What are the different types of fishing rods?

Fishing rods, they come in all shapes and sizes. Some for different purposes than others. But wondering what fishing rod is better suited to your needs? In our blog post today we’ll go through what are the different types of fishing rods and their purpose. 

Fishing Rod Anatomy

Throughout the article we’ll be using a lot of terminology. To help you guys understand what each part of the fishing rod is called we’ve created a diagram below.

Fishing rod anatomy chart. labelling each part of a fishing rod.

Spinning Rod

Often the most common type of fishing rod we’ll encounter in the market. These are great for both amateur or expert level anglers. Generally, a spinning fishing rod is paired up with a spinning reel.

Spinning rods come in various weight classes and rod action. Depending on the weight class, these rods can target various medium to small sized fish species and are suitable for bait fishing or lure casting.

How to identify a spinning rod, generally the eyelets will be facing downwards on the rod. Also, from the rod reel to tip-top the eyelets we’ll gradually decrease in size. 

Bait-caster Rods

An alternative to the spinning rod is the bait-caster fishing rods. These are great for advanced anglers as they can offer greater accuracy and casting distance. The downside to these types of rods is the bait-casting reel that comes with these rods.

Without proper handling, they are prone to tangling on the spool. Generally, how to identify these types of rods is the eyelets will be positioned facing upwards on the rod and often will have a trigger near the reel seat. 

Overhead Rods

Overhead rods are often used for big species of game fish and deep water fish. These are commonly used on boats as they aren’t made for casting but dropping big bait straight down or trolling.

Overhead rods are thicker in construction, shorter and are paired up with overhead reels. Primarily used to reel in big fish from a boat.

Telescopic Rod

The perfect fishing rod for all travellers, as these are very compact. Great for anyone who has limited storage space at home or in a car. Telescopic rods have come a long way since their first introduction in to the market.

As we have encountered some very strong and versatile rods. These rods are generally designed for spinning reels and are made to target medium to small sized fish species.

Surf Rods

The largest fishing rods in comparison to the rest. These rods are used to target medium to large fish species from the beach. Surf roads are specifically designed to cast out past the surf and over on to the break we’re fish are generally feeding.

Surf rods like spinning rods can be disassembled into multiple parts and are designed to accommodate a spinning reel. But of course larger spinning reels.

Fly Rods

These fishing rods are specifically designed for fly-fishing and to accommodate a fly reel. Fly-fishing unlike traditional fishing requires different skill sets altogether.

To put simply fly roads are used to cast out a fly to mimic what your target fish are feeding on. Fly fishing is often seen done in freshwater streams and lakes. But we can also argue fly-fishing has a place in saltwater fishing too.

A few things to consider when buying a fishing rod.

Before buying your first fishing rod or your second or third. Here are some things you may want to consider while shopping around.

Rod Action

Rod action is described us how much a fishing rod will deflect (bend) from the tip-top to the blank and how fast it will return to its neutral position once pressure is added to the tip.

Fishing rod action is catergorised into slow, medium or fast. Comparing the two ends of the spectrum, a fast action fishing rod will have the least amount of bend. While a slow action fishing rod will have the most.

A general guide on fishing rod action:

Slow action – These rods are the most flexible in construction and will bend from the tip to the rod blank and even in some rods to the rod butt. These types of rods are generally used to target small fish as it allows a better fight for the angler. Due to its flexibility, the head shakes and runs from the fish will be easily absorbed and prevent the hook from ripping out of the fishes mouth.

Medium action – These are often general purpose rods which can target both small to medium sized fish. The action on these rods will result in deflection only in the top half. Medium action rods offer great casting distances and plenty of hook setting power.

Fast action – The least flexible of the rods, often will bend in the top third. These are rods are great for hook setting as the rod shuts off a lot faster as you strike to set the hook. Fast action rods are very responsive but this can also be its downfall. Once the hook is set and the fish runs and dishes out head shakes. If too much tension is given or not enough tension the fish can become unhooked.

Weight Class

As listed on the fishing rod blank we’ll often find two types of recommended weight classes. The recommended ‘Line weight’ and ‘casting or lure weight’.

Line weight is given to us in either kilogram (eg. 2-5kg) or pounds (eg. 5-10lbs). This figure is used to determine the recommended rated fishing line weight.

Casting or lure weight will be given to us in either grams (eg. 7-28g) or ounces (eg. 1-2oz). This is the recommended sinker or lure weight to be used with the rod.

Construction Material

The action and feel of a fishing rod are driven from the construction material. Traditionally, fishing rods were made from bamboo but in the modern day market we’ll commonly find fibreglass or carbon fibre fishing rods.

Fibreglass and carbon fibre rods both have their advantages and disadvantages. In situations where we require greater sensitivity to feel every soft bite Carbon fibre rods are ideal. Very lightweight and flexible in construction but lack durability in comparison to fibregalss.

When targeting larger fish species or game fishing fibreglass rods are the preferred alternative. As they’re more durable and can withstand the added weight and big head shakes as we’re fighting a fish.

At the end of the day, Carbon fibre or fibreglass rods will be a matter of preference and the fish your targeting. However, as a beginner angler, I would recommend starting with a carbon fibre fishing rod. A little more on the expensive side but ideal to feel those soft bites.

Rods | Reels | Lines | Rigs | Knots | Hooks | Lures | Bait

14 thoughts to “What are the different types of fishing rods?”

  1. Before I ask you a question  I have to say I hate fishing with a passion but my son has recently wanted to start fishing so as the good dad I am I thought I would learn a bit about the different types of rods that are out there so that I can help my son learn and maybe start a new hobby 

    I went sea fishing once and it was the worst day of my life, I didn’t catch anything and was bored out of my brains 

    My son wants to start fishing in the local river by our house so would a spinner rod be OK for him to use?

    1. Hi Matt,

      Thanks for leaving a comment. Fishing at times can be a love or hate hobby. Especially if you don’t catch anything when you’re out on the water. 

      To answer you’re question, yes a lightly weighted spin rod and reel combo will be a great way to get started on the local river.

      All the best and hopefully you guys catch some fish so we can change your perspective on fishing!



  2. Hi Vinnie,

    As a non-fisherman, I appreciate your basic, yet thorough explanation about the various fishing rods. If I was going to start fishing, and was looking for a guide to rods, I would start by reading what you presented here to point me in the right direction to start off. 

    To have a guide that was highly technical would only overwhelm me. Once I narrowed down what type of rod I wanted/needed, I would then look to your site for more in-depth info as to who was the best rod maker, what type of bait I needed etc …

    Australia must be a great place to fish from!

    Nicely done πŸ˜‰


    1. HI Tom,

      I appreciate the comment, it’s exactly what I hoped to do through my blog post.

      Australia sure does have some great freshwater and saltwater fishing spots πŸ™‚



  3. I have been wanting to learn about fishing rods when I read a blog about fly fishing some weeks ago. They say fishing is a great activity as it lowers stress and anxiety. Since I have no idea about fishing, at least I had a grasp on what fishing rod should I use. The common fishing places my husband and I can go to are lakes and rivers. So basically, my choice would be the spinning rod or telescopic rod with  a slow or medium rod action. I want to start first with small fishes because I am pretty sure with no experience, I won’t be able to catch a big or even medium fish. I also have to look for  a good carbon fiber or bamboo rod… whatever looks convenient for me, I guess. Thanks for giving information on defining how each type of fishing rod can be used. Do you have any recommended brand for beginners?

    1. Hi MissusB,

      Thank you for leaving a comment πŸ™‚

      Sometimes when you’re expecting to catch a small fish you just might end up with a big one!

      If you’re a beginner, I recommend buying something on the cheaper side to get you started. Shimano, Savage, or Kato make some great rods. Ranging from different prices and are considerably good quality. Also, carbon fibre or graphite rods should be your top picks. Bamboo rods might be a bit dated.



  4. Fishing is my favorite thing, I’m totally beginner though. As telescopic rod is compact and easy to carry on every where ,I personally prefer to buy it.Thanks to your nice written review I can now determine which rod is suite for me. As you’ve stated above, carbon fiber fishing rod is good choice.

    I am too far away from beach and most often going fishing near by the lakes.

    Thanks for your informative and well answered questioned post regarding of fishing.

    Warm Regard

    1. Hi Shirian,

      Thanks for taking the time and reading my post. Appreciate the comment. Telescopic rods are super convenient and compact and are great beginner rods. 



  5. Some of my favourite memories with my late father are the two of us spending time on the boat, fishing.  I was a little girl and caught my first fish on yes, an ice fishing rod!  I think it is time for an upgrade.  Thank you for your explanation of the different types of rods and their purposes.

    1. Sounds like quite an exciting childhood. Thanks for taking the time and leaving a comment πŸ™‚

  6. There is a large range of different types of fishing rods in the market, all of which are designed to perform different tasks. They are used to target different. Thank you for that you have published a educative content. We look forward to more content like this.

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