Many anglers head over to their local tackle shop to buy fishing gear, including rods. The selection can be overwhelming, and at larger stores like Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s you could be left wondering which are a quality fishing rod and which are junk.
To be fair, most rods are not junk, however, some are made with a little more TLC than others. And it could be hard to determine between the better-made rods and their lesser counterparts.
In a recent podcast episode, Chief Rod Geek, Bob Penicka, with the brand RodGeeks, gave me three questions to ask yourself to determine if the rod you have in hand is worth your hard-earned dollars.
Once you learn the answers you can easily tell if the rod is worth a longer look.
Quality Fishing Rod: Is The Rod Blank Straight?
This question may be a no brainer, but I want to ask you when was the last time you looked to see if your rods were straight?
“It’s pretty easy to tell,” says Bob. “You hold it up. Look right down the rod. Make sure the rod is straight as you go from the handle section or the ‘butt’ to the tip.”
It seems like such a simple test that is essential to a quality rod. Once you conclude that the rod is indeed straight you should move to the second question.
Quality Fishing Rod: Are The Guides Aligned?
There are new products on the market like Erupt Fishing’s RTD that helps you thread your line onto your rod. But what good is it if your guides are not aligned?
I remember a few years back I received a rod from (brands name redacted) to review and the first thing I noticed were the guides. It was so noticeable that I thought it was a spiral wrapped rod. To my surprise, the rod was simply made wrong.
I decided to review the rod anyway and it unsurprisingly broke in half when I hooked into a fish.
Was it an error on my part? Maybe, but I believe it was not a good rod, to begin with.
Unaligned guides could lead to shorter casts and an overall lack of performance. Another simple test to do, hold up the rod and look down the guides from the butt of the rod and see if they’re straight! This test is well known, but when was the last time you actually did it?
Quality Fishing Rod: Is The Reel Seat Aligned With The Guides?
“I’ve seen rods in retail where the blank is straight. The guides are nice and straight. And the reel seat is off by about 10%,” Bob tells me. “That rod is going to be pretty disappointing the first time someone puts their reel on and thread their line through it and realizes that the two are not aligned with each other.”
Over all, Bob looks for workmanship. He mentions a few more eye tests such as looking for glue smeared on the rod and any cosmetic flaws. If someone took the time to get all of these right, Bob is more confident the rod blank is right.
“If I see workmanship flaws that are visual it makes me doubt the quality of the rod in general, and the blank is harder to tell what’s going on because the key parts of that are invisible to the eye.”
Don’t worry. Bob also lists some easy tests you can do to evaluate the blank. You can follow this link to listen to the podcast episode in full and learn what Bob knows about fishing rods. Trust me it’s a lot.
This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert
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