What Length Fishing Rod Should I Get?

Fishing rods are an essential part of fishing, but there are so many factors to take in when it comes to picking one out.

It’s important to find the right size because if you do not, it is possible that you won’t be able to fish in the way that you are hoping to.

It will be a lot more difficult to fish and, in some cases, nearly impossible.

What length fishing rod should I get?

There are a lot of different signs that will tell you what size fishing rod you should get, and it’s important to keep them all in mind when selecting one.

You’ll need to keep in mind your own body size, what type of fishing you’ll be doing, location, and how you like to fish. With all of these different factors, there are a lot of different options for the length of your fishing rod.

In order to get out and onto the water, you’ll need to find the perfect rod for you, and this article will detail just what you can do to find the right one before you hit the water.

What Length Fishing Rod Should I Get?

Some might say that the length of the fishing rod might not matter, or that it’s relative and there’s a one size fits all option. However, these are all incorrect myths, and it’s important to find the right size pole that fits your person. There are many factors that go along with it, and it’s important to take them all into account.

There are a lot of ways to tell if a fishing rod is right for you and a lot of ways to tell if a rod is wrong for you. It’s good to know all of these so that you can find the one that best fits you.

An Overview of Fishing Rod Lengths and Uses

Before going any further, let’s take a look at an overview of fishing rod lengths, and what some of the different fishing rods may be useful for.

TypeLength VariationsGood for Beginners?Better on Boats or Land?Freshwater or Saltwater?
Ice Fishing Rods~24 to 28 inchesYesLandFreshwater
Spinning Rods~24 inches to 16 feetYesBothBoth
Casting Rods~6 feet to 16 feetNot So MuchBoatsBoth
Fly Rods~6 feet to 15 feetNot So MuchBothFreshwater
Sea Fishing Rods~6 feet to 15 feetNot So MuchBoatsSaltwater
Trolling Rods~5 feet to 15 feetNot So MuchBoatsBoth
Telescopic Rods~6 feet to 12 feet (when expanded)YesLandFreshwater
Ultralight Rods~4 feet to 9 feetYesLandFreshwater

Things You Need to Consider Before Picking Out Your Rod

Like you may have started to learn from the table, there are quite a few things to take into consideration before picking out a fishing rod. There are some main important categories of considerations when choosing a fishing rod:

  • Fishing location
  • How much space you’ll have for fishing (in the boat; on land)
  • Desired casting distance
  • Desired casting accuracy
  • Body size (who will be using the pole?)
  • Desired fishing style
  • How sensitive you’d like your rod to be
  • How you plan to respond to what’s on your line

Let’s take a look at these considerations in more detail.


The first thing to think about is location, location, location!

Different locations call for different types of rods, as there are different rods for different locations and circumstances.

For example, there’s a difference between a saltwater rod and a freshwater rod. It’s important to know where you’ll be fishing before you can pick out your rod.

Some rods, such as the spinning rod, are good for both saltwater and freshwater. However, it’s recommended for deep ocean fishing. The size of a spinning rod changes because of this, and the length of the rod won’t be the same as it would be if you were getting, say, a casting rod.

Sizes depend on whether you’re fishing in the ocean or in freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds. This is due to the fact that each habitat is so different and the weather, waves, and the like vary from each other. Therefore, sea rods are built differently from freshwater ones.

Sea rods tend to be longer and heavier than freshwater ones, so it’s important that you know that, if you’re going sea fishing, you’re going to have to look for a rod that’s bigger. However, you don’t want your rod to be too big, or you won’t be able to get anything done.

In addition, there are other environmental factors to take in mind, besides whether you’re fishing in salt or freshwater. It’s important to note how big the boat you’ll be fishing in is, because your spatial range will change.

Consider How Much Space You’ll Have for Fishing

With that being said, it’s good to know how many people will be on your boat, how cramped the boat will be because of it, and how much space you’ll actually have for fishing.

The more cramped your boat is, the shorter that you’ll want your rod to be. This is to ensure that you’re able to still cast your line out. If there’s enough space, however, a longer rod will do. Knowing how much space you’ll have is an important factor in what size rod you should get.

Know What Cast Length You Need

That being said, it’s important to know the cast length that you’ll need, as some fishing trips call for a longer cast. Casting farther from where you are means that you’ll need to get a longer rod, rather than a shorter one.

This is especially important before you decide to go fly fishing, as to whether or not you’ll be on land or on a boat while doing so.

Of course, it isn’t always necessary to have a long rod when casting farther out, as there are even more variables to that than it might seem.

Consider How Much Cast Accuracy You Prefer

One such thing is accuracy to your cast. If you want a more accurate cast, then it would be best if you got a rod that was shorter. Shorter rods also help you navigate waters that have many rocks and other obstacles in the way.

Consider the Size of Who Will Be Using the Pole

Your body size is something very important that needs to be taken into account, as to how tall you are will change what size rod fits you best.

Some rods are heavier than others, and it’s important to take that into account, especially if a child is going to be fishing or how tall someone that is fishing will be.

A longer rod is generally better for those that are taller and can handle the heavy weight of a rod. The smaller you are, the shorter you’d want your rod to be, so that you’re able to use it correctly.

If someone who’s small holds a rod far too big, they are likely to not be able to fish at all, which is why your body size matters, when coming up with what rod to use.

Consider Your Personal Fishing Style

There are a lot of important factors to keep in mind when it comes to your own, individual fishing style. Everybody fishes different from each other, and it’s important to know exactly what type of fishing you’d like to do.

For instance, are you a quiet fisher? Or do you not mind using louder fishing methods? These are things to keep in mind when selecting your rods.

With the example above, if you want to be quiet, so as to not disturb the fish below, it might be best to get a longer rod, as it will let you quietly lower your bait and hook into the water, creating minimal noise to the fish.

Some prefer this, as they want to make sure that they have as much opportunity as possible when getting a fish. They don’t want to disturb anything below, so they can easily pull the right fish up.

Consider Some Different Scenarios

With your style comes different styles for different scenarios. Sometimes, while fishing, you’ll need a rod that bends easier and gives you more opportunity to flex your power. Sometimes you won’t need this. It all depends on the scenario, which is important to remember before you pick your rod.

If you need a more bendy rod or one that you can flex with, a longer rod is your best option, at that point. Longer rods help flex more, and they’re able to bend more than a shorter one, because of their length.

Bendy rods are also stronger and help with some smaller fish. But, if you’re looking for a bigger catch, you’re going to want a shorter rod, one that will not bend as much.

Rods that do not bend as much, aka shorter rods, will help you use your manpower to pull up the bigger fish in the sea. However, longer rods can also help with bigger fights with a fish, while you pull them up.

Keep in Mind How Sensitive You Want Your Pole To Be

Another important factor to keep in mind is how sensitive you want your pole to be. If you want to feel every tug at your rod from anything, then a shorter rod will be better. You’ll be notified right away when something is playing with your bait. Longer rods are good, if you are not hunting smaller fish, where you would need more sensitivity.

Think of How You Want to Respond to Whatever Could Be On Your Line

Something you need to keep in mind is how you want to respond to whatever is tugging on your line. If you want something quick, a shorter rod will do.

It doesn’t register your subtle movements as much as a longer rod does, making it so that you are able to do smaller movements without your rod or line being disturbed. In terms of how quick to respond to little things are, the longer the rod, the better.

There are quite a few things to keep in mind when it comes to picking a rod that’s the right length. You need to be able to see the big picture, making sure that you know your full situation before getting into it.

Before you go onto the water, you’ll want the right rod, and the best way to find one is to keep in mind your whole fishing trip so that you can get the perfect rod for you.

Overall, Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing a Rod

These are some of the main questions you should consider and ask yourself before choosing a rod:

  • Where do I plan on going fishing?
  • How much space will I have in my fishing area?
  • What kind of casting distance would I like?
  • How much cast accuracy would I prefer?
  • What size of rod will fit my body size and type?
  • What’s my desired fishing style?
  • How sensitive/tough would I prefer my rod?
  • How do I plan to respond to what I get on my line?

Fishing Rods: Why Size Matters

As mentioned previously, size matters with fishing rods in a lot of different ways.

There’s the fact that you need to be able to be ready for different situations and the fact that different terrains call for different types of rods.

It’s important to be aware of all of these things, and considering the size of your rod comes with that.

Why Size Matters:

  • Your fishing style and how you want to fish completely depends on the size of your rod.
  • Your environment might call for a different sized rod than the one you think you need.
  • However far you want to cast out and however accurate you want to be, depends on how long your rod is.
  • You won’t be able to fish if you don’t have the right sized rod.

Having the right size is important for every fisherman, as you won’t be able to get anything done if you have the wrong sized rod. Well, you probably would be, but it would be far more difficult and not as relaxing as you’d like it to be.

You want your fishing trip to be fun, and you want to be able to kick back and relax, but you can’t do that if your fishing rod is the wrong size.

If you get the right-sized rod, you’re guaranteed to have a smoother journey, even if you’re just starting out. And, if you have a kid that’s just learning, they’ll be able to learn better and faster from a rod that fits them better.

A kid would do better with a shorter rod that they’ll be able to control, and, if you give them a long rod, they won’t be able to catch any fish, which is no fun for them, either.

Long story short, size is crucial when it comes to fishing. If you don’t have the right sized rod, you won’t be able to get through your fishing trip without some frustration

Additional Factors to Consider Before Buying a Fishing Rod

While everything that’s been stated is important when it comes to picking the right sized rod, there are other factors to consider, and not just in terms of size.

Here are some other factors to keep in mind before buying a fishing rod:

  • What type of fish you’re going for
  • How long you’ll be fishing for
  • How far you have to travel to your fishing spot

What Type of Fish Are You Seeking?

Different types of fish call for different types of rods. If you’re looking for smaller fish, you’ll want a rod like the ultralight rod, that’ll help you catch what you need.

If you’re looking for bigger fish out in the open ocean, you will want to invest in a sea rod, which will help you catch what you want to catch.

Are You Going Fly Fishing?

Fly fishing makes a big difference in the type of rod you’ll be getting and the size. When fly fishing, it’s important that you have the right one for the right job, depending on where you’ll be.

Fly fishing from land and from a boat are both different, and this changes the size of your rod. When fly fishing, you’re going to naturally want a longer rod. This is because you’ll get a much further cast that’ll help you get fish way out there.

This is especially good when you’re out on land. When you’re on land, it’s harder to get fish if you don’t have a longer cast. So, with a longer rod, you’ll be able to send your cast out further and further.

The longer your rod, the further out you’ll be able to go. So, if you are interested in fly fishing, it’s important to keep in mind the length of your rod and how that will affect what size you get.

How Long Do You Plan on Fishing?

The length of time you’ll be fishing for isn’t something that someone would think matters, but it does. If you expect to be out on the water for a long time, then you’re going to want a rod that’s comfortable for you.

If you’re planning on going out for a long period of time, I would suggest doing a lot of research into the type of fishing that you will be doing and what your environment will be, while you do it. If you’re planning on using a spinning rod in freshwater, and you’re planning on being there a while, you’re going to want to have the perfect sized rod for you.

This will ensure that you’ll be comfortable while you’re fishing, and you won’t want to stop for anything. You’ll be able to kick back and wait for the fish to come to you, and maybe have some fun with whomever you’re fishing with.

This can also affect the type of rod you get, in the first place. If you plan on staying out on the open ocean for a long while, a sea rod is likely the best option for you. This will make sure that you do what you need to in the time that you have.

How Far Do You Have to Travel?

Travel time is also an important factor, even though it might not seem that way at first.

If you’re traveling a great distance from your fishing spot, you’ll want a rod that’s easily portable or a traveling situation that will make sure that you have a smooth and safe way there, without the risk of breaking your rod.

It would be difficult to travel a long way with a longer rod, so, if that’s something important to you, it’s something that you should keep in mind, before purchasing your rod.

There are so, so, so many factors when it comes to picking out the right rod and it’s important to keep them all in mind. You want to be able to go through your fishing trip with ease, to try and catch some fish as planned, and maybe even have some fun and relaxation while doing so.

Choosing The Length of Your Fishing Rod? No Problem!

Keeping all of this in mind, you can see it’s crucial that you know the exact size of rod that you’ll need before you go into the store. The right sized rod can make or break a fishing trip, and making sure that you have the right size is the most important factor to it.

If you do manage to get the right sized rod, and you’re in the perfect spot and the fish are catching, you’re sure to have a good time.

Everyone wants that for their fishing trip, so, in order to get that future fishing trip, you’ll want to do all of the research that you can that will get you there.

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Recent Content