We sometimes use affiliate links in our content. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This won't cost you anything but it helps to offset the costs of paying our writing team (Me) Thanks for your support!
When you understand your rod and know how it works, you will be able to get the most out of it. So, what is a fishing rod? In its simplest terms, a fishing rod is a stick or pole with a line attached to one end.
The fishing line will vary in length, and run down to a hook. The rod or pole can be anywhere from 2 up to 20 feet (0.5 and 6 m) in length.
For a bit of extra trivia, the hook was once known as an angle, which is where we get the term ‘angling’ from.
To trace the origin of the fishing rod, you have to go back to ancient Egypt and China. Stone inscriptions dating back as far as 2000BC depict people using a pole with a line attached to catch fish. Luckily, we have come a long way since then. Every year, fishing rods improve in quality. While some can be quite expensive, most are very affordable.
- What do Fishing Rods Do?
- What are the different parts of a fishing rod
- Types of Rods
- What to look for
A fishing rod is an extension of the angler’s arm, increasing reach and leverage to maximize the casting of lures or bait. When used correctly, they can add life to a lure, absorb the shock of a fish, set the hook, aid in keeping fish out of the structure, and help in landing the fish.
A fishing rod will also hold your reel in place. Rings will guide your line from the reel to the tiptop without tangles. When they are used to their full potential, even a light rod and reel can land a large fish.
- Rod or blank
Let us get into a little of what each means.
Rod or Blank
The term rod or blank is the name given to the pole itself. These are typically made of graphite, fiberglass, or a combination of both. These form the core of the rod. The choice of material will determine the strength, weight, durability, flexibility, and essentially, the price of your fishing rod.
Back in the day, a rod blank was made from bamboo (called split cane rods) which can still be found today. Over the years, many materials have been used, with the latest one I have heard of being Curran. These rods are made from the fiber of carrots.
These are the loops or rings attached along the length of your rod. The main function of guides is to direct or Guide the line along the rod and off the tip. Made from lightweight aluminum or titanium, they help to stop the line from tangling. Each guide is coated in ceramic or chrome on the inside to he;p reduce friction and abrasion.
Larger rods (for eg, those designed for trolling big game) will often have roller guides. This type of guide will reduce friction even more, and keep a smooth transaction along the rod during the extra pressure exerted by the large fish.
As the name suggests, this is the very end or top of your rod. The tip is protected by a sleeve that goes over the end and has the final guide attached. The tip is the weakest part of the rod, so the sleeve is often made with very flexible material to avoid breakage.
Attached to the butt or very end of the rod, this is what you hang onto. Most grips these days are made with EVA foam (ethylene vinyl acetate) though some bait casting rods are still made with cork grips.
As the name suggests, this is where your reel sits. A baitcasting rod will have a trigger seat for the lighter reel, while your larger rods ( boat, beach, etc) will have a lock washer. Heavy-duty rods used for trolling will often be screwed or bolted on.
This is the very bottom of your rod, that the grip is attached to. Different designs, such as through-butt or blank-through-handle construction, extend the rod through the handle for added strength and sensitivity. When looking for a boat rod, make sure to find one with a removable cover. A butt cap can be changed to have one that sits securely in your gimble belt. There are four main types of rod, these are:
- Spin Rod
- Conventional Rod or Boat Rod
- Baitcaster Rod
- Fly Rod
A spin rod is designed to be used with a spin reel. You can find these in anything from super light, to heavy-duty. Spin rods and reels can be used in many scenarios including rivers, beaches, rocks, jetties, piers, or boats.
Most spin rods will have a longer handle and butt. This is to improve casting distance and grip. While the decreasing size of the rings as you go up the rod help to alleviate the spiral motion of the line coming off the reel.
Check out a great selection of Okuma Spin reels by following this link to Okuma Spinning Reels: Ultralight.
The backbone of the rod runs along the top, to help support the weight of larger fish. With these rods, the reel is mounted underneath, while the rings run along underneath to the tiptop. A spin rod can be anywhere from 2′ up to 20′ long.
Conventional or Boat Rod
As opposed to the spin rods, these are much stiffer, shorter, and upside down. These rods can vary in size from 5′ up to 15′, though most are found around the 6′ to 7′ range. A conventional or boat rod is perfect for deep-sea fishing, as no casting is required. The stiffer action helps to pull fish straight up as opposed to spin outfits that are designed to pull on less of an angle.
Being upside down, the reel and guides are mounted on top of the rod, with the backbone running along the top with the guides. You will find these rods used primarily on boats for trolling and deep-sea fishing, but lighter models can also be used from a pier or jetty.
With a baitcasting rod, you have a mix between the two types, Conventional and spin. Like the conventional, the reel and guides are found on top, as is the backbone. But like the spin, these are much more flexible, designed for casting. The small design and flexibility are perfect for precise cast and retrieval into tight spots.
Although not able to cast as far as a spin outfit, these rods are designed for multiple casts and retrieves with lures. This makes them perfect for rivers and anywhere you don’t have much room. The trigger handle is designed for hand casting, with your thumb over the baitcasting reel to stop the line at exactly the right time to get your lure or bait where you want it.
To learn a bit more about what a baitcasting rod is, check out my post at What Is A Baitcasting Rod: You’re Questioned Answered Or to see some of the best available check Baitcasting Fishing Rods: Top 5 Reviewed
Tip – A baitcasting rod and spin rod should never be interchanged. These rods are designed with the backbone on opposite sides, and interchanging them can, and will, result in a snapped rod.
As the name suggests, a fly rod is designed for fly fishing. Like the spin rod, the reel is mounted underneath, and guides run along the bottom edge. These are very lightweight rods, with plenty of flex. Typically, made from carbon fiber or even bamboo for their flexibility, these rods can’t be used for other types of fishing. The handles are almost exclusively made with cork.
You will find the guides are often very small and close to the rod itself. The reel seat is located right at the bottom of the rod, below the handle. This is to help create balance in the rod while using.
These rods can vary in length from 6′ up to 13′, with the length depending on the application and casting style. Just like any type of rod, the size of the rod determines the line class and weight that can be used.
When it comes to choosing the right rod, there are a few things that need to be considered.
- Where you will be fishing?
- What species are you targeting?
- Will you be using bait or lure?
- What material?
- What type of fishing?
Your rod itself doesn’t matter when it comes to saltwater or fresh, but the components of the rod do. For instance, if you’re fishing in saltwater, you want a rod that is corrosion resistant. This goes for your guides, tiptop, seat, etc. If you’re going to salt, you want these to be made out of a material such as stainless steel or graphite.
Tip – Always make sure you wash your gear thoroughly with fresh water after a fishing trip in saltwater.
Where you are fishing also means thinking about your surroundings. If you are fishing off a beach, a boat rod won’t be appropriate. So too if you’re in a river, a beach rod is inappropriate. Each type of rod has a specific strength, so make sure to use the right one. If you plan to fish different spots with the same rod, a hybrid may be the best choice for you.
The length of the rod plays a big part in determining where it can be used. The longer the rod, the greater casting distance you will have. A beach rod for example will be between 8′ to 15′ in length. On the other end of the scale, if you are trolling for the big game or bottom bouncing, a short rod of 5′ to 6′ foot is best. In between, you have your casting rods, designed for some distance, but also accuracy and power. These can be found in the 5.5′ to around 7′ range.
Power and Action
When choosing your rod, deciding on the Power and Action is essential. The Power is how much energy is required to bend the rod. Where’s, the Action describes how much bend your rod has. Trolling rods for example have a lot of power, but low action. These rods are quite stiff and aren’t much good for casting.
For a casting rod, you want something with more action and less power. A great example of this is a bait caster. Designed with plenty of action, and very little power, they are perfect for fishing rivers and shallow water. The length of this type of rod does mean they don’t have a great casting distance, but they more than make up for it with accuracy.
Surf rods and casting rods are somewhere in between. It all depends on the length you need. Long for the beach, shorter for jetties and piers, and shorter still for boats.
The rod material should also have a big impact on your choice. Fiberglass is one of the most economical materials for fishing rods. This offers a good compromise between lightweight, sensitivity, longevity, and price. Next, you have Graphite which is more expensive, lighter, stiffer, and more sensitive but also pricier than fiberglass.
Carbon fiber rods are great because they are incredibly light, strong, and resistant to damage. These fishing rods can be used for a long time without bending, breaking, or getting damaged. Lastly, you have Composite which is designed to mimic wooden rods. These are often heavier, and more expensive.
To Sum Things Up
Choosing your next rod can be difficult. With size, material, power, and, action. Not to mention the type of rod itself. To make things a bit easier, keep these in mind when choosing.
- A baitcaster rod should have high action, and low power. Be between 5.5′ to 7′, and be made of graphite or a combination of graphite and fiberglass. These should be medium-light to medium.
- A surf rod should have equal power and action. Be 7′ to 15′, be made of graphite, and be medium to medium-heavy.
- A boat rod should have high power, and low action. Be 5′ to 6.5′ long, made of carbon fiber or graphite, and be medium-heavy to heavy.
- A spin rod should have equal power and action. Be 6′ to 8′, be made of graphite or a combination of graphite and fiberglass, and be super light to heavy depending on the circumstance.
I hope this article has helped you to understand what a rod is and how they work. The better you understand the rod, the better the chance of selecting the right one. And with the right rod, the more chance you have of catching a fish.
For more fishing information on anything related to fishing, including tips, beginners, rods, and reels, head over to my website at https://getreelfishin.com/
If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them in the comment section below, and I will get back to you as soon as possible. As Always
Tony, Creator of Get Reel Fishin