The Characteristics Of Fishing Rods And Rod Selection


Fishing rods are not all the same and there are always the same questions about fishing rods. Therefore I have written this detailed article in which I would like to answer almost all questions about properties of fishing rods and other questions about fishing rods. If you are thinking about buying a new rod or just want to know more about fishing rods you are right at this article.

Table of Contents Which rod for which fish – The choice of rod 6 important points for the decision Rod care and storageArticles on fishing tests for different fishing rodsSpinning rods Classification by casting weight and target fishBase rods Classification by casting weight and target fishFeederrutePicker rodPose rodsProperties of fishing rodsA measure of rod strength the casting weightAction, bending curve, Resetting speedRod lengthHandle materialHandle lengthTransport lengthWeight of a rodRod rings Guide ring and tip ringRod ring typesMaterials from which fishing rods are madeGlass fibre rodsCarbon fibre rodsThe pressing pressure and designationsOrigin of the blanksBamboo rods

Which rod for which fish – The choice of rod

First of all, one must distinguish between ground and spinning rods. The water is also important for the choice of rod: If you are fishing on the Rhine main stream, you will need much stronger tackle than on standing waters such as ponds and lakes. The next question to ask yourself is whether there are obstacles from which I have to keep the fish away. The main current of a raging river is also considered an obstacle.        So if we fish in one of the big streams for catfish near a tree lying in the water, the rod can hardly be strong enough. If I fish catfish in an unobstructed lake and no 1.5 m fish are to be expected, then a good carp rod with 3.5 lbs. Bending curve.

6 important points for the decision

If you want to buy a rod I recommend you to reconsider these 6 points for yourself. Further down in the text you will also find a more detailed explanation of what makes up these rod characteristics and what you need to bear in mind.

  • Choosing fishing technique: here you decide on one or more fishing techniques, whether spinning, bottom fishing, feeder or even fly fishing is probably the first and most important step when choosing a rod. The fishing technique together with the target fish decides on the action of the rod
  • Transport size: not everyone has a van or combi with which one-piece rods of 2.6 m length or more can be transported. This raises the question of the transport length and whether you want a classic two-piece rod, or a telescopic rod or even a travel rod.
  • Choosing the target fish: the target fish decides on the rod strength for trout it may be a light and thin rod, while catfish need a thick and especially strong rod
  • The water: the length of the rod is the main factor, but it also has an influence on the rod strength.    For small waters you don’t need a long rod (which are also a bit more expensive), but for a large lake or at the sea you usually need longer rods. Also one must have the next point in the head here already fish I at the tearing stream on barbel, I need very high lead weights and thus also weighs my assembly much.
  • The weight of the lure or mounting weight: Here the casting weight is decisive. The optimal casting weight of most rods is often in the middle of the indicated casting weight.
  • Shore or boat: When fishing from a boat the rods should always be a little shorter. 2.4 metres is often the maximum you should fish from a boat. From a kayak or Belyl boat short rod handles are very important for handling. So this is where the length of the rod and the length of the handle is important.

Rod care and storage

Fishing rods need relatively little care compared to fishing reels. However, it is recommended to clean your rod thoroughly with water after salt water or sand contact. Especially with telescopic rods and plug connections, grains of sand can eat into the rod and damage it.

When storing his expensive treasures, rod stands are a good choice. However, it is important not to store your fishing rod even slightly bent or placed against a wall. After a while, the rods will take on the shape they were in when they were in use.

Articles on fishing tests for different fishing rods

On this website there are some overviews and guides for different rods. In the articles there are more detailed explanations of what is really important with these rods, as well as recommendations and comparisons.

Here are the links to the articles on fishing tests. de

  • Rods for spinning
  • Rods for spinning pike
  • Rods for spinning with plugs
  • Zander spinning rods for rubber fishing
  • Trout fishing rods
  • Feeder rods
  • Telescopic rods
  • Carp Rods
  • I also have an overview and some detailed tests for spinning reels on the website

Spinning rods classification by casting weight and target fish

Here are the casting weights of the typical spinning rod classification outside of special rods (e.g. e.g. Drop Shot Rods etc.).

  • Ultralight spinning rods (0.5-12g WG) Trout and perch
  • Light spinning rod (5-25g WG) Trout, perch, also pike and pike-perch
  • Medium spinning rod (30-80g WG) Large trout, Pike, pike-perch
  • Heavy spinning rod (90-200g WG) Pike, catfish
  • Catfish spinning rod (200g + casting weight) CatfishHere is a table with the exemplary characteristics for our predatory fish. Of course you have to differentiate between fishing in a torrential river and a strong current, or in a calm lake. As already mentioned, the weight and length of the cast depends on the water and whether I fish from the bank or from a boat.

Ground rods Classification according to casting weight and target fish

Classifying ground rods is a bit more difficult than with spinning rods. Carp rods which are excellently suited as basic rods are not indicated with casting weight, but with the weights with which a certain bending curve is achieved.

  • Light basic rod (20-50g WG) 1,5 lbs. Tench, trout, perch, zander, eel, pike and carp (restricted)
  • Medium ground rod (40-80g WG) 2.5 lbs. Carp, eel, pike, zander
  • Medium ground rod (80-150g WG) 3,5lbs pike, catfish (restricted)
  • Heavy ground rod (150-300g WG) pike, catfish

The typical catfish ground rod has 300-600g casting weight. This is also due to the usual technique of guying, where the rod is permanently under load.

Feeder rod

Feeder rods are made for fishing with a feeder to catch fish.        The tip serves as a bite indicator and they can cast quite heavy weights. A filled feeder basket with lead weighs quite a bit. These characteristics are achieved by using replaceable glass fibre tips or very strong carbon fibre. Usual lengths are about 2.4-3.6 meters. In extreme cases for large rivers, 4.2 metres rods with high casting weights are also available, which can also be used as surf rods.

We distinguish between different feeder rods from light to Xtra Heavy Feeder rods.

Picker rod

The little sister of the feeder rod is the Picker rod or also Winklepicker. Often also written wrong “Winkelpicker”. These are rods that are also used for ground fishing but only with light feeders or lead weights. Casting weights are usually up to 40 grams, although there are picker rods up to 80 grams. The usual length is slightly shorter than the feeder rod, namely 2.4-3 m. The tip is also coloured to make the bite more visible. Usually these rods are used exclusively for lakes, ponds or canals and any other still to calmer waters. For everything else the feeder rod is there.

Pose rods

Also especially for pose fishing there are a lot of different rods usual characteristics are a very soft action so that you can cast a pose mount and fine lures without them falling off the hook during casting. But what is probably just as important is the rod length. A float rod can be several meters long and float rods are often 3 meters or longer. It is also common to use light casting weights, as float rods rarely weigh more than 30 grams.

Another thing, of course, is that if you also want to fish big fish like pike or carp, then stronger rods with a higher casting weight are the order of the day. A

Features of fishing rods

As already mentioned, rods have various characteristics that make them particularly suitable for a fishing technique or target fish. More details about these characteristics are given in the following paragraphs.

A measure of rod strength is the casting weight

The casting weight provides an indication of how strong a rod is. It is by far not the only criterion for rod strength but certainly the most important.

As already mentioned in the 6 points, when choosing the casting weight you should always consider how heavy the lures and mounts you want to cast are. The optimal casting weight is usually in the middle of the given range. Sportex often only gives a number on its rods, which represents the optimum and a tolerance. Normally, however, a range is always given with which the rod charges well for casting.

Action, bend curve, reset speed

There are three characteristics of rod action. The reset speed, the rod thickness and the rod action.    The rod action is something absolutely crucial, because there are big differences between different fishing rods. The action should be adjusted to the target fish and the fishing method.

For many rods, the manufacturer will at least state the “rod strength” from which conclusions can be drawn about the other two characteristics. The rod thickness ranges from UL for ultra light to XH for Xtra heavy. UL rods are for perch and trout or even white fish, while XXH rods are for tropical saltwater predators. A jerk rod for pike can also have an XH action. In between there is a medium action M and all kinds of intermediate forms. In English this is called rod power.

First of all the rod action: This determines how far our rod bends under load. There are three basic types

  • Parabolic action: The rod bends under load up to the handle. Such rods are classic salmonid rods, i.e. for salmon and trout. Also many carp rods and pose rods show this characteristic.
  • Semi parabolic action: The rod bends up to the middle under load. Typical spinning rods often have a semi parabolic action often combined with a ML rod thickness
  • tip action: Such rods bend only at the tip and continue to bend naturally even under very high loads. Typically such rods are used for rubber fishing for zander

Very important is also the speed of recovery, because this indicates how fast the rod will bend straight again after a load. There is a direct correlation with rod strength. It takes more force to keep a rod bent at a high reset speed. In English we also speak of taper. There are fast tapered rods, i.e. rods with a high resetting speed and rods with a slow taper, i.e. slow resetting speed.

With a high reset speed you can cast further.

The rod length

The rod length is one of the most important features of a fishing rod, no matter if spinning rod or carp rod. How long a rod should be depends on the fishing technique and the target fish. Generally short rods are recommended from the boat, while longer rods are desirable from the shore. The length of the rod has a great influence on the casting distance. Of course the transport length will also increase if a rod is longer. Rods also become considerably heavier and usually more expensive with increasing length. In general, rods of 2.7-3.3 m are recommended for shore fishing with spinning rods and for boat fishing mostly rods around 2 m. Pilgrim’s rods may also be 3 m long. Rods for raised hide fishing, on the other hand, may be considerably longer and 3.6 m is the standard for carp rods.

The length of the rod also determines how long a leader or an assembly can be. When trout fishing at trout lake and fishing with spirolinos, long leaders are required, which is why rods for this purpose are sometimes 4 m long.

Handle material

The handle material is rather a matter of taste. There are mainly two different materials cork and EVA. Both materials are available in different price categories and with expensive rods usually better material is used. For me personally the grip material is not an important purchase criterion. With the exception that for saltwater EVA material has proven itself. This material is easier to wash off and is more resistant to salt water. Salt water can also penetrate into the cork and therefore salt crystals can settle there. Nevertheless there are also sea rods with cork handle, which is ok if the quality is right! Our fishing rods do not take full baths in salt water every day. But for tropical countries I strongly recommend EVA handle material, because cork can get mouldy quickly.

The handle length

Handle length: The rod handle is primarily a lever for casting and drilling. It also distributes the pressure we exert during the drill over a larger area of the blank. Therefore it is often a bad idea to grip the handle and hold the rod on the blank while you are drilling. The rod can break under heavy load. The length of the grip is important, because everybody has to know by himself if he likes short or long grips and how they are distributed. Nevertheless it can be said that boat rods should have short grips at least outside of Big Game. This is especially true on kayaks and belly boats, otherwise the grips are just in the way. For the shore angler the grip may also be longer, because the lever is used for further casts.

The transport length

Transport length: The transport length also plays a role. Not every angler has a combi or even a van. Fishing rods should still be easy to transport. For those who prefer short transport lengths, there are also travel rods with very short packing dimensions or telescopic rods with short packing dimensions.

Weight of a rod

The weight of a rod is especially important for spin fishing, if you hold a rod in your hand all day long, 50 g makes a difference. That’s why the weight of a rod is a quality criterion for spin fishing. Lighter rods are also slightly more expensive to produce. Weight is of secondary importance for raised hide fishing. If the rod is only used for fishing and casting, it doesn’t matter how heavy the rod is.

Rod rings

The rod rings must be attached to the blank in one line. The rod rings are on the one hand a cost factor for the manufacturer and also tying and fixing them costs money and is precision work. The more rings a rod has, the more expensive and higher quality it becomes. There are different inlays for the rod rings. Cheap rods may have no inlays at all and are made of metal or plastic. Braided lines cut notches into these materials, which in turn damages the line and the line will break faster. Modern rods are almost always equipped with high quality SiC rod rings – silicon carbide is a type of ceramic that does not get damaged by braided lines. Other ceramics and LTS rings are also resistant.

It is important for saltwater fishing that the rod rings are also salt water resistant.

Guide ring and tip ring

The first rod ring seen from the handle is the guide ring. The guide ring is usually considerably larger than the other rod rings. The last rod ring at the tip is logically called the tip ring. There are different shapes of tip rings, some of them are specially designed to prevent the line from getting caught on this ring so quickly.

Rod ring types

With rod rings you have to distinguish between single, double and triple rod rings. The difference is mainly the stability and the weight. Rods for heavy fishing, e.g. catfish, usually have triple-strip rings. Personally I find two-rings the best, because they are very stable and, very importantly, they don’t bend easily. Einstegrings like to bend and when bending back, weak points arise, which also like to break sometimes. Of course, it is normal to use single rings on light rods. The guide ring is a triple ring on most rods.

Micro Rings (Micro Guides) are a new trend especially for Ultralight rods. The weight is reduced by using less material. I personally don’t like these rings that much, because the casting distance suffers from the thin rings, even if the precision during casting is better.

Replacing rod rings is usually relatively easy. It is best if you only have to replace the inlays. I will write another article about rod repair.

Chris Tip:I check my rod rings after purchase, but also otherwise at regular intervals for damage. These can have cracks as well as grinding.

Materials used to make fishing rods

Many rods are made of both fibreglass and carbon fibre and benefit from both materials. Such rods are also called composite material rods.

Fibreglass rods

The tip of many rods is usually a composite material of carbon and fibreglass. The tip of some rod types like feeder rods or the famous Ugly Stick rod series is mostly made of glass fibre, because only glass fibre can withstand the strain and at the same time is relatively soft. Also Big Game Rods are mainly made of the much more solid fiberglass material.

  • The advantage of glass fibre rods is on the one hand the favourable price, on the other hand also the stability.
  • The big disadvantage of fiberglass is the much higher weight compared to carbon fiber rods and the often very bobbly action. A further disadvantage is that glass fibre ages and becomes porous over time, making it easier to break. But this effect only occurs after many years.

Carbon rods

Modern rod production cannot be imagined without carbon fibre. Especially modern spinning rods have a high percentage of this expensive material. Rods with a high percentage of carbon fibre have a good feedback, charge better during casting and above all are lighter than glassfibre rods.

The pressing pressure and designations

There are numerous marketing names and designations around the designation of carbon fibre rods and blanks.

The designation IM X e.g. IM 12 is originally from the Balzer company and is a marketing designation. Other fishing tackle manufacturers have adopted these designations. For an IM 7 rod the carbon fibre mats were pressed under lower pressure than for an IM 12 rod. This has a significant effect on the rod properties. IM 7 rods are more robust, softer and therefore also cheaper than IM 12 rods. The latter are then somewhat more “brittle” but much harder, faster and much more expensive. The material consumption of expensive carbon fibre mats is much higher for rods that were pressed with high weights in tons and only a few manufacturers are able to economically produce rod blanks with high density.

Origin of the blanks

The carbon fiber blanks from which rods are made mostly come from Japan and are only produced by a few manufacturers. There are also some manufacturers outside of Japan, but the carbon fibre mats are also mostly made there. The same mats are also used in the armament industry and the export of these carbon mats is therefore a little tricky.

Bamboo Rods

Among the most expensive rods you can buy for money are spliced bamboo rods. These are handmade and made for fly fishing. Modern and high-quality spliced rods are hardly inferior to carbon fiber rods and yet they are something very unique and quaint.

You miss something? Find something incomprehensible or want to correct me ? Then I am happy about comments!

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