What Is Your Rod Made Of? Fishing Rod Materials Explained

Although modern-day fishing rods are made for harsh conditions and intense use, they’re not unbreakable.

All fishers have their own theories & explanations about why their fishing rods break when fighting fish.

“It was a manufacturing defect.” “The immense stress from the fish caused the pole to snap.” “These inexpensive rods couldn’t withstand hours of salt water exposure so they deteriorated in quality pretty quickly.”

Speculating is fun and normal for someone who has just broken his/her favorite fishing rod.

But, speculations won’t help you prevent the next “accident” that snaps your rod blank into two pieces.

Knowledge will.s

Did you know manufacturing defects show up almost instantly on newly purchased fishing rods?

A fishing rod with manufacturing defects won’t be able to cast or fight fish for more than a few rounds.

But, if your old, reliable rod that has served you for years abruptly breaks, it’s probably not a manufacturing defect.

Blaming the fishing rod industry in this scenario won’t help.

What will help though is learning how fishing rods are made.

Once we understand the materials used to manufacture these rods, we’ll better understand what causes them to break.

Fishing Rod Materials 101: Easy Guide on Choosing the Ideal One

Engineering, maintenance, manufacturing technologies, etc. – many variables impact a fishing rod’s performance and durability.

But, the fundamental variable that will determine its long-term fate is the materials it’s made of.

A fishing rod consists of several components, including – a rod blank, tip, handle, reel seat, hook-keeper, and guides.

In modern rods, the rod blanks are the main components.

These long and flexible poles form the main bodies of fishing rods. They’re the core components.

All other components – handles, reel seats, guides, etc., are attached to the rods or “fishing” blanks.

Hence, the materials used to manufacture your rod blank will influence your fishing options and experiences.

These core components of fishing rods are made of a variety of materials.

Let’s explore all of them:

1) Bamboo

Some of the first fishing rods made by humans were made of bamboo.

This material is flexible, fibrous, and very cheap.

Bamboo may seem easily bendable and brittle to modern users.

But, before humans started using carbon fiber, graphite, and other stronger materials, bamboo was the best option.

The hollow cylindrical structure of bamboo rods makes them ideal for fishing.

Not many fishing rod blanks are made of bamboo these days.

But, anglers and fishers who fish in small numbers in shallow waters still use bamboo fishing rods.

For example, in many local fly fishing events, fishers use bamboo fishing rods for their simplicity and cost-effectiveness.

2) Fiberglass

A rod blank made of fiberglass will not cost you as much as graphite or carbon fiber fishing rods.

But, it will offer a similar level of durability and flexibility.

That’s why many modern, collapsible fishing rods are made of fiberglass components.

A 6 to 10-meter-long fiberglass rod blank will withstand years of intensive fishing in fresh or saltwater.

But, these rods are designed for slow actions.

They’re not as maneuverable as graphite or carbon fiber rods.

But, they cost less.

So, if you’re planning to fish in small to mid-sized streams, a low-cost glass fiber rod will serve you well.

If you’re planning on going bass fishing in cold waters with fiberglass rods, here are some jerkbait rods you’ll love.

3) Carbon Fiber

The leading industrial-grade fishing rod manufacturers in the world use this material to manufacture modern fishing rods.

That’s because carbon fiber offers the perfect combination of lightness and durability.

New-age fishers like to travel with their fishing equipment. Light and flexible carbon fiber rods are ideal for this purpose.

    • Carbon fiber rod blanks are tensile and highly flexible. It has an elastic modulus of 20 MSI (138 GPA) which makes it one of the most stress-resistant materials around.
  • The more carbon your rod blank contains the more it will cost. The average carbon fiber fishing rod is made up of 30-90% carbon.
  • Carbon fiber is popular in the fishing rod industry because of its ductileness. Manufacturers can easily make rods with smaller diameters with this material.

If you’re not a fan of fiberglass or composite rod blanks, carbon fiber is the perfect alternative.

Rods made of this material are light enough for easy use & portability, even for first-timers. The material is also sensitive enough to detect the small vibrations that fishes create.

This property makes carbon fiber fishing rods “fisher-friendly” whether you’re a beginner or a pro angler.

4) Graphite

Graphite rod blanks were once considered to be the most suitable material for manufacturing fishing rods.

That’s because graphite is light and sensitive to touch. Fishers could cast easily and with more accuracy with graphite rods.

All of this was before the invention of composite rods. Since the 70s and 80s, carbon fiber and fiberglass rods have become more popular.

Before that, strong graphite rods were the craze in many fishing communities across the world.

But, unlike composite rods, pure graphite fishing rods are susceptible to cracks and breaks. That’s why modern-day graphite rods contain fiberglass.

Fiberglass adds strength to key areas of the rods, making them strong enough to catch fish in larger, more intense water areas.

5) Composite

A composite fishing rod will feature two ingredients – graphite & fiberglass.

Mixing graphite and fiberglass leads to the creation of an extremely “fisher-friendly” material. Why? Composite fishing rods offer the best of worlds.

  • Composite fishing rods are more flexible than graphite.
  • These rods don’t bend as easily as fiberglass rods.
  • Unlike pure graphite rod blanks, composite rods don’t break or crack very easily.

These are the reasons why both beginners and experienced fishers love using composite rods.

Most of these rods are “medium-action” tools.

They’re the most effective in small to large-sized water bodies.

5) Boron Nanofiber

One of the first high-performance fibers to be ever produced, the boron nanofiber is a very interesting material. Manufacturers use nanotechnology to produce boron nanofiber.

A fishing rod made of this new and enhanced material will contain mostly carbon fiber (80% to 90%).

Add a touch of boron nanofiber to this rod and you’ll have a rod that’s much tougher & lighter.


So, what’s the best material for manufacturing fishing rods? Different fishing rod materials offer different benefits.

So, naming one candidate as the best fishing rod material of all is not fair. A professional fisher will always have rods made of different materials in his/her arsenal.

Are the fish large and strong?

Then, opting for a graphite or boron nanofiber makes more sense. Are the waters harsh and intense?

Then, using crack-resistant fiberglass rods makes more sense.

A high-quality fisher will always understand how fishing rods are made and how their material contents impact their performances.

Using rods made of different materials will also enhance your fishing experiences. Start with bamboo, fiberglass, or composite rods as they’re the most easily available ones.

Then, move on to more advanced materials like Boron.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How is a fishing rod manufactured?

It’s an intricate, multi-step process. Here’s a good video demonstration of how modern rods are made inside factory workshops.

What are fishing rods made out of?

Bamboo, fiberglass, graphite, and a whole host of other materials.

How is a fishing rod blank made?

Modern fishing rod blanks are usually made of carbon fiber-based materials. Carbon fibers are infused with resins to produce durable rod blanks.

Where are fishing rods made?

Inside factories and workshops. Fishing rod manufacturing is a global, multi-billion-dollar industry.