Fishing Rods & Reels

In determining a fishing rod and reel one must consider the species you are fishing for along with the type of lure or live bait to be used. For instance your rod and reel set-up should match the fishing presentation. If you’re pursuing panfish using light lures or small minnows your outfit should be lightweight for casting and detecting bites, not a heavy baitcaster for pike or bass.

There are five main basic categories of fishing rod and reel combinations, and within each there are multiple sub-categories of specialty types of outfits used for specific fishing applications, for example Walleye fisherman use rod and reel set-ups for slip bobber, slip sinker, jigging and trolling. Bass fisherman carry pitchin’, flippin’, crank baiting, and soft plastics combo’s. Muskie anglers have bucktail, jerk bait and top water outfits. In short, fishing rods and reels have come a long way over time, with new space age materials having been developed for rod construction making them longer and much lighter as well as reels with multiple ball bearings and one piece alloy and graphite frames.

Fishing Rod & Reel Combinations:

Fishing Rods & Reels

Spincasting:
This is the preferred set-up for the inexperienced angler. Spincasting outfits are excellent in teaching the beginning angler and children the mechanics of casting. The spin cast reel is mounted above the rod with the reel spool enclosed with a nose cone cover, this prevents line snarling and backlash’s that are associated with bait casting reels. Casting is a simple task, the angler presses and holds down a button on the rear of the reel, this disengages the line pick-up pin, upon the forward cast the line comes off the spool. Once the crank handle is turned the pick-up pin is engaged retrieving the line on the spool.

Spincast reels have low gear ratios as a result of the size of the spool, which makes it difficult to fish lures that require a fast retrieve such as: inline spinners, spinner baits and buzz baits. When purchasing a spincast reel consider selecting models with anti reverse and smooth drag system versus the inexpensive all plastic models with sticky drags that result in broken line. For rods buy fiberglass their durable will hold up from abuse.

Fishing Rods & Reels

Spinning:
Spinning reels where commercially introduced in 1948 by Mitchell Reel Company of France. The design was of a fixed spool reel mounted below the fishing rod with a mechanical pick-up (wire bail) used to retrieve the fishing line. The anti reverse feature prevents the crank handle from rotating while fighting a fish allowing the angler to use the drag. In casting a spinning reel the angler opens the bail, grasping the line with the forefinger, then using a backward snap of the rod followed by a forward cast, the line is drawn off the fixed non rotating spool and not against a rotating spool such as a bait casting reel. Because of this lighter lures can be used where the weight of the lure does not have to pull against a rotating spool. Spinning rods have large fishing line guides to minimize line friction upon casting. Spinning outfits operate best using fairly light weight limp flexible monofilament fishing lines and are used for bluegills, crappies, perch and walleyes.

Fishing Rods & Reels

Baitcasting:
Baitcasting outfits are excellent for many kinds of fishing, and come in a wide variety of options and types: Round and Low Profile, High and Low Retrieve Speed along with anti-reverse handles and line drags designed to slow runs by large and powerful gamefish. Baitcasting outfits are considered the standard when using heavier lures fishing bass, pike and muskie. All bait casting reels are mounted above the rod, when casting the angler moves the rod backward then snapping it forward, the line is pulled off the reel by the weight of the lure. In the early years of bait casting reels the angler used their thumb to control the amount of line travel as well as to prevent the spool overrun or backlash. Today all quality bait casting reels have a spool tension feature for adjusting the centrifugal brake, and or a magnetic ‘cast control’ to reduce spool overrun during a cast and resultant line snare called a birds nest.

For successful casting the most important setting is the casting brake. (The casting brake is the small knob located in the center under the reel handle side) To set the cast control, tie on your lure and reel it to the tip of your rod. Tighten the knob until it feels snug. Push the casting release button. Your lure should not move. Hold the rod at the 2 o’clock position and slowly turn the knob counter clockwise until the lure starts to fall. Let the lure hit the ground and watch the spool. The spool should not spin more than one revolution after the lure hit’s the ground. If it spins more than one revolution, tighten the cast control knob and repeat the procedure. If the spool does not spin after the lure hit’s the ground, the cast control is set too tight. Loosen the knob and repeat the procedure.

Baitcasting reels offer the angler a wide variety of fishing line options ranging from the new super lines (Braided Low Stretch) to copolymer “Fluorocarbon” and nylon monofilament. Baitcasting rods have also evolved from the older 5-6 foot pool cue rods to 7-9 foot lengths used today allowing increased casting distance and accuracy. Overall bait casting outfits are best suited for the experienced angler, they can be intimidating but you can learn with a little time and effort. In learning the casting technique we recommend practicing on land with a plastic casting plug.

Fishing Rods & Reels

Trolling:
The term trolling not only reflects the type of equipment, but a commonly used method of fishing. Trolling is a form of angling where lines with hook-rigged lures are dragged behind a boat to entice fish to bite. Trolling outfits are very similar to bait casting set-ups, as the trolling reels are mounted above the rod. Trolling rods range from long and limber for downriggers and planer boards to stiff for large crank baits. The spool line capacity on trolling reels is greater than bait casting reels to accommodate heavier fishing line that is used for long line big water trolling.

All trolling reels have three basic features: star drag (Line Braking System) on the reel handle for fighting large game fish, an on/off line release lever and a line out alarm (Clicker) other options are a line counter allowing the angler to replicate the amount of line used on successful fish catching patterns. Trolling can be as simple as just letting line off the reel with an attached lure known as flat lining or using rigging systems such as a downriggers, planer/trolling boards and dipsey divers. ( See our trolling section for more rigging information).

Trolling reels are designed to offer the most versatility when it comes to fishing line options. Inland freshwater anglers use monofilament and lead core for walleyes and salmon, Muskie & Pike anglers use low stretch braided super lines for trolling large plugs and spinners. Coastal saltwater anglers use wire lines made of stainless steel, titanium or a combination of metal alloys to prevent toothy fish from severing the line. Trolling is a productive fish catching technique by presenting multiple lures covering a lot of water, it is also illegal in some area’s of the country so please check your local fishing regulations.

Fishing Rods & Reels

Flycasting:
The art of fly fishing has been documented going back for hundreds of years dating to ancient times, countless articles have been written regarding legendary trout stream fishing or for European salmon. The angling method of fly fishing is casting a fly or streamer consisting of a hook tied with fur,feathers, foam, or other lightweight materials to mimic insects, minnows and other aquatic creatures. The fly lure is non-weighted for which the fly rod uses the weight of the fly line in casting the fly lure. Fly lines are available in a variety of forms varying from tapered sections (double-tapered, weight-forward, shooting-head) level (even through out) as well as floating and sinking types, attached on the end of the fly line is a leader of monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing line called a tippet in whichthe fly lure is tied to. Fly rods are long, thin, flexible fishing rods originally made of split bamboo, but now are constructed from man made composite materials (fiberglass, carbon/graphite and boron/graphite) ranging from 6ft to 14ft in length.

The fly line, not the lure, determines casting. Fly rods are sized (matched) by the weight of the fly line from size #0 rods for the smallest freshwater trout and panfish up to and including #16 rods for large saltwater game fish. Fly fishing reels are mounted below the rod with the basic design of line storage. Early fly reels often had no drag systems just a clicker that was used to keep the reel from overrunning the line when pulled from the spool, the angler used their hand as a line brake known as palming when fighting a fish. Newer fly reels have incorporated disc type drag that allows the angler the adjustment range using the combination of the rod and reel to control large game fish in powerful runs.

There are several types of casts in fly fishing, the most common is the forward cast. The angler starts by stripping line off the reel with one hand while whipping the rod in a series of back a forth motions over the shoulder. The correct angle is 10 o’ clock to 2 o’ clock. The main objective is to load the rod with stored energy then transmit that energy to the fly line allowing the angler the acceptable amount of casting distance. The goal is to present the fly lure in such a way that the line lands smoothly on the water’s surface and appears natural. Other casting techniques are false casting, used to cast a fly lure with out landing on the water, others are single and double haul cast, roll cast side, or curve cast and the tuck cast. If you’re considering fly fishing we highly recommend that you seek professional guidance by visiting your local fly fishing pro shop in selecting the rod, reel and fly lures as well as receiving lessons on casting.

Fishing Reel Features:
In selecting the right reel for your style of fishing there are literally thousands of different reels on the market today to choose from. For the less experienced angler this can be somewhat confusing. Before we compare the features of fishing reels here are some pointers that will help you determine a list of requirements for the best type of reel to use. First, what kind of fish will you be catching? What is the average size, and angling technique? Will you be casting lures using live bait or trolling. What pound test line is best suited for the fishing application. These answers will narrow down your search and aid in purchasing the proper reel. As a general guideline the lighter the line and smaller the game fish the best reel choice for the novice anglers and children is a spincast reel. For the more proficient caster using the same set-up a spinning reel is best. As the targeted species gets larger requiring heavier line and lures a conventional reel or bait caster will be the better choice.

For the best performance from your reel, the reel must be balanced with your rod. If you use a reel that weighs too much for the rod it will feel butt heavy. You will have problems casting and it will take away the sensitivity from the rod tip in feeling a fish strike. Conversely, a reel that is too light for a rod will make it feel tip heavy, by fishing for a length of time your wrist will tire by trying to hold the rod upward.For a properly balanced outfit hold the rod with the reel attached on the fore grip (the handle above the reel) by using a few fingers, the rod should sway back and forth and stay somewhat horizontal not completely moving forward or backward, if not change reel sizes or rod length to achieve a balanced outfit.

Listed below are the features and components that make up fishing reels, many of them are universal and found on all types of reels, these descriptions will help you identify and understand the ideal reel for your angling needs.

Anti Reverse:
The anti reverse function on fishing reels is so the handle does not turn backwards when the line is pulled from the reel as the drag is used. Spinning reels have an anti reverse on/off lever that will allow the angler the choice of engaging the drag or back reeling when fighting a fish. Most baitcasting reels today have anti reverse as a standard feature. High quality reels that feature the number of bearings on models followed with a single number such as 7+1 indicates a anti reverse bearing which with tighter machining tolerances provides the angler with a “no play in handle” giving the angler complete control during stop and go retrieves and solid hook sets. For larger game fish some bait casting and trolling reels use a additional anti reverse gear along with the bearing this adds security if the bearing can not handle the strain of hard running fish.

Ball Bearings:
All conventional fishing reels contain either ball bearings or bushings built within the reel to operate the spool smoothly. It is the generally thought that the greater amount of bearings in a reel the smoother the operation and the higher the cost. But one must consider that the amount of bearings does not necessarily mean that the reel is smoother than others with less. Reel companies only list the total number of bearings for the reel, not the type or quality of the bearings. In other words a 2 ball bearing reel machined with tight tolerances and high quality factory sealed stainless steel bearings will perform longer and smoother than a reel with 6 ball bearings made of brass. The deciding factor when it comes to purchasing a new reel should not be limited to just the number of bearings but the overall performance, (smooth cranking, machining & bearing qualities ) as comparing to other reels in determining which is the smoothest.

Casting Controls: (Baitcasting)
All quality baitcasting reels come with built in casting control systems that help determine how fast the spool is spinning when casting. These systems are centrifugal and magnetic, depending on the model some have one some have both and are either externally adjustable or internal. The centrifugal casting control is located on the reel handle side and his adjusted by turning the knob forward or backward. The magnetic control braking system is located on the other side with a numbered position dial to increase or decrease the amount of magnetic force applied to the spool. This is the fine tuning feature found on more expensive reels that works with a internal transfer braking mechanism, at the beginning of a cast (with the increased RPM‘s) this mechanism rotates out towards the braking magnets to slow the spool which helps reduce backlashing. While no bait casting reel is considered backlash free even with all of the casting features to help control the spool casting speed. It is still advisable to apply light thumb pressure on the spool in order to prevent a backlash.

Drag:
All types of fishing reels have a drag system. The drag feature is a tension setting applied to the spool of the reel, think of it as a clutch or line braking system. The drag uses a set of multiple disc washers that compress when pressure is increased or relaxed when decreased. The concept of the drag is letting the line unwind in a controlled manner off the reel when a fish pulls so hard that the line is in danger of breaking. The drag should be set tight enough for a hook set, but loose enough to come off of the fishing reel easily.

Baitcasting/Trolling/Spincast reels use a star-shaped wheel located on the reel handle called a star drag, adjustments are made by turning the wheel to the proper tension. Spinning reels have two types of drags – front drag and a rear drag. Front drags are generally smoother than a rear drag. The front drag features larger, multiple disc drag washers on the spool that offer a higher level of performance and durability. The rear drag uses applied pressure on the drive shaft. Rear drag spinning reels may offer convenience and ease of use, but they normally don’t stand up to big fish and demanding conditions like front drag reel models. Lever drags are a available feature on high end (expensive) trolling and baitcasting reels. Lever drags allows the tension to be adjusted in more precise smaller increments which supplies a smoother fish fighting performance.

As a rule always check your drag before your first cast.Pull the line with your hand, if you have a decent amount of resistance, you should be fine. In cases where you hook a exceptional sized fish the drag should be adjusted (increased) as you feel the size of the fish. Another tip to reduce reel maintenance; when storing your reels for a extended amount of time, back off the drag tension setting. Leaving drag settings tight will cause the drag washers to become flat reducing the tension ability.

Gear Ratios:
All reel manufactures list the gear ratio on their products. The gear ratio refers to how many revolutions the spool of the reel makes per one complete turn of the reel handle. For instance a high speed reel with a 6:1 ratio will make 6 revolutions versus a low speed reel at 3:1 with 3 revolutions per each turn of the reel handle. Generally low speed reels are best suited for lures that require a slow presentation and greater cranking power such as crank baits for bass and pike, and large muskie baits. High speed reels are better for working lures quickly when the angler seeks speed for “burning” bucktails, spinnerbaits, and lipless crank baits. Reels with the range of 5.1 are the best compromise if purchasing a single reel. Another alternative is a two speed reel that the angler can shift from high speed to low speed with a simple push or pull of a button.

Level Wind:
Found on most baitcasting and trolling reels as the name implies, the level wind feature automatically places the line evenly or level across on the spool upon retrieving the line. On low profile and smaller round baitcasting reels the line guide will remain in its’ position when casting, on larger round bait casting reels the line guide will follow the line when casting. This offers the angler the convenience of not manually guiding the line on the spool, which if not properly done will usually pile up in the center of the spool.

Line Capacity:

Printed on the reel or it’s package is a guideline of the amount of fishing line that the spool of the reel will hold. This chart is based on the use of monofilament line and will look like this: 8/(175) 10/(155) 12/(130) the first number is the lb test followed by the amount of yards. This indicates the line rating set by the manufacturer for 8-12 lb test line to work correctly without either stressing parts or making it difficult to use.

By varying the pound test line on the reel such as placing 40lb on a reel rated for 8lb-12lb will give you an inadequate amount of line due to the increased line thickness making the reel difficult to cast as well as increasing the stress and eventual failure on the drag (By setting the drag too tight) With the advent of new fishing lines with increased lb test and reduced diameters we still recommend that you follow guideline placed on the reel by the reel company.

Line Counters:
This reel feature is found exclusively on trolling reels. It allows a reference by which anglers can consistently return a bait to the same depth or distance from the boat when flat line trolling or rigging (Downriggers, Dipsey Divers and Trolling Boards) There are two types of reel line counters, Analog and Digital. Analog line counters resemble car odometers, clicking off numbers as the spool revolves. Digital line counters provide the same line usage reading as the analog but can also be programmed for differences in line thickness accounting for impressive accuracy. Line counters are also very useful on how much line is left on your reel after a fish makes a run.

Line Out Alarm:
This feature is a audible alarm alerting the angler of a fish strike also known as a clicker or bait alarm. A simple on-off switch is used in the free spool mode. Always disengage the clicker when retrieving or casting. Line out alarms are available on baitcasting and spinning reels. They are mainly used for presenting live/cut bait on the ocean and freshwater muskie fishing using suckers.

On / Off Free Spool Lever:
On trolling reels there is a simple on/off lever that when switched on engages the reel for retrieving the line, when switched off it is in free spool allowing the angler to let the line run off the reel using a bait or lure. Always keep your thumb on the free spool to control the amount of line released to prevent a backlash.

Reel Housings and Frames:
Most reel housings and frames are constructed of either aluminum (die-cast or forged) or graphite.   Each of these materials has its advantages and disadvantages, reels made of anodized aluminum are generally stronger and more durable than the graphite models, however, they are heavier. Graphite-bodied reels are light and corrosion resistant, yet they normally don’t offer the same strength and durability as die-cast or forged aluminum fishing reels. Due to the nature of a spinning reel’s design, their bodies are composed of multiple pieces. Many conventional baitcasting reels are also constructed in the same fashion; however, some manufacturers have introduced one-piece graphite frames. This design increases the overall integrity and strength of the reel, while maintaining the lighter weight.

Spools:
When selecting a reel the material type and design of the spool should be a point of consideration. There are two common materials used, machined anodized aluminum and graphite. Of the two the anodized aluminum spool offers greater strength and durability than graphite spools, which can break or crack under torque. On many baitcasting aluminum spools holes have been drilled in to reduce the weight while increasing casting distance. For big water heavy duty fishing large baitcasting and trolling spools are made from metal, using bronze or stainless steel that will offer the strength and capacity required for specialty lines such as heavy dacron or wire used for trolling. Spinning reels today feature a “skirted” spool that overlaps the reel frame, preventing the line to become entangled with in the reel housing. Other skirted spinning reel spool options offers a choice of a standard spool, or a shallower, elongated “long cast” spool design. In theory, the newer long-cast spool design allows for reduced line friction, resulting in greater casting distance.

Fishing Rods:
Fishing Rods have evolved over the years, from the early days using natural materials with fixed fishing lines such as sticks, bamboo and cane poles to rods using steel or fiberglass to the rods of today using graphite or composites of graphite, fiberglass, boron and carbon. With this development of the rod materials came the specialty rods, rods designed for a fishing technique or lure such as jigging, jerkbait, worm, pitchin, flippin, crank baits, trolling, top water etc… the specialty rods are a specific tool, used and developed by tournament and pro anglers, for the recreational angler the catch rate will not increase based on having a specialty rod or rods, but place a specialty rod in the hands of an experienced fisherman in presenting a certain bait or lure and with their knowledge of fishing it will give them the edge in catching more fish.

As the old cliché states: “You get what you pay for” For the recreational angler we recommend spending as much as your budget allows, the better the rod the more sensitive it will be, the more responsive it will be, you will be able to cast farther feel structure, rocks, weeds and the most important feel fish strikes. Part of being a better angler is the ability to place your lure/bait exactly where you want it, often as quietly as possible, and a good rod will definitely help you accomplish this. With the numerous rod selections available today here’s a few suggested basic rod buying tips that will cover multiple fishing presentations.

5‘-6″-6‘-0″ Spincast Rod
Power: Light
Action: Soft
Lure Weight
Test Line Rating 4lb-8lb
Fishing: Panfish (Crappies Perch Bluegills) and Walleye. Spooled with 6lb test. Good combo set-up for children and novice anglers for easy casting and bobber fishing.

7‘-0″ Spinning Rod
Power: Light
Action: Soft
Lure Weight 1/32 – 1/8oz
Test line rating 4lb-6lb
Fishing: Panfish (Crappies Perch Bluegills) and early season Walleye spooled with 4lb test monofilament for Float(Bobbers) with live-bait, small jigs and light lures 1/16-1/8oz.

7’-0″ Spinning Rod
Power: Medium Light-Medium
Action: Moderate
Lure Weight 1/8 – 3/8oz
Test Line rating 8lb-12lb
Fishing: Walleye and Bass spooled with 8lb test monofilament for live bait and soft plastic bottom rigs, jigs, tubes and mid weight lures 1/8-3/8oz.

6’-6″-7’-0″ Baitcasting Rod
Power: Medium-Medium Heavy
Action: Fast
Lure Weight 3/8 – 1 oz
Test line rating 10lb-17lb
Fishing: Bass and Northern Pike spooled with 12lb-15lb test monofilament with a leader primarily for heavier artificial lures 3/8-1oz (spoons, crankbaits, inline spinners, spinner baits, topwater)

Length: 7’-0″
Type: Baitcasting Rod
Power: Extra Heavy
Action: Fast
Lure Weight: 1-3oz
Test line rating: 25lb +
Fishing: Northern Pike and Muskies spooled with 50lb-80lb braided line with a leader
for presenting heavy lures 1oz and up ( inline spinners, spinner baits, jerk baits, gliders, crank baits, top water)
Rod Materials:
Fiberglass: Fiberglass rods have been popular since the 1950’s taking over the era of steel rods, in terms of performance and features fiberglass does lack the sensitivity of the newer rods today made from graphite and weighs more, but is noted for it’s toughness and soft/moderate action. Some anglers use fiberglass when fishing crank baits for the slow action and muskie anglers use fiberglass in cold weather for quick strike rig sucker fishing where the rod sensitivity is not required but the toughness (setting the hook especially in very cold weather and not breaking the rod) is needed. Fiberglass is also a very good choice for children starting out in fishing where durability is an issue.

Graphite:
Graphite rod building started in the 1970’s and has continued to this day. Most all quality rods today are built using graphite and have become the preferred choice for rod blank builders. The benefits of graphite rods are many, they’re extremely light, sensitive and flexible, which is vital for light biting fish, along with being strong and powerful to handle larger game fish.

In marketing graphite rods a few common terms have been developed to associate the quality of the rod. The first is “modulus graphite rating”, graphite comes in what looks like sheets of cloth, the cloth is measured to determine the amount and stiffness to weight of modulus fibers. If your shopping for a new rod don’t base your decision solely on the modulus rating, the higher the rating the better the rod. For high performance rods the combination of fiber strength, resin toughness with the amount of fiber, resin and cross-scrim construction (overlapping layers to achieve exceptional strength and action) are more important than the modulus count or rating. Rods with high graphite modulus ratings tend to be brittle and need to have a secondary chemical added on the blank to increase the strain/strength rate. This is called a composite blank. The other term that rod companies use to identify a blank style is IM with a following number such as IM6 or 7 and currently up to 10. The IM rated rods are not regulated by industry standards or an indication of quality but rather a trade name for particular graphite produced by the Hexcel Corporation. Since some rod companies use the IM designation ratings to refer to their rod blanks that are not supplied by Hexcel, at least you can compare the rods built by the same manufacturer, being assured that the higher the IM ranking the higher the graphite quality of the rod.

Rod Ratings: Action / Power
Fishing Rods & Reels Action refers to the flex characteristics of a rod, in other words how much the rod bends when you put pressure on the tip and how far the rod flexes. Action ranges from extra fast where just the tip flexes to slow or softer where the majority of the rod flexes. Fast action rods are the best choice when the fishing technique requires the sensitivity of feeling light biting fish or when fishing for large game fish in heavy cover and weeds where the key is to setting the hook fast with just a snap of the wrist moving the fish’s head up and away. For instance, fast action light rods are used for jigs, soft plastic worms or twitching minnow/shad shaped crank baits for bass and walleye. Heavier fast action rods are used for Muskies & Pike in burning bucktails, walking top water lures or a cadence retrieve on gliders and jerkbaits. The moderate action rod is the most common choice due to the versatility of fishing applications, in casting a moderate action rod it will bend for about half of it’s length which will provide more casting distance and still have the capability for a adequate hookset. Ideal for slip bobbers/floats live bait for walleye fishing because the fish is less likely to feel resistance from the soft tip and drop the bait, along with reaction lures such as crank baits, spinner baits and spoons for bass and pike where the slower action will not pull the lure out of the fish’s mouth. Slow or Soft Action rods will bend starting in the lower third using nearly the entire rod providing the most flexibility. Because of this parabolic action the angler is using the rod as a shock absorber in fighting the fish, this allows the use of very light line. These rods are used for panfish especially for the paper thin mouths on crappies so the hook is not ripped clear on hooksets, and are also popular for drift fishing spawn sac’s on trout and salmon streams.

Power:
A rod’s power describes how much a rod will flex under a load also referred as a rod’s “backbone”. The thickness and type of rod material will determine this, power ratings are usually described as heavy, medium heavy, medium, light, etc… some rod companies use a numerical system 1-10 with 1=Ultra Light-10= Extra Heavy. The rod’s power rating is closely related to the suggested line strength. It is important to follow the line test guideline limits printed on the rod since a heavy power rod will snap light lines too easily and heavy lines can snap a light rod. Another factor to consider is the fishing presentation, muskie, pike, and bass in weeds and cover will require a strong power rod using heavier line, on open water where hard to see light line is used for walleyes and crappies use a lighter power rod. Quite often anglers get confused with rod power ratings and action. As a example the power rating is listed on the rod, the flex of the rod is considered the action.

Rod Line Guides:
These are the circular loops affixed to the rod and run the length of the rod blank, The concept is simple, keeping the line from touching the rod, this offers a smooth surface for the line to pass over. The technology of rod guide designs has improved dramatically over the years from the old metal guides and the classic agate inserts of earlier rods. Most of the new guides today are made of two parts: a metal frame (stainless) attached to the rod blank and some form of a insert (inner ring) using Ceramic, Alconite, Silicon Carbide or Hardloy. Some rods use line guides made of all stainless steel wire instead of inserts, these guides are lighter reducing the overall rod weight, but they are not as smooth as rods using inserts. The newest line guide introduced is made from titanium wire, which will spring back even if they’re bent flat unlike the stainless guide that will break. The overall purpose of the rod line guides manufactured today is to provide less friction along with reducing the line fray and wear in the guides during the cast. Less friction means longer casts and less heat, and heat definitely doesn’t help when it comes to fishing lines. The total amount of line guides on a rod are a important feature as well, the higher amount of guides the better, as they ensure distance on the cast, and when fighting a fish the energy/ stress on the rod is dispersed though out the entire rod blank. Depending of the rod power rating line guides are available in two different styles, single and double foot. Single foot guides adds less weight on the rod and help retain sensitivity, these are used for mainly ultra – light to medium power rods. The double foot line guides are used when sensitivity is not required but strength is as they are wrapped twice on the rod blank. These are found on heavy to extra heavy power rods used for larger game fish.

Handle / Reel Seats:
The combination of a quality rod handle and reel seat are as important as the rod blank itself. The reel seat is where the reel is attached to the rod and constructed of graphite and aluminum or both. Graphite is lighter and more sensitive, while aluminum is stronger. Some reel seats offer a cutout that allows direct finger contact on the rod blank for greater sensitivity. The rod handle is also referred to as “grips” and are located below and above the reel seat. Cork is the preferred choice on rod handles as it is lightweight, durable, and transmits rod vibrations even when wet better than synthetic materials using EVA foam. There are varying grades of cork based on the rod’s cost, the higher the rod price the better quality of cork used. Another alternative is cork tape to achieve the look of cork. Composite cork is made by combining a mixture of cork particles and resin, this combination is more durable than using straight cork.