Rods and Reels

April 19, 2015 by  
Filed under Fishing for Beginners

The perfect fishing outfit will be chosen for a certain style of fishing while retaining some versatility. The rod will be neither too heavy nor light for the line and vice versa, and the reel and terminal tackle will complement both. Overall a good outfit will feel comfortable and balanced in the hand. Your angling abilities should be enhanced by the gear you choose, not diminished.

baitcasterA wide variety of fishing styles has created a staggering array of equipment, each designed for a particular purpose. Before you buy, you will need to work out your fishing preferences. It is best to know something about all the components of a fishing outfit and then find the particular combinations to suit your needs.


There are hundreds of different types of fishing rods available. Years ago, multi-purpose roads were common; today, rods are made of space-age materials and usually designed for specific uses. When selecting a rod, its length, action and power should be considered.

Rods can be broadly classified as light, medium and heavy, but within these categories there is also a variety of types usually made for particular reels.

Light rods

Light rods are the most common type, as they are generally used in the popular pursuits of freshwater and estuary angling. Among the light rods are single-handed spinning rods, single-handed plugs and fly rods. They should have a whippy tip that will easily cast lightweight lures and sinkers, and should have a solid feel at the base.

Generally, the shortest rods are for bait caster reels, which are designed for accurate lure or light baitcasting. These rods usually have a pistol grip for controlled casting. Single-handed light rods are used to cast light baits and lures.

Medium rods

Medium rods include double-handed plugs, double-handed spinning rods and boat rods. A medium rod, measuring 2.5 metres to 3.3 meters, is very versatile and can be used for either heavier estuary and bay fishing, or for beach and rock work. It can give a longer cast when necessary, but retain enough sensitivity for accuracy. It should have a tip responsive enough to cast a bit or lure as little as 50g in weight. These rods are often used with threadlike and side cast reels.

Heavy rods

Rock and surf thread lines, overhead and side cast thread lines, game rods and jig rods are examples of heavy rods. A heavy, long outfit is used for beach, rock and jetty casting. Measuring between 2.8 metres and 3.8 metres, it needs a good weight in the lower half and a tip rigid enough to throw a rig weighing up to 100g, with a line of to 20-kg breaking strain. They are used mainly with side cast and overhead reels.


Shimano IX1000R IX Rear Drag  Spin Reel

Shimano IX1000R IX Rear Drag Spin Reel

Just as there is no such thing as an all-purpose rod, there is no all-purpose reel. Nobody would put a huge reel on a light rod and vice versa; matching a rod and reel is very important. Your selection has to be based on your perceived needs and personal preferences. This is an important choice and vice from a reputable retailer or experienced angler should be considered. The rod, when placed on one hand just ahead of the reel, should be at the point of balance, neither tip-heavy nor butt-heavy.


These reels are more accurately described as fixed-spool reels and are mounted underneath the rod. They are versatile and easy to use, and excellent for general fishing. Theadlines suit fishing with lure or bait, and can handle most freshwater, estuary and some beach and rock fishing. They work bet with an 8-kg breaking strength line or less.


So called because they are mounted on top of, or “over”, the rod, these come in a range of sizes from small bait casters, through medium-sized surf or jig reels, to heavy-duty trolling reels.


The sidecast reel is an Australian innovation made by the Brisbane-Based Alvey reel company. Sidecasts are popular with beach and rock anglers, and also many boat anglers. The reel has some advantages over both threadlines and overheads. To cast, the spool is rotated 90 degress, allowing the line to flow off the reel almost unimpeded. Unlike an overhead, there is no spool inertia to overcome, so light casting weights can be easily flicked out. Their main advantage is that unweighted baits, which so often attract big fish, can be fished on line that is heavy enough to keep hooked whoppers under control.


Sometimes called “pushbutton” or “spincast” reels, these small reels sit on top of the rod like a baitcaster, have a fixed spool like a threadline, but differ in that the spool is enclosed behind a front cover, which has a hole in the middle though which the line cast pass.


The simplest system of all is the handline or handcaster. Landlines can be as simple as line on a cylinder of cork, and these are commonly available in tackle shops. To cast, you can strip a couple of metres of line from the lip and throw your tackle out, holding the lipped side of the ring towards the casting area. The line will play out over the lip and any slack can easily be wound back.

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