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Best Telescopic Fishing Rods

Updated on October 3, 2016
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HuntnFish has spent many years on the water fishing for and catching 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.

While telescopic fishing rods take the award for storage and convenience, they do suffer a few drawbacks as a result of their construction. I will be outlining the pros and cons of telescopic fishing rods, what to look for when buying one, and suggesting a few of my favorites that I've tested on the water, including one which easily blows away the competition!

Big Mirror Carp on a Telescopic Rod!


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

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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 car 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!


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. There are not a lot of great telescopic rod manufacturers out there, and in fact there are A LOT of very poorly constructed telescoping fishing rods on the market. When I worked at a fishing outfitter, we constantly had people requesting the nicest telescoping rods we carried, and frankly, we didn't have many options. There is certain some demand, but rod manufacturers haven't stepped up much yet. This is likely due to the previous point. Most rod manufacturers are busy trying to make the most cutting edge ultra-premium new rods with the newest materials, which simply isn't possible with telescopic rod construction. With that said, there are definitely a few good ones out there.
  • 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.

Awesome Catch on a Telescopic Rod!

Telescopic rods aren't just for small fish!
Telescopic rods aren't just for small fish! | Source

What to Look for in 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.

Best Value Telescopic Spinning Rod

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

A good suggestion really depends what you're going to be fishing for. If you're specifically targeting very large fish, five pounds or larger, you're going to have a tough time finding a suitable telescopic rod. I would suggest looking into three-piece or four-piece travel rods. While they definitely take up more space, they are much more capable of handling larger fish.

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 fish well, are very affordable, and fit all the necessary requirements.

I would strongly suggest investing a couple of the dollars you saved on a quality spinning reel to pair up with it. A 1000 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 Pack-It Telescopic Spinning Rod, 5-Feet x 6-Inch
Eagle Claw 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. "


For a traditional spinning rod, this is easily your best value. However, if you want a whole new fishing experience packed into one of the lightest, most packable, telescopic rods available anywhere, I have an even better idea...

Tenkara Fishing Rods

This is what Tenkara fishing feels like
This is what Tenkara fishing feels like | Source

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.

Tenkara is a Japanese form of fly 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 if you haven't fly-fished before. Since there is no real, you'll learn how to cast remarkably quickly. 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.

Despite having limited casting range, I have caught hundreds of fish due to the minimalist presentation Tenkara rods allow. If you've ever seen a old-time photo of a kid sitting on a bridge with a line tied to a stick bouncing a worm around in the water, thats the feel of Tenkara fishing. Simple and minimalistic, yet incredibly productive and exciting.

And just wait until you hook into a fish. The ultra-sensitive top of the line graphite the Tenkara Rod Company uses means that even the most horizontally challenged stream trout will let you know he came to play in a big way.

Oh and I almost forgot, they're telescoping rods! 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.

Whats more, they come with a great warranty and all the Tenkara gear you need to get started, including an awesome case to get your rod safely where you're going. I honestly can't say enough good things about these rods.

Only minor downside, they're not cheap. I promise though, you're going to catch fish and have a lot of fun. Their hashtag says it all, just #getoutandfish.

Complete Tenkara Fishing Package

Tenkara Rod Co. Teton Fly Fishing Rod - Package
Tenkara Rod Co. Teton Fly Fishing Rod - Package

"Radically Simple, Ultra-light Fly Fishing"


A Little Tenkara History


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