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Thinking about getting into fishing but not sure where to start? We've gathered all the basic information in one place to help you navigate the wide world of fishing gear.
In part 1 of our FISHING GEAR 101 series learn the basic about fishing rods. There are a wide range of fishing rods out there and picking the one that will work best for you can be intimidating. We are here to help!
- Blanks: The base of your fishing set-up, the blank is the rod section without any components attached. Blanks are typically made of fiberglass, graphite or a composite between the two. Bamboo can also be used in fly rods. Blanks vary in flexibility and sensitivity based on the ACTION and POWER, see below for more information.
- Guides: The loops that hold the fishing line to the blank. On spinning rods guides allow pressure to be transferred to the line and take stress off the rod, while on casting rods, the guides prevent the line from rubbing on the blank. The guides are typically made of lightweight and strong materials and lined to prevent line friction. The Tip Top is, you guessed it, the guide at the tip of the rod. It also protects the rod tip from damage.
- Reel Seat: The reel seat holds the reel on the rod. It secures the reel with lightweight twist-locks for light/compact reels, lock washers for conventional reels and bolts and screws for heavy duty reels.
- Grips: This is the section you hold the rod with. There is a wide range of grip materials, but cork and EVA foam are the most common/popular. Length and style can vary depending on the type of fishing rod you are using. You can also customize, repair or update your grip using grip wraps or sleeves.
- Butt: The rod end that points toward you that you hold when fishing. Some butts have a removable cap to allow the rod to be inserted in a gimbal when fighting fish.
- Fiberglass: Flexible and durable rods that are ideal for downriggers, pulling plugs, and general trolling where your rod spends most of the time in a rod holder. The flexibility also absorbs jerks and sudden runs, tiring the fish before the fisherman.
- Graphite/Carbon Fiber: Lightweight and sensitive, these rods detect light bites and provide better hook setting power than fiberglass. They are ideal for fishing where you hold the rod waiting for a bite and fast hook setting is desired, such as drift fishing, back bouncing, jigging, etc.
- Composite: All-around rods that balance sensitivity, strength and durability for a range of fishing applications. They land between graphite and fiberglass in action, making them great introductory rods and as a general purpose rod.
Rod Action & Power:
Action refers to where and how the rod bends and flexes when pressure or weight is applied. Power is the energy needed to bend the rod. It is important to select the right power/action combination to match what you are fishing for.
- Extra Fast Action: The most sensitive rod, bending just at the tip. These rods send vibration to your hand on even the smallest bites. Ideal for single hooks and worm/jig presentations.
- Fast Action: Very sensitive rod where the bend is in the upper third of the rod. Fast action rods are great for most species where a short to long casting distance is required.
- Medium Action: Provides a little more backbone and bends toward the middle of the blank. These rods are ideal in a range of fishing applications with good casting and hook setting.
- Slow Action: Whippy with the bend starting near the handle. The action also provides shock absorption to prevent hooks ripping out when setting the hook. Ideal for casting light baits and treble hooks.
- Ultra-Light (UL): Ideal for 1/32 to 3/8 oz lures and ultra light line for fishing panfish, crappie and light trout.
- Light Power (L): Designed for 1/16 oz lure range and ideal for panfish and trout and other light biting fish.
- Medium-Light Power (ML): Accommodates 1/8 to 1/2 oz lure range and provides quicker hook sets with jigs and soft plastics with medium fish.
- Medium Power (M): For use with a wide range of lure weights from 1/4 to 3/4 oz. A great rod for general purpose fishing.
- Medium-Heavy Power (MH): Another rod with mid-weight power.
- Heavy Power (H): Stiff and designed to handle lures 3/8 to 1 oz and ideal for large jigs and fishing applications that need a fast, powerful hook set.
- Xtra-Heavy Power (XH): Ideal for lures in the 1/2 to 2 oz range, or heavier, and is very stiff. For fishing when extremely quick hook sets are desired.
Types Of Rods
- Spinning Rods: Lightweight and flexible, spin rods provide sensitivity for surface/cast fishing. The reel and guides are on the bottom side of the rod. These rods are easy to cast with and are great for all levels of fishing, including beginners.
- Casting Rods: The reel and guides are on the top of the rod which allows the line to push down on the eyelets and blank, preventing big fish from pulling the guides off. These rods offer better accuracy when casting and allow the line to feed smoothly.
- Offshore Rods: Have a strong backbone and the reel and guides are on top. Shorter offshore rods and are designed for trolling or fighting fish such as tuna and bottomfish. Offshore rods can also be spinning rods for throwing live bait, swim baits and irons for tuna and often used for near shore bottom fish.
- Trolling Rods: Usually set up with casting-style guides for level wind reels, these rods are designed to drag bait or lures behind a boat. There are many different styles of trolling rods: tuna trolling, salmon trolling, kokanee trolling, etc. Match the rod to the application.
- Specialty Rods: Some rods are designed for specific fishing techniques such as surfcasting or for use with a downrigger.
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