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Fishing Pole vs Rod: What’s There to Know?

Fishing Pole vs Rod
Written by Simon Michel
Last Update: July 24, 2023

Fishing poles are very basic while fishing rods are more complex.

Poles and rods, however, are distinguished by certain technical differences, and we’re here to tell you about them.

Different types of fishing poles

1. Freshwater poles

Freshwater fishing pole

Anglers typically use a reel to open and close freshwater poles made from cane or reed. These freshwater poles can be used for fly fishing, catfishing, and crappie fishing.

Make sure you choose a pole that will help you catch your favorite fish by researching which one will work for you.

2. Saltwater poles

Saltwater fishing poles

Oceans and oceanic areas along the coast are best suited for utilizing saltwater poles. The biggest difference between saltwater poles and freshwater poles can be seen in their weight capacity.

They are also available in a variety of designs for different species. If you’re looking to reel in a 100-pound fish, make sure you choose the right pole that can handle that weight.

3. Catfish and crappie poles

Catfish and crappie fishing poles

In order to support the weight and fight of a big catfish, catfish poles are usually rigid and made with additional support. On the other hand, crappie poles are smaller and more agile.

Catfish poles made of cane are another type without a reel. Basically, they are just cane sections attached to fishing lines.

4. Surf poles

As shallow water is used for inshore fishing, deep water and offshore fishing require much larger poles, which also require additional support. For surf fishing, a thin and long pole is required.

The rod must always be flexible so it can cast further than the waves, which are where the fish are found.

5. Fly fishing poles

Fly fishing pole

Fishing for trout is the sole purpose of these products. It’s possible to use them for other kinds of fish too.

Anglers who dance their bait above the water find the experience worthwhile. However, it may take a little practice. It can be fun to tie flies by hand for fly fishers.

Different types of fishing rods

1. Casting rods

Casting fishing rods

Casting rods are perfect for serious or professional fishermen since they allow them to cast very precisely. Fishing with these rods is very versatile and offers the angler a whole lot of freedom.

They are heavy and allow you to catch larger fish.

2. Spinning rods

Spinning fishing rods

Fishing with spinning rods is more comfortable, lighter, and smaller than fishing with casting rods.

The reel rests beneath the rod with spinning reels instead of sitting on top, making fishing much easier, especially for beginners.

3. Trolling rods

Trolling rod

Trolling rods are reserved for large game fish when you’re trying to reel in a true giant. If they are going to catch these monsters, you have to have rods such as these that are longer, heavier, and faster than anything else.

4. Ice rods

Ice fishing rods

In ice fishing, there is not much space, so these are shorter than spinning rods. Rods generally have fewer eyes than spinning rods and are 24 to 26 inches long.

There are some ice rods that don’t have a reel; they have opposite hooks that are connected to the rod.

Fishing pole vs rod

Features and components

Special features and components do not exist in fishing poles. You will not find bells, horns, or eyes in them.

Runners or plastic bait is the only bait they take. Rods are attached to reels, have reel seats, and have line guides.

Ease of use

Poles require much less pre-knowledge, and they have fewer parts. This means there are fewer chances of them getting broken.

Although casting may seem simple, it requires certain experience and knowledge to accurately do it when fishing with rods.


Fishing rods are easy to transport as they can fold up and pull apart to make taking them in the car or boat easy. Fishing poles don’t have this feature.

You can even buy smaller compact fishing rods called travel rods that are designed for small traveling spaces like a car.

Casting distance

The fishing pole doesn’t have any casting features, and it mostly comes down to your own casting skill.

A fishing rod allows you to cover a longer distance. Rods are good for covering more water in a shorter period of time.


Fishing poles cannot handle as much as a fishing rod, they are more delicate. They don’t have any added features for weight handling and are labeled as very basic. Fishing rods are durable and handle the weight and force of catching the bigger-sized fish.


Fishing poles are made from cheap plastic and rubber along with bamboo, which doesn’t cost too much to replace. T

he cleaning side of maintenance is easy to there are no complex parts that can be difficult to clean, like on a fishing rod with all the complex reels that need to be pulled apart to clean and dry.

Suitable fish species

Fishing rods are suitable for nearly all types of fish, and you can get stronger and more durable ones if you are fishing for something big.

Fishing poles are generally only suitable for smaller fish varieties and ones that don’t put up too much of a fight.

Technical difficulties

You can face multiple technical problems such as backlash or a brake failure with fishing rods, but there is no chance of technical difficulties with a fishing pole.

Fly fishing

For fly fishing, your best bet is to go with a fly fishing pole since they are designed to capture trout and are not heavy.


Fishing poles typically cost less because they are easier to manufacture and contain fewer parts.

On the other hand, rods are more expensive when you look at average prices. There are some very cheap rods too.

Pros and cons of fishing poles


  • Better precision
  • Cheaper to buy
  • Stealth
  • Easy for beginners


  • Hard to find
  • Lack of maneuverability
  • No added features or accessories
  • Can’t handle much weight

Pros and cons of fishing rods


  • Increased casting distance.
  • A wider range of available accessories
  • Cover more water quickly when looking for fish


  • More parts and equipment
  • More expensive
  • Less acurate

How to increase your casting distance?

1. Longer rods cast out further

Casting distance increases with rod length. It is not always possible to wield the larger rods since there must be enough room. Whether you are fishing in a kayak or from a bank surrounded by trees, these will do you no good.

From there, you will need to aim for a shooter rod to allow for the proper backswing and leverage to get your lures in the air.

2. Look at your fishing line

Fishing rods that have thicker fishing lines will generally cast farther because the reels are frictional.

Consequently, thinner fishing lines will typically cast a lot further (along with getting your bait deeper) in relation to their diameter.

Everything has a balance, however. A baitcaster cannot be used with very thin lines or function properly.

3. Correct lure weight

A lure’s weight should always be matched to the strength of the rod. The rod blank is usually printed with this information.

I bought my son an ultralight model of the Ugly Stik Elite. Lures up to 1/4 oz in weight can be held in it. A less light or heavy lure would equivocate more distance than by one that falls within scope.

Fishing pole vs rod: Which one is for you?

Innovative design and versatile features make fishing rods the most popular option. You can’t go wrong with a rod if you’re an amateur or a beginner. Fishing poles are a tradition for some anglers who swear by them.

A well-trained angler can use them to catch some great catches if he is experienced enough.


1. Can I use a saltwater fishing pole for freshwater fishing?

Ans. Saltwater rods are made of corrosion-resistant materials, whereas freshwater rods are made from natural materials.

Freshwater rods can be used for saltwater and vice versa. After every trip (especially when fishing in saltwater), make sure that you wash and dry the rods properly.

About the author

Simon Michel

The plight of life sometimes takes you to extremes of nature and guess what, you learn the best lessons in your most difficult times. As a keen sea explorer with several years spent in yachts business, I had damn busy schedules throughout 13 years of my career. I used to free my mind from my mundane days in the sea with extreme fishing expeditions when this became not just a fun activity, but a life saver. You could say, I employed most types of fishing techniques but nothing felt better than fly fishing. That drew my whole attention for a good number of reasons. I mean, it’s an amazing feeling when you are in a light mood with buddies munching snacks and casting the fishing road. I look forward to making the most of my leisure time with this fantastic sport.

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