Tailoring Graphite Rod Modulus and Blank to Your Fishing

Last updated on September 8th, 2020

high modulus graphite fishing rods

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What Is Modulus?

Fishing rod modulus can be a little daunting to understand. What does modulus even mean? What are the benefits of higher modulus rods?

We will break it down to simplify the topic and help you to understand what it all means. The term modulus just refers to the level of stiffness of a rod such as graphite. The higher the modulus is, the stiffer the material will be in terms of weight.

As you climb the modulus ladder and get to higher stiffnesses, you will find that the rod gets thinner. This is great for action and sensitivity while fishing. The idea here is that the rod gets thinner while still maintaining strength.

High modulus rod blanks are typical of professional anglers and outfitters because of their superior strength melded with great action. High modulus fishing rod blanks are on the higher end of the budget but worth it if you are looking for a great professional rod.

One of the most desirable things that graphite fishing rods have going for them is their sensitivity. This is true of both blanks and store-bought rods. Fiberglass is typically stiffer, making it hard to detect small strikes, whereas the graphite rods excel in this area.

Why We Love Graphite

In terms of action, graphite carbon rods are excellent for strike detection as we have stated above. But they are also much lighter than fiberglass rods. One downside to a graphite rod is that it is more brittle than its fiberglass competitor.

Brittle is a loose term, however, and you will find that they hold up fine if you treat them right. I use graphite for most of my fishing and have found that it works well for most styles and tactics of fishing freshwater fish.

One thing that is important to understand about graphite rods is that it is a very dense material compared to fiberglass. Graphite can even be stronger than some metalloids when it is fabricated correctly.

Modulus Options

From a marketing end, low, medium, and high modulus rating classifications dominate the rod industry. When you’re buying a rod over the counter, the multitude of choices can seem to make it difficult to get the precise rod for how you fish. However, the beauty of having these choices is that you can get the specific power and action you want for your type or style of fishing.

The fishing rod that I use is a medium-action rod that was bought over the counter. It is a great all-around rod but when fishing in certain places and styles I often wish that it were a little sturdier, lighter or maybe even had a little more action. A high modulus graphite fishing rod would give me all of these things.

What Modulus Rating Is Best for You?

angler fishing with high modulus rod in river

To answer this question, you must look at the conditions of where you are fishing and how you are fishing that area. Different modulus ratings work best for different styles of fishing and you should make a good determination in this regard. Let’s look at a few situations and conditions that will help you understand the best rods for them:

Lake Fishing

When fishing for trout or bass you will likely want to use a modulus rating that is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. You will not have as many bumps and snags while fishing so a stiffer rod is not as necessary, and you will still want that sensitivity for strike detection.


Have you ever gone trolling with a rod that was too flexible? If you have, then you know the frustration of your rod being bent in half the whole time. In this situation, you should opt for a lower modulus rod for the reduced action. Keep in mind that you are using graphite and you will still detect strikes well but obviously the detection gets better as you climb the modulus ladder.

Graphite is more brittle than fiberglass and when trolling in a boat sometimes things get stepped on. Keeping this in mind when you decide on which modulus rating you buy.

River Fishing

If you primarily river fish, then it can be hard to determine the best rod for the job. As far as modulus is concerned, I recommend that you look towards a rod that will not be bent in half the whole time. One thing to consider also is the sensitivity of the rod.

If you are river fishing deeper water, you are going to feel every bump while you are fishing and a highly sensitive rod may be frustrating whereas a sensitive rod may be great for topwater fishing the river. Consider not just where you fish, but how you fish as well.

The Blank Advantage

One thing to consider with modulus as it pertains to rod blanks is that it is usually a notch or two above what that company sells over the shelf in a store. Brands like G. Loomis have extremely strict rules on the quality of graphite that they use for their rods which is reflected in the cost of their rods.

When you look at a graphite rod closely you will see fibers running the length of the rod. This layer of fibers gives the rod its strength lengthwise. There is also a layer of carbon fiber underneath that runs around the rod rather than its length which gives it durability from crushing and maintains the diameter integrity of the rod.

All rods use different types of glue to adhere to fibers to each other and this glue is an important thing to protect. We recommend that you never leave any rod of any kind in a car in the sun, or any high heat situation.

A big factor in the action of a graphite rod is the small triangle-shaped layers of fiber that are laid out on what is called a mandrel. The pattern and layout of these triangles are what determine a large part of a rod’s action.

With most rod blank manufacturers, there are extremely strict quality assurance standards. The rods are put through their paces in terms of action, durability, and other factors to make sure that you are getting the best rod they can make for you.

When a rod manufacturer sells rod blanks, they know that they are generally selling to professionals and folks who know their craft. This means higher standards are set for their product, making it a safe bet that you will get a good product.

Blank Vs. Store-Bought In Terms of Cost

When comparing blanks with store-bought rods always keep your comparison within the company making the rod. A blank G. Loomis Rod is likely going to cost more than a Fenwick rod in a store so compare a G. Loomis with a G. Loomis to get a better understanding.

For most brands, the cost difference between blanks and store-bought rods is close. However, always consider the cost of the components you will need for the blank itself. Often setting up a rod from a blank will be more than buying a rod over the counter but sometimes not by much.

There are many manufacturers that create blank graphite rods that vary greatly in cost. The saying “you get what you pay for” can be true for some of the cheaper brands but sometimes you may also be paying for a brand name rather than a  superior rod, so always read reviews.

One side note that I will set here for you to better understand reviews is that you should start reading bad reviews first and work your way to the good reviews. Companies always put the best reviews front and center on their website so scroll down for the best information.

A Fishing Rod Tailored to You

custom made carbon fiber fishing rod

We have discussed some of the different aspects that make graphite rod blanks so unique in terms of modulus and how it can be beneficial to your fishing tactics. In a nutshell, consider modulus a rating for the rod in terms of hardness and action.

Because rods purchased in a store typically are limited in their actions and weights, starting with a blank is more customizable since you can have a rod to specifically suit the way you fish as an individual. When I was a kid my grandfather taught me to fish where you are comfortable and what he meant was to tailor yourself and your gear to what makes you happiest while fishing.

The best fishing rod blanks are made of quality materials, depending on the manufacturer, and can make for a perfect rod for a specific fishing tactic and great experiences. The only issue that can be found when considering a blank’s modulus is that if you buy a rod for trolling, for example, that is a lower modulus then it may not work well for other types of fishing.

Having a fishing rod for every style of fishing is great if you want, but having a custom rod for your favorite style of fishing and a good medium action rod for everything else is the great way to go. But, whatever you decide on, the most important rule of thumb is to have fun. If you are having fun, you are doing it right.

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