Lightweight and well balanced. Comes with a cap to protect the guides, as well as a pouch for storage. Cap on bottom unscrews for storage. Great look and durable construction. Foam grip feels good in the hand. Available in several sizes.
Some reports of quality issues with both the pole breaking and the guides becoming unglued.
Fiberglass construction is very rugged. Ceramic guides. Great price. Lightweight design makes it extremely portable. Casts well.
Some buyers claim that this pole isn't as durable as other models. The segments can stick in the extended position when you try to retract them.
Available in a variety of sizes, as well as combo deals. Comes with a carrying case and a plastic tip for guide protection. Easy to mount a reel onto it. Comfortable to hold.
Pole can be a little stiff, which can affect casting distance.
Comes in a variety of sizes. Great look, and very lightweight. Holds up to saltwater well (no corrosion). Comes with an attached protective end cap. Telescoping works smoothly. Tough and durable.
Handle could be a little longer for better control and balance. Some reports of problems with the guides breaking.
Available in a 7- or 8-foot size. Ships with a protective cap and a clear tube to store it in. Comfortable to use, and casts well. A strong pole that is designed for larger saltwater fish.
Pole is a little on the heavier side. Segments can get jammed open, creating problems when you try to retract the pole.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.