Carbon Fiber vs Graphite Fishing Rod [2021 Published]

Choosing the right type of fishing rod can seem like quite a challenge if you’re relatively new to the sport, with a common question being carbon fiber vs graphite. There are so many different types of fishing rods that are all mean for certain purposes. Many of them are made with heavy power while others are ultralight and might offer fast action. It’s easy to become confused about just what kind of rod material you need in your next fishing pole. 

Two of the most popular types of fishing rod materials that companies are turning to with more prevalence are carbon fiber and graphite. These two types of rods are meant to be both lightweight and durable, but which one is actually better than the other?

In this article, we will explain the major differences between carbon fiber and graphite fishing rods to help you make the best decision for your own personal needs when buying your next fishing rod. 

Weight 

One of the most prominent things that major brands in the fishing industry try to address with new reel models is having just the right amount of overall weight. Some rods are made to be heavier so that you can have a better chance of landing giant fish while others are extremely lightweight and made for small species. 

Graphite is one of the lightest materials on the market today that rod manufacturers use to create their products. It’s much lighter than fiberglass and offers better sensitivity as well. It’s these two main qualities that are the reasons why so many companies choose to create spinning rods out of graphite material. 

Carbon fiber, on the other hand, is less brittle and can handle bigger fish with more grace and confidence. It might not be quite as sensitive as graphite, but it really doesn’t have to be overly sensitive to the small subtle bites in many cases because brands are more concerned with durability when they create rods with carbon fiber blanks, 

A combination of both graphite and carbon fiber can offer a decent compromise, but you’re generally better off by choosing graphite for more lightweight purposes and carbon fiber when you’re expecting to go after bigger species of fish. 

Sensitivity 

As we have noted already, it’s really no secret in the fishing industry that graphite rods are the better choice if you’re more concerned with sensitivity. The only problem with graphite is that it will usually break if it’s placed under a significant amount of pressure. Graphite rods won’t bend to the same extreme degrees that carbon fiber will in most cases. 

If you are fishing for trout, bluegill, perch or any other lightweight species that has a very small, subtle strike, it might be best to opt for a graphite rod over carbon fiber so that you will be able to easily feel each and every little bite. 

Toughness 

One of the main concerns any angler should have with their rod is whether it will hold up to the particular species of fish they plan to go after. Graphite rods are not very well-respected in this aspect as they are prone to snapping when they are placed under extreme pressure. However, a combination of graphite and fiberglass often works wonders and can be extremely sensitive while still being durable enough to let you catch medium or even large fish species. 

You never want to risk having your rod break while using it. Carbon fiber rods are made with a bit more density in the material, which makes them better conditioned to guard against these types of breaks or even cracks that can occur when facing significant pressure. 

Price

The cost of a rod is likely to be the determining factor for most beginner or novice anglers. However, if you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you’re past that stage of fishing and are looking to get the best product, even if you’re required to spend a bit extra to do so. 

A quick search online will yield results that show graphite rods being among the most expensive models on the market right now. This is because it costs a hefty amount to make a decent graphite rod and the blank material has to be specially designed to allow for maximum sensitivity, which requires much more attention to detail in the creation of the rod. 

Carbon fiber material is much cheaper to make because it’s less likely that the blank will crack or break during the manufacturing process. These rods are almost always going to be the cheaper option and if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly type of rod, carbon fiber is your best choice. 

Carbon Fiber vs Graphite 

The main question of which type of rod blank is best when comparing carbon fiber vs graphite really depends on the specific needs and performance capabilities you’re interested in when it comes to a rod. If you’re a freshwater angler who typically goes after trout and other smaller-sized fish, you might want a graphite rod that will let you feel when these fish bite so that you can properly set the hook. 

If you’re more concerned with getting a rod that’s capable of catching just about any type of fish without the risk that it will break, carbon fiber blank rods will be the better option. It’s clear that you should base your decision between the two types of rods on the type of fishing you plan to do and whether or not you’ll actually need to have increased sensitivity or more durability. 

If you’re truly more concerned about getting a more affordable rod, then a fiberglass blank will likely be the best choice. This will typically work for beginners and novice anglers, but those who are more advanced will likely seek out graphite and carbon fiber rods that are overall better quality and more likely to last longer. 

Conclusion 

Take into consideration what type of fishing you plan to do and what characteristic of each rod type is more important to you. Once you’ve gone through each of the five areas we mentioned and decided for yourself what you want and need, it’s going to be much easier to select between a graphite or carbon fiber fishing rod. 

Donny Karr
 

Donny Karr is an avid outdoorsman and writer whose work has been featured in magazines and websites for nearly a decade. He enjoys bass and crappie fishing in the lakes around the southeastern United States, as well as trout fishing in the streams and rivers of the Appalachian mountains. He enjoys keeping up with the latest news and gear items in the fishing industry and is always looking forward to his next outdoor adventure. Donny has written for Georgia Outdoor News, The Outdoor Trip, Man Can Outdoors, Global Fishing Reports, and Bassmaster.