 6 inches of line at the tip of the rod.
  3. Be sure to hold the line against the rod with your finger or it will start spilling out.
  4. Use your other hand to open the bail.
  5. Direct your rod at your target.
  6. In one smooth motion raise the rod upwards.
  7. Flick the rod forward using your wrist and elbow, your shoulder should not move. Release the line.

We strongly suggest that you use a plug instead of a hook when you are learning how to cast your new rod so that you do not inadvertently hook yourself or someone else. With a little practice you will be able to cast like a pro.

Fishing Rod Maintenance

Taking care of your rod and reel will ensure years of enjoyment. Maintenance is critical especially with saltwater rods. Follow these steps:

  1. Rinse your rod with fresh clear water.
  2. Dry it thoroughly.
  3. Pay special attention the to guides when cleaning your rod.
  4. Wipe your rod down with furniture polish.
  5. Occasionally take apart your reel and lubricate it.
  6. Consider a fishing rod case if you live in a humid or damp climate to protect your setup.

It is important to rinse off your rod after each use and dry it completely. You also want to be sure that you take apart your reel (do it after ever saltwater fishing trip) and lubricate the moving parts. Wipe the whole setup with furniture polish, it helps to keep the rod looking like new and adds a bit of waterproofing. Taking care of your rod and reel will keep it in great condition and extend its life.


This guide should have provided you the insight that you need to choose the right rod, learn how to use it and properly take care of your new rod. To learn more click here!