Types of Fishing Rods With Complete Comparison

Whether you are just a starter or you are a seasoned player, you will want to know how many types of fishing rods are actually out there so that you will expand your knowledge about the rods and the conditions for which they must be used in and you will be in a better position to choose the one among all these 8 types of fishing rods that best meets your needs.

In this article, we have covered all the types of fishing rods with their pros and cons along with the situations in which they perform best. After that we have also covered the different types of materials these fishing rods are made of, so it is highly recommended that you read the whole article to be in the best position to take the right decision for yourself.

Types of Fishing Rods:

Spinning Rods

Spinning rods are equipped with the spinning reels hung under the rod and are used to cast longer and more suitable for lightweights and lures. Because of their easiness, these rods are usually more preferred for beginners to start with. They usually have big but few guides spaced quite apart from each other. These are versatile and lightweight rods that allow you a lot of options and varieties to choose from.

These rods are most recommended and used for surf and inshore fishing and catching all famous species like walleye, pike, trout, etc. Spinning rods resist the line tangles and cost less maintenance cost than the other fishing rods, but these rods are not much fruitful when used in heavy cover situations.


  • Easy to learn and beginner-friendly
  • Smooth casting for longer distances and light lures
  • No line tangles problem or fixed easily when one happens
  • Less maintenance cost
  • They have more flexibility and bend more


  • Although they cast longer their accuracy is not as good as some other rods like the casting rods
  • They are designed for less weight usually so they are more prone to breakage when you exceed the recommended weights

As these rods are recommended for beginners, these are very good for starting out and have some experience and hold over fish hunting and then you can step onto the other rods afterward.

Casting Rods:

Casting rods are used to deal with heavyweights and lures. They are the go-to rods when you are fighting large species and you need your target to be precise as these rods are known for their accuracy. They cast shorter than the spinning rods and accommodate a baitcasting reel which is attached on the upper side of the rod.

While spinning rods uses the angling technique in which the lures are spinning to attract the fishes, the casting rods make use of the baits by throwing them into the waters and fighting the fishes with their strength. Casting rods can also accommodate the spinning reels whereas the spinning rod can only support the spinning reel.

Casting rods have smaller, a bit more in quantity and less distant guides from each other. They are the right candidate for fishing in the heavy cover because of their accuracy. Often used with baits like jerk baits, spinnerbaits and big lipped crankbaits.


  • Puts a good fight against large fishes
  • Can use heavy lures and baits
  • Baits/Lures can be thrown quickly and continuously
  • Good accuracy
  • These usually lasts longer than the spinning rods without breaking


  • Issues of line tangles
  • Maintenance cost is a bit more
  • Shorter casting distance

Casting rods will be the best approach beyond question when you are fishing in a limited diameter, where you could experience bigger fishes and needs the accuracy to be first class.

Telescopic Rods:

Telescopic rods are a great invention in fishing rods and because of that our traveling with fishing rods has become a lot easier. These are the collapsible rods that can shrink a 15-20 feet long to a mere foot and a half or two. This makes them best for traveling whether going for a camping trip, air travel or a long fishing day, these rods will just adjust and fit accordingly in your backpack.

Most telescopic fishing rods are also capable of handling heavy fish despite their amazing portability and compactness. These are suited for both saltwater and freshwater fishing and are famous among surf fishermen. Telescopic fishing rods are relatively cheaper than traditional fishing rods and are available in combos as well.

You can expand the length according to your need. But one issue with these rods is that because of too many joints where the collapsing and extending takes place the wear and tear happens, to avoid this it is recommended that you don’t open and close the rod too quickly. Sometimes, the dirt can also enter these joints so always clean your rod after using it.


  • Portable
  • Affordable
  • Available for both freshwater and saltwater


  • Wear and tear as explained

Fly Rods:

Fly rods are used for fly fishing where the angler throws the bait which is an artificial fly usually and that bait is thrown by a huge fly line that you throw in the water with the bait attached with it and you move the line around under the water to attract the fishes, so the rod acts as a lever to send that fly line into the water.

These are available in different variations so almost all type of species is covered whether it’s trout, salmon, pike, carp, bass. Mostly, these rods are longer than casting and spinning rods as their usual length is around 9 feet and these go up to 14 or 15 feet. These rods don’t use spinning or baitcasting reels but come with a fly reel.

As you will be holding it and casting with it all day long, these rods are designed in such a way that they are very light. Unlike the spinning rods, the weight that you have to cast is of the line and not of the lure as the line is made strong and thick because it will be used to cast the very light fly. The guides are small and mounted close to the bank and the reel is attached just below the handle and closer to you.


  • Enables longer casting
  • Good power in the cast
  • casting in windy weather is much simpler and more effective
  • Good for fighting large fish


  • Short casts are difficult and less accurate
  • Difficult for the beginners

Surf Rods:

Surf rods are designed for sea fishing from the shoreline, along coastal beaches and bays from the shore for fishing in saltwater. These rods come in long lengths up to 15 feet or more which allows and facilitates the longer casts and are a bit expensive than the other rods.

They come in different sizes and widths to deal with different species of fish you will be dealing with in the ocean. These rods are not suitable for every situation but are very great for inshore and surf fishing. They are available in different variations so that most variety of the species could be covered.

They are strong enough to throw heavy baits and fight tough saltwater species such as stripers, redfish, snook. They are designed to accommodate large reels both the spinning and the baitcasting to provide the casting abilities of each of them. They are available in 1-5 piece configurations.

Benefits of Surf Rods:

  • Long casts
  • Strong rods
  • Fighting large fishes
  • Keeps the line above the waves


  • Bit heavy rods
  • Expensive
  • Not much suitable for small lakes

Trolling Rods:

Trolling rods are designed for fishing from a moving boat in open water and let the boat’s motion drag the bait through the water. They target numerous species of freshwater or saltwater and are designed specifically for those species. They usually have heavier and much thicker rods than the other fishing rods to be able to stand the huge force put on them by the movement of the boat.

They are usually available in one-piece, two-piece and telescopic models for ease of transport. They have a strong backbone to fight the large and stubborn fishes and are designed to support trolling and baitcasting reels, with some models supporting spinning reels as well.

They come with long cork and/or foam handles that are specifically designed for them to be able to adjust nicely in the rod holders of the boat. These are thick and durable rods but not much suitable for fishing other than trolling. Therefore, not many fishermen use trolling rods today as these objectives could also be covered by other rods such as some strong models of spinning rods.

Benefits of Trolling Rods:

  • Covers a lot of surface of the water quickly
  • You can go deep and target otherwise difficult bass
  • Good accuracy and speed control, especially in deep water

Disadvantages of Trolling Rods:

  • They are not as thin and lightweight as other rods
  • They are not much suitable for other fishing styles

Ultra-light Fishing Rods:

As the name suggests, ultralight fishing rods are the lightest weight fishing rods out there. These are the rods that you can carry and hold all day, take with you on a long fun trip and not get tired. These are designed to target small species like trout, small bass, panfish, etc.

These are available in spinning rods, fly rods, telescopic rods and many other rods. These are mentioned here just because these are specifically designed for this type of fishing where you are dealing with small species and just want to make your trip exciting and challenging.

They are not for someone more serious about fishing as you cannot target a multitude of species with it and they can break quickly if you exceed its limitations. They are usually shorter in length and accommodate lighter lines. They use lighter lures and baits such as small spinners, plastic worms, etc.

Benefits of Ultra-Light Fishing Rods:

  • Improves casting with lighter lures
  • Good for catching cautious fish
  • Much tactile information about what is happening with a lure
  • Very lightweight and gives you an adrenaline rush while catching fish

Disadvantages of Ultra-Light Fishing Rods:

  • Not efficient against medium to big sized fish
  • Much prone to breakage
  • Less casting distance of shorter length rods

Ice Fishing Rods:

Ice fishing is done offshore where you stand on the ice, drill a hole and place your lures and baits there by lowering them down. You don’t need much casting distance to be covered in this technique therefore these rods are built very short in length. Some of their models come without a reel and you have to spool the line manually by making use of the attached hooks.

To survive the hard water, the rod needs to be strong yet lightweight and sensitive enough to feel the bites of the picky fish with slower metabolism in cold water. That’s what’s been kept in mind during its design and therefore ice fishing rods are specifically built for these conditions.

As mentioned, they come in very short from a mere 1.5 to a maximum of 4 feet lengths and have only a few guides. With a stiff backbone to deal with the large fish, they come with very sensitive ribbon-thin tips or have spring bobbers attached to deal with the tough challenge of hard cold water and finicky fish for which the sensitive rod is needed.

Benefits of Ice Fishing Rods:

  • Stand out when it comes to ice fishing
  • Very easy to use as you don’t need to learn how to cast
  • Very less expensive compared to other rods

Disadvantages of Ice Fishing Rods:

  • These are only useful for ice fishing and not for other fishing styles

Types of Fishing Rod Materials:

You should also know about the different types of fishing rod materials these are made of so you can know which one possesses which properties and have a better understanding. These materials are usually graphite, fiber, composite and bamboo.

Graphite Material:

Popular for lightweight and stiffness, these graphite rods are made so that you can hold them all day and not get tired. These are very sensitive usually and can detect the lightest bites, mostly used in spinning rods. These properties create an impact on the price and therefore these are a bit more price than their counterpart fiberglass.

Fiberglass Material:

Fiberglass is known for its toughness and strong built. Fishing rods made of fiberglass are mostly used to fight large fish and carry more weight. Unlike graphite rods, fiberglass rods are not that prone to breakage and some of them are even virtually indestructible. But these are not much sensitive as graphite rods, however, these are comparatively cheaper.

Composite Rods:

Composite rods are a combination of both graphite and fiberglass rods. So these rods possess the qualities of both the materials, but they can never be as sensitive and lightweight as pure graphite rods and as strong as pure fiberglass rods. These are usually cheaper than graphite rods and a bit expensive than fiberglass rods.

Bamboo Material:

The British usually use the term “split cane” for bamboo but In the U.S., most people use the term “bamboo”. As these rods are made up of natural material, they should be taken care of and must be kept in a cool and dry place to store. These rods are not much used today but are still valued by the various anglers.

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