How To:

Salt Water Fishing Rods 101

Author: Bullbuster Team

Everything You Need To Know About 

          Salt Water Fishing Rods

Bullbuster AmbassadorTeam Ninja Sharkers fish with long big game rods for landbased shark fishing so that they don't get cut off if a shark runs under the bridge.

Fishing rods are obviously one of the most important pieces of equipment you will have for fishing.  This guide goes in depth into the subject of fishing rods, why there are different types, different fishing rod terminology, and even a little bit into rod building. On we focus mostly on for salt water fishing, especially big game fishing like shark fishing, or tuna fishing, for the purpose of this article we will get pretty broad.  Ultimately our goal is to help you spend more time fishing. 

Rod Components

Bullbuster AmbassadorL&H Sportfishing uses custom "Leeward Rods" for their kite fishing setups.

It is useful to have a working knowledge of reel components and their names even if you are not going to become a custom rod builder.  This is useful for shopping for rods online, getting your rods fixed, and communicating with other fishermen while fishing. 


Guides come in many shapes and sizes, but ultimately they are what your fishing line slides through as it is "guided" along your rod.  A basic guide for a fishing rod guide is a loop with a ceramic that reduces friction as your line slides in and out of it.  A more advanced guide is a roller guide, this guide literally has a component that rolls your line in and out of it in order to reduce friction. 

Below is a video put together by "Mudhole" on youtube that goes really in depth on to a number of different types of fishing rod guides and their applications. 


Windings are what keep your guides connected to your rod.  Windings are usually made of a threaded material which is then epoxied over in order to protect them on the finished rod. 

Below is a video posted on Youtube by "Mud Hole" that shows you how you can make your own windings for your rod. 

Rod Wrapping Thread
Below are threads via that are used to wrap guides onto rod blanks

Hook Keeper

Photo via

Many rods have a small metal loop near the reel where you can rest your hook or lure in order not to have to cut it off or to damage guides or your reels handle.  This is most common in rods used for spinning reels or small conventional reels that do not have anywhere for you to put your hook on. 

Make Your Own Hook Keeper

Below is a way to make your own hook keeper posted on Youtube by "Kayak Fishing Hacks" that the Youtuber got from one of his subscribers. The video uses "Mounting Cable Ties" as a quick and easy hook keeper tie. Below we will include a link to these Mounting Cable Ties so that you can buy them online. 

Click Here To Buy These Ties

Rod Blank

The rod blank is the "backbone" of the rod.  This is what goes inside of the rod handle and it is what the windings wrap around to connect the  guides to. 

Below is a video that covers the making of a blank at the Seeker rods factory.  This video was posted on youtube by 

Rod Handle

The rod handle consists of the grip, the reel seat, and the butt (all of which we will cover in more detail below. 

Rod Grip 

Rod Grip
Above is a photo by Bullbuster Ambassador Iconic fishing of a shark fishing rod with a foam rod grip.

The rod grip is the area of the rod handle above your reel seat and below where the rod handle starts. This can be made of a number of materials including foam, cork, and many others.  The main goal of this area is to give you a comfortable area to hold onto for both casting, and long fights. 

Reel Seat 

Reel Seats (Rod Components)
Above is a picture of reel seats via custom rod builder

The reel seat is an important component of a fishing rod.  This is where your reel connects to your rod.  Reel seats usually consist of a hole at the top where the reel foot can enter, and a sliding component that can be fasted with a nut ( or two) that can tighten along the barrel of your reel seat. Many reel seats for light tackle rods are made of plastic, while big game fishing seats are usually made of metal to handle more pressure. 

Rod Butt 

The rod butt is the end piece of your rod.   There are two main types of a rod butts, with two different end goals.  The first one, called a "but cap" , is usually used for rods that you will be using to cast with or will usually have in your hands, is made for comfort.  The second is a "gimbal butt" made for mostly larger rods that will be sitting in rod holders, it has four  openings in it, that are made to lock into a rod holder for your rod and reels security. 

Types Of "Action" Rods Can Have

Below we will cover the three basic rod action types, and why you might want each. 

Light Action:

Like the name says, light action means you only need a "light" amount of pressure to make the rod bend.  Light action rods often bend the whole way through the rod all the way to the handle. 

Medium Action: 

Again, like the name says, a medium action rod only needs a "medium" amount of pressure to make it bend.  These rods often bend more easily towards the tip of the rods, and less easily as you move your way down to the rod handle. 

Heavy Action: 

Heavy action rods require "Heavy" pressure to make them bend.  Usually these rods are pretty hard to bend from the tip all the way down to the rod handle. 

Length Of Rods & Why They Matter

Below we will talk about different rod lengths and why they matter. 

Rods Less Than 6 Feet

Usually rods of this length are made for boat fishing.  They are good for techniques such as jigging or big game fishing with small high speed reels (See #Bullbuster Ambassador Tavis Kagawa's article on small reel enthusiasm), because at this length you can get a lot of leverage on a fish, and make quick short pumps to gain a lot of line really quickly on heavy hitting fish such as Amberjacks and Tuna. The goal with this rod is to get the fishes head facing towards you FAST!

6-7 Foot Rods

Most rods fall in this size range.  This length is good for casting and it is also good for getting leverage on your fish. 

7-9 Foot Rods

These rods are usually made for casting.   Any rod above 7 feet can start to get a little bit unwieldy if you are fishing from a boat. At this length, you gain some advantage for casting, but loose some of your leverage against the fish. 

9-15 Foot Rods

These rods are usually used for landbased fishing. They can be used for either surf casting, cliff fishing, or landbased shark fishing.  The main advantages are casting, the abillity to keep your line above floating debris such as sea weed, the abillity to protect your line from structure if you are fishing from a bridge or a pier.  The main disadvantages of rods this long, are  a major loss of leverage against the fish, and they are hard to transport. 

* If you are going to travel with your fishing rods of any size, you may want to consider getting a rod case, or getting a rod that breaks down into several pieces connected by "ferrules".

Rod Materials

Below we cover the main materials that most modern "salt water rod blanks" are made from.


Graphite is an inexpensive and light material that many rods are made out of. 

Below is a video posted by "DiawaAustralia" on youtube about Graphite rods. 


Many rods are made of fiberglass, these rods are heavy, and extremely strong and flexible. Fiberglass rod blanks are often more expensive than graphite. 

Below is a video of a lineup of Fiberglass rod blanks posted by "Rod Geeks" on Youtube: 

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is the ultimate material for salt water fishing rod blanks.  Carbon fiber rods are expensive relative to other types of fishing blanks, but they are also very light and VERY strong.

Below is a video from a custom carbon fiber rod maker in the UK posted by Youtube Channel "The Handmade Fisherman" :

Repair Your Rod

One of the most basic rod repairs is replacing a rod tip. If you snap a rod you can always make it just a little bit shorter by cutting it, sanding it down, and replacing the tip.  

The video below posted on Youtube by "GetBitOutdoors" shows you how to replace a broken rod tip.

Make Your Own Custom Rod

There are many resources online for making your own custom rods, we recommend checking out mudhole's rod making resources

We hope you enjoyed this article, and we hope that we will have the opportunity to help you spend more time fishing.  Check out our brand direct fishing lines which you can buy directly from our factory at the tap of a button, saving you both time and money.