Fishing rods are long, flexible devices used to catch fish from rivers, lakes, oceans, streams and ponds. Fishing rods characteristics include action, power, taper, weight, length and responsiveness, as well as line and lure weight. Moreover, a fishing rod shape, recovery, sensitivity, balance and brittleness are additional characteristics worth considering.

Furthermore, where to buy fishing rods varies depending on the specific type of gear you need. Additionally, fishing rods costs can vary according to different brand names, types, uses and materials used. In order to understand fishing rods, their various purposes and where to find them, review the sections below.

What are the different characteristics of fishing rods?

To understand fishing rods, it is important to explore their different parts and capabilities. General fishing rods characteristics are related to action, power, taper, responsiveness, weight, shape, length, stiffness, recovery, sensitivity and balance. Furthermore, each fishing rod characteristic affects how the pole casts line into the water, presents bait and reels in fish. Additional fishing rods specifications may also relate to how certain ultra-light products may be better-suited for travel purposes. Fishing rods parts typically also include line guides, which keep a lines in place. For instance, a fishing rods guide may be mounted to the top of casting rods or to the bottom of spinning and fly rods.

What does fishing rod action mean?

Rod action describes the way in which a rod bends when pressure is put on the tip. Moreover, action also describes the length of time it takes for the pole to return to its neutral state. Fishing pole action may include slow, moderate or fast action. Furthermore, the type of action you need will vary depending on the lure you use and the fish you target. For instance, a slow action rod is generally perceived as most flexible action type. Conversely, fast rods are the least flexible. Review the rod action guide below to learn more about how to measure rod action:

  • Slow action rods are the most flexible of the four action types. The entire length of these rods, from the blank to the butt, are designed to bend. In general, a slow action fishing rod is ideal for catching smaller species of fish.
  • Moderate rods are suited for catching small and large fish species. The top half of these rods bend, allowing for greater hook setting power and casting distances.
  • Fast action fishing rods are, comparatively, the least flexible. Generally, they are designed to bend in the upper third portion of the fishing rod blank. Thus, a fast rod action pole is ideal for catching large or heavy game fish.

What is fishing rod power?

Rod fishing power is also known as rod weight or power value. This characteristic pertains to a fishing pole’s ability to resist bending and prevent breakages. As such, the rod power level you use will vary depending on your target fish species. Moreover, it will play a role in the specific line and lure weight you use. Generally, the smaller the fish, the lighter the fishing rod, lure and line weight you need. To learn more, view our fishing rod power chart in the section below.

Rod Power LevelFishing Line WeightFishing Lure WeightTarget Fish Species/Fishing Technique
Ultra-light (UL)1- to 4-lb test1/64- to 1/16-ouncepanfish, small bait fish
Light (L)4- to 8-lb test1/32- to 1/8-ouncepanfish, bluegill, trout, crappie
Medium (M)4- to 12-lb test1/8- to 3/8-ounceblack bass, channel catfish, walleye
Medium-heavy (MH)8- to 14-lb test3/16- to 1/2-ouncestriped bass, flathead or blue catfish, live bait
Heavy (H)15- to 25-lb-test11/2-ounce or lessstriped bass, flathead or blue catfish, musky, live bait
Extra-heavy (XH)14-lb test or higher11/2-ounce or greatermusky, heavy fish, surf or deep sea fishing

What is taper?

Fishing rods tapers pertain to the diameter of the bottom of the rod, also known as the butt, in relation to its tip. Generally, a fishing rod taper begins at the point in which the rod displays a significant difference in its thickness. Therefore, it is important to consider the thickness of the fishing pole in order to understand rod taper. A fishing pole taper is often used synonymously with rod action, which describes how the pole bends at the tip. However, the taper is the part that determines whether the rod provides slow, moderate or fast action. The fishing rod taper chart below highlights these characteristics in more detail.

Fishing Rod TaperRod ActionPower
Fast or shortSlowerLight
Slow or longFasterHeavy

What is a fishing rod’s responsiveness?

Fishing rod responsiveness pertains to a rod’s ability to flex energy and release stored energy into the cast. Thus, rod responsiveness plays a major role in whether a cast is accurate or not. However, a fishing rod’s responsiveness and sensitivity vary depending on the materials used to make it, such as graphite or fiberglass. For instance, the responsiveness of a fishing rod will be greater if the rod is lighter and thinner. In this case, a rod is more efficient and can cast more accurately. In general, graphite rods are lighter and more flexible. Conversely, fiberglass rods are more durable, but less responsive.

How much should a fishing rod weigh?

A fishing rod weight plays a significant role in the pole’s overall strength. Types of fishing rod weights include ultra-light (UL), light (L), medium (M), medium-heavy (MH), heavy (H) and extra-heavy (XH). In general, a fishing rod weight varies depending on the weight of your line and lure. For example, heavier lures require heavier fishing poles. Additionally, rod weight varies depending on the type of fish you wish to target. For instance, larger and heavier fish require heavier fishing poles. To find the best fishing pole weight for your needs, view our fishing rod weight chart below.

Rod WeightProsCons
Lightweight rods
  • More sensitive
  • Can be used for fly fishing purposes
  • Easier to handle for longer periods
  • Handles lighter line
  • Breaks more easily
  • Must be used with lighter lures
Heavy rods
  •   Can be used for bass fishing
  • Handles higher fishing line
  • Can be used to move fish out of cover
  • Heavier and more difficult to handle for longer periods
  • Must be used with heavier lures

What is an ideal fishing line weight?

To choose the right fishing line weight, you must take a few factors into consideration. These elements include the species of fish you are targeting, your angling technique, the current weather conditions and the gear you will use. For example, to choose the correct fishing line weight for a fly rod, weights are generally measured between one and 12, written as 1wt or 2wt and so on. Conversely, to determine what weight fishing line to use with a spinning or casting rod, you must consider the line strength or test force. The line strength determines the maximum number of pounds a line can hold before it breaks. Review our fishing line weight guide below to learn about choosing the right fishing line weight for spinning or casting rods.

  • A fishing line weight between two and four pounds can be used to catch freshwater panfish and trout.
  • Line weights between six and 12 pounds can be used to target freshwater catfish, salmon, walleye and bass.
  • Weights between eight and 14 pounds can be used to target sea bass, sea trout and flounder.
  • Fishing line weights of between 14 and 20 pounds can be used to target freshwater pike, muskellunge, stripers and catfish.
  • Weights between 16 and 25 pounds can be used to target sea trout and saltwater stripers, redfish and blues.
  • Line weights of 30 pounds or higher can be used to target marlin, tuna and shark.

What is an ideal fishing lure weight?

A lure weight is generally measured in grams or ounces. However, fishing lure weights vary depending on the species of fish you wish to catch. For instance, a fishing line and lure weight will be higher if you are targeting large saltwater fish such as marlin or mahi-mahi. Furthermore, a suggested fishing lure weight scale is generally sold with fishing rods. View our fishing lure weight chart below to learn more about fishing lure weights.

Target Fish SpeciesLure Weights
PanfishBetween 2 and 5 grams
Average-sized freshwater troutBetween 4 and 6 grams
Smaller freshwater troutBetween 1 and 4 grams
Smallmouth bassBetween 5 and 8 grams
Largemouth bassBetween 6 and 9 grams
Freshwater steelhead or saltwater bonefishBetween 7 and 9 grams
Salmon, muskie or northern pikeBetween 8 and 10 grams
GraylingBetween 2 and 10 grams
TarponBetween 10 and 12 grams
Mahi-mahiBetween 10 and 14 grams
Marlin or sailfishBetween 14 grams

What is the shape of a fishing rod?

A classic fishing rod shape features a long, straight pole that tapers off between the base and the tip. In general, the rod shape is thicker at the base and thinner at the tip. However, other fishing rod shapes may include pen-shaped and multi-piece telescopic rods. While casting and spinning rods both feature a classic shape, fly fishing rods do not have a base section. Additionally, a surf fishing rod shape differs slightly, as it features longer base sections than classic spinning or casting rods.

How many pieces does a fishing rod have?

The handle, butt/base, windings and tip are among the most common parts of a fishing rod. Standard rods are generally built by one or two fishing rod parts. However, longer rods may require multiple pieces during their construction. If two or more fishing rod pieces are used to build the rod, the point in which each part connects is known as the ferrule. Thus, when looking at a fishing rod part diagram, you will notice the ferrule in between the butt and tip section. Furthermore, various fishing rod pieces are generally used to construct travel rods such as telescopic poles. In general, telescopic rods are less sensitive and powerful, but make for excellent travel rods. These rods can be separated into multiple pieces to fit into a bag or suitcase.

How long should a fishing rod be?

A fishing rod length can range between four and 14 feet from tip to base. However, typical fishing rod lengths range between six and 12 feet. To choose the right fishing rod length, you must consider the habitat, your experience level and the size of your target fish. For example, a short fishing rod can cast shorter distances, whereas a long fishing rod can cast greater distances. As such, shorter fishing rods are ideal for targeting fish within a closer range. Conversely, longer rods are best for targeting fish from a distance, angling in wooded areas or using diving crankbaits. Furthermore, a short fishing rod between eight and nine feet is ideal for beginners. Moreover, children may need even shorter poles, depending on their height.

What is fishing rod stiffness?

The stiffness of a fishing rod indicates the amount of force needed to bend the pole. In addition, stiffness plays a role in how flexible the rod is. Therefore, a rod stiffness combines its applied weight and flexible bend. In general, stiffer rods are less flexible, which may be due to the specific materials used to construct the equipment. Furthermore, fishing rod stiffness is greater with fast-action rods, while slow-action rods offer more flexibility.

What is fishing rod recovery?

The fishing rod recovery system is an important factor to consider when purchasing a new rod. Generally, a rod recovery affects your casting distance. Moreover, fishing rod recovery accounts for how long a rod takes to recover and stop vibrating after casting a line. For example, a faster action rod recovery system recovers from a cast in less time. However, it does not load up as well as moderate-action rods. Conversely, moderate-action rod recovery systems load up better but recover more slowly. As such, a faster fishing rod recovery system on a moderate-action rod is ideal.

How sensitive should a fishing rod be?

The fishing rod sensitivity is important, as it is responsible for transmitting underwater fish bites back to anglers. Thus, anglers using a sensitive fishing rod are able to detect bites, resulting in fewer lost fish. Moreover, when identifying what makes a rod sensitive, be mindful of its design and the materials used to build it. In general, higher-modulus graphite materials provide anglers with greater sensitivity. However, excellent rod sensitivity is typically only necessary for catching species such as salmon, steelhead, walleye or bass. For that reason, higher-modulus rods are not always the best option.

You can perform a fishing rod sensitivity test using smartphone apps. Therefore, it is relatively easy to determine the sensitivity of a rod.

Is it bad to have a brittle fishing rod?

Brittle rods are generally constructed from higher-modulus graphite materials, making them well-suited for detecting bites from fish. Moreover, they are relatively stiffer and lower in strength than fiberglass rods. As such, a brittle fishing rod is more likely to break after an impact. The best way to tell if a fishing rod is too brittle comes down to its tensile strength and price. If a high-modulus rod is sold at an inexpensive price and without high tensile strength, it is likely too brittle. Thus, this factor can lead to breakages.

What is fishing rod balance?

The best way to balance a fishing rod is to focus on its balance point. A rod’s balance point is the area in which you are holding the pole in your hands. In general, unbalanced rods are difficult to hold, operate and cast. Therefore, a fishing rod balance plays an important role in your cast. Moreover, rod balance may lead to greater tip sensitivity, stronger casts and a more natural angling feel. A fishing rod balancer can be purchased as of a Balancer Mudhole Removable Butt Cap or a Luna Sea Cush-It. In addition, you can balance your rod by simply using your index finger. When balancing a rod on your own, you may:

  • Balance a casting rod by placing your index finger in front of the reel but along the rod’s underside. If the handle tips in a downward motion, the reel is too heavy for the rod.
  • To balance a spinning rod, place your index finger where the reel sits on the underside of the rod. If the rod is balanced, it will rest horizontally on your finger.

In general, the goal to balancing a fishing rod is to properly combine a rod and reel. That way, a pole does not quickly tip in either direction when testing the rod with your index finger.

How much do fishing rods cost?

Fishing rod costs vary according to brand names, types and whether you purchase a reel separately or as a set. For example, fishing rods prices for top-rated casting rods on Amazon range from $38.74 for the Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod and sell for up to $249.99 for St. Croix Legend Glass Casting Rods. Moreover, fishing rod prices for top-rated spinning rods on Amazon range from $49.95 for the Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod to $219.99 for the G. Loomis E6X Inshore Spinning Rods. Furthermore, fishing rod costs of top-rated fly rods on Amazon range from $120.39 for the Fenwick AETOS Fly Rod to $745 for the G. Loomis NRX Lite Presentation Fly Fishing Rods.

Where can you buy fishing rods?

Depending on the specific type of gear you want, there are numerous places where to buy fishing rods. For instance, popular fishing rods stores include DICK’s Sporting Goods, Cabela’s, Walmart, Bass Pro Shops, Sportsman’s Warehouse and L.L. Bean. Additionally, places to buy fishing rods online include marketplaces such as Amazon, Fish USA, TackleDirect, Tackle Warehouse and Fishing Online. In general, finding where to find fishing rods such as pen or ultra-light rods is more difficult. However, these types of rods may be found on retailers such as Walmart, Amazon, eBay and Cabela’s.

What are the best cheap fishing rods?

Many of the best and cheap fishing rods are available as rod and reel combinations. Moreover, these combos are ideal for novice anglers. For instance, economic fishing rods for beginners include the Bass ProShops Tourney Special, the Abu Garcia Vengence and Lew’s American Hero Baitcast Combo or American Hero Spinning Combo. Furthermore, other fishing rods for the budget fishermen include spinning rods such as the Fenwick Eagle, St. Croix Triumph, Ugly StikElite and the St. Croix Mojo Inshore Rod.

What are the best high-end fishing rods?

Several high end fishing rods are available for purchase. Top-rated high end rods include the Shimano Expride A Casting or Spinning Rods and the G. Loomis GLX Casting or Spinning Rods. Other expensive fishing rods from G. Loomis include the NRX Casting or Spinning Rods and the Conquest SJR Spinning Rod or Conquest MBR Casting Rod. Furthermore, high quality fishing rods from Daiwa include the SVF AGS Casting or Spinning Rod and the SVF Compile-X Casting Rod.

What are the best fishing rod brands?

Top-selling fishing rods brands for classic freshwater angling include G. Loomis, St. Croix, Lamiglas, Fenwick, Shimano and Daiwa. In addition, the best fishing rods brands for saltwater angling include St. Croix, Penn, G. Loomis, Shimano and Tsunami. Additional top fishing rods brands on Amazon include Wild Water, Entsport, Piscifun, KastKing and PLUSINNO.

What are the best fishing rods for beginners?

In general, the best beginner fishing rod is a spincasting rod. This type of top-mounted rod is inexpensive, easy to use and simple to control. Other examples of excellent fishing rods for beginners include the Sougayilang Telescopic Rod and Reel Combo and the PLUSINNO Carbon Fiber Rod and Reel Combo.

Can I rent a fishing rod?

Several fishing rods rental facilities are available around the country. For instance, bait and tackle shops, marinas and boat charter companies are among the various places to rent fishing rods. Additionally, fishing rods for rent are occasionally made available through local governments.

What are the different types of fishing rods?

A variety of fishing rods are available on the market for anglers of different experience levels. Popular types of fishing rods include casting, spinning, fly fishing, ice fishing, sea fishing, surf and trolling rods. For example, a spin casting fishing rod is well-suited for beginner fishermen. Conversely, a bait casting rod is best used by veteran anglers. Other types of fishing poles include ultra-light, pen and telescopic rods, which are portable, lightweight and easy to transport. To learn more about the different types of fishing rods available, review the sections below.

What are casting rods?

Casting rods are long, straight and flexible rods designed for frequent line casting. They are best-suited when paired with either spincast or baitcast reels. Casting rods uses range from freshwater to saltwater fishing, allowing for a several types of fish to be caught. Unlike other rods, casting rods use top-mounted reels and line guides as opposed to bottom-facing reels.

Freshwater and saltwater casting rods can be made from various materials. However, better quality rods are generally made from graphite, fiberglass or bamboo. Casting rods range between six and 12 feet in length, and should be chosen according to a fisherman’s height. Moreover, an angler’s target fish must be taken into account. In general, casting rods range from $10.99 to over $300 in price.

What are fly fishing rods?

Rods for fly fishing are specialty rods designed to be light and allow for longer casting distances. Fly fishing rods are generally built from a wide variety of materials, such as fiberglass and graphite, making them flexible and strong. Therefore, these rods can be used for both freshwater and saltwater fly fishing. In general, long fly rods are best-suited for large bodies of water. Conversely, short fly rods are best when used in small habitats.

What are ice fishing rods?

Ice fishing rods are specialty poles used for fishing through small holes over frozen bodies of water. Most rods for ice fishing are shorter in length than standard poles. However, ice rods are just as powerful and durable as standard fishing poles. With these rods, fishermen can generally catch species such as perch, trout and bluegill.

What are pen rods?

Pen rods are portable fishing poles that can be conveniently stored in a pocket or glovebox when not in use. Thus, pen fishing rods are excellent poles for travelers, hikers, campers and backpackers. Among the various pen rods pros and cons to consider, anglers must take into account that a pen rod can be used to catch both large and small species. However, mini pen fishing rods are not optimal for daily use, as they are much more fragile than standard rods.

What are sea fishing rods?

Sea fishing rods are generally used to catch large saltwater species and are available as spinning and casting types. However, how to choose a sea fishing rod varies depending on the specific fish you wish to catch and the type of fishing you plan to do. For instance, deep sea fishing rods for surf fishing purposes include surf rods. Conversely, bottom rods are used to catch bottom-dwelling saltwater fish. In addition, offshore saltwater fishing rods are optimal for those who wish to catch fish from a boat in waters that are at least 100 or more feet deep.

What are spinning rods?

Spinning rods are great tools for versatility and ease of use. Moreover, they can be used with both light and heavy live bait. In addition, these rods are good for beginning and seasoned anglers alike. Though most fishing spinning rods do not come with a reel, some can be bought as a rod/reel combo.

There are plenty of spinning rods uses are plenty, as they are suited for catching both freshwater and saltwater fish. Additionally, these rods are easy for everyone to use, boasting more benefits than drawbacks. In general, spinning rods are affordable, starting at $10.99 and ranging up to $300. Price changes typically vary according to brand, length and strength of the rod. Spinning rods are available both online and in-store, through retailers such as Bass Pro Shop, Cabela’s, Walmart and Amazon.

What are surf rods?

Surf rods are commonly used in saltwater habitats and environments with brackish water, such as estuaries. Anglers can catch various saltwater fish with surf fishing rods, including sharks, groupers, redfish and snook. In addition, fishermen using saltwater surf fishing rods can fight coastal waves while catching fish directly from the shoreline. Surfcasting rods are designed to cast longer distances than conventional rods. In general, surf fishing poles are available from a variety of popular retailers such as Amazon, Walmart and Cabela’s.

What are telescopic rods?

Telescopic fishing rods are foldable poles made up of multiple sections. Thus, these rods can be folded at the end of each use for easy transportation and storage. In general, identifying where to find telescopic fishing rods varies depending on whether you shop online or in-person. Many of these rods are available through popular retailers such as Walmart or Cabela’s. In addition, local sporting goods stores also sell them. Furthermore, reputable brands that manufacture telescopic fishing rods include BLISSWILL, Goture, PLUSINNO and Eagle Claw.

What are trolling rods?

Trolling rods are specialty fishing tools used in deep bodies of water. Unlike casting rods, trolling fishing rods can drag a line, lure and bait from the back of a moving boat. That is because these types of poles are heavier and sturdier than conventional rods. Furthermore, trolling rods for fishing can be used to catch various saltwater and freshwater species. However, most anglers use a trolling rod to target a specific type of fish. Top-rated trolling poles include Penn trolling rods and models from brands such as Okuma, Shimano and Daiwa.

What are ultralight rods?

Ultra light rods are smaller and lighter than standard fishing poles. Thus, these rods are typically paired up with light reels, baits, lures and test lines. In most cases, ultra light fishing rods range between 4 and 9 feet in length. Anglers attempting to locate where to find ultra light rods will come across different offerings. Certain products sell each piece of equipment separately, whereas others are sold as complete kits. Generally, quality ultra-light rods are available online or in-store through popular retailers such as Cabela’s or Walmart.