- Rod Length
- Rod Action
- Rod Material
- Guide Material
Lets take a minute or two to go over each of these factors.
Rod Length: The average angler will choose a rod that is between 6′ 6″ and 7′, there is however a group of people that will use rods that are 7′ on up to 8′ for throwing bigger swimbaits and flipping into heavy cover. A large majority of the rods on the market come in at 6′ 6″, meaning this is most likely where you will find the most competition between companies, which often translates into better deals for the end user.
- Light Action: Mainly used for smaller lures and smaller fish, though I have known people to catch 15 pound pike on these.
- Medium: A pretty safe balance between light and heavy. Mainly used for deeper baits and soft plastics
- Medium-Heavy: This is possibly the most common rod action found, the soft-yet-rigid design is a great option when you don’t know exactly what you will be throwing or catching. I prefer this because it offered flex with the ability to set the hook with confidence.
- Heavy: Perhaps the most difficult to use, at least in my eyes, this offers the most power when setting the hook or with any kind of movement, these are often stiffer rods which translates into more movement underwater when you move the rod in your hands.
Rod Material: Rods are often made from a graphite and fiberglass composite material, this offers the angler varying flexibility depending on the mixture of the materials. Some companies are dipping into the carbon fiber technology, these rods are often heavy action and are quickly becoming compatible in price with other rods. Keep an eye on this in the future.
Guide Material: As technology grows as does the selection of materials, some rods come with ceramic guides while others can come with 304 stainless steel. The type of guide can influence the amount of friction that is found when line is peeling out. Ceramic for example when used in combination with braided line can actually etch the ceramic, showing the high friction of the ceramic guides. The more slippery and smooth the guide the easier the line will come out, which will result in farther casts.
All in all picking a rod is all up to personal opinion, I like a rod that is 6′ 6″ with a medium-heavy action, but there is always somebody who will say the opposite. Angling is all gone by feel, try different combinations until you find something you like, then you can go from there.