The best telescopic fishing rods

Many a fishing trip has been rescued by having a telescopic rod as a back up.

When your favourite graphite rod breaks unexpectedly on the water or in the middle of the wilderness, a portable back-up 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 the best telescopic fishing rod gives you.

Plus the one little known advantage of these rods is not having to derig. Unlike with a standard rod, you can keep a telescopic rod rigged with your lure or hook ready to case – a great time saver and another reason to have the best telescopic rod for you in your arsenal. Coupled with a great ultralight spinning reel, these rods can be beaten for versatility.

So to help you choose a trusty telescopic rod from the many competing products, we put together this buyers’ guide to the best telescopic fishing rods of 2020.

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.

best telescopic fishing rod
The best telescopic fishing rod can be a lifesaver on those quick trips or when gear breaks

However, it is very much horses for courses with these rods. While the Shimano suits someone that’s using the rod frequently almost instead of a conventional two or four piece 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 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.

Five of the best telescopic rods reviewed

We chose five quite different models for this review to make sure we have the best of what the category offers covered:

We’ve summarised the features of these best telescopic rods here

Kastking Blackhawk II Hurricane MK-806 MHSPT MakoEagle Claw Pack-It Telescopic Spinning RodShimano STC Spin, Travel Fishing Rod
Sougayilang Telescopic Fishing Rod
Length6.6’ to 8’7’ – 8’5.6’6.9′ – 8.9′5.9’ to 9.8’
Number of sectionsSixSixFive10 – 11Six
Collapsed length22’’ – 24’’20”13.7”12” – 16″16” – 26”
FeaturesToray Carbon Matrix blank and solid glass tip section Available in 14 lengths and actionsSix section
Fibreglass
Suitable for salt water use. Comes with a decent case.
Fibreglass rod
Ceramic guides
Compact design
Aluminium components
Four section design with eight guides. Comes with hard travel case.Carbon fibre/e-glass composite rod with stainless steel reel seat, one year warranty
Value$50$35$16$107-$150$22 to $32


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Our five best telescopic rods in more detail

The Kastking Blackhawk II is a favourite among serious anglers as the 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 comes in five sizes and is renowned for its toughness and ability to handle a decent sized fish. This is the first choice backup 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 as one of the best telescopic rods for saltwater anglers. The fibreglass blank and corrosion resistant guides provide good protection against the ocean’s forces and the pulling power of salt water fish.

What it lacks in versatility (it comes in one size only – 5’6’’) the Eagle Claw Pack-It more than makes up for it in quality. Fibreglass may be heavier than graphite, but it is far tougher and weight is not a key issue for a rod used primarily for emergencies or short sesssions. For the price of a few cups of coffee you get a high-quality, American designed rod that performs brilliantly for what it is and comes with a one-year warranty. For a genuine travel/back-up rod for freshwater fishing, this wins hands down. 

The Shimano STC (short for Shimano Travel Concept) is unquestionably the best quality of the rods here. A graphite blank, quality stainless stell guides from a company with a proven heritage in making fine 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 it terms of the feel, many anglers think it is hard to tell they are casting with a telescopic rod. The clear first choice for people who are going to fish with this rod a lot.

Why choose a telescopic rod over a standard rod

Check out this great video for an explanation of the benefits of using the best telescopic rod you can find.

Size

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 rods can’t compete with this.

Convenience

Having a 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 set up 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 rods certainly maximise your effective fishing time.

Cost

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!

Durability

The majority of these rods are made from fibreglass, which is far tougher than carbon fibre/graphite and is truly hard to break.

Choosing the best telescopic 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 model that’s at least seven foot. For finesse style fishing in the freshwater, look at rods that are shorter than this.

Material

Carbon fibre vs fibreglass? It really comes down to feel/action vs toughness. Carbon fibre rods offer better performance, but are more brittle. Fibreglass rods are tough as nails, but won’t cast as far and won’t offer then same “feel”.

Quality

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 a reel seats than aluminium.

Summary

With one of these great options you’ll be getting the best telescopic rod for your needs, whatever the type of fishing you prefer, at a low to moderate cost. Choose one of these are you travel rod or backup rod and you’ll be on the way to maximising your fishing opportunities and catching more fish.

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