How to Choose the Right Fishing Rod

Choosing the right fishing rod can be quite a difficult task if you’re new to the sport. There are many variables that you need to take into consideration when searching for the right fishing rod. For starters, it’s best if you know where you’ll be fishing and what species of fish you will be fishing for. Certain rods will do better in streams, while others are designed for heavy saltwater action. Once you decide where you want to fish and which fish you want to catch, it becomes easier to narrow your choices.

With so many different rod styles to choose from, check out our basic rod buying guide as we walk you through the many options to consider.


Types of Fishing Rods

After you decide where and what you’re fishing for, it’s time to choose the style of your rod. From spinning rods to casting rods and everything in between, there are multiple different types of fishing rods to choose from. Each type of rod has a special use that helps set it apart from the others.

Baitcast Rod PhotoBaitcasting Rods: Good for experienced anglers. Meant to be used with baitcasting reels, which are set up on top of the rod instead of underneath. These rods feature a plastic trigger extension that is designed to give your forefinger better control of the reel spool. Baitcasting rods are typically used in lakes, rivers, streams, and saltwater.


Spinning Rod PhotoSpinning Rods: Great for amateurs or beginner fisherman. Rods are typically shorter in length. With a spinning reel extended away, this rod features large guides to allow your fishing line to remain straight from reel to rod tip. Spinning rods are typically used in lakes, rivers, streams, and saltwater.


Surf Rod PhotoSurf Rods: Rod that is designed to be fished on a beach or in the surf with the idea of casting your lure or bait as far as possible. The longer the rod, the further you can cast. Rods are typically 7 to 18 feet long, and feature an extended butt section designed for placement in a beach rod holder. Very sturdy and intended to be used with heavily-weighted lures. Typically used in saltwater along a beach or off a pier in the surf.


Fly Rod PhotoFly Rods: This rod was designed to cast specialized weighted fishing line. Casting a nearly weightless fly requires unique casting techniques that are much different from any other form of casting. These rods are meant to be paired up with a fly fishing reel, and are usually very thin, lightweight, and flexible. Use fly rods in lakes, rivers, and streams.


Fishing Rod Power and Corresponding Fish Species

Fishing rod power (or weight) is designated to the amount of power/weight it takes to flex the rod. Bigger fish need heavier weights/powers than small fish. Rod powers are based on the rod’s line rating and lure weight.

  • Ultra-Light Power Rods: Ideal for small bait fish and panfish.
  • Light Power Rods: Ideal for panfish, bluegill, small bass, crappie, sunfish, small trout, and shad.
  • Medium-Light Power Rods: Ideal for smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, trout, snapper, pompano, permit, porgy, grunt, spadefish, sea trout, bonefish, bowfin, bullhead, snakehead, knifefish, tilapia, pickerel, peacock bass, carp, swamp eel, and mullet.
  • Medium Power Rods: Ideal for largemouth bass, catfish, redfish, mackerel, bluefish, jack, triple tail, snook, sea trout, bonefish, gar, skates & rays, wahoo, and sawfish.
  • Medium-Heavy Power Rods: Ideal for pike, musky, snook, salmon, kingfish, Bonita, cobia, Mahi, amberjack, tarpon, shark, grouper, rays, wahoo, and sawfish.
  • Heavy Power Rods: Ideal for tuna, sturgeon, salmon, tarpon, grouper, and shark.
  • Extra-Heavy Power Rods: Ideal for sailfish, shark, tuna, halibut, marlin, swordfish, sailfish, and longbill spearfish.

Recommended Line Ratings & Lure Weights Per Rod Power

Many rod companies provide their own recommended line ratings and lure weights on the rod blank directly above the handle, but the list below will help give you a general line test and lure weight tolerance range for each type of rod power rating:

  • Ultra-Light: 1-4 lb. test line, 1/64 to 1/16 oz. lures
  • Light: 4-8 lb. test line, 1/32 to 1/8 oz. lures
  • Medium: 4-12 lb. test line, 1/8 to 3/8 oz. lures
  • Medium-Heavy: 8 to 14 lb. test line, 3/16 to 1/2 oz. lures
  • Heavy: 15-25 lb. test line, up to 1-1/2 oz. lures
  • Extra Heavy: 25 lb. test line and above, 1-1/2 oz. lures and above

Rod Action/Speed Types

Fishing Rod Action Diagram
Different Rod Flex Points Based on Action Rating

A rod’s action (or speed) affects the overall casting and retrieval experience. Fast action rods are stiffer and able to pick up the slightest vibrations, while slower-action rods are more flexible and able to maintain proper tension more easily. You can check a rod’s action by touching the rod’s tip end to the floor and gradually applying pressure to see where the rod bends. Another way to test action is to see how fast the tip returns to a straight position when released from a load.

While there is no officially recognized rating system when it comes to rod action, the information below will give you a general idea of what to expect from each rod action type:

 

 

Extra-Fast Action Rods: Contains stiffer blanks to transmit vibration better. Super sensitive to detect small nibbles; can be difficult to maintain proper tension. Too much tension can do damage to the fish, too little can cause the fish to throw the bait out of its mouth. Rods generally bend at the top 15-20% of the tip.

Fast Action Rods: Less sensitive than an extra-fast rod blank, but more flexible. Better for fighting fish. Rods generally bend at the first 3rd of the tip.

Moderate to Slow Action Rods: Good for multi-hook and treble hook lures. Best to use with lures that require less sensitivity. Easier to maintain proper tension. Rods generally bend at about half of its total length in the middle.


Rod Blanks & Handles

Rod Blank: The the main part of a fishing rod upon which all other components like rod guides and reel seats are placed. Rod blanks are usually made of graphite or fiberglass.

Rod Handles: A fairly self-explanatory term, a rod handle is the handle that you grip when using a rod. Rod handles are usually made out of cork or EVA Foam.

Since each material has a different effect on each fishing application, it’s important to take a look at what a fishing rod is made of and how this can affect performance.

Rod Blank Materials:

  • Graphite Rod Blank: Highly common for bass fishing rods. Provides good tensile strength and stiffness. Less wobbly and more durable than fiberglass.
  • Fiberglass Rod Blank: Great for medium to slow action applications and less brittle than graphite rods. Ideal for using crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and jerk-baits. Usually more affordable than graphite blanks.

Rod Handle Materials:

  • Cork Rod Handle: Tend to be lighter and less slippery when wet than EVA foam handles. Cork is also more sensitive when transmitting vibrations from fish to fisherman.
  • EVA Foam Rod Handle: Generally cheaper than a cork handle, however much more durable. While low-quality cork handles may crack, dent, or chip, foam handles hold together better and revert to their original shape. Foam handles are also easier to maintain and keep clean.

Have questions?

We’re ready to answer any fishing rod or other product questions that you may have. Just give us a call at 1-844-9-FISHIN or drop us a line on our contact page.

Night Fishing for Big Predators

A few of us from Livetofish.com made a midnight run out on the gulf to see what was lurking below. The weather was beautiful, water was calm, and the chum was fresh. Armed with the right gear, we were ready, willing and able to fight some of the largest predators that dare to cross our path.

Gear Used

For this trip, we used a Redbone Medium-Heavy Rod with a Penn 4500 Spinfisher V spinning reel. For fishing line, we used 40 lb. Test Mono from Hurricane. We added three feet of  Malin Nylon Coated Steel Leader to the end of the line and topped the whole thing off with a nice big circle hook.

Bait & Technique

We used a couple of chum blocks in a mesh bag to bring the sharks in and drive up activity around the boat. Pinfish caught earlier that day were an ideal bait for the circumstances. Visibility can be a challenge when fishing at night, so we used balloons as bobbers and filled them with glow sticks. This technique helps with identifying strikes on your line in dark lighting conditions.

The Catch

blacktipWe caught quite a few blacktip sharks that evening. Blacktips are fairly common in Florida coastal waters and can reach up to 8ft in length. Although we didn’t catch anything that large, they sure put up a hell of a fight and we did manage to get a shot with one of the smaller catches of the night.

View all the products mentioned in this post and more at LivetoFish.com.

Fishing Hook Types Header

Fishing Hook Types

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with hook anatomy and sizing, it’s time to decide on what type of hook you want to use. LivetoFish.com carries a wide variety of popular fishing hook styles, including Aberdeen hooks, bait hooks, egg hooks, frog hooks, jig hooks, keeper hooks, octopus hooks, siwash hooks, treble hooks, and worm hooks. Read on for a brief description of each type of fishing hook that we currently carry.

Aberdeen Hooks

aberdeen-hookAn Aberdeen hook is used in live bait fishing for Panfish and Perch. It has a fine, light wire construction for minimal damage to the bait. This hook is perfect for heavy cover and weedy areas where other hooks snag.

 


Baitholder Hooks

baitholder-hookChoose a baitholder (or bait) hook when you want to fish for Bass, Trout, Walleye, Panfish, and Catfish. A baitholder hook will have multiple barbs on its shank to keep the bait in place and to keep your fish from wiggling free.


Circle Hooks

Circle HookIf you’re looking to catch large saltwater and freshwater species, try a circle hook.A circle hook is circular in shape and eliminates gut hooking by sliding forward and becoming lodged in the fish’s mouth when the fisherman pulls the line.

 


Egg Hooks

Egg HookFish for trout and other cannibalistic species with an egg hook. The egg hook is designed to perfectly match the profile of salmon egg baits. The round bend blends into the bait once it’s pushed onto the hook.

 


Frog Hooks

frog-hookRig your frog bait with a frog hook. Each hook features a spring wire that screws into the frog’s nose. The frog will pivot as it moves in the water. Use the frog hook to fish for Largemouth Bass in areas with thick vegetation or areas where you know frogs naturally live.


Keeper Hooks

keeper-hookIf you’re looking to catch Bass, Trout, and Redfish without having to switch out one hook for another, use the keeper hook. A keeper hook has a spring or wire appendage that is mounted to the hook eye. This appendage holds on to the bait, keeping it securely in place and off of the hook shank. You’ll be less likely to damage or tear your bait while ensuring more hook sets.


Jig Hooks

jig-hookIf you are looking for a hook that isn’t species specific, try the jig hook. It can be used for all gamefish species and features an angled shank that lines the eye up with the point for consistent hook ups. The jig hook is perfect for fly tying or putting together a jighead.


Octopus Hooks

octopus-hookIf you’re working with live bait, especially smaller baits like leeches or minnows, you’ll want to have an octopus hook handy. The octopus hook has a short, rounded shank and a lightweight body.

 


Treble Hooks

Treble HookNamed for its three points that share a single common eye, the treble hook can be used with artificial lures and cut bait to catch hungry gamefish. Occasionally a treble hook will feature springs for holding dip or dough bait.

 


Siwash Hooks

Siwash HookA fisherman may choose a siwash hook over a treble hook for fishing in weedy areas or when doing catch and release fishing because it is less damaging to the fish. In most instances, a siwash hook will have an open eye for easily replacing a treble hook.


Worm Hooks

Jig HookThe final, but no less important hook, is the worm hook. Used to rig plastics, it is a favorite of Bass, Speckled Trout, and Redfish. The versatility of the worm hook makes it perfect for areas with rocks and a lot of cover. Built for durability, the worm hook will often come with a wide gap.


Additional Resources & Information

If you are interested in doing a bit of outside research on your own before you choose a hook, consider checking out this post on hook details from Bass Fishing and Catching, a blog dedicated to the art of bass fishing – or check out Outdoorlife.com’s Ultimate Hook Guide. When you’re ready to buy, visit our category page for fishing hooks to find the right hook for your needs.


Do you have any comments or questions about the popular hook styles that we mentioned? Have a favorite hook type or curious about one that’s not listed here? Drop us a line. And remember, you aren’t living unless you’re fishing!

Fishing Hook Anatamy 101 - Learn about the different parts of a fishing hook and what they are used for.

Fishing Hook Anatomy 101

Know Your Anatomy

Fishing Hook Anatomy
A fishing hook is made up of six different parts.

Sometimes, it can be hard to choose the perfect hook. There are many hook sizes, styles, and shapes on the market for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.

At LivetoFish.com, we’re here to make the decision a little easier. Let’s start with the anatomy of a hook. Knowing the parts of a hook is key to picking the one that’s going to catch you the most fish. There are six basic parts to a fishing hook: the eye, the shank, the gap (also sometimes called a ‘gape’), the throat, the point, and the barb.

 


The Hook Eye

Fishing Hook Eye Types
Different types of fishing hook eyes.

The eye is situated at the very top of the hook. This is where the line is tied. Depending on the type of hook that you have, the eye will either be open or closed. A closed eye is welded directly to the shank. An open eye is simply bent into place, which allows for easier removal from the line. If your hook has a straight eye, it lines up perfectly in line with the shank. Turned up and turned down eyes are determined by the way that the eye is turned. A turned up eye is bent or “turned” upwards and away from the hook. A turned down eye is bent downwards toward the hook point.

The hook eye may also be identified as having a certain type of shape. These shapes include looped, ringed, tapered, and needle. The looped, ringed, and tapered eye shapes are all considered to be open eye varieties. Looped (or loop) eyes are oval in shape with a form that extends alongside the shank and continues depending on the direction that the bend is facing. The ringed eye is the most common. It is round in shape and can be applied to many different fishing applications. The tapered eye is thinner than the ringed eye and is perfect for dry fly fishing.


The Hook Shank

The shank is the straight portion of your hook. It extends from the eye down to the first bend where the curve of the hook starts. The length of the shank will help determine the weight of the hook and the distance from the eye to the hook point. This distance is important in determining what size bait you’re going to be using.


The Hook Gap

The gap of a hook is the horizontal distance between the shank and the eye. Hooks with narrow gaps are generally used for live bait fishing because they do less damage to the bait while hooks with wide gaps are generally good for larger baits.


The Hook Throat

Equally as important as the gap is the hook throat. This is the vertical distance measured from the point to the bottom of the curve of the hook. Knowing the size of the throat is important because it can help you to determine how deep a hook is going to go when a fish bites down.


The Hook Point

Fishing Hook Point Types
Different types of fishing hook points.

The point of a hook is pretty self-explanatory. It’s the pointy end that pierces your bait and goes into the mouth of your catch. There are many different types hook points from spear points to knife edges. Longer hook points take longer to penetrate the fish’s mouth.

Hook points are generally named so because of their appearance, design, or function. A needle point has tapered, round sides that give it the appearance of being needle-shaped. Needle points are some of the most common hook points. Spear points are shaped to have spear-like angles. The point is aligned from its tip to its barb. Rolled in hooks reduce hook set pressure. The aligned point directly faces the hook eye. This allows fish to thrash and move around without hurting the line. Hollow points have a cut from the base of the tip. They are perfect for crappies and other soft mouthed fish. A knife edge point has two flat sides that come together to form a single edge that is easy to sharpen and is quick to penetrate.


The Hook Barb

The barb of a hook is a piece of steel that is created by notching the hook. It holds bait in place and keeps the hook from sliding out of the fish’s mouth after it bites down. Bait hooks may have several barbs going up the shank. While many hooks have shanks on them, some freshwater hooks (and a few select saltwater ones as well) do not have barbs. These are generally used for catch and release fishing.


A Note on Hook Sizes

The size of a hook doesn’t exactly fall under the umbrella term of “hook anatomy,” but it is something that you should know when deciding on what to use or buy. A good rule of thumb to go by is “the bigger the number, the smaller the hook size.” A size 12 hook will be tiny and a size 1 hook is about average size. Hooks that are larger than a 1 will have a /0 next to them. This is called an “aught.” Hooks with aught sizes will follow standard sizing with 1/0 being a median hook size proceeding all the way up to 20/0, which is big enough for catching sharks.


Ready to Buy?

LivetoFish.com has an extensive catalog of fishing hooks available for purchase. Check out our store page on Fishing Hooks to view and purchase products from our selection.

If you’re looking for even more information about fishing hooks, read through our next article – Fishing Hook Types.