The Ultimate Guide to The Different Types Fishing Rods

When it comes to price, there's a big difference between a cheap rod and an expensive rod. However, there is much less of a difference between a medium-priced rod, and a high-priced rod, so you don’t need to break the bank to find a high-quality rod that will have you fishing for years to come.

With thousands of fishing rods on the market, you may feel overwhelmed when starting to research different types of rods. But searching for a new rod doesn’t have to be complicated. In this guide, we will go over everything you need to know if you’re entering the market for a new rod, or if you just want to learn more about the fabled pastime of fishing.

What you’ll find in this guide is that no one rod will be perfect for every situation, but with that said, you also don’t need 10-20 different rods in your inventory. Depending on how you prefer to fish, two to three rods may be all you need to have fun, and more importantly, catch a lot of fish.

When it comes to price, there’s a big difference between a cheap rod and an expensive rod. However, there is much less of a difference between a medium-priced rod, and a high-priced rod, so you don’t need to break the bank to find a high-quality rod that will have you fishing for years to come.

Different Types of Fishing Rods Explained

Three key factors separate different types of fishing rods:

  • The style of reel the rod was meant to be paired with.
  • The material the rod is made from.
  • The size and length of the rod.

The first two factors, reel pairing, and material, are mostly up to your own personal preference, but the size and length of the rod are more directly related to the type of fish you’re hunting for and the style of fishing you’ll be employing.

When you’ve dialed in your desired rod material and the style of reel you’d like to pair it with, now it’s time to dive into the details of available rods. Looking at rods, there are three main characteristics to pay attention to which are action, power, and length. Understanding how these three aspects work together is the most crucial factor to consider when purchasing a new rod.

What are the Different Types of Action on Fishing Rods?

When researching different types of fishing rods, you’ll often read about what kind of “action” the rod has. Specifically, you’ll hear about fast action, medium action, and slow action rods. 

What the action is referring to is how much bend the rod has. The faster the action, the less bend in your rod, and the more sensitivity you’ll feel when a fish hits your bait. 

A faster rod also allows for a quicker hook set. When you flip your wrist to set the hook, less bend in the top of the rod means the less distance it needs to travel before applying pressure on your line.

While you may think that more sensitivity and a quicker hookset are all you needed to hear before running to the store and buying a fast action rod, the action you want all comes down to the lure that you’re using.

Fast Action

On a fast action rod, there is little bend, as the rod is quickly able to spring back and release your lure. The bend in a fast action rod will be limited to the top half. Fast action rods will always be preferred for pitching. Pitching is a common technique used by bass anglers in which you make quick, accurate casts to a target. In this situation, you don’t want much bend in your rod in order to maintain accuracy. 

To perform the pitching technique, point your rod toward the target while holding your bait. When you release the bait, you make a slight swinging action with the rod and release the line to “pitch” the bait to the intended target.

Medium to Slow Action Rods

A medium action rod starts to bend in the top half of the rod, and these rods are useful when using crankbaits, or swimbaits. When a fish attacks a crankbait or a swimbait, the quick reaction by the fish will usually result in a hookset on its own. A slower action rod will also allow lures such as crankbaits and swimbaits to move on their own, allowing the natural action of the lure to shine and lessening the effect your rod has on the lure.

Power

A rod’s power is determined by how much weight it can bend under before breaking. You’ll see a rod’s power referred to in a spectrum ranging from ultralight, to light, medium-light, medium, medium-heavy, and heavy. Another way to think about a rod’s power is in terms of its power to lift when a fish is on the line. A rod with heavy power should be paired with heavier line, and vice versa with a light-powered rod.

Length

The different types of fly fishing rods are usually between six and ten feet long, and the taper of the rod will depend on the size of fishing you’re going after. Shorter rods are going to be best for small stream where you want a fast action rod that can accurately and efficiently hit each hole. On a large stream or a river, you’ll want a longer rod with more of a taper and bend to allow for longer casts. A medium-slow action is going to work best on a large river to help prevent you from tearing the fly out of a big rainbow’s mouth. With slower action and more bend, the rod will be more forgiving when the fish takes a run down the river.

Types of Fishing Rods and Reels

In addition to length and rod action, the material of fly rods will vary from fiberglass to graphite and carbon fiber, even to bamboo in some applications. A bamboo rod is best used in the hands of a seasoned fly fisher, and are heavier, slower action rods than the more modern materials. While they take more maintenance and attention to upkeep, bamboo rods are gorgeous nods to the pastime of fly fishing, and can still be effectively used to this day.

The primary rod materials you’ll be looking at are various types of graphite fishing rods, and different types of carbon fiber fishing rods.

The rod you ultimately pick out will depend on the type of reel you’ll be using it with. The typical reel choices available to you are:

  • Baitcasting Reels
  • Spinning Reels
  • Spin-Casting Reels
  • Fly Fishing Reels

While fly fishing rods and reels are more specialized, among the other three, spinning reels are the most popular, but baitcasting reels are quickly approaching them in popularity among serious anglers.

In fact, for bass, baitcasting rigs may be more widely used than spinning setups by bass professionals and enthusiasts alike. With that said, these days new technology has advanced both baitcasting reels and spinning reels to be able to handle any situation you come across.

Ultimately, your choice of rod and reel comes down to what feels best in your hand, and what helps you catch the most fish.

Types of Bass Fishing Rods

When buying a bass fishing rod, you’ll either be looking for a rod specific to a bass fishing technique, such as flipping and pitching, or you’ll be looking for the best all-around rod for a variety of applications. The different types of bass fishing rods will range from baitcasting trods, to spinning rods, to spincasting rods depending on your preferred reel type.

Most serious anglers these days will use a baitcasting setup over a spinning rod when going after trophy bass due to their ability to hold heavier line and throw heavier lures. With that said, plenty of spinning rod and reel setups these days can handle just as heavy line and lures as baitcasting rigs.

Best Casting Rod for the Money

Piscifun has been making high-quality equipment at a lower cost than the competition for many years now, and their consistency has not been ignored by anglers across the globe. With the Piscifun Torrent, they have created a well-balanced, one piece baitcasting rod that is lightweight, sensitive and reliable. 

What sets the torrent apart is that it’s made from an IM6 carbon that has been precisely wrapped at various angles to ensure the highest quality performance. After the initial wrapping, it’s again X-shaped using a high-temperature molding resin. 

Best Spinning Rod for the Money

KastKing consistently delivers more value for your dollar than most other fishing gear manufacturers on the market. KastKing is never quite top end, but for the affordable tier of equipment, their products can stand up with anything else at a similar price point.

So, for under $60, it’s hard to do much better than the KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rods.

Best Rod for Crankbait

If you’re alright spending $100 for a specialized rod, Lew’s is a brand you should consider. For crankbait specifically, their Tournament Performance TP-1 Speed Stick is well worth the expense.

Constructed from IM8 premium graphite, this Lew’s specialty rod also features a guide system that eliminates wind knots and improves both casting accuracy and distance. The TP-1 Speed Stick also features Lew’s exclusives such as skeletal graphite reel seats and a split-grip Dri-Tac handle.

Favorite Types of Saltwater Fishing Rods

The different types of fishing rods for saltwater will all be stronger and heavier than freshwater rods. The main differentiating factor in saltwater fishing rods is the strength to weight ratio. You can have a beastly rod, but if it’s too heavy to effectively use, then it’s not worth much to you in a practical application.  

If you’re looking for the best types of inshore saltwater fishing rods or the best examples of offshore saltwater fishing rods, don’t look any further than the rods you’ve trusted in the past. Or, if you see a new rod brand or style here and want to try one out on saltwater, make sure that the action and power of the rod suit your needs. Make sure you’re paired up with a quality saltwater reel, and you’ll be good to go.

Best Types of Fly Fishing Rods for the Money

When the game is fly fishing, the player to pay attention to for my money is Orvis. Fly fishing is much different than fishing with a spinning rig or a casting rig.  The technique, bait, rods, and reels are all explicitly specialized for fly fishing, which means that the big brands we’re used to seeing aren’t quite so high and mighty in this market.

For a high-quality fly fishing reel that will give you the most bang for your buck, the Orvis Clearwater is an obvious choice. The Clearwater comes with an unheard of 25-year warranty, and you can buy a rod and reel combination for under $250.

Best Types of Ice Fishing Rods for the Money

There are a surprising amount of different types of ice fishing rods, from palm rods to telescoping rods, to regular old spinning rods. The cost of these rods is just as wide-ranging, from as little as around $10 up to over $100.

Types of Ice Fishing Micro Rods

Micro guides are a new evolution of fishing rods, and they’re especially helpful if you’re ice fishing. The reason micro guides are beneficial is that they keep the line taut, which spreads out the stress from the line to be evenly spread throughout the rod. By evening spreading the tension, the rod performs better overall and can generate more power.

Personally, I’m not one to veer too far from what already works, so for under $25, the Abu Garcia Veritas 3.0 Ice Fishing Spinning Rod is where my money would go if I’m in the market for a new ice fishing rod. It’s made from graphite and features a high-density EVA split grip handle, with smoked stainless steel guides and aluminum oxide inserts.

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