Bass lure rods have changed so much over the past 10 years. Trends have come and gone even within that time as we finally settle with what we think are the correct attributes for a modern bass spinning rod. In reality, it depends on where you are fishing or what kinds of lures you wish to use. Rods may vary from as short as 7 feet, but exceed 10 feet on more rugged coastlines.
Our advice is to purchase the shortest rod you can get away with, for the situations you face. The benefits of a longer rod are two.
Long rod summary:
1) More distance. Technically, a longer rod gives you more tip speed on the cast, so casts will be longer (as long as the lures are balanced - weight wise - to the rod).
2) Better line control. When you are forced to fish from high above the water (typically in rough seas), a longer rod will enable you to hold the tip down and closer to the water - keeping your lure in the water and allowing any wind less chance to drag it off-course.
3) More reach. Sometimes (although Pythagoras tells us it's often not that much), you will be forced to guide a fish around rocks at your feet. A longer rod makes steering the fish that little bit easier.
However, longer rods are heavier and more tiring to work lures with. The benefits of a short rod are many, so your final decisions will be likely be best based on a compromise somewhere in the middle.
Short rod summary:
1) More comfortable to fish. Being shorter, they're lighter, obviously.
2) Better lure control. Considering a day on the coast/bank with no wind and easy access to water level, a short rod gives far more direct contact with the lure - making any movements you might want to create are far more easily and effectively done.
3) More pulling power. In some situations - especially in snaggy areas - it can be necessary to pull a fish from snags. A shorter rod gives you more direct power than a long rod.
Consider the fact that it's while your lure is in the water that you will catch the fish (not the air), so outright distance should not usually be your primary objective. Though on some occasions it can be the case. Think about lure control and how you can best present the lure to the fish. There is no point being able to cast to the horizon if you cannot work the lure effectively on the way back.