How Many Fishing Rods Does an Angler “Need?”

The average subscriber to Bass Angler Magazine has about 26 fishing rods. Pennsylvania angler, Joe Stefanacci, estimates he has over 40. Nebraska angler Jared Schleifer only has 7 that he considers “active.”

You could play a round of golf with just a 4-iron. It wouldn’t affect my score much, but once you gain experience and learn when, why, and how to use the full range of clubs for the unique challenge at each hole, a golfer can become more efficient. Every fishing hole also presents a variety of challenges and having a range of rods can help.

Cabela’s, for example, has a selection of over 400 rods. They group the rod choices by use: casting, trolling, spinning, saltwater, and fly-fishing. And then within any of these classes of rods there can be a range of “action” like ultra light, light, medium, or heavy.

Bass Pro Shops has a category which allows you to choose a rod for a specific species such as crappie, walleye, muskie, or steelhead. There are nuances with these rods which help to pair nicely with the size, fight, and tackle associated with these species. There is room for crossover, such as landing a steelhead with an 11 ft. long crappie rod. However, I’ve also read of disastrous results.

There are reasons my collection has extended well into double digits. Most anglers started with a pushbutton closed-face rod and reel combo. Now that I have kids, they each have their “starter” rods plus, we have enough to take their friends fishing too. My kids are experienced enough also to have earned medium spinning rods. I have a couple of extras for friends and relatives visiting from out of state.

Among this core of spinning rods, I eventually dedicated rods to line type (monofilament, flourocarbon, braid, Fireline) and rod action. Additionally, rods are sorted by use such as the older, more expendable models for river fishing with bait, while saving the higher end stuff for lure casting reliability and accuracy. Then there are fly fishing rods of differing weights, ice fishing rods, a nifty telescopic combo that will fit in a backpack, and surf rod or two.

Novice anglers may only have a couple of fishing combos in the corner of the garage. And that’s enough really. A medium action spinning rod combo will catch just about anything that swims. It is a hoot with hand-sized sunfish and yet stands up to hefty catfish.

But then again, Christmas is coming… How many more niches would you like to fill?


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Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”...  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie."  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.
Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well...
And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to www.takemefishing.org since 2011.