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Striper world record holder Al Mcreynolds with his son Al Jr. holiding his custom lamiglas fishing rod at home prior to another successful fishing outing

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First question to ask yourself is what type of fishing will I be doing mostly?

In case your thinking will one rod be versatile enough for all aplications the answer is NO!

Are you chunking bait? Fresh water fishing? Saltwater fishing? Surf, Jetty, Bridge, Boat, Pier? Plugging with plastics, light plugs, resins, tins, woods?

Let's start out with bait rods. Many casual fishermen and newcomers to the sport will be doing what is known as deadsticking. Lawn chair, sand spike, beer cooler and radio for the ball game. If you don't have to cast your bait out very far an 8 to 10 foot rod will work well for this type of fishing.

Bait rods are stiffer and heavier, and are manufactured in many different sizes and ratings. Usually shorter 6 to 7 feet in length. These are for power and backbone and fishing in close quarters not something that will be used for casting.

For chunking bait like cut mackeral, cut bunker and clam bellies with up to a 4 ounce sinker a rod that is rated 2 to 6 ounce and uses 12 to 25 pound test line is a decent choice. Heavier (heaver type) rods will throw bigger baits and heavier sinker weights. For example these casting rods that are known as 8 and bait and usually are 12 to 15 foot in length. These rods are popular in the Southern U.S. Coast where getting past the distant sand bars and breakers is paramount to catching fish so a distance cast here is important. Hence the Hatteras heaver type sticks.

There are basically two types of fishing rods - conventional and spinning. There are also dual purpose rods, ice fishing rods and fly rods available but that's for another discussion.
A conventional rod marked C is designed for using a multiplying or conventional type reel. These are powerful reels that allow for taking fish winchlike out of depths and distance surfcasters use them for low resistence line reels for extreme distance casting.

Spin casting rods are rods designed to hold a spin casting reel, which are normally mounted above the handle. Spin casting rods also have small eyes and, not infrequently, a forefinger grip trigger. They are very similar to bait casting rods, to the point where either type of reel may be used on a particular rod. While rods were at one time offered as specific "spin casting" or "bait casting" rods, this has become uncommon, as the rod design is suited to either fishing style, and today they are generally called simply "casting rods", and are usually offered with no distinction as to which style they are best suited for in use. Casting rods are typically viewed as more powerful than their spinning rod counterparts - they use heavier line and can handle heavier cover.

Spinning rods are designed for open faced spinning reels.

Typically, spinning rods have anywhere from 5-8 large-diameter guides arranged along the underside of the rod to help control the line. The eyes decrease in size from the handle to the tip, with the one nearest the handle usually much larger than the rest to allow less friction as the coiled line comes off the reel, and to gather the very large loops of line that come off the spinning reel's spool. Unlike bait casting and spin casting reels, the spinning reel hangs beneath the rod rather than sitting on top, and is held in place with a sliding or locking reel seat

A rod effective for trolling should have relatively fast action

How much are you willing to spend?
E glass -- Where toughness, durability and cost are factors
S glass -- casting rods for light line and lures
Graphite -- the next step up from s glass but more prone to breakage than fiberglass
Composite -- combination of glass and graphite

A little technical discussion

In theory, an ideal rod should gradually taper from butt to tip, be tight in all its joints, and have a smooth, progressive taper, without 'dead spots'. Modern design and fabrication techniques, along with advanced materials such as graphite and boron composites have allowed rod makers to tailor both the shape and action of fishing rods for greater casting distance, accuracy, and fish-fighting qualities. Today, fishing rods are identified by their weight (meaning the weight of line or lure required to flex a fully-loaded rod) and action (describing the location of the maximum flex along the length of the rod).

Modern fishing rods retain cork as a common material for grips. Cork is light, durable, keeps warm and tends to transmit rod vibrations better than synthetic materials, although EVA foam is also used. Reel seats are often of graphite-reinforced plastic, aluminum, or wood. Guides are available in steel and titanium with a wide variety of high-tech metal alloy inserts replacing the classic agate inserts of earlier rods.

Four parameters that characterize the rod should be taken in consideration when selecting a rod: Material, Action, Length and Power


The rod material and the quality of rod guides.

The high-performance and high quality rods are produced from solid carbon fiber or high-density carbon fibers.

The middle class rods are produced from high-density fiber composite materials.

The place between high and middle class rod is occupied by reinforced by cross winding fiber rods such as the Powerstick rods.

The strength of the rod material is measured in modulus. The higher modulus, the lighter and more sensitive the rod is. Usually the inserts of the rod guides are produced from very durable materials. The line running through the guide must not cut the inserts. The friction between the line and the guide must be minimal. Due to the fact that the line is subject only to minimal friction in the guides, even long distance casts are possible without damaging the line. Good quality rods are equipped with the SIC (silicon-carbon) or titanium inserts. Avoid the rods with the cheap (sometimes plastic) inserts in the guides. The guides must be distributed as even as possible along the rod.


A long rod gives you possibility to cast further with more accuracy and allows to cast lighter baits

A short rod works better in close waters and enables to set the bait quicker. Transport (assembled) length is also important particularly when travel and hiking. Telescopic rods are very convenient in these situations. But Keep the telescopic rods for panfishing.


The term "Action" defines the rod flexibility. Take a rod and make sharp vertical move with your wrist. Watch the behavior of the rod. Fast-action - only the tip "plays"

Middle-action - the tip and the part of the rod behind it "plays"

Slow-action- all length of the rod reacts on your move.

The fast-action rod is more flexible and sensitive. It also gives possibility to set the bait quicker. G Loomis makes a very good quality rod. The slow-action rod is better for light baits casting. It is also better in fighting fish.


The term "Power" defines the rod possibility to bend under a given weight or, in other words, the rod stiffness. It needs much more force to bend a heavy-power rod than light-power one. We have heavy power Eagle claw rods available.The power you need from the rod depends on the weight of the bait and the size of the fish you suppose to catch. You should also pay attention on the material and the length of the handle and the quality of the reel seat, when selecting the rod.

When purchasing a rod and reel for a novice angler, it's best to go with a pre-matched and balanced combo. By doing so, you'll be able to rest assured that the rod and reel are appropriately paired. It's also crucial to choose a fishing combo that's easy to use. In this regard, all rod and reel combinations are not created equal. Certain types are simpler to operate than others, and therefore better choices for those just starting out. Here are some selection tips:

Make User-Friendliness a Priority

Regardless of whether the fishing novice is a child, a teen or an adult, the introductory combo should be first and foremost "user-friendly." If the equipment is not easy to operate, chances are the beginning angler will spend more time dealing with tackle problems and tangles than catching fish. By starting out with a combo that doesn't require a large amount of practice or expertise to use, the beginner will be able to experience the joys of fishing right off the bat, instead of frustration. From a standpoint of simplicity and ease-of-use, the best rod and reel combos for beginning anglers are spincast and spinning outfits. A novice can certainly start out with a baitcasting or conventional rod combo, but these kind of systems are considerably more difficult to master, especially when it comes to casting. While it's just about universally agreed that spincasting and spinning reels are the easiest for beginners to use, other factors still need to be considered when selecting a combo, regardless of the angler's level of experience. Variables such as the type of fishing you are doing, the size of fish you'll be catching, the pound-test line being used, and the line capacity needed will also help determine the best combo for the specific job. Generally speaking, spincast reels with their smaller line capacities and less powerful drag systems are more appropriate for freshwater situations, although they can be used for some light-action saltwater applications as well. Spinning reels are also ideal for freshwater use, but larger models with sufficient line capacity and drag power can also be used to take on more powerful saltwater predators.

Spincast Combos

Spincast combos (also known as "closed-face" reels) are perhaps the easiest to cast and operate, making these outfits the best choice for children just starting out. A closed cover or "nose cone" houses a stationary spool that holds the line. The nose cone on a spincast reel also discourages younger kids from "fiddling" with line on the spool, which can cause troublesome knots, loops and "overflows." To cast a spincast reel, the angler simply releases the line (which feeds out through a hole in the front of the nose cone) by pressing a push button down with the thumb and then letting go of the button. While the casting process still requires some timing and a little bit of practice, backlash and tangles are essentially a non-issue with a spincast combo.

A spincast reel is mounted on the upside of the matching combo rod, and the guides, which are considerably smaller than spinning rod guides, are aligned along the top of the rod as well. Spincast guides are smaller than spinning rod guides because line flows from the spool out through the small hole in the reel's nose cone, rather than directly off a wider spool (as is the case with a spinning reel). Most spincast combo rods are essentially casting rods with pistol grip designs, although many combo rods now feature two-handed grips that make it easier for novices to cast.

Spinning Combos

While spinning combos may not be quite as simple for beginners to use as spincast reels, they rank second on the scale of fishing "user-friendliness." As with spincast models, novice anglers also find spinning outfits easier to cast with than baitcasting or conventional systems. Backlash is not a problem with spinning reels, although knots and tangles in the spool can still occur. Unlike a spincast reel, a spinning combo features a reel mounted underneath the rod, with the guides aligned on the underside of the rod. Line is retrieved through the guides and onto the spinning reel by a metal "bail wire" or "line pick-up" that revolves around the spool. When casting, the angler flips over the reel's bail or line pick-up so line can flow off the spool. Generally speaking, spinning combos allow for greater distance than spincasting outfits. The spool design allows line to flow out faster for greater casting distance, while the larger rod guides allow line to be propelled with a minimal amount of friction. Another common spinning reel feature is an anti-reverse mechanism, which prevents the reel handle from turning in reverse when a fish strikes or the angler sets the hook. Like spincast reels, spinning reels are available with right-hand or left-hand retrieve, however, many models now have reversible handles that can be rotated to either side of the reel according to the user's preference.

A Few Words on Combo Rods

If the novice angler is a child, it's important to select a combo featuring a rod that is short (about the same size of the angler) and lightweight. This type of rod will not only be easier for the child to cast, but also easier for the youngster to carry around. When it comes to kids, this factor invariably translates into less dragging on the ground and longer rod life. Length of the combo rod is not as big an issue for taller (teen and adult) fishing novices. A good general rod length for such anglers is anywhere from 5 ½- to 7-feet, depending upon the individual and the specific angling application. Most combo rods are composed of either fiberglass or graphite composite materials. Either choice is fine: just keep in mind that fiberglass rods are generally more durable than graphite, while graphite models are typically lighter and more sensitive. Regardless of the composition you choose, it's best to select a combo rod allows for two-handed casting. Remember, while angling pros often use one hand to fling a bait or lure, beginners typically use two hands to cast.

How Much Should You Spend?

Unless you know the beginner has a definite interest in fishing and will continue on with the sport, it doesn't really make sense to purchase an expensive "top-of-the-line" combo initially. Most beginning anglers, especially children, simply want to give fishing a try to see if they like it. This being the case, it's best to start out with a moderately priced outfit that's easy to use and features quality construction. Just be sure to select a combo that's right for the angling situation and offers sufficient functionality. This combo should also be capable of absorbing the kind of bumps and bruises that a fishing novice is likely to dish out. If the rookie angler becomes more experienced and outgrows the original combo down the line, he or she can always upgrade to a more advanced outfit at that time.

Saltwater Fishing Rod Manufacturers

Extra Fast: Flex in the upper 1/4 of the rod blank
Fast: Flex in the upper 1/3 of the rod blank
Moderate: Flex in the upper 1/2 of the rod blank
Slow: Flex is from the lower 1/3 of the rod blank to the tip Power Ratings Ultralight Light Medium Medium Heavy Heavy

Fishing Rods Under 50 bucks
Shakespeare ugly stick -- All Shakespeare facilities are now located in South Carolina
Read the story behind the naming of the best selling rod of all time.
Silstar / Pinnacle - Ande - Eagle Claw -
Manufactured overseas. Okuma - Quantum Penn (low end products mfg. China)

Fishing Rods Over 50 bucks
Commonly referred to in the surfcasting fraternity as the "El Cheapo" rods.
These rods are fairly decent rods
Manufactured overseas -Distributed in the U.S.
Tsunami Fishing Rods - Tica Fishing Rods - Daiwa Fishing Rods - Fenwick Fishing Rods

More than $100
High quality premium rods and blanks
Lamiglas Fishing Rods - St Croix Premium Fishing Rods - Breakaway USA Fishing Rods
Gloomis Fishing Rods - All Star Fishing Rods - CalStar Fishing Rods - Seeker Fishing Rods
Batson Rain Shadow Fishing Rods

In summary target your type of fishing

For a more advanced discussion visit our Fishing Tackle and Equipment forum. Where several of our favorite custom rod builders will answer all your questions.

Rod Building Forum
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