Our Product Review Guidelines

Fishing is incredibly fun, but only with the right gear.

With the wrong gear, fishing becomes a nightmare. In the best cases, lines get tangled, rods have issue casting, and fish don’t bite. In the worst cases though, rods snap, people get hurt, and money goes down the drain.

And that’s if you get the wrong gear. There are many instances where people match the right type of rod with the right type of reel, and their rod still snaps after a couple hours of fishing. That’s what happens when you get subpar gear.

Our goal here at Fishing Sensei is to make sure that these never happen to any of our readers.

Of course, we don’t expect you to simply trust us blindly, even if we do have decades of angling experience. Instead, we welcome you to thoroughly analyze and pick apart our review process and guidelines.

What We Always Do

These are the steps we take to ensure every piece of fishing gear we feature is of the highest standards.

Scour extensively through user reviews

A rod that casts well for us could have broken in another angler’s hands. We can’t simply assume that our experience with a product is representative of the average user’s experience.

What we do know is, the larger the sample size, the more accurate the data.

That’s why we forage high and low for as many reviews as possible of the products that we recommend. We also ask around our fishing buddies and sometimes even people we meet at our fishing spots (if we happen to see them using that particular product).

Cut through the fluff

Any brand in their right mind will try to hype up their product. They’ll use names like “Fuji K-Guides”, or “Ugly Tech Construction”, all in an attempt to make their products sound greater than they actually are. They’ll say their rod or reel is lightweight, or tough, or smooth.

We cut through the bull****.

If they’re giving us a fancy name, we strip it down to its core, whether it’s stainless steel guides or graphite rods.

If they make a claim about lightness or casting distance, we won’t just take their word for it. We’ll fact-check the weight, the rod length, and whatever it takes to validate their claim (or prove it wrong).

Uncover hidden facts

Brands don’t always give you the full picture. They may list a lower weight to make their product seem lighter, or they may avoid listing the weight at all.

That’s why we like to rely on our own measurements where possible. We also contact the manufacturer to ask for missing product details.

Here’s an example of our measurement differing by three pounds from the product page’s.

Our measurement vs the product page’s
Us getting unlisted information straight from Piscifun.

Consider fish species and the type of fishing you’re doing

We try to cover every fish species and every fishing style (surf fishing, kayak fishing, etc) out there.

Now obviously, we can’t be using a 4-foot rod for surf fishing or an ultralight reel for musky fishing.

For every product, we don’t just look at general qualities like durability and price. We make sure that that piece of fishing gear is suitable for the kind of fishing you’ll be doing. This differs for every fishing style and species, but with our decades of experience, we’re confident of the factors to look out for.

In fact, we even teach you these exact factors in every single one of our review articles, so that you grow as an angler with every article of ours that you read.

Include quality products from different price ranges

We also make a conscious effort to cater to all budgets, in line with our goal of helping as many anglers as we can. We want to find the right fishing gear for the serious angler who fishes for hours every day, but also the casual angler who fishes once a week, and the beginner who doesn’t want to invest too much to try out fishing.

That’s why we make sure to include the best fishing gear we can find at each price range for all of our review articles, so that you’ll always be able to find what you’re looking for.

Provide Fair And Transparent Quantitative Scores For Every Product

Finally, we want to make it as easy as possible for you to choose the right product for yourself, and we want you to have full confidence that you’re making the right decision.

That’s why we help you assess every aspect of a product and provide you with not just its overall score, but also how it scored in each aspect.

We have a separate scoring system for each product type, including rods, reels, and rod and reel combos. And these comprehensive scoring systems are explained in full to help our readers fully understand the scores we give.

Check out our product scoring systems

What We NEVER Do

These are practices that we are firmly against and will never adopt.

Accept payment to feature products

As a website of this size, we’ve had plenty of attractive offers from manufacturers to list their products higher in our review articles. Our answer then, now, and in the future, will always be a resounding No.

It’s simple. We ourselves wouldn’t want someone we trust to do this to us, so we could never do this to our readers who trust us.

Recommend only expensive products

Once again, we hold ourselves to high standards of integrity. We do recommend pricey products, but only if they’re worth the money, and we make sure to always include cheaper alternatives.

List pointless products

We’ve all seen it before, sites that throw you a bunch of products and give vague elaborations of each product. And at the end of the day, you walk away none the wiser as to which one you should be getting.

Read any one of our review articles and you’ll know that we never do that. Every product has a reason to be on the list, and each product is broken down clearly in detail.