Modern fishing rods are made of either fibreglass or carbon/graphite. Carbon rods are generally lighter and stiffer but more brittle than fibreglass rods. Most of the cheaper rods are fibreglass, they tend to be softer and less responsive than carbon rods but can usually be relied upon to take a lot more abuse.
There is no universal system for rating rods, different manufacturers rate them by line strength, maximum drag or lure/casting weight. Some rod makers use a PE rating, this is related to the diameter of braid the rod is designed for. As a rough guide multiply the PE rating by 10 to get the line strength in pounds the rod can handle.
For most of the parks a 7′ or 8′ rod is ideal, you will need a rod rated for at least 15lb line and a suitable fixed spool reel. I would suggest minimum 15lb line, 20lb is good. For the parks with smaller fish I use a light 7′ rod, a Penn 4000 size reel and 20lb line.
For Pattaya Fishing Park you will need a rod rated for 30lb+ line , 8kg+ max drag, PE 3+ or 120g+ lure weight and a robust reel spooled with minimum 30lb line. Some fishermen are using 80lb braid there.
For larger fish most fisherman here tend to favour multipliers, unless you have experience with one I would stick with a fixed spool reel as it’s all too easy to end up with a birds nest with a multiplier. The great advantage of a multiplier is that it takes better care of the fishing line, the line does not get roughed up or twisted as much as it does with a fixed spool reel. Multipliers usually incorporate a loud clicker so you can hear when a fish is taking line off your reel.
The “bait runner” type reel (pictured above) is a variation of the fixed spool reel but has two drag systems. It has the usual front drag system and a rear adjustable low drag system so that a fish can take the hook with little resistance and not drag your rod into the water. The lever at the back of the reel switches between the low and high drag systems.
A reasonable fibreglass rod costs around ฿200 – ฿300 and a suitable reel ฿500 – ฿600. If you have a little more to spend ฿600 – ฿900 will get you a nice carbon rod and a top brand reel will set you back ฿1,000 – ฿1,200.
The park rods at Pattaya Fishing Park. These 9′ rods are strong and great value for money, they are available at T. K. Sports for ฿260 or Rigger shop for ฿400.