If you’ve been researching fishing rods, a common question that crops up is the difference between fiberglass and carbon (also known as graphite) rods when used with a spinning reel. Each material has its benefits and drawbacks in different situations, so here’s our thoughts on decoding which is the best material for your type of fishing.
How's the Action
When we talk about the action of a rod, we’re referring to how flexible it is. The slower the action, the more bendable the rod is. You can look at this flexibility as your rod being able to absorb the shock from any motion you’re getting under the surface.
Fiberglass rods are notorious for having light or medium action. Bites tend to be more aggressive on larger fish, and flex is key when reeling in a heavier, more active fish. The fight of these bigger fish may damage a firmer rod if it doesn’t have enough flexibility.
Graphite based rods are firmer and have less give than their fiberglass counterparts. They’re known for having fast or extra fast action. They have less flexibility, with most of it found exclusively in the tip. Because of its rigidness, graphite is a great choice when fishing for smaller, lightweight fish.
Where are you Dropping Your Line?
If you’re fishing from a pier or a boat that allows for stable footing, you may enjoy a more flexible fiberglass rod. These allow you to more slowly and subtly respond to bites and nudges through your ability to maneuver the pole. Because of the “whippy” nature of this type of fishing, you’ll also enjoy the luxury of a longer stock that allows for better leverage during movement. Finally, a more flexible, fiberglass rod assists with longer casting.
If you find yourself in a smaller boat or kayak, a firmer, graphite rod is preferable, so you can briskly respond to action at the end of your hook. Overall, graphite rods are regarded as more sensitive, so you are more able to detect movement against all the stimulation and turbulence you can receive in smaller, more unstable watercraft. In terms of fishing from smaller crafts, like a kayak, you’ll also want to look for a shorter stock to be held closer to the body, which reduces the need for a longer or more flexible rod.
Overall Thoughts on Fiberglass vs. Graphite
When determining which material is best, it really boils down to its intended use. For lighter game, you’ll want a firmer rod like a graphite, while larger fish call for a more forgiving material like fiberglass.
You can also look at durability, as graphite is a more rigid material overall, and fiberglass, while not indestructible, tends to be a more durable material for less experienced fishermen.
We suggest really digging into your goals on the water and investing in the right tools for the job. If you’re still torn, it’s also helpful to know that just as our preferences and skills evolve, so does our collection of rods, so grab what gets you on the water. Tight lines, friend.