Types of Fishing Rods

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Fishing is a favorite sport, hobby, and job for millions of people across the world. There are many forms of fishing both in salt and freshwater and it is not surprising that there are many different forms of the popular pastime. From spinning to fly fishing and fly fishing to coarse fishing, there are many different techniques and methods undertaken to catch the target species. With a change of species, environment, and fishing style comes a change in skill and equipment needs.

If you are planning on spinning for pike and musky you wouldn’t use equipment suited for float fishing, and when you are targeting trout with imitation flies, you wouldn’t use equipment for big game fishing. Knowing what to use in the right situation is essential, otherwise, you will be at a massive disadvantage. In this article, we will be looking at the different types of fishing rods and the applications they can serve.

Whatever the species you desire to catch, there is a rod that is perfect for the job. This guide will help you understand how to choose your next rod whether you are planning on catching trout, catfish, or tarpon! Enjoy.

Fly Fishing Rods

A fly fishing rod is a rod that is specifically constructed for fly fishing. Although similar in construction to your average fishing rod, they vary greatly. A standard casting or spinning rod cannot be used for fly fishing and a fly fishing rod cannot be used for bait casting or spinning. A fly reel is used in conjunction with the rod that is loaded with weighted line to aid casting because unlike other forms of fishing, you use the line weight rather than a weight on the end of the line to cast.

A fly fishing rod is constructed to accommodate the casting technique that is needed to perform fly fishing. The rod is thin with small eyelets to keep the line close to the rod blank and the reel seat is positioned close to the end of the handle to help with balance while casting the rod back and forth. They are generally lightweight with a through action however, you will find fly rods in a range of lengths and weights for different applications.

When you are targeting trout, grayling, and char a fly rod of 6 to 8-weight at your desired length is required. Fly rods that are suited for salmon are somewhere between 8 and 11-weight and are generally over 9-foot in length. When you are fishing for tarpon and other large saltwater species a 12-weight rod or more is needed with a length of 8-foot or greater.

Float Fishing Rods

Float fishing rods are constructed specifically for fishing with light tackle. They are a popular tool for the coarse angler that likes to target species that reside in freshwater lakes, ponds, and rivers. Most float fishing rods are fairly lightweight and sensitive but hold enough backbone to handle larger fish if needed. Float rods are quite long and come between 10 and 14-foot. This longer length allows you to cast a light float and bait set up to a fair distance.

A float rod should have as many line eyelets as it does feet (length), so a 10ft rod should have at least 10 eyelets, a 12ft rod should have at least 12 eyelets, and so on. This helps keep an even arc on the lightweight rod when it is under tension. This even spread of strain makes float rods surprisingly effective when taming unruly fish in freshwater. The handle on a float rod is quite long compared to other rods. The reel seat sits at the head of this handle to allow a smooth easy cast over distance by using the long handle as balanced leverage.

Spinning Rods

Your average spinning rod comes in quite short. You are unlikely to see a spinning rod that is over 8-foot because the short length allows you to effectively make repeat casts quickly all day without fatigue. The eyelets (or line guides) of the spinning rod are larger to allow a smooth transition of line from the reel sown the short rod. These large line guides make it possible to cast spinners, lures, and plugs at distance to get amongst feeding fish.

Spinning rods tend to have a medium-sized handle with the reel seat placed at the top of it. This gives you some fighting power when you need to play a powerful fish and gives you the perfect balance when casting lures. Lure rods come in a range of weights from light to heavy and what you pick will depend on the species you are targeting.

For bass, perch, and sunfish a lightweight rod is perfect, for pike, musky, and walleye a medium weight will suffice, and for specimen musky, pike, and catfish a heavyweight rod is ideal. When you are spinning for larger fish in saltwater, a spinning rod that is heavyweight and capable of hauling larger fish is needed. Saltwater spinning rods tend to be slightly longer to accommodate longer casts and heavier spinners and lures.

Coarse Fishing Rods

Coarse fishing rods come in many variations but generally speaking, they are rods designed for casting baits. Your standard coarse fishing rod for larger species like carp, sturgeon, and catfish comes in lengths above 11-foot. This long length allows powerful casting over long distances and large line guides with a 50mm or bigger butt ring (first eyelet) let the line travel smoothly when casting. The length, guide size, and placement  between the line guides makes these rods perfect for accurate and precise casting at incredible distances.

The casting weight and strength of your coarse fishing rod depend on the distances you expect to cast and the species you are targeting. Weights for most coarse rods are measured in pounds, this is called “test curve”. A 2 to 3.5lb test curve rod is perfect for most types of coarse fishing and a rod of this weight has plenty of power to wallop your baits out over 120 yards. 3.5lb test curve rods and higher are made to handle larger species like big catfish and sturgeon. The higher the test curve, the worse the casting capabilities and if you are using anything about 5lb test curve you will need to row your baits out to get them to any reel distance.

Ice Fishing Rods

Ice fishing rods are specifically made to function on a frozen lake while fishing through a small hole in the ice. They are incredibly short, lightweight, and sensitive. The need for a long rod is not needed in an ice fishing situation because no casting is performed. The short design and sensitive feel allow you to sit directly above the hole in the ice and work your jig or bait, once you get a bite you will know about it instantly.

These rods provide you with a way to fish a lake during the depths of winter in areas that during the summer you would struggle to get too. You will find no more than 4 or 5 small eyelets on this rod and the blank is extremely thin with a through action from handle to tip. This through action bend gives the tiny ice fishing rod a springy feel with surprising power for taming winter fish!

Just like the rest of the rod, the handle on this rod type is tiny in length but usually quite chunky so they are easily gripped in freezing conditions with thick gloves on. The reel seat sits in the center of the handle and is not really balanced with the rod because you will never cast this rod and the reels that are mounted on them are much larger than the rod anyway!

Big Game Fishing Rods

Rods that are designed for big game fishing are extremely strong and are built to withstand immense strain. The whole design and construction of the rod is developed to handle huge fish and everything from butt to tip is crafted with intention. First, the rod is super stiff and has a strong action so it can tame large fish when a bait is taken. This stiff action also gives the user the ability to trawl large lures behind the boat effectively without the rod doubling over or bouncing around.

The line guides on a big game rod are usually stainless steel rollers. Having rollers instead of traditional loop guides put less pressure and friction on the line during a fight with a callosal fish. The rollers help evenly spread the pressure over the entire length of the rod and give the angler more of a chance to gain line when playing the fish. Everything on the rod is designed to withstand the abrasive salt water and the handle is no different. Rather than an attractive cork handle or anything fancy, the big game rod tends to have elongated synthetic foam grips that are resistant and provide maximum leverage and traction for big game fishing.

The reel seat is extra heavy-duty on a big game rod and will cater to a large conventional fishing reel. Moving down the rod from here to the butt, you will usually find a but that is compatible with a fighting harness. This helps take some of the pressure off the angler’s arms and allows him/her the ability to use their whole body in the fight.

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