Types of Fishing Rods

By: Jason Harding


It's the iconic scene: the young man or woman in a tank top and shorts walking barefoot down a dirt path in the soft, golden light of the sun streaming through the trees. Up ahead the river flows, and specs of water lightly touch the face of the fisherman holding an old fashioned wooden pole and a tackle box. The fisherman reaches the edge of the stream and sets down the tackle box. He baits the hook, casts the line into the whipping waters of the stream and anxiously awaits his catch...

If you are a fishing enthusiast, you have probably experienced a scene like this on one of your expeditions. There is something freeing about standing on the side of a body of water, shoes off, watching the waters whip around your line. Every tug sends a rush of excitement through your body, and in those moments you truly become one with nature. Of course, a major catalyst for that rush is the prospect of engaging in the battle that has raged since for ages: man vs. fish. It's a right of passage stemming from the instinctual desire to hunt and to overpower the prey. Fortunately, fishing rods have come a long way since the models of string tied to branches and sugar cane. However, choosing the right rod can have a major impact on your ability to actually engage in the aforementioned battle. Consider the common types of fishing poles before your next voyage, and your experience may be easier and more successful.

" Fly Rods - These thin, flexible rods are often tied to an artificial lure consisting of a hook attached to feathers, foam, or other lightweight material. Originally made from delicate, lightweight woods like yew and bamboo, fly rods are now crafted to maintain that flexibility while providing more strength with man-made materials like carbon/graphite, carbon/boron, and fiberglass. A relatively heavy line is typically threaded on the fly rod, because this thin rod relies on the weight of the fly line to cast. Hint: For bigger fish, choose a line with a heavier weight and size.

" Spinning Rods - Generally between 5 feet and 9 feet in length, these rods are generally constructed from graphite or fiberglass and have a cork or PVC foam handle. Between 5 and 8 large diameter guides are arranged underneath the rod, and a spinning reel hangs below the rod instead of on top to allow for greater control of the line. Hint: The reel on the bottom makes the rod more comfortable for extended periods of fishing.

" Surf Rods - These rods are basically oversized spinning or bait rods. They generally have a longer handle for two-handed casting and gripping, and measure 10 to 14 feet in length. Surf rods must be longer and should often be baited with weighted lures to keep the bait under the breaking surface of the water, accessible to fish. Hint: These are often used for shore fishing or fishing from the beach or rocks.

" Trolling Rods - Although a trolling rod used to be any rod that was trailed behind a moving, motorized boat, long and heavily built rods designed specifically for this purpose have recently hit the market. Hint: The method of trolling is as important as the rod used, and different methods work more efficiently with specific species of fish.

Hopefully you will consider this information before your next fishing expedition. Please keep in mind that this is a general guide, and every situation calls for specific tools for the best results. Happy fishing!

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Jason Harding has been a sport fisherman since 1986. He is always on the hunt for new and improved fishing rods, fishing reels and fishing tackle for improved success.

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