What is the Difference Between a Casting Rod and a Trolling Rod? [Answered]

Casting rods lined up against a wall, but What is a casting rod for (1)

From the eyes of an inexperienced fisherman, a casting rod and a trolling rod could seem interchangeable and indistinguishable.

While confusing the two may be easy to do, these two rods serve entirely different purposes and should be used only for their intended purposes.

The action, stiffness, and handles of these rods are engineered strictly for their job.

While there are micro differences of these rods, such as the inserts in the eyes and the spine tensile strength, understanding the appearance and functionality of the two will help answer your question: what is the difference between a casting rod and trolling rod?

This article will go cover the key differences between a casting and a trolling rod, and when to use them.

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What is a Casting Rod?

A casting rod is usually equipped with a baitcasting reel and a spinning reel but is fitted with an open face for a baitcasting reel.

The reels for a casting rod serve the purpose of a calculated and often finessed retrieve.

To ensure that the lure will be projected powerfully and precisely, the rod’s action is built to build up tension during the backcast.

By making the rod stiffer near the handle and flimsier towards the tip, the fisherman can use the rod to cast overhand, underhand, or sidearm. 

The appearance of a casting rod is typically lengthy and thin. This serves many purposes, such as providing sensitivity and applying a practical hook set.

Casting rods lined up against a wall, but What is a casting rod for (1)

When using a casting rod, the fishing tactic will most likely require you to feel a bite or feel the structure you are fishing around.

Often, the fish will bite the bait only for a few seconds before dropping it.

This means there is sometimes only a second or so window for you to set the hook effectively.

When setting the hook, a casting rod should have enough backbone to prove enough tension to set the hook through the fish’s mouth while providing just enough give that you do not pull the hook out of the fish’s mouth.

The different styles of casting rods are expansive, providing plenty of options for different species of fish.

Even though the rods may seem like they could handle many different fishing tactics, they are most effective when using the cast and retrieve method.

Want to know the difference between a casting and a spinning rod? Click here to read our article.

What is a Trolling Rod?

A trolling rod is a very specific type of rod only serving one purpose: trolling!

More than likely, a trolling rod will be equipped with a large, open-faced reel strong enough to handle strong tension for the majority of its use.

The action of a trolling rod tends to be slow, which means that it bends more towards the base of the rod, which helps the lure that is trolling behind the boat have more of a natural appearance.

Trolling rods that target bigger fish often have a rolling spool where the last eye is. This serves the purpose of making sure that the line does not get twisted when retrieving.

These rods are also much stronger than casting rods because even if you hook a smaller fish, the fish will still seem much more difficult. After all, you will be pulling the fish against the wake of the boat.

Looking at fishing rods on a boat thinking, What makes a rod a trolling rod?

Trolling rods tend to be short and bulkier to carry the load of handling a large fish that is being pulled behind a moving boat. Sensitivity does not play a part in the method of trolling.

The sign that you get a bite when trolling is when the already bent rod bows up even more or begins to bounce. The stiffness of the rods is essential so that the fish does not run too deep and tangle up the other lines.

Trolling rods are engineered to allow the rod to fight the fish in the occurrence that you can not get to the rod in time.

Make sure that when deciding which trolling rod you choose, take into consideration the size of the lure you are using and the speed at which the boat will be trolling.

When targeting large, hard-fighting fish using the trolling method, a trolling rod is definitely the only rod that will suffice. 

Click here for our guide on picking the top beginner fishing rod for you.

What is the Difference Between a Casting Rod and a Trolling Rod? Summary.

There are many more differences between a casting rod and a trolling rod, along with the descriptions above.

But as for the main differences, appearance, action, and stiffness of the rods are an excellent way to answer the question of ‘what is the difference between casting a trolling rod?’

As for the different styles of each of these two types of rods, the species you are targeting and personal preference play a big part in which exact rod you will choose.