The simplest and easiest to use is simply a pole. It can be of any length and any material. A fishing line is tied to the end of the pole and the line then rigged for fishing. The most common type of this pole is made from river cane or is a collapsible pole made from man-made materials.
A casting pole is used with a fishing reel mounted face up on the pole. This kind of rod has loops or eyes along the length which guide the line along the pole and aid in casting. The reel is mounted to the bottom of the pole just above the handle. Today’s casting rods are typically made from graphite composites. They are ranked by weight and length. Heavier rods use heavier fishing lines.
A spinning rod has the reel mounted facing down. It is also characterized by large eyes close to the reel as compared to small eyes on a casting rod. This kind of rod is also ranked by weight and length. This kind of rod is the longest available with lengths of 15 feet or more being used in salt water fishing applications.
A deep sea or offshore rod is rarely more than six feet long. It resembles a casting pole. The handle is a round grip. Sometimes the butt will have cleats which help secure the rod in a hip-mounted fighting harness. On some very heavy models, the eyes will be replaced with small pulley wheels. This is to make pulling in line when fishing a very large fish easier and prevents the line from being abraded on the eyes. The deep sea rod is not used for casting.
A flyrod is the most specialized rod of all and used exclusively for fly fishing. This rod is used for casting, but unlike other fishing, fly fishermen cast the fly line and not the lure. The reel is mounted to the very butt of the rod. Like the others, it too is ranked by weight. The smallest weight rods are used for very light lines, most often cold water trout fishing. Heavier rods in the 4-8 category are used for larger fish and inshore saltwater fishing. The very heaviest flyrods are used to catch the very largest fish, pelagic fish like sharks, marlin and inshore and near shore fish like big tarpons.