Fishing rods – Buying guide, Reviews & Comparison
If you want to find the best fishing gear, but you don’t have the time to go through the buying tips and reviews prepared by our research team, this short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know about the best fishing rods in 2017. After analyzing a lot of feedback coming from both amateur and professional fishermen, we have concluded that the Eagle Claw Featherlight is the best, especially if you’re interested in doing some serious fly fishing. The unit has been outfitted with line guides made of stainless steel that add to its overall durability. Besides, the fact that it is both lightweight and user-friendly means that you’ll be able to take it with you on various angling expeditions. The cork handle boasted by the model is a neat plus as it won’t affect your performance in the least bit. If the Eagle Claw Featherlight is unavailable and you’d much rather opt for a telescopic choice, you should consider the Goture Portable as it is a reliable alternative both in terms of performance and quality.
Fishing using the best fishing rods has evolved from just being a means to put food on the table. Modern angling has become recreational, a sports activity that can bag one not just a trophy fish but also the top prize during sports fishing tournaments. The commercialization of the industry itself has led to a vast selection of fishing gear including rods, reels, lures, baits and a host of other equipment for various methods of rod fishing. It is not unusual for fishing gear websites to include waders and other fishing outfit, or to have links leading to electronic equipment such as fish finders.
Overview of a Fishing Rod
Choosing the right rod is important. Although in theory, one can catch any fish with any kind of rod, using the wrong rod for the specific fishing situation or condition can spell disaster and ego-busting disappointment for many. It is essential to use a specific kind of fishing rod for the method of fishing you intend to do. Reading fishing rod reviews will help a lot in your shopping experience.
Choosing the correct rod also involves knowing what kind of fish you will be angling for. Depending on the fishing location, you should be able to determine the right length of rod you need, as well as the action and power of the rod that is suitable for the species you are targeting. In addition, the method of fishing should also be considered since you can’t possibly use a really long rod to do fishing in a hole in the ice where distance casting is not needed.
Our top choices – Find the best rod for your needs
The Eagle Claw Featherlight 3/4 Line Weight Fly Rod is exceptionally designed for long distance casting. It is part of a series of rods for fly fishing. Offering superb responsiveness for amazing strength, forgiveness and feel, the fishing rod remains matchless in the industry based on current standards for this kind of gear.
It boasts modern specifications that provide lighter weight with better balance. The 6-foot 6-inch model has a two-piece design, which simplifies transportability and storage. Made of fiberglass, the rod is easy to assemble. The fiberglass material of the blank itself delivers the needed durability, toughness and reliable performance. The fishing rod comes with quick action, so the user can easily feel the load of the rod during the back cast converting to a forward cast. Just flick your wrist to get better load phase.
When transitioning to the forward cast, the rod virtually doubles the stored energy then quickly releases it, hurling the lure to the exact point you want it when you sight the target. The hook setting process proves to be much easier as well, since a simple wrist flick will get the fish to bite. The fiberglass rod is gentle and friendly to the fisher, with a capability to cast the lure over and over without any issues. The fiberglass material is softer acting compared to graphite rods. This is a perfect rod for novice anglers who are exploring the joys of freshwater fly fishing. The soft action of the rod also prevents it from tearing off the lure right through the fish’s mouth.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($24.99)
Designed both for sea and boat fishing, the Goture Portable Carbon Fiber Telescopic Fishing Rod is outfitted with a double-raw metal spool that has an attractive duotone color. The metal spool enables heavy-duty fishing in big water with its amazing strength and capacity for handling specialty lines.
Delivering awesome flexibility, the telescopic fishing rod is a lightweight unit that ensures durability thanks to the thick bail with metal bail nut. Made of computer numerical controlled (CNC) metal, the collapsible handle is also enhanced with bright UV golden decorations to give the telescopic rod a unique and attractive look. The line capacity of the rod is 1.6 mm per 100 meters of line on the fishing reel.
The rod’s reel seat features imported full-metal screws that are adjustable, giving the rod a sophisticated-looking texture. The reel seat moves up and down with ease, enabling you to position it at a convenient position for effortless control. The heavy-duty handle has a non-slip quality to ensure secure gripping. A lever mechanism operates the rod telescopically so as to handle the weight of the entire unit while ensuring reduced hand fatigue, which is essential when struggling with a fighting fish.
The telescopic design of the rod enables hassle-free portability and storage in your travel fishing pack. Designed in adherence to leading international standards, the Goture Portable Carbon Fiber Telescopic Fishing Rod features the exclusive x45 degree cross carbon fiber technology.
This fishing rod is manufactured with 98% carbon fiber content to make it withstand any fishing conditions. Sufficient hardness can be expected from the SIC ceramic guides.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($18.98)
The St. Croix Mojo Bass Casting Fishing Rods are a line of superbly powerful fishing implements that can be used for hurling jigs toward heavy surface cover. They can also be utilized for lighter flipping applications.
Proudly designed in Park Falls, Wisconsin and crafted by hand in Fresnillo, Mexico, the rods employ the most advanced graphite and resin systems in the industry. They are ideal for searching the open water for fierce fighting fish using large spinnerbaits. Made of premium SC-II graphite, the fishing rods are manufactured using cutting edge Poly Curve® (IPC®) tooling technology combined with Advanced Reinforcing Technology™, thereby ensuring technique-friendly products that can deliver awesome performance all the time.
Thanks to the mid-modulus premium graphite fiber, the rods deliver a higher strain rate than what other brands can offer. The lightweight, sensitive and durable mid-modulus graphite material remains to be the brand’s most in-demand type for rod manufacture. The rods in the series are designed for the fisher who seeks superb performance without the hefty price tag. Available in various lengths, action and power ratings, the rods in the series can be the ultimate solution to a variety of preferences. The transitional points in the blank have been offset to ensure high strength, more sensitivity and smoother casting and retrieve, all thanks to the exclusive Integrated Poly Curve tooling technology that St. croix utilizes.
The Advanced Reinforcing Technology™ (ART™) delivers ten times the strength in the rods while ensuring consistent light weight, a small blank diameter and reinforced hoop strength.
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The Shimano Solara 2 Piece Spinning Rod won’t break the bank but will help you catch more fish. The two-piece unit is great for beginners. It belongs to an impressive lineup of products that are designed to stand up to the challenge of fishing in a variety of conditions and to satisfy the needs of even the most demanding fishers.
The rods in the series are available in an array of action and power ratings, to suit the specific fishing method. The rods boast tough aero glass fiberglass material, easily picking up where even the highest rated steel rods slack off. With the performance and features that steel rods cannot boast, the rods in the series offer the level of durability and action needed for the most demanding fishing applications.
The rods in the product line can be used to fish crankbaits with their slow action. They are also a favorite for fishers who target muskies during cold seasons, thanks to the superb strength levels of the fishing poles that proves to be essential for hook setting. The fiberglass rod construction is able to withstand rough handling.
The foregrip as well as the rear grip handles are made of cork. Unlike EVA foam grips, the cork handles on the rods carry a lighter weight. The cork grips are also more able to hold residual heat so handling them is less stressful during cold weather. The cork handles also boast lower damping capability so vibrations on the hook can be felt quite easily for prompt or immediate hook setting. Cork is also non-slip to ensure secure gripping.
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Comprising premium quality surf rods that do not cost an arm and a leg to acquire, the Penn Prevail Surf Spinning Rod series have very light rods in the lineup. The rods can fling heavy lure weights at long distances.
They combine all the elements found only in the more expensive brands and models yet come at unbeatably half the price of competitors. Combining strength and performance, the rods are the ideal tools for any surfcasting enthusiast. Equipped with the revolutionary Carbon Shield technology, the rods use woven carbon fiber on the outer section in their manufacture. This system delivers a reliable external shield that protects the rod blanks and guide wraps from easy warping and disintegration. The composite graphite blank is a two-piece setup for effortless storage and portability.
The guides come with stainless steel frames combined with aluminum oxide inserts to bring anglers a durable yet exceptionally lightweight line guide component that easily accommodates both braided and monofilament lines for reliable versatility. The handle features a revolutionary rubber shrink tube design to give the user a secure grip in wet and dry fishing situations.
This can be appreciated when fighting a large struggling fish. The fishing rod proves to be an ideal match for various reels from the PENN brand, as well as standard drag reels. The graphite reel seat ensures wobble-free attachment of the reel, so you can cast and retrieve with confidence. The series has models that can accommodate lure weights from 4 to 5 ounces and casting to around 100 yards. The ones that handle lure weights around 8 ounces can fling from 40 to 50 yards in the water.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($66.68)
Designed to handle the challenges posed by big water fishing, the Shakespeare Two-Piece Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Rod is manufactured using the legendary and exclusive Howald Process construction. This proprietary manufacturing technology is engineered to create an inner core or internal spiral of graphite to ensure remarkable strength of the hoop.
This is overlaid with an external layer made of glass fibers to make flex distribution uniform along the shaft. The fishing rods in the series are equipped with top quality Fuji double-footed stainless steel guides fitted with aluminum oxide inserts, ensuring superb heat dissipation and reduction of friction so the line does not suffer from abrasion, which can cause fraying, damage or breakage of the fishing line.
The spinning rod also boasts Fuji Graphite-bolstered reel seats with stainless steel hoods as well as blank-thru-handle construction or cutout, giving the angler a better feel of what the fish is doing to the hook while still ensuring more than enough strength to the entire fishing rod.
The rod also comes with Shakespeare’s exclusive Ugly Stik Clear Tip, which is nothing less than the most sensitive tip to ever be built into a fishing pole. Like all Ugly Stiks, the rods in this series all ship with the reliable Shakespeare Ugly back 60-day or 5-year limited warranty that signifies the manufacturer’s commitment to quality craftsmanship and use of premium materials.
The Shakespeare Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Rod is a two-piece model that makes it easy to transport the entire rod in a tackle case, bag or backpack so the angler can travel to a fishing location without worrying about having to handle a long rod during the journey.
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Intelligently designed and manufactured in accordance to the goal of making a product that is easier to use and smarter to have, the Plusinno® Telescopic Fishing Rod comes with high density to deliver a durable product made for long term functionality.
The telescopic fishing rod doesn’t come with a matching fishing reel, but the stainless steel hooded reel seats are designed to be easy to incorporate with a variety of fishing reels out there. The reel seats are geared with shielding against corrosion from seawater, making the rod perfect for deep sea fishing and angling in the ocean. Made with dependable elasticity, the fishing rod comes equipped with a blank of carbon fiber integrated with fiberglass to ensure toughness under any fishing conditions.
The telescopic rod has sections that each lock into place, which, once locked, will hold the entire rod firmly in a single piece while still being quite easy to reset. Enjoy good tactile feel, advanced technology and revolutionary manufacture with this fishing rod that features a durable ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) foam fore grip.
The EVA grip not only ensures ergonomic holding but also makes the handle easy to clean of fish oil, protein and slime using simple detergent. It also enables placement of the rod into a beach spike or rod holder even for extended periods of time, without fear of dents or chipping. The telescopic design makes the rod easily transportable, with a closed length that is convenient to carry around in your bakpackpack, travel or tackle case.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($23.52)
Available in two length variations, the Piscifun® 2 Sections Ultralight Graphite Ice Fishing Rod Black offers toughness and sensitivity without the high price. The fishing rod delivers rugged performance in even the harshest fishing environments.
Amazingly lightweight at only 3.51 ounces, the fishing rod delivers the level of sensitivity and light weight that rivals what fiberglass rods can offer. It has a flexible graphite shaft that exceptionally communicates the vibration on the hook caused by the fish biting, so the fisher can go about hook setting as quickly as possible. At the core of this awesome fishing rod is a rod blank of graphite, ensuring smaller weight and the needed sensitivity. The high quality stainless steel guides not only come with a low profile but also contribute to the lightweight construction of the rod.
The stainless steel guides will not fray, damage or break the fishing line thanks to their high resistance to friction and uniform dissipation of heat. They are made solid to ensure that the fishing line does not exhibit play even when long yards are released from the spool. They also keep the line evenly positioned against the shaft for problem-free casting and retrieve.
Outfitted with an ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) foam grip, the fishing rod handle outperforms cork grips in terms of quality and resilience against cracks and dents. The handle is quite easily to clean of accumulated dirt such as fish oil, protein and slime using just detergent. The EVA foam handle also allows positioning of the rod into a beach or rod spike for long periods at a time without getting dented or chipped.
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A buying guide – How to find a top fishing rod
Should you fish on the deck of a boat that has a lot of space, rod length may not be too big an issue. However, if you have to hike through the woods or work your way down to a riverbank, the length of the rod will be a consideration, and this is where multi-piece rods or even telescopic fishing rods prove to be favorites.
The rod length is measured from its tip to the end of the butt on its handle. The shortest rods are about 4 feet while the longest ones measure all the way up to 14 feet. Surf fishing rods can even go up to 18 feet. Large size rods are designed to break down into a number of pieces to facilitate easy portability.
Choose the right rod length for the fishing method you will be doing.
For casting short distances, the best fishing rods to wield are short ones. A short rod can also be used with lures of low weight. A short rod enables easy manipulation when doing battle with the fish since there isn’t much distance between the fish and the handle of the rod. Big game fishing can be done with better control using a short rod, which can also be quite useful for trolling. Trolling is a type of activity where the line is dragged across the water while being attached to a moving boat.
You will need a longer rod for further distance casting, such as what is normally done in surf fishing. This method is a fishing activity done directly from the shoreline instead of from the pier or boat. Fly fishing and the use of heavy lures also require a longer fishing rod.
You can get top rated fishing rods in a range of weights. The weight of the rod is a determinant of the weight it can handle, which is also an indicator of the rod’s overall strength. Choose a rod of specific strength/weight according to the bait or lure to be utilized. This parameter is measured two ways, either by the weight of the lure the rod is geared to hurl, or the pound test, which is the line weight rating the rod can support.
The flexibility of the rod is simply denoted as its action. It also indicates at what specific point of the shaft the rod will flex or bend. For every type of fish, there are a variety of action rods on the market. The size of the fishing tool varies according to the point of flex or the action. This aspect gives you a picture of the rod’s reaction to a fish strike and also how it can handle movement from the lure or bait.
This element is expressed from fast to medium/moderate to slow.
One way to test the rod action right at the store is to hold the rod and give it a quick whip by snapping your wrist. Only the tip of a fast action rod will move. The tip and a small length below it will move with a medium action rod. Slow action rods quiver through their entire length when jerked. In other words, a fast action pole only bends in the top third or even the top quarter of the shaft. Medium or moderate action rods flex in the top half of the shaft. Slow action rods bend virtually through the entire length of the shaft from the lower third to the tip of the rod. For slow action rods, the flex is considered parabolic, or nearly the same throughout the length of the shaft.
A fast-action rod is more sensitive, so it makes setting the hook easier, but a slow-action rod is better for casting light baits and for fighting fish.
The type of rod can also influence the action. A fast action steelhead or fly rod can flex much lower and easier compared to a fast action offshore or bass fishing rod.
Walking through a trail to get to your fishing location with a really long, one-piece rod can be quite a challenge. Fortunately, manufacturers using advanced fishing equipment technology have developed fishing rods that break down into multiple pieces, aside from telescopic rod models that extend to a full size pole.
A solid, single-piece construction may offer greater sensitivity but won’t be convenient for transportation and storage. Neither will a long rod be able to fit into the trunk of your car.
The most common fishing rod material is graphite or carbon fibre. Graphite is produced under high temperatures and utilizing a two-step process, the first part designed to create tensile strength for rigidity through graphite fibers, and the second step involving overlaying of fiberglass perpendicular to the first layer. The best fishing rods are made using combinations of graphite and fiberglass as well as a variety of revolutionary new materials for some really great fishing action.
Characterized by greater weight and flexibility compared to graphite poles, fiberglass poles are quite difficult to break. They are less expensive as well.
The best cheap fishing rod can feature line guides made of plastic. However, there are some really good models equipped with metal or ceramic guide inserts. The line guides control the fishing line, keeping it along the shaft for effortless control. Most bass rods have line guides with metal frames and ceramic rings. The best material for the ring is silicon carbide, which offers a smooth surface through which the line moves, without too much friction to the line when casting and retrieving. With reduced friction, you can cast farther and not worry about heat dissipation, since heat can damage, fray or break the fishing line.
Another smooth material for guides is alconite, a less expensive alternative to silicon carbide. Other materials include Hialoy, hardloy, and aluminum oxide as well as other ceramic materials. Some guides have titanium wires, enabling the guides to spring back into their original shape when bent flat.
The number of line guides is determined by the length of the fishing pole.
Spinning rods have the first line guides at the tip or upper portion of the rod, graduating in size to larger diameter guides as you go along the length of the shaft to near the handle. The smaller line guides on the tip of the rod reduce line play and enable effortless casting plus faster retrieve.
You can enjoy generally better casting the more guides there are on the rod compared to only a few. This will also ensure uniform flexing throughout the entire shaft, resulting in more efficient use of power for fighting fish and further casting distances.
Rod Handle Type/Material
When going over fishing rod reviews, decide what kind of grip or handle on the rod you are comfortable working with.
The shortest type of handle is the pistol grip, which is contoured to fit the palm and features a hook to place your index finger on. This type enables more accurate casting. A trigger stick handle is longer and is preferable for longer, two-handed casting.
The material of the grip can either be cork or ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) foam. If you want sensitivity with a solid feel, cork grips are perfect. Please bear in mind that the quality of the cork matters too.
If you seek durability, resistance to dents and chipping when placed in a beach spike or holder for long periods of time, as well as easy cleaning off of accumulated protein, fish oil and slime, choose rods with EVA foam grips.
The reel is held or attached to the rod through the reel seat. Variety in reel seats is quite limited. Graphite reel seats that feature a cutout enable the angler to feel the slightest vibration on the blank. Make sure the reel you get won’t jiggle or wobble once attached on the reel seat through the designated grooves.
What are the most popular brands of fishing rods?
Shimano: The Shimano heritage for excellent products has been passed down from its Japanese founder Shozaburo Shimano who, in 1921, envisioned the brand to produce the best products in Kansai, the best in Japan and the best all over the world. For almost a century, the brand has been recognized for products boasting precision engineering. The Japanese multinational manufacturer produces and markets cycling components, rowing equipment and fishing tackle. With headquarters in Sakai, Japan, the company boasts 32 consolidated subsidiaries along with 11 unconsolidated subsidiaries. it has primary manufacturing plants located in: Kunshan, China; Singapore; and Malaysia. nearly a third of its sales in 2005 were from fishing tackle.
In 2003, Shimano established the Shimano (Kunshan) Tackle Co., Ltd. It introduced the Stella 2004 after a year. This was a stainless steel one-piece bail that benefited from technology for thin bails. The product featured titanium-coated guard fins and repositioned stopper switches. The latest in this line is the Stella 2014, utilizing MicroModule technology on the idle gear of the worm shaft to reduce vibration from oscillation.
Daiwa: Producing a number of fishing tackle, rods, reels, lures, accessories and pre-mounted combos, the Daiwa brand started rolling off its first spinning reel from the assembly line in 1955. Now, six decades hence, the company has emerged as one of the biggest and most highly recognizable producers of fishing tackle around the world. The Daiwa Corporation was established on September 26, 1966. This division has been designed to handle sales and distribution in the United States. From a small facility in Culver City, California, Daiwa Corporation is now based in Cypress, California, currently marketing tackle throughout the United States, Canada, South and Central America.
From the time it was founded to today`s modern times, Daiwa has adhered to quality and innovation in the creation of products. The brand now boasts a long roster of product features, materials and design that have easily evolved into industry standards on the fishing tackle market and the sport of fishing as a whole.
Shakespeare: In 1897, the William Shakespeare, Jr. Company was founded in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The name was changed to Shakespeare Company in 1915. Making fishing effortless and delightful, Shakespeare has been at the forefront of the industry in making affordable, premium quality fishing equipment. The company introduced the Backlash brake along with the Wondereel in 1939, which was one of the most popular reels to be marketed at the time.The Ugly Stik Rod was launched in 1976, which was the first product to have a clear tip along with the use of the proprietary Howald Process construction for awesome durability. In 1996, the Ugly Stik Lite Rods were launched, boasting the exclusive Howald Process to deliver triple-built construction that results in a rod with lighter weight. In 2011, the brand won the Best Kids Tackle award for its newly-introduced casting game and sound kits boasting child-friendly themes.
Piscifun: The Piscifun company was founded based on a simple philosophy: to make fishing more than just a sport but a means to put food on the table. Founded by Ben Jackson, the company has upheld that fishing is way beyond being just a family tradition. Fishing has become a way of life for three family generations. Under the watchful mentorship of his grandfather, Ben Jackson imbibed the secrets of the many lakes and streams surrounding the unassuming town where he spent his growing up years. Thanks to his grandpa’s teachings, Ben was able to learn how to create lures that can land the fish from the water to the dining table each time.
Piscifun started from a small workshop Ben Jackson moved out of in 2005 to a corporation combining custom manufacturing operation and great business sense. By listening to fishermen voice their needs, the company is able to make a huge difference in the industry.
How can I make a fishing rod holder?
It depends on where you’ll be doing your angling. If you’re going to engage in some surf fishing, we suggest using a typical PVC pipe that fits your pole as best as possible. If you intend to fish near a stream or anywhere where there’s solid ground, you might have to be a bit more imaginative and use the same PVC component, but also rely on a metal rod that you can stick in the ground. Don’t use the second method for beach fishing as the sand won’t be stable enough to maintain the position and even location of your rod holder. Another inexpensive DIY project you can make all by yourself is building a fishing rod holder for your truck. In this case, you’ll need two PVC cross fittings, several T PVC fittings, just as many PVC caps, and a couple of feet of PVC pipe. There are many holders that can be bought in today’s market, but building your own is easy especially if you have some spare PVC.
How long a fishing rod do I need for surf fishing?
You should begin by tackling your fishing situation. Most surf fishermen and women tend to prefer a 10-ft surf fishing rod because it seems to be more versatile than longer or shorter ones. If you use a short pole, you’ll be able to reel in smaller species, whereas if you use a longer rod, you’ll be able to cast for long distances and have a chance at catching big fish. A 7-foot fiberglass pole can prove to be a friend in need if you intend to do some shore-based saltwater fishing, where it needs to bounce around rocks. Another detail you have to bear in mind is that shorter poles are far easier to maneuver than their longer counterparts, and that’s also due to the fact that they are more lightweight. In a nutshell, choose the length of your fishing rod depending on your angling circumstances or the area where you commonly go fishing.
Should I get a fishing rod and reel combo or buy them separately?
If you have never fished in your life and have little to no experience when it comes to angling, we advise you to look into purchasing a combo. In most cases, the two major components, the rod and the reel, are perfectly fitted to match each other. This practice can help you save some time and ensure that you pick the right units without bothering to go through an extensive research process. Some types of rods, such as spinning and collapsible poles, in general, come with built-in reels, so you won’t even be bothered by setting up the two every time you’re going to use them. On the other hand, if you know what you’re looking for, there shouldn’t be anything refraining you from choosing these components separately. It all boils down to whether you prefer getting a higher quality rod or a higher quality reel, as in most cases they might differ, in this sense.
How are fiberglass fishing rod blanks made?
Fiberglass blanks are built following an extensive and somewhat complicated process, but we’ll try our best at explaining it. What you need to know is that this type of material can be made of several types of glasses, whether it’s regular sand (silicon dioxide) or limestone. To these two components, ingredients like potassium and sodium carbonate are added, as well as aluminum oxide and hydroxide, and magnesium oxide. In the end, a mixture is created with all of these ingredients, and then it’s forced through a device made of steel that contains several spinnerets, which are basically small holes. The glass that results from this procedure is later on cooled into fibers, these are spun into yarn, and eventually, this product is woven into sheets.
Why are fishing rod handles made of cork?
There are two primary types of materials currently used in the manufacturing process of fishing rod handles. One of them is EVA foam and the other is cork. There are both advantages and disadvantages to each, and we’ll detail them as best as possible. EVA foam handles are more affordable and durable compared to their cork counterparts, and they can also be cleaned with ease. However, they’re less sensitive and often heavier than cork handles. In addition to this, if the weather is chilly, your hands won’t be freezing if you use a cork handle. The latter also transmits vibrations a lot better, so that’s why it’s considered more sensitive than foam options. The only drawback of a cork handle is that it isn’t remotely as durable as an EVA foam one, and even more so if you plan to use a rod holder where it might get damaged. Besides, this kind of handle needs to be treated with care, in that you’ll have to wipe it clean after using it in order to prolong their life.