Pack Rod vs. Telescopic Rod

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Desert Angler
Desert Angler's picture
Pack Rod vs. Telescopic Rod

I thought that I would get some opinions on using a pack rod versus a telescopic rod. A little background: I am going to the Virgin Islands next month and was planning on bringing my fishing gear to do a little saltwater fishing. While traveling, I usually try to rent a rod and reel, but I am not able to this time.  I have multiple layovers and will be using public transportation so I don’t want to bring my good 2 piece rods in a case. I was looking at getting either a 6’6” Ugly Stik 4 piece pack rod or a 9’ Sougayilang telescopic rod. I plan on fishing off piers, jetties, and rocky areas. Both rods have good reviews but I wanted to see if anyone had experience with either if these rods or had any recommendations. Thanks.

Outdoors4life's picture
Past thread


Check out this past thread for some suggestions.  The rods I bought are no longer offered but I do like the cabelas branded one I bought. I personally don't care for telescopic rods other than fixed line rods. 

It is all perspective!

Acer Home Inspections

Corey's picture
Telescopic vs. travel

I have both. The only telescopers I have found that are good are from overseas. I own two from importer psfishing that are really good. You can get telescopic pike rods, surfcasters, the works. The advantages are mostly compactness and very low weight; they don't need a case and they weigh just a few ounces. Plus, they're relatively cheap. I like these for long-distance hiking and air travel when I'm not concentrating on fishing but want to bring a pole along. A good one to look at is the Black Jack IM-6. Travel rods will have better action, but they weigh a lot more and are very bulky to carry. I have a St. Croix travel rod, and a bunch of flyrods. I liked the Cabelas Salt Striker before I slammed it in a car door. Hope this helps.

philaroman's picture
I'd pass on both...
  1. IMO, 6'6" is way too short for S/W "piers, jetties, and rocky areas" & Ugly ain't what it once was, unless you get the higher models w/ better components...  doesn't much matter how strong & durable the blank may be -- if an insert pops out of a guide, you can't replace it promptly on a trip 
  2. you can't have optimal placement/number/type of guides by the very nature of telescopic design & the sections tend to rotate more easily at the joint -- not good for casting distance or fighting a fish much bigger than the rod's intended class.  that's a non-issue for guideless poles; OK for cheap, convenient, small-water beaters; & becomes progressively more important for Bigger Water / Bigger fish

P.E.T.A. sucks!!!  Plants are living things, too -- they're just easier to catch!

Susquehannock's picture
Ugly stick

I would go with the ugly stick. In general, pack rods are better in the salt than telescoping ones (the last telescoping rig I bought broke after half an hour of tossing one-ounce sinkers), and I disagree with philaroman about the quality of ugly sticks. I have two ugly sticks and they are both great rods.


Matt Miller
Matt Miller's picture
Travel rods

I travel quite a bit for work and fun, and often bring at least one rod along. I have been using an LL Bean travel rod recently and like it. I bought the heaviest model and have used it for pier fishing, bowfin and even small alligator gar. The one factor with this travel rod is that the tube is still fairly will fit easily in a large checked bag but not easily in a carry-on. It is fine if you are not traveling extremely light.

I have a couple of Quantum telescoping rods. I imagine these are frowned upon by many but I have found them to be extremely convenient. They fit in my carry-on backpack easily. They are easy to just stow away in a car. Last year, I caught beefy carp and redhorse on the medium light  rod. Was it ideal? No. But it caught fish. It did snap in January on a Midas cichlid that was not all that large, probably due to the stress from the carp and other larger fish. But I had used and abused that rod for several years, and caught a lot of fish on it. If there was even a chance of fishing on a work trip, it came along. I more than got my money's worth out of it.

For travel fly rods, I have a Cabelas Stow-Away that I bought at an outdoor writers auction event for $30 (it was in Kansas, where fly fishing is not that popular) that for many years was my main fly rod and still functions quite well for larger trout, bass, etc. Cabelas RLS fly rod series also easily packs in checked bags. I have found that many fly rods will fit in checked baggage.

One other note: You can use a travel tube as your "personal" item for carry-ons. That way it does not have to actually fit in your carry-on. You just carry your luggage and a rod tube. This way you also ensure you have fishing gear, in case your checked luggage doesn't make it to the final destination.

Mike B
Mike B's picture
I have a four-piece Shimano

I have a four-piece Shimano Exage travel rod that I absolutely love. Most of my lifelisters over the past three years have been caught with this rod. It's super light but strong and also compact. I carry it every time I travel or go backpacking.

A Roughfish member here had the Shimano Exage telescopic rod when we went fishing once but it was a piece of garbage and broke. So definitely pack rod for me.

mike b

Desert Angler
Desert Angler's picture

Thank you everyone for your feedback and suggestions. You have given me a lot to think about. At this point I'm leaning toward a 3 or 4 piece pack rod. I may even make it an investment and will possibly go for a higher end rod that several of you have described. From my experience snorkeling/diving in the Carribean, most fish that I would catch would be panfish sized. If I want to target something bigger, it will just be easier to book a charter. Thanks again!