Are Collapsible Fishing Rods Good? Yes! (2023 Update)

Geoff Stadnyk in Fishing Rods on

The collapsible fishing rod, or telescopic rod, has for a long time, been considered as a bit of a joke. Fishermen visualize cheap, nasty telescopic rods sold online, or at Walmart, which are in no way suitable for fishing anywhere.

Now, until a few years back, this opinion was general well earned. A collapsible fishing rod was almost always a) badly made b) entirely unsuitable for anything remotely like real fishing and c) embarrassing to own! But these days, telescopic rods have come a long way. They are now entirely viable… if you know how to work around their limitations. So let’s take a look at a few collapsible fishing rod products, and look at how we can get the best out of them.

Table of Contents

The basics of a good telescopic rod

A good telescopic fishing rod will have a few essential features that you need to look out for. Don’t go shopping for one of these before researching everything there is about these rods. If you choose one with features that are not suitable for you, you can end up disappointed in telescopic fishing rods. Here’s what to look out for:

Rod length

The first thing you want to pay attention to before buying is how long the rod is when fully extended. Keep in mind that larger rods are usually better for larger fish and for longer casting distances, but shorter ones are generally best when thrown out in deeper waters.

Seat with reel

What you also want to pay attention to when buying a telescopic rod is the reel seat. Here it is important whether the reel seat is resistant to salt water or not. Moreover, simply turning and locking the seat is suitable for basic needs. If you want recommendations for closed face reels, check this article.


When it comes to materials, there are usually two choices, graphite and fiberglass. Nowadays, fiberglass rods are usually quite strong and have a decent sensitivity, but they can break easily when exposed to high pressure.

Graphite rods, on the other hand, are more durable, but also heavier and less sensitive. If you can find a combination of the two, we would recommend this.


A beautiful handle is always important, because it will determine your level of comfort in fishing. Either a nice EVA handle or a decent cork handle is recommended.

Just make sure it’s long enough to hold comfortably, but not so much that it will be obstructive while fishing.


Some nice stainless steel guides are also recommended here. It is even better if you can find stainless steel guides with ceramic inserts, which will help increase the smoothness of casting and reeling in, as well as the casting distance.

Also, make sure that the guides align very well with each other, as this will also greatly affect the throwing distance.

Collapsible Lure Rods

We are going to start off with a product that many people may think is a bit of a joke. The Gold Tone Pen Shape 7 Sections Telescopic Pocket Fishing Rod. Now, I the author of this post, am going to step out from behind the page here for a moment, and tell you a story.

A couple of years ago now, I was planning a motorcycle tour of Thailand. But I just knew I would miss my fishing. Lure fishing is a big thing in Thailand, and I thought I could buy a telescopic spinning rod to take along with me. I found this product, and I did indeed think it was a joke. But because I had such limited room on the motorcycle, I decided to give it a try. At $25 it was a throwaway purchase if it was junk. Now, the quality was not amazing, what can you expect for the price? But I caught fish on it, I caught plenty of fish on it! It wasn’t as easy as using a full size spinning rod, but it worked. I had gotten over the limitations, and learned how to use it. OK enough from me, back to second person perspective now.

Keeping to the theme of spinning rods, let’s look now at a Shakespeare Telescoping Spinning Rod. For less than $15, what are we getting? Well, it’s a very short spinning rod, only 4 feet 6 inches. So we are not going to be casting any large lures, any real distance. But the playoff here, is this is a collapsible fishing rod that is tiny when folded up. Just 13.5 inches. You can fit this thing in your laptop bag if you need too. So OK you are going to compromise on how far you can cast, and how much control you have over fish. But you will be able to fish in places you never could have if you had to carry standard tackle.

For something a little less easy to carry, but a lot more usable, check out the Daiwa MEGAFORCE Telespin 6 parts 100-300g 12ft – Power Telescopic rod. This is a high quality, fully fledged carbon spinning rod from Daiwa. The compromise for it being a collapsible fishing rod? There isn’t one. Buy it, use it, and enjoy it.

Collapsible Float Rods

We have only covered spinning rods and lure fishing so far. There is a reason for this, as lure fishing rods are generally shorter, so they fit the telescopic format well. But what about longer rods, for float fishing or similar? Can we find good, usable rods like this in telescopic form? Sure we can. The DAM WHISPER Tele Match is a full 14 foot match rod, and it is entirely telescopic. In many ways, this shows just how far collapsible fishing rods have come. This is a great telescopic rod that suffers no limitations even though it is collapsible. Made from carbon, with high quality line guides, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this rod at all.

Collapsible Fly Rods

Strangely enough, fly fishermen caught on about telescopic rods a long time ago. Fly fishermen are very mobile, they might walk 3-4 kilometers along the bank in a single fishing session, so using a collapsible rod makes good sense. For this reason, there are some truly exceptional collapsible fly fishing rods to be had. The Tenkara ITO 14 ft. 7-in. Lightweight Fly Fishing Telescopic Zoom Rod is a great example of this. It’s not cheap, but it is entirely usable as a general purpose fly fishing rod. Don’t be fooled in to thinking this is a simple trout rod for fishing in small streams. This is a full on 14ft lure launcher suitable for long distance casting.

Collapsible Sea Rods

The only category of fishing rods where it gets hard to find a good telescopic option, is with saltwater and boat rods. There is a good reason for this. These rods have to work under extreme stresses, and the telescopic type rods just don’t have the same strength at the joints. But if you are willing and prepared to keep this in mind, and take care not to over stress the rod too much, you can still find good telescopic options for sea fishing, like the Carbon Fiber Telescopic Rock Fishing Saltwater Fishing Casting Rod. This is a rock fishing rod, which could be used for light boat work as long as care is taken not to treat it too harshly.

There are even a few pure boat rods sold in telescopic form. Such as this Saltwater Boat Sea Rod. However, it must be said that using this kind of rod is really nowhere near as good as using a proper, single piece boat rod. But if you need to carry one rod for traveling, it will work, just not as well.

And finally, there are some products that attempt to fuse a telescopic rod, with a fishing reel, in to a single unit. They are odd looking devices, such as the Folding Telescopic Sea Fishing Rod. This is actually an interesting product. For some people, who really have very limited room to carry fishing tackle, it could work out OK. It’s obviously going to be a little strange to fish with, but surely that’s better than not fishing at all?

As we can see, telescopic rods have come a long way in recent years. Sure, there are still those useless products out there, but with a little searching, some imagination, and a willingness to work past the limitations of the collapsible fishing rod, there are some really good products out there. So next time you are packing your bags to go on vacation, you don’t have excuse not to take a fishing rod with you.

How to choose a telescopic fishing rod?

In order for a telescopic fishing rod to be your reliable assistant and not to fail you at a crucial moment, you must take this choice very seriously.

Experienced fishermen recommend first of all to pay attention to the quality of the main (first) joint. It should have good rigidity and not bend when pressed with the fingers. If it does not possess these qualities, then it might influence your casting or even reeling in.

The next thing you need to pay attention to is the weight of the fishing rod. It should be easy for you to use.

Check the main joint. If it is loose, then the telescopic rod can break at the first heavy load. And such failures, as “a rule”, occur at the time of biting, when a small lever force is applied to it.

However, the main thing to consider is the material the rod is made of. Bamboo and fiberglass products are not the only popular materials. They have been successfully replaced by relatively recently made telescopic fishing rods. They are usually made of carbon fiber.

Compared to their counterparts, such fishing rods are not only lighter and smaller, but can be extended to even greater lengths (11 m or more). This was possible due to the fact that carbon fibers have high strength grade while remaining fairly light.

The disadvantage of these rods is that they are prone to scratches and poorly withstand mechanical shocks, but that does not prevent experienced fishermen from using them.

Geoff Stadnyk

Geoff started fishing as a child in the gorgeous lakes of Mammoth, while on family vacations. His fishing experience includes the use of fly rod and reel. Guided trips along the Madison and Gallatin rivers in Montana, the Frying Pan and Animus in Colorado, and the Deschutes river in Oregon have all paid off and helped make Geoff the angler and writer that he is today.

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