Whether you are looking for your very first rod and reel, or you are a seasoned angler looking to try new things, this article will help you sort through the complexity that is rod identification. There are 6 primary categories of rods – casting, spinning, fly, trolling, ice, surf fishing – and 5 commonly used reels – spincast, spinning, baitcasting, fly, and conventional.
The type of rod and reel needed will depend upon the fishing situation, location and species being targeted.
The casting rod, also known as a spincasting rod, is a popularly used rod because of its durability and ease of use. This makes it the perfect choice for beginners, children and seasoned anglers alike. It is designed to be used with heavier lines and can cast far with great control and accuracy, making it ideal for fishing within thick vegetation and targeting larger, warm water species such as bass.
The casting rod should be used with either a spincast or baitcast reel. The baitcast reel is slightly more difficult to use – albeit the most popular – leaving the spincast as the preferred option for beginners and children. With this type of rod, the reel sits atop the pole rather than on the bottom.
The spincast reel, as mentioned above, is most commonly used in conjunction with a casting rod. It is the smart choice for beginners and children because of the push-button that controls the release of the line from a covered spool. This covered spool aides in tangle prevention, with the line threading through a hole in the top. This reel can be used in either salt or freshwater; just be sure to get one specifically meant for saltwater if that’s where you plan to be.
The baitcasting reel comes with an added layer of complexity compared to the spincast. Because the spool is not covered and it rotates when releasing the line, the chance for entanglements increases, making this a slightly trickier reel. It does take practice, but once perfected, this may become your new favorite reel. Offered in many varieties and versatile enough to be used in fresh and saltwater, the baitcaster is a favorite in the angling world.
Spinning Rod & Reel
The spinning rod is arguably the most widely used of all the rod types because any experience level will work and it can be used almost anywhere, for any purpose. It is accompanied by a spinning reel that is positioned on the bottom of the rod, offering power and stability.
This dynamic rod and reel duo is offered in a variety of options, allowing anglers to select the right action, length and power to target their favorite fish. This rod and reel combo has a bail that coils the line onto the reel. Unfortunately, this rod is not meant for heavy lines, but tangles are easy to fix.
Fly Rod & Reel
The fly, or fly fishing rod, is meant for – you guessed it – fly fishing. Because fly fishing requires experience and finesse, this rod will take some getting used to, as does the act of fly fishing. It is very lightweight and is longer than most rods, ranging anywhere from about 8 to 14 feet. It is offered in multiple lengths and weights to match an anglers’ intended target and fishing conditions. The fly rod is uniquely crafted to deliver line in the delicate fashion required for fly fishing. It uses the weight of the line to position the lightweight lure near the fish.
Similar to the spinning rod, the fly rod is accompanied by a reel that sits on the bottom and is designed specifically for its rod. The line used with fly reels is thicker and weighted.
As with the fly rod, a trolling rod is specifically made for a singular purpose – trolling. When trolling, the rod is often placed in a rod holder on a boat and the line and bait are left in the water to move along while the boat propels forward slowly. This rod is durable yet flexible, featuring an action that allows it to bend without breaking if caught on something unexpectedly.
You can use a trolling rod in large bodies of water that don’t have any regulations against trolling.
A conventional or baitcast reel can be used on a trolling rod, but they should be large enough to hold an adequate amount of line.
The conventional reel is most often used with a trolling rod, rather than for casting. Although, like the baitcast reel, the conventional reel has a spool that rotates upon release and retrieval. Just be careful of entanglements. Despite the name, this reel is not all that conventional and does require practice.
An ice rod is among the shortest of the rods, due to the lack of casting needed while ice fishing. Despite its limited capacity of fishing in any direction besides vertically, this rod is offered with a variety of actions and powers, perfect for wrestling large fish beneath the ice.
Some will argue that this rod can be used year-round as a child’s rod.
The ice rod is best used with an inline (ice) reel or spinning reel.
Surf Fishing Rods
If you are looking for a superstar rod for your shore or pier fishing day, the surf fishing rod is worth looking into. This rod is like a spinning rod, only longer and with a more durable handle. The extra length and durability help anglers cast further and reach their target area with a heavy bait rig. This rod is perfect for shagging large, shallow water fish and is able to withstand corrosion.
The surf rod is best used with a large conventional or spinning reel and does take a level of experience, indicating that it is not intended as a beginner rod or a rod for children.
There are obviously other types of rods used for particular purposes, such as telescoping and lightweight fishing rods. Telescoping rods are perfect for compact needs like hiking and camping. Lightweight rods are ideal for situations that require a more delicate approach and for traveling use.
When offshore fishing, you are going to want something sturdier with less bend in the blank; inshore rods should offer more give. The distance at which you can cast, the weight of your line, and the techniques you employ while fishing will all be determined by your rod and reel. So, its important to select the appropriate gear based on your fishing habits.