Travel rods combine convenience and readiness - Bassmaster (2023)

Travel rods combine convenience and readiness - Bassmaster (1)

Travel rods combine convenience and readiness - Bassmaster (2)

Written by

David A. Brown

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So often we find ourselves pondering the potential of unexpected waters we encounter en route to or amid some nonfishing-related activity. Other times, we pack for excursions that leave no room for transporting full-size fishing rods.

Whatever the limiting reality, nothing frustrates an angler like staring at fish you know you could catch if only you had that rod and reel. Bluegill clustering around a dock, largemouth bass patrolling shallow vegetation, trout feeding in slack-water pools behind stream boulders — the scenarios are many, but the solution is simple.

You need a travel combo. Baitcasters are fine if you’ve mastered the revolving spool design, but a spinning reel is the most user-friendly.

A reel is a reel and, with the exception of a spinning reel’s collapsible handle, you transport it as is. Rods, however, require more space and logistical consideration.

I can say from experience that sticking even one full-size fishing rod into a family vehicle full of luggage, pets and often territorial relatives can become an exercise in frustration, as well as a risk of tip or guide damage. And forget carrying a rod rigged with a hook or lure — that’s a recipe for disaster.

Car-top rod holders offer one option, but that’s another expense and a little extra work to secure the container to a vehicle’s luggage rack. Similarly, lockable rod cases enable you to transport full-size outfits by plane, but you still have to make sure the vehicles at your destination can accommodate the size.

Ultimately, every angler’s rod and reel arsenal should include at least one travel rod. This provides the convenience and versatility that keeps you ready to capitalize on every angling opportunity — expected or not.

Travel rods combine convenience and readiness - Bassmaster (3)

Types of rods

Travel rods can be divided into two main categories.

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Telescoping – Multiple segments collapsing into one another extend with a simple flick of the wrist or a measured pull. I’ve been fishing with a 7-foot, 2-inch medium Daiwa Travel Combo spinning outfit for a year, and I like its blend of convenience and performance.

Make sure you align all the guides (hold the rod upside down and look down the line) before snugging the sections in place. If any section skews to one side or the other, hold it by the base of the guide — never the eye — and smoothly adjust.

When snugging each section, don’t overdo it. Tighten too much and you could find your telescoping rod has permanently become a full-size rod.

Multipiece – Kind of the LEGO version, these kits divide a rod into a handle and four sections. The tapered pieces come together pretty intuitively, and the holes and bases only fit in one order. That said, for assembly efficiency — especially with young anglers — write the assembly order on the base of each piece. (When assembled, the base sections are concealed inside the next section, so no one’s going to know, right?)

For close-range work, I use a four-piece, 6-foot Okuma Voyager rod kit. This one wraps a soft-sided canvas case around an interior foam block with spaces for the rod, reel and a small tackle tray.

These rods require a little more time to assemble than simply extending a telescoping rod; however, if you buy quality, performance should be comparable. The biggest consideration is response time.

Say you come across a little footbridge and the bluegill are stacked in the shade line. Maybe you’re strolling along a stream and you come across a picturesque pool with trout slurping bugs. That telescoping style will get you in the game more quickly.

Anglers with more budget and/or greater performance needs might want to consider the St. Croix Triumph travel spinning rods, with 5-foot, 6-inch ultralight to 6-foot, 6-inch medium-heavy four-piece models, or the St. Croix Avid Tech travel spinning rod family, which offers 6-foot, 6-inch medium to 7-foot, 6-inch medium-heavy options.

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I can carry plenty of soft plastics in a ziplock bag tucked into one of those travel cases, while a small Gamakatsu G-Case with a selection of hooks, drop-shot weights, Ned heads, ball-head jigs and Gamakatsu hooks goes into checked baggage.

Other options

Mini models – The Pen Rod (Amazon, Walmart, etc.) — not to be confused with Pure Fishing’s Penn rods — may look gimmicky, but a miniature telescoping fishing outfit that literally fits in a jacket pocket or tucks into your waistband is worth considering. Another option — the ProFISHiency Pocket Combo Deluxe Travel Kit.

Two key points here: First, you’re not going to have the casting distance and/or leverage you’d have with a full-size travel rod. That said, spooling with braided main line and adding a fluorocarbon leader will boost your casting and fish-fighting abilities.

Hand line – There are lots of versions here, from the hand-held spool of Caribbean origin known as a Cuban yo-yo to smaller homemade versions. Wrapping line around any solid holder, from a soup can to a stick or wooden dowel, is as bare-bones simple as it gets. That said, this compact, low-budget option provides a legitimate fish-catching opportunity — and a fun kids’ craft project.

Several years ago, I made a mini hand line from a 35mm film canister. I tied 6-pound monofilament to the container, secured the knot with a drop of superglue, wrapped about 20 feet of line and secured the tag end with a rubber band.

Removing the lid, I stored spare hooks and split shots inside. This is obviously a shallow-fishery deal, but it’s an easy option for backpacks, pockets, etc., and a practical tool for docks, low pedestrian bridges, etc.

It’s hard to find film canisters these days, but an empty thread spool works. If your spooling item has a flat top and bottom edges, you’ll want to create a lip on both ends to keep line from slipping off. I used strips of tightly gripping electrical tape.

Travel rods combine convenience and readiness - Bassmaster (4)

Organizational details

Consider these points when planning a trip with your travel rod.

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What can fly – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will allow you to carry travel rods (and reels) on commercial flights as long as the container fits in overhead luggage or under the seat. You can also carry your soft-plastic baits on the plane, but hooks, tackle, pliers, tools and knives must be transported in checked baggage.

Doubling up – My Okuma Challenger kit checks all the boxes of compact organization and lightweight portability. But when I’m flying or on a hike, I’ll bind the Challenger’s rod pieces (see Rod Binders) and tuck them into the Daiwa Travel Combo’s bag so I can easily carry both rods in just one place.

Keep it safe – While the Okuma Voyager’s foam padding keeps the rod pieces safe, my Daiwa Travel Combo comes with a plastic tip cap that covers all of the guides when the rod is collapsed. For further protection, I trimmed a piece of a pool noodle to fit and cut a slit from the outside edge to the small inner hole. This allows me to slip the noodle over the rod’s lower section, which holds all the extendable pieces.

For the tip and guides, I used a shorter piece and widened that inner hole to accommodate that tip cap. This adds a little peace of mind that my travel rod will survive the rigors of TSA screening and overhead baggage

Keep it tight – Also, rubber bands are your friend. No slight to anyone’s tackle tray design, but latches occasionally come undone. Maybe it was the sharp impact of a bump or drop; maybe you just didn’t close the tray as securely as you thought.

In any case, wrapping a rubber band around the tackle tray prevents accidents. One simple addition equals peace of mind. (Rubber bands eventually break, so add a couple of spares to your tackle tray.)

Rod binders –If you use two or more travel rods during any outing, consider that keeping them together simplifies transportation, whether that’s walking, biking or paddling to your fishing spot. This is less critical on motorboats or fully rigged kayaks with more space and rod holders, but casual or impromptu fishing missions will definitely benefit from the safety and security of well-managed rods.

Velcro strips, either homemade or manufactured products like the Calcutta Rod and Reel Storage Strap, offer simple security. I’ve also used rubber bands and elastic hair bands, but these are mostly limited to the handle ends. For the most diverse binding option that works on both ends, pipe cleaners or twist ties provide quick, secure binding.

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Travel rods combine convenience and readiness - Bassmaster (5)

Keep it together

Ziploc bags may have been made for food storage, but they’re an angler’s best friend — especially when you’re traveling light. Some soft plastics come with zippered pouches, but tucking several bags neatly into a gallon-size food storage bag provides easy, see-through access and keeps a bunch of smaller containers from sliding and spreading within your travel case.

For extended fishing missions, I like to carry my spare tackle and baits in an AFTCO Urban Angler Backpack. Made with a spare rod holder and a 1.5-liter hydration unit, this low-profile backpack is a good fit for the times when I’m most likely to be using a telescoping and/or multipiece travel rod.

Travel rods combine convenience and readiness - Bassmaster (6)


How many rods should I own? ›

It's nice to have a dozen rods, but for most anglers three will get you through almost any bass fishing scenario. Inside the left rod locker, Crews usually keeps 25 to 30 rods rigged and ready to go. The average angler doesn't need a dozen rods and reels.

How many rods and reels should I have? ›

You always want to bring at least two rod and reel setups when you go fishing. If you have just one, something could happen to your rod or reel, your line could get tangled, or you could get spooled by a big fish. If any of those things happen (and they're not uncommon!), that's probably the end of your trip.

Is an 8ft rod good for bass fishing? ›

On average, a largemouth bass fishing rod is between 6 and 8 feet. The longer the rod, the longer an angler will be able to cast. Longer rods give a greater range and accuracy, which can be helpful when casting lures designed to cover large areas like crank bait or spinner bait.

How many rods do pro bass fishermen use? ›

What is this? Many serious bass anglers will have at least 3 rods on standby to fish most scenarios that could arise. They have a medium action bait caster to pitch plastics deep near cover. This rod is usually a fast-action model spooled with heavy braid to haul bass out of cover fast to prevent break-offs.

Is it better to buy a rod and reel combo or separate? ›

Combo or separate? You have the option of choosing to buy a rod and reel separately, or as a combo that a manufacturer has put together. If you're just starting out, it's best to go with a combo. This saves you the trouble of picking a rod and reel pair that feels balanced and comfortable to use.

Is 3 reels a day too much? ›

A good rule of thumb is to treat reels like they are a part of your feed. You don't want to overload your followers' feeds with multiple reels a day, hoping that something lands with them. Create and post thoughtful and entertaining reels, but no more than once a day if you can help it.

Should I spend more money on reel or rod? ›

If you have a spinning reel that costs more than your rod then you're doing it all wrong! Did you know that your inshore spinning rod should almost always cost more than your reel? Now that doesn't mean you need a super expensive rod and it also doesn't mean that expensive reels are bad.

What is the most sensitive rod for bass? ›

Graphite rods are widely considered the king of sensitivity as their ability to transmit vibrations to the hand is superior to other materials such as fiberglass, however, the statement below may surprise some.

What rod power is best for bass? ›

For bass fishing, a medium-heavy is one of the most versatile options you can choose. A standard medium also works well for a variety of fishing techniques and a medium-light spinning rod is an excellent option for lighter lures, while still having enough power to land bigger fish.

What is the best all around bass rod length? ›

The recommended size would be from 7- to 8-feet long (many tournament circuits do not allow bass fishing rods longer than 8-feet). A good choice would be a 7 1/2-foot rod because it is a little easier to pitch the baits. Pitching and flipping go together. Look at the tip, make sure it has some flexibility.

Are expensive bass rods worth it? ›

Its up to you to decide if the cost savings outweighs any potential performance issues. The downside of a cheaper rod are sensitivity, weight, and build quality. The primary benefit of an expensive or high-end rod is sensitivity, weight, balance, and overall experience. The downsides are cost and durability.

What size rod is best for all around fishing? ›

You can certainly go medium-heavy if you want, but medium is usually a good all-around size rod to be able to handle the majority of fish you would catch. A medium action 6'6″ – 7′ rod is the ideal size for the best all around fishing setup.

How far can you cast a bass rod? ›

There are times, though, when if you could only reach out a few more yards … According to a lot of great anglers, extending your range 10 to 15 yards is very doable for most of us. Casts out to 50, 55 or even 60 yards are in the ballpark if we gear up and get the mechanics of the cast just right, these pros tell us.

What is the best all around bass rig? ›


The Texas Rig is one of the most popular bass fishing rigs. It is a way to fish a soft plastic worm close to or in cover such as weeds. This rig requires a special cone-shaped weight and a “worm hook” which is designed to be threaded through the worm so that the point of the hook is not exposed.

What do you throw on a heavy bass rod? ›

Fishing Rod Power and Applications
  1. Flipping and Pitching. Most manufacturers have a flipping stick in their lineup. ...
  2. Buzzbaits and Spinnerbaits. ...
  3. Topwaters. ...
  4. Frogs and Toads. ...
  5. Crankbaits. ...
  6. Drop Shot/Shaky Head. ...
  7. Dock Skipping.

What weight rod for largemouth bass? ›

Gear is simple for largemouth bass. Depending on the water, we recommend anything from a 6-weight rod to a 10-weight rod for targeting largemouth bass—although, you can get away with a 5-weight in smaller creeks. If we could pick one rod for bass, it'd be The Vesper 9-foot, 8-weight.

Should reel be heavier than rod? ›

When the rod and reel are matched properly, the rod should be neither too heavy in the tip section nor too heavy in the handle. If a reel is too heavy or too light for a particular rod, casting distance and accuracy will be impaired, as will strike detection. This is especially true with spinning gear.

Is more bearings in a reel better? ›

Better bearings in a well-made reel won't corrode as quickly as numerous but cheaper bearings in a cheap reel. High-quality bearings also make for longer casts, easier reeling, and better performance when you have a big fish on the line.

Can a reel go viral days later? ›

This can happen days or even weeks after posting and it can last for weeks or even months. You need to follow these steps when posting on Reels: Share your Reels on the Instagram Grid.

How many reels a day to go viral? ›

As Reels become increasingly important, marketers are asking themselves “How many Reels should I post in a day?” The industry standard is to post 4 to 7 Reels per week to increase your follower count as much as possible.

Why do reels stop getting views? ›

Did you know that the average attention span is up to 8 seconds only? This means that people will be less likely to watch your Instagram reels if they're longer than 8-10 seconds. They may be too busy scrolling to the next reel if you couldn't get their attention in the first few seconds.

How many likes do I need on a reel to get paid? ›

Instagram pays out Play Bonuses based on the views you get on your Reels. Eligible creators with a business or creator account can earn money on Reels that generated at least 1,000 views within a 30-day period.

What is the best time to pay a reel? ›

Best time to post Reels on Instagram

Over that time, we've learned that the best time to post Reels is 9 AM and 12 PM, Monday to Thursday.

How much is too much line on a reel? ›

The general rule for most reel manufactures is 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch from the edge of the spool. You want to put enough line on the reel so that it casts well, but you still want to be able to see about 1/16 or a little more of an inch of the spool when it's fool.

Which rod gives the highest accuracy for fishing? ›

According to fishing pro Lassagne, in these fishing conditions, a graphite rod provides the best sensitivity and weight. Graphite's heavy power, which allows for thicker line and heavier lures, can hold up against snags and breaks on long casts or thick undergrowth.

Is a longer rod better for bass fishing? ›

The longer rod helps in matted vegetation,” he said. “It facilitates lifting the lure, line control, and keeps the bait at the proper angle,” Balog said. The longer rod allows him to hit spots more accurately, more precisely, and with an accelerated presentation.

Is a stiff rod good for bass fishing? ›

A stiffer rod also gives you the ability to put more pressure on the fish to horse it out of heavy vegetation such weeds and lily pads, where slack-line baits are often used. Generally, shorter rods (6 foot range) provide better casting accuracy for fishing in tight spots, and they'll cast lighter lures.

What size reel is best for bass fishing? ›

Size Rating:

For bass fishing, you'll want to stick to reels in the 6000 to 7000 range. These reels are best paired with a line that is 14 pounds to 30 pounds in test strength, and you'll typically want to stay in the teens or twenties with that. These spinning reels hold a ton of line.

Should I use a 5 or 6 weight fly rod for bass? ›

A #5 is extremely versatile and generally powerfull enough should you venture out West and fish bigger rivers and windy conditions. If you occasionally fish for larger species (in addition to the above), such as bass in the 1-3 pound range, then a #6 (six) weight is the best combo rod for a variety of situations.

What bait is best for bass? ›

Jigs, Crankbaits, Plastic Worms, Spinnerbaits, and swimbaits, are all effective bass lures. Most of these are very versatile lures making them practical for largemouth bass fishing in most conditions throughout the year when used effectively.

What is the rod length rule for Bassmaster? ›

Only ONE casting, spin casting or spinning rod (10-foot maximum length from butt of handle to rod tip) and reel may be used at any one time.

How many rods should I have on my boat? ›

Inshore needs: Six trolling rods with monofilament and at least four with monel or wire line. Six medium spinning or conventional rods for chumming, bottom fishing, and casting. Four light rods for shallow-water casting. Two medium/heavy fly rods.

How do you calculate the number of rods? ›

Slab reinforcement rods calculation
  1. Simplify the slab area into a square.
  2. Calculate the rods required on one span of the square slab (running through length of slab only)
  3. Multiply by 2 for the second span to get the total number for the slab (running through length and breadth of slab).
Jul 8, 2021

Are 2 piece rods worth it? ›

Yes, two-piece fishing rods are a great option for specific situations. Although the rod itself is weaker than a one-piece, they are easy to transport when hiking through brush, trees, and other obstacles. They are also great for beginners, travelers, and backpackers who plan on fishing.

Why do people have multiple fishing rods? ›

They don't want to waste time tying on a new lure so they have multiple rods setup with different lures. Instead of tying on a new lure, they simply grab the rod and reel that is already setup with the lure they want. This can save a lot of time. Outside of time, pros are called pros for a reason.

What is the best size rod for boat fishing? ›

A short (6 feet or less) rod is ideal if you want to make short, accurate casts. When pinpoint accuracy is less critical, a long rod (over 7 feet) is the way to go. Dingy or dirty water and heavy cover are two situations where short-range accuracy is part of the recipe for success, and a shorter rod can really shine.

What is the best boat fishing rod length? ›

Best Length of Fishing Rod

As a rule of thumb, longer rods increase casting distance, while shorter rods provide better leverage. So if you'll primarily cast with 12- to 20-pound lines, consider a 7-foot, fast- to extra-fast-action rod for lures or live baits, or medium-action for smaller lures or natural baits.

What determines rod size? ›

Ultimately, much of choosing a rod size comes down to preference, your physical measurements, and where you plan to fish. Longer rods are generally more adept at casting greater lengths, while shorter rods are more accurate, but less capable of long casts.

How many rods equals two miles? ›

Rods to Miles Conversion Chart
rods (rod)miles (mi)
320 rods1 miles
640 rods2 miles
960 rods3 miles
1,280 rods4 miles
25 more rows

What is 1 length of rod? ›

rod, old English measure of distance equal to 16.5 feet (5.029 metres), with variations from 9 to 28 feet (2.743 to 8.534 metres) also being used. It was also called a perch or pole.

Are glass rods better than graphite? ›

Graphite is considered by many to be the superior version of fiberglass, but while graphite can withstand more intense conditions than fiberglass and may be more appropriate for catching larger fish, one can't replace the other. Graphite is best for experienced anglers who don't mind the fast action of a graphite rod.

Are longer rods more accurate? ›

A rod's length affects casting distance, accuracy, and hook set leverage. Longer rods (over 7 feet) will cast farther than shorter rods of the same power and action, and shorter (<under 7 feet) rods will be more accurate.

Is super rod better than old rod? ›

Each fishing rod allows the player to encounter different Pokémon. In the Kanto and Johto games, each one is given out by a Fishing Brother. The Good Rod normally allows encountering higher level Pokémon than the Old Rod, and the Super Rod normally allows encountering higher level Pokémon than the Good Rod.

Why buy an expensive fishing rod? ›

The primary benefit of an expensive or high-end rod is sensitivity, weight, balance, and overall experience. The downsides are cost and durability. Again, it is up to you as the angler to find the balance between sensitivity, durability, and budget.

Is it better to buy a rod and reel separate? ›

You have the option of choosing to buy a rod and reel separately, or as a combo that a manufacturer has put together. If you're just starting out, it's best to go with a combo. This saves you the trouble of picking a rod and reel pair that feels balanced and comfortable to use.

Are expensive fishing rods better? ›

Expensive rods are more sensitive, able to detect smaller bites, and generally more fun to use than their cheaper counterparts. With that said, the law of diminishing returns definitely applies. There's much more difference between a $50 rod and a $150 rod than between a $100 rod and a $300 rod.


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