Why are there Different Types of Fishing Rods?

Fishing rods have helped revolutionize the fishing industry since their origination back to Ancient Egypt, China, Greece and Rome. The material used for early rods consisted of wood and bamboo. As society developed, so did the fishing rod.

Today, the fishing rod hasn’t really changed. It is a long pole or stick that connects to line or string. Fishing rods help maintain leverage over fish. They provide power and control when handling larger fish. Additionally, fishing rods also facilitate the casting of fishing line which contains the hook and bait. Without the fishing rod, we would lack a key tool that allows us to successfully fish. 

We have developed many different types of fishing rods to accommodate different needs in society. Rods can vary depending on many different factors, such as the type of fish, size of fish, location, water depth & personal preference.

Types of Fishing Rods

Fly Rod

It is only appropriate to begin this list with one of the first rods ever built. The fly rod is a very simple rod but has particular features that causes it to differ from the rest. They look similar to a long skinny wood stick. A fine material is required to build these rods in order to be very lightweight and thin. 

Fly rods were built for the dynamics associated with fly fishing. Fly fishing requires the casting of just the line’s weight, no lures. These rods must be built to accommodate fly fishermen with the ability to cast really well. The modern day fly rods are manufactured from carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is a very light material that is also very durable. An interesting note in that fly rods tend to be more expensive than your typical fishing rod. The main reason for this price discrepancy is due to these rods being mostly handcrafted. Fly fishermen are willing to pay extra for the precise attention to fine detail. 

Spinning Rod

Also known to be a more beginner oriented rod, the spinning rod is one of the easiest and traditional rods to use. For these rods, the reel is located under the rod and the reel handle is located on the fisherman’s non-dominant hand. As a right-handed individual myself, I would control the reel with my left hand. This rod is often considered to be a more natural way to fish and always for quick retrieval of your fishing line.

A spinning rod should be used when you want to have slack on your line. Often, the use of fishing bobbers are connected to the spinning rod category. Spinning rods are easy to fish with because they are one of the harder setups to tangle. These rods welcome an easier reel with a more basic mechanism for fishing.

Casting Rod

The cast rod’s reel is located on top of the rod and can be casted with the use of just one hand on the rod. These rods are made to provide precision and accuracy when casting your fishing line and lure. It works terrifically for the placement of your tackle whether your fishing from land or by boat. Often you can hear these rods grouped into sub-categories of a spin casting rod or bait casting rod. 

A casting rod should be used when you want to have contact or tension with your lure (good for top-water presentation). A casting rod is usually bent over as the eyelets maintain an upper positioning on the pole – the opposite of a spinning rod. The tip of the rod tends to be less sensitive to the pull or bait of a fish which is an important preference to many serious fishermen. Many different varieties and variations exist today in the casting rod market. These rods are a little more challenging than a spinning rod but provide additional leverage.

Surf Rod

The surf rod is more commonly used by the shore. Typically you will see these rods stand out on the beach due to their impressively long length. These rods are heavy duty to withstand heavier tackle when casting. The long rod also helps with casting far distances which is needed to get the lure or bait over the waves breaking on the beach. 

Surf rods can vary in length but usually range between 8-14 feet. While a longer rod offers a longer cast, it does require more skill and power to be deployed correctly and accurately. When casting, it is recommended that the fisherman walks out into the water to assist with a farther cast. If the tackle clears the waves breaking, the cast was a success.

Ice Fishing Rod

All rods were built to accommodate fishermen. Specifically, the ice fishing rod was made for the space that is available for the average ice fisherman to fish. Given the tighter real estate that is available, these ice fishing rods are shorter in length. They also have fewer eyes on the rod.

By appearance, this rod resembles some of the early ancient rods due to its lack of a physical reel. The line is attached to hooks on the rod and is deployed by hand. A medium-action jigging rod is typically the main choice of gear for most ice fishermen. 

Telescopic Rod

The telescopic rod is pretty unique is its ability to be easily transported. These rods can be compacted and stored in small spaces. When compacted, the rod can be only 1 or 2 feet long. When extended, the rod can exceed lengths of 15 feet. This rods are usually easy to cast.

Most surf fishermen use these types of rods and more often than not, a telescopic rod is also classified as a surf rod. They are great for the beach given the ease of storage and ability to expand to lengths that provide more distance when trying to cast over the beach waves. 

What is the Best Fishing Rod to Buy?

It all depends on what type of fishing that you will do. Typically, the spinning rod should accommodate most situations for less experienced fishermen. It is dependable, fast to learn, and easy to maintain. Often these rods are available in rod and reel combos which can lessen the price burden for a consumer. Lastly, these rods can be used for almost all saltwater and freshwater occasions. 


While we continue to make advances in the material that we can build rods with, the main characteristics are the same. Fishing rods have continued to work back in the day for early fishermen and will continue to work in the future for modern fishermen. As mentioned above, different experiences demand different types of rods. Understanding the different types of fishing rods will help you make the most informed decision when purchasing a fishing rod.


The founder of Catch and Fillet, “Chum Charlie”, has been writing articles within the fishing community for over 9 years. He got his nickname due to his preference for chumming while he is fishing. Chumming is a common practice that is used in the ocean to lure various types of fish to the boat. Chum can consist of various fish parts that attract fish due to its overbearing odor.

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