Best Telescoping Fishing Rod

Geoff Stadnyk in Fishing Rods on

What is a telescopic rod?

Is it fragile?

Are they worth it?

The answers just might surprise you.

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What is a telescoping fishing rod?

A telescoping fishing rod is a rod that collapses down into a compact size. They are great choices for air travel or packing into the trunk of a car.

Telescoping fishing rods compare to traditional 2-piece rods when it comes to performance, and some are considered superior. They are worth the money. However, they do come with a few drawbacks, which we will discuss below.

The Pros and Cons of Telescoping Fishing Rods

What are the benefits of a telescoping fishing rod?

Telescoping fishing rods are great for anglers of all experience levels. Their portability alone is their best advantage.

Have you ever had a pole snap on you while hiking to a secluded fishing spot, or while you were arranging your camping gear in your car? You don’t have to worry about this if your rod condenses down to a sturdy 18 inches.

Telescoping fishing rods are surprisingly affordable, and available in designs suited for any fishing technique and situation.

Men with telescoping fishing rod sitting on fishing chair

What negatives are there to a telescoping fishing rod?

One drawback is that small particles of debris can get lodged among the joints, damaging the guides and making it difficult to extend or retract the pole. Extra care in cleaning and storing your pole is needed to prevent this.

If not used properly, the pole runs the risk of snapping. You may see some anglers “flick” their pole open – never do this!

Extend your pole one section at a time, starting from the bottom, and make sure each section snaps securely in place. Be sure to close your rod all the way. Never force it closed – if a section gets stuck while closing, open it back out and give it a good wipe down and a close inspection for damage.

Choose a rod that fits your fishing style. Just as you would never use a light, sensitive 2-piece pole to catch heavy, aggressive fish, using a telescoping pole for what it was designed to do will extend it’s life and give you the greatest satisfaction.

You get what you pay for. Investing in higher quality materials and components on the outset will save you money replacing parts, shipping it out for repairs, or from buying an entirely new rod.

Telescoping rods do tend to wear out faster than traditional poles. It might be the best idea to only use telescoping rods for traveling or “emergency” fishing opportunities.

Are telescoping fishing rods worse for larger fish?

Telescoping fishing rods are perfectly capable of handling larger fish, so long as they are designed to handle the stress and heavier line weights and lures.

Because of their collapsible design, telescoping rods tend to be more rigid in construction. A good one should be durable, even when you’ve hooked a hard-fighting bass or a whopper catfish.

Designing a rod with multiple sections is actually an advantage, since this spreads stress more evenly across the entire length of the rod.

Benefits :

  • Easier to transport when storage space is limited.
  • Difficult to break during transport.
  • Made of the same materials as regular rods.
  • Customizable to your fishing situation and style.
  • Rigid construction distributes stress evenly.
  • Price range that won’t break your budget.

Drawbacks :

  • The more you use it, the quicker it breaks down.
  • Need to be cleaned more often.
  • Need to be extended and collapsed properly – every time.
  • You get what you pay for.
  • Will snap easily if not used for its intended purpose.

How to choose the best telescoping fishing rod?

In years past, pro anglers advised against telescoping fishing rods unless you were a novice going after lighter fish. This is not the case anymore, with the technology and design improving dramatically in recent years.

Here are a few things you should consider when purchasing a telescoping fishing rod:

Durability and Material Quality

Choosing a rod with quality materials will make it easier to maintain. It will perform better and last longer.

Most telescoping rods are made out of traditional fiberglass, graphite (a.k.a. carbon fiber), or a combination of both. As with standard rods, fiberglass is tough and durable, but may not be sensitive enough for some finesse anglers.

Most handles are made of EVA, but some are cork or foam. Some handles are adjustable to give you that perfect grip.

Graphite rods offer increased sensitivity, but are brittle and can snap easily with aggressive techniques. Graphite rods are best suited for spinning rods and reels, finesse fishing, and/or lighter fish like trout and crappie.

Rods made from a composite of both graphite and fiberglass offer the best of both worlds. They are durable and sensitive, but (depending on the brand) they can run slightly on the higher end of the price scale.

Telescoping fishing rod on the beautiful lake background during the morning light

Corrosion Resistance

Corrosion is a major concern if you like to fish coastal waters. Salt water eats away metal much faster than fresh, which is why it is important to look for poles and reels that are corrosion resistant.

Keep in mind, corrosion resistant does not mean corrosion-proof. Even if the rod and reel claims seawater-resistant components and materials, you should always take care to thoroughly break down, rinse, and dry all pieces of equipment after a day at the shore.

Spinning vs. Casting

Knowing what techniques you use when fishing plays a HUGE role in your experience with a telescopic pole. Start with asking yourself, “How do I like to fish?”

Casting rods are made for baitcasting and spincasting. The reel seats are positioned on top of the rod, so when you go to reel in an aggressive, heavy fish, all the stress of the fight pulls the line against the rod blank itself. This keeps you from breaking off eyelets.

Casting rods and reels are for heavy lines, beefy species, and power techniques.

Spinning rods are the exact opposite. Reel seats are on the underside of the rod, meaning the eyelets are going to take all the stress of the line. Spinning reels and rods are meant for lighter lines and finesse fishing techniques.

Choosing the right pole style for your technique will make all the difference between a rod that lasts you for years, or one that snaps on the first hook.

7 Best Telescopic Fishing Rods

Need help choosing a good telescoping fishing rod? Here are seven of my favorite picks along with my personal reviews of each.

Best telescoping rod & reel combo

Carbon fiber composite materials and a corrosion-resistant reel design make this classy rod an excellent choice for salt or freshwater anglers.

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Specs:

SIZE

(M)

WEIGHT

(OZ)

CLOSED LENGTH OPEN 

LENGTH

SECTIONS
1.8 5.29 17” 5.91’ 6
2.9 6.17 17.3” 6.89’ 7
2.4 7.09 17.7” 7.87’ 8
2.7 8.40 18” 8.86’ 9

This gorgeous rod will have heads turning all along the pier as you snap it in place. Plusinno goes all-out when it comes to the construction and design of their telescoping rod and reel combo.

They offer four different lengths, none of them weighing more than half a pound, and all for an amazingly reasonable price. This is the perfect combo to take along on business trips or vacations for when you might get the chance to do a little casting on the side.

The stainless steel hooded reel seat prevents seawater corrosion makes this an ideal choice for both fresh and seawater anglers. The EVA fore grip is both comfortable and stylish.

Each section slides out and locks into place along sturdy, corrosion-resistant aluminum oxide guides. The sections are constructed of a carbon fiber and fiberglass combination, giving you rugged durability paired with the right amount of sensitivity.

The s-curve oscillation system on the reel allows for smooth winding action. The reel also has instant, anti-reverse, power-drive gears that give you the upper hand against a fighter.

There are too many awesome features about this rod for me to mention here, so you’ll have to check this one out for yourself.

What We Like
Elegant - Beautiful, classy design.
Durable - Carbon fiber/fiberglass rod material combine sensitivity with rugged durability.
Anti-corrosion Design - Resists corrosion from seawater.
Cost - Shockingly affordable for the value.
Know Before Buying
Kit Sold Separately - Many customers buy this product expecting it to come with line and lures. However, the complete kit is sold as a separate item.

Best Overall Telescoping Fishing Rod

This rod is designed to mimic the action of a traditional 2-piece pole. Recommended for fishing pros who occasionally need the portability of a collapsible rod.

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Specs:

STYLE TECHNIQUE OPEN LENGTHS ACTION POWER
A Spinning 6’6” – 7’4” Fast M – Nh
B Casting 6’8” – 7’6” Fast M – Mh
C Inshore

Spinning/

Casting

7’6” – 8’0” Moderately Fast Mh – H

Closed Lengths: Typically ⅓ the extended length

Overall Weight: 14.39 oz

KastKing’s Blackhawk II is what you want to go with if you want a telescoping rod that feels and performs more like a two-piece. Snug-Fit ferrules and floating guidelines disperse line stress evenly among the sections, eliminating flats along the rod.

Full-graphite construction allows for maximum sensitivity. The all-glass rod tips are excellent for precision jigging. The grip is EVA for a comfortable experience.

KastKing offers this rod in a variety of styles and lengths. So whether you prefer casting or spinning, inshore or off, there is a rod available for you.

If you do decide to purchase this rod, note that this is the rod only. It’s well within most budgets, no matter which style you choose.

It also comes with a warranty that allows you to send the item back to the company for repairs, but I don’t recommend using it. The warranty requires that you send the reel back along with an assessment fee, and if the defect is not due to a manufacturing fault, it can cost half the retail price of the rod to have it repaired and shipped back to you.

The only drawback to this rod is it’s somewhat fragile and can snap if you attempt to yank your line out of a hard snag. It’s better recommended for fishing lighter species, cleaner waters, or if you only need it for those few trips where packing space is limited. .

What We Like
Traditional Rod Action - A telescoping rod that performs like a two-piece.
Sensitive Glass Tips - Great for fine jigging.
Variety - Multiple lengths and styles to choose from.
Know Before Buying
Fragile - Pole is known to snap when handled roughly.
Limited Warranty - Warranty is costly to use. Inspect and test your rod immediately after you receive it for defects.
Rod Only - You will need to equip a reel.

Best Budget Telescoping Fishing Rod

Don’t be fooled by the price tag. This innocent-looking rod performs like a higher-end pole. A perfect choice if you need a spare rod to keep in your vehicle.

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Specs:

TYPE OPEN

LENGTH

CLOSED

LENGTH

SECTIONS ACTION POWER
Spinning 6’6” 18” 5 Moderate M
Casting 6’6” 18” 5 Fast Mh

This collapsible rod is a prime example of the adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Despite the low price tag, this pole performs like a pro.

If you’re nervous about getting a telescoping rod for the first time, this is definitely the one to start with. The Quantum Embark features a rigid fiberglass core combined with a sensitive IM6 graphite reinforcement, to let you know exactly when you get a bite.

The solid glass tips are particularly durable, adding to the sensitivity. The EVA coated handle makes it easy to fish for hours in comfort.

Probably the coolest and most useful feature of this rod is the built-in hook keeper, so you have somewhere to safely store your hook when switching from spot to spot.

It comes in two basic styles, depending on whether you need it to mount a spincast or baitcasting reel. Otherwise, they are essentially the same.

An all-around great pole for the price, I’d recommend the Quantum Embark even if you already own a telescoping rod.

The only real drawback to this rod is it does not have corrosion resistance, so I’d reserve it for freshwater fishing only.

What We Like
A Real Value - Surprisingly versatile and durable for the price. It feels like a higher-end rod.
Economical - Perfect for a tight budget.
5-year Warranty - Covers defects in workmanship and/or materials.
Hook Keeper Built In - Easier to keep the hook in a safe place.
Know Before Buying
Limited Options - Both styles come in only one length.
No Corrosion Protection - Not recommended for seawater fishing.

Best Premium Telescoping Fishing Rod

The durability and toughness of this sensitive carbon fiber rod make this an excellent choice for anglers who like to fish for bass and catfish.

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Specs:

TYPE OPEN

LENGTH

CLOSED

LENGTH

SECTIONS ACTION CASTING

WEIGHT

Spinning 6.89’ 27.16” 5 Fast 0.70-2.10 oz

The Daiwa Megaforce Tele Spin is a spincasting rod that features a HMC+ carbon fiber blank with Titanium oxide guides for extra longevity and reliability.

The handle is a classic-looking combination of cork and EVA.

This rod runs in the same price range as most of the other rods featured here. Daiwa does offer this model in three other lengths, however I could not get specific specs on those.

However, as its name implies, it can be used for fresh or seawater. The longer lengths can support casting weights of up to a whopping 10 ounces and are reported to haul in large fish up to at least 20 pounds.

It’s good to keep in mind that because it is made of sensitive carbon fiber (graphite), it does run the potential of snapping if used incorrectly. To be on the safe side, always be sure to rinse and wipe down this pole after use in saltwater.

What We Like
Great For Spincasting - Sensitive materials and fast action can handle decent-sized fish.
Flexible And Lightweight - Surprising durability combined with portability make this pole a favorite for many.
Know Before Buying
Can Be Fragile - Be sure to handle this rod correctly or the sensitive carbon fiber construction may snap.
Imported - You may not be able to get repairs done on this pole if purchasing in the U.S.

Best Telescopic Rod Combo Kit

Sougayilang delivers excellence all wrapped up in a compact kit inside a sturdy carrying case. This is a perfect telescopic rod combo for impromptu fishers or as a gift for that angler in your life.

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Specs:

SIZE SECTIONS OPEN LENGTHS CLOSED 

LENGTH

ROD 

WEIGHT

5.91’ 5 70.47” 16.1” 5.29 oz
6.89’ 6 82.68” 16.53” 6.88 oz
7.87’ 7 95.08” 16.73” 7.94 oz

Sougayilang clearly had the needs of their customers in mind when they put together their line of telescopic pole combos and kits. Both the kit and the combo come in a slim zippered case with foam inserts, so you can easily slip it in a backpack or under a truck seat.

The form-fitting foam inserts give you peace of mind knowing that your gear will stay intact during transportation. There’s enough space in there for you to add a few extras items if you want.

They offer two primary kits: a simple rod and reel combo or a full kit that includes extra line, lures, hooks, and a few other extras. The kit is a perfect gift idea – for someone else, or for yourself!

The pole itself is well designed. It combines rigid fiberglass with high-density carbon fiber to ensure longevity and performance. High-quality materials go into making the guide rings to lower friction and maximize heat distribution, adding to its ability to withstand anything you might put it through.

Stainless steel hooded reel seats help protect the rod from seawater corrosion, meaning you can fish anywhere the opportunity arises.

The honeycomb-design spool, powerful gears, and precision matched gears of the included reel gives you smooth power in a lightweight form. The reel also features an aluminum spool and corrosion-resistant ball bearings.

Last, but certainly not least, the handle is made of EVA – fish for days on end if you want to!

Sougilayang offers a 1-year warranty on these products and excellent customer service in case anything should happen to the rod or reel. All around, this combo is by far the best I’ve seen on the market.

What We Like
Compact Carrying Case - Fits perfectly into small spaces and protects your investment.
Handy Handle Holes - Great for securing a hook or for other uses.
Superior Customer Service - 1-year warranty and fast, responsive, courteous service.
Know Before Buying
Not 100% Seawater Proof - Some smaller components (such as screws) may be susceptible to corrosion. Especially mind the tiny parts when cleaning after seawater use.

Best Carbon Fiber Telescopic Rod

Whistytwig’s thoughtfully-designed telescopic fishing rod comes with a sleeve and eyelet protector. This rod will make the perfect mate to your favorite spincasting reel.

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Specs:

MODEL SECTIONS OPEN LENGTHS CLOSED 

LENGTH

LINE

WEIGHT

2207 8 7’2″ 19.5″ 8 – 15 lbs
3009 10 10’ 22” 10 – 20 lbs

Reading about the satisfaction Whistytwig’s customers have using their carbon fiber telescopic fishing rods makes it hard to resist buying one for myself. But, do I really need another rod?

That’s a trick question – the answer is yes. Yes, I do.

It may come from a company with a whimsical name, but this pole is a serious work horse. It boasts an ultra-light IM6 carbon fiber construction with a fiberglass tip, graphite reel seat, and stainless steel guides.

This is a medium action rod made for both braided and mono lines with line weights between 8 – 15 lbs, and lure weights up to 1.4 ounces. It’s great for lure casting and is ideal for catching mid-sized gamefish.

The handle is EVA-wrapped and, as a bonus, adjustable to fit your grip. The entire rod weighs less than a half pound – 7.2 ounces, to be exact.

You can feel confident using this pole on fresh or seawater. It also comes with a protective sleeve and a plastic eye protector for storage.

Should you choose to go with this one, you won’t be disappointed! However, Whistytwig offers free returns if, for some reason, you decide this pole is not for you.

What We Like
Adjustable Handle - Extend the handle to get a customized fit for your hand.
Protective Sleeve - Included sleeve for rod and eye protection.
Strong And Durable - Suitable for heavier fish species from both fresh and seawater.
Know Before Buying
Not Suitable For Baitcasting Reels - The rod is designed for spincasting reels.

Best Colored Telescopic Rod Combos

Tired of boring black and white? Sougayilang delivers variety with a rod and reel combo that comes in multiple color choices. Perfect for those who want a personal touch without sacrificing quality.

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Specs:

SIZE

(Open Length)

SECTIONS CLOSED 

LENGTH

ROD 

WEIGHT

LINE

WEIGHT

5.91’ 8 15.1” 5.64 oz 5 – 10 lbs
6.89’ 8 15.5” 6.36 oz 5 – 10 lbs
7.87’ 9 15.9” 7.76 oz 6 – 12 lbs

Believe it or not, some anglers out there want gear that fits both their fishing technique AND their personal sense of style. Once again, Sougayilang listened and delivered.

As far as performance, this pole stands out with its high-density, 24-ton carbon fiber construction reinforced with a fiberglass composite that gives it superior strength and elasticity. Welded stainless steel guides and zirconium oxide rings dissipate heat while allowing for maximum casting distance and accuracy.

The real seat is CNC machined aluminum to give it a solid base and make it resistant to corrosion. Want to take it out to sea? Go right ahead!

This combo comes equipped with a spinning reel with a handle that is also CNC machined. The 12+1 corrosion-resistant bearings will take the fight of any fish and dish it right back.

This rod+reel combo is designed to work with braided, monofilament and fluorocarbon lines. I recommend using a braided line for the shortest model, as it falls just shy of the standard 6’ pole. Fish all day long with it’s EVA-covered handle.

After choosing the length of your pole, you then get to choose between three bold and outspoken colors: a deep, electric blue, a vibrant green, or a sleek and classy silver. No matter your preferences, you’ll be able to find something that will let you say “This one’s MINE!”

What We Like
Multiple Colors - Get away from boring ol’ black with 3 color options.
Great Value - Amazing durability and strength for an affordable price. Feel confident tackling bigger fish.
Know Before Buying
Tapered Reel Seat Design - May mean the reel will feel loose, which is easily rectified with a small shim.

In Summary

The compactability of telescoping rods makes them the perfect tool to have on hand if you want to seize every possible opportunity to fish. They are surprisingly durable and collapse down into a size you can take with you hiking, biking, traveling, or tucked under the seat of your car or truck.

Three things you should know about telescopic rods are:

  1. Always open and close them properly. Never “snap” open a rod, no matter how “cool” it looks.
  2. Choose the correct type of rod for your fishing technique. If you like bait or spin casting, get a casting rod. If you’re a finesse fisher, you’ll be delighted with a spinning rod.
  3. Always disassemble and thoroughly clean your rod, especially after use in or near saltwater. Anybody trying to sell you a “100% corrosion-proof rod,” is likely selling you a cheap plastic trinket.

Telescopic rods are made of the same components as quality fishing rods, namely, fiberglass and carbon fiber (or graphite). Fiberglass poles are stiff and rigid. Graphite rods are sensitive, but brittle. A combination of both types of materials will give you the perfect balance between durability and sensitive flexibility.

I hope you found this article informative and that it encouraged you to give a telescoping rod a try. Once you find one you love, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one.

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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