Telescopic Fishing Rods: Pros and Cons

Written By James Smith

Keen fisherman here to offer advice and help for reels, rods and gear.

Telescopic fishing rods have become increasingly popular among anglers in recent years. These rods, capable of collapsing into a compact size, offer portability, strength, and flexibility, making them ideal for those of us who love to fish on the go. As an example of size, one of the Kastking poles I used for a few days extends to nearly 7ft and collapses back down to less than 2ft – neat!

Made from durable materials such as graphite or carbon fiber, telescopic fishing rods are resilient to the wear and tear of outdoor environments. Their versatility suits anglers ranging from beginners to seasoned professionals, as they can be extended to various lengths to accommodate different fishing situations.

This flexibility in size also contributes to a more tailored fishing experience, enabling each angler to adjust the device to their desired level of control and comfort.

Besides their unique collapsible design, telescopic fishing rods often come with a neat range of features that improve their performance. The guides, reel seats, and grips on these rods can be specifically engineered for maximum sensitivity and casting accuracy, ensuring that each cast is smooth and precise.

telescopic rod with reel attached

Types of Telescopic Fishing Rods

Telescopic fishing rods are easy to transport, thanks to their collapsible nature (you can even take one on a plane in hand luggage – minus any hooks of course!). There are several types of telescopic fishing rods available, catering to various fishing styles. In this section, we will discuss the different types of telescopic fishing rods, including spinning rods, casting rods, fly rods, trolling rods, and surfcasting rods.

Spinning Rods

Spinning rods are versatile and user-friendly, making them ideal for beginners. These telescopic rods have a sizeable gap between the handle and the reel, allowing anglers to cast farther.

The guides on spinning rods are usually small and on the underside of the rod. Key features of spinning rods include:

  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Designed for use with spinning reels
  • Suitable for various types of fishing, including freshwater and saltwater

Casting Rods

Casting rods are designed for use with baitcasting reels. These telescopic rods are popular among experienced anglers because of the greater control and accuracy they provide during casting. Some features of casting rods are:

  • Suited for experienced anglers
  • Compatible with baitcasting reels
  • Increased control and accuracy in casting

Trolling Rods

Trolling rods are designed specifically for the technique of trolling, where anglers drag bait or lures behind a moving boat. Telescopic trolling rods are known for their strength and durability, essential for handling large fish. Some characteristics of trolling rods are:

  • Built for trolling techniques
  • Strong and durable
  • Suitable for saltwater and freshwater fishing

Surfcasting Rods

Surfcasting rods are long and robust, designed specifically for casting bait or lures from the shoreline into the surf. These telescopic rods have the ability to cast great distances and are capable of handling larger fish species. Features of surfcasting rods are:

  • Extended length for long-distance casting
  • Strong and durable construction
  • Ideal for shoreline angling and targeting larger fish

Materials Used in Construction


Graphite is a popular material for constructing telescopic fishing rods due to its lightweight and high strength properties. The material is composed of carbon fibers, which provide excellent sensitivity, allowing us to detect even the slightest nibbles from fish.

Graphite rods are well-suited for finesse fishing techniques, precision casting, and fishing in areas with lighter cover.

However, some downsides of graphite rods include their price and fragility compared to other materials. Graphite fishing rods are more expensive than fiberglass or composite options, which can be a drawback for budget-conscious folk out there, and they can be prone to breakage, especially if not properly cared for.


Fiberglass fishing rods are a more affordable alternative to graphite, with several advantages and a few drawbacks. One of the main benefits of fiberglass is its durability, which allows for more rugged use without the risk of breakage.

They are also less sensitive compared to their graphite counterparts, making them more suitable for beginner anglers who may need some forgiveness when handling their equipment.

Some drawbacks of fiberglass fishing rods include their weight, as they can be heavier than graphite rods, potentially leading to fatigue for some anglers during long fishing sessions. Probably less of an issue if using a telescopic rod as they tend to be used over shorter periods, but I thought I’d mention it.

They also tend to have lower sensitivity, which may be suboptimal for targeting more elusive fish out there.


Composite rods combine the best of both graphite and fiberglass materials, resulting in a versatile and high-performing option.

These rods contain a blend of the two materials, typically with graphite being the primary component and fiberglass reinforcing the structure to increase durability.

Advantages of composite fishing rods include their balanced sensitivity, which allows for improved detection of fish bites, and their enhanced durability due to the mixed materials.

Composite rods are suitable for various fishing conditions and are a popular choice among experienced and novice anglers alike.

However, composite rods can also have a higher price point compared to their fiberglass counterparts, with this cost situated between that of graphite and fiberglass options.

Additionally, their specific blend of materials can sometimes make it challenging to find the optimal mix for a particular fishing application.


You can find various manufacturers of collapsible fishing rods at your local tackle shop, and two really reputable brands are Plusinno and Kastking. The latter of these make a very affordable rod, the Blackhawk II, which, I think you’ll agree, looks great! (image via their official website) This rod is available in 14 different lengths and actions in spinning rod and casting rod models.

kaskting telescopic pole

Rod Power and Action

Understanding Rod Power

Rod power refers to the strength or resistance of a telescopic fishing rod, and is an important aspect to consider when selecting the right rod for specific fishing techniques and targeted fish species. Rod power is categorized into various levels, ranging from ultra-light to extra-heavy.

  • Ultra-light: Ideal for targeting small fish like panfish, crappie, and trout. They provide excellent sensitivity and require less force to cast lighter lures.
  • Light: Suitable for slightly larger species like bass and walleye. They offer a good balance between sensitivity and strength.
  • Medium: These rods are versatile, able to handle both smaller and larger fish effectively. Suitable for anglers targeting a variety of species.
  • Heavy and extra-heavy: Designed for targeting large, strong fish species like catfish, muskie, and saltwater species. They offer increased strength for greater control and handling.

Defining Rod Action

Rod action refers to the point at which a telescopic fishing rod bends and the speed at which it returns to its straight form. It is an essential factor in determining the rod’s performance, affecting casting distance, accuracy, and hook-setting ability. Rod actions are typically classified as follows:

  • Slow action: Bends from close to the handle and provides greater flexibility. Ideal for throwing lighter lures and increased sensitivity for detecting light bites. Slow action rods require more time to load and unload, allowing for smooth, gentle presentations.
  • Moderate action: Bends in the middle section of the rod. This action type offers a balance between flexibility and power, making it suitable for versatile techniques and various fish species.
  • Fast action: Bends in the top third of the rod. Fast action rods require less power to load and unload, providing longer and more accurate casting. These rods allow for quick hook-setting, making them suitable for large fish species.

When selecting the optimal rod power and action, keep in mind the targeted fish species, fishing techniques, and personal preferences of the angler.

An appropriate combination will maximize efficiency and improve overall fishing experiences.

Considerations When Choosing a Telescopic Fishing Rod

Target Species

When selecting a telescopic fishing rod, it’s essential to consider the species of fish you plan to target. Different species require different rod strengths and lengths.

For example, a shorter, more robust rod might be appropriate for targeting bass, while a longer, more flexible rod would be better for trout or panfish. Keep these factors in mind as you evaluate the strength and flexibility of the various rods out there.

Fishing Environment

Another essential consideration when choosing a telescopic fishing rod is the fishing environment. This includes aspects like fishing from the shore, a boat, or ice fishing. The environment can influence the rod’s ideal length, power, and action.

For example, in tight spaces such as fishing from a kayak or heavy vegetation, shorter rods may be more suitable for better casting control. Conversely, casting farther into open water for larger species may require a longer, more powerful rod.

Portability and Packing Size

Telescopic fishing rods are popular for their ease of transport and storage. When selecting a rod, consider the closed length and diameter of the collapsed rod. Some models may be more compact than others, making them more convenient for specific situations like hiking or traveling.

From Kastking’s site, here’s a list of specs of the 14 models I mentioned earlier. Note especially the Extended Length and Collapsed Length columns.

kastking collapsible rods specs list

Additionally, ensure that the rod has a secure and user-friendly locking mechanism to prevent unexpected collapsing or extending during transport or use.

Your Questions Answered

What is the best material for a telescopic fishing rod?

The best material for a telescopic fishing rod is typically a mix of graphite and fiberglass. This combination offers the ideal balance of strength, sensitivity, and durability. Graphite provides sensitivity, making it easier to detect bites, while fiberglass adds strength and flexibility that allows for better casting and fighting fish.

How durable are telescopic fishing rods compared to traditional ones?

Telescopic fishing rods are generally quite durable, and can last a long time with proper care. They are designed with convenience and portability in mind. However, their durability can be slightly less than traditional one-piece rods due to the added moving parts. Nevertheless, if you invest in a quality telescopic rod, you can expect it to be reliable for countless fishing trips.

What about quality rod and reel combos?

Some recommended telescopic rod and reel combos include the PLUSINNO Telescopic Fishing Rod and Reel Combo, the Sougayilang Fishing Rod and Reel Combo, and the KastKing Blackhawk II Telescopic Fishing Rod and Reel Combo. These combos offer excellent value for money, and are well-received by users for their performance, durability, and ease of use.

Do telescopic rods have a weight limit for the fish they can catch?

Telescopic rods, like traditional rods, have a weight limit based on their power and action, which will be indicated in the specifications. This will help you determine what size and type of fish the rod is best suited for. Be sure to match the rod’s weight limit with the species you’re targeting to ensure a successful day.

How do I maintain and care for my telescopic fishing rod?

To maintain and care for your rod, follow these simple steps:

  1. Always rinse your rod with fresh water after each use, especially if used in saltwater, to remove any debris or salt.
  2. Dry the rod thoroughly before collapsing it.
  3. Use a rod cover or sleeve to protect it during storage and transport.
  4. Check the rod’s guides and ferrules regularly for any damage or wear, and replace them if necessary.
  5. Avoid overloading the rod with heavy lures or bait, and stay within the recommended weight limit.
  6. Extend and collapse the rod with care, avoiding any forceful actions that could damage the segments or cause them to become stuck together.

These rods are neat and very handy – they are portable, convenient, and easy to carry – if going on a short break, give one a try!

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