Fishing Pole vs Rod: Which Is the Better Pick for You?

As a beginner angler, you are bound to run into one problem (if you haven’t already)—the fishing pole vs rod debate.

You have probably heard experienced anglers talk about one or the other. Is there a difference, and how does it impact your fishing experience?

If you have racked your brain asking these questions, you have come to the right place.

Below, we will talk about fishing poles and fishing rods and what sets them apart from each other.

In addition, we will be discussing the advantages and disadvantages of using each one.

After reading, you should be able to decide for yourself when to take out a fishing pole or when to use a rod.

What’s a Fishing Pole?

The most obvious difference in the fishing pole vs rod comparison is that poles have no reel seats or guide rings.

With a fishing pole, you simply attach the fishing line to its end.

The common fishing rod, on the other hand, has all these parts, sometimes more.

It is a complex piece of fishing equipment that offers more versatility and a different kind of fishing experience.

To give you a better insight into this, let us look at each fishing tool separately, starting with the pole.

Different Types of Fishing Poles

Aside from the fact that fishing poles are simpler, they have one more quality that could help you distinguish them from rods.

Fishing poles are typically made from natural materials like wood, cane, and bamboo.

So, even if it is entirely possible to find an expensive fishing pole, they are generally more affordable than rods.

There are two broad types of fishing poles: freshwater fishing poles and saltwater fishing poles.

Freshwater Pole

Freshwater fishing poles are typically made of cane or reed and are used on ponds and rivers.

The most common examples of this type of pole are fly fishing, catfish, and crappie poles.

Fly fishing poles are the go-to fishing tool for people who want to catch the wildly popular trout fish. That said, you could also use it for other types of fish.

Note that fly fishing poles require a certain skill level to be effective. Nevertheless, it can be very fun to use once you get the hang of it.

On the other hand, catfish poles are designed to have added support since catfish can be big and heavy.

What’s more, they are known to really put up a fight, hence the added support on the pole.

In comparison, crappie poles are quite the opposite because they are designed for agility and maneuverability.

Saltwater Fishing Pole

Saltwater poles are ideal for fishing on seas and coastal areas.

They come in a variety of designs and sizes, so you won’t have trouble finding one to suit your fishing needs. 

That said, make sure you also check out the weight capacity when choosing which distinctive saltwater fishing poles to use.

What’s a Fishing Rod?

Compared to a fishing pole, a fishing rod is a lot more complex.

It has eyes that guide the fishing line, and you often use it in combination with cast reels, fly reels, or some type of enclosed reels.

Graphite rods are fairly common, but you will also see fiberglass fishing rods and even ones made from Kevlar.

Different Types of Fishing Rods

There are different types of fishing rods to choose from, depending on the type of fishing that you do.

Here is a closer look at the most common varieties of fishing rods:

Casting Rod

If you want to be able to cast your bait freely, the casting rod is your best choice.

This type of fishing rod offers more accuracy, allowing anglers to make flips on specific spots. However, it is a bit heavy because it is designed to catch big fish.

Its reel seat is compatible with a spincasting or baitcasting reel and is positioned above the rod.

Naturally, all the rod guides are also facing up. This feature offers a key advantage, as you won’t have to worry about the eyelets being pulled off when fighting a big fish.

Spinning Rod

Compared to the casting rod, the spinning rod is smaller and lighter, making them easier to handle.

Another key difference is that the reel seat hangs underneath the rod. The reel is more accessible in this position, which is much better if you are a beginner angler.

However, it also means that the eyelets are below the rod, so they run the risk of being pulled off with enough force.

In other words, it is not the best choice if you are looking to catch big fish.

Trolling Rod

If you want to attract certain types of predatory fish, your best bet is to use a trolling rod aboard a moving boat.

This technique drags the bait through the water at a specific depth, attracting tuna, salmon, and other types of fish.

Trolling rods are sturdily built since they have to withstand the sudden weight of a fish pulling against the moving boat.

They are heavier, have higher drag settings, and can handle thicker lines.

Fishing Pole vs Rod: Pros and Cons 

In the old days, people only knew the term fishing pole.

But as fishing technology evolved, new and more complicated fishing equipment emerged, including the fishing rod.

So, how do you decide which one is best for you? Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each fishing tool:

Advantages of Using Fishing Poles

One of the biggest draws of using a fishing pole is that it offers more precision and control.

Its design is so simple that you can just guide it over the exact spot you want to cover. You could also lower or raise the bait as you wish.

These features will come in handy if you fish somewhere with a lot of obstacles, like weeds and cover.

You will be able to present the lure more precisely, which means that the fish is more likely to bite.

Once it does, you can guide the fish better through the weeds, allowing you to get it out successfully.

That’s why many anglers use poles when bass fishing on vegetated lakes, swamps, and other similar bodies of water.

Aside from being more precise, fishing poles are also stealthier.

While it is entirely possible to make a perfect cast with minimal splash using a rod, not everyone has the skill to do it.

Fortunately, this won’t be a problem if you use a fishing pole. 

All you have to do is move it out over the water, then slowly lower the bait. As long as the pole does not frighten the fish, you are good to go.

Fishing Pole Disadvantages

There is a time and place to use a fishing pole, but it does come with a few disadvantages.

The first one is that you have to use a long pole to increase your reach. Others have been known to plant modular towers into the lake or stream for the same purpose.

In any case, it limits your maneuverability, as a very big pole or a tower is difficult to handle.

Another thing you need to consider is that while fishing poles are cheaper than rods, it won’t matter if you have to invest in a modular tower.

So, in some cases, using a fishing pole can be more expensive. 

Finally, there is the matter of availability. Depending on where you are, you might have difficulty finding a fishing pole because some tackle shops do not sell them.

Advantages of Using Fishing Rods

As mentioned, fishing rods are more intricate, and the added bells and whistles allow them to do more things. For instance, you can cast your lure farther with a rod than with a pole.

This is especially true if you use the right rod and reel combination and the assembly is lightweight.

With enough practice, you could also be fairly accurate with the fishing rod.

Techniques such as pitching and flipping are especially useful when casting over short distances.

Another reason to fall in love with fishing rods is that they provide more flexibility when it comes to presentation.

You can bounce jigs along the bottom, use poppers and buzz baits for top water, and toss crankbaits for the middle.

In other words, the fishing rod’s flexibility will allow you to explore the entire water column.

Finally, using a fishing rod helps you cover more water. You could cast farther than you could with a pole and do so at different angles.

This allows you to explore an area more thoroughly and quickly, so you can move on to another spot.

A fishing rod is also easier to lug around. Some poles can go as long as 60 feet, and while many are telescopic, they can still be heavy.

Disadvantages of Fishing Rods

A fishing rod is less accurate when it comes to presenting bait, although this is something you could compensate for with practice. 

It also has more parts, which means more things that could go wrong or get damaged. What’s more, more parts also translate to more cost. 

Which One Should You Choose?

Fishing rods offer more flexibility in terms of features, and they are suitable for beginner and experienced anglers alike. They can be more expensive, but they are the safer choice.

If you fish exclusively in smaller waters, then go with the fishing pole. Better yet, get both to maximize your fishing experience.

Leave a Reply