Does Fishing Rod Length Matter? [Guide to Choose Right Rod]

Fishing rod length guide

Fishing rods have many specific characteristics, depending on a type, and length is one of them.

Selecting the right rod length is very important and it really does affect the fishing success.

You should choose a rod in accordance with targeted fish species and fishing technique you are planning to practice. Of course, it is not just the length. There are fishing rod features like power, action, replacement parts accessibility and much more.

Here, I am going to focus on the length ...

In this guide you will find out which rod to choose, and how it affects fishing, in the following chapters.



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Does Fishing Rod Length Matter (Affect Fishing)?

YES, it does. First of all, it affects casting ability and distance!

Length of the fishing rod is measured from the tip to the end of the handle and it shows the overall length.

Shorter rods bend less (frequently) and this comes in handy when fighting a fish in close proximity. Also, shorter rods are frequently used for a specific purpose like ice fishing, where you are presenting your bait right in front of you. Using long rods would only impair your abilities in such situations.

The same goes for fishing in covers, small areas full of vegetation or fishing from a tiny boat. Shorter rods are the best for these situations.

These shorter (around 6ft) rods will enable more accurate casting, to a certain distance of course.

Longer rods are mostly used to cover more water and in deeper water. These rods are also great for using certain baits, like crankbaits, because they will dive deeper on longer casts. Also, never underestimate the fish ability to see you.

Longer rods can create some distance between you and very cautious fish.

When it comes to longer rods, fishing rod action is also important.

Fast-action rods and long, enable precise hooksets and move the line at greater speeds. Medium or slow-action rod (long) is great for treble hooks too. Keep in mind that rods which are longer than 8 feet can present a challenge for inexperienced fishermans, and longer rod may take some time to get used to it.

Does Fishing Rod Length Matter - How Long

Pick the Right Rod Length [+ Fast Size Table]

Different types of fishing rods exist for a reason and here is a guide which will help you to choose the rod for your needs ...

But first here is a fast size table ...

Fish Species Recommended Rod Length Range
Bass 6.5 - 7.5 feet
Trout 6 - 8 feet
Carp 10 - 13 feet
Catfish 6 - 10 feet
Pike Around 8 feet
Child 3 - 6 feet (increasing with age)
Inshore Saltwater 6.5 - 7.5 feet
Shore Saltwater 9 - 12 feet
Beginner Around 7 feet

To learn more about every segment, keep on reading ...

Best Length for Bass

So, let’s start with choosing a fishing rod for bass fishing. A professional bass angler would use rods of different lengths, depending on a lure. And these have a range from 6,5 to 7,5 feet. For many anglers (beginners), a 7-foot rod is ideal length for bass angling ... 

With slight adjustments in a technique, this tod length will have satisfying performance with a majority of your lures.

If you really want to go into details, or fish with a specific lure only, use 6,5-7 ft rods for spinner and buzz baits, 6-6,5 ft for topwater lures, around 7 ft for worms and jigs and 7,5 for flipping and pitching (spinning rods are a good choice).

Of course, a weekend fish catcher will not need all of these options.

Does Fishing Rod Length Matter - Bass

Best Length for Trout

When it comes to trout, you should choose a rod between 6 and 8 feet long ... 

This greatly depends on a location. If you are fishing for wild trout in streams where vegetation is abundant and open space limited, go with a shorter version.

In larger, open spaces, you can take a longer one. For a beginner, a middle option, about 7 feet in length, is a good choice (perfect rod).

Longer rod will give you more control over a hooked fish, which is important in wild waters. Shorter option will be more accurate in smaller areas.

Best Length for Carp

For carp, you will need longer rods for long casts ...

Majority of carp fishermans use a 12 ft one, but you can opt for 13 ft if you want a bit longer, or around 10 ft if you want a smaller option.

Length difference between 12 and 13 feet may seem small, but that one foot plays a major role. Longer one will be harder to manoeuvre and control. And 12 ft is more than enough for casting distance and controlling the fish.

Carp rods that are 12 ft long are the most popular for a reason, and a beginner carp anglers should definitely start with that one.

Does Fishing Rod Length Matter - Carp 

Best Length for Catfish

There are multiple options for choosing the right rod for catfishing ...

For smaller specimens in ponds, even a 6 ft rod can do the job. Skilful anglers sometimes use as long as 10 ft rods. However, majority of catfish fishermans have a rod in a 7-9 ft range. These are the ones that are easier to manoeuvre and have more than enough length to be used for catfish fishing.

Catfish come in all sizes, from smaller ones to monsters. That is also a major factor in deciding which length to choose. An average angler catching normal size catfish, shouldn’t go over 9 ft.

Best Length for Pike

For pike anglers, especially beginners, rod length should be around 8 ft.

Some anglers use shorter or longer ones, but that depends on a lure too. These are short enough to handle them relatively easy, but give you control over the pike when hooked.

Sometimes, beginners think they will catch the biggest fish ever, and go over the top with their equipment, but actually, that is a mistake. You need to have a rod you are comfortable with.

Best Length for Child

Introducing kids to a world of fishing is great, but you have to keep in mind that kids will have a hard time with the equipment.

For a child, get a short rod, about 3-4 ft long. These rods may seem insufficient for you, but kids are small and for them it will be more than enough. They will not catch a wels catfish with it, but any kind of fish they get will bring them joy.

As the learn how to handle it, and they grow up a bit, increase the length. Give them a 5 ft rod and slowly make progress to 6 ft. When they get to this point, they will already have basic knowledge and they will be big enough to handle it. These 6 ft rods will be a starting point of a “grown up” fishing.

Of course, this also depends on how old the child is. A 5-year-old will start with 3 ft rod, but a 13-year-old can use 4-5 ft rod for first experience.

Another option for kids, or even some adults who like to keep it simple, is using short fishing poles instead of rods. The difference between rods and poles is that poles only have a line attached to the tip, without reels and line guides. To use them you simply have to lower the bait into the water, and casting is not necessary (or even possible).

Does Fishing Rod Length Matter - Child

Best Length for Inshore Saltwater Fishing

For inshore saltwater fishing, choose rods between 6,5 and 7,5 ft. These are more than enough to cast accurate, control the fish, and manoeuvre the around possible obstacles. Inshore waters are usually shallower, and very long rods are not necessary. Some fish catchers use longer ones for specific purposes, but as a beginner, 7 ft is just right.

Best Length for Shore Saltwater Fishing

Fishing from a shore is different than fishing from a boat. When you are on a boat you can position yourself at the spot where you want to cast. When you are on a shore, you will have to cast a bit further away.

Mostly, fishermans will use 9 to 12 ft rods, although shorter and longer versions are available. This length also depends on a shore type.

Fishing from a cliff where water just below is full of fish, is not the same as fishing on a sandy beach where deeper water is far away.

Using 9-12 ft rods will enable you to cast far, and have control over the fish. If you are a beginner, try choosing a rod on a lower end of this length range.

Does Fishing Rod Length Matter - Saltwater

Best Length for Beginner

In this guide you learned about average rod lengths for certain fish species, but what does it mean for a complete beginner?

As you can see, lengths around 7 ft were mentioned for many species, and overall, that is the best length for your first fishing rod. These are extremely versatile and you can learn many techniques using those. Except if you want to try carp angling, however, think about gaining some other fishing experience first. Practice casting and handling your equipment, and when it becomes comfortable for you, slowly increase the length until you reach the desired one.

Trying to fish with a rod that is too long will bring you nothing but disappointment.

Does Fishing Rod Length Matter - Beginner


Angling rod length is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a rod. Fishing rod can make or break your day!

As a beginner, you should be aware of your abilities and choose those rods that are comfortable and easy to use. You can be very successful if you have the right technique.

Hopefully, this guide clarified everything about rod lengths. When choosing your next rod, follow these guidelines and avoid mistakes.

And remember, it is not just the length you have to think about. Fishing rod action is an important factor too.

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I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

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