Fishing rods come in a wide array of lengths and thicknesses. There are many other characteristics that you can use to measure the utility and quality of a rod and these attributes all influence the price you’ll pay for the rod.
In this article I’m going to go over the basics of fishing rods and how much the rod should cost.
Most fishing tackle in the US is bought for freshwater fishing. So, we’ll start off there.
Bass Fishing Rod Costs
Bass fishing is one of the most popular types of freshwater fishing in the US. One of the first decisions you’ll need to make when selecting a rod, is what type of reel will be used with.
You have 3 choices:
You can find a spinning combo (rod and reel together) for a good price, about $40 dollars. However, you can spend a little more and step up the quality of your gear by buying your rod and reel separately. For example, you can find a nice spinning rod for $35 and the reel for $30. Check out the Berkley Lightning Rod Spinning Rod.
But what about baitcasting?
Well, baitcasting gear is considered to be more specialized. However, you can still find decent baitcasting setups for about $80.
Keep in mind, though, that baitcasting rods and reels can get very expensive. This is especially true for the reels which can easily go over the $500 mark.
But don’t worry, if you’re just starting out, you don’t need a reel anywhere near this expensive. As a matter of fact, many tournament anglers use forty dollar reels and do just fine.
For example, the Berkley Lightning Baitcasting Rod is a good deal. It’s not the best baitcasting rod in the world, but it will be fine for your basic bass fishing needs.
At the other end of the spectrum, you can find top of the line rods like G. Loomis rods.
Inshore Saltwater Rods
If you’re looking for an inshore saltwater rod, you can use many of the same rods that you use for bass fishing. There are specialized saltwater rods but you may find that they can be more expensive than freshwater rods.
Most of these rods are just a little bit heavier than bass tackle. Aside from that you won’t find many other differences.
As with other rod types, you can get multi piece rods. One thing to watch out for when buying equipment intended for saltwater use is corrosion. Most rods made today do not have metal parts that can corrode, so you should be ok there.
Offshore Fishing Rod Costs
Offshore fishing rods come in handy for many different scenarios. They can be used for vertical reef fishing, trolling, or casting.
The price for these types of rods will usually be a bit higher than what you’ll find for light tackle. With that said, you can still find some good deals on offshore rods in the $30 to $50 dollar range.
Penn fishing is a manufacturer that makes some affordable offshore fishing rods.
Trolling Rods can be used for saltwater and freshwater. You can use the same rod for catching mahi off the coast of South Florida and catching salmon on the great lakes.
Surf Fishing Rod Costs
Surf Fishing Rods are special rods that have a few requirements that other rods might not have. They’re usually spinning rods and are longer than average.
Most surf fishing rods are at least 7 feet long. Most are much longer. They are also much heavier than a regular bass rod. They’re intended to cast heavy weights for long distances.
A starting surf rod can be had for as little as $25. A good example is the Daiwa FT surf spinning rod.
Budget surf rods are usually constructed out of fiberglass. This will result in a heavier rod. You can get graphite surf fishing rods, but they will cost more than fiberglass.
Panfish Rod Costs
At the lighter end of the spectrum, there are light panfish rods. These are good for catching bluegills, crappie, and other panfish. They’re generally between 5 and 6 feet in length and will work well with light lures and lines.
If you’re going to get a light panfish rod you’ll need to decide whether you want to get a spinning reel, spincast reel, or baitcasting reel.
The type of reel you choose will determine what type of rod you get.
If you have a baitcasting or spincast reel, you can use a casting rod. Casting rods have the reel seat and guides located on top of the rod.
Spinning rods have the reel seat and guides on the underside of the rod.
Since panfish rods are usually going to be very light, you can get them at a lower price than most other rod types. A decent panfish rod should be available for about $20.
A good example of a budget friendly panfish rod is Eagle Claw Featherlight Spinning Rod. This is a fiberglass rod.
Fly Rod Costs
Fly rods are another type of rod that varies greatly in price.
Starter fly rods can be bought as part of a combo. If you’re just starting out and want to know if you will like the sport, I recommend buying a combo.
You can get a decent starter fly combo for about $30. This will come with everything you need: a reel, backing, fly line, a tippet, and a few flies.
You can get starter combos in popular sizes such as 5 and 7 weight. If you’re new to fly fishing and want to learn more, check out How to Get Started Fly Fishing.
If you’re already an experienced fly angler, and want more specialized gear, you have many choices. Fly rods can be bought that range into the hundreds of dollars. Orvis is a popular brand of fly rods and tackle that you can look into.
Fishing rods can vary in price from around $20 to hundreds of dollars. If you’re just starting out, I’d recommend that you stick to the lower end of the price range and look for combos. Combos will include the rod and reel for a better price than buying each part separately.
Once you decide that the sport is for you and your skills grow, you will most likely want more specialized gear. This is when things will start to get more expensive.
Just keep in mind the even specialized combos for most freshwater applications can be had for about $150.