Boat Fishing Rod Buying Guide

Mark Griffiths Mark Griffiths

Fishing is fast becoming one of the UK’s favourite participation sports, and it’s an activity children and adults of all ages can enjoy. Whether one fishes on the move or having weighed anchor, in the sea or on fresh water, all kinds of boats are fantastic places from which to fish, and it’s possible to catch some powerful specimens while on board.

Boat Fishing Rod Buying Guide

Sailing boats can sometimes be trickier vessels from which to catch fish than motorised ones, since there tend to be more things in the way on which a fishing line can catch itself, but it’s possible to go angling from any sort of boat and have a fun and rewarding experience.

When choosing boat fishing rods, most anglers will want to have safety and efficiency and ease of transport as their top priorities.

As with any other kind of fishing, it’s important to have the right boat fishing rods, specifically designed for the type of angling being undertaken, since most rods are constructed for particular applications, with limited possibilities for crossover. The components, elements and even the way the rod is laid out make it hard for the model to perform very well outside the range for which it is intended.

Those who do different types of fishing on different occasions, such as freshwater and offshore, deeper as well as shallow water, may want to consider investing in different rods accordingly. An online auction website like eBay or Amazon will have a good range of models to make the various purchases easier.

Anglers trolling or fishing deeper under the surface will be looking for a robust, well-built rod, while for those who enjoy top water angling, a lighter model containing a greater amount of graphite may be more appropriate.

Anglers need to think about whether they are fishing just on occasional weekends, or their sights are set on becoming tournament pros. How often one finds oneself on the water should be a key factor in the final decision about rod purchase: and most people don’t want to spend as much on their first rod as a seasoned angler who has mastered their preferred techniques. The latter will want to invest in a quality model with greater sensitivity that can be used for longer.

Even the type of fish being sought needs to be taken into consideration. While bigger species should be caught on larger reels, but for those who are after smaller fish, other factors become important, including:

  • Sensitivity
  • Line weight
  • Visibility of the line

Boat Rod Materials

Rods for fishing from boats have developed extensively in the last decade or so, and are now built from the latest materials including carbon fibre. While some are still made from fibre glass, graphite or a mixture of both, older materials like split cane are much rarer these days – though it is still possible to find some of these versions.

Fibreglass Rods

While both graphite and fibreglass (which has been used in fishing rods for longer) make for good rods, the former is usually more expensive. However, a high quality rod made from fibreglass generally costs significantly more than a low-cost version made from graphite. At the same time, fibreglass is more durable and heavier as a material, making it an excellent choice for straightforward, no-frills angling. eBay has new and vintage fibreglass rods on offer.

Graphite Rods

Graphite is a lighter material, offering a good level of sensitivity. It’s a particularly effective material when it comes to casting on and off. Anglers need to take more care of graphite rods to make this equipment last as long as possible, since these rods tend to be more delicate than their composite and fibreglass counterparts.

Graphite Composite Rods

Many anglers find that graphite composite rods offer the best of both worlds, providing a slightly reduced weight but with all the strength which is achievable with fibreglass. There’s also greater tip sensitivity and improved casting performance compared to equipment made exclusively from fibreglass. Another advantage is that they typically cost less than rods made entirely from graphite.

Boat Rod Ratings

It’s a common misconception that, say, an 80lb rod means that that refers to the greatest weight of fish it can take. In fact, it refers to the weight that would bend the rod’s tip through a 90⁰ angle.

Many ratings are expressed as a range, so, for example, 50-80lb.

Rod Weights

The weight of rod chosen will depend on the kind of species of fish being targeted.

For example, a 20-30lb fishing line will be ideal for fish which fall within that weight range. A 30-50lb rod would be too heavy for catching the lighter species, while a 12-15 pounder would not be suitable for heavier species.

Anglers who use line weights falling outside the range of those for which the rod is intended run the risk of breaking the line, or even the whole rod.

Rod Lengths

Bear in mind that the longer the rod, the longer the cast.

In terms of length, most people will want to choose something between 6ft and 8ft long, with six and a half feet being typical. However, for those who are fishing, say from a kayak, the optimum length will probably be no more than 3ft.

Choice of Reel

Boat fishing reels are one of the most important aspects of choosing a boat fishing rod. Go for lighter reels if the angler is holding the rod all the time, but weight is less critical if one is using rests and putting the rod down. A wide choice of reels is available on online stores.

Multiplier Reels

Multiplier reels are mounted on top and require roller guides to hold the line away from the rod. They get their name from the fact that a single turn of the handle multiplies the number of spool rotations. With some modern models, the ratio of this is as high as 6 to 1.

While some novice anglers can use a middle size model, the size of reel used depends on the kind of fishing being done. Larger multipliers are intended for light boat fishing.

Centre Pin Reels

Also known as fixed spool rods, centre pin reels are mounted beneath the rod with simple ring types. Thanks to modern engineering, these now last an incredibly long time. When choosing a centre pin on Internet, consider:

  • Weight
  • Whether the spool is wide or narrow
  • The diameter of the drum
  • The kind of drag system it has
  • Whether there is a line guard

Single or Multi-Sectional?

For those lucky enough to own their own boat or who fish near where they live, a single piece rod typically provides the most sensitive and hard wearing choice, outperforming many of the multi-sectional varieties.

However, for people who need to travel to do their fishing, collapsible or multi-sectional rods may offer greater convenience. And, increasingly, technology for these rods is improving, making the quality nearly the same as one-piece rods.

Rod Action

This is the extent to which a particular rod bends when there’s something on the end of the line, or when the angler is casting. Bends vary from just the tip to over the whole of the last half of the rod. The faster the action, the greater the force of the throw and the longer the cast.

Rod Power

Rod action on boat fishing rods should not be confused with rod power, which refers to the sizes of line and lure weight a rod is able to handle. Interestingly, there is no industry-wide standard measurement of power from the various manufacturers. Checking line and lure ratings is the best way of assessing a rod’s “power”.

Buying a Boat Roads online

eBay and Amazon has an extremely wide range of new and used boat fishing rods, so that shopping for the right rod to suit your needs quickly becomes the pleasure it should be. Equally, because of the site’s buyer protection, shopping this way is perfectly safe, so you have peace of mind as well as the convenience of browsing thousands of models at your leisure, at a time and in a place to suit you.

Using keywords while shopping will help you to find exactly what you are looking for more easily. Simply type the words related to your particular item in the search box.


Choosing the right rod is integral to progression in the angling field and you find one to suit your needs. The rod that’s absolutely right for you will mean you can concentrate on the particular task in hand, and will assist you in achieving your angling aims.

After all, it goes without saying that a rod is the fisherman’s most essential tool. Without the right one, you are unlikely to become the angler you want to be, or realise your full potential.

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