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How to assemble the right fishing rod for you

How to assemble the right fishing rod for you


Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

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You’ve heard it before, the Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Thankfully, teaching someone to fish in today’s world isn’t that hard.

Before you fish, though, you'll need to buy or borrow a preassembled rod and reel (commonly called a combo). Or, you can buy the components separately and set them up yourself.

Putting your own ‘combo' together isn't hard at all. Follow the instructions below to set up a rod and reel that's just right for you!

How to assemble the right fishing rod for you
Photo: Shutterstock

Get the right rodRods come in different lengths and have different ‘actions.' In Utah, a commonly used rod is a six-foot medium-action spinning rod. A medium- action rod is a great choice for trout, bass, walleye, catfish and many other fish.

Okay, that was easy; you have your rod. Now, it's time to choose a reel.

Get the right reel

Open-faced and closed-faced spinning reels are the best reels for beginners. (They're great reels for experienced anglers too!)

Each of the two types of reels has its own benefits. If you have questions, speak to someone at your local outdoors sporting goods store. Many beginners, however, start with a closed-face spincast reel. This reel is easy to assemble and use.

Balancing your rod and reel

It's important that your reel and rod are balanced, meaning the weight of the reel and the length of the rod match. Here's an easy way to tell if your rod and reel are balanced: place the edge of your finger on the rod, just in front of the reel. Do the rod and reel remain horizontal? Or, does the portion that has the reel on it tip down and head to the floor?

If the rod remains horizontal, you have a well-matched rod and reel.

No matter what reel you choose, remember that not every reel is compatible with every rod. For example, a spincast reel will work with a casting rod but not with a spinning rod.

If you buy a rod-and-reel combo, those details will have already been worked out for you.

How to assemble the right fishing rod for you
Photo: Shutterstock

Get the right lineNow that your rod and reel are squared away, it's time to choose some fishing line.

The first thing to decide is what ‘weight' you want to use. The weight of the line lets you know the pulling pressure the line can withstand. Also, the lighter the line is, the easier it is to cast small baits and lures.

Almost all modern reels have fishing line specs printed on them. The specs will let you know the range of fishing line weight your reel is designed for.

According to, there are also three main types of fishing line &ndash: fusion/braided, nylon monofilament and fluorocarbon.The vast majority of Utah anglers use monofilament. This line is great for most Utah fishing spots. Monofilament also has the advantage of being the cheapest of the three line types.

Set the line to the rod

Now, it's time to put the line on the reel.

If you're new to fishing, it's often best to have the outdoors sporting goods store wind the line onto the reel for you. Lines have a built-in twist from being wound onto the spool at the factory. But you can put the line on your reel on your own too. Many how-to videos are available on

After filling the reel with line, you're almost there! Next, take your line, turn the drag knob on the front of your reel counterclockwise (to loosen the drag so you can pull line out), then thread the line through the tiny eyes that are attached to the shaft of your rod. (This is much easier than threading a sewing needle - whew!).

Once you have your line through all the eyes, it's time to tie some fishing knots. And don't forget to tighten your drag by turning the drag knob in a clockwise direction.

Fasten your hook or lure

OK, grab a hook or a lure from your tackle box; it's time to tie some knots. There are several fishing knots you can tie. Among the most popular—and among the easiest to tie—is the fisherman's knot, also called a clinch knot.

To effectively tie a fisherman’s knot follow these instructions (video):

  1. Place the end of line through the eye of the hook or lure.
  2. Pull the line over itself and wrap it five or six times around the hook or lure.
  3. Back at the hook you’ll see a little loop has formed. Pull the end of the line back through the loop gently pull the knot to tighten. If you don't feel comfortable doing any of the items above, plenty of videos are available to show you how. Also, don't be shy about asking an employee at your local outdoor sporting goods store for help.

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