Graphite vs Fiberglass Rods

As we anticipate the upcoming freshwater fishing season, maybe it’s time to take a second look at replacing or just adding that extra fishing rod to your arsenal. Maybe you need to go a little more expensive or buy something a bit more special.  Fishing Rods are made mainly from materials like Fiberglass and Graphite and a blend of the two that are unique and specific to the kind of fishing you’ll be doing this season. Each material is unique and has its own qualities. What are the differences between Fiberglass and Graphite material in fishing rods?

Fiberglass Rods:

  • More Flexibility
  • Bends from the butt making it for slower action
  • Less expensive
  • Made to fish small streams
  • Good for beginners-more forgiving

Graphite Rods:

  • More sensitive-could be brittle
  • For catching larger fish
  • Bends from the tip making for faster action
  • Lighter weight
  • Made to fish lakes 

Fishing rods today are made from a variety of materials like fiberglass and graphite, and of course, ask any fisherman and he or she will tell you what the best material for fishing is and why. While it ultimately comes down to personal preference, whether you choose a fiberglass fishing rod over a graphite fishing rod, there are some reasons to use each independently or a combination of both materials called a Composite fishing rod. There are specific characteristics for each type of material and pros and cons for each Fiberglass rods and Graphite fishing rods.


What Are Fishing Rod Blanks


A fishing rod blank is the long flexible pole component of a fishing rod. Essentially, it is a fishing rod before the grips, handles, reel seats, and guides are attached. It is the foundation of your fishing rod. Most rods blanks today are made of fiberglass, graphite, or a composite mix that includes graphite, boron, or even a ceramic additive. While much has been made of the differences between these materials, it’s not too hard to understand that all three have advantages and disadvantages. Those depend on what application you need or what kind of fish the rod is built for. Panfish will be much different in its tackle and rod characteristics than say another setup for Largemouth.

  • The Power of the Rod is the amount of force required to bend a blank.
  • The heavier line, lure, and the weight you are casting, the more powerful the blank needs to be.
  • The bigger the fish you are fishing for then the more powerful the blank should be.
  • Power is measured in terms of heavy through to ultra-light.

There are three common blank construction materials. There are 100% graphite, 100% fiberglass, and a composite of graphite and fiberglass. Composite percentages will vary depending on the manufacturer and blank purpose and the specific type of fishing they will be used for. Manufacturers pride on their mixes and technical their Blanks are produced.

The Action of the Blanks is the point where it starts to bend and describes how far it will flex under pressure. As in the diagram above the run from Heavy to Ultralite. These equate to fast, medium and slow, and everywhere in between. Some composite rods are built to flex close to the butt like a fiberglass rod, whereas others feature higher rigidity like graphite. Featuring the flexibility of fiberglass with the sensitivity of graphite, composite rods are more versatile than single-material rods, and less expensive, too.

  1. Extra fast blanks– are very sensitive, and the bend is very close to the tip. You can feel everything. They are ideal for fast hook settings but don’t load up as well and can give a fish a chance to shake the hook. Ideal for fishing single hooks where fast, deep penetration is advantageous. Tend to be made of a Carbon Graphite material.
  2. Medium Action Blanks- Are made to bend midway down the shaft. They load up well for casting, and provide reasonable sensitivity and hook setting power. Medium blanks are ideal for creating a balanced rig when braided fishing lines. Tend to be made of a mixture of Composite material.
  3. Slow action Blanks-The Blanks are made to bend in a parabolic fashion all the way to the butt, and sometimes through the butt. These blanks can be very forgiving. They make good rods for catching smaller fish. Tend to made of Fiberglass.


Graphite Fishing Rod


Graphite fishing rods are manufactured in different degrees of stiffness referred to as the modulus, which is a measure of applied stress that it takes to bend material in its finished process state of a rod. The higher the modulus the stiffer the material, which means rod manufacturers can use less material to get the same stiffness. Developed in the ’60s, graphite fishing rods and golf clubs really hit their stride in the 80s, quickly becoming a favorite of professional Anglers and Golfers looking for the newest high-sensitivity instruments for their particular sport.

Slightly lighter weight than fiberglass and with faster action and higher power, graphite fishing rods are preferred by more experienced anglers in search of a versatile rod. Because graphite is rigid and unyielding, graphite fishing rods are available in longer lengths than fiberglass, allowing for improved reach and accuracy from a distance. Take a look at this Graphite Rod from St. Croix St Croix LWS86MLXF Legend Tournament Walleye Graphite Spinning Fishing Rod with Art and IPC Technology, 8-feet 6-inches, Tournament Blue Pearl

Graphite may be strong, but with little flexibility or give, graphite can also be brittle and can snap under the wrong conditions. Get snagged on a rock or at the bottom of a stream, and you could accidentally snap your rod trying to get untangled. Graphite Rods are considered a superior material overall than fiberglass, but still, while graphite can withstand more intense conditions than fiberglass and may be more appropriate for catching larger fish, one can’t replace the other.

Graphite is best for experienced anglers who don’t mind the fast action of a graphite rod and giving up some flexibility. Because less flexibility means you need to have perfect timing to hook your catch on a graphite rod. They are better in windy situations than you’ll find on a bigger lake.


Fiberglass Fishing Rod


The fiberglass rod is considered the least expensive fishing rod material, but it has its advantages over other types of materials. Because of its high flexibility and slow action, choosing higher-quality fiberglass will help you to retain the most sensitivity you can, helping to improve accuracy over longer distances and making it a more pleasurable experience to fish with. A fiberglass rod might be better for a more inexperienced angler.

It’s stronger and less brittle than the Graphite Rod. Fiberglass is more forgiving say if you get yourself snagged on the bottom or cast into the treeline shore where you can snap your rod using too much force. The bend will start at the butt near the handle which will give you the added forgiveness that you won’t get from the carbon graphite rods.

When choosing a fiberglass rod, you should be able to get a starter rod, one normally for less money. This will be durable and should last longer. They are less lighter in weight and less stiff than the Graphite material that allows you to detect the slightest of bites. There is a good reason Professional Bass Masters don’t use Fiberglass rods.

There are Beginner type Fiberglass fishing rods but Pro style Rods are making a come back that are Medium action Fiberglass rods that take the technology to another level like this St Croix Fiberglass St. Croix MGC610MM Mojo Bass Glass Casting Fishing Rod with IPC Technology, 6-feet 10-inches, Mojo Green Metallic

Fiberglass is best suited for small to mid-sized streams, and while some distance can be achieved, casting is easier on small water instead of longer casts against trees and docks on the edge of a lake. If you plan to fish with an inexperienced angler or are teaching a young fisherman how to fish, try giving them a fiberglass rod. Lightweight but durable enough to withstand plenty of trial and error, anglers at every level from the beginner to the expert can fish all day with a fiberglass rod.

Composite Fishing Rods


Composite rods are constructed from fiberglass and graphite or other fibers. Fiberglass is known for if flexibility and Graphite are known for strength. The combination of materials makes these rods more sensitive made from fiberglass and a little more powerful using graphite when it’s needed for lifting heavy fish.

When you are looking for fishing gear this season think about what you will need for the type of fishing you’ll be doing. Most people like myself have a few different rods in their arsenal for different types of fishing. Flexibility in a composite fishing rod gives you both strength and flexibility.

Composite fishing rods are rods made from a combination of fiberglass and graphite parts, often with other materials included to improve integrity. As the combination suggests, composite fishing rods include the best features of both fiberglass and graphite, making them popular among anglers looking to step up their game without over-spending on a graphite rod.

Depending on where the fiberglass and graphite components of a composite rod meet, the rod will have varying degrees of flexibility and power. Some composite rods are built to flex close to the butt like a fiberglass rod, whereas others feature higher rigidity like graphite. Featuring the flexibility of fiberglass with the sensitivity of graphite, composite rods are more versatile than single-material rods, and less expensive, too.

There is no industry standard that indicates the percentage of either graphite or fiberglass. This means that Brand name has an appeal more so than other manufacturers.  The greatest number of Bass Rods today on the Pro circuit is Composite Rods. There is a new fiber called Curran which is now being integrated into composite rods. The fiber comes from carrots and other vegetables such as sugar beets.  As strange as that sounds we expect to see more of this in the future.

As the Fishing industry is always evolving so are opinions on what is best and what is not. Like in this video this information says that manufacturers might be moving back into a glass type of material because of the demand in the near future. Like everyone says if you want 100 different opinions ask, 100 fishermen, their opinion.



JimGalloway Author/Editor



References: Karls Bait & Tackle-What is your Rod made of? Fishing Rod Materials

Recent Posts