Fishing Rod length: Does it actually matter?


Dakota Jones Fishing

Texas Fishing Guide | Outdoor Industry Professional


Fishing Rod Length: Does It Actually Matter?

Odds are, any hard-core angler (tournament bass anglers especially) you meet owns a stash of fishing rods. Depending on the angler, this mass of rods can range from big to small, with countless handle configurations and other defining qualities. This “pile” of rods will only grow as time passes because most fisherman understand the need for different tools to handle specific conditions. But with this need for technique-specific tools, I find that many angler’s selection varies from one to another. Is there actually a “correct tool for the job”, or is it only a matter of personal preference?

“As a rule of thumb, longer rods will increase your ability to cast further.”

I have my own opinion on what is the proper gear for each situation, and I can guarantee it will not be the same as another angler’s opinion, and that is ok. The challenge of fishing is to find the most efficient way to trick a fish into biting; every angler will have their own recipe for success. But there are a few things to consider when choosing a specific length for your next fishing rod.

Casting Distance and Recovery

As a rule of thumb, longer rods will increase your ability to cast further. Longer rods will also recover more line. A good way to imagine this it to think about your cast. If you begin your forward motion at point A and stop your rod at point B, your rod tip will be traveling forward in an “arch” motion. This “arch” will be smaller if done with a 6,6’ rod as compared to a 7,6’ model. The distance the tip is traveling is greater with a longer rod allowing more stored energy on a long cast or more line recovery on the retrieve. This is also something to consider when working your bait or fighting a fish – the longer the rod, the more line it will recover faster.

Mobility and “Fish-ability”

Maybe “hail marry” style long casts are not always the best. Sometimes you need to throw your bait to close targets with accuracy. If you are confined to tight quarters (like fishing docks) then a shorter rod may be a better option. Another detail to consider is “working the bait”. There are times when a longer rod is preferred to work a bait vs a shorter rod. A good example is fishing a top water lure or jerk bait. In both situations, I use a downward twitching motion with my rod tip. I like a shorter rod because I do not want to hit the water every time I twitch the bait. “Skipping” baits underneath cover is another scenario that I prefer a shorter rod (and shorter handle). I can keep my bait skimming the water’s surface easier with a short rod and make quick sidearm casts with a shorter handle.


Remember Archimedes law? Consider your rod a “flexible lever” and your reel the fulcrum. The closer you are to the fulcrum the less leverage you have. This relates more to handle length over actual rod length, but it is a very important detail to consider. In open water, leverage is less important, but in situations which gaining control over the fish is crucial (like flipping bushes), leverage can increase your catch ratio. I am not saying go overboard with handle length, fish-ability is still important but leverage can be your friend sometimes.

As I mentioned previously, every angler has his or her own style and way of doing things. But taking some important details into consideration can help you narrow your search for the perfect set up to match your needs. I hope you liked this post, I always appreciate feedback so feel free to comment below. Stay tuned for more posts like this and do not be afraid to contact me with topics you would enjoy reading about.