What is the best fishing rod to buy? There are thousands available in fishing tackle stores online (and off) so lets start with the basic rod types and what they are used for. We will then talk a little about brands, construction, quality and price to help you find the right fishing rod.
Firstly there are a number of different types of fishing rods. Read through the following sections to see which activity best suits what you need to do while fishing.
Spinning fishing rods are most often used in freshwater locations, although you can buy heavier rods for saltwater or boat use. Spin rods are designed to suit an eggbeater style reel and are used for casting and retrieving lures and baits. Many general purpose rods are called spin rods. It is likely that if you want to do a little river fishing, some pier fishing, or maybe light boat fishing that a spin fishing rod may be your best choice. Spin rods generally have lengths of 1.6m to 2.4m.
Surf rods tend to be the longest fishing rods, and they are usually quite heavy in construction and weight too. They are long to assist in casting bait and sinkers / tackle from the beach out into the surf. Also, you can catch quite large fish with surf rods (maybe even shark) so a rod with plenty of strength is required. Surf rods are designed for eggbeater reels, overhead / conventional reels and sidecast reels. They are typically 3m to 4.2 m in length.
Game Fishing Rods
Game rods are used for game fishing in deeper saltwater. They are designed to catch large pelagic fish, and typically designed to hold fishing line of 10 / 15kg up to 37kg in strength. Game rods are thick and do not bend very easily. They will often have a gimbal fitting on the butt section so they can be used in a game fishing harness or chair. They will often have one or more 'roller' guides instead of regular line guides.
Fly fishing rods are designed to catch freshwater fish, most usually trout, halibut or salmon. They are between 1.8 and 3.6m in length, and have a thin 'whippy' blank. They are designed to hold fly fishing reels and are predominately used for freshwater fishing (although some people use larger heavier rods and flys for some saltwater fishing too).
Boat rods are probably a sub class of spin rods, but are shorter and heavier in length, designed for the rigors of saltwater fishing. They may be short to medium length (1.6 to 2.1m in length) and be able to hold line weights of 10 to 20kg. In Australia for example, boat rods are used for snapper and shark fishing, and may be designed to hold overhead / conventional or eggbeater style reels.
Most rods are made of either of 2 materials, fiberglass or graphite.
Fiberglass rods are hardier, can usually bend more, and cheaper. However, graphite rods can offer better 'feel' and now thanks to improving technologies, can be quite tough and resilient too. Graphite rods are usually more expensive.
Value / Quality / Brand
There are many brands of fishing rods in the market these days. Some brands are known worldwide, others are local to a country or region, and there is a growing number of very small brands due to the ease of importing product directly from factories and agent sin China (eg, home eBay businesses).
The fact is most rods in the world are manufactured in asia. Usually in China. The big companies / brands all use very large and sophisticated factories. Smaller brands either use contract factories or piggy back onto the top tier factories. there are many rod factories, so quality can vary. We recommend sticking to well known brands and retailers in your area that can offer support, have good product knowledge and can offer good value too.
Look for good reputable retailers, and do some price research before buying.