Many a fishing trip has been rescued by having telescopic fishing rods as a backup.
When your favorite carbon fiber fishing rod breaks unexpectedly on the water or in the middle of the wilderness, a portable backup saves the day.
And many a non-fishing trip has been livened up with the prospect of a quick session on the water – that’s just the kind of freedom telescopic fishing rods give you.
Plus, the one little-known advantage of a telescopic rod is not having to derig. Unlike with a standard rod, you can keep a telescopic fishing rod rigged with your lure or hook ready to case – a great time saver and another reason to have the best telescopic fishing rod for you in your arsenal. Coupled with a great ultralight spinning reel, a telescopic fishing rod cannot be beaten for versatility.
So to help you choose a trusty telescopic fishing rod from the many competing products, we put together this buyers’ guide to the best telescopic fishing rods of 2021.
Best Telescopic Fishing Rod: Our Top Picks
This packs down to a category-leading 13″ casts well and costs less than a takeaway meal. What’s not to like.
With a graphite blank and top-quality guides, this casts betting than some standard spinning rods we’ve tried.
Popular and versatile, this comes in 14 different combinations of lengths and actions and covers all types of fishing
For those who like us to cut straight to the chase, our winner here on quality was the Shimano STC. It casts better than some standard rods! Coupled with graphite blank, top-quality guides, and a decent carry case, this gave it the edge over other models, although it is a fair bit more costly.
However, it is very much horses for courses with these telescopic fishing rods. While the Shimano suits someone that’s using the fishing rod frequently, almost instead of a conventional two or four-piece fishing rod, there are better options for occasional and emergency use.
The clear winner for this category – and for value – was the Eagle Claw. At 5’6″, it’s a very small fishing rod, but that means it packs down to a category-leading 13″, small enough to fit in a glove compartment.
And for versatility, our winner was the KastKing Blackhawk II, which comes in 14 different combinations of lengths and actions. That covers all types of fishing, from trout, pan fish, and crappies right through to bass, walleye, and stripers, and into larger saltwater fish.
Best Collapsible Fishing Rods: Our Top Picks
We chose five quite different collapsible telescopic fishing rods for this review to make sure we have the best of what the category offers covered:
- Kastking Blackhawk II Telescopic Fishing Rod
- Sougayilang Telescopic Fishing Rod
- Hurricane MK-806MHSPT Mako Telescopic Rod
- Eagle Claw PK555SP Pack-It Telescopic Spinning Rod
- Shimano STC Spin, Travel Spinning Fishing Rod
The Kastking Blackhawk II is a favorite among serious anglers as this telescopic fishing rod is available in a range of power, namely medium-light, medium, and medium-heavy, and comes in eight different lengths. That provides a degree of versatility that can’t be matched in this category. But is it any good?
A very hard-to-beat combination of versatility and price, the Sougayilang telescopic fishing rod comes in five sizes and is renowned for its toughness and ability to handle decent-sized fish. This is the first choice backup fishing rod for many skilled anglers, and when you consider the price, it’s not hard to see why. Add in the one-year warranty, and this is a safe bet at this price.
The Hurricane Mako has carved out a niche for making great telescopic fishing rods for saltwater anglers. The fiberglass blank and corrosion-resistant guides provide good protection against the ocean’s forces and the pulling power of saltwater fish.
What it lacks in versatility (it comes in one size only – 5’6’’), the Eagle Claw Pack- more than makes up for its quality. Fiberglass may be heavier than carbon fiber, but it is far tougher, and weight is not a key issue for a collapsible fishing rod that’s used primarily for emergencies or short sessions. For the price of a few cups of coffee, you get a high-quality, American-designed fishing rod that performs brilliantly for what it is and comes with a one-year warranty. This wins, hands down, for a genuine travel/backup fishing rod for freshwater fishing.
The Shimano STC (short for Shimano Travel Concept) is unquestionably the best quality of the telescopic rods here. A carbon fiber blank, quality stainless steel guide from a company with a proven heritage in making fine telescopic rods for conventional and travel applications. The smallest model packs down to just 12" - even shorter than the Eagle Claw. And thanks to the use of 10 sections (or 11 in the longer models), you aren't compromising on overall length. And in terms of the feel, many anglers think it is hard to tell they are casting with a telescopic fishing rod. The clear first choice for people who are going to fish with this telescopic rod a lot.
Best Telescopic Fishing Rod Comparison Table
|Kastking Blackhawk II||Hurricane MK-806 MHSPT Mako||Eagle Claw Pack-It Telescopic Spinning Rod||Shimano STC Spin, Travel Fishing Rod||Sougayilang Telescopic Fishing Rod|
|Length||6.6′ to 8′||6.6’ to 8′||7’ – 8′||5.6′||6.9′ – 8.9′|
|Number of sections||Six||Six||Five||10 – 11||Six|
|Collapsed length||22’’ – 24’’||5.9’ to 9.8′||20″||12” – 16″||13.7″|
|Features||Toray Carbon Matrix blank and solid glass tip section Available in 14 lengths and actions||Six section|
Suitable for saltwater use. Comes with a decent case.
|Four-section design with eight guides. Comes with a hard travel case.||Carbon fiber/e-glass composite rod with stainless steel reel seat, one-year warranty|
RELATED POSTS: Best Baitcasting Rods — Best Spinning Rods — Best Baitcaster Combo
Collapsible Rod Buyers’ Guide
Why Choose a Telescopic Fishing Rod Over a Standard Fishing Rod
Check out this great video above for an explanation of the benefits of using telescopic fishing rods. To put it simply, it is all about versatility and giving you fishing opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise have. Imagine you are on a business trip. You’d never bring a full-length fishing rod with you, especially if you were traveling with your boss or colleagues. But a collapsible fishing rod packs down small enough to put in your roll-on luggage or even a small briefcase. So if you have some downtime between meetings and you are staying near a decent fishing spot, you can fish.
Similarly, if you are on a family trip and space in the car or in the overnight bags is tight, you might have to leave a full-sized fishing rod behind. But a telescopic fishing rod takes next to no space and can fit right into a small bag. Throw in some tackle boxes and some lures, and you can squeeze in some fishing between family activities.
Telescopic Fishing Rod Size (Collapsed)
Our top choice (Shimano STC) packs down to as little as 12 inches, and our best bargain choice (the Eagle Claw) is just 13 inches long when compressed. Even the shortest four-piece fishing rods can’t compete with this.
Travel Rod Convenience
Having a fishing rod that can fit in your glove box or backpack is pretty cool. Cooler still, though, is having one that you can keep in these spots fully rigged! That means minimal setup time – just pull it out and fish. As our Dad is fond of saying, you can’t catch a fish without your line in the water, and these telescopic rods certainly maximize your effective fishing time.
Cost of the Rod
Even the most costly model here comes in well under the price of even medium-end conventional rods, and the cheaper models are almost ridiculously cheap. That’s more money to spend on the right lures to catch fish! None of these telescopic fishing rods are going to break the bank, but they will give you more hours on the water and more chances to catch fish.
Durability and Material of the Telescopic Fishing Rod
The majority of these telescopic rods are made from fiberglass, which is far tougher than carbon fiber/graphite and is truly hard to break. Fiberglass will withstand even heavy impacts and can be bent to significant angles before it fractures. The only downsides to fiberglass are weight and action.
Fiberglass rods are heavier than their graphite counterparts, and when you add in metal ferrules for dividing the sections, the weight of a collapsible fishing rod can begin to add up. They also tend to have a slower action, which is OK for fighting fish where there is no structure they can run into but less than ideal when you really need to put the hurt on the fish early to turn his head away from snags or trees.
They also struggle when it comes to throwing lightweight lures.
It really comes down to feel/action vs toughness. Carbon fiber telescopic rods offer better performance but are more brittle. Fiberglass fishing rods are tough as nails but won’t cast as far as a carbon fiber rod and won’t offer the same “feel” either.
Other considerations when it comes to quality are the materials used for the guides and the reel seat. Along with the joining ferrules, these are the parts of the fishing rod that are subject to the most wear and tear and corrosion.
For guides, ceramic guides are the best for minimizing friction and maximizing casting distance. These are comprised of a standard stainless steel guide with an inner ring of ceramic material. From a rust point of view, both are corrosion resistant, but the ceramic insert, while it adds cost, allows the line to slide out through the guides more easily, boosting casting distance.
For the reel seat, anodized aluminum is a popular choice for these telescopic rods and is perfectly acceptable. It won’t corrode and is relatively light. Some higher rods will have graphite or titanium reel seats, but at this price point, you are looking at aluminum (better) and plastic (not as good).
Telescopic Fishing Rod Length
The first thing to consider is length. Both the compressed length and the assembled length. For longer casts and bigger fish, make sure you select a fishing rod that’s at least seven feet. For finesse-style fishing in the freshwater, look at rods that are shorter than this. For saltwater use, you want to go with a longer rod that will give you more casting distance. Sometimes in beach fishing, you need to be able to cast over the first line of breakers, and a longer telescopic fishing rod will make that task easier.
Number of Sections
Less sections are better than more. The more sections you have, the more ferrules between sections and the more things there are to go wrong. Having too many sections can also impact the rod’s action as it won’t curve the way it is supposed to during casting.
However, there is a compromise to be struck here with length – the retracted length we mean. The fewer sections, the longer the rod will be when it is collapsed.
So you have to decide is it really critical for this rod to fit in a glove box or in a small overnight bag? In that case, something like the Eagle Claw is a great option.
Or is this a rod that you’ll be fishing with often? Do you require it to cast long distances, and portability is a secondary consideration? Then something like the KastKing Blackhawk is a better choice.
The final thing to pay attention to here is the quality. Given all these blanks are good quality, we are really talking about components. Ceramic guides are better than stainless steel, stainless steel is better as a material for reel seats than aluminum. The same applies to reel seats – the last thing you want is a reel seat that will corrode over time or is brittle, so aluminum is key here.
Telescopic Fishing Rod FAQs
Can You Handle a Big Fish With These Rods?
Yes, with the right skills and a reel with a decent drag, you should be able to handle even a decent size bass or walleye or something bigger with a collapsible fishing pole. They tend to be shorter than a conventional rod, so you can’t always play the angles as well to keep the fish out of structure. But these rods will get the job done without breaking if you are chasing pan fish, trout, bass, and walleye. When you start targeting larger saltwater species or freshwater fish that can really pull line such as muskie and pike, you are better off with a normal rod.
Should I Get a Rod and Reel Combo?
No. In our view, it is better to focus on getting the right rod and then turning your mind to choosing the right spinning reel. A rod and reel combo is often a way for manufacturers to slip in an unpopular or obsolete reel that they want to get off their hands.
What Maintenance Do I Need to Do With a Telescopic Rod?
The same as for a normal rod – rinse in fresh water after use and dry before putting away – although we pay a bit more attention if you have used the rod in salt. There are more metal parts to a collapsible rod, and that means more potential for corrosion. We usually spray metal surfaces with a rust preventer such as Clenzoil if we have used the rod in salt water. Spray it on the reel seat (if metal), the guides, and the connecting ferrules between sections.
How Easy Are Collapsible Fishing Rods to Assemble?
This is very straightforward. It is just a matter of sliding out each section in turn until there is a reasonably tight connection between sections. Make sure that all sections are fully extended before fishing, and be careful to pull them too hard against each other, or you risk getting them stuck, making disassembly after you have finished fishing difficult. The other thing to keep an eye on is the alignment of the guides – make sure all the guides are aligned with each other when the rod is fully extended. You may have to twist one or two sections a little if there is any slight misalignment.
Should I Get a Collapsible Rod?
Yep. To maximize your fishing time, we reckon every serious angler should have one of these rods as both a travel rod and a backup fishing rod. There is nothing worse than breaking a fishing rod on a trip – particularly if it is a wilderness kayaking trip or other remote adventure – and not being able to fish at all because you don’t have a spare. And at the same time, having two of every rod in your arsenal is prohibitively expensive. The solution – one of these five telescopic travel rods.
With one of these great options, you’ll be getting the best telescopic fishing rod for your needs, whatever type of fishing you prefer, at a low to moderate cost. Choose one of these as your travel rod or backup rod, and you’ll be on the way to maximizing your fishing opportunities and catching more fish.
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