Different Types Of Fishing Rods And Their Uses

Different Types Of Fishing Rods

Written By John VanDerlaan

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Imagine the thrill of reeling in a trophy fish after hours on the water, or the satisfaction of introducing a child to the joys of angling. The right fishing rod can make all the difference in these memorable moments. But with so many options available, how do you choose the perfect one? This comprehensive guide will walk you through the various types of fishing rods, their components, materials, and how to select the best one for your fishing adventures.

Short Summary

  • Understanding the features and types of fishing rods is essential for selecting the right one.
  • Consider factors such as length, action, power & matching rod/reel to find perfect fit for your needs.
  • Different materials offer pros & cons. Fiberglass is economical but lacks sensitivity while graphite provides more power but can be delicate.

7 Different Types of Fishing Rods

Now that you have a basic understanding of fishing rod components and characteristics let's dive into some popular types of fishing rods.

In this section, we will discuss spinning, baitcasting, fly fishing, ice fishing rods, ultralight rods, surf rods and trolling rods. Each type has its unique features and applications, making them suitable for specific fishing methods and target fish species.

RELATED: Best Steelhead Rods

Spinning Rods

Staff Member Fighting A Tarpon On A Spinning Rod

Spinning rods are versatile, lightweight, and user-friendly, making them ideal for beginners and experienced anglers alike. With the spinning reel mounted on the underside of the rod, they provide increased control and can be used in various fishing scenarios, such as lakes, rivers, or boats.

Spinning rods are the most popular fishing rods used by anglers today. They are easy to use and can be adapted to most fishing circumstances, except fly fishing, which requires a very specific fly rod to be able to cast flies.

However, spinning rods may not offer the highest level of casting accuracy compared to other rod types.

You can use spinning rods for almost any species of fish that you choose to pursue.

RELATED: Best Trout Fishing Rods

Baitcasting Rods

Staff Member With A Big Bass Caught On A Shimano SLX Baitcaster

Baitcasting rods are designed for anglers seeking more precision and power in their casts. With the casting reel mounted on top of the handle, baitcasting rods offer superior casting distance and accuracy, allowing you to target specific areas with your lure.

They are the main choice of bass fishing professionals and experienced anglers everywhere.

However, they can be more challenging to master compared to spinning rods and may not be the best choice for beginners.

RELATED: Can You Use A Baitcaster On A Spinning Rod

Fly Fishing Rods

Author's Fly Fishing Rod With A Brown trout

Fly fishing rods are lightweight and designed specifically for the art of fly fishing. These rods lack a butt piece and have a very slow action, making them suitable for casting lightweight artificial flies.

Fly rods are very different from other fishing rods because you use a fly rod to cast the fly line, not the lure. This allows you to cast almost weightless flies.

Fly rods can be used on lakes and ponds, rivers and streams, for species like trout, salmon and carp. They can even be used in the surf for striped bass and on the flats for bonefish, tarpon and permit. 

Some anglers even use fly rods for large game fish like sailfish, marlin and sharks!

Ice Fishing Rods

Ice Fishing Rod

Ice fishing rods are specialized for cold weather fishing and are typically much shorter than other types of rods. Designed to be used inside an ice fishing shelter, these rods are perfect for lowering your lure or bait through a small hole in the ice.

Ice fishing rods are usually paired with a very small, ultralight spinning reel.

Ice fishing rods are effective tools to target small to medium-sized species, like walleye, trout and pike. This is due to their ability to precisely control lures in a manner that can maximize the chance of a successful catch.

Ultralight Rods

Ultralight Fishing Rod

Ultralight rods are designed for anglers targeting smaller fish species or seeking a lightweight and portable option for backpacking trips. These rods are perfect for catching trout,  panfish, baitfish, and other small fish that require a moderate action response.

Ultralight rod fishing involves the use of several baits including spinners, wet flies, small spoons and small baits like worms. These are among the most popular baits for this type of fishing.

Surf Casting Rods

Surf Casting Rod

Surf casting rods are specialized for fishing in the ocean, particularly from the surf, beach, pier, or other shoreline locations. These rods are long and sturdy, allowing you to cast baits and lures beyond the breaking surf where fish commonly congregate.

They are typically paired with a size 4500 - 6000 reel which holds enough line to handle big fish that you may find in the surf.

However, they can be more challenging to manage due to their size and weight.

Click here for our guide to the best surf fishing rods.

Trolling Rods

Author With A Marlin Caught On A Trolling Rod

Trolling rods are designed for trolling, a type of fishing where the bait is cast from a moving boat and the boat's motion pulls the bait through the water. These rods are typically used for ocean and Great Lakes fishing, deep-sea fishing, offshore fishing, or catching heavier fish.

Trolling rods possess a stiff action with a relatively fast response, making them suitable for battling large fish.

Understanding Fishing Rods: A Basic Overview

Fishing rods come in a variety of lengths, weights, and actions, each designed to cater to different types of fishing and target fish species. While some rods are versatile and suitable for various fishing methods, others are specialized for specific applications.

Understanding the components and characteristics of a fishing rod will help you make an informed decision when selecting your next angling companion.

Handle and Grip

Cork Handle And Grip On A Spinning Rod

The handle or grip of a fishing rod is an essential component that affects your comfort and control while casting and reeling in fish. Handles come in various styles, such as pistol grip, split grip, triangular or hexagonal butts, and are often made from materials like cork or EVA foam.

Real cork offers better durability and quality compared to pressed cork, while EVA foam provides excellent grip and comfort in wet conditions.

Flexibility and Action

Flexibility and action are crucial factors that influence a fishing rod's performance. Action refers to how much and where the rod bends, as well as its speed in returning to its original position. Rods can have slow, medium, fast, or a combination of these actions. For example, fast action rods bend at the tip, while slow action rods flex along the entire length.

The action of a rod affects casting accuracy and distance, making it essential to choose the right action for your intended fishing technique and target fish species. Fast action rods are highly sensitive to fish bites and provide excellent hook-setting capabilities, while medium action rods offer a balance between sensitivity and casting distance. Slow action rods, like trolling rods, are more suited for battling large fish, but may lack responsiveness when setting the hook.

Length and Power

Rod length and power are other vital factors to consider when choosing a fishing rod. Length affects casting distance and control, with longer rods offering greater reach but less maneuverability. Shorter rods provide more control and strength, making them suitable for battling large fish or fishing in tight spaces like a kayak.

Power, on the other hand, refers to the amount of pressure needed to bend the rod. Rods come in various power ratings, such as ultra-light, light, medium-light, heavy, and ultra-heavy. Your choice of rod power should depend on the type of fish you plan to catch and the fishing technique you intend to use.

For example, a medium-heavy power rod would be ideal for catching larger fish species, while an ultra-light rod would be more suitable for targeting smaller fish.

Fishing Rod Materials: Pros and Cons

Fishing rods can be made from various materials, each with its pros and cons. The most common materials used in rod construction are fiberglass, graphite, and composite.

In this section, we will explore the advantages and drawbacks of each material to help you make an informed decision when selecting your next fishing rod.

Fiberglass Rods

Fiberglass rods are known for their durability, cost-effectiveness, and slower to medium action. They are heavier than graphite rods but can handle most angling conditions efficiently.

However, fiberglass rods are not as sensitive as graphite rods, making them less suitable for detecting subtle bites from fish.

Graphite Rods

St Croix Premier Graphite Fishing Rod

Graphite rods are lightweight and sensitive, providing increased battling power when needed. They are typically faster action rods that flex more at the top end and offer little to no flex at the bottom.

However, graphite rods tend to be pricier than fiberglass rods and can be more delicate, making them prone to breakage.

Composite Rods

Composite rods are made from a combination of fiberglass and graphite materials, offering a balance between the advantages of both. These rods are lightweight, durable, and provide excellent power-sensitivity balance.

However, they can be pricier than fiberglass or graphite rods and may not be as strong as other materials.

One of the most well known composite fishing rods are the ones made by Ugly Stik.

Selecting the Perfect Fishing Rod

Different Types Of Fishing Rods In Rod Holders

Armed with the knowledge of various fishing rod types, components, and materials, it's time to choose the perfect rod for your fishing adventures. When selecting a fishing rod, consider factors such as rod length, action, power, and matching the rod and reel. These factors will help you find a rod suitable for the type of fishing you plan to do and the species of fish you intend to catch.

RELATED: Best Bass Fishing Rods

Once you have determined the type of rod you need, you can begin to narrow down your choices. Look for rods made of quality materials, with comfortable handles and guides that are suitable for the type of fishing you plan to do.

Determining Rod Length

Choose the appropriate rod length based on the type of fishing and target fish species. Longer rods offer greater casting distance but may be harder to maneuver, while shorter rods provide more control and strength.

Consider the size of the fish you plan to catch and the fishing technique you plan to employ when selecting the right rod length.

Choosing Rod Action and Power

Select the right rod action and power based on the type of fish you plan to catch and the fishing technique you intend to use. Fast action rods are sensitive to fish bites and provide excellent hook-setting capabilities, while medium action rods offer a balance between sensitivity and casting distance.

Slow action rods, like trolling rods, are more suited for battling large fish, like tuna and swordfish, but may lack responsiveness when setting the hook.

RELATED: How To Catch Snook

Matching Rod and Reel

Select the right rod and reel combination for the desired fishing experience. Consider factors such as the recommended line strength for both the rod and reel, the capacity of the spool, the type of fishing, the species of fish being targeted, and individual preferences.

By matching the rod and reel appropriately, you'll be better prepared to tackle any fishing scenario.

Final Thoughts On Different Types Of Fishing Rods

In conclusion, selecting the perfect fishing rod involves understanding the various types, components, materials, and factors that influence performance. By considering factors such as rod length, action, power, and matching the rod and reel, you can find the ideal rod for your fishing adventures. So gear up with the right rod and reel, and get ready to create some unforgettable fishing memories!

RELATED: History Of Fishing Rods

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the three types of fishing rods?

There are three main types of fishing rods - spinning rods, baitcasting rods, and fly rods. Spinning rods are designed for lighter lures and lines, baitcasting rods are heavier and suited for bigger lures and lines, and fly fishing rods are designed to cast light and delicate flies.

All three types provide effective ways to fish!

What different types of fishing rods are there?

Fishing rods can be divided into four main categories: casting rods, spinning rods, fly rods, and trolling rods. Each type of rod has specific advantages that make them well-suited for certain styles of fishing, so understanding these differences can help you choose the right rod for your needs.

What type of rod is best for beginners?

A spinning rod is best for beginners. Spinning rods are user friendly and are very easy to learn how to cast them. They can be used for almost any fish or fishing scenario that the beginner may encounter, from streams and rivers to lakes and ponds, even surf fishing and offshore fishing.

What is the difference between the different fishing rods?

The main difference between different fishing rods is the type of fishing they are used for. Spinning rods are designed to accept spinning reels.

Baitcasting rods accept baitcasting reels.

Fly fishing rods accept fly fishing reels and they differ because in fly fishing you are casting with the weight of the fly line. This allows you to cast almost weightless flies.

Trolling rods are made to accept conventional reels.

Click here to learn more about the different types of fishing reels.

Another difference between the types of fishing rods is their length, which affects how far the bait can be cast. Shorter rods are suitable for close combat fishing, while longer rods allow anglers to cast further.

The purpose of using a particular rod should be taken into account when choosing one, as each offers its own benefits depending on the situation.

Photo of author

John VanDerLaan

John VanDerLaan is the founder and lead editor at Fisherman's Authority. John is a passionate fisherman whose travels have taken him all over the country in search of different species of gamefish. He has won bass fishing tournaments, including the 1987 Candlewood Classic. He also chases winter steelhead in upstate New York, summer stripers in New England and spends a lot of time fishing the waters of Florida Keys. John is an active member of the Outdoor Writers Association Of America.

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