6 Best Retractable Carp Rods (Top Telescopic Carp Fishing Rods Reviewed)

Last Updated on 28 January 2024 by James Bevan

Best Retractable Carp Rods

Telescopic carp rods never used to be a thing if you thought yourself a ‘serious carp angler’.

Well, that was until the new age of carp fishing saw advances in technology that allowed shorter rods to perform just as well as their longer counterparts in some scenarios.

In fact, the use of shorter rods appears to be a growing trend on the carp fishing scene nowadays and popular brands are taking this theme one step further, by introducing some really good telescopic carp rods.

In this article, I delve into the detail of what these brands have produced in a quest to provide you with the top 6 best retractable carp rods in the tackle shops.

I’ll also explain some important considerations when choosing a retractable carp rod as well as the advantages and disadvantages of them.

So without any further ado, let’s get straight to the point.

Quick Summary

If you are in a rush, here are my top 6 telescopic carp rods with their overall scores and a link to reputable retailers selling them. Please read on, however, if you would like more detail on why they are the best.

Why Were These Rods Chosen & What Sets Them Apart From The Rest

The retractable rods recommended in this article have been carefully selected based on personal use, user reviews as well as expert opinions.

The main traits that set these rods apart from the competition are the materials used, their overall look and feel and the features they offer. All six rods excel in these key areas and offer a well-balanced product that is enjoyable to use and performs really well.

The 6 Best Retractable Carp Rods

#1. Nash Scope Black Ops

Nash Scope Black Ops

How It Scores

9.2

OVERALL RATING
3 Expert Reviews

Features9.5
Appearance9.7
Casting & Feel9.0
Playing Fish8.8
Value For Money8.8


Check Prices from 4 Shops


Why Is This The Best Retractable Carp Rod

An absolute mainstay as far as telescopic carp rods are concerned, the Nash Scope Black Ops has been designed to ameliorate many of the common issues that can crop up when using retractable rods.

Its hardy Pacific Bay High Stand-off Minima Guides can withstand a beating, for one, so you won’t have to worry about them getting damaged in transit (within reason). The same goes for the rod’s blank; while incredibly lightweight and flexible, it’s still durable and powerful enough to pull off long casts without issue, thanks in large to the cross warp applied to bolster it.

I also appreciate how dependable the Alps ARD reel fittings with knurled twin locking collars are. With these in place, your reel will not move a millimetre no matter how much punishment you give it.

Finally, being available in lengths of 9 and 10 feet and test curves of 3 and 3.5 lbs, the Black Ops offers near-unparalleled flexibility, especially considering its portability.

This rod is up there with the very best and is featured in my full guide on the best carp rods that money can buy.

Here’s What The Experts Have To Say

"The Scope Black Ops distils all that knowledge and experience that Nash has into what the company say is their best Scope yet."
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"My favourite rod in the scope range is the black ops, it's packed full of features and it's the closest to a custom-built scope rod that you can get off the shelf."
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Advantages & Disadvantages

Pros

  • Quality carbon fittings (backstop, line clip)
  • Two-piece rod with a retractable butt section, so it packs down very easily
  • 50mm eyes and 16mm anti-frap tip guide make for smooth, effortless casting
  • Blank uses extreme strength high modulus carbon and strengthening cross warp, making it incredibly hardy while staying remarkably lightweight.
  • Rod has a very slick, distinctive ‘stealth’ look
  • Handle’s paracord grip stays in the hand like velcro and is very easy to hold when wet
  • The Scope Black Ops provides performs exceptionally when stalking carp

Cons

  • There is only a small selection of lengths/test curves available
  • Less than ideal for fishing larger venues as the rod is on the shorter side

Features & Specifications

The Different Variations

#2. Sonik Insurgent Carp Rod

Nash Scope Black Ops

How It Scores

7.8

OVERALL RATING

Features8
Appearance8.5
Casting & Feel7
Playing Fish7.5
Value For Money8

Check Prices from 4 Shops

Why Is This One Of The Best Telescopic Carp Rods

The Sonik Insurgent Carp Rod is an upgrade to its predecessor, (the Xtractor) and has been well-received due to the popularity of using short, retractable rods.

These rods are both lightweight and powerful, and they absolutely look the part too, with a great-looking blank and ‘skeletal’ guides throughout.

Sonik has treated these rods to excellent fittings, including super-light M-Series DL black guides and 18mm Fuji DPS reel seats across the range. The blanks of the Insurgents are made from high-modulus Toray carbon with a lite-ply 1k armoured weave throughout.

The tip sections on all of the rods in the range boast a multidirectional carbon makeup to prevent twisting in the blank on the cast. This is a huge advantage and basically means that the loss of the forward energy is massively reduced and therefore distance and, crucially, accuracy is improved.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when I hit a spot to the corner of an island at 80 yards with the 9 foot 3lb version. For me, that is a triumph as I’m not the best caster on the planet!

Given that the Insurgent is a well-made bit of kit with some top-quality fixtures and fittings, the rod still manages to represent fantastic value for money.

Carp anglers on the lookout for a really good retractable all-rounder should consider purchasing this rod because it offers upmarket looks and performance whilst offering the kind of value for money that we come to expect from the up-and-coming Sonik brand.

What The Experts Say

"If you seek a compact rod with impressive capabilities, the Sonik Insurgent rods are a must-consider choice"
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"The Sonik Insurgent rods are a perfect blend of performance, aesthetics, and affordability. With their quick and responsive design, high modulus carbon blank, and 1k armored carbon weave finish, these rods deliver power, sensitivity, and a sleek appearance"
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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • A great space-saving option
  • It has a progressive action with no flat spots
  • It offers a nice feel when playing fish which is rare in a retractable rod
  • A great stalking rod
  • A nice, sleek design and finish to the rod

Cons

  • While these rods excel in space-saving and convenience, anglers who prioritise other aspects such as specialised casting performance or specific rod materials may prefer alternative options

Features & Specifications

The Different Variations

#3. ESP Onyx Quickdraw

Nash Scope Black Ops

How It Scores

7.7

OVERALL RATING

Features8.0
Appearance8.5
Casting & Feel7.0
Playing Fish7.0
Value For Money8.0

Check Prices from 3 Shops

Why Is This Such A Good Retractable Carp Rod

ESP don’t make many rods, but the ones they do produce are always of a quality build and well thought out with the angler in mind.

The 9 and 10-foot versions of the ESP Onyx Quickdraw come in test curves of 3 and 3.5 lbs. It’s a powerful and versatile rod that I found lends itself nicely to use on a variety of different waters.

Its slimline, high modulus blank is responsive and provides consistent feedback and action; while unusual for a telescopic rod, this is certainly a welcome feature!

Its 40mm stainless steel guides are both lightweight and durable enough to ensure casting is efficient without compromising balance.

I really enjoyed playing fish with this rod; thanks to its EVA handle, and responsive blank that provides the angler with plenty of feedback with enough power to land fish safely.

Carpers on the hunt for a portable yet versatile telescopic carp rod will definitely want to check out the ESP Onyx Quickdraw.

Here is a video from ESP themselves showcasing the features of the quickdraw carp rod:

Benefits & Drawbacks

Pros

  • Very compact design packs down to 44 inches in the 9-foot version and 50 inches in the 10-foot version
  • Lightweight minima guides keep the weight of the rod down
  • The full-length Duplon handle feels really comfortable in the hand
  • Features a decent DPS-style reel seat
  • The anti-frap tip and the moulded line clip are nice touches

Cons

  • No 12-foot version unfortunately
  • Limited handle options, but fine if you like the full duplon option

Features & Specifications

The Different Variations

#4. Daiwa Crosscast EXT

Daiwa Crosscast EXT

How It Scores

7.6

OVERALL RATING

Features7.0
Appearance7.5
Casting & Feel7.5
Playing Fish7.3
Value For Money8.5

Check Prices from 5 Shops

Why This Telescopic Carp Rod Is A Good Choice

The Daiwa Crosscast EXT is an excellent retractable carp rod that combines clever features with great build quality and performance to deliver anglers an all-around dependable package in a telescopic form.

One thing I especially appreciated about the Crosscast EXT was its Telescopic Extendable Butt feature; this makes the Crosscast EXT even more compact than the majority of retractable rod offerings.

It’s a particularly worthy investment for anglers with very limited storage space, or anyone looking to prioritise portability above all else in their new carp rod.

Not only that but the Crosscast EXT is made using a quality blank, which is reinforced with its 1K Woven Carbon finish.

The rod is also kitted out with a SeaGuide reel seat and rings, both of which are very sturdy and, I believe, will withstand an absolute beating, making this a far more durable offering than the majority of retractable carp rods.

Some Quotes From The Experts

"I took these rods out with me a few days ago onto a local day ticket... I was fishing margin spots and close to an island... they felt perfect... great on smaller venues"
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"The Crosscast EXT Rods from Daiwa offer anglers a perfect combination of compact storage, advanced technology, and durability, making them an essential addition to any carp angler's arsenal"
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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The rod offers versatility with 3 test curve options
  • It features a slim and comfortable full-shrink handle
  • The rod has a simple, yet sleek finish to it that looks great
  • Features a good, solid Sea guide reel seat
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • No 12-foot version is available
  • Again, limited handle options

Features & Specifications

The Different Variations

#5. Sonik Xtractor Recon – Best Budget Option

Daiwa Crosscast EXT

How It Scores

7.3

OVERALL RATING

Features7.3
Appearance7.3
Casting & Feel7.0
Playing Fish7.0
Value For Money8.5

Check Prices from 5 Shops

Why Is This A Top Retractable Carp Rod

While the Sonik Xtractor Recon may be on the more affordable side, it certainly doesn’t skimp on quality or the features that it offers the angler.

This excellent carp rod has clearly been designed with versatility in mind; boasting 40mm guides, an anti-frap tip, and a strong carbon fibre blank.

This is a rod that feels great in the hand and can be applied to a wide variety of carping contexts without issue.

The rod’s DPS reel seat was one of the best I’ve tried at this price point, bar none, and durability concerns aren’t a problem with this particular telescopic carp rod.

Its transport length is just 30 inches in the 8-foot length and 50 inches in the 12-foot option, making it easy to store and stow away. With these very short breakdown lengths, the rod is ideal as a stalking rod or even one to take on your travels.

An absolute bargain for the price it’s sold at; this rod is absolutely worth the money and then some.

How The Experts Rate It

"The Sonik Xtractor Recon Rods offer the flexibility and versatility of a much larger rod without compromising on playability or casting capabilities"
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"The Xtractor Recon rods offer the performance of a 12-foot carp rod while maintaining the pack down size of the original 10-foot Xtractors"
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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 2 very different lengths (8 & 12 feet) are available to suit different fishing needs.
  • Packs down to just 30 inches (8 foot) and 50 inches (12 foot)
  • The 40mm butt ring and ant-frap tip make it a rod that has good casting abilities
  • It’s a good-looking rod with a modern style applied to it
  • A neat-looking line clip is featured on the rod
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • Performance could be better in some areas, more so around its balance and feel when casting and playing fish

Features & Specifications

The Different Variations

#6. Fox EOS Pro Telescopic Rod

Daiwa Crosscast EXT

How It Scores

7.3

OVERALL RATING

Features7.3
Appearance7.3
Casting & Feel7.0
Playing Fish7.0
Value For Money8.0

Check Prices from 4 Shops

Why Is This A Popular Telescopic Rod Amongst Carp Anglers

Fox is known for producing carp rods that are affordable and highly respectable, both of which ring absolutely true of the company’s EOS Pro Telescopic Rod.

This is a highly versatile model, too; it comes in lengths of 10, 12, and 13 feet, and test curves of 3 and 3.5 lbs.

All of these iterations of the EOS Pro Telescopic Rod come with the same, quality features. Its lightweight, low carbon blank in matte black is springy yet durable, and the shrink wrap handle feels great in the hand.

What’s more, the rod’s anti-frap SLIK Air guides are incredibly resilient and should be able to withstand plenty of punishment in transit. The same goes for its 18mm reel seat, which I found was both very reliable and easy to adjust.

Yet again, Fox has shown that affordable carp rods can still be great pieces of gear that even experienced anglers can get plenty of use and satisfaction out of.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Longer rod enthusiasts will be pleased to see 12 and 13-foot versions of this rod
  • Anti-frap tip guide is useful
  • Good quality large reel seat at 18mm
  • A good all-round telescopic carp rod
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • Playing fish isn’t as responsive as some premium models
  • Only available in 2 test curves

Features & Specifications

The Different Variations

Important Considerations When Choosing A Telescopic Carp Rod

The Rods Build & Materials

One key thing to keep in mind when on the hunt for a telescopic carp rod is the type of material the rod is made from. It’s common, for instance, for entry-level retractable carp rods to use blanks made from fibreglass.

While this is a great way to keep costs down, fibreglass is heavier than other materials, as well as being less strong. Conversely, a blank made from carbon fibre will generally be considerably stronger yet lighter.

This is often an advantage when carp fishing in particular, as it allows you to cast longer distances, as well as control the transfer of power through the blank. It also allows for a more pleasurable experience when playing fish.

The Length Of The Rod

When choosing the length of a decent retractable carp rod there are 2 measurements to consider; the length when retracted and the full operational length of the rod.

Obviously, if your main purpose behind a purchase is for compact storage and maybe travelling then the shorter the retracted length is the better. Having said that, I suggest you don’t compromise the fully extended length as this is an important consideration when fishing.

As with all other types of rods, the reason the full length of a telescopic carp rod is crucial is that it will play a major role in determining how far you can cast with the rod.

Generally speaking, the longer the rod, the longer the casts you’ll be able to pull off with it.

12 and 13 feet are optimum lengths to maximise casting potential in a carp rod. However, some anglers prefer a retractable rod due to its compact nature, particularly when stalking.

If this is you then 10 feet is probably a good limit to keep in the back of your mind.

You can go shorter but you will compromise casting ability and possibly the amount of control you have over the fish when playing it.

Test Curve

Finally, test curve is a key consideration when choosing a retractable carp rod. What test curve you choose will depend on the size of the water you are fishing, how far you need to cast, and what size fish you are targeting.

You can check out our handy carp rod test curve calculator which will guide you in the right direction when it comes to choosing a test curve.

Some Advantages of a Telescopic Carp Rod

Portability

It probably goes without saying that the greatest strength of telescopic carp rods is the very thing they were designed to offer; enhanced portability.

Retractable carp rods are incredibly easy to transport, making them a fantastic choice for anglers with limited storage space, or those who enjoy a roaming approach to their carp fishing and often find themselves fishing tight swims.

Ease Of Use And Setup

Telescopic rods tend to be a beginner-friendly option, even when compared to entry-level multi-piece carp rods.

Many of the entry-level retractable rods are incredibly affordable, so if you are just starting out in the sport then keeping costs down until you know you like the sport enough to invest a little, is important.

They are also very easy to set up with it simply being a case of extending the rod to its full length as opposed to lining up separate sections.

Some Disadvantages of a Retractable Carp Rod

Resilience & Robustness

Retractable carp rods tend in general not to be as resilient or hard-wearing as regular, multi-piece models can be. A particular concern is expanding and retracting the rod. When doing this you generally need to be quite careful as pulling on certain areas such as the guides can cause damage.

Longevity

As well as being more prone to damage than their non-retractable counterparts, telescopic carp rods may need a bit more maintenance. It’s not uncommon, for instance, for dirt or detritus to get trapped between the different segments of the rod when collapsed – particularly the rings and joints.

This can scratch the blank and is generally detrimental to its performance. The eyes on any telescopic carp rod will typically be its most vulnerable point, and, therefore, most prone to damage, too.

Strength & Power

It’s also worth noting that, for what telescopic rods offer in convenience, they lack somewhat in versatility and power.

Retractable carp rods, while perhaps not being flimsy, are generally not what you’d want to be using if you have something especially powerful or stubborn at the end of your line. Also, if you are on a large water where big distances are required on the cast, they would equally struggle.

In general, retractable carp rods tend to be just that much weaker than more traditional carp rods, unless you invest in a more premium model. You simply won’t get as much power out of telescopic rods as you could a conventional, multi-piece offering.

FAQs

Here are some of the most common questions I receive on the subject of retractable carp fishing rods:

Can Telescopic Carp Rods Cast As Far As Conventional Rods?

What Are Telescopic Carp Rods Made Of?

Are Telescopic Carp Rods Suitable For Beginners?

Final Thoughts

The best retractable carp rods are those that offer the distinct advantage of being compact and portable yet still provide the attributes required to effectively fish and more importantly enjoy the experience.

The options I have provided in this guide have all been tried and tested to ensure they do just that.

If you would like to check out some other shorter rods then you can take a look at the stalking rods we feature at eTackle.

Many thanks for reading.

Tight Lines!