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Hey there my fellow fishing fanatics. Today I am going to ask a question based on my recent research and a chat with a guy on a beach. Are collapsible fishing rods worth it? Now, I have never owned or used one (I am trying to remedy that as I write this) and I have to admit, I have often frowned upon them when I see one. A friend of mine sent his wife down to buy him a fishing rod a few years back and she returned with one of these models and he hated it. That was enough for me and I have avoided them ever since.
However, in all of my recent research into rods for various uses, collapsible fishing rods feature quite prevalent. So I did two things:
- Went and chatted to the guy using it.
- Posted in one of the fishing FaceBook groups that I belong to in regards to the thoughts of others.
I will update you as to the results of these actions below. But first let’s just have a look at what they actually are.
What are collapsible fishing rods?
So, collapsible, or telescopic fishing rods are the type that fold down into themselves much like a telescope (hence the name). They don’t break down into pieces like general multi-piece fishing rods rather stay as one short entity until they are extended back out for use.
When fully extended, the better models look just like a single piece fishing rod and in theory, they should work just the same with the ability to add any reel as you see fit.
Why do they exist?
Quite simply, portability. As collapsible rods will draw down into the faction of their original size, they are a great option for hikers, travelers or those who have limited space or want to travel light. Once compacted, they can easily be put into a fishing backpack, suitcase, boot of a car or even in the pannier of a motorcycle.
The other advantage of them is that once they are collapsed, they remain in one piece, unlike multi piece rods that need to be tied together. Multi piece rods can also snap a lot easier if put into suitcases on planes etc. too.
How do they work?
So, just like a telescope, when you are ready to use your collapsible rod, you basically do the following:
- Unclip the locking hook – this is the hook that stops the ends flying out when not in use.
- Hold the handle end of the rod and gently pull each section out from within – do not ‘whip’ the rod pout as can cause it to break.
- Lock each section in place – some do this with a little twist and some simply ‘click’ into place.
- Attach your reel – if not already.
- Rig your rod, add some bait and off you go.
At the end of the day, construction is similar to a multi piece rod where instead of attaching each piece, you simple extend the pieces from within the main section.
What are they made of?
So, as it turns out, telescopic fishing rod blanks are made of the same materials as normal fishing poles (makes sense I guess. haha). In general, fishing rods are made from one of three main materials, Fiberglass, Graphite and Carbon Fibre with qualities as follows:
- Fiberglass – Very strong and durable with very little maintenance required (rinse off after fishing is generally all that is needed).
- Graphite – Graphite rods are generally more rigid with higher power ratings (see below) however tend to have greater sensitivity than their fiberglass cousins.
- Glass Tip – Glass Tips or ‘Hybrid’ rods are made from a combination of graphite and fiberglass. These are designed to give the best of both worlds with extra strength of the graphite rod added to the sensitivity of the glass tip.
- Carbon Fibre – This is a newer compound in fishing rods being more rigid than the fiberglass/ composite rods but also lighter. These types are becoming more and more popular for all levels of experience due to their toughness and versatility.
When it comes to collapsible rods, there is not really anything that I can think about from the above that you should avoid. I guess since they are mainly designed for those looking to travel, the lighter the rod the better.
What else to look for
As with any normal rod, there are some other things to look for if you are looking to purchase. These are:
- Eyelets – these cop a bit of abuse on telescopic rods as they are often what people use to pull the pieces in and out. Make sure they are strong stainless steel – preferably with fiberglass or ceramic inserts as these will improve rod performance as well.
- Handle – This has nothing to do with the art of catching fish rather than the comfort of it. I like the Rubber shrink tube or EVA handles myself as they are comfortable and will last well in saltwater conditions. Many of these rod types also come with cork handles as they are light in weight too.
- Power rating – There are plenty of technical terms for the power settings of a fishing rod but in simple language, I have always known the power rating as a measure of how ‘bendy’ it is. Light power rods bend with little force and heavy need a lot of pressure to bend. If you are traveling with a telescopic rod, then I would suggest a light – medium power rating as they are the most versatile.
- Reel slot – most telescopic rods are purchased as a rod and reel combo however if not, just check that it will accommodate the type of reel that you have. Most do but it is well worthwhile checking beforehand trust me.
Fold to one piece
Fit into bags and/or suitcases
Higher quality models work as well as normal rods
If one connector breaks, rod is useless
Cheaper versions are usually very flimsy and hard to use
Need to be thoroughly cleaned after each use to ensure rod can be completely collapsed – not always easy when traveling
What did my friends say?
Ok, I know you have all been waiting for the results of my questions to the guy on the beach and my FB groups poll – so here they are:
Guy on beach (Peter)
Peter is traveling around the country with his girlfriend in a SUV with a bed in the back so a telescopic rod for surf fishing was the only type he could fit in. He uses it every day and recons it works well. It is his second rod of this type as he bought a ‘cheapie’ first up and after a couple of uses it wouldn’t stay ‘stuck out’ anymore.
He mentioned that it is not quite as sensitive as his normal rods but he has caught plenty of fish on it and says that he often forgets he is using a rod of this type. For the record, he was using a 8ft fiberglass model with stainless steel o-rings, a rubber handle and a 5000 sized aluminium spinner reel that came with the rod with 8lb braid line.
My FaceBook poll
I will keep this one simple. The question I asked was: “Telescopic fishing rods… yay or nay?” to which I received 35 responses. Responses were almost 50/50 with a number of “yeah, good as a backup” type answers which I placed in the Yay column.
Yays (or close enough to): 19
Selection of comments:
“Easy to carry and store and you have always have a rod at your hand if the opportunity arises.”
“I’ve caught more than a 100 jewfish on various telescopic rods” (which is more than a 100 more than I have caught on a normal rod but anyway)
“Very handy for traveling mate. I use one regularly.”
Nays (and vomit emojis): 16
Selection of comments:
“Get a travel rod that breaks into 3 or 4 pieces” (there were many comments along these lines)
“Nope… would avoid them like the plague”
And my personal favourite:
“Like kissing your sister, what’s the point”.
Look, as I have been clear about from the beginning, I have not used one of these myself so have been relying on my research and the results of my questions as per above. Based on all of that, my personal opinion is that if you are traveling in an area where you can safely store a 3 or 4 piece, then I would probably go for that.
If however you are traveling on a plane, or in a car with limited space, then as long as you pay for a decent option, then you should get hours of enjoyable fishing from a collapsible rod. Or they could also be worthwhile in areas where space is a premium such as a kayak as well.
As a side note, I have put the word out around town where I live to see if I can get my hands on one of these rods. Once I do, I will of course take it for a fish (I am happy to take one for the team) and will report back in this post!
So there you have it, my attempt at answering the question as to whether collapsible fishing rods worth it. As always, If you have used these and have an opinion, some advice or feedback please comment below and we can have a chat.