How to care for telescopic rods

How to care for telescopic rods

Telescopic fishing rods are convenient both to use and carry. Whether you are putting them in the back of the car or a backpack for a long hike, collapsible poles are just easier to manage than long rods. Caring for telescopic rods can be easy too.

Today's telescopic rods are precision engineered for maximum efficiency. This makes them more responsive and sensitive than fishing poles of the past. But it also means you have to learn away around these newer rods to get the most out of them.

We sell a variety of telescopic fishing poles ranging from travel spinning rods to collapsible microfishing rods and tenkara rods. There are obvious differences between these rod types. There are also similarities.

A minimum amount of care and maintenance will keep a telescopic rod in top shape. This guide will help you avoid common mistakes and prolong the use of your telescopic rod.

Parts of a telescopic rod

Telescopic rods are made up of multiple sections. Smaller sections fit into the larger sections. This allows the telescopic rod to be extended or collapsed for easy carrying.

Microfishing and tenkara rods have a string called a lillian attached to the end of the tip section. Fishing line is tied directly to this lillian.

Telescopic spinning rods do not have a lillian at the tip. Instead they have an eye. Line runs freely through this eye and others along the rod.

Telescopic tenkara and microfishing rods have a butt cap at the base. These butt caps can be unscrewed but turning them counterclockwise. When this rod cap is unscrewed, each section of the rod can be removed from the bottom.

fishing rod lillian

Note: Always disassemble your rod over a table or something similar. If you unscrew the butt cap while standing it's possible to drop all the sections onto the ground. This can cause breakage.

Telescopic spinning rods cannot be easily dissembled this way since they have larger eyes that will not fit through the other sections.

All telescopic rods have a handle, or at least a handle section. Rods are designed to bend in a way that aids in fighting fish. But fighting fish at the end of a line is different than the sideways pressure a human hand applies.

Always grip your rod by the handle when fishing. Grabbing higher up on the rod or bending the rod over to test flexibility can snap your rod in half.

Collapsible spinning rods normally come with a tip cap of some kind. This can be attached to protect the rod tip and keep the rod collapsed. But they aren't strictly necessary.

Collapsible microfishing and tenkara rods come with rod tip plugs. These are arguably more important than the caps used on spinning rods. 

Rod tip plugs

Telescopic microfishing and tenkara rods come with a tip plug made of plastic, rubber or wood. This plug is inserted into the small end of the rod when it is collapsed. It prevents the rod from extending.

Avoid placing the plug back in the rod tip if the lillian or fishing line is hanging out. This can cause issues. Your line may catch on a branch and pull against the rod tip causing breakage. If the lillian is left hanging out it can get inadvertently pulled and cause the rod tip section to snap under the pressure.

collapsed telescopic rod

Tip plugs are important but not vital. If you lose the tip plug you can still use the rod. But it will be more difficult to manage. So try to keep your tip plug.

If you do lose the tip plug, you can replace it with a rod cap. But only if you can find a rod cap that will fit your rod. Most replacement rod caps are made for tenkara rods and do not work well with thinner collapsible microfishing rods.

Put the tip plug in a safe place when not in use. We recommend placing the tip the same place, like a particular vest pocket or box, every time you fish. We find that it's much easier to keep track of your rod tip plug this way.

Extending a rod

Extending a telescopic rod seems easy enough, and it can be. Your first instinct may be to simply remove the cap and make a casting motion so that the rod slides out to full length at once. Doing so can cause a lot of problems.

Instead, extend your telescopic rod one section at a time with your fingers and thumb. Start with the tip section. Pull it until you feel some resistance. The rod sections should fit together snugly but not overly tight. Remember, you have to put the rod away later!

Once the tip section is fixed, move on to the next. Work your way all the way down to the butt section. Then you'll be ready to fish.

telescopic fishing pole

Note: Keep an eye on the tip section as you extend your rod. It is easy to get the tip caught against a rock or tree without noticing. If you keep extending the rod while the tip is pushing against something you risk breakage.

If the sections aren't tight, smaller sections like the tip can occasionally fall back down into the rod. If this happens, do not try to collapse the rod. Pieces can get stuck and break that way. Instead, unscrew the butt cap and remove the fallen sections from the back. Then collapse and remove the other sections. You can now reassemble the rod in order.

If the sections are too tight the rod can get stuck, jammed or "frozen." This can usually be fixed, but it is something you're better off avoiding. With a bit of practice on the water you'll quickly learn how much pressure to apply when extending your rod.

Collapsing a rod

When it comes to collapsing a rod, you want to start from the base and work your way back to the tip. Start with the largest two sections first.

Place the butt end against your body. Grip the smaller of the two sections as close to its larger end as possible. Gently work the smaller section back into the larger section by bending your fingers and thumb at the knuckles.

Note: Do not force the sections together. If they are stuck, see the "stuck telescopic rods" section below.

Once you get the second section loose and back into the butt, move on the next. Repeat these steps until the rod is totally collapsed. Then use the tip cap or plug to keep it all together.

We recommend collapsing your rod when traveling from one spot to the next. Extended rods are much easier to accidentally break than collapsed rods.

Stuck telescopic rods

It is possible for telescopic rods sections to get stuck. This is usually caused by one of the following:

  • Extending the rod incorrectly
  • Extreme cold
  • Extending the rod incorrectly
  • Small pieces of sand or dirt
  • Putting away the rod wet
  • Inserting a section the wrong way

No matter the cause, you want to get your rod sections unstuck. There are a few ways to do that, but unfortunately they are not foolproof.

Note: if a section is inserted the wrong way and pushed it will very likely get permanently stuck. Unfortunately, there is no remedy for this. So make sure to reassemble your telescopic rod correctly with the larger side of each section facing the butt end.

Angler's Emporium provides two small grip pads with every telescopic rod we sell. Replacement grip pads are also available. These grip pads make it easy to free stuck sections of collapsed rods. Especially when the rod sections are wet or slippery.

Again, place the butt end of the rod against your body. Now place a grip pad between your left thumb and forefinger. Use that to grip the bigger of the two stuck sections.

stuck telescopic rod section

Next, place the other grip pad between your right thumb and forefinger. Use that to grip the small of the two stuck sections as close to the seam as possible.

Now with a slight twisting motion, gently and firmly push the smaller section straight down into the larger section. Be careful not to place any left to right pressure on the rod section as this will cause a break.

Using grip pads will free stuck telescopic rod sections in most conditions. But if it doesn't you have some other options.

First, try to place the rod in a warmer space. If you're fishing in near freezing conditions the rod sections can expand. Taking the rod into a warm indoor area can cause the pieces of contract and slide back together.

If that still doesn't work you may have to use the "table tap" method. First, place something soft like a piece of foam or one of our grip pads on a table top or similar surface.

Remove the stuck sections through the bottom of your butt section if possible. Pointing the wide of the sections down, hold the pieces 3 to 6 inches above the table top with your thumb and forefinger.

Now swiftly move your hand down and release the unit onto the pad you've placed down. The motion is similar to throwing a dart. Except that in this case you want to keep the unit vertical and "throw" it down to the table top.

This table top "tapping" is a last resort that can release stuck sections. But it can also cause damage or even breakage in some situations. Start slowly to see what your rod can handle. Avoid using surfaces like rocks that can chew up or crack your rod sections.

Finally, you can try lubricants like WD-40 or alternatives. Avoid overly thick products like petroleum jelly. Also be sure to wash away any lubricants you apply to your rod with soap and water after use. Oil and silicone based lubricants could potentially damage the finish on a rod. Though we haven't seen it.

Rod storage

After a long day of fishing you may want to simply pack up your rod and forget about it. While many people do exactly that, putting a telescopic rod away wet can cause damage to the finish or lead to stuck sections.

Moisture often collects on a rod while fishing. Even if you do not fish during rain or snow. When you collapse your rod this moisture can get stuck between sections with no place to go.

The solution is to dry out your telescopic rods after each use. For tenkara and microfishing rods, simply remove the butt cap and disassemble. Place each place in a cool dry place.

Telescopic spinning rods cannot be easily disassembled. Dry your collapsible spinning rod in full extended position after each use instead. One the rod is dry, you can collapse it again.

If your rod is drenched with water from rain or a dip in the stream, wipe it down with a dry towel after use.

butt plug telescopic rod

Most, but not all, telescopic rods come with a rod sock or case. We also offer adjustable rod tubes that can protect your rod from damage.

Keeping your (dry) rod in its protective case when not in use can prevent damage from things like impacts and drops, but it is not strictly necessary.

Note: Although breaks and mistakes do happen we are unfortunately unable to offer warranties on telescopic rods. We check each rod before sending it out to ensure it is free from manufacturing defects. Take good care of your rods and they can last a lifetime.

This may all seem like a lot to consider, but taking proper care of your telescopic fishing rod isn't all that difficult. After some time, this will all become second nature.

Telescopic fishing rods can offer years of enjoyment on the water. The most important thing is to get out there and get fishing!


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.