When to Use a Short Fishing Rod

When to Use a Short Fishing Rod

A short fishing rod, on average is four to six feet in length but what you need to consider is the casting distance you want to reach. The shorter fishing rod offers you less power and leverage when casting. There are many instances in which a short fishing rod is best but having one offers two key advantages; the pulling power to turn the fish that is headed toward a structure and the soft, forgiving action for jigging that is easier. 

When to Use a Short Fishing Rod

When fishing, you should consider using a short fishing rod when a longer rod becomes more of a liability than it does an asset. Some of these situations include:

  • Sloughs, small creeks, or canals that have a lot of overhanging vegetation, which means tight quarters in which to sling a small popper or spinnerbait.
  • Floating docks that have a lot of cables on the bank side. Here is that often overlooked section inside that will offer narrow lanes and tight pockets that you can only access with precise, short casts.
  • When there is high water and the fish follow it into the trees, there are many opportunities in which to catch fish in small spaces. A small fishing rod will give you the opportunity to cast without bumping into tree trunks.

One type of short fishing rod that is great to use close to a dock or for skipping is a spinning rod. This will let you get closer to areas where you cannot get with a longer fishing rod. It also gets fish out of obstacles better.

Is a Short Fishing Rod Right for You?

Fishing rods do come in a variety of lengths but the question is which length is right for you. In many instances, a short rid will work better but other times it would be better if it was a long fishing rod. 

  • Casting Accuracy and Distance: The shorter rod will never achieve the casting distances that the longer rod will but the short ones are a little more accurate. This makes the short fishing rod better for close-range fishing where there could be some type of obstacles on the water surface that you need to avoid. If you do not need to cast a long distance, even if there are no obstacles, you should opt for the short fishing rod. 
  • Maneuverability: This includes where you are fishing from, especially where maneuverability and mobility is concerned. If you are fishing off a large boat or open dock, then the longer fishing rod would be the best if you have enough room to crank the rod back for a long cast along with enough room to reel in the fish. If you are fishing from the shoreline where there are a lot of bushes, and tree branches you should consider the shorter fishing rod. If you use a longer fishing rod in these situations there is a good chance that when you cast, your bait or lure could become tangled in the obstacles. If fishing from a small boat or kayak then a shorter rod would be best as it is more portable.
  • Size: When talking about size, this refers to your height and body type. If you are a shorter, lighter person that has limited muscle power you should consider getting a shorter fishing rod. For the longer fishing rods, you need to have the muscle power to use it to cast and then bring the fish back to shore.
  • Power and Leverage: Before deciding whether to get a short or long fishing rod, you need to decide just how much flex and power you need. The longer rods will offer a lot of flex and power. On the other hand, if you are fishing for larger fish that are going to give you the fight to land them, then you do not want a lot of flex in your fishing rod. If the fishing rod is too flexible, then it is going to be hard to get much power behind the pull. A shorter fishing rod would work best in this situation because it is easier to muscle a fish to the shore or boat with a fishing rod that does not have a lot of flexibility.
  • Quiet and Subtle Fishing: When deciding on a long or short fishing rod you need to decide just what type of fishing you want to do. For the most part, if you want quiet subtle fishing you should use the longer fishing rod. With a shorter fishing pole, you cannot cast very far and the lure and line would just plunk down in the water and could scare the fish away. So if this is the type of fishing you want, then the short fishing rod would not work in this situation.
  • Sensitivity: This is about the transfer of energy. You need to know when the fish is nibbling on your hook. The longer the rod, the longer it will take for you to feel this and by the time you react, the fish could be gone. With a shorter fishing rod, you will feel the nibble faster and can react fast enough to catch the fish. If you are fishing for small prey that has a subtle nibble, then the shorter rod is going to be the best bet.


When trying to decide when to use a short fishing rod, think of where you are going to be fishing and the type of fish you are fishing for. If there are a lot of obstacles and the fish are gentle nibblers, then the short fishing rod would be the ideal choice. Also, if you are a younger child under the age of 12 or do not have a lot of muscle strength to haul in those large fish then you should opt for the short rod to give you more control over what you are bringing to shore or on a boat. It is also a matter of personal choice which you like to use best.

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