I’ve broken probably…seven or eight rods over the years, and I’ll tell you – three or four of them were telescopic rods. They’re just not durable enough to withstand a decent-sized fish.
That’s my motivation for this article. I want to help find a rod that is both lightweight and compact enough for travel but also durable enough to catch something worthy of a photo. Hopefully, I don’t fall flat on my face, but I think I’ve managed to put together a solid list!
Our Reviews of the Best Telescopic Fishing Rods
KastKing Blackhawk II Fishing Rod
If you read my reviews, you know my stance on telescopic rods. These are usually cheaply made, “gag” rods, as I would call them. They’re not intended for real fishing but more so for hobbyists and people who travel a lot. But, I will say that this is the best telescopic fishing rod on the market, hands down.
The build quality is that of a premium rod, the guide design is beautiful, there are a million different size, power, and action combinations to appeal to anglers of all methods. It’s a great rod all around.
Eagle Claw PK555SP Pack-It
A budget rod is a budget rod, I suppose. This one isn’t the most durable rod on the planet, and being a telescopic rod, I’ll go even further on that observation. This manufacturer has been making these for a long time, and it’s a great option for travel and budget-friendliness.
PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
I’m a believer in doing things the simple way, and if you don’t understand how to pair rods and reels, your best bet is to go with this. You can use the combo for both saltwater and freshwater; it stores well, it uses some seriously high-quality materials, and it’s a great overall option for recreational anglers.
Daiwa Megaforce Telespin Rod
This rod somewhat verifies what I’ve said about telescopic rods. Daiwa won’t even back up this product at this point because they’re not thrilled with the construction and design of the model. That being said, I think it’s a solid spinning rod for fishing lakes and ponds.
If you’re out there trying to catch an eight-pound bass, good luck. But, it gets the job done for smaller bass and most panfish.
This rod combines elements of durability and sensitivity which makes it a great choice for inshore saltwater fishing. The one thing you’ll want to be extra attentive to is the joints of the rod. Applying lubrication on a regular basis is a good habit to get into. Other than that, you get a durable moderate action rod that’s great for most inshore fishing applications.
MAGREEL 24T CARBON FIBER FISHING POLE
I’m a fan of this one because I think it uses the best materials you can get within this price range; I’m just not familiar with the brand. 24-ton carbon fiber and stainless steel is the best money can buy, and you shouldn’t have any issues with the salt. Just make sure you buy a high-quality reel to go along with it.
Sougayilang Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
My expectations are pretty low when approaching this brand because they make a lot of these rod and reel combos, but this one is pretty decent. For freshwater fishing, you get a high-density carbon fiber blank and ceramic guides for better casting accuracy. The reel seems pretty smooth and good enough for the average weekend warrior.
Leo Fishing Rod and Reel Kit
If you’re shopping for a gift for someone or you’re traveling out of state for a fishing trip, this would be the perfect fishing kit. The rod and reel are good enough for occasional fishing, and you get everything you need in one package. My only suggestion is to take it easy on the eyes because they’re glued, and they’ll snap off with even the lightest pressure.
ODDSPRO Kids Rod
I really have no criticism of this rod and reel combo for kids; it’s a great telescopic choice. If you’re looking for something that’s easy to use and manage for younger hands, it’s a solid option. The reel is designed well, and it’s simple to operate. Plus, the rod is easy to transport, and the whole package comes with a carrying case to keep it organized.
LIXADA PEN ROD AND REEL COMBO
My biggest complaint about this combo is that you’re forced to use their reel, so you can’t customize it at all. The rod is good enough for battling most panfish, perch, etc. But it would be nice to be able to add your own reel. The seat is so small that it’s only big enough for the “gag” reel they include with it.
Wakeman Ultra Series Spinning Rod and Reel
This rod will get the job done in most lakes, ponds, and rivers for panfish and other small species. If you’re in need of something that is simple to transport and won’t get damaged, you might want to give this one a further look. I do have a complaint about the reel, though. It’s a single ball bearing reel, which means cranking this baby is going to be like stopping quickly at a red light with a car that hasn’t had its brakes replaced since 1998.
ZACX Telescopic Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
This combo is an ideal telescopic set because it contains everything you need, it’s easy to transport, and it’s good enough for light fishing and occasional catching. You can take it anywhere, and it also makes a great gift for children or young adults who might not have a lot of fishing experience.
What is a Telescopic Fishing Rod?
A telescopic rod is one that collapses down so it can be stored and transported easily. These rods are made with multiple pieces in a tiered structure, which allows the rod to collapse on itself. They each collapse down into the handle or the rod blank.
Then, when you’re ready to fish with it, you’ll expand the sections by pulling the rod out and extending it to its complete length.
This varies from a rod that has multiple pieces. Some traditional rods come in two or three-piece sections that you’ll take apart and carry separately. These are not telescopic rods. Telescopic is one single rod composed of multiple sections, but it’s still only “one-piece.”
Most of these rods use a mixture of fiberglass and carbon fiber material, so they contain a lot of the same strength and durability as regular rods. The reason they’re never as durable is simply the fact that they’re made with many different parts.
When you combine four or five pieces to make a rod, you’re creating weak points, which causes the rod to break easier, and it reduces the overall sensitivity, so they’re not usually as effective either.
You’ll also see telescopic rods called collapsible fishing rods, telescoping fishing rods, retractable fishing rods, and portable fishing rods.
I find that these are most popular among travelers who frequently move from one location to the other. They don’t work with large fish or power applications because of their durability issues, but they’ll serve their purpose for someone who isn’t a “serious” angler and is simply looking to cast around every now and again.
Telescopic Fishing Rods vs. Traditional Rods
If we’re comparing the two, let’s look at a few different factors:
- Ease of use
Let’s break each one down in its own section so you can get a solid representation of whether or not the best collapsible fishing rod is the right choice for you.
Winner: Traditional Rods
No matter what telescopic rod you choose, the traditional fishing rod will always prevail. Their performance cannot compare because you’re losing a lot of sensitivity due to the multiple pieces, and many of these cannot accommodate a decent fishing reel, which reduces the smoothness of your retrieval and impacts your presentation.
You lose flexibility in terms of what lures you want to use because you won’t be able to create a particular presentation, so you’ll have to “dumb down” how you present your lure to something a bit more simple.
Now, if you have a lot of experience, you’ll know how to handle the situation and choose something like a drop-shot rigged worm or a suspending jerkbait that doesn’t require much of a presentation.
But, no matter what way we try to play this, traditional rods will always outperform because they’re smoother, more sensitive, and they provide more options.
Winner: Telescopic Rods
If you didn’t know yet, telescopic rods are easier to transport, simpler to walk around with, and more convenient if you have a lot to carry. Most of these come with carrying bags so you can store everything in one place, and some of them don’t even require you to purchase lures, reels, or anything for that matter.
To the experienced anglers like myself, these are “gags,” as I like to call them. They’re cheap materials, cheap rods, cheap reels, and cheap lures. Do they get the job done 75% of the time? Yes, they do, but that other 25% is where serious anglers live, and these rods aren’t good enough.
If you fish a few times a year with a cooler full of beer and three of your best buddies, these rods will take care of business.
Winner: Traditional Rods
This factor is somewhat obvious, as well. Telescopic rods are the least durable option money can buy.
When you take multiple pieces and combine them to create something that needs to function as “one-piece,” you’ll never be able to catch anything large or battle fish that put up much of a fight.
Ease of Use
What defines ease of use for one is different for another. I don’t want to go out on a limb and say that telescopic rods are easier because that’s not always true. It’s important to keep in mind how corrosion will impact the performance of a fishing rod.
If you’re using these for saltwater or you’re not maintaining them properly, they’ll become brittle and different to open and close, which will decrease the ease of use versus a traditional rod.
As for traditional rods, they might not be as easy to transport as your typical travel rod, but they’re easier to use because they’re simpler to operate. If you get a standard two-piece rod, you can still travel with them, but you need to be more careful about where you store them because they’re not collapsible.
Overall, I can’t pick a winner on this because it depends on the individual and how you intend to fish with these rods.
How to Choose the Best Telescopic Fishing Rod
When you’re choosing a portable fishing rod, there are some things you should consider. Let’s take a look at all the factors I would consider before purchasing.
The number of sections is important because it will determine how many weak spots you have in your rod. Most telescopic poles are four, five, or six sections. The less, the better, but that might also impact the total length of your rod.
Of course, we’re nickel and diming because it may only vary by an inch or so in collapsed length, but that inch might matter for some of you. Overall, I’d recommend going with as few sections as possible to get the most durable rod. The total length won’t matter if the rod snaps in half.
Extended vs. Collapsed Lengths
This point goes hand-in-hand with the previous. The total length of your rod is important for both travel and when you’re on the water. Keep in mind what you intend to do with your fishing rod. If you’re trying to find something for surf fishing, you’ll need a pretty long rod of at least eight feet because you need that extra distance to cast beyond the surf.
If you’re trying to fish small backwater ponds for bass, you can go with something much shorter, which will likely impact both your extended and collapsed length. A lot of people use these rods for frequent traveling or nomadic lifestyles. If that’s the case, weight might also be a factor.
Most telescopic rods are made with fiberglass, carbon fiber, or a combination of the two. You want to find high tensile materials that are rated for the highest weight possible if you’re trying to maximize durability.
Keep in mind that as you increase durability through heavier materials, you’re also creating a rod that will weigh more, which may not be ideal if you’re traveling or walking long distances and trying to limit the weight of your gear for backpacking.
There’s an endless scale that tips down on one side and raises on the other when it comes to these types of rods. Keep weighing the pros and cons to come to a confirmed decision.
The weight of your telescopic rod is important because most people buy these to find something that is lightweight. Granted, few telescopic rods weigh more than two pounds, so they’re all relatively light. Just remember that light is good but also bad.
If you’re thinking of using crankbaits, stickbaits, or other heavy power baits, you’re going to run into some trouble. You might be able to cast and present them, but if anything hefty strikes you, you’re gonna have quite a battle on your hands.
Many of these rods are ultralight medium-heavy action blanks, so they bend a lot, but they’re meant for smaller fish to prevent damage. They will break if you’re not careful, and most of the negative reviews and bad stigma you might revolve around people who didn’t understand what they were getting into.
I’d suggest trying to find a telescopic rod that is moderate in weight, size, and functionality. Most of the recommended options above, especially the KastKing Blackhawk II Telescopic Fishing Rod and the PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combo, will handle a sizable fish, and they aren’t hard to transport.
Accessories are fun, but if you follow my reviews, you know how I feel about them. I highly dislike buying rods that come with anything else other than a rod. In most cases, rod and reel combos are cheap materials combined to increase the overall price and value of the purchase.
Whenever you get lures, hooks, and line with a rod or reel, they’re the lowest quality possible and will only get the job done for people who aren’t actually trying to catch anything.
That said, if you’re shopping for convenience and you’re not on the water to catch a trophy size fish, they’ll work. Consider what you have at home. If you don’t have any tackle, purchasing a package deal will help you get started with the necessary pieces of equipment you need to go on the water and try to catch something.
If you have a lot of gear already, don’t think that you’re getting a deal by purchasing a kit. All you’re getting is a lot of junk.
Purpose and Intention
Last but not least, my favorite thing to discuss. I like anglers to niche up and specialize in something. Me, I like to consider myself a finesse angler. I fish for bass with lightweight lures, ultralight rods, and high gear ratio reels. I do this when the water is a bit cooler at times when bass aren’t biting. This is when I like to fish, and that’s how I do it.
If you had to describe yourself, how would you do so?
If nothing comes to mind. Then go with one of the fishing kits above, and don’t worry about it. But, if something does pop into your head, make sure you use it to guide your decision. If you like fishing crankbaits and suspended lures, you’ll need something with a bit more guts, so choose a heavier and longer telescopic rod.
Suppose you prefer to fish saltwater and inshore canals throughout Florida as an example. In that case, you’ll need a corrosion-resistant rod, and you’ll want to avoid the kits because those lures won’t hold up in saltwater anyway.
It’s important to understand that manufacturers create these rods with everyone as their target, but they don’t work for everyone. Amateur anglers don’t really have to worry about this, but if you’re serious about your fishing and you’re looking for something that you can travel with, you’ll want to be a bit pickier.
I scoured the internet to find some of the most frequently asked questions revolving around telescopic fishing rods. Here’s what people want to know, and chances are, you might want to know this too!
The best option is the KastKing Blackhawk II Telescopic Fishing Rod, hands down. It comes in varying lengths between 6.6 and 8 feet, which provides options for both fresh and saltwater. Plus, it’s made with high-quality carbon fiber and fiberglass materials, which maximize strength while also limiting excess weight for transportation.
There’s really no such thing as a “bad” rod. Each rod has a purpose and an intent, and if you try to use one outside of its realm of purpose, it won’t work. That’s what people do all the time. People take a five-foot fiberglass rod with aluminum oxide guides and try to catch Tarpon with it. Then they complain when it rusts and snaps after two fishing trips.
If you read this guide, you should know what you’re getting into with a telescopic rod. They’re not the most durable rods out there, so you can’t push them. But, if you’re looking for something that’s easy to transport and good enough for occasional fishing, you’re in the right place.
Yes, but you’re teetering on a fine line. It all depends on the scenario. I’ve caught six-pound bass on a two-pound trout line with an ultralight rod, but that doesn’t mean I would suggest doing it. If you take care of the telescopic rod, clean it after use, dry it thoroughly, and lubricate the unions, you could probably fish power baits, but why bother?
If you’re trying to catch larger fish, you’ll need the right reel and a proper rod for it. These would not be my first, second, or third choice.
Again, it all depends on what you’re doing with it. If you don’t have any fishing gear and this is your starting point, absolutely get the reel. Buying a kit will give you everything you need to get started, and you won’t have to worry about matching rods and reels without experience.
If you’re looking for something cheap, this is also a great way to get everything for less than $50. A decent rod and reel will easily cost you $200-400. You don’t want to spend that on a weekend company fishing trip.
That said, if you fish a lot and you’re considering a telescopic rod, but you already have a reel in mind, just make sure that the reel seat leaves enough room to accommodate the reel you’re considering. Most of these should, but be sure to do a little research on that.
By this point, you should understand everything about telescopic rods. You should know why you would want one, how to fish with them, and which one you might want to buy. As I’ve stated many times, factor in your fishing style, technique, and intention before making a purchase.
If you’re a weekend warrior or someone fishing on occasion, go with one of the choices above. If you’re thinking about taking the sport seriously, you might want to check out some of my other reviews.
Overall, the best telescopic fishing rod is not hard to find, and there are more than enough options to go around. Give some of these choices a deeper look, and have a safe trip to wherever the water takes you! Good luck out there!