If you are looking to get into a very calm and relaxing sport, then fishing is the perfect choice. Whether you are young or old, fishing is a sport that is loved and enjoyed by many people. When you go fishing you can go on beautiful trips to cottages in the woods, hike to amazing fishing spots, head out on the water for a whole day, or just sit by the stream, dam, or lake in your hometown with your friends for the day.
If you have never fished yourself but have been along to watch, you probably noticed that fisherman have a lot of equipment with them. Before you get into all the different types of lures and bait and what kind of fish like what, you are going to need a rod.
Where do you start?
The first thing you need to decide is where you want to fish. You can either fish in freshwater or saltwater. This choice is dependent on what kind of fish you are targeting. If you want to fish for more exotic species, larger sizes, or just common saltwater fish then you should focus on getting a rod that is built to handle saltwater fish. If you plan on fishing for trout, salmon, catfish and other popular freshwater fish then a freshwater rod is the way to go.
What’s the difference?
Basically, a saltwater rod is built to handle a heavier fish. It can accommodate a heavier line and has a more advanced reel on it. You can use a saltwater rod in freshwater, but you cannot use a freshwater rod in saltwater. The fish you target in saltwater are a lot stronger and bigger than in freshwater so it is best to stick with one or the other.
How do I know what to choose?
The biggest thing that will help you choose a rod, is knowing what all of the different parts do. Using that knowledge, you can pin point what qualities will suit you and the fishing you want to do best.
Parts of a fishing rod:
- Butt Cap: This is the little soft rubber cap at the bottom of the handle of your rod. You usually find the butt cap is a little wider or made of a more cushioned material on saltwater rods because when you are reeling in a large and heavy fish, this Is the part you will press against your stomach for support while you are pulling.
- Handle or Grip: this is the cork of foam part of the rod that you hold. Cork is the more traditional option, but foam with resist temperature change and water wear. You can either get a pistol or trigger stick. A pistol is short and contours to the shape of your hand with a hook for your index finder. A trigger is a long grip that you can hold with both hands
- Reel Seat: where the reel attaches to the rod. You can choose a seat that attaches to the rod with rings that go over the real to secure it, or you can choose a reel seat that allows you to screw on your reel.
- Hook Keeper or Keeper Ring: This is a place for you to set your hook on when you aren’t using your rod so it isn’t swinging all over the place.
- Ferrule: If you have a rod that can detach into 2 pieces or even more, the ferrules are the male and the female pieces of your rod. Basically, the male ferrule has the screw end, and the female ferrule has the threaded hole for the screw.
- Guide Rings: These are the little rings along your rod that guide the line to the top. A basic rule of thumb is, “the more rings the better”. Typically, a rod should have a ring every foot.
Different Types of Rods:
- Spin Casting Rod: this rod is for beginners. It has a trigger grip and a spin casting reel with a covered spool. These rods are very simple to use, but they lack in accuracy and distance.
- Baitcasting Rod: This rod uses a spooled baitcasting reel. It also has a strong butt. The reel on this rod is more difficult to learn how to use.
- Spinning Rod: These are thinner and lighter than casting rods and range from 5-9 feet in length. Unlike other rods, the reel attaches and hangs off the bottom of the rod.
- Fly Rods: This is a rod for an advanced type of fishing called fly fishing. This rod is thin and flexible. This method is popular because it mimics a fly landing on the water. These rods were built to give you the flexibility to preform the technique. The biggest difference in the rod is that it does not have a butt section. The whole rod is built to be able to whip with your line to the water.
- Ocean Fishing Rods: These rods can be short for boat fishing or long for fishing from shore. You can usually tell an ocean rod from a freshwater rod because it is thicker and more heavy duty. It has a very thick and long butt section for support and strength when catching big fish and they have large guide rings to support thick fishing lines. Some rods are so big and heavy duty that they can catch sharks!
- Surf rods: This is usually the biggest rod you see in the store. It is extremely long with a long butt and handle. This rod is used to allow a heavy sinking hook and bait to be cast really far away into the water. These rods are great if you plan on fishing from the beach.
- Trolling Rods: This Is a type of rod you can attach to the back of your boat and it drags the bait and hook through the water. This type of rod is normally used for targeting fast moving large fish like tuna.
- Ice Fishing Rod: These rods are very short and don’t have a reel. They are meant to be used in cold temperatures so a reel would freeze up. You reel your line in by hand.
- Telescopic Rods: these are the kind of rods that you can take apart for easier storage.
- Pen Rods: This is another type of rod that folds up, except it folds up so tiny that it resembles a pen.
What Type of Action:
The last thing you need to know before you choose your rod is what kind of action you are looking for.
If you want a fast action rod, this will be a stiff rod with bend only at the very top. This is the perfect choice for heavy lures and big fish.
If you want medium action, the rod will become flexible about halfway through. This rod is the most common choice and usually what you buy as a beginner. It is very versatile for almost any situation.
If you want slow action, this rod is flexible right down to the butt. This is a common model for fly fishing or any fishing for light fish.
Time to choose!
Now that you know what kind of fish you are wishing to catch, what kind of water you’ll be fishing in, what kind of qualities you are looking for in each part of your rod, what kind of reel you will be comfortable using, and what kind of power you want, its time to choose your rod! Below we have listed a few great choices for your first fishing rod:
Shakespeare Ugly Stik (view on Amazon)
This rod comes in light-heavy/medium action choices, so it has a good variety for you to choose from. The Ugly Stik features a spinning reel which is a great choice for beginners.
Penn Battle 2 Combo (view on Amazon)
Penn’s Battle 2 is the perfect heavy-duty beginner rod. This rod comes in many different sized reals and actions to accommodate any kind of fishing. If you are looking to fish in saltwater, this is a great choice for your first saltwater rod.
PLUSINNO (view on Amazon)
This rod is great for beginners because it is able to expand and shrink to different lengths so you can find your most comfortable position, and try out all kinds of fishing before you completely settle. It has a durable carbon fiber built and can shrink down to only a foot long for travel.
Abu Garcia Catfish Commando (view on Amazon)
If catfish are what you are aiming to catch, this is a great rod for the job. It is made of stainless steel and is made to handle heavy jobs. This rod is preferred by more talented catfish anglers, but is easy enough for a beginner to use. If you are certain about catching catfish, this rod can stay with you for a long while.
Penn Squall Lever Drag (view on Amazon)
This is another great rod if you want to start saltwater fishing. This rod and reel combo will provide you with extra strength by featuring a glass tip and a graphite frame. It also features heavy duty washer for larger line adaption.
Piscifun Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combo (view on Amazon)
If you like the sound of fly fishing or are aiming to learn it, this is a great rod and reel combo to start off with. With this combo you get absolutely every piece of equipment you need to begin fly fishing. It will come with the rod, reel, drag, retractor, fly box, 2 fly patterns, and a line cutter. This rod is designed to go after smaller fish like sunfish and trout, so it is a perfect choice for those just starting out.
Lew’s Fishing Laser MG (view on Amazon)
If you are looking for a great fast action rod to start out with and are looking for the best quality around, you’ve found it. It was made for comfort with palm side plates and pound drag adjustments, it has a magnetic brake action to minimize your backlash. Needless to say, this rod is a little more advanced for the beginner, but it is easy to learn all the parts and it will last you a while. Although it is a little time consuming to first set up, it will be a rod that you keep for a long time and one that can compete with higher end rods.
There are a lot of things to consider before you choose your first rod, so make sure you’ve figured out all the details on how and where you want to fish before diving in to make a purchase.