All rods are not alike. Each style of reel requires the appropriate style rod. Example: baitcast/casting and spincasting reels use the same style rod but spinning and fly reels need their own rod design. Take a look below.
True baitcast rods are usually 5 to 6 feet long with a pistol/trigger grip. The baitcast reel and line guides are seated on top of the rod. The small line guides reduces the play in the line making is easier to cast and quicker to retrieve. The trigger grip lets you hold the rod securely while releasing the thumb bar/line release.
Casting rods are available in all lengths and actions. Notice the long handle with a trigger grip. The casting reel and line guides are seated on the top of the rod, just like the baitcast model.
Spinning rods have three main differences from casting models; the reel hangs from the bottom of the reel seat, the line guides are on the bottom of the rod and the guides are larger toward the base of the rod. The handle length is balanced against the length of the rod. Triggers are not used on spinning rods. There is no limit to the length of a spinning rod.
You'll note that fly rods seem to have a combination of casting and spinning features. The reel seat is at the base end of the rod with the reel set tightly against the bottom. This allows for better control over the line release. The line guides are smaller and slightly twisted. This is because fly fishing requires a special type of line. Regular monofilament is not used.
Trying to describe the action of a rod is like trying to explain the flavor of good ice cream. If you don't sample it, you just can't appreciate it. In other words, you need to test or feel the rod actions.
So now you're saying "I'm new to fishing. How do I know what I want or need?" Start by checking the action of different rods within the same model series. Try the light, the medium, the heavy and everything in between. And then buy the medium action. As you adjust to the way the rod feels and behaves when casting and catching fish, you'll instinctively know whether you need to lighten the load or go to something heavier.
Courtesy of Shakespeare
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