For anglers who would like to fish on vacation on the side or for a specific purpose, or who have even planned a real fishing vacation, the question of the right fishing gear for the vacation quickly arises. The transport size of a rod plays a major role. Whether in a fully packed car or in an airplane, space is often limited and the long two-piece rods can cause difficulties with their large transport dimensions. Extra charges for bulky goods are expensive. Therefore this article is about travel rods and the right choice of these. You should also keep in mind that travel rods are not only something for the holidays. There are many advantages that speak for travel rods, also and especially for the use in domestic waters. If you don’t have a car and go fishing by bike, you know what I mean.
Of course there is always the possibility to stock up with fishing rods on the spot, but many fishing dealers only see the tourists as quick money and have little interest in keeping the customer and giving good advice. Wrong advice is the result. I have already been sold squid baits in the Mediterranean in summer and promised that you can now catch them from the shore with them. But then local fishermen, who watched me in my hopeless endeavour, told me that squid can only be caught from the shore in the region in winter. This was confirmed to me in later research. But this is only a short personal story in passing.
Overview of the advantages and disadvantages of travel rods
Advantages of travel rods
- Reduced packing size
- Comfortable transport
- Low risk of transport damage
- Also easy to carry in the car
- Stiffer rods with good action
Disadvantages of travel rods
- Slightly less stable than comparable two-piece rods
- Feeling is also slightly reduced
Telescopic rods as travel rods
Many telescopic rods with a shorter handle have the advantage of a small packing size. If you just want to fish a little bit on the side and prefer to fish with float, water ball or on the bottom with small baits, this can be a simple and cheap alternative to the push rod. For spinning or larger fish, however, these rods are at a clear disadvantage compared to 5-piece rods. Often the cheaper telescopic rods are too wobbly for sensitive spin fishing. A further disadvantage is the danger of breaking telescopic rods, because they break much faster and have lower load limits. Especially rods in ready-made sets for 25 € are usually quite useless and cause more frustration than pleasure. I advise against it!
The situation is different with high-quality telescopic rods. On angeltests.de there is already an article that deals intensively with telescopic rods, also with some recommendations of good rods.
Rods as a travel rod
With rods you have to make sure that the connectors fit. In addition, the rod rings must be in alignment and this must be done every time you set up the rod. This can be a bit laborious with 4 or more connections but is worth it. You will be rewarded with a much better action and stability of the rod but also better casting characteristics.
Unfortunately, the processing of such a large number of connectors is also much more expensive for the manufacturer, which is why travel rods are often one price segment higher than the same models in two-piece design.
Pack size and airplanes
The reason for buying a travel rod is the small packing size. In an airplane, it is best to transport your travel rod in a suitcase between your clothes. This way the rod is well protected and safe from damage. Most of the rods fit crossways into larger suitcases without any problems. Most airlines allow a maximum size of 158 cm (belt width). This is calculated by height + length + width of the case. But it is best to have a look on the website of the airline, that’s what I always do.
In the aircraft, rod tubes are of course also a possibility to protect two-piece rods from damage during transport. There are special rod tubes with which you can also transport your longer two-piece or even one-piece rods without any problems. A lock is often practical to protect your rods against theft. A rod bag with a hardcase is perfect for transportation in a car. The Beastmaster STC Twin Tip rod comes with a sturdy and noble rod tube.
Travel rods for freshwater
For freshwater, similar rods are used worldwide as we use for similar sized fish. With a heavy pike rod up to 80g casting weight you are prepared almost everywhere for fish up to 1m length. However, there is a “strength gradient” of the fish which is related to the temperature. The warmer the water temperatures and the closer we are to the equator, the stronger the fish fight on average. A peacock-eyed cichlid in the Amazon or in the Philippines fights much stronger than a 1 m pike when it is 50 cm long.
Rods for the sea
For the sea, relatively stronger rods are usually required than for fresh water. Corrodibility of rod rings and other metal parts also plays an important role for both rod and reel. Just as with freshwater fish, there is a north-south gradient in terms of fighting strength. In addition, marine predators are significantly stronger than freshwater fish. A 1 m long tuna or an amberjack of the same size cuts each pike rod in seconds. Unfortunately, saltwater rods usually cost slightly more than comparable freshwater rods. This is because more expensive materials have to be used and the rod has to cope with much stronger fish. Also the mullets found at many Mediterranean ports are strong fighters and more stable tackle is obligatory with the larger specimens. On the one hand, they can also use it to cast lighter baits, and on the other hand, the stronger fish slit out less often.
The right reel for a travel rod
Fortunately there is no need for a specific reel for a travel rod. Here is a big overview >> about current and good spinning reels.
From the boat
From the boat shorter and shorter rods are the order of the day, because longer rods are in the way and no long casts are needed. When it comes to bigger sea robbers, only the strength of the rod counts, which is good news for the price, because with Big Game or other heavier boat rods, a lot of work is still done with cheap fibreglass. Medium boat rods for Norway are a bit more expensive. One rod that can be used both as a boat rod and as a spinning rod from the shore is the Beastmaster STC Shore Boat. I have tested this rod: for testing.
Fishing permit / fishing licenses on holiday
The best thing to do is a short research about the nearby waters and required licenses, as well as the fish that can be found, their closed seasons and closed sizes. Also at the sea you need a fishing permit in many countries. A fishing licence as with us is not necessary. For Spain you need a licence in fresh as well as in salt water at the sea – of course this includes the Canary Islands. Also in Croatia and many other EU countries a license is required and it is recommended to get one, because the penalties and fines are often quite high.
An extra tip: good fishing spots can also be explored with Google Earth from home, there is an article >>.