The Best Telescopic Fishing Rods

Updated on November 1, 2018
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HuntnFish has spent many years on the water fishing and has caught nearly every species of fish in Washington State.

Telescopic Fishing Rods

Telescopic fishing rods, also know as telescoping or collapsible fishing rods, are among the most packable and portable fishing rods on the market. Telescopic rods consist of multiple sections of graphite or fiberglass, each progressively tapered, which can nest inside each other. This construction method allows for much longer rods to be very quickly disassembled and stored in a very small space.

Telescopic fishing rods are an excellent option for hike-in lakes and backpacking.
Telescopic fishing rods are an excellent option for hike-in lakes and backpacking. | Source

Advantages to Telescopic Fishing Rods

As noted before, telescopic fishing rods are the best of the best if you're looking for a fishing rod which stores in as little space as possible.

  • When collapsed, they fit almost anywhere. Whether you're like me and can't go hiking or backpacking without a fishing pole, or just want to keep one under the seat of your truck to cast a line in a random pond on the side of the road, nothing will store better than a telescopic rod.
  • They are great for air travel. No need to check luggage; telescopic fishing rods will easily fit in a carry-on bag.
  • Great for public transportation. If you don't feel like being the guy on the bus poking the other bus riders in the back of the head, problem solved.
  • They are durable when collapsed. Since the thinner sections of the rod are stored inside the thicker sections of the rod, they are naturally protected when all packed up. With traditional rods, extra care is needed to ensure the thinnest sections of the rod are not damaged during packing or storage.
  • Very long rods can be packed into an incredibly small size. For example, some bream and crappie rods can telescope out from one foot up to 20 feet!

When it comes to travel rods, do you prefer telescopic or multi-piece fishing rods?

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Things to Watch Out for With Telescopic Rods

In order to achieve their ultra-small packed size, telescopic fishing rods do have a few drawbacks which must be weighed against their benefits.

  • Limited range of available actions. Since all of rod sections must fit within each other, telescopic rods are somewhat limited in the range of rod actions they can allow. You will have a hard time finding a fast or ultra-fast action telescoping rod. Most rods will rate between slow and moderate actions. This is not a bad thing necessarily; it just means you will have a more full bend in the rod, and slightly less rod backbone. If you are looking for very fasting acting travel rod with a lot of backbone, consider four-piece rods instead.
  • Limited selection. Unfortunately, there are a limited number of great telescopic rod manufacturers out there. When I worked at a fishing outfitter, we constantly had people requesting telescopic rods, and frankly, we only carried a few select models we had tested and reviewed.
  • Telescoping rods can get stuck in the "out" position. If you are not careful when extending the rod and over extend one of the junctions between components, they can get stuck like that. This can happen much easier if you get sand or grit stuck in between rod sections. Be very careful when trying to collapse an over-extended section.

Telescoping fishing rods are great when pitching spinners and spoons in small streams.
Telescoping fishing rods are great when pitching spinners and spoons in small streams. | Source

How to Choose a Telescopic Fishing Rod

Like I mentioned earlier, there are a LOT of really low quality telescopic rods on the market, far more than good ones. Here's how to choose a good one:

  • Choose a rod from a reputable rod manufacturer. When it comes to telescopic rods, your options are limited, to probably Eagle-Claw, Quantum, or Zebco.
  • Look for ones that come in more pieces: More pieces = smaller collapsed size. Also, the more pieces it is, the more space there is to put eyelets on the rod. More eyelets = better casting, better fighting, and just an all around more capable rod.
  • If the rod comes with a reel, be skeptical. A lot of cheaper rods are packaged as "combo deals." Usually this means you'll be getting a cheap rod and even cheaper reel. If it comes with additional fishing gear, be even more skeptical.

Telescopic Fishing Rods are great for backpacking and hiking into off-the-beaten-path fishing holes
Telescopic Fishing Rods are great for backpacking and hiking into off-the-beaten-path fishing holes | Source

Best Value Telescopic Fishing Rod— Eagle Claw Pack-It

If you're looking for an all around light-weight, backpacking ready, car trunk packable, ready for almost anything telescopic fishing rod, I suggest the Eagle-Claw Pack-It Telescopic Spinning Rod. This rod has been around a long time, and over the years I've seen a lot or old models that have handled a number of fish over a long lifetime. They are affordable, durable, and handle remarkably well.

I would strongly suggest investing a couple of the dollars you save on a quality spinning reel to pair up with it. A 1000 or 2500 series spinning reel from Shimano, spooled up with 4- or 6-lb test, would be a perfect match here.

Eagle-Claw Pack-It Telescopic Spinning Rod

Eagle Claw PK555SP Pack-It Telescopic Spinning Rod, 5-Feet x 6-Inch
Eagle Claw PK555SP Pack-It Telescopic Spinning Rod, 5-Feet x 6-Inch
"I have had this for two years. Strapped it on my Motorcycle, ridden in rain, snow, mud, and beaten the heck out of it. Maybe I just got a good one, but this thing seems to be pretty bullet proof. "

Best Telescopic Fishing Rod— Tenkara Rod Company

Telecopic Fishing at its Best

There's a good chance you haven't heard of Tenkara fishing rods before. But when it comes to fishing small rivers and streams, ponds, and alpine lakes, I will always pack a Tenkara fishing rod. I can honestly fit my entire fishing set-up in my pants pocket , and it hardly weighs any more than a cell phone.

Tenkara is a Japanese form of fishing that involves a long flexible rod with no guides, eyelets, or reel. The excitement of fishing with this rod comes from the extreme simplicity: a long lightweight fly-fishing rod, a fixed line, and an artificial fly on the end.

Don't worry let the term "fly-fishing" dissuade you if you haven't fly-fished before. Since there is no reel, you'll be an expert in no time. For smaller streams, the long rod length means casting isn't even necessary, just reach out your rod and jig vertically, or let the current carry your fly over small fish-holding pockets of water. Also, don't have to limit yourself to just flies. I've found micro-jigs like trout darts, ice fishing jigs, and jigging flies are also very effective when drifted with a Tenkara rod.

The ultra-sensitive graphite the Tenkara Rod Company uses means that even the the smallest stream trout will let you know he came to play, while maintaining enough power and backbone to handle much larger trout and even salmon.

The model I use is 12' long, packs down into under 12", and weighs only 3.2 oz! You will not find a lighter weight more portable fishing rod option. End of discussion.

Tenkara Rod Company rods come with a lifetime replacement program warranty, so if something happens, they'll get you back on the water in no time at all.

My Top Recommended Telescopic Rod

Tenkara Rod Co. Teton Fly Fishing Rod - Package, Red, tpack
Tenkara Rod Co. Teton Fly Fishing Rod - Package, Red, tpack
"If you have not tried this method of fishing it is the best. So simple and no more tangles and lost flies. Fits in any suitcase for travel and all you need to fish will fit in your pocket."

A Little Tenkara History

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