Choosing the right fishing rod can be a challenging task, especially for the casual or hobbyist fisherman considering taking the sport more seriously. If you're interested in taking your fresh water fishing to the next level but find yourself casting about in confusion, here are a few points to help you choose your next good fishing rod.
First, consider your environment and the type of fish you hope to catch. Specifically, will you be fishing for lighter fish in small ponds where you may not need to make overly long casts? Or will you be fishing in lakes, where precise casts may be necessary and larger fish can be found?
Rods are often described in terms of their action – that is, how much of the rod bends when pressure is applied. Fast action rods only bend at their tips, and are adequate for most instances, particularly when single hooks are used as the hook tends to set more cleanly. Rods with slower actions bend closer to their base. These rods can usually cast something further and may be more appropriate for larger bodies of water. They're also better when used with triple hooks with larger fish, as the lower action sets the hook more firmly.
Rods are also described in terms of their power, or how much weight they are capable of pulling. Rated in terms of heavy, medium heavy, medium, etc. a rod's power should be matched both with its line strength and with the weight of fish you are expecting to catch. Using a heavy rod with a light line will snap the line much more easily. Once again, the environment is an important consideration when choosing the right rod power. Heavily choked waters will require heavy power to clear fish and lures of plant growth and other debris, while clear and open water requires light rods with lines that are more easily understood.
Rod responsiveness is an important deterministic character of accurate casting, for which the rod's material is highly responsible. Graphite is the most common rod material, although it is often just the main component among several others. Graphite rods vary widely in quality, and are commonly described using terms like IM6, IM7, etc. While these designs are not standard across manufacturers, it is often true that IM7 graphite is better than IM6 graphite from the same manufacturer. Fiberglass is another common material. Known for its ruggedness, these rods are commonly used when medium to slow actions are desired.
Guides are another critical component of any rod, although guide characteristics are much more straight-forward. Guides should allow the line to move smoothly and with little friction, both for better casts and for easier catches. Silicon carbide, alconite or ceramics are widely acknowledged as serviceable guide construction materials. Stainless steel guides are not good, as they tend to break and require expensive repairs.
A great example example of a freshwater fishing rod for general use is the "Bass Pro Shops Power Plus Graphite Spinning Rod." It is very affordable at $ 17.99 and includes all the usual quality features that Bass Pro Shops is known for including graphite and fiberglass construction for superior flexibility and strength. This light weight rod allows for easy detection of small nibbles on your bait and all-day casting. Perfect for crappie fishing but also can stand the strain of larger bass and walleye.
In many ways, fishing rods are like tools. Just as every construction problem can not be solved with a hammer, so too can not every fishing challenge be met with the same rod. There are many more factors involved in choosing the best rod for any given situation. The above should at least help you to begin experimenting, however.