What Length Fishing Rod Do I Need?

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. more info

Let’s keep in mind that fishing rods come in a large variety of lengths. They can come as short as a minimal 4 feet, or they can get as long as a monstrous 14 or 15 feet.

Yes, there are a lot of considerations to keep in mind when buying a fishing rod. The length of the rod is one very important aspect to keep in mind, which is true for various reasons.


7 Things To Take Into Account With Rod Length

We’re going to talk about all of the factors that you need to think about right now. So, what length fishing rod do I need? Well, it really depends on these 7 factors;

1. Casting Distance & Accuracy

One of the main considerations to keep in mind before selecting your fishing rod is how far you need to be able to cast. Generally speaking, a longer fishing rod will allow for longer casting distances to be achieved.

If you are fishing in a situation where you need to cast really far, such as if you are on a fixed point in the land, a longer rod will be best. The longer it is, the more casting power you will get. Most people like to go with an 8 or 9 foot rod for long distance casting.

With that being said, if you don’t need to achieve a really long casting distance, a shorter 6 or 7 foot rod might be just fine for you. Now, on the flipside of things, when it comes to casting accuracy, it might be a bit hard to get your lure to land in a certain spot if you have a really long reel.

Casting Distance VS Accuracy

Although shorter rods will never achieve the same casting distance as longer rods, they are a bit more accurate. This makes a shorter rod better for close range fishing where there might be obstacles on the surface of the water that need to be avoided.

2. Your Size

Something else you need to think about when selecting a fishing rod is your own size. Yeah, if you are a big 7 foot, 300 pound person, a very long and big fishing rod should be great for you.

However, this is not the case for everybody. If you are a smaller and lighter person with limited muscle power, such as a child, you will want a shorter rod. For instance, a 10 year old child probably should not be using a rod that is any longer than 5 or 6 feet at most. They just don’t yet have the muscle power to handle anything longer than that.

fishing rod and reel

3. Your Fishing Location – Maneuverability

Another important point to keep in mind when talking about the length of the fishing rod you need, is where you are fishing from. This is especially important when mobility and maneuverability is concerned.

For instance, if you are fishing off of an open dock or a large boat, a long fishing rod will do just fine. As long as you have enough space to really crank back the rod for a long cast, and enough space to maneuver it while reeling the fish back in, a longer rod will work amazingly.

With that being said, if you don’t have much room to work with, you will probably want to stick to a fairly short rod. For instance, if you are fishing from the shoreline, but there are lots of trees, branches, and bushes around, you won’t have much space to wind back a big reel for casting.

You don’t want your reel or hook getting caught in foliage, in which case a shorter rod is best. This is also true if you are fishing from a small boat or kayak.

Some rods are just way too long to be considered portable, which is definitely necessary when kayak fishing (along with a good tackle bag).

We have covered the 7 main types of reels over at this article.

4. Quiet & Subtle Fishing

Yet another important thing to keep in mind is what kind of fishing you want to do. For subtle and quiet fishing, a longer rod is actually better, for the most part anyway.

For instance, a proper crappie fishing technique is to simply hold the tip of the rod over the area where you want to fish. This is instead of casting a far distance, which will cause your line and lure to plunk down in the water, thus scaring fish away.

Instead, with a longer rod, you can simply drop the bait down right on top of the fish, thus reducing vibrations and noise caused by the lure. The longer your rod is, the better you can position it over the area you want to fish for a subtle approach.

However, if a subtle and super quiet approach is not really necessary, you can go for a slightly shorter rod.

It all comes down to the fishing technique and how subtle you need to be.

5. The Power & Leverage

The next factor to keep in mind when selecting the length of your fishing rod is how much power and flex you need. A really long 12 foot rod is naturally going to have quite a bit of flex and bend in it.

Now, this can be good for some cases, but not when it comes to power and leverage. Yes, flexible rods are good in terms of their strength, or in other words, they can bend a big before they snap.

However, if you are fishing for large prey that is going to fight you big time, a really long rod is probably not going to work too well, especially if you plan on muscling the fish back in. If the rod is too flexible, it will be hard to get a lot of power behind your pull. It’s hard to muscle a fish back to your boat or to the shore with a long and bendy rod.

A shorter rod that does not bend as much will allow you to apply more pull and strength to the rod in order to really pull those fish in. Do keep in mind that you probably want to stick to something in the middle here.

Having a rod with a lot of flex and bend is not great in terms of power, but on the other hand, if the fish is a big fighter and is heavy, you do want a rod with a bit of flex so it doesn’t just snap under the stress.

6. Sensitivity

The next thing that you need to consider here is how sensitive you need the rod in question to be. Sensitivity is all about the transfer of energy. When a fish nibbles on your hook, you need those vibrations to travel up the line, through the rod, and into the handle so you can feel them.

This is especially important when you are fishing for smaller prey, fish whose nibbles are hard to feel due to their small size.

The longer the fishing rod is, the more distance those vibrations need to travel from the lure, through the rod, and finally to your hands. Therefore, the longer the rod is, the less of these vibrations you will feel.

Therefore, if you are fishing for really small prey with subtle nibbles, a shorter rod is going to be the better choice.

However, if you don’t need a lot of sensitivity, a longer rod will probably do just fine.

7. Quick Action & Responsiveness

The other thing to think about before you choose a specific rod length is the kind of fishing you are doing in terms of the pace.

Generally speaking, a longer rod is going to be more responsive to your subtle movements. A little movement origination from the handle will cause a large change in position of the tip of the rod, and therefore the lure.

This is good if you need the lure to move large distances with minimal movement on your part. However, if you are finessing it and require lots of constant and little movements, a shorter rod might be better.

For the most part, longer rods are good for the long game plan, whereas shorter ones tend to be better for fast paced action and lots of quick movements.


So, as you can see, there are many factors that you absolutely need to keep in mind before you select a specific fishing rod length that is best for you. Responsiveness, sensitivity, your size, where you are fishing from, casting distance, and a couple of other things all need to be taken into account. If you do think about all of these factors in depth, you should not have a problem getting the right fishing rod length for you.

Jason Downs

I created Fishtackly to share my 30 years of fishing experience and knowledge with others with the aim to help, and hopefully get more people involved and educated in this fantastic hobby that I love.