When it’s time to get a new fishing rod, you may be overwhelmed with all the choices. These days, rods of all lengths, builds, and styles line the shelves of your local fishing aisle. Most have a very specific purpose or use case, which can help narrow the process down a little.
Today, we’re sharing our best tips when it comes to the different types of fishing rods so you can decide on which is best for you.
Choosing a fishing rod should be a very intentional selection. You’ll need to think about the type of fishing you want to do, your personal skill level, and even the pros and cons of each type of rod if you plan to partake in different types of fishing.
|Different Types of Fishing Rods Chart|
|Rod Type||Skill||Benefits||Trade-Offs||Best Used For|
|Casting rods||Moderate to advanced skill||
||Bass fishing||Spinning rods||Most skill levels||
||Almost any fishing use and condition||Trolling rods||All skill levels||
||Bigger bodies of water||Boat rods||All skill levels||
||Deep sea fishing||Surf rods||All skill levels||
||Beach or shallow sea fishing||Fly fishing rods||Moderate to advanced skill||
||Fly fishing-only bodies of waters||Ice fishing rods||All skill levels||
||Small species ice fishing||Telescoping rods||Most skill levels||
||Backpacking, traveling, day hiking|
While there are many types of rods, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The type you choose depends on a few factors: the type of fish you're trying to catch, the expected size and weight of the fish, and the conditions in which you plan to fish.
We cover each type of rod in-depth further in this article. Use the following list to navigate to the ones you’re interested in learning about:
Casting rods are most obviously best paired with a casting reel (either a baitcasting reel or spin-cast reel — depending on your skill level). They boast a higher casting accuracy and distance than spinning rods.
Also powerful enough to handle powerful fish and bait in freshwater and saltwater areas, many bass anglers prefer using these rods! Using light lures and lines with a casting rod can lead to tangles, so always use larger diameter lines and lures.
Spinning rods a are the most versatile and widely used type of rod! Anglers of all skill levels use them for a variety of fishing conditions and applications. Spinning rods feature reels that spin where it’s attached — beneath the handle with a large, fixed spool that releases the line and guides that face down.
The casting technique is easy to learn, which is why these rods are good for children and novices. However, the accuracy and sensitivity of a spinning rod are not as great as a casting rod, which is why spinning rods work best with lighter lines, lures, and smaller diameters.
Trolling is a method of fishing where the lure or bait is cast out of a moving boat and is pulled through the water by the movement of the boat. They are used solely for this purpose and are suitable for catching large fish because of their heavy-duty construction.
Mounted in a rod holder at the back of a boat, trolling rods help present the lure that ensnares a fish’s attention. The best perk about this type of fishing rod? You can have multiple lines in the water to catch more fish!
A boat rod is designed for deep-sea fishing. They are usually shorter in length because you don’t need to cast the rod. You only need to lower your hook and weight over the side of the boat. Boat rods typically feature a heavy-duty, solid fiberglass construction since large deep-sea fish require dependable power to reel them in.
Surf rods are similar to boat rods. They’re designed for heavy-duty saltwater applications and reeling in powerful fish. But a key difference is that they have a longer handle and design, which gives anglers more control when reeling fish in and casting farther distances.
Featuring a heavy-duty and durable design that withstands corrosion from saltwater, they can be used for fishing from shore, boats, or piers. However, their heavy-duty design is big and bulky — making them a less-than-ideal choice for beginner anglers.
Fly fishing rods are great in both saltwater and freshwater areas and are perfect for capturing almost any type of fish because they come in various sizes, lengths, and weights. Lightweight, flexible, and easy to transport, they’re optimized for specific fly fishing techniques that are more difficult to master than traditional fishing.
Ultimately, these rods are better suited for experienced anglers than beginners. They are used with fly reels that feature thick, weighted lines for casting and may have a shorter casting length. However, they can cast large weights and lures, which are good for catching trout, salmon, and other types of fish.
Make sure you choose your fly fishing rod based on which fish species you plan to catch most. For your first fly fishing rod, a 9-foot or even a 10-foot rod and reel combo can be the best option to grab — especially if you know you’ll fish a lot in creeks, rivers, or small lakes.
Ice fishing rods allow you to fish through the ice on a frozen body of water. Shorter in length than most other rods, they look similar to spinning rods. When it comes to ice fishing, though, always mind the size!
There’s limited space in ice shelters since you don’t need to cast. Instead, you simply lower your lure or bait through a small hole. You should use these rods to catch small- to medium-sized fish. Large, heavy species can cause the rod to break.
A telescoping rod is collapsible and easily portable. The unique design means the length can expand and contract as needed — making them perfect for backpacking trips, hikes, travelers, and anglers with little space.
Although they boast a lightweight design, they are still able to handle moderately heavy fish due to the evenly distributed weight along the pole. They are also affordable, but the casting isn’t as dependable as other non-telescoping rods.
Now that you understand the basics of each type of fishing rod, you can learn more about choosing the best rod for your unique circumstance. This will depend on a few features, including size, material, action, and power.
Rod length is an important factor in choosing a fishing rod because it affects how far you can cast. Measured from the end of the handle to the end of the rod’s tip, longer rods generally cast longer distances while shorter rods cast shorter distances.
The longer the rod, however, means the more difficult it is to maneuver and control; they are typically better for more advanced anglers. For beginners, a rod length of around 7 feet is generally recommended since it offers a good balance of casting distance and accuracy.
Fishing rods are constructed with three main materials. Each material has different advantages and disadvantages. Knowing the differences can help you choose the right rod material for your preferences:
The action and power of fishing rods are often confused because they both have to do with the bending of the rod. Refer to the graphic below for a demonstration of both action and power — in action!
The action of a fishing rod is the amount of flex the rod has when it is bent. It can also be thought of as the place on the blank where the bend occurs and can be slow, medium, or fast. These parameters refer to how quickly the blank goes back to its original position:
Now that you’ve read all about the different types of fishing rods and the factors that can affect each rod, it’s time to decide on one! Browse the wide selection of fishing rods and rod and reel combos that is best for you.