When it comes to buying a rod there are five main things to consider...
- 1. The composition (What it’s made of).
- 2. The length.
- 3. The rating.
- 4. The grip.
- 5. The guides.
With modern rods there are 3 main materials in which a rod is made from; Fibreglass, Graphite composite and Graphite. Fiberglass rods are considerably cheaper, more durable and easier to use out of the 3 materials. They are well suited for a bait fisherman who wants an economic option. Graphite composite rods are a tad lighter, more sensitive and better at casting than fibreglass equivalents and are normally cheaper than a full graphite option. Graphite rods provide the angler with a much lighter rod that has an excellent degree of sensitivity and is perfectly designed for casting. They are a must when it comes to fishing with lures and soft baits. However, despite the mass advantages of fishing with graphite rods they tend to be much more fragile and require a lot more care when handling.
Ultimately the length of the rod is fully dependent upon the style of fishing. The longer the rod, the further you can cast. If you are casting off the beach a rod that is 12ft plus is recommended. Off the boat anything from 5ft-7ft will be suitable depending on what style reel you are using (to keep it simple, overhead reels tend to work best with shorter rods). If you are soft baiting anything from 6ft-7’6ft will be ideal. Whist fishing off the rocks or a wharf anything from 7ft-10ft will give you a good cast without becoming too difficult when fighting the fish.
It is a common misconception that the rating of the rod indicates the strength of the rod and the size of the fish it can catch. In fact, the purpose of the rating of the rod is to determine what line is best suited to maximise the cast. The line rating of a rod is very important when matching what line weight you tend to use on the rod. For example if you use 20 pound line you will ideally go for a rod that is rated at around 8-10 kilo and so forth.
It is very hard to describe what a good grip is, mainly because it is purely based upon personal preferences. However, usually there is a choice between synthetic or cork grips. Corks tend to be very popular on soft bait rods as they are a little bit lighter and easy to handle whilst casting.
There are 3 main types of guides you have to select from; chrome, ceramic or rollered. Chrome guides have no insert in the eyelet of the guide. These should only be used with monofilament line as braided line will tend to cut a groove into the eyelet. Ceramic guides have an insert in the eyelet which tends to be a smooth ceramic material that reduces friction and is VITAL if fishing with braid. Rollered guides is an apt description for what they do, effectively they are guides with rollered wheels on them. Once again, this dramatically reduces the friction on the line and is predominately used on game fishing rods.