Do You Know Your Rods? Types Of Fishing Rods Explained

There are many options for fishing rods. No matter what technique you use, there’s a fishing rod that will suit your needs.

You can find the right option for you, from tackle to fight a monster to delicate rods to fish small mountain streams.

Are you familiar with the different types of fishing rods available? Are you confident in your knowledge of fishing rods? Are you certain you are using the correct rod for your fishing endeavors?

Different types of fishing rods

Casting Rods

Casting rods can accept baitcasting reels. They will have a reel seat at the top of the rod and small guides that run above the blank. You will find a “trigger” to allow your first finger to grip the rod.

Casting rods are made for stronger lines, larger fish, and more desperate fights than spinning tackle. Baitcasting reels are best paired with a line that is more than 10 pounds in diameter. These reels have powerful drag systems that protect your line from the most severe abuse large fish can inflict on it.

Casting rods are strong and sturdy, as you would expect. They are designed to give positive hooksets to soft and worms in fast actions and to cushion treble-hooked crankbaits in slow actions.

They’ll be able to turn fish out of cover and make a run for it as they try to turn stumps. Casting rods are available in either one- or two-piece versions. The ferrule joins the two-piece models to ensure a strong connection.

These are a common choice for bass anglers but they’re also used by fishermen who chase pike, reds, and tuna.

Casting rods are available in many lengths.

Casting rods are available for:

  • Experienced anglers
  • large, strong fish-like lake trout, pike, tarpon, etc.
  • Ine is heavier than 10 pounds test (diameter).

Spinning Rods

Spinning rods can accept spinning reels. The reel seat is located below the handle. These rods are more common to have larger guides, especially near the reel. They will be mounted below the blank, not above it.

They are popular and easy to use with the reels they were designed to be paired with. They are great for smaller fish and beginners, as well as windy days. Spinning reels work best with lines less than 10 pounds (diameter). They are popular for perch, panfish, all types of trout, croaker, and speckled trout as well as any other fish that you can catch on lighter lines.

They are often more flexible than similar baitcasting rods.

However, you shouldn’t assume that spinning rods (even ultralights) are weak. You can still catch some real monsters with them!

Most spinning rods can be either one- or 2-piece, similar to casting rods. The latter has a strong ferrule that joins the two sections.


  • Anglers with less experience are better
  • Lines less than 10 lb (diameter).
  • Windy conditions

Surfcasting rods

The purpose of surfcasting rods is to allow you to cast from the beach, past the surf, and into deeper waters just offshore. Because they are longer, it is easier to load them correctly. They can also be used with heavy lures and other weights, which is another nod in the right direction of distance.

Extra-long handles are also common to provide ample space and allow for two-handed snap casting.

Because they have to fight the wind at the beach, surfcasting rods are more often spinners than casting rods.

These rods are approximately 7 feet long and can reach up to 15 feet for those situations where maximum casting distance is required. Many of these rods are multi-piece and connected by string ferrules. Some are telescoping which makes them portable and easy to store.


  • Fishing from the beach

Fly Rods

Fly rods can cast dry and wet flies. Fly casting is made easier by their length and action. This allows you to cast your line with the right rhythmic action to keep it up. Fly rods are the only way to cast ultralight flies.

Fly reels can be paired with fly rods by attaching them below the rod handle. This is very close to the back. Their guides are similar to spinning rods but run underneath the blank. However, unlike casting rods they tend not to be as large.

Fly rods are available in many lengths and weights. They can be measured in # increments.


  • Long fly castings
  • larger fish

Tenkara Rods

Tenkara rods, a subset among fly rods, originate from small mountain streams in Japan. Tenkara rods offer fly anglers an easy-to-use, minimalist aesthetic. They don’t come with any reels.

Telescoping rods are lightweight, strong, and portable, which is why they have become so popular with small stream fly anglers. They can cast just as far as conventional fly rods, but they are perfect for the purpose they were made.

Anglers instead use a shorter line to catch fish and hook them.


  • Fly casting for short distances
  • smaller fish
  • Portability is easy
  • simplicity

Ice Fishing Rods

Ice rods allow anglers the ability to use jigs or live bait in hard water. They must be small enough to fit in tight spaces, as many ice fishermen shelter in shanties. They are often very short.

They may appear like toys to the uninitiated but they are serious fishing tools! The reel seat and guides are located below the handle and the blank. They can be used with in-line reels that look similar to fly reels. These rods are made of one piece because they are long.

They have short handles. They are designed to be held like a pistol and the reel at its junction with the handle. This makes jigging easier on the wrist and hand.

However, not all ice rods are pencil-thin. Some are made for large fish, such as pike, muskie, or lake trout. These rods are the same length as heavy, shorter casting rods.


  • Fishing in hard water

Trolling Rods

Although you can trot with any rod, many tackle companies have started making dedicated trolling rods. Trolling techniques can vary greatly, with everything from spider rigging to catch crappie to using large lures to capture marlin to dropping a downrigger to hook pike.

Trolling rods can range from a long, lightweight spinning rod to a super short, heavy casting rod.

A trolling rod’s intended purpose is what really makes it unique. They are designed to be used for casting, not sitting in a rod holder.


  • It’s called trolling, you guessed it.

Last Thoughts

We hope you found this article helpful and that it clarified some of your questions about rod types. There is a lot of misinformation online, so if you have ever been lost in terminology or are unsure what rod would be best for your application, then you’re in the right place.

See our article on different types of fishing reels.

Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.