Rod length is defined as the overall length ONLY and has nothing to do with where the reel is located. So, a rod with a very long butt will effectively fish like a shorter rod.
Longer Rods – Longer rods give more lure speed but may suffer in accuracy, particularly at shorter ranges. However, the general rule of poorer accuracy breaks down at very short ranges, such as when flipping or pitching, where you can be extremely accurate with a very long rod.
Lure speed is usually the primary driving factor in an angler’s decision to use a long rod. Higher lure speed directly translates to longer distance, all else being equal. So, a long rod, like a 7’ or 7’6” is a preferred choice for the following situations:
-When you want to cover a lot of water, as when using searching lures like spinnerbaits, Fish Heads, or top-water lures.
-When you want to keep your distance from hotspots, as on clear-water lakes or lakes with a lot of fishing pressure.
-In run-and-gun situations where you see surfacing fish at a distance and need to make a cast as soon as you are within range (trolling to them with the trolling motor on high). The longer rod gives you more range, letting you make your shot a few seconds sooner. If you’ve done this type of fishing before , you know how important a few seconds can be.
Long rods also give you more hook-setting sweep. This is beneficial when using stretchy string, such as monofilament. The longer rod lets you put more pressure on the fish sooner, to drive a solid hook-set. Remember, monofilament doesn’t sink like fluorocarbon, making it a good choice for top-water. When fishing top-water, you also want to make long casts and cover a lot of water. Given those two things alone, you should be thinking “long rod”.
The length that manufacturer’s print on the rod does NOT include compensation for the position of the reel seat. So a 6’6” rod with a counter-balanced, ultra long reel seat may leave you with only 5’ of workable rod. That same rod could have a very short butt and give you an entire foot more workable rod length. Keep this in mind when considering your next purchase.
Shorter Rods – are much easier to control, but suffer in casting distance. Use a shorter rod, such as 5’6” or 6’ when precision casting is needed, such as around docks and standing timber. Rod length isn’t universal for all anglers, and shorter anglers may prefer a shorter rod for easier handling.