Best Telescoping Fishing Rods

Updated October 2019
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

60 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
190 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Buying guide for best telescoping fishing rods

Last Updated October 2019

While lures, hooks, bobbers and other fishing gear can fit securely in a compact tackle box, the same cannot be said for traditional fishing rods. Transporting an 11-foot fly fishing rod or a 15-foot surf fishing rod is always a challenge. One solution to this all-too-common angling challenge is a collapsible piece of gear known as a telescoping fishing rod, which uses fitted segments (called blanks) instead of one continuous piece of bamboo, fiberglass, carbon fiber, or graphite.

The main advantage of a telescoping fishing rod is portability. Many fishermen prefer to carry several fishing rods to match the size of their target fish. But carrying a few traditional fishing rods is not practical, so many anglers bring telescoping fishing rods as spares or secondary lines. Telescoping rods are also popular because you can hike to a fishing spot without worrying about damaging an expensive high-action fishing rod.

Telescoping fishing rods were introduced as children’s fishing gear – essentially toy plastic versions. As their popularity grew, several manufacturers began producing higher end models using the same quality materials as traditional fishing rods. Don’t miss another opportunity to land the next big one – keep reading for advice on this product!

Telescoping fishing rods can be used for many styles of fishing, including fly fishing, surf casting and lure spinning.

Key considerations

Power

Just like traditional one-piece fishing rods, telescoping rods are rated according to overall power (or “weight”). This is the estimated strength of the rod during use, and is largely determined by the first blank past the reel seat. This rating may be listed in tonnage, or it may be listed along a scale from “ultra-light” to “heavy”. Anglers who plan on fishing for smaller fish from lakes or streams generally need a telescoping rod with less power than those who plan on beach casting or deep saltwater fishing.

Action

Another important consideration along with power is the fishing rod’s action, sometimes called its flex rate. A rod’s action is the speed at which it returns to its original position after a fish has been hooked. Telescoping fishing rods in general have slow to moderate action, especially when compared to a “fast action” traditional carbon fiber pole. Casual anglers may not notice a difference between a slow, moderate and fast-action fishing rod, but the speed of the rod can determine how quickly a hook can be set after a strong bite.

Portability

The main advantage a telescoping fishing rod has over traditional one-piece models is portability, so it is important to consider the length of the rod when collapsed. The best telescoping rods will collapse down to a length of one or two feet, making them easy to store and transport.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some telescoping fishing rods for surf casting can extend 12 feet or more.

Features

Parts of a telescoping fishing rod

  • Blanks: Each segment of a telescoping fishing rod is known as a blank. The total number of blanks can vary from model to model. As each segment of the pole is extended, the tapered blanks form a tight bond with each other. There is usually no locking mechanism to hold the blanks in position, just friction.

  • Handle: The handle of a telescoping rod should be made from a lightweight material such as cork or EVA foam. Some handles also serve as storage for small gear such as sinkers, hooks and lures. The handle should be long enough for adult users to hold the rod securely while working the reel.

  • Line guides: Line guides are the eyelets attached along the length of the rod and through which the fishing line runs. These guides are usually made of rust-resistant metal that has been machined for smoothness. In addition to the smooth metal eyelets, many manufacturers also include special inserts made from ceramic or stainless steel to reduce even more friction on the line. There should be at least one line guide per blank.

  • Reel seat: The reel seat holds various types of fishing reels securely to the fishing rod. It is often made of a corrosion-resistant metal such as stainless steel or aluminum. Unfortunately, there is no standard size for a reel seat, so certain reels may not fit every model of telescoping rod.

Construction materials

The first telescoping fishing rods were marketed as children’s toys, not high-quality fishing gear. They were usually constructed from plastic and cheap pot metal and paired with a very basic reel. Very few survived the wear and tear of actual fishing trips.

Modern telescoping reels, however, are constructed from the same materials used to produce traditional fishing rods. Some models use the same material throughout, while others combine two or more ingredients to improve performance. The most common materials used in the construction of today’s telescoping rods are:

  • Graphite: Graphite is a form of carbon that is used in many high-end traditional sport fishing rods. It is extremely lightweight, but very strong and flexible. Traditional rods made with graphite are typically rated extra light in power and fast in action. However, it is not easy to find telescoping rods made entirely out of graphite.

  • Carbon fiber: Carbon fiber is another form of carbon that manufacturers use much more commonly to produce telescoping fishing rods. It is not quite as lightweight as graphite, but does have the same inherent tensile strength and flexibility. The action is often rated as moderate to fast, and the power is suitable for catching small to medium sized fish. It is also resistant to saltwater and is rust-proof.

  • Fiberglass: Fiberglass has been used to make traditional fishing rods for decades, primarily because it is fairly lightweight, flexible and resistant to corrosion. However, it is mostly used on entry-level to mid-range telescoping rods because of its slow action and heavy weight. Some manufacturers blend carbon fiber and fiberglass to create a lightweight rod with enhanced stability.

  • Stainless steel: Certain parts of a telescoping fishing rod benefit from the use of stainless steel, especially the line guides and reel seat. Stainless steel is not a popular component of the blanks themselves, since it is not inherently flexible.

Telescoping fishing rods are also known as collapsible or folding rods.

Staff
BestReviews

Telescoping fishing rod prices

Although many entry-level and mid-range telescoping fishing rods are often paired with a basic reel in a set, we recommend purchasing a telescopic rod by itself and adding a better quality reel that fits securely in the reel seat. Here’s what to expect at different price points:

Inexpensive: Entry-level telescoping fishing rods under $25 are often constructed from aluminum or fiberglass, although some models may also contain carbon fiber. The extended length can be limited to around 5-6 feet, which would put some limitations on the size of the target fish and the type of fishing. This is a good place to start for younger anglers, however.

Mid-range: For most amateur fishermen, $25 to $75 is the best price range for traditional or telescopic fishing rods. Fiberglass is still a common component, but there will be hybrids with carbon fiber on shelves. The blanks should have stainless steel guides, along with ceramic or smooth metal inserts. The extended length and action rating should be enough to pursue all types of fishing, from the shoreline to the beach to deep saltwater excursions.

Expensive: Carbon fiber or graphite are the preferred materials for higher-end rods costing $75 and above, although shoppers may have some difficulty finding an all-graphite model on store shelves. Major fishing gear manufacturers are still a little reluctant to enter the telescoping fishing rod market, primarily because of the action and power limitations segmented poles inherently possess. Many telescoping rods at this price point are designed for deep sea excursions, not casual freshwater fishing trips.

EXPERT TIP

Many professional anglers keep a telescoping fishing rod on hand as an emergency spare.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Always collapse a telescoping fishing rod before storage. The individual blanks can be easily damaged if left in their extended positions.

  • Most telescoping rods use friction to hold each segment in place. Avoid applying spray lubricants or oils to prevent an accidental collapse.

  • Consider the size of the target fish when selecting a telescoping rod. A lighter rod can snap under the weight of a heavier fish.

  • The length of the pole can affect the distance and accuracy of a cast. Adjust the telescoping rod up or down to find the ideal length.

Other products we considered

While compiling our shortlist of high quality telescoping fishing rods, our review team also found other models consumers may find interesting. The TROUTBOY Black Warrior 24 Ton Carbon Fiber Ultra Light Pole, for example, offers tremendous versatility and an ultra-light profile. It can be used for freshwater or saltwater fishing and features stainless steel guides and hybrid carbon fiber/fiberglass construction.

In terms of portability, it would be hard to beat the MAXIMUMCATCH Tenkara Rod Telescoping Carbon Fly Fishing Pole for fly fishing. This inexpensive carbon fiber rod collapses to just 21 inches, but can still handle the action of a large trout on the line. It has a total of nine sections, which makes it extremely versatile.

Ideal for bass fishing, the Burning Shark 24-Ton Ultra Lightweight Carbon Fiber Telescopic Fishing Rod, offers an extended hollow handle. This extension allows anglers of different skill levels to hold the rod securely during use. We also like the anodized aluminum reel seat for saltwater fishing.

Telescoping fishing rods were originally marketed as toys for children.

FAQ

Q. I like to invest in high-end fishing equipment. Why can’t I find a telescoping fishing rod produced by a major name brand in stores?
A.
The speed of telescoping fishing rods is generally rated as slow to moderate. Many top manufacturers prefer to specialize in one-piece rods with faster performance and more stability than a typical telescoping fishing rod provides.

Q. Do I need to perform any special maintenance on a telescoping fishing rod after a day on the water?
A.
Many experts suggest rinsing the entire rod with clean water before collapsing and storing it. This will remove any salt residue, sand, or dirt  that may remain between the individual blanks.

Q. I see some telescoping rod and reel sets on sale at the local sporting goods store. Is this a good investment?
A.
An inexpensive telescoping rod and reel set may be acceptable for beginning anglers who aren’t ready to invest in high performance fishing gear, but quite often the reel is of inferior quality. We recommend purchasing a separate collapsible rod and investing in a higher quality reel that fits the reel seat comfortably.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Michael
    Michael
    Writer
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey