Fishing Rods Part 3, Making the Buying Decision

By: Mike   On: 12 July 2018 

This chapter covers the basics of rod blank material and my summary on choosing your rod. The decision can quite often be complex but following a simple check list can help make the choice easier.
Rod blank material can be confusing, there are few main types of blanks these include glass, graphite and nano. Each of these Catagories has variations of branch giving a large amount of option. This is a basic guide for choosing your rod blank buy material.  

Fibre Glass: The most available and affordable is the glass or glass over graphite blanks constructed using the Howald process, these rods are great for entry beginners or those that are hard on their gear. The construction of these blanks makes them extremely robust and durable. The Howald process was first used in Ugly Stik rods. All major manufacturers have a range of rods that a constructed using this or a similar method eg Sensor Tip Plus, Aqua tip, SSM and Procyon.

Graphite: Graphite rods are super strong, light weight and sensitive, but are susceptible to being damaged if mistreated. Graphite rods are recognised as being performance orientated and the graphite is quite often referred to in an "IM" rating. The "IM"  rating was used by Hexcel corporation as an indication of the quality of the graphite, the higher the "IM" rating the better the quality of the blank. This rating is used by multiple manufacturers and is not an industry standard so when comparing rods there may be difference in the material unless it comes from the same supplier. Graphite rods quite often have a modulus rating on them, this modulus rating refers to the stiffness of the material used when the blank is constructed. Graphite is quite often used in surf, boat and light casting rods.

Nano: Nano blanks have surfaced over the last few years, the concept behind these blanks by adding the Nano particle to the graphite blanks making the blank lighter and stronger, this makes for a rod that is easier to fish with over longer periods. There are 2 main types of Nano blank that I know of in New Zealand, the blanks used in the Nano Matrix and Veritas use Nano particles that are mixed in with the resin, this means the nano particles are spread throughout the blank, this is great for giving the whole blank strength although the nano particles can sometimes bunch and cause inconsistencies. The other Type is used in Kilwell Xantu Blanks, these blanks use a fibre sheets allowing the strength to be added to the blanks where the strength is needed and makes for an extremely light weight blank, these blanks get the most strength and benefit from small diameter blanks.

The components and blanks effect the price of the rod where as the blank action effects how they fish. A basic guide for choosing the right actions is:

Slow action: Game and Lure fishing

Medium action: Stray line and bait fishing

Fast action: Surf casting and lure casting

When choosing rods for customers I run through the following check list:

  • Budget
  • Use
  • Reel
  • How many pieces

Budget is important as not every one can afford the latest and greatest, quite often in brands they have a few hidden gems that are both well spec'd and have great blank action for the price.  By setting you budget you can work out what will suit and narrow down the options. I myself have a few rods that are off the shelf gems and custom rods that I have built simply due to the access I have to components.

Use, there is no point in buying a short jig rod for casting poppers, the end result will be that you get frustrated with your purchase and end up regretting the purchase of the gear. Making sure the rod is fit for purpose is important, the rod is as crucial as quality of the reel.

Reel, there are many reels that can be used with many rods it is important to choose the right rod for your reel. The are 2 main types of rod build available spin (eggbeater) and conventional(overhead) the difference in most rods is quite easy to spot once you know what you are looking for, Spin rod generally have less guides, and the first guide on the rod is quite large or stands tall on the rod if it is a single foot guide. The over head rods have small guides and more of them. This difference can effect cast, the first guide is design to reduce, this mean that when you cast you spin reel the line will flow off the spool in big loops, if the guide is to small it will choke the cast and leave you casting well short of your best. The overhead rods can get away without the large guide as the line will flow in waves from the reel when cast and does not need remove the loops, how ever as the line runs along the top of the blank the rods need more guides so the line does not touch the rod at any point.

Rod sections can be important in your choice, if you are transporting your rods and don't have a large amount of room in your vehicle a 2 or 3 piece rod may be more practice than a single piece rod, gone are the days of dodgy joints, most manufacturers use standard jointing systems and create good firm joints in their rods.

in summary when choosing you rod, take you time before making a decision, identify what you like in the rods you have, find the rod that is fit for purpose and within you price range, if you are still confused jump on the phone and give us a call we are happy to make sure you get the right rod for your fishig style.

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