Fishing Rod Length Guide For Beginner Anglers (Ultimate Tips & Advice)

fishing rod length guide

The fact of the matter is that most anglers focus a lot on the material and action of the rod. That is necessary, but not all. They also need to consider rod length.

Fishing rods come in a wide variety of lengths, and you should choose a rod length that matches the fishing technique you want to practice and the type of fish you want to handle.

In this fishing rod length guide, we will help you choose the right rod length for you. So, keep reading!

What Length Fishing Rod Should You Use 

What Length Fishing Rod Should You Use 

For Trout

Best Rod Length for Trout

Let’s start with trout. If you are going to fish for trout, your rod should be 6 to 8 feet long. Of course, the exact length depends a lot on where you plan to fish. For example, if you plan to fish wild trout in streams where vegetation is abundant, it is best to pick the shorter model.

The longer version gives you more control over a hooked fish, which is essential for fishing trips in wild waters. Conversely, shorter rods are more suitable in smaller areas.

If you are a beginner, the best thing is to choose a middle option, about 7 feet.

Best Rod Length for Bass

Professional bass anglers often use rods of varying lengths, mainly depending on the lure. In most cases, these rods are 6.5 to 7.5 feet long. For the beginner, a 7 feet fishing rod is the most suitable choice.

In general, for anglers who prefer to go into details or fish with a specific lure only, the 6.5-7 ft rod for spinner & buzz baits is perfect. Additionally, the 6 – 6.5 ft rod is suitable for topwater lures, 7 ft long work wells with jigs & worms, and 7.5 ft is excellent for pitching & flipping.

Best Rod Length for Catfish

Catfish are available in many sizes, from smaller ones to giant ones. So, when it comes to catfish fishing, you have many options to choose from. 

For handling smaller catfishes in the pond, a 6 ft long rod may also work well. However, more skillful anglers prefer rods up to 10 ft long.

However, in most cases, catfish anglers have rods somewhere between 7 and 9 ft long. These rods are easier to maneuver and long enough for catfish fishing. If you are an average angler, it is best to catch normal-sized catfish and not choose a rod over 9 ft long.

Best Rod Length for Carp

You will need longer poles to fight carp. Most advanced anglers will choose 12 feet long rods. However, you can opt for the 10 ft models if you want a slightly smaller option or 13 ft if you want a more extended rod.

If you think the difference in length between 12 and 13 feet seems insignificant, you are wrong! Longer poles are more challenging to maneuver and control. So, whether you are a beginner or a professional angler, we always recommend using the 12 ft option as it is sufficient for casting distance and control of the carp.

In short, 12 ft poles, no doubt,  are the perfect pick for handling carp.

Best Rod Length for Pike

Best Rod Length for Pike

For pike anglers, including the inexperienced, fishing rods about 8 feet long are the best. They are short enough to allow you to handle and control the pike easily when hooked.

Of course, it is possible to use longer or shorter fishing rods, depending on the lure.

Best Rod Length for Child

Best Rod Length for Child

It is great to introduce your child to the world of fishing. However, in most cases, they will have difficulty with the fishing rod.

It is wise to give your child a short pole, which is about 3 to 4 feet long. While these products will not work for you, they will be more than enough for the kids. Of course, they would not use these rods to catch a catfish. Whether your kid catches a fish or not, their experience grows bit by bit, making them professional anglers as they grow.

When they get a little bigger, increase the length of the pole. Specifically, you should equip them with a 5 ft or 6 ft rod. Your kids are old enough to handle a fishing rod and have basic fishing knowledge by this time. These rods will be the perfect starting point for “grown-up” fishing.

Of course, you still need to consider the age of the child. For example, a 5-year-old should start with a 3 ft rod, while a 12-year-old can use a 4 – 5 ft rod for their first fishing sessions.

Another effective solution for children, or even some adults who prefer simplicity, is to use a short fishing pole. They are packaged with only one line attached to the tip and have no line guides and reels. So, all you need to do is lower the bait into the water. Furthermore, casting is unnecessary.

Best Rod Length For Shore Saltwater Fishing 

It is true to say that fishing from the boat is different from fishing from the shore. If you fish from shore, you will have to cast a bit further away while you can position yourself in the spot you want to cast when you’re on the boat.

Most anglers, including beginners and professional anglers, prefer to use  9 to 12 feet rods. In general, the length of the fishing rod depends mainly on a shore type. These fishing rods allow you to cast far and control the fish effectively. If you are inexperienced, starting with a 9 ft rod is the best thing.

Best Rod Length For Inshore Saltwater Fishing

In most cases, the inshore waters are shallower, and the use of very long rods is not necessary. So, 6.5 to 7.5 ft rods are the perfect choice for inshore saltwater fishing.

Some advanced anglers use longer ones for specific purposes, so never mind that. If you are a beginner, a 7 ft rod should be right for you.

Best Rod Length For Ice Fishing 

Ice fishing rods are the shortest on our list. Most of these rods range in length from 28 to 36 inches. These rods are very short because casting is unnecessary. However, ice fishing requires maximum sensitivity so that you can feel the target moving under the ice.

You will have to lower the bait into the ice fishing hole, and to catch a fish or two is considered a success. If you use a longer rod, you won’t be able to sit near the ice fishing hole, making it hard to feel every bite.

Best Rod Length for Beginner

In the guide above, we have covered the recommended rod length for certain fish species. But what about beginners?

As we can see, 7 ft is the best length for your first rod, no matter what kind of fish you want to catch. These fishing rods are incredibly versatile and allow you to handle most types of fish. However, carp is an exception. So, it is essential to learn some other fishing experiences before switching to this fish.

Practice handling your equipment until it becomes comfortable for you. Then, gradually increase the rod length until you gain the right length.

For a final piece of advice, do not try to fish with a rod that’s too long. You will get nothing but disappointment!

This chary compares the lengths of the 7 main rod types. It indicates both their overall length range and their most commonly used ones.

The length of your rod is one of the factors that significantly affect your fishing success. Unfortunately, many anglers are so focused on power and action and ignore the length aspect. In fact, the length of the rod affects the precision, casting distance, and hook set leverage.

Fishing rods under 7 feet are considered short rods. These rods have greater castability and are more accurate. They are the perfect choice for fishing in areas with a lot of vegetation or under heavy cover.

Longer rods are those that are more than 7 feet long. These rods are better for casting. In addition, they usually cover more ground. 

As a beginner angler, casting can be a challenge for you. Therefore, you will need a pole that is neither too long nor too short. The recommended rod length for beginners is 7-inch. It will provide the precision you will need for your first fishing sessions.

Fishing Rod Length Chart

Fishing Rod TypeLength RangeCommonly used lengthsApplication
Spinning rod4’5” - 9’5” 6’ - 7’5”Casting lures, bobber fishing, bottom fishing, surf fishing, live lining,
Baitcasting rod5’5” - 9’ 6’5” - 8’Casting lures or rigs
Fly fishing rod6’ - 10’7’ - 9Fly fishing
Surfcasting rods9' - 14'10’ - 12’Surf fishing
Boat rod 5' - 7' 6’ - 6’6”Boat fishing
Trolling Rod9’ - 14’9’ - 11’Trolling
Ice fishing rod20” - 48”28” - 36”Ice fishing

Does a Longer Rod Cast Further?

Fishing rods work very differently depending on their length. So, it cannot be denied that rod length is related to fishing techniques. Some anglers prefer longer rods, while others prefer shorter ones. Here is the difference between long and short rods.

The length of the rod greatly affects the casting distance. Specifically, shorter rods provide less power and leverage, making them perfect for closed-off waters. Long bars, on the other hand, provide more power and leverage needed when casting your baits.

Does a Longer Rod Cast Further

Next up to sensitivity, shorter rods provide more sensitivity because they are stiffer. In contrast, longer rods have fast reaction speed but are less sensitive.

In short, the shorter pole is perfect for catching smaller fish as they are more sensitive. In contrast, longer rods allow you to handle monster-sized fish.

The short pole does not provide enough leverage to pull the fish out of the water. In contrast, the longer model offers more laying levers that allow you to pull the fish into your boat.

In addition to the length, the weight of the rod also makes significant differences in fishing. Check out here for more information.

Pros Of Short Fishing Rod

  • A perfect pick for bushy areas since the casting distance is limited.
  • Short fishing rods offer more sensitivity because they are known to be stiffer. So these rods allow you to feel every movement of the lure and the bites of the fish.
  • Short fishing rods are for you if you are aiming for a specific type of fish. They will help you ensure accuracy by studying the fish and their movements.

Pros Of Long Rods

  • Longer rods offer longer casting distances, making them the perfect choice for open waters. Also, they help you cover more ground.
  • With a bit of experience and ingenuity, you can catch even monster-sized fish.
  • Long rods are less stiff and bend more, resulting in more leverage.
  • This allows the hook holds more on the fish, making them easier to handle.
  • They allow you to reach fish at depths that most shorter rods cannot reach. Thanks to that, you can catch the sweetest species.

Frequently Asked Questions

More and more fishing rods for children are being invented. The length of this pole varies according to the age and size of the child. A 3-4 ft pole is a perfect pick for a seven-year-old. As the child gets a little older, gradually increase the length of the pole.
Rods in the range of 6’6″ or less are perfect for trout fishing.
It works perfectly with spinnerbaits for swim jigs. So, if you want to catch species that get startled easily, this is the best choice.

See more: Fishing Rod Weight Chart 

Bottom Line

Hopefully, by now, you should know how long your fishing rod should be. It is essential to figure out the kind of fishing you intend to do, then refer to the fishing rod length guide above to determine the length of your rod.

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