There is a huge range of different types of fishing rods on the market, all of which are designed to perform different tasks. They are used to target different species of fish or for different fishing locations and methods. Some rods are long and flexible for casting, while others are short and rigid to withstand the pressures of heavy duty game fishing.
Once you know the different types of fishing poles it is also important to get the right type of fishing reel. Click here to learn about the different types of fishing reels.
The Types of Fishing Poles
Telescopic Fishing Rods
Telescopic rods are designed to be the ultimate compact rod. They are extendable, and usually range from a one to two feet long when closed to up to 20 feet when fully extended. Most telescopic rods resemble simple spinning rods when extended, with a number of eyes and a flexible tip that makes casting easy.
However, some telescopic rods are eyeless, and the line instead is guided through the center of the rod – this is a very specialized rod. Telescopic rods are popular among backcountry fishermen, surf fishermen, and fishermen who just want to have everything compact and ready to travel with as they allow a very long rod to be easily folded up for transportation and storage.
Casting Fishing Rods
Casting rods are designed to allow the fisherman to accurately place a bait or lure wherever they want to. Although they can be split into two categories – spin casting rods and bait casting rods – most modern rods are simply sold as ‘casting rods’ without any differentiation. In both models, the eyes are on the top of the rod.
Spin casting rods usually have smaller eyes and a forefinger trigger grip, but have one larger eye nearest the reel. They are designed to be used with spin casting reels.
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Bait casting rods are very similar, and usually only differ in the fact that the last eye closest to the reel is slightly smaller due to the difference in the way line peels off baitcasting reels.
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Spinning Fishing Poles
Spinning rods are very similar to casting rods, but are usually slightly smaller and lighter. They usually range from 5 to 8.5 feet and have between 5 and 8 eyes. In a similar manner to a spin casting rod, spinning rods have one significantly larger eye closest to the reel to reduce the friction on the line when casting.
The main difference between spinning and casting rods is the way they are used. Casting reels are used on the top of the rod, while eggbeater (spinning) reels hang beneath. This is a more comfortable and easier way to fish, and for this reason spinning rods are the basic rod used by amateur fishermen throughout the world.
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Fly Fishing Rods
Fly rods come in a range of sizes and shapes, and are specifically designed for fly fishing. They are thin and flexible to allow you to work the fly back and forwards and are usually very lightweight and small compared to other rods. They come in sizes designed to target fish from the tiniest trout in small mountain streams to large saltwater game fish like marlin and tuna.
One of the distinctive features of a fly rod is the lack of a butt section below the reel, which means the angler can cast freely and with speed. They also have specialized eyes, called snake eyes, which are designed to guide the heavy fly line and prevent tangles when you cast. Most modern fly rods are made of carbon fiber composites, as they allow optimal flexibility and strength. Higher quality rods have either a cork or a wooden reel mount. Most experienced fishermen prefer the wooden mount, as it is supposed to be more sensitive to small movements and better to fish with.
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Ice Fishing Rods
Ice rods are usually very similar to spinning rods, but are much shorter to accommodate for the lack of space available when ice fishing. They are usually between 24 and 36 inches long and have fewer eyes than traditional spinning rods. A classic ice rod (which are still widely used) doesn’t use a reel. Rather, it has two opposing hooks mounted on the rod for you to wind the line around by hand.
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Sea Fishing Rods
Sea rods are designed for fishing in the ocean, and range from quite short (when used on boats) to extremely long when used from the rocks or the beach. They are usually extremely thick and heavy duty, have heavy tips and large eyes, and have a long butt to help fight large fish. The heaviest sea rods are designed for tough shark and game fishing and are usually coupled with huge reels and very heavy line.
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Surf Fishing Rods
Surf rods are actually a type of sea rod, but are popular enough to warrant their own category. They are usually extremely long to allow a heavy sinker and bait to be cast a long way and have long butts to allow a two handed casting technique to be used. They usually resemble a heavier, longer version of a spinning rod, and can be used from the beach, rocks, or other shore features.
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Trolling Fishing Rods
Trolling rods are used to drag a lure behind a moving boat, trying to entice a fish to strike. They are generally focused towards larger game fish such as tuna and marlin. A good trolling rod is relatively long, heavily built, and has a fast action. However, they aren’t usually necessary – unless you are targeting extremely large game fish, spinning rods will generally do the same job just as effectively.
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Pen Fishing Poles
Pen rods are even more compact than telescopic rods, and are designed to fold up into a case which resembles a large pen. They are generally considered as the world’s smallest fishing rods, and will easily fit in a pocket or backpack when folded up. As they are able to extend to just a few feet and are super light, the quality of the line and reel you use will determine the performance of the rod. While they aren’t recommended for everyday use, pen rods can be great to have in the glovebox for those unexpected fishing opportunities.
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Survival Fishing Rods
Survival fishing poles are rods designed to be used in a survival situation no matter if it is for sport or in an emergency.
Click here to read our full article on Best Survival Fishing Rods, Poles and Reels
Start Simple and Expand
When choosing a fishing rod, it is generally recommended to start with a simple spinning rod, and then specialize as you become more experienced with various fishing techniques.
And of course once you choose a fishing rod it is also important to get the right type of fishing reel.