8 Types of Fishing Rods [Identification Explained]

Fishing is fun, relaxing, and enjoyable. However, before you head out to cast the line and revel at the bigger fish, you should know your equipment. A good fishing rod is the foundation of your entire angling setup. Different fishing rods are recognizable by length, material, type, strength, etc.

Professional anglers usually have different kinds of fishing rods made for specific tasks. Beginners, on the other hand, often start with just one or two types. If you are looking for a specific type of fishing rod but don’t have any idea how it works, you’ve come to the right place.

Besides the correct type for your fishing technique, you have to consider a few more things. Different types of rods differ in rod power, rod weight, rod material.

Roland Brooks

Daddy by day, fisherman at night.

Table of Contents

Spinning Rods

In contrast to casting rods, spinning rods are often lighter and shorter. Their length varies, but they typically range from 4 to 9 feet in length. Unlike casting rods, whose rod guides face upward, spinning rods are designed to be utilized with spinning reels.

The key advantage of a spinning rod is that it lets you hold the rod in your dominant hand, which builds control. Weighted reel hangs underneath the rod opens for more comfortable fishing over a longer time.

However, the accuracy and sensitivity of a spinning rod are not as great as a casting rod. Hence spinning rods work best with lighter lines, lures, and smaller diameters. A spinning rod is relatively more fragile when fighting fish due to the line guide’s position. You can, however, find stronger models on the market that can handle the pressure of inshore saltwater fishing.

Spinning rods are one of the most commonly used fishing rod types and are great general-purpose models for beginners. Spinning rods are ideal for most fishing scenarios, and their casting technique is straightforward to master without much practice.

  • Positive Insights: Are known for their simple design, making casting easier for beginners
  • Negative Insights: Limited casting distance and not recommended with light lures (might tangle)

Casting Rods

A casting fishing rod is a type of rod that is built for accuracy. They work by allowing fishermen to place their bait or lure in the area they want. They are holding a casting reel with the handle mounted and can be called spin cast rods or baitcasting rods.

Casting rods usually have two categories: a baitcasting rod or a spin casting rod. The difference is that baitcasting rods are intended for use with baitcasting reels. On the other hand, spin-cast rods are designed to be used with spin-casting reels.

The main advantage of a casting rod is that the line guides are placed along the upper rod side. Hence these rods can handle a lot. They are ideal for casting heavy lures and fighting large fish due to their speed and precision. However, when a tangle does happen, it is challenging to open the reel up and fix

Casting rods are used with baitcasting reels, which is not the best option for beginners. A casting rod requires an angler with more experience.


  • Positive Insights: Ensures farther and more accurate casting
  • Negative Insights: Less flexibility for all kinds of lures. Also potential for line tangling if not properly controlled

Trolling Rods

Trolling rods are special rods used when trolling on a boat. These rods are designed to drag a lure or bait behind a moving boat. Trolling rod handles are usually longer than on other rods, so they can safely be placed into rod holders.

They have thicker and stronger blanks to withstand greater forces when trolling. Most trolling rods are made to be used with a trolling or baitcasting reel, although some versions can be paired with a spinning reel.

Trolling rods are used to cast the lure that captures a fish’s attention and are placed in a rod clamp at the rear of a boat.

The best perk is that trolling rods are stiffer, with large reels accommodating multiple lines. However, their stiffness makes them unsuitable for other techniques other than trolling.

  • Positive Insights: Powerful for covering large water areas and capable of managing large fish
  • Negative Insights: Specialized setup needed. Slower-paced technique can miss a school of fishes

Surf Rods

Surf rods are part sea fishing rods, which are intended for use in deep sea fishing. They resemble larger spinning rods, but a surf rod comes with a durable butt and additional length.

That additional surf rod length enables the fisherman to effortlessly throw a heavy bait rig to the desired location.

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

Many surf rods feature a heavy sinker that ensures that when you cast the line into the wave, it does not float or bob in the moving water. The long keg means you can cast the line holding the rod in two hands.

The main advantage of surf fishing rods is they are sufficiently strong enough to throw the heavy pulls or lures anticipated to mantain the base in unpleasant waters. However, their heavy-duty design is big and bulky, making them a less-than-ideal choice for beginner anglers. You must be experienced enough to use the surf fishing rods since they are long and agile.

  • Positive Insights: Long casting range, handles big fish
  • Negative Insights: Bulky to transport, requires skill in managing waves

Fly Rods

Fly fishing rods do not have a lot of things in common with other rod types mentioned here. Fly rods are intended to be used for fly fishing. They are lightweight and thinner since they involve being held and cast all day.

A fly rod is the only one that blends fly reels. The reel accommodates the weighted line to enable casting. The reel on fly rods is mounted very low on the rod, even below the handle. This creates more balance in the rod when it’s being used.

The main advantage of a fly rod is the specialized eye that carb tangles when casting. Fly rods’ unique eyes allow them to direct heavy fly fishing lines, making fly rods much stronger. They lack a butt piece after the reel, so they cast quickly and freely.

Since fly fishing rods are so versatile, they are often preferred among more experienced anglers. However, it takes time and practice to master casting with a fly fishing rod, which requires a lot of space.

  • Positive Insights: Ideal for precision casting with lightweight lures
  • Negative Insights: Requires advanced casting skills, limited for heavy prey

Ice Rods

When ice fishing, anglers lower baits or lures through the ice hole. It does not involve casting or covering large distances. The best type of fishing rods for ice fishing should be very short to allow the angler to reel from above with ease.

Ice fishing rods are among the smallest types of fishing rods in the fishing world. They are usually about 25 to 37 inches in length. Despite having fewer eyes and no reel, they perform similarly to spinning rods in terms of function.

The main advantage of an ice fishing rod is its thinner tips than standard rods. This makes it lightweight and sensitive, enabling anglers to sense even the slightest bites. Also, unlike other fishing rods, they can be used without reels, lowering the angling setup cost.

The cons of an ice fishing rod are that it’s limited to fishing small species, difficult or impractical to cast, and not durable for fishing large species. Ice rods, of course, are only intended for ice fishing. Because of their small size, you won’t get much of a cast off them.

Although ice fishing is a relaxing and serene sport, it also requires specific skills hence is ideal for experienced anglers.

  • Positive Insights: Suitable for all skill levels
  • Negative Insights: Shorter casting range and seasonable limitation

Ultra-Light Rods

As the name suggests, these types of fishing rods are meant to be thin and lightweight. Note that this category represents lighter rods designed to catch smaller fish species. Ultralight rods can be spin rods, sea rods, fly rods, or even other rods.

Ultra-light rods are shorter and lighter hence uses shorter lines making them more efficient for catching small fish. This lighter rod uses lightweight fishing lines and lures since they are less frightening to small fish species. These rods are also great for backpacking trips.

Ultralight rods are a popular choice for beginners and veteran anglers. They are also more versatile than other types of fishing rods, ranging from 5-6 feet in length to 9 feet wide, and are easier to transport. They are also great for young kids as they are light to cast.

The main disadvantage of this rod is its durability. The construction of ultralight rods uses thinner and lighter materials. They are hence not ideal for landing big fish or reaching a long casting distance.

  • Positive Insights: Sensitive for small fish, lightweight and fun
  • Negative Insights: Not suitable for large fish, limited power

Telescopic Rod

Telescopic fishing rods are one of the most popular rod types among beginners. The design of this particular fishing rod favors portability. Fishermen can crumple it before carrying it and then extend it when necessary.

Telescopic rods come in various lengths and are great for deeper water or rivers. A telescopic rod is a go-to rod for travelers. They are compact and easy to carry in cars.

Telescopic fishing rods can expand into a longer bar or collapse into a small length. This is an advantage if using foot, bicycle, or public transit. In surf angling, telescopic fishing rods are especially useful, necessitating the need for especially long rods that can reach a length of 14 feet.

However, the collapsible nature of telescopic rods makes the joints prone to dirt and salt. Hence, ensure your fishing rod is sand-free because dirt  makes the rod less adaptable. Also, the casting isn’t as dependable as other non-telescoping rods.

Telescopic fishing rods are great for beginners since they are effortless to transport, assemble and use.

  • Positive Insights: Portable and compact, convenient for travel
  • Negative Insights: Tend to breakage, may lack casting power

Different Types of Fishing Poles According to Material

Fishing pole types can be built of several materials, including composite, fiberglass, graphite, and bamboo. Some materials are more suited for certain fishing activities than others.

You need to choose a rod suited to the type of fishing you’re planning.

Fiberglass rods

The most affordable fishing equipment material is fiberglass rods, offering a good compromise between light weight, sensitivity, longevity, and price. Two common types of glass are E and S. varieties of fiberglass. They create strong, light fishing rods by mixing polyester and epoxy resins.

Because fiberglass rods can withstand much punishment, they can be useful for novices and rough-and-tumble anglers.

Graphite Rods

Graphite is a complex material that is lighter, stronger, and more sensitive than fiberglass but is also more expensive. Graphite rods’ high quality and lightness make them well-liked with advanced anglers.

In most fishing circumstances, the flexible graphite material works effectively and has strong battling power.

Bamboo Rods

The bamboo rod is ideal for subtle and delicate presentations, and fishermen who like bamboo rods appreciate its slow, flexible action.