Best Fishing Rod Reviews – Light, Portable, Travel and Retractable Fishing Rods on a Budget

If you are an avid fisher, you know that how a rod feels in your hand and how it responds to your movements is really important. In this review we look at some of the top “affordable” fishing rods, in a mixture of types, so that you can make a more educated decision when shopping for these products.

It’s important to note that because we wanted to feature 5 different kinds of fishing poles, we certainly were not able to get ALL the best fishing rods or all the best fishing rod brands. Our goal was to expose you to brands that have a variety of options, and to make it easy for you, we included links within each review to more of their inventory.

Before we get to our featured brands, we need to mention several other quality fishing rod brands. KastKing fishing rods, Ugly Stik fishing rods, Shimano fishing rods, and Zebco fishing rods are all worth your consideration if you don’t find what you need within our reviews.
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Our Top Choice
Tailwater Outfitters Travel Fly Fishing Rod
Tailwater Outfitters is dedicated to the sport and passion that is fly fishing. They put all their efforts into manufacturing their fly rod, ensuring it’s functional and effective.
Breaks down into 4 pieces. Comes with 4 compartment cordura rod tube. Constructed with IM8 graphite. Ergonomic cork handle. 3wt rod. Alignment dots for setup.
Some feel it’s got too much flex and not enough backbone.
8-foot 4-inches
IM8 graphite (carbon fiber)
Ergonomic cork handle
Ceramic stripping guides
Best Value
Cadence CR5 Ultralight Spinning Rod
Cadence is passionate about the power of being outdoors and fishing, helping with the mind, body and soul, which is why they produce only high-quality fishing rods, reels and combos.
Multiple lengths, configurations, handle styles and actions. Constructed with 30-ton graphite. Cork and EVA ergonomic handles. SiC guides. Stainless-steel frames. Fuji reel seat.
Isolated incident of rod snapping when catching a 29lb striper.
1 or 2-pieces
Between 4’8” and 7’0”
30-ton carbon
Ergonomic cork and EVA
SiC guides
Okuma Scott Martin Tournament Rod
Okuma is a brand passionate and excited about the world of fishing. That’s why they’re so passionate about the rods, reels and rod and reel combos they produce.
Available in multiple lengths and weights. Choose from cast and spinning rods. Constructed with 30T carbon blank. C-40X carbon fiber reel seats. EVA grip. Aluminum oxide guide inserts.
Some feel it’s too lightweight and better for freshwater fishing.
Between 6’6” and 7’11”
30-ton carbon blank
Ergonomic EVA
Aluminum oxide
PLUSINNO Telescopic Retractable Fishing Rod
PLUSINNO, founded in 2011, has sold millions of products worldwide. Their line-up includes some gadgets, like speakers and iPhone cases but also a wide range of fishing gear.
Telescopic design. Easily portable. Made with durable carbon fiber and fiberglass. Stainless steel hooded reel seats. Anti-seawater corrosion. Carbon oxide wire line guides.
Some complaints that it’s too stiff and heavy.
1-piece, telescopic
Between 5.91 and 10.83-feet
Carbon fiber and fiberglass mix
EVA foregrip
Carbon oxide
Eagle Claw Ice Light Fishing Rod
Eagle Claw is a long-standing, respected fishing gear brand with decades of experience. They’re proud to say they’re the only brand that manufactures their fishhooks in the US.
Compact, portable. Constructed with fiberglass. EVA comfortable handle. Lightweight stainless-steel guides. Graphite reel seat. Ideal for sight fishing. Sensitive tip.
Not very versatile. Can only really use for ice fishing and small catches.

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What Is the Best Affordable Fishing Rod? Read Our Fishing Rod Reviews!

In this article, we focused on portable, easy-to-carry fishing rods that provide good value for money. Take a moment to read this review and understand what aspects are really important when it comes to fishing poles. Here are 5 excellent products that come in a mixture of prices and might be suitable for your needs.

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Our Top Choice
The Tailwater Outfitters Toccoa Fly Rod is constructed with durable IM8 graphite and breaks down into four pieces that store safely in the four compartment rod tube. Need a fly rod for saltwater? Check out the Maxcatch Predator Big Game and Saltwater Fly Fishing Rod.

Tailwater Outfitters Portable Fly Fishing Rod: High Performance, Fast Action IM8 Graphite with Rod Tube


Tailwater Outfitters is a brand dedicated to fly fishing and manufacturing the best fishing rod to do the job. With all their focus on one product, you can bet that it’s been well thought out. Using only high-quality materials, Tailwater Outfitters focuses on functionality, practicality and style.

The Tailwater Outfitters Toccoa Fly Rod is an 8-foot 4-inch long, 3 weight rod. It’s constructed with IM8 graphite that’s durable, but also sensitive to your movements and actions, making it ideal for fishing. The fast action is great for longer casts whilst the rod is built to handle determined fish. With ceramic stripping guides, your fly lines will glide smoothly, giving you the best reach. Also helpful is the cork handle that’s ergonomic and comfortable to reduce fatigue. If you’re planning on travelling somewhere to fish, it’s helpful to have a fishing rod that can be easily transported. The Toccoa Fly Rod breaks down into four pieces which all fit nice and protected in the four compartment cordura rod tube (which has a handy shoulder strap too). When assembling, simply follow the alignment dots for fast, easy set up every time!

Best Value
The Cadence CR5 Spinning Rod can be personalized to meet your needs. You can choose your favorite configuration, length, handle and action. Each rod is constructed with 30-ton carbon. If you’d prefer a rod constructed with heavier carbon, check out the Cadence CR7 Spinning Rod which is made using 40-ton carbon.

Cadence Spinning Rod - CR5-30 Ton Carbon Casting and Ultralight Fishing Rod with Fuji Reel Seat


Cadence is passionate about getting kids fishing. They believe being outdoors and fishing is good for everyone; for their wellbeing, mind and soul. That’s why they manufacture high-quality reels, rods and combos to ensure that you’ve got the right equipment for the job.

The Cadence CR5 Spinning Rod is constructed with 30-ton graphite, making it super durable and effective. This rod is available in a variety of lengths, actions and handle configurations so you can pick the one that best suits your needs. Choose a length from 4’8” all the way up to 7’0”. Choose a weight from ultralight, light and medium. Choose between moderate and fast configurations and 1 or 2-piece rods. Finally, choose between a full grip or a split grip. Cadence really is the epitome of choice and personalization.

The handles are made of cork and EVA which optimizes grip and therefore performance. SiC guides further enhance the performance of the rod and stainless-steel frames enhance durability. Cadence has gone for an ergonomic design with a fully adjustable Fuji reel seat, making it very comfortable to handle. So, whichever length or configuration is best for you, you’re bound to find what you need from Cadence.

The Okuma Scott Martin Tournament Rod is built with 30T carbon blank and C-40X carbon fiber reel seats for superior performance. If you want a portable fishing rod that’ll split into pieces for travel, then you should definitely consider the Okuma's Citrix Three Piece Lightweight Travel Rod.

Okuma Scott Martin Tournament Concept TCS Rods – Available in Multiple Configurations


Okuma Fishing Tackle is a brand excited and passionate about all things fishing. They believe each morning brings with it a new opportunity and they pride themselves on manufacturing durable, capable fishing products to help you make the most of each day and each cast. Their reels, rods and rod and reel combos are all built with longevity in mind, as well as functionality of course. Whether you’re fishing for tuna or salmon, catfish or stripers, Okuma as the tool for the job.

The Okuma Scott Martin Tournament Rod is a professional level rod for tournament concept fishing. With a high-quality 30T carbon, ultra-sensitive blank construction, you can choose between a cast or spinning rod, depending on your needs. EVA foregrip and EVA split grip reduce the weight of the rod and give you a comfortable hold. There are hard aluminum guide inserts ideal for use with braided lines, but you can also use monofilament or fluorocarbon lines too. The intermediate guide sizing allows for knots to pass through.

Designed by Scott Martin, these rods have been made with quality in mind, evident with the C-40X carbon fiber reel seats. Okuma understands that each rod needs to be built for a specific function and so there’s tons of options to choose from. The lengths range from 6-foot 6-inches all the way up to 7-foot 11-inches. There’s also a lot of weights to choose from; medium-light, medium, medium+, medium-heavy, heavy and x-heavy.

The PLUSINNO Telescopic Fishing Rod is a great rod if you travel a lot and want a fishing rod that’ll easily pack up into a backpack, trunk or suitcase. If you’re on the market for a spinning rod instead, then check out the awesome PLUSINNO Red Eagle Spinning Fishing Rod and Reel Combos.

PLUSINNO Retractable Telescopic Travel Fishing Rod – Portable Fishing Rod Available in Multiple Colors, Lengths and Pack Sizes


PLUSINNO was founded in 2011, making it a relatively new brand, however since their inception they’ve sold millions of products worldwide. They achieved this through constantly welcoming customer feedback and using it to improve their service. Also, all of their products are CE, RoHS and FCC certified. In their line-up of trusted products are speakers, iPhone accessories and other gadgets as well as a wide range of fishing gear.

The PLUSINNO Telescopic Fishing Rod is the ideal travel companion, thanks to its compact size and easy set-up. Constructed with a mix of carbon fiber and fiberglass, you can rest assured this fishing pole is durable and strong. The stainless-steel hooded reel seats have an anti-corrosion coating to protect against seawater and the EVA fore grip is comfortable to hold even for extended periods. Finally, the carbon oxide wire line guide is smooth and allows for an easier line outlet.

Okay, the beauty of this rod is it comes in many different sizes and retracts into a portable sized rod. Let’s look at the different sizes available:

  • 5.91-foot, retracts to 15.75-inches
  • 6.89-foot, retracts to 16.14-inches
  • 7.87-foot, retracts to 16.54-inches
  • 8.86-foot, retracts to 16.93-inches
  • 9.84-foot, retracts to 17.72-inches
  • 10.83-foot, retracts to 18.11-inches

So, all you need to do is pick the right size for you and you can take this telescopic fishing rod wherever you go.

The Eagle Claw Ice Light Fishing Rod is constructed with fiberglass, with a graphite reel seat and stainless-steel line guides. It’s great for gill fishing. However, if you’re looking for a portable fishing rod, the Eagle Claw Pack-It Telescopic Spinning Rod comes highly rated.

Eagle Claw 18-Inch Ice Light Fishing Rod - Other Sizes and Colors Available


Eagle Claw was founded in Colorado in 1925. They’re proud to say they’re the only brand of fishhooks that are manufactured right here in the USA. Their range of products includes hooks, swivels, weights & sinkers, floats, jigs & lures, tools & accessories, rods & reels, leaders and apparel!

The Eagle Claw Ice Light Fishing Rod is a compact 18-inch rod constructed with strong fiberglass blank. The EVA handle gives you a sure and comfortable grip whilst the lightweight stainless-steel guides reduce friction for a better cast. They’ve incorporated a durable graphite reel seat and also used the patriotic colors, red, white and blue. This rod is ideal for gill ice fishing or sight fishing and the tip is sensitive enough to detect small bites.

Beginner Fishing Rod Guide – What to Look for in a Portable Light Fishing Rod, a Retractable Travel Fishing Rod or One Piece Fishing Rod

When it comes down to it, choosing a fishing rod, it really is a matter of personal preference. However, there are some things that you need to consider; the first of which is making sure that you know what type of pole you want.

Will you need a fly fishing rod? If so, you might be interested in a brand called Piscifun who manufactures many fishing rods including their Sword Graphite 4-Piece Fly Fishing Rod. Or maybe you’ll be heading out on the ocean and need a rod designed for deep sea fishing or a spin rod. Shakespeare might not sound like a fishing gear brand but they actually specialize in high-quality rods, reels, combos and apparel. Their GX2 Spinning Rod is constructed with a combination of graphite and fiberglass for a durable yet sensitive rod.

Finally, do you need a one piece fishing rod or do you want one that conveniently breaks down into several pieces for easy transport or attachment to your fishing backpack? Shimano is a particularly respected brand for outdoor products and the Teramar Northeast Spinning Rod is no different. It conveniently breaks down into 2 pieces but some other options are constructed of 3 or 4-pieces too.

As you can see, similar to fish finders, there are many options when it comes to fishing poles. For the purpose of this review, we are going to look at a mixture of poles designed for portability – to give you a quick overview of some of the best travel rods on the market. Every brand that we have chosen is known for quality fishing poles so if we didn’t review the exact type of rod you want, we wouldn’t be surprised if they made that one too!

Video: How to Set Up a Reel and Rod for Beginners

How to Set-up a Crappie Rod. | Courtesy of Crappie Head Tv

The price of a fishing rod will depend upon several things, such as, the type of materials, the quality of construction, the length and power, as well as the features that it offers. There are brands that are known among fishers as being some of the best, and people are willing to spend more for them because they know they will get what they pay for.

While we did our research on this subject, we stumbled upon a plethora of fishing rods: some of them were cheap fishing rods, others were more expensive ones. You might be happy to know what in this review we only focused on portable or travel fishing poles that provide good value for your money. To make a good decision when shopping for these essential fishing tools, make sure that you have a budget in mind and write down your preferences and needs. The 5 contenders we have selected for this review are built with upmost attention to detail, so you will be thankful with your purchase regardless of which one you pick!


Believe it or not, portable fishing rods can be quite sophisticated sometimes. For example, some of them might come with a case for easy transportation while others might have more than one reel. We also stumbled upon certain fishing poles that had a padded handle for improved grip or featured exotic materials such as carbon fiber or fiberglass. These features will provide useful in the long run, so remember to check the feature section of each of our products carefully!

Construction and Design

When looking at the construction and design of a fishing pole, you need to make sure that you are choosing a rod that will work with the kinds of fish you want to catch, where you want to fish, and your style of fishing.

Fishing rods come in all different lengths and strengths. The standard power categories are heavy, medium, lightweight and ultra lightweight – but some manufacturers have some rods extra categories that fall in the middle. The quality and type of material from which a rod is constructed will not only impact its durability, but its responsiveness as well. A rod made for fly fishing will definitely behave differently than one made for the ocean, but just because the rod is more flexible, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need to be just as durable.

The length of a fishing pole that you get doesn’t just depend upon your own height – it matters where you will be taking it. For example, if you are going to be fishing along a river bank with a lot of under brush or where there are a lot of trees near by, you will probably want to go with a shorter rod.

If you are going with a travel rod, or a 2 piece rod, it is important that when you put it together, it stays that way. But it should also be easy to take apart too.

Video: How to Set Up a Reel and Rod for Beginners

How to Perfect Your Cast. | Courtesy of Joshua Taylor
Performance and Ease of Use

How do you tell the performance of a fishing rod? Is it by how big of a fish you caught – or if you caught any at all? Sadly, since whether not the fish are biting is not totally within your power, even if you have the best rod, reel and bait, we have to look at some other factors instead.

One of the first thing that many sportsman look for is a rod that simply feels good in their hand. Does it have a comfortable grip? Is it responsive? Do all the parts work the way they are supposed to? Does the handle get slippery when wet?

Some fishers look for rods that are convenient to take with them and don’t require a special fishing pole rack on their vehicle. Rods that are made of 3 to 4 pieces are also great for hiking, canoeing or camping because they don’t take up a lot of space. A travel rod should break down and go together easily – and if it comes with a travel case, that’s even better.

Get the Best Fishing Rod of 2022!

Hopefully we have provided you with information that will help you pick a good fishing rod. Based upon our research, we think that any one of these quality brands would be a great choice.

Our Top Choice
Tailwater Outfitters Travel Fly Fishing Rod
Best Value
Cadence CR5 Ultralight Spinning Rod
Okuma Scott Martin Tournament Rod
PLUSINNO Telescopic Retractable Fishing Rod
Eagle Claw Ice Light Fishing Rod

Fishing Rod FAQs

How to use a fishing rod?
If you want to use a fishing rod, first loosen the reel seat and connect into it the reel foot. After tightening the reel seat, spool the reel by putting a fishing line into it. Next, set the drag knob, ensuring it has just the right tightness. Now is the time to cast the bait into the water below. If you catch a fish, ensure you reel in the line by closing bail, ensuring the line roller is in place and turning the reel handle.
How to put bait on a fishing rod?
To put bait on a fishing rod, put the line through the lure and hook it. You may also use live bait such as a herring. It would help if you hooked it through the nose to avoid hurting it and ensuring the fish remains alive throughout the day.
How to line a fishing rod?
To line a fishing rod, grab the line’s loose end and guide it through the rings and guides. Start with the guide closest to the rod tip and move on until you reach the last one. If it has a bail, open it and tie the line direct to the reel. In that case, you may use any knot that works for you. Check that the reel comes off from the right side and roll the reel. After that, you can now attach the hook to the line.
How to string a fishing rod?
To string a fishing rod, pass the line through the eyelets, bringing it down to the reel. Once you open the bail, wrap the string to the reel and secure it by tying knots. You can now spin the reel.
How to repair a fishing rod?
How to repair a fishing rod depends on the kind of damage to it. If it has a broken tip, you should buy a replacement tip top. Remove the old tip-top after melting the adhesive with a lighter and attach the new tip top. You can let it sit for several hours before using the fishing rod.