See yourself standing on the bank of a swiftly moving stream in the shade of a gnarled willow, your fishing rod bent beneath the weight of an unusually large catch.
Whether or not you land that fish depends on the decisions you made at the shop -- primarily the type of rod.
The ABCs Of Fishing Rods
Your rod is the most important tool you will use while fishing, and you can chose from a wide range of types, styles and lengths.
A fishing rod is a shaft of graphite, fiberglass, steel, wood or bamboo used to catch fish (duh). Fishing filament (line), is threaded through the ferrules (eyes) along the rod. The ferrule at the tip directs the cast. 1 end of the line winds around a reel at the base of the pole. The other end of the line has a baited hook attached to it.
Fishing rods vary from 4 feet (for children) to 16 feet, with the average being 6 feet long. Rod length is chosen based on: the species of fish you target and the environment you will fish at.
If your fishing hole is beside trees with overhead branches, you'll need a short, flexible rod. Flexibility -- the amount the rod can bend before breaking -- is determined by the diameter of the pole. Light rods are thin and flexible, while stronger rods are thicker and more rigid.
For open terrain, flexible, thin rods that are 10 to 12 feet long are good, unless it is too windy.
Fresh Water Or Salt Water?
Freshwater fishing occurs in lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, while saltwater fishing is done in oceans and along the coast. Choose a rod appropriate to the environment.
Plan For Species Of Fish
Short, strong rods are best for landing game fish. Stronger and thicker rods should be used for large, aggressive fish. Such fish could break a lighter pole.
Select Rod By Material
Common types of fishing rods include bamboo, fiberglass and graphite.
Bamboo rods can be a basic, inexpensive pole with a line attached, to very expensive handcrafted rods that are used for fly-fishing. Bamboo rods run from $5 up to hundreds of dollars for handcrafted fly fishing rods. If you are not planning to do fly-fishing, fiberglass or graphite rods are best.
Fiberglass rods are good for beginners and kids and they're reasonably priced. They come in many lengths, flexibility characteristics, and require very little maintenance.
Many experienced anglers prefer graphite rods, because they are very lightweight and extremely strong.
A Fitting Rod
Your goal should be to find a rod that fits your arm and is comfortable. If you have trouble choosing, ask someone with experience to go along or just ask the staff at a fishing store. A few pointers will quickly get you on your way -- to a world of fun.