Different Types of Fishing Rods [Guide With Pictures]

Different Types of Fishing Rods

For a beginner, choosing the best rod type can be challenging. Many different types of fishing rods exist on the market, and they are used for different fishing techniques.

Having the right equipment can significantly change the outcome of your fishing adventure, and rod, together with the reel, is probably the most important item.

Telescopic rods are easy to transport, fly rods are different than any other type, casting rods and spinning rods go with different reel types, sea fishing rods have features suitable for saltwater use, and ice fishing ones are suitable for ice fishing techniques… Together with a few more different types, all of them are going to be explained a bit more.

Of course, it is not just the type that is different, even the same type of rod can vary in length or material that was used in production.

For a beginner, some types are better, but which one you will choose depends a lot on a fish species you would like to catch.

Read the following chapters to find out more about most popular rod types, and learn what to look for when you decide to buy one. Hopefully, this guide will make these decisions easier for you.



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What is a Fishing Rod Used For?

Before I go into more details about different types of fishing rods, I have to explain what are they used for.

This may sound silly to you, because, of course, rod is used to catch a fish. But it is not that simple. So, it is important to mention a few things here.

Fishing rod can be observed as a link between you and the fish, and one of its main characteristics is bending. With bending, rods create certain resistance that is crucial to retrieve the fish.

They can also absorb impacts, and that is important not to lose fish. If there were no features that enable this rod behavior, you would be able to catch just smaller species. Modern technologies transformed simple fishing poles made of wood pieces into sophisticated gear.

Another rod function is casting. When you cast your lure, rod becomes a catapult device. When you swing it, lure and rod weight will bend it, and make the lure fly away.

Features that influence this are power and action, but those will be mentioned later on.

Different Types of Fishing Rods

As I already mentioned, rods differ in type, length, strength, material, and a lot more.

Professional anglers usually have a collection of rods that are specially made for specific tasks, while beginners often start with just one or two types.

Besides the correct type for your fishing technique, you have to consider a few more things, and those are the price, compatibility with the reels you may already have, size for transport and storage, and your fishing abilities. Sometimes, the best thing is to keep your setup simple. Keep that in mind when comparing the following rod types.

Telescopic Rods

Telescopic fishing rods are one of the most popular rod types among beginners. These rods are collapsible, which means that sections can slide into each other, and that makes them ideal for transport and storage. The downside is that dirt can enter in, and cause wear and tear that eventually makes them loose. To prevent that, always clean the rod after use.

Telescopic rods come in various lengths, and are great for deeper water or rivers. Travelers love them, and if you are one of those anglers who likes to take their fishing gear when going on a vacation, this may be for you. Here you can check the best fishing rod and reel combos for beginners ...

These rods exist in both saltwater and freshwater version, and although they may seem gentle, modern ones can handle large fish.

Different Types of Fishing Rods - Telescopic

Spinning Rods

Spinning rods are another popular type for beginners. As the name suggests, these rods are meant to be paired with spinning reels. Because the reels are hanging below the rod, line guides are positioned along the bottom side. First line guide is large, larger than on casting rods, because of the reel type used and the way that line gets through.

Not all spinning rods are the same, and depending on a fish species you are planning to catch, you can choose among various levels of strength and flexibility.

Spinning rods are mostly used with lighter lures and lines that are also suitable for spinning reels. When fighting fish, these rods are a bit more fragile, due to line guides position. Of course, there are some stronger models on the market that can handle a lot.

Fly Rods

Fly rods do not have a lot of things in common with any other rod type mentioned here. These rods are very light, because they are meant to be held and cast all day long. Reels that go with them are fly reels that just accommodate the line, and lines are weighted to enable casting, because there is no lure weight to pull it out.

Line guides on fly reels are small and mounted close to the rod blank.

Reel seat is located lower than the handle, which is unique for this rod type. Reel makes a rod balanced in fly fishing, and that is the main reason for this position.

These rods have classifications in accordance with the line weight, not the lure weight as other rod types.

Fly rods come in various lengths, to suit certain fishing conditions.

Ice Fishing Rods

When ice fishing, anglers lower their baits/lures through the ice hole. There is no casting or covering large distances.

These rods are shorter, because you do not need a lot of length when standing over a hole. Many of them are lightweight and sensitive to enable anglers to feel even the smallest bites.

Although very short, anglers can choose in a small size range, to get the best one for their needs. Ice rods are also made in a way that they can withstand very low temperatures without cracking when frozen.

When ice fishing, you should choose equipment made specifically for this purpose, and that includes ice fishing essentials for the angler, as well as fishing lines suitable for extremely cold conditions.

Different Types of Fishing Rods - Ice Fishing

Casting Rods

Casting rods are used with baitcasting reels, and this is not the best option for beginners. Using them requires a bit more experience.

These rods come in various lengths and strengths, and are used with baitcasting reels. Baitcasting rods accommodate reels on the upper side, and the reels are not hanging below like on spinning reels.

Line guides are placed along the upper rod side, and because of that, these rods can handle a lot.

For casting heavy lures and fighting large fish, these rods are the best choice.

Casting rods, when used with suitable reels, offer more precision and speed, which is why anglers often choose casting rods over spinning ones for lures like crankbaits.

Sea Fishing Rods

Anything that is going to be used in the sea has to have parts made from materials that are corrosion resistant. That includes the reel seat and the line guides.

Sea fishing rods come in various lengths and strength, and the majority of them is on the longer side. For sea fishing, anglers can choose among different types of sea fishing rods, depending on a fish species and lures. Sea rod is basically a term that covers all the rod types suitable for sea fishing. The most popular sea rod is the surf rod which is going to be mentioned in the end of this list.

Some other specialized sea rods are made especially for sharks, tunas and other large species, and some of those are meant to be used from boats, not from the shore.

Rods for saltwater are usually stronger, enable a bit larger casting distance, and can withstand greater forces.

Trolling Rods

Trolling rods are a special type of rod meant to be used when trolling on a boat. These rods are designed to drag a lure or a bait behind a moving boat.

Rod handles are usually longer than on other rods, so that they can safely be placed into rod holders. Here you can check how to make a fishing rod holder (DIY).

Blanks are thicker and stronger to be able to withstand greater forces that occur when trolling. Most of them are made to be used with baitcasting or trolling reels, although some of them can be paired with spinning ones.

Here you can check best spinning reels for catfish and other big fish ...

You can find various types of trolling rods, and anglers can choose among those with roller guides, or those made for a specific specie like salmon.

Different Types of Fishing Rods - Trolling

Surf Rods

Surf rods are meant to be used when fishing from the shore, or while wading through the shallows, and in the ocean. That will sometimes require large casting distance.

Surf rods come in various lengths and strengths, and what makes them different from other types are some design features. One of them is an extended butt section.

Another is that parts like line guides and reel seat have to be made from corrosion resistant materials to prevent rust and saltwater damage.

Length of the surf rod is one of the important features that contributes to casting distance. Also, longer ones are more suitable for larger species, to give anglers more leverage when fishing it.

FAQs About Different Types of Fishing Rods

Now you know what are different types of fishing rods, but there are a few more things I have to mention.

These questions should clarify and doubts you may have.

What Should I Look for When Buying a Fishing Rod?

First of all, think about what kind of fishing activities would you like to practice when choosing among different types of fishing rods.

Secondly, you should consider action and power of the rod. Beginners often confuse these two features, and I will explain the difference a bit later on.

Another feature to consider is the length. Longer rods are a bit harder to handle, especially if fishing from a boat or in thick vegetation. Beginners should opt for shorter rods withing a length range suitable for a specific fish/technique. Those who want to fish for carp will have a carp rod that is much longer than the rod used by anglers who fish for crappies.

If you have the opportunity, go to the nearest tackle shop and try to hold a rod. See if the handle is comfortableand how sensitive the rod is. Line guides should be well made.

And lastly, if you already have lines and reels you wish to use, make sure that those are compatible with the rod.

What is the Easiest Fishing Rod to Use?

Well, this depends on your skill. Let’s assume that you are just starting to learn about fishing, and have no previous experience.

You will need a versatile rod that is easy to handle and to setup . So, fly rods or casting rods are not the best idea.

Rods like telescopic and spinning could be a good start. Pair it with a simple spinning or spincast reel and you will have an all-around rod suitable for various fish and lures, both on the lighter side.

These rods also quite affordable, and you can even buy them in combo with a reel. Spinning rods are great to walk around the lake, cast frequently, and these rods can even be used on a boat.

Which Type of Fishing Rod is Best?

I understand why some beginners would ask this question, but the real answer is all of them!

Different types of fishing rods exist for a reason, and the best one is the one made specifically for a certain purpose.

If you would like to fish from a moving boat, then you need a trolling rod. The same goes for fly fishing, jigging and any other technique.

Fishing Rod vs Fishing Pole: Which One to Choose?

First of all, you have to know the difference between a rod and a pole.

Rod is used with a reel, and has line guides. Both features also enable casting. Poles are used with just a line attached to the tip, and are very easy to use. Well, at least the basic versions. To use it, you simply have to lower the bait under in the water, and fish directly below the rod tip. There is no casting.

Poles have a very limited use, but they are excellent for that purpose. If you like a basic approach, or you mostly fish in a described way, then the pole is for you. If not, choose a rod.

Different Types of Fishing Rods - Rod vs Pol

Is There a Difference Between Freshwater and Saltwater Rods?

I already mentioned this ...

Yes, there is a difference. Saltwater rods can be used in freshwater, but avoid using freshwater rods in saltwater. The reason is that saltwater reels are more resistant to corrosion, and their metal parts are made from corrosion resistant materials. Although they are resistant you still have to take care of the rods, and clean them after use to remove dirt and salt.

Saltwater rods are often made for lighter and stronger materials because of fishing conditions.

Telescopic Fishing Rod vs 1 or 2 Piece Fishing Rod: What's the Difference?

As I already mentioned, telescopic rods are collapsible, and sections slide into each other. Collapsed telescopic rods are very short. When extended, these can be very long.

Rods that come in 2 pieces have to be assembled together, and when disassembled, they are usually longer than collapsed telescopic rods. One-piece rods, as the name suggests, come as they are and you can’t make them shorter. That means that these rods are harder to transport and they are usually shorter when assembled.

Their performance is similar, and both can be used in a similar way, however, one or two piece is less prone to abrasion damage in the joints.

What is the Best Material for a Fishing Rod?

Different materials can be used to make fishing rods.

Fiberglass is affordable, a bit heavy, and very flexible.

They can withstand rough use, and even if you break them, it will not cost you a fortune. Fiberglass is often chosen by beginners. It is frequently used for slow and medium action rods.

Graphite is a material that experienced anglers like because rods made from it are lightweight, sensitive, and accurate. Many fast action rods are made from it. They are strong and stiff, but come at a high price.

Composite rods are made from combination of materials, often fiberglass, carbon fiber, and similar. They have properties of both and that makes them a bit more sensitive than fiberglass, but not as strong as graphite.

They come in various price ranges, and most of them are medium action.

And lastly, there are natural materials like bamboo. These rods are heavier, but they have been used for centuries. Some anglers like to use them today too, especially for fly fishing. Bamboo is strong and elastic, which is excellent.

BONUS: There is something else I would like to mention here, and that is the rod`s ability to float.

Is there any difference between these materials when it comes to buoyancy?

Their weight and size don’t have an influence on that, and the only thing that matters is density. Knowing do fishing rods float or not is important. The truth is, they do, at least on their own. But that doesn’t mean you should be reckless and risk a lot, because when the reel is attached, the rod will not be able to stay on the surface.

So, take care of your rods, and don’t loose them in deep waters!

What is the Power and Action of a Fishing Rod?

When pressure is applied, rod will bend. If only the tip bends, that rod is considered to be fast. If the upper half bends it is medium, and if the whole rod bends, it is slow.

Bending depends on a rod material and construction, and it also describes how fast the rod will come back into neutral position. This flexibility is important for precision, casting, and control over the fish.

Power is another feature, and it describes resistance to bending. Power can be light, medium, heavy, or combination of two, like medium-heavy.

Action has an effect on casting distance, while power is more related to fish size and setting the hook. Faster rods can cast further.

When it comes to power, light is for smaller species while heavy is for large ones. Action affects your lures. Slow are for live bait, fast ones for various lures presented to fish like bass, while medium is great for fish like carp.

Here you can learn more about what does fishing rod action and power mean ...

Different Types of Fishing Rods - Power and Action


No matter what type of rod you choose, make sure you get one form a reputable manufacturer, even if it costs a few dollars more. In the long run, it is a great investment.

There are more than enough different types of fishing rods, and every angler should choose the one that is suitable for fishing techniques they will use.

Keep in mind that rods, no matter the type, have to be paired with proper reel size, lines, and lure weights.

If you are a beginner who is looking a versatile rod that can be used in various situations, go for telescopic or spinning, at least if you plan to catch small fish species and you do not plan to practice any special fishing techniques.

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I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind Slo-fishing.si. 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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