Fishing Rods and a man holding a big Ulua

A quality carpenter shouldn’t blame his tools, but we believe anglers sometimes can. Supplying yourself with the perfect fishing rod can make all the difference out on the water. 

Whether you’re a seasoned pro completely green beginner, everyone can use a little refresher on fishing equipment fitting. That’s why we set out to provide you all with a thorough guide to selecting your next rod. We’ll go over all of the important distinctions like rod length, types, materials, power, action, and more. 

Before deep-diving into all the different characteristics and choosing a rod, we suggest answering these 3 questions. Understanding them will ultimately help you make the right choice when making your purchase. 

  1. Where and how often do you plan to fish? (inshore, offshore, etc.) 
  2. What species are you trying to catch? 
  3. Are you spinning or baitcasting

Types of Fishing Rods and Materials 

When it comes to distinguishing different types of rods, you can typically separate them into a few different groups. These include: 

  • Spinning Rods: Designed for use with spinning wheels and tend to be light as well as sensitive. 
  • Conventional Rods: Conventional rods are stiffer than spinning rods and tend to be available from 6’ to 17’ in length. 
  • Specialty Rods: Specialty rods are intended for specific types of fishing like surfcasting. 
  • Trolling Rods: Trolling rods are utilized in a technique where you drag fishing line through the water. 

Fishing rods are typically made of fiberglass, graphite, or a composite mixture. Check out the list below to get a better understanding of all the different material types and when each one works best. 

  • Fiberglass rods: Fiberglass rods are flexible and typically heavier than graphite rods. This makes them well suited for beginner anglers.
  • Graphite rods: Graphite rods are available in a variety of stiffness settings. They are ideal for those looking for fast-action. 
  • Composite rods: Composite rods are constructed of both fiberglass and graphite or a range of other materials. 

How to Choose a Proper Rod Length and Size

Rod length is one of the most important but overlooked things to think about when gearing yourself up. That’s because rod length affects a range of functions including distance, accuracy, leverage, and comfort. 

At the end of the day, much of outfitting yourself for a new rod comes down to personal preference, your own physical measurements, as well as where and what you’re planning to fish. To keep it general, longer rods allow you to cast longer distances whereas shorter rods can’t cast as far, but tend to be more accurate. 

Rods can be any length from 4 to 15 feet. Short rods (under 6 ft.) are best for shorter accurate casts and it’s the opposite for long rods. A longer rod may pick up more line on a hook set, which can help when you’re caught out of position. On the other hand, if you’re fishing in murky water with low visibility a short accurate rod will be your best bet. 

It can be tough to give a professional recommendation without knowing each angler’s background, but there are some guidelines you can follow. For example, we tend to recommend beginning anglers start with something around 7 feet long. This allows you to get the best of both accuracy and cast length. 

How to Choose the Right Fishing Rod Components 

Fishing rods are complex pieces of equipment complete with several different structural components

  • Handle: Fishing rod handles generally consist of grips, a reel seat, and a butt. Handles and their subsequent parts can vary in material and cost. 
  • Reel: A fishing reel is the cylindrical part of the rod that is attached to the handle and is used for winding or slowing the line.
  • Guides: Fishing rod guides are small rings that face up on casting rods and down on spinning-style rods. These guides are where you feed your line in order to minimize tangling. 
  • Grips: Most high-quality rods will come complete with a grip often made from synthetic foam or sometimes cork. 
  • Seats: Fishing rod seats are what hold the reel. 
  • Rod Guides: Rod guides are the small circular holes running along the blank of your rod. When your rod is fed through them they improve your overall casting accuracy. 

All of these pieces come in a range of prices, materials, and designs. We always suggest going with the highest quality equipment you can afford as long as it makes sense for your skill level. 

How to Determine Your Preferred Rod Action and Power 

Fishing rod action is defined as the rod’s potential to bend and then flex back to its original shape and position. In simple terms, rod action is where on the blank the rod bends. The faster your action, the more sensitive your rod will be. 

Rod action is classified into a few different categories including fast action, moderate-fast action, moderate action, and slow action. The ideal action for your own rod will depend on various factors like skill level, where you’re fishing, the type of fish you want to catch, and more. 

Aside from action, you have rod power, which is the general measurement of how much pressure it will take your rod to flex. This distinction is rated based on the lure, fish, and line that your rod can handle and range from ultra-light to extra-extra heavy. 

You can typically determine your proper amount of rod power by looking at the general size of the fish you are targeting. Therefore, rods with less power work better when you’re angling for smaller fish. 

How to Buy a Fishing Rod Online

Hopefully, this guide helped give you a better idea of what to look for in a rod and the confidence to make an informed purchase. With that said, a continuing trend towards e-commerce means you can buy just about anything online and fishing rods are no exception. 

Purchasing a rod online can save you some serious money, but the lack of advice from a sales staff can make web shopping for gear a pain. At Coastal Fishing, we give you the best of both worlds with an online support staff full of pros and affordable online pricing. Simply shoot us an email and we’ll do our best to answer any and all coastal fishing questions you may have. 

For quality equipment at a fair price, look no further than our vast selection of rods. Everything comes complete with a 2-year warranty and free shipping! Feel free to also browse our popular salt boxes offering you a convenient way to gear up with everything you need for your next outing. 


Elaina D'Agostino

Elaina D'Agostino

Thanks for discussing the importance of choosing the right pole length. You were right that shorter poles can’t cover longer distances but are more accurate. I think a short pole would be just right for me. We know the fishing spot anyway, so I wouldn’t have to guess where the fishes are.

Don Taylor

Don Taylor

Looking for a set of trolling rods to pair with Penn 30VISXS. I fish primarily in the FL Keys, so Mahi, Black Fin Tuna, and Wahoo are the focus. I have two Penn 50’s on bent butt rods, but looking to compliment those with the smaller 30’s. I read with great interest your article on your top trolling rod recommendations, but the link to:
4. Coastal Rods Straight Roller Rod (50 LB) is not working.
To get a little more line capacity, I’m thinking of filling half the reel with braid, and then mono. Any recommendations on rods would be greatly appreciated, as well as any thoughts you might have splicing braid and mono for trolling purposes.


Don Taylor

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