Just as patience and confidence are necessary when fishing, we also need to have the right tools for the job. Let’s start by discussing the basics of the fishing rod.
Most rod selections correlate with the location of fishing and which fish are being targeted. Today, there are only two different materials used in fishing rods—fiberglass and graphite. Fiberglass rods have a softer action and are very durable, while graphite rods are lighter, use different resins and thus, are more expensive.
You will find numbers and abbreviations on the sides of almost every rod like “6’ 6” med-heavy, fast,” which means the rod is 6-foot-6-inches long. The med-heavy references the rod’s strength, and “fast” defines the rod’s action or where it bends.
The length of a rod and your preference will come with time. The most common rod lengths are 5 feet and 5 inches to 7 feet with a few exceptions. For instance, a surf rod for fishing from the beach can measure between 9 and 15 feet long. This is to ensure a cast past the breaking waves and provide more leverage for larger fish. It is important to observe the line test (strength) and its limits when choosing the rod. A heavily powered rod will snap lighter lines, and heavy lines can snap a lighter rod.
The action of a rod reflects how the rod bends when pressure is applied to the tip. A fast-action rod bends quickly at the top, providing a much stiffer rod with better sensitivity and faster hook set. The slow-action rods bend in the lower half of the rod and generally provide more power and less sensitivity.
Bottom line: a great fishing rod is not going to instantly turn you into a great angler, but a poor rod will limit your catching abilities.