Having a rod that can withstand tremendous stress is important when you have a fish on the line. whether you have a larger fish on the line or a small one you want to be sure that your rod is up to the task.
The process of how a rod is created is just as important, if not more important than the materials used to create them. Without the proper process or techniques when building a rod, it could result in a shorter rod life, breaking under stress, and simply an unusable rod.
Though there are many different processes for every type of material and application. The first step in inspecting a rod is simply looking for imperfections and faults that you could detect with the naked eye.
Types of Materials Used
Earlier fishing rods were made from all sorts of materials, bamboo is one of the most commonly used. In this day and age, most rods are made of fiberglass or carbon fiber. Thought carbon fiber is lighter and stronger than fiberglass in most situations, most fisherman will resort to using fiberglass build rods due to the cost and it's proven performance. Other materials like other plastics, wood, and even pieces of metal are incorporated into a fiberglass rod design to improve flexibility or rigidity. Rod types exist to leverage the design and construction, in order to be optimal for certain fish.
Fiberglass is formed when a mixture is melted into a liquid in order to create molten glass. The molten glass is then pushed out from a device that uses many small holes(AKA spinnerets). Once the molten glass flows through the small holes, it cools into fibers which are then spun into threads. These threads and the patterns are the keys to having a rod that is stiff or more flexible.
Carbon fiber is created based on different types of synthetic fibers. The fibers are long chains of molecules that make up the synthetic fibers. The fibers are heated, in order to filter out atoms except for carbon atoms. This results in creating sheets of carbon which can be used to be woven into sheets. These sheets are dipped in a liquid plastic resin that helps protect and also provide some support. Carbon fiber is generally a more expensive material to use since the process is long and requires advanced equipment.
Though using bamboo is pretty much obsolete among modern fisherman, it is important to understand why bamboo was such a great plant to use for fishing. Bamboo was used in the early days of fishing due to the lightweight and strength properties of the plant. The many fibers that make up the plant give the rod strength. You can see this building trend when using carbon fiber and fiberglass.
Benefits of Materials
Though the way these materials below are applied make a significant difference when it comes to quality and stiffness, we will address some general benefits of each type.
Fiberglass as a material can be judged based on the purity of the threads and the process when creating the fiberglass. As a result of advancements in fiberglass production, this material is usually cheaper and consistently higher in quality.
When it comes to carbon fiber, there are two parts of the material that is crucial to the material's effectiveness.
In order to create the sheets of carbon fiber, the synthetic fibers must be woven tightly together to create a robust material. The process of how the threads are woven to create strategic patterns for strength are important.
The second part of layering the carbon fiber layers is just as important as layering the synthetic fibers. After the sheets are created, they must be layered and fused together using resin. If the layering is done poorly the sheets may not hold as they should, which could create fractures or breaks.
Bamboo comes with many natural properties that make them great for being used for fishing rods. Bamboo would arguably the cheapest since the plant could be chopped down for free(where legal). The bamboo's strength comes from the numerous fibers that run along the entirety of the plant. These fibers depend on one another for strength and flexibility.
Which Rod Type is Right for me?
I think it goes without saying but it really does depend on what type of fish you are going after. Generally the common to avid fisherman will most likely purchase a fiberglass rod. Two factors you want to heavily consider when purchasing a rod is the design and the thickness. You do not want to immediately go for the strongest and thickest rod. Do your due diligence and research the fish you are trying to catch and build your set up in accordance with the fish and where you plan on fishing.