Fishing Rod Composition

“If it bends, it’s funny. If it breaks, it isn’t.” Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors.

A significant portion of our family fishing time currently is consumed by my kids’ baseball and softball games and practices. During one particularly lengthy practice my thoughts wandered to fishing and I asked Coach Mike Weigle, about bat construction materials. He explained some of the differences between wooden, “composite carbon fiber polymer,” and “aluminum alloy” bats. Like fishing rods, each material is designed to perform and feel a certain way in the hands of an experienced user.

Similar to the first baseball bats, the first fishing rods also were made of wood (or bamboo), and later constructed of carbon fiber (graphite) or even aluminum. A quick survey of my fishing rod inventory revealed half were of unknown composition, either not labeled by the manufacturer or the sticker had long since worn away. Most of the remaining were “graphite” but “Fiberglas” and bamboo were represented as well.

Here are a few differences between fishing rod materials as explained by Mike Woodward of “Woody’s Custom Rods”:

  • Graphite — “lighter and usually more sensitive.” By using a stiffer grade of graphite material, a stiffer fishing rod can be created, often rated by a term called “modulus.”

  • “Glass” (Fiberglass) — “heavier but usually casts better and is able to load the rod better when fighting a fish.” Traditionally it is more durable and with the “loading” quality, often used for crankbaits.

  • Composite — A combination of materials such as Fiberglas and graphite. These rods are designed to be both sensitive and durable.

  • Bamboo — “This is coming back around due to versatility and sensitivity. Mostly used for fly fishing applications.”

There are new fishing rod materials, manufacturing methods, and combinations under development. Some anglers may buy a rod by the species or line/lure size recommended. Others may be influenced by the brand or price. The true test is how it feels in your hands. With experience, using the right rod materials under certain situations may help you catch more fish.

Do you have a favorite fishing rod composition material? Share this post with your friends and remind them to renew or get their fishing license.

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 since 2011.