Beginner's Guide to Choosing a Fishing Rod: 4 Things to Consider
- 26 Apr, 2017
Choosing a fishing rod can seem a little daunting for a beginner. Understand these 4 rod attributes and you'll help yourself head to the water with the best rod for you.
Being a beginner at anything can be difficult, and fishing is no different. You’ve got to learn about fish species, fish habits, regulations, and gear just to name a few things. To decrease the learning curve, it’s best to take a direct approach and learn about one type of fish. There are so many different types of fish, with gear tailored to their habits, that trying to learn it all at once is just too much. Not only will identifying a specific fish help you learn how to catch that fish, but it will help you select your gear as well. Choosing a fishing rod is one such choice made easier with a target fish in mind.
After deciding what species to target, choosing a fishing rod is one of the first gear choices a new fisherman has to make. There are a few things you will want to keep in mind. Here are the 4 features you will want to take special notice of when selecting your first rod.
Likely one of the first choices you’ll want to make is the amount of action your rod will have. Action refers to the amount of bend the rod has. Most suppliers will have ultra light, medium, medium heavy, and heavy action rods. The action you will choose depends on the fish you want to target.
Although there are no steadfast rules for pairing rods to fish, most folks agree on a few generalizations. Pan fish, due to their small size are best caught on ultra light rods. This not only makes the rod more sensitive in order to see the bite, but also makes fighting the small fish more enjoyable. If you decide to pursue medium size fish such as bass or walleye, you’ll want to secure a medium to medium heavy action rod. For larger fish like salmon, some ocean fish, and catfish you will likely want a rod that is medium heavy to heavy. These rods will be robust enough to stand up to the beating they will take while hauling in these big fish.
While these are more guidelines than rules, they can help you start to narrow down your rod choice.
Another choice you’ll have to make when buying a rod is deciding on the length you’ll want. Again, this choice will largely be dictated by the type of fish you’ll be targeting, but will also take into account the habitat you are fishing. Longer rods, longer than about 8 feet, have several advantages. For starters, you can cast a long rod further and easier than you can cast a short rod. Secondly, they are generally more responsive than shorter rods. Think about the action of the rod, plus the length, working together in this department. Long rods are best for fishing open beaches, lakes, when lots of casting will be involved.
There are instances when a shorter rod comes in handy though. If you plan on fishing in the woods, or fishing banks where trees closely crowd the waterline, a short rod will be easier to handle. Also, if you won’t be casting a tremendous amount, you won’t benefit from a longer rod. If you aren’t quite sure, going with an 7-8 foot rod in a nice average size.
By understanding the fish species you want to target, and the habitat that fish lives in, you can decide what rod length is best for you.
3. Reel Type
The final major decision you’ll have to make when choosing a fishing rod for the first time is the type of reel you will be using. Different reels are designed for different rods. The two main categories are baitcasting and spinning rods.
The major difference between a spinning rod and a casting rod is where the reel sits. On baitcasting reels, the reel rests on top of the rod. Baitcasting is typically viewed as something experienced anglers do. That being the case, most newbies are encouraged to start out with spincasting rods. Spincasting rods hold the reel on the bottom side of the rod. These reels are the easiest to use. If you are a beginner, you are best off finding a spincasting rod to accommodate the spincasting reel you will likely use.
Although choosing the material of your fishing rod is not really a major choice for the beginner, it is still worth mentioning.
Fishing rods come in two main materials; graphite and fiberglass. Both of these materials have advantages when used for rod building. Graphite are more expensive and are also more sensitive. Experienced anglers sometimes favor graphite rods, as they can better feel a fish when it strikes. Although they are high quality, they also have a reputation for being a tid bit fragile. This is where fiberglass rods excel. Fiberglass rods are a favorite, and will likely be the choice of most new fishermen. These rods are cheap, rugged, and well-suited for everyday use. Some rods these days even incorporate both materials, using a tough fiberglass core surrounded by a graphite outer layer.
Although you have the choice between the two materials, most folks will opt for a fiberglass rod out of the gate.
If you are new to fishing you’ll have a lot of little decisions to make. Before you buy any gear, the first thing you’ll need to do is identify the species of fish you’d like to catch. This is good for both helping you learn the fishing ropes, and also buying your gear. Once you have targeted a species, choosing a fishing rod will be much easier. As you browse the distributor’s lineup, keep these 4 rod aspects in mind. Doing so will not only help you wade through the sea of fishing gear, but will also put the right rod in your hand when you hit the water. Good luck!
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