Telescopic fishing rods are a great way to always be ready to fish. They are compact, light, and easy to store. Keeping one in your truck or car is always a plus for when you pass some fishy water. A good telescopic rod should be hard to differentiate from a traditional fishing rod. These models feature modulus carbon blanks, premium guides, and comfortable reel seats that are just like their one-piece cousins. However, there are plenty of gimmicks out there so finding the best for you can be tricky. The models I tested are from reputable brands, have quality components, and fish like conventional rods. Here are some of the best telescopic fishing rods for all types of angling.
Things to Consider Before Buying
You should approach buying a telescopic fishing rod just as you would a normal rod. Start by thinking about what species you want to target and how you plan to fish for them. Then look for rods with quality components such as carbon fiber blanks, strong guides, and a comfortable handle. This way you will have a rod that’s always ready to go and enjoyable to fish with.
The rod you purchase must work well for your style of fishing. Telescopic rods fish just like their one-piece counterparts so make sure the length and action match what you would typically use. For bass anglers who prefer baitcasting, there are several telescopic casting rods available as well. If you find yourself living near the ocean, a saltwater or surf casting telescopic rod might be a better choice. Having a rod ready to go for the species you will encounter most will set you up for success.
The best rods are made out of high modulus carbon fiber blanks just like traditional rods. Carbon fiber blanks are sensitive and durable which are especially important for detecting strikes and setting the hook with telescopic rods. Another good indicator of a durable rod is premium guides such as fuji, these guides won’t bend and break especially if you’re storing the rod in a pack with other things.
There are two things to consider when looking at the size of a telescopic rod, how long is the rod folded down and how long is it folded out? If you prefer backpack fishing trips then a rod that folds down to less than a foot is important, however, if the rod is going to sit in your truck this may not be as much of an issue. Folded-out length is more important for fishing, while there are plenty of options, I prefer a seven-foot rod. This gives me a good middle ground for casting distance and maneuverability while still collapsing to a reasonable size. Make sure to look carefully at the rod size to match your style of fishing best.
- Length: 7 ft
- Rod Type: Baitcasting
- Power: Medium Heavy or Medium
Why it Made the Cut?
A well-built and sensitive casting rod for bass anglers to take on the go. It is offered in two different powers with a good grip and fuji guides.
- Offered in two different rod powers
- Fuji Guides
- Comfortable Grip
- Only offered in casting rods
In the telescopic rod market, there is almost no option for anglers who prefer casting rods. Luckily Bass Pro Shops changed that with the Aventur1 Telescopic rod. Built like a regular one-piece rod, it is made of RT2 graphite with fuji guides. It extends to seven feet which is perfect for an all-around bass rod, and is offered in the two most used powers, medium-heavy and medium. Out on the water, it was sensitive enough to detect subtle bites on a Texas rig while still having enough power to set a hook through the rubber worm and into a solid bass. Come time to travel, it folds down to just over two feet and can fit in most suitcases or strapped to the side of a pack. The rod comes with a cover that protects the guides from bending to ensure it doesn’t get damaged.
Best for Spinning
Why it Made the Cut?
A durable and versatile spinning rod that is offered in various lengths and powers for any species.
- Guides can bend if you’re not careful
While Kastking is a relatively new company in the fishing world, they have certainly made an impact by offering quality rods at an affordable price. The Blackhawk II Telescopic Rod is no exception and is one of the most versatile spinning rods on the market. Offered in 14 different configurations including several inshore models, there’s a rod for the most technical kinds of fishing. The rod blank is exceptionally unique for telescopic rods with a graphite construction and a fiberglass rod tip. Fiberglass rods are known for their durability, and by incorporating them into the tip, Kastking strengthens the area most prone to breaking. This forgiving tip section also helps protect light lines from breaking when a fish makes a last-minute run. My preferred model is the seven-foot medium action spinning rod as I can fish for ninety percent of freshwater fish that I will come across.
Why it Made the Cut?
An affordable rod and reel combo that folds down exceptionally small for traveling.
- Ceramic insert guides
- Folds down small
- CNC reel
This option from Magreel is a great rod to always have in the truck. The rod varies in length, with some unconventional sizes ranging from 5.9 to 8.9 feet. The 5.9-foot rod is a great option for fishing small streams where casting is tight. For larger fish, including light inshore fishing, the 7.8-foot and 8.9-foot rods are great options. These can cast lures well and are great if you find yourself wading around bays or off the beach. Every rod comes with ceramic insert guides to keep your line from fraying, especially if you fish braid. It comes with a CNC reel with a decent drag system for small- to medium-sized fish. The only downside is it does not come pre-spooled, but a basic monofilament line between 8lb and 15lb test works great depending on the size of fish you are chasing.
Best for Backpacker
Why it Made the Cut?
The best starter kit for Tenkara fishing, this travel rod is great for small stream trout on a backpacking adventure.
- Easy to Use
- Comes with everything to get started
Tenkara fishing has been around for hundreds of years, but only recently has it gained popularity in the states. This style of fishing is essentially fly fishing without the reel and is great for minimalist anglers. The Hane kit comes with a 10-foot, 10-inch rod, leader, and flies to get fishing immediately. While longer than traditional fly rods, the added length is important for dropping flies in tough-to-reach places. It is less of a casting technique and more of a flicking technique to get your fly where you want it. For anglers that have never fly fished before, this is a great way to learn as there is no reel, so you don’t need to worry about managing extra line. The kit comes with several tenkara-style wet flies, but any flies will work depending on water conditions. Best of all, it folds down to 15 inches, so it will fit in just about any backpacking pack.
- Length: 6 foot
- Rod Type: Spincast
- Power: Medium
Why it Made the Cut?
The Zebco 33 Spincast telescopic rods are affordable and easy to use for beginner anglers.
- Easy to cast
- Fiberglass construction
- Anitreverse reel
Many anglers started with a Zebco spincast rod and reel, and the telescopic version is a great way for new anglers to always have a rod with them. Spincast reels work off a simple push button that is easy to figure out for beginners. The reel also has an anti-reverse feature to prevent it from slipping and losing fish on the hook sets. It is available in 5- or 6-foot options. For younger anglers, the 5-foot combo is a good size to fish comfortably. It collapses down to just over 22 inches and is easily stored in a backpack or car for when you want to fish.
How I Made My Picks
As a traveling angler, I find myself constantly exploring new states filled with new species. I’ve learned my lesson over the years and now always travel with a rod. On a recent trip to Florida, I brought a telescopic rod, and thanks to it, I was able to sneak out and catch several new species including a Peacock Bass. When I buy a telescopic rod, I look for one that feels as close to my regular rods as possible. This makes transitioning between the two much easier and I have the confidence to fight fish like I normally do. This includes rod length, action, and components to make a well-balanced and durable rod. Here are the criteria I used to evaluate the rods tested:
- Durability: How strong is the rod and will it hold up to larger fish?
- Length: What lengths are offered and how can they be used?
- Value: Is the rod worth the price?
- Accessories: Does it come as a kit and if so, what accessories come with it?
- User Friendly: Is it easy to use, especially for beginner anglers?
Q: How much does a good telescopic rod cost?
Most telescopic rods that are worth your money will run between $50 and $100 but it depends on the kind of fishing you plan on doing. Surf rods may run upwards of $150 to be able to cast heavier lures long distances. Other more technique-specific rods such as tenkara rods will run between $150 and $200.
Q: Are telescopic fishing rods any good?
In recent years telescopic rods have continued to get better to the point they are today. These new rods are designed with high modulus carbon, premium guides, and good reel seats. That being said there are still a lot of companies offering mediocre telescopic rods. Look for telescopic rods from the big-name companies and you’ll be much happier with your purchase.
Q: How do you make a fishing pole telescopic?
To make a telescopic rod, sections of graphite are cut so that they can be stacked over each other to slide out for a full-length rod. Once the sections are cut and assembled the rest of the rod building process is similar to standard rods. The reel seat and handle are glued in place and all the guides are wrapped and epoxied on.
Q: How do you fish with a telescopic rod?
Telescopic rods fish just like traditional rods but with the convenience of folding down for travel. Match the telescoping rod in length and action to a standard rod and it will throw the same weight lures. Good quality telescopic rods will also fight fish just as a regular rod does.
Telescopic rods have made major improvements and are a great option for anglers looking for compact rods ready at a moment’s notice. The best rods will feel just like a one-piece rod and feature quality graphite, strong guides, and a comfortable reel seat. Look for reputable companies that have made rods for years and the trickle-down technology will show up in the telescopic rods. Matching the rod action and length to something you already helps keep muscle memory the same so when it’s time to fish there is no adjustment period. I always have one in my truck because you can never be too safe when it comes time to find a new fishing spot.
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