Parts of a Fishing Rod: Each Bit Explained

First published:

Parts of a Fishing Rod: Each Bit Explained

First published:

Regardless of your skill level when it comes to fishing, having the right fishing rod can mean the difference between a successful fishing trip and one filled with various problems. Knowing the different parts of a fishing rod can help you select the best quality fishing equipment for the job, as well as repair any parts that may have become damaged over time.

A fishing rod consists of many parts that all piece together to create a very effective and necessary piece of fishing gear. Without a rod, you won’t be able to catch fish. The type of rod you select will depend on what species of fish you are targeting, as well as the area you are fishing in.

Each Rod Part Explained

With each part of the fishing rod, there are a variety of materials and designs you can choose from to ensure you obtain the best fishing rod for the purpose at hand. For example, some materials may be better suited for freshwater fishing, while others are better for saltwater. You can find fishing rods that are excellent for children, as well as ice fishing rods for anyone that loves winter angling.

Rod Tip

The rod tip is on the far end of your fishing rod. It is the part that is farthest away from you when the fishing rod is being held and cast properly. The tip is extremely sensitive and highly flexible. It can give you a good feel of what is happening under the water, even if you can’t see it.

For example, the tip-top of a fishing rod will transmit vibrations from the line down the length of the fishing rod and into the handle where you can feel it. This gives you a good indication of whether or not a fish might be nibbling on your bait, or can help you notice the hook catching on underwater vegetation.

Line Guides and Hook Keeper

close up blurred rod with guides and line excellent
The line guide’s purpose is to guide your fishing lines along the length of the fishing rod.

Also known as eyes, line guides are small rings that can be found along the entire length of your fishing rod. Their purpose is to guide your fishing lines along the length of the fishing rod. This helps eliminate the potential of your line becoming knotted or tangled when you are casting or retrieving, and also ensures you can get a good transfer of vibrations through your rod tip.

Line guides are normally made from metal such as aluminum, but you can also find them in a variety of other materials including graphite and ceramic. In many cases, higher quality materials are well worth the higher cost as they can prevent friction on your fishing line and prolong the usable life of it.

A hook keeper is similar to line guides in that it is also a small ring that is situated on the rod. It is great for securing your hook in order to make changing your fishing setup on the spot without having to disassemble the entire rod or rig.

Windings

Sun picture of a man holding a spinning reel and rod winding handle

Windings can be found in a range of different materials, though they are most commonly found as aluminum or other lightweight yet durable metals. They are the securing device that keeps your fishing pole line guides in place. They should be very durable and resistant to saltwater and corrosion.

Ferrules and Joints

In some cases, a fishing rod will consist of multiple pieces that connect together to make one large rod. These separate pieces make transportation much easier. Instead of trying to transport a 6 foot long rod length around, you will instead be moving three pieces that are each 2 feet long.

When you have a multiple piece rod, there will be joints or ferrules that are required to connect most rods together. Normally you would screw the pieces together with a screw ring ferrule, but some rods simply slide into each other snugly with plastic or metal joints. Both ferrules and joints can be made from a variety of materials, but metal connections are the most common.

Reel Seat

When fishing, you won’t just be using the rod. You also have to have a place for your line. The line you use will be stored on the fishing reel, but the reel will need a space to be secured to your rod. This is the reel seat. Some rods do not have fishing reel seats, such as some bamboo rods and smaller rods for children, but in most cases you will find the reel seats are located near the handle which allows you to install the reel of your choice and spool it with your preferred fishing line.

Handle/Grip

When considering the grip, look for thick and well padded grips that are made from a durable yet comfortable material.

When fishing, you need a comfortable handle to hold the rod. The grip of the handle can be made from a wide range of durable materials, though foam, cork, and heavy duty rubber are the most common. The handle can either be a molded piece of the rod itself, or it can be a separate synthetic material that was attached at a later date.

With a proper handle, you won’t feel fatigued when using fishing rods for long hours. Handles can be both ergonomic and have a large amount of padding made from soft material. If you plan on fishing often, or find yourself fighting fish for extended periods of time, look for fishing rods that have handles or a two-handed grip which are molded in comfortable shapes to not only provide a secure grip but to also allow for easy switching between hands. 

When considering the grip, look for thick and well padded grips that are made from a durable yet comfortable material. Rubber is very durable, will not corrode or collect mildew, and is great for saltwater fishing. Cork handles are also a very good choice, though may not be as soft as other materials and can lead to fatigue over long hours of fishing.

Butt and Butt Cap

The largest diameter area of the pole at the end of the handle is the rod butt. If using a rod holder, this is the section that would slide into the rod holder to be secured while you wait for fish to strike. The rod butt cap is a piece of cork, rubber, or other material that encloses the end of the rod and hangs below the end of rod holders. Its main purpose is to prolong the life of your rod and handle area while also serving as a permanent fixture.

The durable and long lasting butt caps can help prevent corrosion and damage to the end of the rod. This is especially important for fiberglass and graphite rods which may have open areas on the handle end, or for bamboo and other wooden rods with hollow tubes that could splinter or become damaged at the end.

Fishing Rod FAQs

How Do You Look After a Fishing Rod?

A bass fishing rod is the most important piece of your bass fishing gear. Afterall, if you don’t have a rod it’s going to be next to impossible to cast your line into the water. An angler should always take excellent care of their rod. Not only will this help ensure the rod stays in good condition for many years of use, but will also reduce the chance of the rod taking damage during transport or when using it.
After fishing in saltwater, always rinse your sea fishing rods with fresh water to remove the salt that may have collected on the rod. If left unwashed, the salt can quickly corrode metal components such as your line guides, hook keeper, reel seat, and more. Once the rod has been rinsed in fresh water, use a soft cloth to dry it.
Pay attention to the line guides on spinning rods as well. As you retrieve the line and have it spooled on your spinning rods’ reel, it may pull mud and other muck from the water. This will get caught in the line guides of the fishing rods you use. Ensuring the dirt and debris is removed from the line guides when you’re done fishing can ensure they remain in good condition and are not damaged.
Lubricating the joints is also a very worthwhile maintenance task to stay on top of. Having good lubrication ensures you can easily assemble and disassemble your rod without having to struggle getting the pieces to fit together and potentially breaking the rod by using excessive force. Most tackle shops will have a few different types of lubrication you can purchase for use on your rod.

What’s the Best Way to Transport a Rod?

Having a bag that is specifically designated for your rod is the best option when transporting it to and from your fishing spot. Always try to handle the fishing rod properly. Dropping it, hitting it on walls or other obstacles, or excessive bending can lead to damage over time or a broken rod entirely.
When storing your rod, keep it in the upright position. This helps prevent the rod from bending and warping. This also helps prevent the chance of heavy objects being stacked on top of your rod which can lead to bending or warping of the wood, fiberglass, or metal pieces. While fishing rods bend in some extreme ways, keeping them in this bent position can lead to warping and improper shapes.

What Causes a Fishing Rod to Break?

In general, most fishing rods are extremely durable and can handle incredible amounts of abuse. You will also notice that a fishing rod bends at extreme angles without breaking. However, it’s not hard to break a rod when you mishandle or misuse it. You can also easily break or damage a fishing rod when you neglect regular maintenance, or if you let salt build up on the joints and other components and cause corrosion.
Poor quality rods made from unknown or fly-by-night manufacturers can also lead to early breakage. If you’re serious about adding fishing to your list of hobbies, it’s worthwhile to invest in a higher quality rod from a well known and trusted manufacturer.

Can you Fix a Broken Fishing Rod?

In many cases, yes, a broken fishing rod can be fixed. It will depend on the extent of the damage as well as the material the pole is made from. Broken or damaged line guides are very common and can be very easy to fix. The same is true for damaged handles and grips. In these cases, the damage is relatively minor and if the rod is still under warranty from the manufacturer, chances are good they can fix it for you.
Difficult parts to fix may be lengthwise splits in fiberglass or wood, excessive warping or bending due to improper storage, or extreme corrosion from years of saltwater fishing. In some cases, it may be better to simply replace the rod. However, if the rod has sentimental value or is simply a vintage rod you have great luck using, most damage can be fixed.

Can You Make Your Own Fishing Rod?

There are a variety of ways to make your own fishing rod. While most people simply choose to purchase their own rod or rod blanks, others will prefer to make their own custom rods. In this case, the most common material used is wood. Wood is extremely easy to source, is very durable, and is one of the easier materials to sand and shape.
Bamboo is a common rod material, and is great for weekend fishing rods for children and casual fishing enthusiasts. You can also look for mixed wood composites that look good to your eye, and shape them to your liking in a home workshop. 
Tackle shops and big box outdoor stores may have books, brochures, and guide books that can give you ideas on how to get started creating your own fishing rod. It can be an extremely simple weekend project, or can end up being a unique experience in handcrafting that may span several weeks.

Photo of author
AUTHOR
Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village.