Different Types of Fishing Rods: Complete Guide

Nov 23, 2023
Joshua Fuld

CEO and Founder

Reading Time: 8 minutes


Fishing is not just a sport; it’s an art form, a back and forth between the angler and the aquatic world. One of the cornerstones of this art is the fishing rod, a tool that has evolved dramatically over centuries, adapting to different styles, environments, and species of fish. Selecting the right fishing rod is crucial for a successful and enjoyable fishing experience. It’s about finding a balance between functionality, durability, and personal preference. That’s where J&H Tackle, a leader in the fishing tackle industry, steps in. With an extensive range of brands like Dark Matter, Shimano, St Croix Rods, and Tsunami, J&H Tackle caters to all fishing enthusiasts, from beginners to seasoned pros. Explore their comprehensive catalog of different types of fishing rods to find your perfect match.

Table: Quick Comparison of Rod Types

Rod TypeIdeal Use CaseTypical LengthActionPower
Spinning RodsVersatile, All-Purpose Fishing5-8 ftFast to MediumLight to XH
Casting RodsBottom Fishing, Jigging6-8 ftFastLight to XXXH
Surf RodsShore Fishing, Long Casting7-12 ftModerate to FastL-XXH
Offshore Standup RodsDeep Sea Fishing, Large Fish5.5-7 ftFastHeavy to Unlimited
Deep Drop & Kite RodsSpecialized Deep Sea Techniques5.5-7.5 ftModerate to FastHeavy
Custom RodsTailored to Angler’s PreferenceVariableCustomCustom

Section 1: Understanding Fishing Rod Types

Overview of Fishing Rod Types

Fishing rods come in various shapes, sizes, and functionalities, each designed for specific types of fishing and environments. The main categories include spinning, casting, surf, offshore standup, deep drop and kite, and custom rods. Each type has unique features that cater to different fishing scenarios, whether you’re angling in a serene freshwater lake, battling waves on the shore, or venturing into the deep sea.

Spinning Rods

Spinning rods are arguably the most versatile and user-friendly rods, perfect for beginners and experienced anglers alike. They are ideal for lightweight lures and baits all the way up to offshore big game fishing. They offer excellent control and accuracy. Spinning rods are characterized by their flexibility and ease of use, making them suitable for various fishing environments, from freshwater to saltwater. Discover the range of high-quality spinning rods at J&H Tackle, including options from top brands here.

Casting Rods

Casting rods are designed for precision and power, allowing anglers to place their bait exactly where they want it. These rods are typically used with baitcasting reels or conventional reels and are favored in freshwater fishing for top water casting as well as heavy bottom fishing and jigging in nearshore saltwater fishing for heavier lure fishing. The design of casting rods enables better handling of larger fish, making them a go-to choice for many experienced anglers. For a selection of premium casting rods, check out the options available at J&H Tackle here.

Surf Rods

Surf rods are specifically designed for fishing from the beach and piers. They are longer than most other rod types, allowing anglers to cast their lure or bait beyond the breaking surf. Their length and strength make them ideal for battling the larger fish typically found in coastal waters. Surf fishing presents unique challenges, and these rods are built to withstand harsh saltwater conditions. Explore J&H Tackle’s collection of surf rods here.

Offshore Standup Rods

Offshore standup rods are engineered for the high-stakes environment of deep-sea fishing. They are robust and resilient, designed to handle large game fish like tuna and marlin. These rods often feature stronger backbones and more substantial guides to withstand the intense strain of deep-sea fishing battles. For anglers seeking the thrill of offshore fishing, browse through the selection of offshore standup rods at J&H Tackle here.

Deep Drop & Kite Rods

Deep drop and kite rods are specialized tools for specific deep-sea fishing techniques. Deep drop rods are used for fishing in extremely deep waters, targeting species found near the ocean floor. Kite rods, on the other hand, are used in conjunction with a fishing kite to suspend baits at the surface, attracting surface-dwelling predators. These rods are a testament to the innovation and diversity in modern fishing gear. Find the perfect deep drop or kite rod for your next adventure at J&H Tackle here.

Custom Rods

Custom rods offer the pinnacle of personalization in fishing gear. Tailored to the specific needs and preferences of the angler, these rods can be fine-tuned for action, power, sensitivity, and aesthetics. Custom rods represent a personal touch and craftsmanship, providing a unique fishing experience. At J&H we do a lot of offshore custom rods including standup, chunking and trolling rods. For those interested in exploring custom rod options, J&H Tackle offers a selection here.

Section 2: Choosing the Right Rod

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Fishing Rod

Selecting the right type of fishing rod is a nuanced process, influenced by several key factors. Understanding these elements is crucial to ensure you get a rod that not only fits your fishing style but also enhances your overall experience.


Most modern fishing rods are constructed of graphite or some blend of graphite. There are some glass models that are designed for beginner anglers due to their durability as well as higher end technique specific glass blend rods. Again, most anglers fishing freshwater or inshore/nearshore saltwater fishing are going to favor graphite composite rods as they are lighter and have been infused with the latest technology to make the actions work. While what material the rod is made of is important, the overall design, action and application to what type of fishing you are doing is much more important.


Rod action refers to where the rod bends when pressure is applied. Fast action rods bend near the tip, medium action rods bend in the middle, and slow action rods bend towards the base. Fast action rods are great for long-distance casting and sensitivity, while slow action rods are better for short-distance casting with a gentler presentation.


Power, or rod weight, indicates the rod’s resistance to bending under pressure. It ranges from ultra-light to heavy, with each category suited to different types of fish and bait sizes. Lighter rods are ideal for small bait and fish, whereas heavier rods are needed for larger, stronger fish.


The length of the rod affects casting distance and accuracy. Shorter rods offer better control and accuracy for close-quarters fishing, while longer rods are preferred for longer casts, especially in surf or deep-sea fishing. We find that many anglers get caught up in length and most modern fishing rods are already designed to be the correct length. There is very little difference between a 6’6” and 7’ rod. A lot of rod length when it is not for a specific type of fishing is just personal preference. 


The overall weight of the rod influences fatigue and comfort during extended periods of fishing. Lighter rods reduce arm strain, particularly important during long fishing sessions or when using techniques that require constant rod movement. In most situations we recommend trying to fish a lighter rod but there are exceptions.

Matching Rod with Fishing Style

Each fishing style has its specific requirements, and choosing a rod that aligns with your fishing approach can significantly improve your success rate. If you have questions, please contact us online or in the shop. We will help you make the right choice.

Freshwater Fishing

Freshwater fishing, typically in lakes and rivers, usually requires versatile rods. Medium action rods are often preferred for their balance between sensitivity and strength. Light to medium power rods work well for most freshwater fish species.

Saltwater Fishing

Saltwater fishing demands rods that can withstand corrosive saltwater and handle larger, more aggressive fish. Heavier, more durable rods with fast action are often the go-to choice for saltwater environments.

Fly Fishing

Fly fishing rods are unique, designed specifically for casting lightweight flies. They are typically longer and more flexible, allowing for the distinctive casting techniques used in fly fishing.

Top Brands and What Sets Them Apart

Certain brands have made a significant impact in the fishing world, thanks to their quality, innovation, and reliability.

Dark Matter

Known for their high-quality construction and innovative designs, Dark Matter rods are a favorite among anglers seeking durability, performance and style. A fishing rod doesn’t have to be just a fishing rod. It can be an extension of your personality.


Shimano is a household name in the fishing industry, offering a wide range of rods that are celebrated for their technological advancements and superior craftsmanship. Japanese quality through and through.

St Croix Rods

St Croix Rods are highly regarded for their handcrafted designs, exceptional sensitivity, and strength, making them a top choice for serious anglers. If an American made fishing rod is something you cherish, you can’t go wrong with St Croix.


Tsunami rods are known for their affordability and excellent actions, offering a great balance of performance and value, especially for those new to the sport.

Each of these brands brings something unique to the table, and at J&H Tackle, you can explore these options and more to find the rod that best suits your fishing style and preferences.

Section 3: Maintenance and Care

Keeping Your Rod in Top Condition

Proper maintenance and care of your fishing rod not only extend its lifespan but also ensure optimal performance during each fishing trip. Here are some essential care tips:

  • Clean Regularly: Gently rinse your rod with fresh water after each use, especially if you’ve been saltwater fishing. This prevents salt buildup and corrosion.
  • Inspect for Damage: Regularly check your rod for any signs of wear, such as cracks or fraying. Pay special attention to the guides and the reel seat. You can check the inserts of your guides with a q-tip to check for cracks.
  • Proper Storage: Store your rod in a cool, dry place, ideally in a rod rack or a protective case. Avoid leaving it in direct sunlight or in a bent position for extended periods.
  • Handle with Care: Be mindful of how you handle your rod. Avoid using it to pull hooks from fish or as a lever, and ensure it’s secured during transportation to prevent snapping.

Section 4: Advanced Considerations

Innovations in Rod Technology

The fishing rod industry has seen remarkable innovations in recent years, enhancing angler experience and efficiency. Some notable advancements include:

  • Improved Materials: Developments in composite materials have led to lighter, stronger, and more sensitive rods.
  • Better Guides: Guide material does make a difference in your fishing. Trusted names are Fuji and ALPs. materials like Alconite and SiC are perfect for braided fishing lines.
  • Style: You don’t have to fish a black or gray rod anymore. There are colorful options that not only match your style but will improve your mood on the water.

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Options

Sustainability in fishing gear is gaining traction, with manufacturers now focusing on eco-friendly materials and production processes. Options include:

  • Biodegradable Materials: Use of biodegradable composites reduces environmental impact.
  • Recycled Components: Some brands are incorporating recycled materials in their rods and packaging.
  • Sustainable Manufacturing: Efforts to minimize waste and energy use in production processes are on the rise.


Choosing the right fishing rod is a blend of art and science, requiring consideration of various factors tailored to your fishing style and environmental conditions. Proper care and staying informed about the latest advancements in rod technology can significantly enhance your fishing experience.

We encourage you to explore the diverse range of fishing rods offered by J&H Tackle. Our selection caters to all preferences and skill levels, ensuring you find the perfect rod for your next fishing adventure. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. DM Josh on Instagram, come into the shop or send an email to [email protected] with all your questions.

With this guide and J&H Tackle’s extensive collection, you’re well-equipped to make an informed decision and enjoy a rewarding fishing experience.

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