Jigging Rod vs. Casting Rod: Learning the Difference


One of the great things about angling is the number of locations where you can find fish. However, different areas will require different rods to be successful with it. So, one of the first things that anglers should learn is the difference between a jigging rod and a casting rod.

The biggest difference between a jigging rod and a casting rod is how you can use them. Jigging rods are usually short and heavy because an angler only needs to jig it straight down to catch a fish. On the other hand, casting rods are longer and have more bend that gives you better castability.

Aside from how you can use these rods, many other factors differentiate the two. We’ll discuss all of them in great detail to help you make a more informed decision when buying a fishing rod. By the end of this article, you’ll never look at fishing rods the same way and make you a better angler.

Difference #1: Fishing Rod’s Length

Every fishing rod starts with a blank. It’s what builders use to build rods that meet specific angling needs. These blanks come in different lengths, offer varying power and action, and are built with various materials. That’s because there’s an ideal rod for every fishing type and lure you’re going to use. However, the most significant difference between a jigging rod and a casting rod is its length.

Some say that choosing the rod’s length depends on the angler’s height; if you’re short, get a shorter rod and if you’re tall, get a taller rod. It’s not bad advice, especially for beginners, because it simplifies the buying process. However, a more accurate way to choose a fishing rod is to determine how you will use it, where you will use it, and what lure you will use for it.

Fishing Rod Blank for Jigging

The rod’s length determines many things, including its power, action, accuracy, and castability. Jigging rods are shorter, usually around 5.5 feet to 7 feet, and are heavy action rods. They are shorter and tougher because you don’t have to cast it too far. We usually use these rods on a boat, pier, or bridge—places that won’t require you to reach too far to catch a fish.

When jigging, the fishes will be right under your feet or maybe a few feet away from you. Using a 10-foot rod when you want to work your lure vertically underwater will only make things unnecessarily complicated. Aside from this, jiggling from the boat, pier, or bridge will often require you to fight with the fish. It’s essential to have a heavy power rod to withstand the fights and provide you with enough power to land the fish with ease.

Fishing Rod Blank for Casting

On the other hand, fishing rod blanks for casting can be as long as 12 to 13 feet, sometimes even longer. The blanks for casting is almost the same as what you’d get for a spinning rod. The difference in bend determines which type of reel you should use for it. If you need to cast your lure at a distance—often more than 100 feet—you want to use a casting rod. It has enough bend to allow the angler to cast with accuracy and still win when it comes to power.

The longer the rod is, the better its castability gets. So, if you’re trying to get further delivery distance, a longer rod can ease it up for you. If you’re using a 12-foot casting rod, it’ll give you enough bend to reach a delivery distance of 300 feet (91.4 meters) or even more. Many anglers prefer to use casting rods because it provides them versatility. However, the locations where you can use a longer rod may be limited.

One thing worth noting is that fishing rod blanks go through a series of tests to check its quality. Any rod can do both, and manufacturers ensure that anglers can use a jigging rod to cast and a casting rod to work vertically. So, as a beginner, learning the basic techniques for jigging and casting is more important than having various fishing rods that you can use.

Difference #2: Fishing Rod’s Power

A fishing rod’s power is a crucial factor that you need to consider when buying a rod. It’s also one of the most significant differences between a jigging rod and a casting rod. Basically, heavier rods allow you to use heavier lures and lines.

Jigging rods always favor power, so you can expect that most jigging rods will have heavy to extra-heavy power. It allows you to load a heavier lure to work vertically and can withstand fights, especially as you troll your catch out of its cover. It’s handy if you’re fishing in a dense area where you have to lift a 35-pound grass just to get a 1-pound bass out of it.

Casting rods are usually lighter, but it doesn’t mean that they’re weak. It simply means that you’ll have to use lighter lures and lines for it because it allows you to cast further. It still gives you the ability to fight the fish, but if you’re expecting intense fights while fishing, it would be best to go for heavier rods.

Difference #3: Fishing Rod’s Action

The rod’s action refers to how easy it is to bend the tip. Extra-fast action bends closer to the tip, while a moderate tip bends towards the midsection. It determines two things: castability and ability to fight the fish—two crucial factors that affect the techniques you use when angling.

Jigging rods usually have extra-fast action tips that allow you to cast shorter. Even if you use a lighter lure, you’ll still find it challenging to cast further. However, extra-fast action rods bend closer to the tip, dampening the shocks from the fight and providing you with more power as you pull the fish towards you.

Casting rods often have moderate action tips that bend more, allowing you to cast further. So, the further you want your delivery distance to be, the slower tip you’ll need. Although it doesn’t give you as much power when fighting the fish, it has enough bend to keep the fish pinned as you reel it in.

Difference #4: The Braids

Another difference between a jigging rod and a casting rod is the braid that you should use. If you’re out to look for a braid, you’ll notice that there are different markings; some for casting and others for jigging. They may look the same, but the difference between them is with the coating.

Jigging braids are multi-colored and often change color every 10 meters, then repeat every 5 colors (50 meters). This feature is useful for anglers who are marking the depth at which they can find fish. Instead of working your way vertically underwater and guessing whether you’re working at dead water or not, you can simply count the color changes and be accurate with your depth.

If you look closely, jigging braids are a bit thinner than casting rods. Although jigging braids and casting braids have the same breaking strain, they have different coatings. Casting braids are a bit thicker because they need to withstand continuous casting. It also allows you to cast better, especially if you’re using high-end casting rods.

There’s really not much difference between the two, especially now that most braids are designed to work for either fishing activity. Since the difference is almost unnoticeable, you’ll still do well with either option. As mentioned, if you’re not using high-end fishing rods—most beginners aren’t—either braid will do just fine.

Choosing Between Jigging Rod and Casting Rod

Jigging and casting are two very different fishing types that require various rods. But to make this process much easier, let’s summarize the differences between a jigging rod and a casting rod into two: how you’re fishing and where you’re fishing.

How You’re Fishing

You already know the difference between the two, but let’s dive deeper into how you’re fishing and how it determines the fishing rod you should use.

Jigging rod is specifically for fishing activities where you’ll need more power to fight the fish—it’ll always be the stronger one between the two. It’s an essential feature because jigging may require you to fight a fish while rock shore fishing or while you’re trolling on a boat. Basically, if you’re jigging, you need more strength than delivery distance because you’re close to the fish.

You won’t need a long rod, either, because when you’re jigging, you work vertically underwater. In most cases, a 6 feet rod should be enough to help you land a fish. That’s because the fishes are just below your feet, maybe a couple of meters down. If you’re trolling on a boat, you also need a stronger rod that can withstand all the action you get from it.

Casting rods are particularly useful if you’re shore fishing. This activity will require you to continuously cast your lures, often at a distance of more than 150 feet (45.7 meters) away. If that’s how you’re fishing, a casting rod is a better option because it has enough bend to increase your delivery distance. Although it’s possible to cast a 6-foot jigging rod, it’ll be much easier to reach 300 feet (91.4 meters) with a 12-foot casting rod.

However, casting rods don’t have the strength that jigging rods do. That’s because casting rods are lighter with more bend to allow an angler to cast further. The braids also have more coating to help it withstand continuous casting even at further distances. Casting rods provide better delivery distance, but they’re not as tough as jigging rods.

Where You’re Fishing

The location where you’re fishing is the most crucial factor you need to consider to find a better rod. If you’re boat, kayak, or bank fishing, you need to use a jigging rod; if you’re on a shore, you need a casting rod.

It’ll be very complicated to use a 12-foot fishing rod when you’re on a boat. If you’re boat fishing, it’s most likely that you’re not alone. There are also various structures within the boat that you can hit if you’re going to use a casting rod. Using a 7-foot rod on a boat is ideal, and you can still use it to cast in case you need to fish from a distance.

When you’re shore fishing, it’s possible to use a jigging rod to cast, but it’s not ideal. That’s because jigging rods aren’t meant for distance fishing, so it’ll be challenging to reach more than 150 feet (45.7 meters), which is what you want your distance to be when you’re shore fishing.

If you’re fishing from a pier or bridge, you can use either, but would still depend on where the fishes are. If you’re on a bridge and you see the action just under you, it’ll be impossible to use a 12-foot fishing rod to reach it. That’s why many anglers who are fishing from a pier or bridge often carry 2 or 3 types of rods when they go out. It allows them to be more versatile and increases their chances of landing a fish.

Can You Use One Rod for the Other?

If you’re a beginner, you don’t have to invest in multiple fishing rods immediately. It would be better to improve your skills than focus on using different rods to increase your chances of landing a fish. Angling requires more than just your fishing rod, and even if you have the best rod, it’ll still be hard for you to catch anything if you don’t have the right skills for the activity.

After all, anglers can use one rod for the other; jigging rod for casting and casting rod for jigging. Although it will be more challenging, especially if you’re going for the extreme, either rods will be more than enough to hone your skills. Most beginners won’t try to cast their rods too far for them to need a casting rod. They won’t go after large fishes either to need a jigging rod. Both will do well in either situation. However, as you get better with angling, you need to have different fishing rods.

Why Do You Need Different Fishing Rods?

A fishing rod is the most crucial tool for anglers. If you already know the fundamentals, your rod will determine your success rate when fishing. Sometimes, even the best anglers will find it challenging to land a fish without the proper rod. Different rods will give you different capabilities when angling: jigging for strength and casting for distance, while the length determines each throw’s accuracy.

Golfers use different clubs for different situations; athletes use different shoes for different activities; we wear different clothes depending on the occasion. You can interchange all of these with other clubs, shoes, or clothes, but each one is only suitable for a specific activity. The same is true with fishing rods; you can use one for the other, but it’s not ideal.

Using different rods when you’re only learning the basics of angling isn’t necessary. However, once you reach a certain level of familiarity with angling, it becomes crucial for you to invest in different rods for different activities.

How to Know Which One Is for You?

Now that you know the differences between a jigging rod and a casting rod, the next step is finding which of these two is better for you. Most anglers who are only starting always ask this question:

“If I can use one for the other and I don’t have to invest in multiple fishing rods right away, which one do I choose?”

For me, a 7-foot fast action medium-heavy rod would be a sweet spot. Most beginners have one thing in common: they aren’t keen on boat fishing because they don’t have access to it. Shore fishing is more accessible, and it allows you to take your time when learning the basics. If you’re fishing from a pier or bridge, a 7-foot rod is also manageable for you. In case you need to cast a lure, you can still do it using this rod, and you can reach a bit more than 150 feet (45.7 meters) away.

So, if you’re only starting, it’s an excellent fishing rod to get. It allows you to learn the basics of angling and improve your skills without worrying about the various fishing rods you can use. Remember, having the right fundamentals when fishing is more efficient than figuring out which rod is more suitable for you.

Conclusion

Jigging and casting are two very different fishing activities that require different rods. A jigging rod leans towards providing you with more power and allows you to work your line vertically. A casting rod leans towards delivery distance and accuracy when you cast further.

Each rod has a specific capability that makes angling easier for you. However, both types will work just fine with either activity, especially if you’re just starting to learn the basics. An easy way to pick your first fishing rod is to go for a well-balanced rod, then go out and start working on improving your skills.

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