Fishing Rod 101: Parts of a Fishing Rod Explained (2021 Guide)

Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.

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As new anglers are just getting into fishing, the world of fishing equipment can be quite a confusing one. Between all the different fishing rods, reels, lines, and lures, knowing what’s what and what’s best – it isn’t an easy task.

Something that is often overlooked in the chaos is knowing the parts of a fishing rod and how they come together to create the awesome tool you have in your hands.

Understanding Fishing Rod Parts

Man Sitting on a Rock While Fishing
Man Sitting on a Rock While Fishing

When I learned about the parts of the fishing pole, I understood more about how my rods worked and I could use them more efficiently to cast further, more accurately and put pressure on fish.

Luckily every rod type, whether it is spinning rods or sea fishing rods, have the same parts and work (and sadly, break) in pretty much the same way so once you have read this article, you’ll know all you need to know about the parts of a fishing rod.

What are the parts of a fishing rod called?

Before we get into too much detail, let’s first make sure we know what all the basic parts of a fishing rod are called and we’ll start at the bottom and then work our way up to the top.

The rod butt, or butt end, is the bottom of the rod

  • The handle is just above it where you’ll hold the fishing rod
  • Next comes the reel seat where you’ll fix your fishing reel
  • The blank which can be in a few pieces starting from the butt section all the way up to the very tip
  • Where each piece of a fishing rod joins together is called a ferrule
  • On the butt section, you might find a hook keeper ring
  • Moving along the blank to the top you’ll find guides or eyes which your fishing line goes through
  • Around each guide or eye are windings that hold the guides in place
  • The tip part is the final section of your fishing rod
  • The tiptop is the end of the final section where the last guide/eye or end ring is placed and where your fishing line leaves the rod

What are the metal parts of a fishing rod?

Most fishing rods do have some metal parts to them and these are usually the reel seats, line guides/eyes, and the hook keeper. On some fishing rods, the reel seats can be made of different material such as graphite composites instead of metals.

Parts Of Fishing Rods Explained

Tip Top

Fishing Rod Top and Tip Top
Fishing Rod Top and Tip Top

Right at the top of the rod is the tip-top where the final guide or eye is situated. The tip-top is the most delicate part of a fishing rod and where a fishing rod bends the most, and if you ever see or have a broken rod, chances are it’s broken at the rod tip, on the tip-top.

When setting up or taking apart your fishing rod, you should take extra care with this section as too much force when you try to attach pieces to it can make it snap quite easily.

Proper Handling

You should also be careful not to wind in your lures all the way to the guide on the tip as it can catch and also damage or break it.

Something I have seen a hundred times is an angler walking to their fishing spot, stumbling, and then digging their rod’s tip into the ground to hold their balance. The resulting friction often leaves the tip-top broken, so always walk high sticking with your fishing rod held upright to avoid this happening to you.

Rod Tip

The tip is the upper part of a fishing rod, of which the tip-top is a part of. This is also a very delicate part of your rod and it needs some looking after, so I advise anglers, new and old, to be careful with it.

This part of the rod flexes the most to assist you with your casting distance and accuracy. You can find rods with hard tips or soft tips and this depends on the action of the rod.

NOTE

Softer tips will make shorter accurate casts easier and will have a slow or medium action, while a hard tip will make long casts easier but might not assist with accuracy so much, and this is a fast action rod.

Guides/Eyes

Guide and Windings
Guide and Windings

The guides or eyes along the length of your fishing rod are there to hold your fishing line and thus create enough tension in the rod for you to cast lures, retrieve them, and hook fishes.

Guides or eyes are usually made from metal and are made up of a simple ring that has two shafts pointing the opposite end from each other, which allows them to be bound to the fishing rod with the windings.

Simple rings are usually just a piece of aluminum and you’ll find these on most rods that are for smaller fishes. The end ring, or top guide, is usually always one of these as well.

Ceramic Guide

Some fishing rods, designed for big fish, will also have a ceramic ring inside the metal rod guide which creates a frictionless surface that is designed to reduce drag on the line when you cast so that you can cast longer distances.

You’ll also notice along the rod length that the guides at the bottom of the rod will be larger than the guides at the top, and this is in keeping with the thickness of the fishing rod.

Windings

It’s not necessary for all fishing enthusiasts to know about the windings as they really only hold the guides to the fishing rod blank. But, it’s one of the most important parts of a fishing rod if you want to be able to fix them at home.

The windings are made from a strong thread that is bound around the top and bottom of the guides to keep them attached to the fishing rod when under pressure from large fish. Once bound they are finished with glue such as epoxy to become a permanent fixture on the rod.

TIP

Quite often though, you’ll find the guides peel off when under a lot of pressure and you can fix them at home by taking some braided fishing lines and binding them back on, and finishing it off with a drop of epoxy.

Ferrule

Fishing Rod Ferrule
Fishing Rod Ferrules

Most fishing rods come in multiple pieces and you can find fishing rods in 2, 4, 6, and even 8 piece designs but the most common are 2 and 4 piece rods.

Where each piece of a fishing rod joins together is called a ferrule. These ferrules can be reinforced plastic or metal joints, or be made from the same material as the rod itself.

The ferrules along the length of your fishing rod are very important as they keep the rod together while you’re fishing and most importantly while you’re fighting a fish.

Ferrules can be described as female and male. The male end goes into the female end to join each piece of a rod together.

NOTE

When setting up your fishing rod, make sure the ferrules fit tightly together so there is no chance of them coming apart while you’re fishing. When dismantling your rod, the ferrules can get stuck so be careful when pulling them apart.

Hook Keeper

The hook keeper is a hook catching metal ring at the bottom of the rod above the handle. It’s a simple device that is attached with a screw ring or bound with a winding where you can hook your lures onto.

This makes it much easier to change positions when fishing, as you can store your lure with enough line out the rod end to make a cast and your lure’s right by your hands instead of being at the top of your rod.

The Handle

The handle is where you hold your rod and is usually made from a soft material such as cork, rubber, or synthetic material such as EVA foam. Handles can be made up for a single grip or a two-handed grip depending on the rod you’re using and the kind of friction you’re used to.

A two-handed option, let’s say on cork handles, will have some cork above the reel seat and some cork below the reel seat. This gives you more leverage to make longer casts with.

Reel Seat

Reel Seat
Reel Seat

The reel seat will be above, below, or in the middle of the body of the handle and it’s where you will attach your fishing reel. This goes for baitcasting and spinning reels you’d use for bass fishing and all other types of reels too.

Reel seats can be made from materials like aluminum or graphite and they have a double hood mechanism for each reel foot which you then tighten to ensure your reel is securely attached to your rod.

With a spinning reel, for example, you’ll place one part of the reel foot into the top hood and then slide up the bottom hood onto the other foot. Then it’s a matter of tightening the collar to hold your reel securely in place.

The Rod Butt

The butt of a rod or rod end is the thickest part of the rod and is found below the reel seat. This is the heavy-duty part of the rod that will sit in a rod holder while you’re cruising to the fishing grounds and can be used in rod holders when you’re trolling.

The Butt Cap

Right at the bottom of the rod is the butt cap. Butt caps can be made from rubber, metals, plastic, or covered with EVA foam. An angler will often put the cap into the side of their body when fighting their catch for more leverage. This is especially the case when fighting bigger species from the depths like tuna.

The butt cap can also be designed to lock into a rod holder, as is the case with deep-sea fishing rods. By locking into the holder, the rod sits in line with it and doesn’t slip when a huge species like a marlin takes the bait. 

The Fishing Rod Blank

Every part of a fishing rod is attached to a fishing rod blank as it’s what makes up the entire length of the rod.

Blanks are pretty much hollow tubes made from materials such as graphite, fiberglass, or bamboo and different materials provide different qualities to each fishing rod.

Rods with a bamboo body are light, bendy, and delicate while a rod made from fiberglass is very bendy but almost unbreakable. Graphite rods are the most popular and high performing as graphite doesn’t flex too much allowing an angler to get better casting distance and accuracy to catch more fish.

FAQs

Why do fishing rods bend?

Fishing Rod Bend
Fishing Rod Bend

Fishing rods bend for three reasons: casting, fishing lures, and fighting fish. Let’s talk about casting first.

Casting

When you go to cast, you pull your rod behind you and pause. When you do this, the rod bends backward under the weight of your lures and it fills with energy.

Then as you move the rod forwards in your cast, you transfer all the energy in the rod into the lure attached and thus the line which enables you to cast a good distance.

Fishing Lures

The tip of a rod will bend as you reel your line and any lures or bait back in. This allows you to feel how the lure is swimming and from this you can adjust your lure’s action to make it more attractive to any potential catch by moving the rod, reeling the line in faster or slower, and so on.

Fighting Fish

When you’re fighting a fish, the rod bends until the line comes off the reel. This allows you to play the fish and move it in different directions by moving your rod from side to side and changing the angle.

Once the fish is tired, it won’t pull any more line off the reel and you can then use the bend in the rod to guide the the potential catchto you so that you can land it safely.

How long does a fishing rod last?

A fishing rod can last forever as long as you look after it well. Some manufactures will actually offer a lifetime warranty for a rod and this is especially the case for more expensive rods pushing the $500 plus mark.

TIP

When using a budget fishing rod, the chances of it lasting forever are pretty slim as the materials can be thin and wear out very quickly, so it’s worth investing in a higher quality rod if you intend to use it for a long time.

What Causes a Fishing Rod to Break?

90% of the time a fishing rod will break due to user error and this happens when more force than the rod can handle is put through it.

Real life examples of this are;

  • Snapping a rod in the car door (I have done this multiple times)
  • Tripping with your rod and snapping the tip off in the ground
  • Catching the line around the rod tip as your cast which snaps the tip
  • Pulling lures out of a snag which then fires back and hits the rod and creates a weak section
  • Having the drag too high on your reel when fighting hooked fishes and thus snapping your rod as it can not bend any more (I have done this too)

The other times a rod might break is due to quality as I mentioned in the section above. If the materials are budget then even a strong cast can snap a rod, so be sure to invest a bit in a higher quality rod.

Another reason of a rod breaking can be high sticking, see it in the video below

How do you Maintain Fishing Rod Parts?

The only maintenance required for all the different parts of your fishing rod is rinsing them with clean fresh water after every trip and then making sure they are stored dry, not wet. If you do this, you’ll stop any rust or salt on your rod building up and they will last for as long as possible.

Rodding Out

Thanks very much for reading my article. I hope you budding anglers enjoyed it and found all the basic information about the different parts of a fishing rod useful. Please share the article with your fishing friends and check out some of my others about the best spinning, baitcast, and fly rods.

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Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.
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