Types Of Fishing Rods & Poles Explained [Key Differences]

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Article Categories: Fishing

If you are in search of a particular type of fishing rod, but aren’t exactly sure what type of rod or pole you are looking for, you’ve come to the right place. Here we explain the key differences between each type of fishing rod to help you choose the tool that best suits your needs.

Different types of rods are suitable for particular types of fishing. Nowadays, our fishing technology is pretty incredible, making your options for durable and highly effective gear pretty substantial.

Types of Rods Explained | Materials Of Rods Explained

Types of Fishing Rods Explained

 

Spin Fishing Rod

Spin Fishing Rod

Spin Fishing Rod

This is likely the most common fishing rod you’ll see. The structure of the rod is quite similar to other casting rods but has some additional features and advantages. Spin rods allow its users to hold it with the dominant hand for more stability and more power. The reel lies on the bottom end of the rod when casting and reeling in. Operating the rod is relatively easy. Considering the features, it best suits for fishing in lakes, rivers, or boats. These rods and reels come in all sizes and are suitable for nearly every fishing situation.

Common Use Cases:

  • There is a spin rod for nearly any use case

Pros:

  • Extremely versatile with varieties of reel and rod lengths and weights
  • Easy to fix tangles

Cons:

  • Not really any cons with this type of rod and reel setup.
  • Some kids have trouble using the bail system at a very young age, but still can be taught quickly

 

Casting Fishing Rods

Spincast / Casting Rod

Spincast / Casting Rod

These rods are often called spin casting fishing rods because of their style and features. Casting fishing rods well suited for beginners or children due to ease of use and overall simplicity. The rod features a push-catch system for the discharging line. This is often in the form of a thumb button that will allow anglers to press down and release to let line out. The reel works smoothly, and it is easy to operate. No particular expertise is required to use it. With these rods, the enclosed reel is on the top of the rod, not the bottom.

Common Use Cases:

  • Beginner fisherman and kids
  • Smallmouth bass, and other warm water species

Pros:

  • The simplest rod to operate and use
  • Generally avoid tangling pretty well due to enclosed reels
  • Great casting control and accuracy

Cons:

  • When a tangle does happen, it is more of a pain to open the reel up and fix

 

Telescoping Fishing Rods

Telescoping Fishing Rod

Telescoping Fishing Rod

As the name suggests, this type of rods is more portable and compact. Carrying the rod to the fishing area is relatively easy. Also, the lightweight design makes the user comfortable when fishing for a long time. The best advantage of this fishing rod is its hassle-free carrying. The rod used to go smaller up to the minimal length. Users can expand the length according to need. Some telescoping fishing rods come in the shape of a pen and have a minimum length that makes it easy to store in a backpack. Advanced telescoping rods are so good that suitable for all types of fishing.

Common Use Cases:

  • Backpacking or camping trips
  • Day hiking
  • Travelers, or those without space in their car

Pros:

  • Easy to travel with
  • Very versatile

Cons:

  • Usually casting isn’t as amazing with these rods due to the telescoping

 

Fly Fishing Rods

Fly Fishing Rod

Fly Fishing Rod

Well a fly fishing rod is used for fly fishing. They come in all kinds of sizes and lengths, so nearly any fish species can be targeted on fly rods. The rod acts as a lever to deliver fly line with often delicate presentations to fish on the other end. Fly rods are often much longer than spin or baitcasting rod counterparts with the most common length being 9 feet, but rods going up to 14 feet. Fly fishing rods are suited specifically for fly reels, which operate very differently from a spin rod or baitcasting rod. Fly line is significantly thicker, and is weighted for casting. Fly line can come in floating, sinking, sink tip, and other variations for specific use cases.

Common Use Cases:

  • Trout fishing
  • Steelhead and salmon fishing
  • Fly fishing only waters

Pros:

  • Fly fishing is almost a uniquely different sport than fishing without a fly rod
  • Ability to fish fly fishing only waters
  • Ability to delicately present flies to fish that may be impossible with other types of rods

Cons:

  • Shorter casting length
  • Can cast large weights and lures
  • Wind plays an even larger factor when fishing
  • It is a much harder skill to learn fly fishing than other fishing methods

 

Ultra-Light Fishing Rods

Ultralight Fishing Rod

Ultralight Fishing Rod

Like the name suggests, this type of fishing rod meant  to be thin and lightweight. This is for the purpose of delicate presentations, and also making smaller fish species more fun. These rods are also great for backpacking trips. Ultralight rods can be spin rods, fly rods, or even other types of rods. This category is really just representing rods designed to catch smaller fish.

Common Use Cases:

  • Trout fishing
  • Small warm water fishing
  • Backpacking or camping

Pros:

  • Small fish are more fun
  • Ability to delicately present lures to picky fish
  • Lightweight and easier to travel with

Cons:

  • Much harder to land big fish with
  • Often less durable due to thinner and lighter materials
  • Casting long distances becomes harder

 

Surf Fishing Rods

Surf Fishing Rod

Surf Fishing Rod

Surf fishing rods are mostly common in sea fishing (of course). This type of rods used comes with a durable butt and additional length. The extra length allows the fisherman to lob a heavy bait rig conveniently to the targeted area. Surf rods are not the ideal type for everyone, but are great for casting from the surf, beach, a pier, or other areas along the shore. The rod may come in either casting or spinning style.

Common Use Cases:

  • Beach fishing
  • Shallow sea fishing for various species

Pros:

  • Large casting distance
  • Heavy rods and reels capable of fighting very large fish

Cons:

  • Big and heavy
  • Generally not rods you’d take to smaller rivers or lakes

 

Trolling Rods

Trolling Fishing Rod

Trolling Fishing Rod

Trolling rods are used for moving boats. Trolling is having your lure move through the water by the movement of your boat. Trolling rods are generally stiffer roads with large reels that allow for lots of line. These rods generally aren’t suitable for much other than trolling.

Common Use Cases:

  • Big lake fishing
  • Ocean fishing
  • Pond fishing

Pros:

  • Really well suited for trolling behind a boat. (Better than a normal spin casting rod)

Cons:

  • Not very versatile and are pretty much only used for trolling

 

Ice Fishing Rods


Ice fishing rods are generally spin rods that are very short. This allows the angler to reel from just above the ice fishing hole with ease. Really these rods are only used for ice fishing purposes, but are really great for this purpose. They can be an absolute blast for fighting a large fish under ice.

 

Types Of Fishing Rod Materials

 

Fiberglass

Fiberglass rods tend to be the least expensive rods. They are a bit heavier than graphite rods, but generally have a heavier weight, meaning they are suitable for larger fish, but be weary that these stiffer rods can cause fish to break off as the rods don’t have as much give as graphite rods. They also have a slow to medium action and generally the rod flexes from the very bottom to the top.

Graphite

Graphite rods tend to be lightweight rods for anglers looking for more finesse. They are also generally more fast action, and flex more at the top end of the rod and little to none at the bottom. These rods are generally more expensive than fiberglass rods or composite rods.

Composite Rods

Many rods will come in a fiberglass and graphite mix to get the best of both worlds. These rods generally perform in between fiberglass and graphite rods. The price range also tends to be between the two as well.

Bamboo

Bamboo is simply a classic rod material that is known for smooth casting and fighting of fish. It really isn’t commonly used these days aside form anglers that have a passion for the old fishing technologies.

Max DesMarais
Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and sharing experiences with others. Max is a published author for various outdoor websites and digital marketing websites. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about

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