The different types of fishing rods : Tips from an Expert


August 9, 2022


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The different types of fishing rods : Tips from an Expert

With the wide selection of fishing rods available at SAIL, choosing the right one can seem like a daunting task. Don’t fret as SAIL Collaborator and fishing expert, Ashley Rae of, is here to provide insight on the various types of fishing rods, as well share some fishing rod terminology you should know. This information will help you narrow down all the options and pick the right fishing rod for your next adventure!

Article written by Ashley Rae of

In this article, you will learn more about:

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What is a Spinning Rod?

Daiwa light spinning rod

Spinning rods are compatible with spinning reels which are seated underneath the rod with the rod guides facing downward. They are available in a wide range of lengths, powers and actions and come in one or more pieces, or in telescopic versions. Learn more below on why length, power, and action are important. Some anglers prefer a two-piece or telescopic rod to save space when transporting or storing. Due to their versatility, spinning rods are popular for ease of use even for newcomers. Light tackle and light line can be used on spinning equipment however there are also spinning set-ups that are geared towards heavier lures and line for larger species as well. Daiwa has a wide selection of spinning rods at various price points.

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What is a Baitcasting Rod?

Baitcasting rods from Daiwa

Baitcasting rods are compatible with baitcaster or spincast reels which are seated on top of the rod with the rod guides facing upward. Baitcasting rods typically come in one piece but some models are offered in multi-pieces or telescopic. Check out the selection of baitcasting rods from Daiwa. There’s a bit of a learning curve for some anglers when it comes to using a baitcaster set-up but they are popular for casting accuracy and also the ability to fish with heavier lures and line for larger species, as well as in heavy cover scenarios.

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What is a Fly Fishing Rod?

Orvis fly fishing rod

A fly fishing rod is designed specifically for use with fly fishing reels and fly line. Fly fishing is entirely different from conventional fishing (using spinning or baitcasting gear) as the flies can often be weightless. The weight of the fly line is therefore what is used when casting rather than the weight of the lure itself. Due to this, the types of rods, reels, line, and presentations (flies) are specialized for fly fishing. Fly fishing reels are seated on the bottom of the rod with the guides facing downward. Fly fishing rods typically break down into two or more pieces. Just like with traditional fishing rods, there are a wide range of fly fishing rods available from targeting panfish all the way up to musky or large saltwater species, along with everything in between.

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What is an Ice Fishing Rod?

Quantum ice fishing rod

It’s easy to spot an ice fishing rod as they are significantly shorter than any other type of fishing rod. This is because with ice fishing, you don’t require a long rod to aid with making lengthy casts or fighting a jumping fish since ice fishing is done vertically through a hole in the ice. SAIL has a great selection of ice fishing rods and reels. Ice fishing rods come in spinning or casting formats for both spinning reels and baitcaster reels, however use of spinning set-ups is more common for ice fishing.

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What Does Fishing Rod Power and Action Mean?

Fishing rods are often labeled with power and action and sometimes include recommended lure weight and line rating range. This information specifies what the rod is intended for. By following these recommendations, you’ll get the best performance out of your rod.

Rod power

It refers to the amount of force it takes to flex the rod. For example: ultralight and light rods have a lot of flex and are suitable for smaller baits with light line and are used for targeting small species, such as: panfish and smaller trout species. The medium range (including medium-light, medium, and medium-heavy) is typically a great option for lighter lures yet still has enough backbone to land larger fish species, such as: bass, pike, walleye, and more. Heavy and extra-heavy rods provide the maximum amount of power for use with heavier baits and line for targeting larger predator species, and fishing in heavy cover scenarios.

Rod action

The rod action refers to how deeply a rod flexes along the blank starting from the tip and how quickly it returns to the original position. Extra-fast action rods offer greater tip sensitivity and quickly transition to power during the hookset which is ideal for single hook and bottom contact presentations which require a quick and powerful hookset. Fast action rods are the most common as they are very versatile, providing good sensitivity and forgiveness on the strike and during the fight which can help in protecting lighter line. Fast action rods work well with both single hook/bottom contact baits but can also be used for single hook moving baits. Moderate and moderate-fast action rods are best suited for moving baits, especially those with treble hooks, such as: crankbaits, jerkbaits, and some topwater lures.

Moderate-fast action rods are also popular options for fishing with spinnerbaits and chatterbaits as they can provide a higher hook-up ratio and landing ratio. The slower action allows fish to get a better hold on the lure as it’s being retrieved. The limber tip and midsection of the rod have significantly more give before the backbone of the rod kicks further down the blank to drive the hook home, resulting in a much higher hook-up ratio. Once a fish is hooked, the slower action helps to keep constant tension on the line and softens any sudden surges which could otherwise result in pulling the hooks out as you’re fighting the fish.

When it comes to fly fishing, fly rods are assigned with a number to indicate the weight of the recommended fly line. Typically 0-3 weight rods are considered ‘light’, 4-6 are considered ‘mid weight’, and 7 and up are considered ‘heavy’.

How to Determine Which Rod Length to Choose?

When it comes to spinning and baitcasting, rod length selection can come down to preference or even comfort relative to one’s height. Longer rods can help achieve greater casting distances whereas a shorter rod can help with better cast accuracy at shorter distances. As a general rule, lighter power rods tend to be on the shorter side of the spectrum while heavier power rods seem to be on the longer side.

Fly fishing rods are typically longer than conventional fishing rods with the average length at around 9 feet. Fly rods are longer as it aids with casting the weight of the line.

When it comes to ice fishing, it’s important to consider how much space you’ll have if fishing inside an ice hut. Rod length can simply come down to preference and space available. Having a longer ice rod can be ideal for some larger species as it can help absorb headshakes when fighting a fish.

Find all the equipment you’ll need for your next adventure.

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