Fishing Rod Length Explained for Beginners (How To Choose The Right Size)

Most anglers understand the various fishing rod varieties and how to pick rod power and action. However, the necessity of fishing rod length is sometimes neglected. So, the length of your fishing rod significantly impacts you, and you must select the appropriate rod size for your specific fishing application.

The lengths of fishing rods range from 2 feet for ice fishing to 14 feet for surf fishing. Spinning and baitcasting rods are the most often utilized, and they typically range in length from 6 to 8 feet. We recommend starting with a 7-foot since it’s simple to learn and versatile if you’re a beginner.

This post will go through the most often used rod lengths of various fishing rod kinds, the advantages and disadvantages of short versus long rods, and which fishing rod length is most appropriate.

Fishing rod length 

There are seven different kinds of rods. Although they all span various lengths, the most often utilized ones are more specialized. Let us now examine the lengths of each of these rod kinds in further detail.

Spinning rod length

Spinning rods are the most flexible fishing rod with various uses. As a result, they are available in a broad range of lengths, ranging from short 4’5″ rods to extremely long 9’5″. Extra-short and extra-long spinning rods are built for specialized applications, while the mid-lengths are more adaptable and may be used for various fishing tactics.

Short spinning rods (4’5″ to 6′) are popular for kayak fishing since handling a large rod in a tight kayak. Short variants are ideal for fishing in tiny waterways with many overhanging trees and plants. A small rod allows you to cast behind the plants in certain conditions, whereas a longer model would constantly trap you.

Medium-length spinning rods (6′ to 7’5″): This is the most frequent rod type and size. They may be customized for various fishing applications, including lure casting, bottom fishing, and bobber fishing. Beginners choose this length since it’s simple to cast and versatile. After some practice, you may try employing shorter or longer rods for more particular uses.

Long spinning rods (7’6″ to 9’5″) are best for long-distance casting, such as surf fishing or lure casting in open water. Their additional length aids in throwing distance, albeit at the sacrifice of accuracy. They are also more difficult to cast with than shorter models and require a lot of room to do it.

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Baitcasting rod length

Baitcasting rods are the second most common rod type, with casting rod length being somewhat longer on average than spinning rod length. However, there is considerable overlap in the center of the range. Unlike spinning rods, they are almost entirely used for casting lures or rigs. Casting rods are mainly designed to operate with the right type of fishing baitcasting reels. When used by an experienced angler, they have greater casting accuracy and a longer casting distance than spinning rods and reels. Casting rods are favored by many bass anglers, who often have an extensive collection of fishing rod sizes. 

Short baitcasting rods (5’5″ to 6’4″) provide better casting accuracy, but only over a short distance. These rods are ideal if you want optimal accuracy at a distance of 30 feet or less. They are also suitable for kayak fishing or fishing in tiny creeks with a lot of foliage, just like a short spinning rod.

Medium-length baitcasting rods (6’5″ to 8′) are the most frequent rod sizes for bass fishing. They may be employed in various situations, including bank fishing, kayak fishing, and fishing from a bass boat. They’re also relatively easy to learn and combine good casting accuracy with extended distance.

Long baitcasting rods (8′ to 9′) are commonly used for power bass fishing, requiring long rods with Medium Heavy to Extra Heavy power and high pound test braid (30-60 lb or more). The advantage of employing these long, heavy rods is that you may throw giant lures on the baitcaster near to cover (such as open timber fields or overhanging trees) and capture giant lunker bass without getting entangled in the surrounding cover.

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Fly fishing rod length

Fly rods are typically 7 to 9 feet long, which is longer than other rod types. Because fly fishing involves using live bait with a baitcaster, fly anglers utilize the weight of the fly fishing line, which is significantly thicker than other fishing lines, rather than the lure weight for casting. You’ll need a long rod to cast substantial lengths with this technique. This applies when fishing tiny trout streams with many overhanging trees and plants. You won’t be able to use a long fly rod in those situations, so you’ll need to reduce it to a smaller 6-foot model.

Boat fishing rod length

Boat rods are typically 6 to 7 feet long compared to the other rod kinds listed above. A lengthy rod is challenging to handle aboard a boat when casting space is generally limited. Also, while deep sea or reef fishing with a boat rod, you don’t need to cast the bait; instead, descend it vertically into the water (like ice fishing).

Surfcasting rod length

Anglers use these rods because they are among the longest. They usually are 10 to 12 feet long. Their extra length aids in increasing casting distance, which is required to reach fish feeding on the other side of the braking zone.

Surfcasting rods may reach 100 yards or more when used by an experienced angler. The world record throwing distance for this rod type is more than 300 yards, although you usually don’t need to cast that far to catch much fish.

Trolling rod length

Trolling rods are often longer than other rod types and are comparable to surf fishing rods. They typically range in length from 9 to 11 feet. The extra length lets you troll with many rods at once without tangling their lines. To do so, stretch a long trolling rod to the right and left of the boat, separating their lines as much as possible.

Another reason trolling rods are so long is that they are frequently used with downriggers, which require them to be bent down to the water’s surface. When a fish hits the bait, the downrigger’s line is released, and the rod snaps up, allowing the hook to be set. Everything works much better with a long rod than with a short one.

Ice fishing rod length

Ice fishing rods are the shortest, measuring between 28 and 36 inches in length. This short length is necessary because you don’t need to cast with an ice fishing rod or lower your lure or bait vertically into the ice fishing hole.

The short rod length allows you to sit close to the ice hole and feel whether a fish bites immediately. Catching a fish is also simpler when you use a short rod to draw it through the ice. Lastly, short rods are much better for fishing within an ice fishing shelter, whereas a longer model would be challenging to use.

Best fishing rod length 

Each rod’s length is best suited to a specific type of fishing. We’ll go through the ideal length of the rod in-depth below to help you figure out which one is best for you.

Bass fishing

Bass fishing rods are typically 6 to 8 feet long, 7 feet being the most popular length. Here’s how the various lengths are used:

  • Short bass rods (6′ to 6’6″) are used for drop shot rigs, topwater baits, and dock skipping.
  • Medium-length bass rods (6’7″ to 7’3″) are suitable for most conventional applications, such as crankbaits, worms, jigs, buzz baits, spinnerbaits, or frogs.
  • Long bass rods (7’4 to 8′) are used for jigging, flipping, pitching, and fishing close to cover.

Because most bass competitions prohibit rods more significant than 8 feet, this determines the maximum length for bass pros. Short bass rods (less than 6’6″) are generally spinning rods, whereas longer ones (more than 6’7″) are usually casting rods. If you’re unsure about the best bass fishing rod length, go with a 7-foot medium-power fast-action rod (casting or spinning), and you’ll be OK for most bass fishing situations.

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Trout fishing

A rod length of 6 to 8 ft is ideal when fishing for trout. The length you select is determined by where you intend to fish:

  • Short trout rods (6′ to 7′) are used on tiny streams with dense vegetation.
  • Long trout rods (7’1″ to 8′) are used for open-water fishing in lakes and rivers.

If you’re fishing creeks with a lot of vegetation on their banks, a short rod is vital since it allows you to throw correctly beneath the overhanging canopy of trees. However, if you’re fishing for trout in vast rivers or lakes, utilizing a long rod can accomplish greater throwing distances, which is beneficial if the trout are larger (such as lake trout, for example). Choose a 7-foot model if you want the best of all worlds.

Surf fishing

Choosing the appropriate length for surf fishing rods is more critical than other rod types. This is because surf fishing typically necessitates casting 100 yards or more to reach fish at the edge of a beach’s shallow sandy section.

A fishing rod’s length determines how far you can cast it. As a result, the optimal length for a surf fishing rod is 10 to 12 feet. This is long enough to reach excellent casting distances without becoming awkward or generating excessive arm strain when battling a fish.

Surf rods may be as long as 13 or 14 feet, but keep in mind that casting becomes more difficult as the rod becomes longer and fighting a large fish becomes more exhausting. On the other hand, a surf fishing rod’s minimum length should be 9 feet since anything less makes it challenging to attain enough throwing distance.

Best-size fishing rod 

Start by determining which kind of fish you want to catch and the rod type and fishing method you wish to employ. Assume you want to use a spinning rod to catch largemouth bass. Following that, you’ll notice that fishing rod sizes between 6′ and 7’5′′ are most typically employed, and check other pertinent parts in this article. Then choose a rod in this size range that suits your needs.

Related post: Can You Catch Bass With A Spinning Rod?

Advantages of fishing rod

So, what are the advantages of the fishing rod? Let’s look at the main benefits that the two types of fishing rods provide.

Short fishing rod

There are four significant advantages of using a short fishing rod:

  • A longer rod is more challenging to utilize.
  • It works well in little streams with a lot of flora.
  • Increased casting precision
  • Better on kayaks 

In general, shorter rods have better casting accuracy than longer rods. For example, a 6’5″ spinning rod can cast your lure to a reasonably exact place at around 30 feet. However, an 8’5″ spinning rod would be considerably less accurate at that range. On the other hand, short rods do not support lengthy throwing distances, so you must determine which is more necessary.

Long fishing rod

Long fishing rods have several advantages.

  • Increased casting distance
  • More leverage for a firm hook set
  • More leverage to quickly draw a large fish away from cover.

The length of the rod has a significant impact on the casting distance. The greater the length of the rod, the greater the distance it can throw. That’s why a surf fishing rod may be as long as 14 feet. However, remember that these extra-long rods are tough to use, especially if you aren’t tall. As a result, you might want to begin with a shorter length to determine whether you’re comfortable casting with it.

Power bass anglers prefer long, heavy rods because it provides more leverage to set the hook when a bass hits the bait forcefully. It also aids in hauling a large bass away from the cover immediately.

Conclusion

What is the ideal length for a fishing rod? So, we recommend that you first identify the type of fishing you intend to conduct and then calculate the length of your rod.

However, suppose you’re a beginner fisherman. In that case, you should start with a rod approximately 7 feet long, as this is a medium-length rod that’s pretty easy to handle and can be customized for various uses.