Fishing is an activity that’s both relaxing and exciting. To really enjoy this sport, you need to invest in a rod that best suits your fishing needs.

However, I am aware that we don’t fish the same way. We also have different tastes as to the material and feel of our preferred rods.We also have varying budgets. And most importantly, we all have different levels of expertise.

This is why I’ve decided to draft a comprehensive list of today’s best fishing rods, along with a discussion of the basic concepts you have to understand before making your purchase. And with how things are looking, 2020 is definitely going to be a great year for all fishing enthusiasts.

Table of Contents

The 15 Top Fishing Rods of 2020

To give you a quick overview, here are our top picks for the best fishing poles of 2020 

1. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod

2. Okuma Celilo Graphite Rod

3. Entsport Camo Legend Baitcasting Rod

4. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel & Rod Combo

5. PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel

6. Fiblink Surf Spinning Fishing Rod

7. Fiblink Saltwater Offshore Heavy Trolling Fishing Rod

8. Ugly Stik USCA662MH Casting Rod

9. Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

10. KastKing Blackhawk Rod

11. Sougayilang Graphite Carbon Fiber Portable Rod

12. Berkley Lightning Rod Spinning Rod

13. Shakespeare Youth Fishing Kits

14. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Ice Fishing Spinning Rod

15. KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rods

How We Decided?

25
Models
Considered

50+
Hours
Researched

50+
Consumers
Consulted

Our Test Winner After 50 + Hours of Research:

Before I list down the best rod for each of our categories, I thought of naming the best of the best first. This is based on several factors: strength, flexibility, weight, ease of use, and affordability. 

SHAKESPEARE Ugly Stik GX2
5/5
Our Honest Star Rating

Why We choose it….

  • Both Lightweight and Strong
  • Strength, Flexible & Ease of use
  • Great value for money
Our Score
0%

The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is one of the brand’s newest releases from its Ugly Stik line. Shakespeare introduced its Ugly Stik line in 1976 and since then, it has continuously tried to improve its offerings.

The Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod is both lightweight and strong –which is a rare breed in the world of fishing rods where you either get lightweight but brittle rods or strong but heavy ones.

This Shakespeare rod is also really cheap, so you don’t have to break the bank just to get one.

Because of these qualities, both beginners and expert fishermen will find this a handy companion. This is why I believe that this rod is hands down the best of the best. 

Our Top 5 Best Fishing Rods Summary

IMAGE
PRODUCT
RATING
PRICE
SHAKESPEARE Ugly Stik GX2
  • Both Lightweight and Strong
  • Strength, Flexible & Ease of use
  • Great value for money
Score
0%
Ugly Stik Casting Rod
  • Stainless steel ring guides work best with saltwater
  • Lightweight and easy to use, even for beginners.
  • Sturdy enough to fight and land feisty saltwater fish.
Score
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KastKing Blackhawk II
  • It can be easily assembled by twisting from the top and easily collapsible by twisting from the bottom
  • Incredibly lightweight and doesn't require much storage space.
Score
0%
Entsport Camo Legend Baitcasting Rod
  • Comes with an alternative tip piece
  • Medium to Medium-Heavy Power
  • Two-piece construction
Score
0%
PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos
  • Power Drive Gears
  • EVA Fore Grip
  • S-Curve Oscillation System
Score
0%

Here Are our Top 15 Best Fishing Rods : Reviews & Buyer's Guide

1. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod

Best Spinning Fishing Rod

SHAKESPEARE Ugly Stik GX2

Shakespeare is a brand that has established itself as the king of lightweight fishing rods. This is the reason why it easily landed a spot in our list of the best fishing rods. 

Coming from the Ugly Stik line, you can expect an unbelievable combination of durability and responsiveness from the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning  rod.

The rod itself is made of a combination of fiberglass and graphite, which provides both strength and flexibility.

The lightweight Ugly Stik GX2 also has an EVA foam handle which gives anglers a balanced feel. This provides them with a great amount of control to fight and land fighting fish without causing fatigue.

Considering all these features, there is no doubt that the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is one of the best spinning rods in the market.

Pros

  • Great value for money.
  • Ergonomic design guarantees comfort and efficiency.
  • Lightweight but still capable of catching large freshwater species.
  • Great for beginners.

Cons

  • May not hold well for larger saltwater species.
  • Some users claim that the reel seat is too small to hold certain reel models.

2. Okuma Celilo Graphite Salmon/Steelhead Rod

Best Baitcasting Rod for Bass

Okuma CELILO Graphite Rod

When it comes to baitcasting, the biggest factor we have to consider is the strength of the rod. Fortunately, this is the case for the Okuma Celilo Graphite Rod. 

Okuma is known for producing the best heavy-duty fishing equipment, and the Celilo Graphite Rod certainly did not disappoint.

This rod has a sensitive graphite composite blank, stainless steel hooded reel seats, and aluminum oxide guide inserts. It also has fore and rear cork handles which give anglers a firm grip.

Although often used for salmon and steelhead trout fishing, this can also be considered as one of the best baitcasting rods for bass. 

Pros

  • Although a little on the pricey side, users agree that this rod offers the best value for money.
  • Sturdy but provides anglers with enough sensitivity to feel even the smallest nibbles.
  • It offers easy storage.

Cons

  • A common issue among some users is that the graphite composite rod breaks easily if dropped accidentally.

3. Entsport E Series - Camo Legend Baitcasting Rod

Best Baitcasting Fishing Rod

Entsport Camo Legend Baitcasting Rod

If you are interested in becoming an angler and would like to try the hobby, you would want a heavy-duty yet budget-friendly baitcasting rod. More specifically, the Entsport E Series Camo Legend. Apart from its attractive design, here are the features that would make you fall in love deeper with this baitcasting rod:

Flex and Power Rating : If you notice anglers bringing multiple rods, that is because each rod has a different flex and power rating. If you are still testing out your newfound hobby, it is not recommended to buy yourself more than one rod. However, that also means your experience would somehow be limited. Not fun, right?

With Entsport E Series Camo Legend, the package comes with 2 different tips so you can alter the rod based on your needs or the situation. No need to bring multiple rods!

Length : When it comes to baitcasting rods, the longer they are, the better. With the Camo Legend’s affordability, you would be surprised that its rod is 7 feet long which is the recommended length if you are starting out. Given that, you will have a good casting distance and good leverage as well!

Construction : The thing with baitcasting rods is that you need to be alert and attentive to the reel’s movement. Otherwise, you might just miss a bite! With the E Series – Camo Legend, Entsport designed the reel and lock to seat closely within your finger’s reach. This makes it easier for you to detect each bite and keep locks securely attached.

Pros

  • Long handle
  • Medium to Medium-Heavy Power
  • 7 Feet Long Rod
  • Two-piece construction

Cons

  • A bit easier to break compared to other baitcasting rods

4. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel & Rod Combo

Best Rod and Reel Combo for Ice Fishing

ShakespeaUgly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing

The second entry from Shakespeare is its Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel & Rod Combo. Weighing less than a pound thanks to its graphite blank, the Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel & Rod Combo is hands down the best combo for ice fishing. 

Although lightweight, users commend this rod for withstanding the weight of heavier species of fish like trout and crappies. This only adds truth to the claim that Shakespeare produces the strongest lightweight rods.

The rod also comes with a spinning reel that’s suited for ice fishing, a twist-lock reel seat, EVA foam handles, and stainless steel guides.

Considering its modern yet humble design, I could also vouch that this can be the best fishing rod and reel combo for beginners in ice fishing. 

Pros

  • Very affordable.
  • The uncomplicated design makes it easy to use, even for beginners.
  • It offers high sensitivity.
  • Lightweight and easy to store.

Cons

  • Some users report that their reels broke easily.

5. Fiblink Surf Spinning Fishing Rod

Best for Surf Fishing

Fiblink Surf Spinning Fishing Rod

Surfcasting requires you to take long fishing rods with you on your trip. Fortunately, the Fiblink Surf Spinning Fishing Rod is the lightweight solution to your problem. 

This rod has a solid carbon fiber blank which gives anglers the sturdy built of heavy-duty rods but is not as heavy.

It also has stainless steel guides, cleverly mixed with ceramic, which guarantees to minimize friction and reduce the number of lines getting stuck inside the rings. The stainless steel and ceramic mixture also makes this compatible with saltwater fishing.

The Fiblink Surf Spinning Fishing Rod also has a non-slip rubber shrink tube handle which gives anglers optimal control over their rod. 

Pros

  • Lightweight and only requires minimal storage space.
  • Very affordable.
  • Strong enough to catch up to 40 pounds of fish.

Cons

  • Some users are of the opinion that the fit of the rods into the ferules are a little too tight, giving them a hard time in disassembling the rod.

6. PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel

Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos

Trying to match a reel and a rod can be challenging. Especially if you are still learning the craft. If you are like us, you would prefer to get a pre-set combo instead. In that case, one of the best rod and reel combo is PLUSINNO. Read on to see the features why this has become the go-to option.

Trying to match a reel and a rod can be challenging. Especially if you are still learning the craft. If you are like us, you would prefer to get a pre-set combo instead. In that case, one of the best combination is PLUSINNO. Read on to see the features why this has become the go-to option:

Materials : One of the important factors to consider in choosing a fishing rod and reel is their make. You need to choose materials that would balance your comfort with the rod’s performance. Fortunately, since PLUSINNO comes in a combo, they have already figured it out for you.

This rod is made of carbon fiber and fiberglass which ensures that this rod is durable enough to withstand tough fishing situations while being lightweight. Not to mention, the handle of this rod also has an EVA fore grip which maximizes your comfort!

Reeling System : When it comes to fishing, one of the main tasks you will do is to reel in fish. While reeling can be exciting, it can also be tiring. Thus, you should get a tool that would make it easier for you to do your job. The PLUSINNO’s reel in the combo has an S-Curve Oscillation System which makes line winding much smoother and easier even for beginners!

Portability : If you are always out fishing, you know that it can be a struggle to transport the rods. Especially if you have more than one. With the PLUSINNO, no matter how long you choose the rod to be, at the end of each session, you can easily collapse the rod and make it fit inside your backpack. That’s convenient!

Pros

  • S-Curve Oscillation System
  • Anti-reverse handle
  • Power Drive Gears
  • EVA Fore Grip
  • Collapsible

Cons

  • Not a multi-purpose rod

7. Fiblink Saltwater Heavy Trolling Fishing Rod

Best Trolling Fishing Rod

Fiblink Saltwater Offshore Heavy Trolling

Fiblink is slowly creating its name as one of the best fishing rod brands for saltwater and heavy-duty fishing. This is why I believe the Fiblink Saltwater Offshore Heavy Trolling Fishing Rod is the rod to beat when it comes to trolling. 

Due to the method by which trolling is done, it is a necessity to use heavy power rods. This Fiblink trolling rod is made of e-glass graphite composite material which guarantees extra strength. Complementing the blank are heavy-duty roller guides to lessen the angler’s strain while keeping them in control of the fishing line.

The grip is also made of high-density EVA foam to help the user get a firm hold on the handle. 

Pros

  • Cheap but doesn’t compromise on the quality.
  • May be considered the strongest fishing rod based on how the blank is built and how it doesn’t break under the pressure of saltwater trolling.

Cons

  • The guides are only chrome-plated, so users report corrosion after using the rod several times.

8. Ugly Stik USCA662MH Casting Rod

Best Fishing Rod for Saltwater

Ugly Stik Casting Rod

Another entry from Shakespeare is the USCA662MH Casting Rod. When looking for fishing rods for saltwater use, the first thing you should look for is if it’s marine-rated or not. Fortunately, the Ugly Stik USCA662MH is built with stainless steel guides, thereby decreasing the possibility of corrosion. 

Like all other signature rods from Shakespeare, this rod is made of composite material from fiberglass and graphite. This combination gives it the durability of fiberglass and the flexibility of graphite. It’s also light enough to give anglers a good grip and a balanced feel.

Because of these characteristics, I also think that this is an ideal beginner fishing rod setup.

Pros

  • Stainless steel ring guides work best with saltwater.
  • Lightweight and easy to use, even for beginners.
  • Sturdy enough to fight and land feisty saltwater fish.

Cons

  • Some users report that the rod’s reel seat is not compatible with certain reel models.

9. Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

Best Fishing Rod for Bass

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

Yet another promising rod from Shakespeare’s Ugly Stik line is its Elite Spinning Rod. We consider this the best rod for bass fishing because it gives the user a great amount of control based on its lightweight graphite body and cork handle. 

This Spinning Rod also has exposed reel seats with stainless steel hoods, as well as stainless steel guides to keep the fishing line in place. All these characteristics make it one of the best bass fishing rods for the decade.

Additionally, when compared to other rods in terms of pricing, the Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod is relatively cheap. This makes it the best bass fishing rod for the money.

Pros

  • It offers great value for money.
  • Lightweight and easy to control.

Cons

  • Some users report breaking the tip of the rod just after a few fishing trips.
  • Other users also cite that the reel seat is smaller compared to other rods of the same price, therefore limiting their choices for reels.

10. KastKing Blackhawk

Best Telescopic Fishing Rod

KastKing Blackhawk II

The KastKing Blackhawk is the best telescopic rod because of several factors: it’s lightweight, easily extendable and collapsible, and very responsive. 

 

The Blackhawk has a 24-ton carbon matrix blank and a solid glass tip which ensures both sensitivity and flexibility. It has a multiple floating guides design which helps the angler make a more controlled and accurate casting.

Pros

  • It can be easily assembled by twisting from the top and easily collapsible by twisting from the bottom.
  • Incredibly lightweight and doesn't require much storage space.

Cons

  • A little on the pricey side, considering other similar rods in the market.

11. Sougayilang Portable Fishing Rod

Best Portable/Travel Fishing Rod

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing

When it comes to portable fishing rods, I don’t only limit myself to considering how small it can collapse into. The factors I consider include being able to use it in both freshwater and saltwater, its rod power and action, and how far it can cast the fishing line. 

 

This rod from Sougayilang is made of 24-ton carbon fiber and e-glass material which makes it lightweight and balanced. It comes in different sizes depending on how long you want it once it’s extended – but even the largest version can easily fit inside a backpack.

Interestingly, this rod has a reel seat that’s made of corrosion-resistant aluminum and stainless steel guides with ceramic inserts. This promises that you won’t have a problem with your corroding guides anytime soon.

This rod can be used by travellers for saltwater game fishing, surf fishing, and freshwater fishing, therefore also making it one of the best fishing rods for bass. 

Pros

  • Very cheap
  • Folds into a few inches, thereby making it easy to keep.
  • Lightweight and very sensitive.

Cons

  • The hollow blank of this rod tends to break easily if mishandled.

12. Berkley Lightning Rod

Best Cheap Fishing Rod

Berkley Lightning Rod

The Berkley Lightning Rod Spinning Rod is not really the cheapest rod out there, but it definitely offers the best value for your money.  

 

For its price, you already get a blank made of 24-ton carbon fiber composite and stainless steel guides with aluminium oxide inserts. These features provide you with a lightweight rod that can withstand the harshness of saltwater fishing.

To give anglers a better grip, the handle is made up of rubberized cork. Once this rod is paired with the perfect reel, it can easily be the ideal fishing equipment for beginners. 

Pros

  • It offers great value for money.
  • Lightweight and easy to use, especially for beginners.

Cons

  • There are reviews commenting that this rod is too stiff.

13. Shakespeare Youth Fishing Kits

Best Fishing Rod for Kids

Shakespeare Youth Fishing Kits

Fishing kits are a great way to get kids interested in fishing. And when it comes to producing entry-level fishing rods, we know that Shakespeare won’t disappoint. 

The Fishing Kits provide the best fishing rod and reel combo for the money.

 

The reel has a thumb button that easily releases the fishing line into the water. It also has a toggle for activating its instant anti-reverse bearing. This gives kids absolute control over their line.

The kit comes in various character designs, making it attractive to kids of different tastes. 

Pros

  • Very affordable.
  • It is lightweight and short enough to give children balance and control.
  • With a wide variety of designs, parents won't have a problem in picking one that their child will love.

Cons

  • Users note that the fishing line tends to get tangled once it’s cast.

14. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Ice Fishing Rod

Best Ice Fishing Rod

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Ice Fishing Spinning Rod

Shakespeare’s Ugly Stik once again makes an appearance in our Top 13 list. This time, it’s the Shakespeare Ugly Stik Ice Fishing Spinning Rod.

 

This rod is made of a combination of fiberglass and graphite – the common blank composition of Shakespeare rods. It also boasts the Ugly Stik Clear Tip design which provides sensitivity to the slightest movement of the fishing line. A very good flex in the rod makes it to be used in a different angled holder or “JawJacker” type holder.

Like all other Shakespeare rods, it also has a lightweight EVA foam handle which provides users with a firm grip and limitless control – a necessity when it comes to ice fishing. 

Pros

  • One of the most affordable rods for ice fishing.
  • It weighs less than an ounce, so users can expect extreme flexibility.

Cons

  • Although not really a negative review, some users find that this rod is too flexible for ice fishing.

15. KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rods

Best Casting Fishing Rod

KastKing Perigee II

Last but not the least, the best casting rod goes to the KastKing Perigee II.

This rod is made up of a 24-ton carbon fiber matrix, which gives users the best control when it comes to casting their fishing line. 

 

It also has the famous Fuji-O ring guides and high strength graphite reel seats which are safe from corroding. The handle is made up of high-density EVA foam, which gives users enough grip and control over the rod.

Pros

  • On the expensive side, but its top-rated features offer the best value for money.
  • Extremely flexible, thereby also offering high sensitivity to its anglers.

Cons

  • Some users report that the tip of this rod broke off after being used a few times.

Types of Fishing Rods

Now that we’ve narrowed down the best fishing rods for each category, it will be easier for you to make your decision.

But before you jump on to make a purchase, you should familiarize yourself with the different types of fishing rods first. You will find that this guide will help you zero in one the rod which will fit your particular needs. 

Casting Rods

Casting rods are the top choices for beginners. They are designed to have a casting reel mounted on top of them. In newer designs, these casting rods already have a reel seat where anglers can easily attach the reel to.

This particular design ensures that, in case of a feisty catch, the rod simply bends down while the eyes and the reel remain facing upwards. This type of rod is recommended for beginners who only attempt to catch a smaller variety of fish.

Spin Casting Rods

A spin casting rod is another common type of fishing rod. It is similar to a casting rod in the sense that it also has a reel seat on top of the handle. In some cases, they are referred to interchangeably.

However, a notable distinction is that spin casting rods are particularly designed to hold an enclosed reel or reels with hooded tops. They also have smaller eyes compared to casting rods.

This is the ideal rod if you intend to fish using a spinnerbait. 

Sea Fishing Rods

As its name implies, a sea fishing rod is used to catch fish from the sea. These rods are noted for having long bodies and are often used either while on a boat or by the shore.

These are heavy-duty rods with secured reels and sturdy tips that are engineered to catch heavy fish. Some specialized sea fishing rods can even catch marlins and sharks. 

Surf Rods

Another common fishing rod is surf rods. These are long sturdy rods, usually about nine to fifteen feet long, which can cast the bait for up to one hundred yards.

Because of its capacity to throw the lure at notable distances, it usually comes with a long handle suited for two-handed casting. Baits used for this type of fishing rod often weigh around a few pounds to serve as an anchor and as an aid for far-off launching.

Surf rods are also considered as sea fishing rods, but which are typically cast from the shore. 

Trolling Rods

Trolling rods are fairly new to the market and is named after the fishing method it is used for. It is used by anglers from a moving boat, where the lure is left to be dragged along with the movement of the boat.

Trolling rods are similar to casting rods, but usually have faster action– this guarantees a catch, considering the motion of the boat. This is often used in-game fishing, particularly in the ocean or in vast freshwater lakes.

Telescopic Rods

The telescopic rod is the best fishing rod for frequent travellers and for surf fishing lovers. These are collapsible fishing rods that can stretch to up to around twenty feet long. 

Telescopic rods of today are manufactured to mimic non-collapsible fishing rods, so they can serve the same purpose to their users without limitations.

However, specific storage instructions must be properly considered since sand and other small particles can easily get inside its joints which could cause possible damage. 

Pen Rods

Pen rods are the smaller versions of telescopic rods. These collapsible rods can be small enough to fit in a glove compartment.

Due to its petite size, it can only extend to about a few feet – which is the best for leisurely fishing. It is not recommended, however, for anglers who hope to catch bigger fish. 

Ice Rods

The shortest type of fishing rod is the ice rod. Ice fishing rods are just two to three feet long and usually have fewer eyes.

Since ice fishing is usually done by dropping the tackle into a hole in the ice, some ice rods dispense with the reel, allowing the fisherman to wound the rod manually. 

Baitcasting Rods

Baitcasting rods are basically heavy-duty casting rods. They both have upward facing reel seats, but baitcasting rods are designed with a heavier line to guarantee a more accurate casting.

Although this type of fishing rod is similar to a casting rod, it is trickier to work with. Thus, this is recommended for professional anglers and experienced fishermen. 

Important Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Fishing Rods

Aside from familiarization with the different types of fishing rods, you also have to consider certain factors that can greatly improve your fishing experience.

Rod Length : The length of the fishing rod will determine how far you can cast your bait. The rule of thumb when it comes to determining the ideal rod length for your needs is this: the longer the rod, the farther you can cast your bait.

Depending on the type of fishing rod, the length would range from two feet to around twenty feet. In fact, some specialized fishing rods can even go longer than 20 feet. For beginners, the ideal rod length is around six to seven feet. This gives you enough control over your rod, especially when you have to reel in a fighter. This is also the ideal length to practice your fishing skills with.

To determine the length of your fishing rod, measure it from the end handle to the tip of the pole.

Material : The material used in crafting the fishing rod should also be considered. Taking careful scrutiny of the material will help you determine if it will provide you with added weight and its fighting power.

For example, fishing rods made of fiberglass are considered the sturdiest, therefore they can withstand strong pulling from big fishes. However, they tend to be quite heavy, so it’s not really recommended for beginners.

Another popular material for fishing rods is graphite. Graphite is the lightweight alternative to fiberglass. Due to this quality, it is best for ultra-light to medium power fishing. The downside, however, is that it is more breakable compared to its fiberglass alternative.

Other materials include carbon fiber and multi-material composite. I’ll give you an in-depth discussion of all these materials later.

Power, Action, how to Differentiate : Power and action are concepts that are often mistaken to be interchangeable. There is a fine line that distinguishes these two concepts, and you should understand it before you rush into making a purchase.

Power otherwise referred to as rod weight, refers to the force which causes the rod to bend over. On the other hand, action determines where the location of the bend takes place.

In fishing parlance, the action is generally classified as fast and slow. A fast action rod is one that bends at the upper third of the pole, while a slow action rod bends near the handle.

Power, therefore, determines the weight of the fish you can catch with your fishing rod, while action determines the speed of your rod, or which part of the rod bends so you can have more control over your fishing.

Type of Reel You Need : There are three general types of reels: spincast, spinning, and baitcasting reels.

The most common type of reel is the spincast reel, primarily because it is one of the easiest to use. You can easily spot a spincast reel because the spool is enclosed in a shell that has a button at the back. The button works to cast the line out once you press it and stops only when you let go. Although easy to use, it doesn’t provide as much accuracy as other reels.

Another popular reel type is the spinning reel. Spinning reels are the more advanced version of spincast reels. These reels have an exposed spool which is positioned perpendicular to the rod. Because of this, anglers get a comfortable grip on the handle while also maintaining control over hisline.

The baitcasting reel is often used by those with more advanced fishing skills. The spool on a baitcasting reel is in line with the rod, which amateur anglers will find harder to control. Nevertheless, those who already managed to perfect the baitcasting reel technique find that this provides the best accuracy among the three types.

Beginners can opt to start with spincast or spinning reels. As they progress and familiarize themselves with the casting technique, they can then move up with baitcasting reels.

Butt or Handle : The butt of the handle is located at the very bottom of the fishing rod. Since this is the portion of the rod that you have to hold on to, the best fishing rod must have a handle that provides a comfortable yet steady grip.

Butts are either made up of cork or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam. Cork handles offer a firmer grip while also retaining heat. This quality makes it the best companion during nippy days. On the other hand, EVA foam handles are more affordable and do not crack as easily as cork handles. EVA foam handles are also easier to clean.

The length of the handle is also something you should take note of. Longer handles are made for two-handed casting – a technique necessary for casting lines at long distances. Surf rods and telescopic rods usually have longer handles.

Species of Fish : The species of fish that you are trying to catch should also influence your choice.

Generally, the species of fish you are targeting to catch will determine the power that your rod can handle. Smaller fish like crappies are classified as ultra-light, trout and bluegills are light, bass and catfish are medium, while tuna and salmon are considered heavy. Some experts add an additional classification: ultra heavy species such as sharks and halibuts.

From this classification, you can also tell that graphite fishing rods can only take on ultra light to light species of fish. The stronger fiberglass, on the other hand, can take on medium to heavy species.

As to the type of fishing rod, casting rods are recommended for ultra light to medium species. On the other hand, heavy to ultra heavy species often require the sturdier trolling rods.

Parts of The Rod : Most beginners make the mistake of hurrying with a purchase without even knowing the parts of a fishing rod. What they don’t know is that being familiar with the parts of the rod – even just the basics – can help you stray away from making unnecessary purchases.

  • Handle – Like what I’ve previously mentioned, the handle is located at the lower end of the fishing rod.On average, handles are about nine to eleven inches long. On the other hand, handles that are about fourteen inches long are best for two-handed casting. As to material, you may want to try the cheaper EVA foam handles over their more expensive cork counterpart. They’re also sturdier than cork, although the latter offers more sensitivity in case of a bite.
  • Reel Seat – The reel seat is where you will mount your reel to. This is located just above the handle to give the angler enough control over the line while still keeping a firm grip on the rod. Ice rods don’t usually have reel seats since they’re short enough for the fisherman to wound manually.
  • Blank – The long pole portion of the fishing rod is the blank. This is either made of graphite, fiberglass, or other multi-material components. It is the one that bends depending on the tug of the catch and is usually looked into when considering the rod’s power and action. And if you ask me, the best fishing pole on the market should be both durable and lightweight, regardless of the power it can withstand.
  • Guides – Otherwise referred to as eyes, the guides of a fishing rod are the ring-like pieces attached to the blank where the fishing line passes through. The purpose of having guides is to provide the angler with more control over his fishing line. Depending on the type of fishing rod, it may either be located on top or at the bottom of the rod.

Type of Fishing : The method by which you intend to catch fish greatly dictates what fishing rod you will need.

  • Casting. Casting is among the most common fishing methods. This method involves the act of hurling lines into the water and wait for a bit. The best fishing rod for this method may either be the casting rod, the spincasting rod, or the baitcasting rod.
  • Trolling. Trolling refers to the method by which fishing lines are dragged through the water by means of a moving boat. Special fishing rods called trolling rods are used for this method, although casting rods may also be used in the case of smaller species of fish.
  • Surfcasting. This is a fishing method that requires long-distance casting. The bait must be thrown as far away as possible, and to do this, both the line and the bait must be of considerable weight. This fishing method is often done from the shoreline, allowing the fisherman to stay relaxed until the rod signifies pulling. Surf rods and telescopic rods are the ideal choices for this method.
  • Ice fishing. Anglers residing in places with colder climates often resort to ice fishing. This method involves dropping a tackle onto an opening in the ice and wait for a catch. This does not usually involve casting or reeling in, so special ice fishing rods are recommended.

Decide Your Budget : Without a doubt, your budget is something you should definitely consider. Cheap fishing rods which are also of good quality are not hard to find – if you know where to look. Fishing rods can go for sale from a little over twenty dollars to a few thousand dollars.

If you’re new to the sport, I recommend shelling out for a rod that’s worth less than fifty bucks. If you’re willing to splurge a little more, make sure to invest on the rod which has features that will best suit your fishing needs.  

Understand These Concepts Before Buying

Now that you’ve had a general overview of fishing rods and other factors to consider, we must now proceed to discuss the basic concepts you must understand before buying.

Long Rods, Long Casts: One of the most important concepts to keep in mind is that long rods make long casts. As stated earlier, this means that the length of the rod will determine how far you can cast your fishing line. 

Another benefit you can derive from owning a longer rod is the speed by which you tackle accelerates. This is especially true for surf fishing and flies fishing. However, longer rods also have disadvantages. Long rods are often heavier, which can easily cause fatigue. As a result, this makes it difficult to fight and reel in fish.

Long rods also tend to cause more casting errors as opposed to shorter rods –unless you’re an expert. It also requires a bigger space to cast, and bigger storage space.

Weight Matters:  Aside from the length of the rod, the weight it can carry also affects how far you can cast.

Usually, what you have to look into when it comes to weight matters is the tackle. The tackle is the gear located at the tip of the fishing line. Typical examples of tackles include hooks, lures, sinkers, or a combination of these pieces.

But always remember that using heavy sinkers isn’t always the solution to guarantee a catch.

Power : While we’re on the topic of weights, we should now have a more thorough discussion of power. As previously stated, power refers to the amount of weight that causes the rod to bend. Rod power is classified into ultra light and light, medium, and heavy.

Ultra Light and Light : These lighter rods can only take weights of up to eight pounds. Due to their lightweight nature, they offer the most flexibility compared to the heavier rods. They are also highly sensitive, which means that you are easily alerted in case of a bite. 

The downside, however, is that these low power rods tend to be more fragile than heavy-duty rods.

  • Best for: freshwater game fishing, and for fishing in waters with less vegetation.

Medium : Medium power rods can withstand weights of up to twenty pounds. These rods are not as sensitive as their low power alternatives, but they make it up for their better durability. If you’re a beginner on the lookout for an all-around rod, these medium power rods come highly recommended. They’re sturdy enough to withstand any amateur casting mistakes, while also providing you with just the right amount of sensitivity.

  • Best for: catching trout, pike, and other large freshwater species; alternatively, they also work best to catch smaller saltwater species.

Heavy : Heavy power rods are the sturdiest among the three. On average, they can withstand weights of up to 150 pounds. Specialized heavy-duty power rods can even go beyond the 150-pound mark. Since this rod is meant to catch bigger fish, it isn’t as sensitive as its lighter counterparts. The rod itself can also be quite heavy, so carrying them around can be tiring.

  • Best for: trolling, surfcasting, and fishing for big saltwater species.

Action : A concept that often goes hand in hand with power is action. As stated earlier, action determines where the pole bends once force is exerted. The location of the bend helps you determine the technique you would use for controlling your game. A fast action rod is one that bends on the upper third of the rod, while a slow action rod bends near the handle. Some manufacturers produce moderate action rods that bend in the middle.

Frame and Materials : The material used for the frame determines the fishing rod’s durability, sensitivity, and lifting power. The best fishing rods in the market today are either made of fiberglass, graphite, carbon fiber, or multi-material composites.

Fiberglass : Rods made of fiberglass are known for being the toughest in the market. Because of this quality, they’re generally thicker than other rods, and that makes them the perfect companion for medium to heavy power fishing.

Fiberglass is also the preferred material for trolling rods because of its strength. 

Although fiberglass is relatively cheap, it’s not as cheap as graphite or carbon fiber. And with today’s modern technology, new material composites are manufactured – and thesehave better durability at just the fraction of the price.

Graphite : A cheaper alternative to fiberglass is graphite. Graphite rods tend to be lightweight, so they’re more flexible and offer better sensitivity. For this reason, ultra light and light rods are usually made of graphite.

A downside is that graphite doesn’t last as long as fiberglass. After the passage of a considerable amount of time, graphite rods give in to ordinary wear and tear.

Carbon Fiber : Carbon fiber is touted as the modern version of graphite. This is because they have similar advantages. 

Graphite is known for being lightweight, and the same is true for carbon fiber. In fact, carbon fiber is a lighter material, making it more flexible than graphite. However, it is not as cheap as graphite.

Carbon fiber rods are perfect for you if you’re willing to be extra cautious. Because of its lightweight quality, these rods can easily break if you accidentally drop them.

Multi-Material Composites : Fishing rods made of multi-material composites are relatively new to the market. As its name implies, this is made from a hybrid of separate materials to produce a new composite that has the strengths of each individual material.

Depending on the material composing it, a multi-material composite rod can easily be considered as the best fishing rod for the category it’s being sold for. However, these rods are often sold at steep prices so you should expect to pay extra for guaranteed durability, quality, and luxury.

Rod Guides and Rings : Rod guides, also known as the rod eyes, are the circular pieces where the fishing line is threaded through. These rings usually come in handy when you’re trying to reel in a fighter since it provides additional support for your pole.

Depending on the material used for these rings – and where you go fishing –you may need to replace them from time to time.

Ring Frame Materials : To save you time and money on recurrent replacements, you have to be familiar with the different ring frame materials available. Chrome-coated rings work best for freshwater fishing but are not recommended for use in the ocean. Although it can withstand prolonged exposure to fresh water, it can easily corrode when exposed to saltwater.

With that said, rings made from stainless steel or titanium are the best options for saltwater fishing. Be wary, however, because some manufacturers only coat rings with titanium. This does not have the same effect as a solid titanium guide.

Ring Feet : Ring feet refers to the part of the ring that attaches itself to the rod. Single-foot styles are usually thicker than double-feet styles. But I think it’s all a matter of personal preference.

What you should consider, however, is how the feet are fastened onto the pole. This will make sure that your guides remain steady regardless of any strong pulling from fighting fish.

Ring Liners : Ring liners are the portion of the guide that comes in contact with the fishing line. As to material, there is no material that particularly stands out from the rest. But if you’re out to replace your old ring liners, make sure to ask for marine-rated ones.

Additionally, you should also consider the line weight it has to work with. Otherwise, it might not be able to properly support your fishing line.

Roller Guides : A roller guide refers to the contraption with a bearing and roller which guides the fishing line through the rod eyes. Roller guides give the angler better control over reeling the fish in, especially when it comes to large species like tuna and shark.

These contraptions are frequently used for trolling but not is necessary for more traditional ways of fishing. 

Attention to These Factors Too

At this point, you have already acquired enough knowledge to prepare you to make your big purchase. But as a final reminder, I want you to pay attention to these oft-overlooked factors as well.

Getting to Your Spot : How you will be able to bring your fishing rod to your sweet spot is a factor that beginners often overlook.

Usually, they are all too excited to make the purchase that they forget to consider how they’ll carry their rod to their chosen spot.

As a tip, you should also consider the path you have to go through. If it’s a large freshwater lake or sea that’s accessible by car, you won’t have a problem with carrying larger rods. Nevertheless, you also have to consider if the gear can be packed safely inside your vehicle.

On the other hand, if you have to hike to the location or if have to camp out, you might want to consider more portable alternatives like telescopic or pen rods.

Tackle Weight : Identifying the weight of the tackle is another factor that’s often overlooked. More than just casting your fishing line into the water, you have to pay close attention to how deep it is and how furious the torrents can be. As a rule of thumb, the heavier the tackle, the lower your sinkers can go.

However, heavy isn’t always the right choice. When the water is calm, you don’t really need heavy tackles. Similarly, lightweight rods have weight limitations that you have to consider – otherwise, you’ll risk snapping your pole.

As a tip, consider the type of fishing activity that you’ll use your rod for. Think about the type and weight class of the fish you intend to catch. And finally, consider the regular flow of the water where you plan to fish. These factors will guide you as to the weight of the tackle you’ll be needing.

Freshwater vs. Marine : There’s an obvious difference between freshwater and ocean water, and it’s in the amount of salt contained in the water. This is a factor to consider before you buy – or use – your fishing rods.

Keep in mind that a certain type of fishing rod is not advisable to be used universally for different types of water. This is especially true if you own metal rods which are simply titanium or chrome-plated because the guides and the reel seat might corrode if it’s frequently used in ocean water.

This corrosive effect is also the reason why it’s so hard to find the best fishing rod and reel combo for saltwater.

If you’re a little short on the budget to buy two separate rods, you can still take your freshwater rod to the sea. However, you must thoroughly clean it afterward, making sure that no saltwater residue is left on your rod, especially on the pole, reel, and guides.

Experts also advise oiling up the bearings as an added protection against corrosion.

Leading Fishing Rod Brands

Being familiar with the leading fishing rod brands can help narrow down your search for the best fishing rod. Companies like Shakespeare, Shimano, and Okuma – to name a few – are known in the fishing industry for a reason: they produce high-quality fishing equipment. Thus, getting to know these leading brands will guarantee that you are making the right investment. To make this article as comprehensive as possible, I have taken the liberty to introduce compile and list down the best fishing rods brands in the market today. 

  • Shakespeare : The Shakespeare Company is among the oldest manufacturers of fishing equipment. Established in 1897, this brand is best known for producing a lightweight yet sturdy fishing rods. Due to being lightweight, Shakespeare rods are easy to carry around, which makes it the best companion for beginners and amateur anglers. They also offer their rods at affordable prices despite all the features that they offer. However, a downside is that Shakespeare rods can’t usually take on heavy to ultra heavy species. Nevertheless, and all things considered, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.
  • Shimano : Another notable fishing rod brand is a Japanese company, Shimano. Shimano is noted not only for manufacturing fishing equipment but for cycling and rowing equipment as well. This makes it a trusted brand in the sports industry as a whole. In the world of fishing, the company is best known for creating sturdy high-power rods which also gives users control and accuracy. This is the reason why Shimano is the favorite brand of most professional fishermen. Shimano provides us with a wide variety of fishing rods to choose from, from beginner-level equipment to tournament-level gear. You can also choose to use them in freshwater or in saltwater. The catch, however, is that the price of this brand’s fishing rods can be quite steep compared to the prices of its competitors.
  • Okuma : Another competitive brand is Okuma. This relatively new company was established in 1986 and promises innovation and dynamic designs in manufacturing their rods. Okuma also has an extensive variety of fishing rods you can choose from, ranging from spinning rods to fly rods. They are known for producing sturdy blanks, although users comment that the lighter rods are not as stable as those of other brands. It goes without saying that Okuma offers the best heavy-duty reels and rods. Because of this, Okuma is known to be one of the makers of the best bass rods of today. It also produces a variety of lightweight yet durable travel rods.
  • Penn : Penn made its name in the industry by providing anglers with the best trolling equipment you can ever find. This American manufacturer was established in 1932, with its first designs specifically made for distance casting. Today, Penn is the choice of professional fishermen for saltwater fishing. But this doesn’t mean that its fishing rods are not meant for freshwater fishing – because they are. The company is also one of today’s most active manufacturers, making sure that it keepsits features up to date with the ever-changing needs of anglers. Penn fishing rods, however, can be quite costly. But experts can all agree that fishing equipment from this American company is worth the money.
  • ABU Garcia : The leading choice for tournament-level fishing gear is ABU Garcia. This manufacturer is noted for some of the best game fishing equipment, especially when it comes to freshwater fishing. ABU Garcia also has a line for saltwater fishing, though not as extensive as its freshwater range. The company is known for building sturdy and sensitive equipment, making it the choice for ultra light to medium fishing. The quality of their rods usually come with a hefty price tag, so beginners often resort to purchasing more affordable alternatives from other brands. But if you have a little extra money to spare, I highly recommend getting your fishing equipment from ABU Garcia.
  • Daiwa : Another top competitor for the best fishing equipment manufacturer is Daiwa. And by equipment, I really mean the whole shebang: from rods, reels, replacement parts, and other accessories. There’s really nothing negative I can say about Daiwa. They have the most extensive line of fishing rods, from saltwater to freshwater use – and they even have specialized gear for catching specific species of fish. The company promises to be the first to meet the ever-changing needs of the market, and it surely does not disappoint. Daiwa users also praise the company’s customer support services for being prompt and responsive.

Frequently Asked Questions

At this point, I know you already have an adequate understanding of fishing rods to make a reasonable purchase. But if you’re still unsure, here are my answers to some of you frequently asked questions.

1. What is the best fishing rod brand?

Among the fishing rod brands I’ve mentioned, I could say that the best is Shakespeare. Since it was founded in 1897, Shakespeare has consistently been improved its game. Offering the widest selection of fishing equipment, there is no doubt that both entry-level fishermen and professional anglers will find the best fishing pole for their specific needs. They’re also known to produce lightweight yet strong blanks at affordable prices – something that its competitors are yet to beat.

With all things considered, there is no doubt that Shakespeare is the brand to beat. 

2. What makes a good fishing rod?

This is a really tough question to answer, since identifying a good fishing rod would depend on what you’ll use it for.

On average, a good fishing rod is one that is lightweight, has a reel or a reel seat, highly durable, easy to use, and can be used in both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Based on this description, it’s safe to say that a good fishing rod can also be considered as the best all-around fishing rod and reel combination. 

3. How much does a good fishing rod cost?

The price of a fishing rod does not determine how good it will be. Nevertheless, the price of top quality entry-level fishing rods cost range from twenty to sixty dollars, while the best professional or tournament-level rods can go as steep as a few thousand dollars.

Bass fishing rod and reel setups, on the other hand, can range from fifty dollars to a few hundred dollars. Similarly, you can find the best spinning rod and reel combo for the same price. 

I’m only giving you the price range to expect since the cost will really depend on your needs. 

Final Words

Buying the best fishing rod is like making an investment – you have to take your time to get to know what you’re spending your money on.

I hope that this guide will properly serve its purpose and walk you through the nitty-gritty of fishing gears.

Keep in mind that the most expensive isn’t always the best and that cheap doesn’t always mean low quality. As a rule, determine what you’re looking for in a fishing rod first. Once you’re done with your assessment, the rest of the process won’t be a problem. 

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