The Breakdown On Fishing Rod Types

A fishing rod is an angler’s best friend and is probably the most important thing you can choose to make your fishing experience something great. The problem with the fishing rod is choosing the right one for you, and even knowing what each type of rod is and what it might be best used for.

The most frustrating thing that can happen is you go online and start looking up rods and you see a bunch of different types and think what the heck are these, and why are there so many different types out there. I am going to try and break it down and give you a brief explanation for each type, so when you do go to check them out, you have a good understanding of what each rod means, and what it does.

Common Fishing Rods

I group fishing rods into about six common groups. Those are:

  • Spincast
  • Spinning
  • Baitcasting
  • Fly
  • Telescoping
  • Sea and Surf

Spincast rods are good for kids and entry-level and can be used for trout, bass, and other small fish. Spinning rods are the most common rod on the market and are good for almost every type of fishing. Baitcasting rods are very similar to spincast, but have an open line feed that you control with your thumb, and are very good for bass fishing.

Fly rods on the other hand are great for rivers and lakes but have been used in the ocean and lakes, and even though this is the most commonly used for trout, can be very versatile for all types of fish. A telescoping rod is one that breaks completely down to a small easily storable rod, so it takes up almost no space and usually has a spinning reel attached.

Sea and surf rods are heavier rods that can have spinning or baitcasting reels and are exclusively made for bigger fish and ocean water. Got it, right? I know that was a very generic term for each type, but I am going to give you a nice overview of each type of rod below, so let’s start.

Spincast Rods

When you think of spincast, most people think about the small combo set that their parents got them at the market that have super heros and other cartoons on them. The truth about this is because spincast setups are one of the easiest to learn because the reel that comes with tone of these combos is a push button.

What happens is when you cast you put your thumb on the button and when you are ready to release, you push down on the button, and it releases the reel to let line out. When you are done with your cast, you can start reeling and the line will just start to wind back on.

grandfather and grandson fishing together

These types of rods have the guides on the outside of the rod, and only take a few casts to get the hang of. These are perfect for kids because all they have to do is push the button and off they go. There are some rods out there for adults that feature stainless steel reels which are perfect because they won’t rust, and it keeps dust from getting in the reel gears, so they are going to be pretty durable.

Spinning Rods

The most popular rod on the market is a spinning rod and has become a staple in fishing for years. This rod comes in all different lengths, power, and activity levels and is great for any type of fish you want to catch. Because they are so popular, the prices on some of these rods can be extremely cheap for a decent rod and are very affordable for a first-timer, but also have extremely nice rods like G Loomis for an experienced angler.

The guides for this rod are underneath the rod when holding it, and the spinning reel will be underneath as well and will have a “bail” you have to flip to let line out. A much different set-up from the spincast rod, but is so versatile for any fishing situation, it is my favourite rod.

Baitcasting Rods

Baitcasting rods are extremely popular among the bass fishing community and are very similar in set-up to the spincast rod except the reel. These rods also have the guides and reel on the outside of the rod, but instead of having a push button on the reel, its controlled with your thumb.

These rods give a lot of flexibility in casting, especially around trees and boat docks and give a lot of the control to the angler. The downside to this type of rod is that it can be very tricky to learn how to cast. I would say that this type of rod is for someone who has used a fishing rod in the past, and wants to break into something new.

Fly Rods

I love fly fishing because when you watch people, it looks like an art. The motions you go through in casting are just awesome, but can be hard to master. These rods are originally for rivers and streams and are for fishing top water. The fly rod is usually 7 feet, or longer, and has a small reel at the very base of the rod that takes a special line.

old man fly fishing

You motion back and forth while pulling the line out with your other hand, and you try to put your fly where you want it in a smooth fashion, so it looks like a real insect landing on top of the water making the fish want to eat it. If you love to trout fish, I would highly suggest trying one of these out.

Telescoping Rods

Telescoping rods are spinning rods that can be broken down to about 12 to 18 inches. These rods are perfect for anyone that wants a rod that fits in the back of their car, or behind a truck seat and is easy to extend and go. These rods used to be a novelty item and the one I had was a flimsy piece of junk, but had a lot of fun with it.

Since cars got smaller, and people needed more space, they started making better telescoping rods out of carbon fiber, so they are much more durable and last a lot longer. I highly recommend these for people with kayaks or need the extra storage.

Sea and Surf Rods

Sea or Surf rods are are made of course just for the ocean. These rods have been made to handle fishing off of piers and out of boats, and even right off the beach. These rods come in both spinning and bait casting, but there have been some fly rods made for fishing in calmer ocean water. Surf rods tend to be a heavier power because fish that come out of the ocean can be extremely large, and will need much heavier test line.

They also have to be durable enough to hold up to crashing waves and the currents of the ocean without snapping off. Salt water also corrodes things much faster so they are made with parts that are not going to rust the first time you take it to salt water. I have only been ocean fishing a handful of times, but the gear is super beefy and you are definitely in for a workout if you land one.


Here is your basic breakdown of each of the most common types of rods. Some of these rods can be used for catching the same type of fish, so its all going to come down to personal preference, or of course what type of fish you want to catch. Spinning rods are going to be the most popular rod out there because you can basically use them anywhere like lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds, so you cannot go wrong there.

I love baitcasting rods for bass because there are areas where you might just want to flick the bait out and let it sit. Fly rods are the hardest rods to learn for most people, but can be super fun, especially when you see a fish come up to attack your fly. All in all, try a couple out and see if you like them, but at least you have a general idea of what each type does to pack in your arsenal of fishing gear.

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