Fishing Rod vs Fishing Pole: What’s the Difference?

Thomas Krik

Written by

Thomas Krik

Marc Lowe


Marc Lowe

fishing rod vs fishing pole

Fishing rods and fishing poles are standard equipment used for fishing. To tell them apart, one should know that the rod has a reel and line guides, while the other type has none. These two might have similar purposes, yet, they differ in functions, parts, measurement, and more, which serve different types of fishing.

So, what’s more to know about them?

Below is a comparison table of fishing rod vs fishing pole for you to quickly spot their differences:

Features Fishing Rod Fishing Pole
Design with line guides with a line attached to the tip
Reels has reel no reel
Purpose casting lures placing bait
Performance has increased casting distance but is less accurate precise and can also make a perfect cast that is stealthy
Cost more expensive as it has too many parts a little pricey, but easy to use

Fishing Pole Vs Fishing Rod: What Are They?

What is a Fishing Rod?


Fishing rods are best for those experienced fishers, as this type of equipment features more complicated parts, including line guides.

The basic part names of a fishing rod are the handle, reel, and guides. The handle is usually the grip or the reel seat of the rod. The reel is a part of the rod attached to the handle, and the guides help feed your line.

Fishing rods are versatile as they are made of different materials, including fiberglass, graphite, bamboo, or composite rods.

Also, a fishing rod is typically as long as 4 ft to 15 ft.

Types of Fishing Rods

Fishing rod uses depend on its type, as these items are rather versatile. Below are some fishing rod types and uses you may consider:


  • Casting Rods – This fishing rod type is best for beginners as it has a push-catch function with a button to discharge the fishing line easily. It is most commonly used in warm water or smallmouth bass.
  • Spinning Rods – This common fishing rod is also easy to operate with various actions, from low to fast to choose from. This versatile rod is best used for lake fishing or river fishing.
  • Trolling Rods – If you are fishing in a moving boat, then trolling rods are the best. This type typically has large reels and stiffer roads, thus ideal for fishing in an ocean or a big lake.
  • Surf Rods – This is another type of fishing rod, usually about 13 to 16 feet long. You can bring this type of fishing rod for shore fishing off rocks. It is quite heavy, so you should know the surf fishing rod assembly to carry it around.

How to use a Fishing Rod?

The fishing rods are for jigging lures or for trolling bait. As fishing rods are versatile, you can cast bait even at larger distances.

To use a fishing rod, properly set up the reel and match the lure’s weight to the power of your rod. If you want to cast further, make sure to use thinner lines.

What is a Fishing Pole?


Fishing poles are fishing equipment but with a line attached only at the end of the pole. It has no reel or line guides, unlike a fishing rod. Its size ranges from 4 ft to as long as 50ft, perfect for long pole fishing.

Types of Fishing Poles

Fishing poles without reels have two types: freshwater and saltwater.


  • Freshwater Pole is a type of pole used in freshwater and differs in size and flexibility. To use it properly, choose a stiff pole.
  • Saltwater Pole – This pole for fishing is used for saltwater. It should have a stronger material as it is designed to catch larger fish.

How to use a Fishing Pole?


Basically, there is not much difference when using freshwater and saltwater poles. The way you fish will still be the same in either type.

Fishing using a pole is simple. First, you must set up a fishing pole in the area of water you wish to fish. Prepare everything you need and start casting.

To cast a fishing pole, face the direction of the water you wish to cast. Then, lure your bait and hold the handle tight.

Using fishing poles is best when you are around vegetation. Simply extend the end of the fishing pole while the line is over the water. Then, place the bait on the water gently.

Fishing Pole vs Rod: Pros and Cons

A fishing rod and pole will have pros and cons, and you should pay attention to them when picking one.

Fishing Rod


  • The casting distance of fishing rods is further
  • The action to the bait is more practical
  • Fishing rods are versatile
  • Many gears to use, including lures and types of baits
  • Durable and tough enough to catch heavy
  • They come in many types, ideal for different fishing requirements, thus best for a wide range of fish


  • Fishing rods have less accurate casting, especially if you’re a beginner
  • The parts of the fishing rod are a bit complicated
  • Its lures can sink and become crooked over time
  • Rather expensive

Fishing Pole


  • Fishing poles have fewer and simple-to-use parts
  • Bait can be placed precisely and is very secretive
  • Best to use around vegetation


  • Fishing poles are typically very long, and they tend to get difficult to wield
  • They are not that versatile
  • Best only for a narrow range of fish

Fishing Rod vs Pole: The Similarities

Both fishing poles and rods are ideal tools used for fishing. They are designed to catch fish using baits and lures, thus becoming a good choice for enthusiasts and experienced fishers alike,

Furthermore, they are similar in the sense that the longer the fishing rods and fishing poles, the longer the cast.

Fishing Rod vs Pole: The Differences

1. Reel and Line Guides


Fishing rods typically have a reel and line guides, while fishing poles do not have these. The line guides in the fishing rod help keep the fishing line straight.

2. Design

Fishing rods are designed for casting, jigging, and trolling. On the other hand, a fishing pole is used for basic fishing.

3. Casting Distance

Fishing rods have an increased casting distance but are not as accurate as the fishing pole. Fishing poles make a perfect cast that is stealthy and precise at the spot the fishers want it to be.

4. Cost


Fishing rods are expensive, but you can find cheaper ones costing $15. Fiberglass fishing rods are cheaper, while graphite can cost about $700. Fishing poles are indeed more affordable, ranging from $30-$40.

5. Versatility

As shown above, the fishing rod comes in more types, allowing users to catch big and small fish, in different bodies of water.

Meanwhile, the type and use of the fishing pole will be rather limited due to its lack of gear.

Fishing Pole or Rod: Which is Better?

Knowing which fishing rod or pole is better depends on your capability, water area, and fishing method.

If you are a beginner, opt for the more straightforward to use, which is the fishing pole. It is also the better choice if you want to fish in shallow water, such as in ponds.

On the other hand, the best equipment to use if you are fishing in a big area of water is a fishing rod. It is a more suitable choice to cast big fish. Also, if you want a fishing rod, a casting rod is a good pick.

Tips and Tricks to Maximize the Casting Distance


Fishing is more about the casting distance. The golden rule in casting is: the longer the rod or pole, the farther the distance. To help you with that, here are some tips to help you maximize your casting distance and catch more.

1. Use the right fishing equipment.

First things first, choose the right rod or pole, reel, and line. Assemble a fishing pole or rod suitable for the range of fish or area of water.

2. Ensure full spool.

Make sure that more lines come off the reel to turn. This step could give you a longer cast.

3. The lighter line, the better

Remember, the lighter the line, the farther you cast. However, don’t use too light a line to avoid break-offs. You should go for ones with a 10-pound or 12-pound test line.

4. Avoid throwing hard while casting.

Casting hard might cause imbalance. Again, put pressure on the casting depending on the weight of your rod.

5. Practice makes perfect

Don’t hesitate to practice to improve your casting. Also, remember to have fun in the process!

Tips for Choosing the Right Equipment for Your Fishing Needs


Now that you know the basic things about fishing rods and fishing poles, it’s best to figure out which one will be right for you. Fishing without a pole is a different story if you don’t know the best for you.

1. Quality

First, know the durability of the equipment, as it is the most crucial part when choosing the right equipment. Choose the right brand and check the materials to know that the quality is excellent. Make sure you also check reviews.

2. Size

Of course, one factor you must consider is the size. Can you handle it? Can you carry it pretty well? The size matters, especially if you have to carry and throw it when fishing. You must be comfortable enough to hold your equipment and turn the reel.

3. Budget

Lastly, check your budget. Prices of fishing rods and poles vary depending on the quality, brand, type, and materials used.

If you are too fond of fishing, invest in high-quality equipment that will last long.

A good fishing pole and rod must be of perfect quality and size and also fit your budget.

However, fishing rods and poles are better to use if you know your capabilities in fishing. Are you a beginner or an experienced angler?

Either one of them has specific equipment which is better for you. For instance, you can only use a simple fishing rod if it is your first time fishing. Again, choosing between a fishing rod or a fishing pole depends on you.

So, what is the right equipment for you?

  • For beginners, choosing a fishing pole would be the best idea. It is easier to use, with simpler components and functions.
  • Experienced anglers mostly use fishing rods. Fishing rods have different components with different functions. Experienced ones should know how to handle rod wells.

Frequently Asked Questions or Helpful Tips

What are the common fishing terms?

Here are some fishing rod terms to help you understand some basic things to do when fishing.

  • Action – the amount of pressure as the rod bends and the speed when the rod returns to its original position. Therefore, you might have an action fishing rod of slow, medium, fast, or a combination of these speeds.
  • Bait – What is used to attract a fish is called bait, which is attached inside the trap or on the tip of the finishing hook.
  • Jigging – A term for fishing practice or a weighted fishing lure when you throw the fishing line as deep as 40m.
  • Rig – These are hooks, snaps, or sinkers added at the end of the rod’s line
  • Sinker – the weight attached at the rod’s line.
  • Snag – It is either rock, reef, or any materials that the fishing line catches instead of the fish.
  • Trolling – A method where one or more fishing lines are drawn in the zone.

Can I use the same fishing reel for both fishing rods and poles?

Different kinds of fishing rods and poles have different characteristics and components. This is why not all fishing reels can be used in a fishing rod or pole. There are types of fishing reels that are specifically designed for a certain rod.

How do I maintain my fishing rod or pole to ensure its longevity?

For your fishing rod or pole maintenance, make sure to have it checked occasionally. The most suggested is once a year. The basic thing you need to do is clean your rod or pole every after use, especially the parts or components. Moreover, make sure to keep it in clean storage.

Can I use a fishing pole for all types of fishing?

No. Fishing poles have different types: freshwater and saltwater. Freshwater is best for freshwater fishing and has different widths and lengths. Saltwater is used for saltwater which should have stronger material as it is designed to catch larger fish.


Fishing rod vs Fishing pole: which one do you prefer?

To conclude, fishing poles are the basic type of fishing equipment that is easy to use and best for starters. On the other hand, fishing rods are complicated because of their components but have different types, which are suitable for any fishing method you like.

Fishing might sound fun and easy, but the more you know about it, it’s not that simple. From uses to different fishing poles and rods, it’s best to find the best fishing equipment you should use.

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