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How To Choose The Best All Rounder Fishing Rod

Updated on June 4, 2016

How to Choose the Best All Rounder Fishing Rod?

Welcome to my hub page on "How to Choose the Best All Rounder Fishing Rod?" Here you will find a few simple tips based on my 20 years plus experience fishing on how to choose a good all purpose and all rounder fishing rod be it for yourself as a first time enthusiast getting into fishing or gifts for a friend or your children.

First this hub was inspired a few months ago after i wrote a hub about my favorite fishing reels the Abu Garica Bait Caster Ambassador: "Best Baitcast Fishing Round Reel The Abu Garcia Ambassadeur" as well as a while on a recent fishing and camping trip where i gave advice to a friend who had lots of issues with his cheap K-Mart special rods that costed us fish a number of times. While i generally do not have issue with buying budget rods as i have done many times as a teen here is a few of my tips which will help you choose based on quality that will last you a life time.

Here are my top 5 personal criteria from my experiences.

  1. The Brand
  2. The Price
  3. The Lenght
  4. The weight capacity
  5. The Flexibality

Before we begin however i have a few comments to put this hub into context. First there are many different situations you can find yourself fishing in simply term in either Freshwater environments or Saltwater environments, Even off shore in boats. This hubs will not focus on more specialized situations or gear such as fishing off shore as it is more than likely outside the reach of beginners with its specialized gear and the fact we are mainly interested in choosing a great all rounder fishing rod that you can take anywhere. I am also going to ignore methods like fly fishing rods as well as its a specialized technique and require special gear.

So that now leave us with the most common accessible fishing situations for most people which includes freshwater environments such as dams, rivers, estuaries and saltwater environments like a local pier or beach. My tips can be applied to both spinner or egg beater reels as well a Baitcaster top reel such as myAbu Garcia Ambassador.

Note also that Baitcaster reels require a specially designed rods. Although they look the same they are not and constructed differently. Usually a product tag will tell you if its for a Spinner reel or baitcaster. However another rule of thumb to tell the difference is Baitcaster rods tend to have more eyelet fishing line guides on them and closer together. Also some will have a trigger grip. The distinction is very important because the eyelets are place on the spine pole and if bent in the opposite direction its more likely to break under stress.

With the background in mind here are my 5 tips on choosing a great beginner fishing rod.

1 - The Brand

Like with most products brand names are important and a good indicator of a high quality product but it is not all ways the case. As such i personally try not to be too attached to anyone brand. below are a few well known and respected brands i have owned and a good place to start choosing your fishing rod.

  • Abu Garcia
  • Berkley
  • Daiwa
  • Okuma
  • Penn
  • Shimano
  • Shakespeare
  • Silstar

In time you will likely develop a preference for a brand based on the designs and styles of rods they product.

2 - The Price

Naturally the price is generally pretty high up in the list of criteria when purchasing any item. With fishing rods there is no difference and a good next step to reduce your choices after brand consideration. As a rule of thumb over the years i have stuck with a price range from $50 to $150. From that price range you can buy high quality rods which will last you over 10 years if taken care of well. Personally i have only ever purchased a offshore boating rod once that was around $200 which is getting into our specialist gear range which this hub is not the focusing on. I have also found great rods on special below the $50 price but with no discounted rods the quality is such that you do not take good care of it. I personally have over 5 rods like that with friends have also given me. these are the rods i tend to lend out. And not my own rods.

Within my price range above you should be able to get a very nice beginner rod at the lower end of the spectrum but on average expect them to be around the $80 mark. As a beginner or as a gift rods at that price are pretty good value and does not make you seem cheap too.

Sometime you can also find nice Rod & Reel combinations around that price too.

3 - The Length

The length of your all rounder fishing rod is probably one of the most important selection criteria, in ways more so then brand or price. My rule of thumb is for a rod to be at least 6 feet to 7.6 foot which seems to be a manufactures specification limit. My favorite rod is a 7.6 foot one because i can get better casting distance however i prefer a slight longer rod but have been unable to fine one that is not too bulky and thick or start getting into the surf rod size.

Your choice in length is also influenced by a number of other factors below:

Thickness & tapering - is an important design factor and is the thinning out of the rod from its base thickness to its tip at the end. That is some rods taper off quickly making then stiff and with thicker tips verse rods that slowly taper to give a finer tip. I tend to think of it as (Short & stocky) vs (Thin & slender) personally i prefer the thinner tip rods as they provide more sensitivity when a fish bites.

Casting distance - The length of the rod is only one factor effecting your casting distance, others include rod flexibility, weight/sinker, line thickness and technique. but a longer fishing rod in general will give you more distance due to the acre you make when casting.

Your height - While not really a selection critical i include it in the selection because if you are choosing as a gift for children, A much shorter rod would be more suitable say 6 foot or shorter would be best.

I have mainly been talking about bait fishing, if you are interested in lure fishing then shorter light rods are you best choice. Just imagine casting 400 times with a long 7 foot heavy rods.

Storage & transport - My final comment regarding a rods length related to its storage & transport. As such rods around 6 foot tend to be of one piece design and longer rods two piece set. You can get travel rods that disassemble into 3 or 4 pieces too but i do not own one. When possible choice a rods that has the least parts. ie a one piece over two pieces rods and a two piece over a three or four. The reason being there is more chances of individual piece breaking.

And lastly telescopic rod are available too for easier storage, i do have a few but they tend to be stiff and bulky and these were the types of K-Mart special rods that broke in half while on our fishing trip. we had a Abu Garcia ones also which was better quality but also failed on us. I have landed large fish on these rods but generally prefer not to use them.

Conclusion is to find a two piece rods but fi you do not mind the hassle of storing and carrying a single piece rods go for that instead.


4 - The weight capacity

The weight capacity of a fishing rod is measured by the line strength. which give an indication of the strength or power of the rods lifting power. Its also known as the backbone of the rod. The weight capacity is usual printed at the base of the rod before the reel mount. And for most rods your are looking at a capacity between 6 to 17lbs (3 to 8Kg) to suit our needs.

In selecting our all rounder fishing rod i personally will choice the higher end of the range but thats not to say that a lower or light rods is not a good option or can catch larger fish. The light rods can catch much larger fish but it depends on other factors such as the reel, line and skill.

This is generally a factor i do not consider too much and would just depend on the target fish if any. The lower and upper ends on this range are also generally referred to as light or medium "strength" fishing rods or even freshwater or saltwater rods.

Fishing Rod Strength - Power Explained

5 - Flexiblity

Finally the most important selection criteria in choosing a great first time or an all rounder fishing rod is its flexibility. This is more an art then science. Here you are looking for a rod that is both stiff and flexible at the same time. I am sure you like myself have seen those fishing rod demonstrations where the tip can touch the butt or stock of the rod. While you do not have to go to that extreme if you hold a rod in your hands and give it a nice whipping motion up and down you should get a sense of how flexible it is. You are after a nice medium one that is not too stiff but also one that does not feel too flimsy, that is it "does not whip" too much.

The tips thickness are good indications of flexibility and what i look for before picking a rod up, its also a indication of sensitivity of the tip. If the tip is too thick then it will be a stiffer rod that's not a bad thing since it means it has more strength but you lose out on sensitivity of the tip for smaller or less aggressive species of fish when the feed. Now day some rods have a white clear "glass" tip on them which are both strong and sensitive.

The other issue you may come across is when using a fishing rod that is not stiff enough is went heavier lead weights are used in windy or strong wave current situations. The weight will bend the tip and whole rod too much. I currently have a Silstar 6 foot rods that does this and during fats current i would use two of my normal sinkers and it cause the whole to bend about 30 degree angel.



So there you have it my 5 simple tips on how to best choose an all rounder fishing rods, whether your a beginner or when choosing a gift for a friend or your kids. These tips i have picked up over the years have served me well and have been tried and tested without going into too much technical jargon. In summary keep in mind the following and you can not go wrong.

  • Price range between $50-150
  • Lenght between 6 to 7 foot
  • Get a two piece rod
  • and finally choose a nice flexible rod with gradual tapered tip for balance between sensitivity and strength.

And a note on rod & reel combinations, They are great value most of the time, and i love them but keep in mind that for a partially price range either the rod or reel will be less ideal and you have to make a compromise. so now days i tend to just create my own combinations. however if you are getting one i would choose one in the upper range and for about $100 you should get a pretty good value package that last for years to come.

My finally tip on combinations too or with buying reel is often the Rod & Reel combinations come with mono filament fishing line attached and wind to the rim of the spool. It seem great value and you get tones of fishing line but before you use the rod, i advise you to remove the line so its only fulled until about 3 mm from the lip or rim of the spool. Save the extra line as leader line. If you do that then it will stop any tangles when you first cast and save you or your kids lots of frustration and do not know why you keep "bird nesting" This can apply to spinner in particular but also bait casters reels.

On my recently trip my friend has this issue a number of times with his new telescopic combo's. My conclusion is follow my tips and spend a few extra $20 or 30 dollars on a good rod or combination set and it will save you a lot of dramas and frustration in future or will not put your kids off fishing.

I hope this hub page has been of helps, it was fun writing this one and brought back memories. I may in future write more about fishing reels too if there is interest. so please comment below and i hope you be as hooked on fishing as i have been.


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