A game rod needs to have enough power to set hooks, enough to gain line against pressure and enough length to help an angler keep tight on a lunging, head-shaking beast. The easiest way to test a rod's effectiveness is to stick a reel on it, thread it up and lift half its rating off the floor. If you are checking 10 kg rod, lift 5kg off the floor. If the rod bends to the reel grip it is too light. I prefer rods that bend only in their upper half. Maintaining tight line and full drag is very difficult with a rod whose tip folds away under little pressure, leaving only 2 to 3 feet of rod that can be used to pump loaded line. The longer and stiffer the rod, the easier it is to keep the line tight, the more line you gain per pump, and when the fish gets close the less likely you are to get cut off under the boat or around the propellers.
The lighter the line class, the longer the rod. For very light line under 8lb some anglers prefer a parabolic action so that the rod is a better shock absorber.
For record purposes, the IGFA equipment regulations demand that the rod tip must be a minimum of 101.6cm (40 in) long and the butt a maximum of 68.58cm (27 in) long. Curved butts, developed for use in the fighting chair are measured as a straight line. A growing number of anglers who do not wish to be constricted by the fighting chair, have rods designed specifically for them. These are considerably shorter than the traditional trolling big game rods. Stand-up rods measure between 1.5 to 1.8 meters and have a shorter butt-end than usual, as well as a fast taper to give lots of action.
A rod needs good guides, most production rods make use of Hardloy (a high-grade aluminium oxide) as the material is hard and durable. The guide material advances incorporate features that reduce the risk of impact breakage or chips, and significantly harder and smoother materials to reduce the risk of wear and heat build up on pressure points. Silicone Carbide are better guides and Gold Cermet guides are the best guides but more expensive. For big game rods good quality roller runners are better than guides. The best roller runners are anodized aluminium with waterproof stainless steel ball bearings.