If you were to ask, “What are fishing rods made of?” in the past, the answer would typically be bamboo before transitioning into steel.
Although these materials are highly corrosion-resistant and fantastic for their rigidity in water, fishing rods have surely come a long way from their ancestral counterparts.
Today, you will find numerous types of materials used, from fiberglass to composite.
Below, we’ll explore the different modern fishing rods and what they’re made of to help you find the perfect setup.
Whether you need a lightweight rod for novice anglers or something designed specifically for larger fish, there is something for everyone on this list.
What Are Fishing Rods Made Of?
If you want to make a DIY fishing pole, you can make it out of any material with high tensile strength.
That said, for top-performing fishing rods for novice and experienced anglers, most are made from one (or two) of six top materials.
Let’s jump into the most popular fishing rod materials on the modern market:
Bamboo fishing rods aren’t as popular worldwide as they were centuries ago. However, they are commonly used by authentic anglers in many Asian cultures.
Bamboo is a unique material because it is naturally antimicrobial and water resistant, making it the perfect solution for water activities.
It is a fantastic fishing rod material that feels more organic in your hand when you’re out on the water.
That said, it is a highly sensitive and flexible material. It keeps you on your toes but won’t snap under a reasonable amount of weight.
Also, as the material is relatively easy to source, bamboo rods tend to be less expensive than others.
Even so, there are some downfalls to consider, as well.
Bamboo is a much heavier material, which can affect your fishing style compared to other fishing rods.
Plus, the material can dry out and become brittle without regular maintenance, so you will likely have to replace it annually.
Still, nothing quite matches the feelings of nostalgia when fishing with a bamboo pole. They are great for shallower waters and creeks.
- Has a unique nostalgia
- The material is flexible when wet
- Highly sensitive to fish bites
- It can get brittle during the offseason
- Heavier than other materials
A carbon fiber rod is an excellent option if you want a material with high tensile strength and extreme sensitivity to your fishing line.
It isn’t too sensitive to where you will ruin your catch accuracy over time.
Carbon fiber is one of the most popular materials for advanced and inexperienced anglers, as it helps to make it easier to detect fish bites as soon as they happen.
The material is also remarkably lightweight, making carbon fiber rods the perfect partner for travel, especially when paired with a light rod handle like cork handles.
Rod manufacturers love carbon fiber because it is inexpensive to work with but still offers durability to enhance the quality of their products.
Not only is it possible to create a 100% carbon fiber rod, but you can use as little as 30% of the material to help improve the durability of materials used in other top-quality rods.
While this material has immense benefits, there are also a couple of disadvantages to consider.
For example, carbon fiber can be more challenging to get used to than glass fiber, as it feels stiffer and is more brittle.
You will also find that the rods have a smaller diameter that contributes to their sensitivity, so they have a slight learning curve.
- Have solid hooksets for bass
- Have plenty of control
- Highly strong for bass
- Useful for experienced anglers
- Could be more delicate than expected
- Will snap if bent too much
Fiberglass fishing rods are one of the most popular options for all types of anglers because they often offer slower actions than with other materials.
Fiberglass is a far better alternative than carbon fiber if you are looking for medium to slow action rods.
Also, it is a highly durable blank material that offers flexibility without breaking the bank.
What we love the most about fiberglass fishing rods is that they can be customized to the angler’s needs, like many other medium action rods.
Fiberglass rod blanks can be divided, making them great for taking apart and putting back together if you travel for sport.
You can also choose extra-long varieties if you prefer a longer casting distance, with many rods measuring up to 10 meters long!
The tensile strength of fiberglass is something to write home about, especially compared to liquid plastic resin.
They are a fantastic solution for first-time anglers, as they handle large and small fish bites and work perfectly in small and mid-sized streams.
They are well-rounded, slower action rods you can use for hours on end to catch all kinds of fish.
- Highly durable material
- Less expensive for inexperienced anglers
- Lightweight with a reasonable casting distance
- Ideal to use for optimum drag
- Has less power than expected
- Accurate casting lessens at a distance
Composite fishing rods are often considered the best of both worlds, as they feature a flexible material that many other fishing rods don’t.
Composite materials are basically a blend of fiberglass and carbon graphite, the two most popular fishing rod materials today.
That said, composite rods are made of an advanced material, which is why they typically come with a higher price tag.
It’s worth noting that composite is often less flexible than fiberglass but more flexible than graphite.
As a middle-ground option, it is suitable for experienced and novice anglers because they have a much lower learning curve than graphite and fiberglass rods.
The versatile material is also phenomenal for all sorts of fishing environments, whether you’re heading out into the shallows or deep water.
The action of fishing rods made from composite materials will vary depending on the percentage of each material in the rod.
However, you will likely find that they are medium action, perfect for an even-keeled fishing experience.
- Versatile for beginner and professional anglers
- Flexible for distant casting
- Customizable speed and action
- Durable for heavy fish
- Less accurate casting distance than others
- Used in expensive fishing rods
Graphite rods are often seen as one of the more advanced options in the fishing industry, especially for those with little fishing experience.
Thanks to their lightweight design, these rods are more sensitive than others, allowing you to detect bites easily while improving catch percentages.
Additionally, graphite is lightweight, so you can cast farther and with far more accuracy, making them some of the most flexible fishing rods to find.
Graphite is a remarkable material that adapts to all fishing techniques and helps improve fishing performance.
Its tensile strength can help fight big fish, while sensitive graphite fishing rod blanks detect smaller fish bites effortlessly.
That said, its sensitivity also makes it easier to bend and break over time due to fractures.
If your graphite rod gets a sudden bite from a fighting fish, it can cause the graphite fishing rod blanks to splinter.
Unfortunately, this can destroy the integrity of the rod, especially if it has a low concentration of resin and fiber.
Also, these rods are slightly more expensive than others, which is good for professional fishing techniques but could be costly for mistake-prone beginners.
- Optimal precision for professional anglers
- High levels of rod power
- Graphite fiber is lightweight
- Highly sensitive, ultralight rod
- Graphite rod blanks are expensive
- Relatively brittle and rigid
Titanium isn’t a new material to the fishing industry, but it is undoubtedly one of the rarer options when looking for flexible fishing rods.
These blanks have set a new bar for top-quality fishing performance, especially if you are searching for excellence.
With a remarkable number of benefits, anglers will surely be impressed with their casting experience, casting outcome, and control over drag.
In fact, blank manufacturers that work primarily with titanium know it is better than a wide variety of other rod types.
Firstly, the material is exceptionally lightweight, making it comfortable to carry for hours, and perfect for a traveling angler.
It’s also remarkably simple for beginners to wield without suffering from inaccurate casting throughout the day.
Its energy transfer is the biggest feature that makes titanium unique compared to faster action and medium action rods.
It transfers energy more efficiently than any other material, giving you far more power when casting at a distance.
Not to mention, the manufacturing process creates some of the most beautifully designed pieces of fishing gear you’ll find.
- Lighter weight, advanced material
- Titanium fishing rod blanks are sensitive
- Powerful for commercial fishing practice
- Durable for experienced anglers
- It could be too reactive
- Conducts heat easily
Boron nanofiber is another fishing rod material to consider if you are looking for an alternative to fiberglass rods.
Based loosely on boron rods that were popular in the ‘80s, these innovative fishing tools are built using enhanced nanotechnology.
In most instances, the rods blend 20% to 30% boron fiber and 80% to 70% carbon fiber.
What makes boron nanofiber helpful is that it enhances the flexibility and toughness of your carbon fiber blanks.
It also offers much lower rod weights, making it easier to use your heavier fishing lures or carry your gear for shore fishing.
The unique design of boron nanofiber rods sets them apart, much like titanium. Everything from the tip to the grips features a luxurious, high-quality finish.
However, if you want to get your hands on a boron nanofiber fishing rod, it could be more complicated than you thought.
These ultra-light rods are exclusively owned by Ukyingda Fishing Tackle International Co., Ltd. and are yet to hit the mass market.
- Far less brittle than other ultra-light rods
- The perfect combination of carbon fiber and boron rod action
- More lightweight than expected
- More flexible than synthetic fiber
- Challenging to source
- Created by one manufacturer
Choose Your Dream Fishing Rod Today!
Now that you can answer, “What are fishing rods made of?” the next question is, which rod are you interested in choosing?
The numerous materials on the fishing market offer varying weights, action of fishing rods, tensile strength, sensitivity, and more.
Basically, the options are endless. You can choose from old-fashioned bamboo rods with artificial lures to more expensive fishing rod materials like nanofiber.