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All the Different Kinds of Fishing Rods Anglers Use

Few sports are as equally relaxing and thrilling as fishing. If you’re an experienced angler, you probably know just how many rod options are available.

two different types of fishing rods

There seems to be a rod for every purpose, whether it’s big game fishing or dropping a line into the ice.

On the other hand, if you’re new to the fishing game, you might be overwhelmed by the dizzying array of rod options.

So, how do you know which rod is right for you? Read over the following article to find out exactly where you should focus your attention. 

8 Types of Fishing Rods

  1. Spinfishing Rod
  2. Casting rods
  3. Trolling Rods
  4. Fly Fishing Rods
  5. Surf Fishing Rods
  6. Ice Fishing Rods
  7. Ultra-Light Rods
  8. Telescopic Fishing Rod

Spin Fishing Rod

The spin fishing rod is the most common type of rod for lure fishing. They typically range from 4 to 10 feet long, making it easier to find one that suits your needs.

person fishing with a spinning rod

In addition, the reel is mounted on the bottom of the rod, allowing you to control it with your dominant hand.

This type of rod is lightweight with fast action that makes casting easier. However, it doesn’t offer a very precise cast.

That said, you can find a spin fishing rod for any circumstance. They come in various sizes and work well for all fresh and inshore applications. 

Casting rods

Casting rods are pretty similar to spinning rods in that they’re easy to use, simple, and popular.

a baitcasting rod

These rods have a top-mounted enclosed reel and a push-catch system for casting that’s simple for beginners to pick up.

They’re a bit more robust than spin rods, making them suited for more fishing environments. 

Casting rods also offer high casting control and accuracy, so if you want to be able to land a lure precisely, a casting rod is the way to go.

That said, since they’re best for big game fishing, they can be pretty heavy. In other words, they’re not very portable or comfortable to hold for long periods. 

Trolling Rods

If you’re planning on boat fishing for the big game, a trolling rod might be worth consideration.

trolling rods on the deck of a fishing boat

You’ll mount this type of rod to the back of your boat, then the boat’s motion drags the lure through the water, giving the illusion of swimming.

Trolling rods are pretty stiff, making them perfectly suited for boat fishing in a quick-moving boat.

However, they’re not very versatile since they perform best when mounted to a boat. Regardless, if you’re hoping to snag a marlin or big tuna, a trolling rod is the right tool.

Fly Fishing Rods

Fly fishing rods are short-handled rods made of lightweight materials. Experienced anglers prefer these rods because they give you more control over your cast than casting or spin fishing rods.

person holding a fly fishing rod

They’re also adjustable for different weights, which increases their usefulness.

The main drawback to fly fishing rods is that they’re not beginner-friendly. Learning to cast can be difficult with these rods.

In addition, they’re only useful for fly fishing. However, once you get the hang of it, fly fishing can be a lot of fun.

If this type of fishing rod seems right for you, here’s more info on the most trusted name brands in the industry!

Surf Fishing Rods

The surf fishing rod is a type of sea rod. They’re heavy-duty rods designed for long-haul fishing in saltwater.

two surf fishing rods on the beach

These rods are thicker than your average rod, can cast more than 100 yards, and are built to bring in big game fish. They also stand up well to saltwater abuse.

Similar to trolling rods, these aren’t very versatile. You can only use them if you have a mount, rod rest, or beach spike.

They aren’t well-suited for lure fishing simply due to weight alone. In addition, if you’re not a frequent surf-fisher, the cost of one of these might not be worth it. 

Ice Fishing Rods

Ice fishing rods are short rods intended for use when casting isn’t necessary. They’re only about 2 or 3 feet long and work best in ice fishing shelters or over an ice hole.

man ice fishing on scout lake

You’ll use these rods with spinning or inline reels explicitly designed for ice fishing.

These are some of the easiest rods to learn to use since you don’t have to get the hang of casting.

However, that also makes them somewhat restricted in what they can do. These are best for small to medium game fish, such as pike or walleye.

Ultra-Light Rods

Ultra-light fishing rods are shorter, light rods that are great for smaller bodies of water, such as lakes, coves, or streams.

person holding a perch caught on an ultralight fishing rod

The line, reel, lures, and rod are all made of lightweight material that makes the rod easy to maneuver and cast.

The low weight of these rods combined with the easy cast gives you a better feel for small nibbles on your line.

You’ll have decent casting accuracy, but the only drawback is that you won’t get a long casting distance.

Also, when purchasing ultra-light rods, make sure you choose high-quality materials. Otherwise, you could risk ending up with a flimsy rod.

Telescopic Fishing Rod

Telescopic fishing rods are a portable and compact option if you plan to fish while you travel.

a telescopic fishing rod

The telescoping function takes this pole from several feet long to the size of a pen that you can stick into your backpack for fishing, camping, or hiking. 

Although these rods serve a purpose, they aren’t a one-to-one substitute for a standard rod.

They’re not as strong, so you’ll be limited on what size fish you can reel in. Bigger game fish could easily cause one to break, so it’s best to stick to small bodies of water with these.

Fishing Rod Material

Fishing rods come in all shapes and sizes. However, most are made from one of four materials: fiberglass, carbon composite, graphite, or bamboo.

setting up a fishing reel with a spooler


Fiberglass is made by binding long plastic fibers between resin layers to form a “glass.”

person fishing with a fiberglass rod

It’s a common choice for fishing rods because it doesn’t weigh much, and it’s pretty flexible. This material works best for slow or medium-action rods.

However, since it’s heavier than its carbon counterparts, it’s not the best choice if you need a lightweight rod.

On the other hand, fiberglass is a more durable material, so it’s a good choice for beginners.


Carbon composite is a popular material for fishing rods because it’s lightweight and robust. It combines the sensitivity and low weight of graphite with the strength and durability of fiberglass. 

salt water fishing rod and reel

The main benefit to composite is that you won’t risk the same fragility you’d get with graphite.

Composite holds up to quick, sudden strikes much better, making this an excellent lightweight alternative.

The only downside is that they tend to run at a higher price point than fiberglass and graphite.


Another form of carbon, graphite, is also great for fishing rods because it’s strong and doesn’t weigh much.

graphite fishing rods on display in a store

This material is best for fast or extra-fast action rods. Because graphite is so light, these rods are well-suited for long trips. 

You can choose graphite rods in varying degrees of modulus or stiffness. Essentially, the higher the modulus level, the lower the rod weight.

However, because graphite doesn’t weigh much, these rods can be a bit delicate. Learn more about some of our absolute favorite graphite rods!


Bamboo is one of the oldest fishing rod materials still in use. However, any type of wood strong enough for a fishing pole will have some heft, so it’s not the ideal rod material.

a bamboo fly rod laying in a stream

For that reason, fiberglass and carbon composites have largely replaced bamboo as fishing rod materials.

Bamboo is strong and flexible, which is a necessity with a good fishing rod. That said, if you choose a bamboo rod, the trade-off is that you take on more weight in exchange for a natural material.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve decided to take up fishing, you want to ensure you have the right tools to get the job done.

What works for one scenario could be entirely wrong for another. Hopefully, this article cleared up everything you need to know about choosing a fishing rod. Now all you need is a good reel and you’re all set!

And, if you think I missed something important, feel free to drop a comment below!

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