A balanced fishing rod with a reel occurs when you lay the rod on your index finger where the butt-end meets the rod blank.
If the fishing rod remains in a perfectly horizontal position, the rod is balanced.
If the rod tip is down, we call that a weight-forward rod.
If the tip is up then we call that a weight-backward rod.
You can balance a fishing rod and reel by changing the reel.
If when balancing the rod and the tip is down, you can add a reel that weighs a little more.
The extra weight on the butt-end will pull up the tip and the rod may balance perfectly.
If the rod tip is up in the air, you can replace the reel with a lighter reel and the rod tip will drop.
The goal is to have the butt-end of the rod with the reel weigh as much as the rod blank where the butt and blank meet.
When both parts are equal in weight the rod will balance on your finger in a horizontal line.
We call this neutral weight.
The reason that a balanced rod is important is that when the rod is not balanced you end up fighting its weight plus gravity all day long and that process can cause fatigue.
This is especially true when you fish with a lure.
Lure fishing requires a lot of casting versus bait fishing where you cast and let the bait sit.
We have a nice guide that will show you how to add line to fishing reel in case you were interested.
Matching Rod and Reel
The finger balance method of checking how balanced a rod and reel set are is very easy to do even if you are shopping in a store.
That is a good tip when you buy rod and reel combos.
A rod and reel combo should balance when you place the rod horizontally over your index finger.
The place where the rod is level should be the junction where the butt of the rod with the reel attached meets the rod blank.
This is also the spot where when you hold the rod your index finger would curl around the grip.
If the rod butt is too light the spot where the rod balances will be more towards the tip which makes holding the rod in a balanced position impossible.
If that is the result with a rod and reel combo, put the rod back as it is not balanced.
If you are choosing a rod and then choosing a reel, and the rod balance test does not level out where the rod butt meets the blank then you need to choose a different reel.
If the rod tip is down, you need a heavier reel.
If the rod tip is up, you need a lighter reel.
When you use the rod balance test you can pair a rod and reel that create a balanced fishing setup which will make fishing for long periods much easier on your body.
Adding Weight to The Rod
The simplest way to balance a fishing rod is to choose a reel that is the correct weight.
However, that is not the only way to balance a fishing rod.
You can add lead to the butt-end of the rod.
There is lead tape that you just wrap around the butt of the rod until you get the correct weight.
However, there are rod balancing kits, which are a rubber boot that slides over the butt-end of the rod grip.
You can add weight, such as quarters or steel washers to the boot before you slide it onto the rod.
The best part about using a kit to balance your fishing rod is that they are easy to remove.
That’s a big deal if you want to switch to a different weight reel.
All you do is slip the boot off and reduce or add weight to the boot before you slip it back onto the rod. It is really that easy.
The rod balance kits also mean you don’t have to mess with lead or lead tap.
Learning how to add weight to a fishing rod is an essential part of being a successful angler.
The better balanced the rod is the long your can fish bot in the span of a day and over your fishing lifetime.
A balanced rod helps to protect your wrist from fatigue and injuries when you fish a lot.
Beyond the comfort level of a balanced rod, you also gain sensitivity.
When your rod is balanced the action of the rod becomes more prevalent, and you can feel more of the action that happens around the hook or the sinker.
Where Should Balance Point Be on Fishing Rod?
The balance point should be where your index finger wraps around the rod as you hold.
To find that point, hold the rod as though you are fishing.
Where your index finger wraps around the rod is the balance point.
That is the point where you want to test the rod for balance.
Place the rod on your index finger at that point and determine if the rod is balanced, weight-forward or weight-backward.
From there you can determine if changing the reel is going to be a good fix of if you need to add weight.
There are situations where you want the rod’s balance to be more weight-forward, such as when you are top-water fishing.
If you are fishing lures where you are constantly retrieving the lure then you don’t want the tip down, you want a tip up or weight-backward balance.
The reason you adjust ratio of weight from butt to tip is to counteract the force of gravity.
The more gravitational force on the rod the more stain there is on your wrist.
How Do You Balance a Custom Fishing Rod?
The easiest way to balance a custom fishing rod is to match the rod to a reel that gives you the proper balance.
When that is not possible because you do not have another reel option, you can use a rod balancing kit.
Generally, you can find these for about $15.
They are a rubber boot that slips over the butt-end of the rod, and you can add weight – coins or washers – to the inside of the boot before you slip it on the rod.
Even a balanced rod may become unbalanced if you change the reel.
So, having a rod balancing kit makes it easy to add weight to your rod and reel.
How Do You Balance a Heavy Rod Tip?
Generally, this is a problem for all rods that are longer than seven feet, and especially for those rods that are in the nine-twelve foot range.
The reason is that most modern reels are very light in weight.
So, the longer the rod the more tip heavy they are.
A rod balance kit is an easy answer unless you have a heavier reel option available.
Add a couple of quarters to the rod balance kit boot and slip it over the rod’s butt-end.
Test the balance and adjust the weight inside the boot as needed.
How Do I Align My Fishing Pole?
A rod that is aligned is balanced.
To balance a fishing rod means that the weight of the rod and reel will balance where the butt-end of the rod meets the blank or more importantly at the juncture where you hold the rod and your index finger wraps around the rod grip.
That also means that the point of balance will differ from one angler to the next.
To balance the rod, you add or subtract weight to the butt-end of the rod so that when you balance the rod on your index finger, the rod remains horizontal and not tipped forward or with the rod’s tip up in the air.
The easiest way to balance the rod is to switch reels.
If the rod tip is up when balancing the rod, then replace the reel with one that is lighter.
If the rod’s tip is down, you switch to a heavier reel.
If switching reels is not an option you can purchase a rod balance kit that adds weight to the butt-end of the rod.
Besides all of this, it’s important to know how to maintain your reel by cleaning it.