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Saltwater Fishing Rods and Reels

Susan writes about saltwater fishing in Florida and enjoying the Florida coast.

My fishing rods. My salt water fishing rod is on the left.

My fishing rods. My salt water fishing rod is on the left.

Saltwater Fishing Rods

In this article, I will be comparing fiberglass, graphite and bamboo fishing rods. I will also be referring to telescopic rods and Zebco fishing rods for kids to learn with. I love using a bamboo rod myself, and I will explain why!

 6' medium Mitchell light spin cast with a DaiwaJ80X reel button

6' medium Mitchell light spin cast with a DaiwaJ80X reel button

Zebco Fishing Rod and Reels

I started out fishing with my Dad and brothers at the side of a creek, proudly holding a Zebco fishing pole and reel. I received that fishing rod for an Easter present when I was four years old. This is a great starter pole for a beginner fisher because there is a button on the reel that you release when you whip the tip of the pole, from your shoulder, on your cast. It is much easier to teach and cast than to open a spinning reel.

This fishing rod is a light pole, usually made out of fiberglass, about four feet long, with a plastic handle. The fact that this fishing rod is a sturdy, stiff, durable rod and can be mishandled and forgotten outside in the weather makes it great for any kid to fish and have fun with.

The reel shown above is a Daiwa reel with a button on a light 6 foot medium graphite Composite Mitchell rod. This means there is a mix of graphite and fiberglass. If this rod was all graphite, it would be too expensive to make. A great little pole for fooling around with a 6-12 pound test line. Your kids will love it. I use it for sunfish and spotted sea trout, but if you get something bigger, you may have a real fight on your hands to land the fish without snapping your pole.

Telescopic Fishing Rods

This South Bend Proton 6' 6'' telescopic rod and reel was also a birthday present from my sister. She thought it would be easier to fly to Florida with me when I retired my 26-foot motorhome. I had a lot of fun with this pole, even landing a turtle once. I thought I was going to snap it for sure, but it was durable enough to land that catch.

This little rod features a TSP reel with a gear ratio of 3.11 and can be loaded with an 8-pound test line. So you can almost feel the fight I had to land that turtle without stripping those little ball bearings. The TSP 300 Telescopic rod is a fun rod and reel you can take camping (or pretty much anywhere) with you. It is great for freshwater fishing also.

Fiberglass Salt Water Fishing Rods

Fiberglass fishing rods are mass-produced by machines in factories, so they are one of the cheaper pieces of fishing equipment to buy if you are just starting out. These rods are durable and flexible and come in many different lengths and thicknesses.

The longer the rod, the easier it is to cast out. So if you are casting a long way out, you might want a 10 or 12 foot fiberglass rod. The more guides or eyes it has on the rod, the better. The eyes keep the line from rubbing on the rod and could cause the line to fray or snap. It is a good idea to replace broken eyes on your pole for this reason.

The thicker the rod is at the base, the stronger it is to land bigger fish. The base of fiberglass rods comes with wood, rubber, and cork or can be made of graphite. I prefer the cork myself to stick my hook in when I am not using the rod. A longer base is also important as it helps with leverage under your arm to land the big ones.

Most expensive poles are cast with a fiberglass/graphite mix. An all graphite rod would be too expensive to make. You can order special saltwater rods that have bigger eyes at the bottom, graphite bottoms, special string to hold on the eyes and special paint jobs with your initials. Thicker, thinner at the top, 15 foot poles for surf fishing. The sky is the limit for professional sport fisherman.

Most fiberglass/graphite rods come apart into different lengths, making it easier to pack on a boat or travel to your fishing spot.

My master saltwater fishing rod was also a gift. It is an 8 foot graphite 705 rod with a master 4.0:1 gear ratio reel on it. The most used ratio for reels is 4.0 to 5.0. I can use up to 15-25 pound test line. This rod is stiff and does not cast out as good as my Bamboo rods.

TIP: Always load your line onto your reel with tension on the line. This will keep your line from snagging or knotting when casting and reeling in your fish.

Charter Fishing Boats

Charter fishing boats usually supply the fishing rods for you. These rods will be thick, short fiberglass/ graphite rods about 4 feet long. You just drop the hook over the side, so you don't need the length for a cast. They are about a 1/2 inch thickness (or more), so they can endure the weight of a 20 pound Grouper.

Bamboo fishing rods in salt water? My favorite saltwater rods are bamboo.

Bamboo fishing rods in salt water? My favorite saltwater rods are bamboo.

Salt Water Bamboo Fishing Rods

Bamboo fishing rods today are very expensive because they are made by hand and take many man hours to produce. My rods came from a friend who had them in his garage since 1950. They both had large Daiwa reels that had been pitted from the salt and sand when fishing or from the garage air.

The one rod was 10 feet long with a cork bottom and was all one piece. The other rod was 8 feet and could be taken apart in the middle by a metal sleeve that was inserted into the top part of the pole. This pole also had a cork bottom.

The 8 foot rod that came apart was harder to cast out than the other 10 foot all-one-piece bamboo rod. The latter became my favorite rod. This 10 foot rod was awesome. I could sail my cast (with a 2 ounce weight) 25 yards towards a honey hole of fish I knew was right off the corner of the dock I was on.

This rod was thinner at the top but never ever broke! It was the thin reed bamboo and the way the wood felt in my hands that made this rod a thrill to fish with. Plus, the fact it never ever failed me. I could tell instantly when the smallest hook movement happened. Then I would pull the tip high with a quick jerk and hold the tip up there until I reeled the fish to the dock.

Bamboo is more flexible but endures the weather. The bamboo did not deteriorate sitting in the garage after all the years of no use. Bamboo is sensitive to hook movement, unlike any other rod I have used. Those that have fished with bamboo know what I am talking about. I have had more fun and outfished a lot of guys on the dock with these old bamboo rods. That was after they would laugh at it when they saw me coming out to fish!

I laughed also. Try bamboo if you can afford it, or get a friend to make you one.

TIP: Always rinse down your fishing rods well after saltwater fishing. The salt in the air and the water corrodes cast aluminum which is what my Daiwa reels were made of. Then use a lubricant to keep them oiled up.

Don't use WD40. WD40 is not oil (although fish oil is an ingredient) and after a while, it clumps and will ruin your reel.

However, you can spray WD 40 on your lure or hook. It will help catch more fish than your neighbor because it is made from fish oil.

Salt Water Cast Netting Fishing to Catch Your Own Bait Fish

  • DIY Bait Fish Salt Water Cast Net Fishing
    DIY cast net fish for bait fish or mullet to eat. Saves Money The video is How to Throw a Fourteen foot cast net for bait fishing. Cast netting is an inexpensive sport to entertain the whole family.

Salt Water Fishing Hooks

  • Salt Water Fishing Hooks
    Using the proper salt water fishing hook for what you are fishing for will give you more hits with better results. Also the correct way to bait your hook video.


Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 03, 2015:

You should try it @ChitrangadaSharan. It is the most exciting and relaxing day you could have with your family. Thank you for your comments. Have a great hubbing day.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on June 03, 2015:

This is a very useful and informative hub about fishing rods!

You seem to be an expert in fishing. How exciting! I would like to try it some time in future. Your tips are very helpful.

Thanks, voted up and shared on HP!

Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on March 28, 2013:

Thanks a lot b. Malin. It is easy to write about what you love. I appreciate the share.

b. Malin on March 28, 2013:

Hi Suzzycue, another informative Hub on Fishing that I will share with Lover Man. You go Girl, you have so many talents and Fishing is just one of them.

Voting UP & Interesting.

Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on March 26, 2013:

Now that is a great compliment . I am a fishing nut and I love to talk to any other fishing nuts. Your grandson must be strong to kayak on the ocean. I remember one day I canoed on the Indian river and I had to call my neighbor to come and get me because the current was so strong I could not paddle back. Thanks for the memory and the comment Vickiw.

Vickiw on March 26, 2013:

You are such an amazing fisherwoman, Suzzycue! Wish my 17 year old grandson could meet you. He is a fishing nut too, and I mean that in the most admiring way! He has an ocean kayak, ties flies, smokes fish, and it is definitely a favourite thing to do, just as it is with you! I must show him your Hub! He will be so interested.

Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on March 26, 2013:

That I did not know. The best trick I used ,that never failed was to spit on the hook. Of course we always had a few brewskies while we fished and I guess the fish loved that as much as I do. Thanks for stopping by Alberic O and spit on your hook it is fun. LOL.

Alberic O from Any Clime, Any Place on March 26, 2013:

I love your last tip. I used cod liver oil for trout and it does wonders-smells like hell though. WD 40 is illegal in some waters though because it has petroleum extract.