Portability in a fishing rod is not something every fisherman requires. Sometimes, though, a highway meets a small lake or bayou, and the urge to cast a line overwhelms. At those times, having a compact, telescopic fishing rod setup could mean the difference between seeing what’s biting and going home to watch television.
Then there are those treks out into the woods for a camping adventure, whether solo or as a family. Fresh fish makes a great dinner compared to canned food or an MRE, but lugging fishing poles and gear through the woods is borderline ridiculous. Telescoping fishing poles with light reels and tackle can organize neatly into camping packs, providing supper and recreation.
The telescopic rod has come a long way since the earliest days of the design. Modern materials and manufacturing now make many of these portable poles the equals of the ubiquitous two-piece poles. Whether in the car or on the trail, a portable fishing pole is a handy tool for the avid angler. So, here are a few of the best telescoping fishing rods on the market today.
Plussino Telescopic Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
Plussino’s entry into the telescopic rod arena is fiberglass with carbon fiber added for strength and elasticity. The grips are comfortable EVA, and the eyes are corrosion-resistant stainless steel to allow for use in fresh or saltwater. There are six length options, running from 6 to 11 feet in 1-foot increments. Overall good quality with a pretty solid stainless steel reel seat.
Plussino’s reels have deep spools to allow anglers to spool up more line in a lower-profile spool. They are equipped with anti-reverse and a “power gear,” which increases reeling power. They can hold 240 yards of .20mm line; 200 yards of .25mm line or 140 yards of .30 mm line. Plussino also offers its telescopic rods and reels as a kit (with tackle) or alone.
|5.91 Foot Model
|15.75 Inches (5 Sections)
|6.89 Foot Model
|16.14 Inches (6 Sections)
|7.87 Foot Model
|16.54 Inches (7 Sections)
|8.86 Foot Model
|16.93 Inches (8 Sections)
As you can see the collapsed length is pretty impressive. Compared to break down travel rods they’re significantly more compact. For example a Jekosen 5.9 foot travel rod, in its case, is about 29 inches long. Granted, it’s probably a little better in some areas than a telescoping rod, but it is twice as long. Which sucks if you’re really limited on space. The other thing to consider is that telescoping rods can remain rigged, while travel rods (like their full size counterparts) need to be rigged every time they’re assembled.
Who Should Choose this Setup? We recommend the Plussino for two types of anglers. First it’s great for someone looking for an all in one solution to toss in their rig and just leave it there. When it comes to telescoping rods this is about as turn key as it gets. Rod, reel, tackle, and a carrying case make this a great pick for anyone who just wants to order one thing and maybe supplement with more lures down the road. The other customer would be a novice angler who might want to take it backpacking, camping, or pack in luggage without having to plan / pack around fishing gear (as is the case with our fly rods, waders, etc.).
Keep scrolling if…
- You have a bunch of tackle and reels laying around unused
- You mainly fish with live bait (or even stuff like Powerbait)
- You want the absolute smallest tele-rod setup
- You’d rather see your cash go to a high quality rod than a well rounded kit
KastKing BlackHawk II Telescopic Rod Combo
If we could have one tele-rod… it would be this one. KastKing’s BlackHawk collapsible rod is a proven performer.
BlackHawk rods feature three-point-welded, stainless steel guides with corrosion-resistant ceramic inserts to provide smooth, snag-free operation with either monofilament or braided fishing line. Anglers have several lengths of rods to choose from, though KastKing matches rod lengths to reel capacities. The lightest rods are just under 6-feet long while the heavy-duty option measures nearly 12-feet from end to end.
Who Should Choose this Setup? This isn’t as packable as the other rods in the list. But, it might be the one that’s closest to a “real rod.” If you have some money to throw at your first telescoping rod and don’t want to be disappointed this is the way to go in this niche. Collapsed lengths range from a little over 21 inches to 26 point something… so these are definitely not the smallest tele-rods on the market. But, if you have the space and hate low end gear… pick this rod.
Sougayilang Telescopic Rod and reel Combo
Sougayilang’s telescopic rod offerings have fewer options than some of its competitors, but they produce solid and attractive rods. The lightweight reels have a 5.2:1 gear ratio and utilize 13-bearing operation for smooth reeling. The smallest option can hold up to 110 yards of .25mm line, while the largest can handle 140 yards of .30mm line.
Sougaylilang’s rods are carbon fiber mixed with fiberglass. They are strong, yet provide a good amount of sensitivity for rods of this type. They have EVA fore grips and corrosion-resistant eyes. Anglers have four length options, though each length is paired with only one reel. Sougayilang offers some of its telescopic rod-and-reel combos as a kit, with included fishing tackle.
Who Should Choose this Setup? We’re pretty impressed by the build quality and action in this rod. Is it up there with traditional setups costing 4-5 times more? No… why would it be? But, if you’re looking to get the a good quality setup with solid performance; this might be your best bet.
Shakespeare Travel Mate
It’s not the best… but, the Shakespeare Travel Mate is one of the smallest and lightest portable rods on the market. It comes in Shakespeare’s Microcast Kit, which includes the collapsible rod and spinning reel, both packaged in a convenient plastic travel case. The light reel can hold 165 yards of 4-pound test monofilament or 120 yards of 6-pound test, and comes pre-spooled with 6-pound test.
The graphite Travel Mate rod expands to 5 feet 6 inches in length, and its five sections collapse down to just 14 inches in length. Shakespeare specifies it as an ultralight-action model. As a pack fishing rod, the Travel Mate excels. The action of both rod and reel is smooth and reliable, and it takes up very little space in a backpack. It works great for small species, though larger fish may break the thin rod.
Who Should Choose this Setup? When it comes to build quality and performance… this rod isn’t the best in this review. But it is really small when stowed and it’s price tag is really appealing. If you just want to see if you want to get into a tele-rod; we’d recommend this one. It’s not going to replace anything moderately good in your arsenal. Nor, should it be your first rod. Get it… give it a try and go from there.
Eagle Claw Pack-It Spin Combo Telescopic Rod
Eagle Claw is a popular fishing tackle brand, and its Pack-It rod and reel combo is perennial favorite among traveling anglers. The lightweight aluminum reel can spool monofilament line from 4- to 10-pound test, and comes pre-loaded with line. It is reversible for right- or left-handed anglers, and has a top-mounted drag adjustment.
The rod is made of fiberglass, in six telescoping sections, and has EVA foam handles. It can throw lures ranging from 1/8 ounce to 1/2 ounce, and it stretches to 5 feet 6 inches when extended.
Eagle Claw specifies that the Pack-It is meant for freshwater fishing, but even then, anglers should be careful not to lock horns with species approaching the 10-pound line weight limit. As a pack rod or for in the trunk, though, the Pack-It should be all a fisherman truly needs.
Who Should Choose this Setup? This is a budget rod through and through. Nobody is ever going to pick it up and say “wow… what a nice setup.” However, we actually like the price tag… and the thrill of a low dollar rod and reel. It completely changes things when your in a place where fishing is way to easy. Buy this and take it along in the car when you want to mess around and get a kick out of catching whitefish, carp, etc. If you break it no biggie, if you lose it who cares. Just don’t buy this if you’re using it to put food on the table. It’s fun… and not much more.
Related: Awesome Swimbait Gear for Bass
Supertrip Telescopic Rod Spinning Reel Combo
*** The Supertrip is no longer in Production. Check online auctions and garage sales to find one for your collection.
The Supertrip telescopic rod combo is designed to catch fish up to 20 pounds. The light aluminum reel has a brass pinion gear, metal rocker and 13 ball bearings. It will hold 140 yards of .30mm line.
The rod is made from carbon fiber and aluminum alloy. When extended, the rod measures 7.8 feet long, but it collapses down to just 18 inches. Though the Supertrip can handle somewhat larger fish than many of its collapsible competitors, it still retains a light feel. Every bump on the line transfers through its fine tip, but it is strong enough for light saltwater fishing.
Related: Best Summer Bass Lures
Final Thoughts on Buying the Best Telescopic Fishing Rod
Telescopic rods have their detractors, but when portability is of the utmost concern, these compact designs are a solid option. The first collapsible models on the market were often flimsy, and seldom lasted very long. However, the modern telescopic poles are innovative, responsive and cost-effective.
If weight saving is an angler’s top concern, and if the target fish will be small, Shakespeare’s Travel Mate deserves consideration. It is the shortest and lightest pole on this list, though it is also the one least likely to survive a tussle with a large bass.
For those searching for a portable rod and reel for the car trunk, the KastKing is the clear winner. KastKing’s BlackHawk has the most length and weight options, as well as a proven track record of reliability. That said, shopping for fishing equipment is a subject endeavor. Each of the rods on this list is a proven performer, so the best telescopic fishing rod is the one that suits the eye and the specific needs of the angler.