Whether you are getting ready for your first fishing trip or you are an experienced tournament pro, choosing the best fishing rod for your situation is important. Making this decision can seem daunting at first, but as we will show you, it’s actually pretty straightforward.
Below are a few tips on finding the right fishing rod combined with all the information you might need to make the best decision. We have also added a couple of reviews to get you started.
Here are the fishing rods that we recommend and will review later:
The Best Fishing Rods
What to Think About When Choosing a Fishing Rod
You will often hear that you need to know what and where are you fishing.
While that is true, you need to pay way more attention to your casting needs and preferences than to the type of fish you are after.
Most of picking a fishing rod comes down to a few basic questions:
- What are you casting (what bait, hooks etc.…)?
- How far do you need to cast?
- Where are you fishing?
Additionally, its important you know, what type of fishing you plan to do. For example, you will need a different rod for when you go fly fishing to when you plan to surf fish. In short, pick a rod that will help you cast what you need to cast!
Spinning vs Casting Rods
Before we can dive deeper into picking your fishing rod, we have to clear up one frequent question. What is the difference between spinning and casting rods?
You will recognise a spinning rod by its eyes as well as the reel being on the bottom of the rod. This type of rod is especially appropriate for beginners as they are easier to master and offer more than enough usability to catch small to medium-sized fish. But the eyes are more prone to breaking as there is more pressure applied to them by the fish. They also might leave an experienced angler wanting for more technique.
If you have more fishing experience on the other hand, you might want to go for a baitcasting rod. Casting rods have their eyes, line guides and reel above the rod. They should will give you more control and casting distance but only after you have mastered the use of this setup.
Important Attributes of Fishing Rods - What to Look For
There are a few important attributes of any fishing rod that determine its use and quality. Namely those are: length, material, action, and power.
When you set out to buy a new fishing rod, it's important you understand what each of those attributes means and how they apply to you.
When it comes to the length of a fishing rod, it might help if you think about the rod as a leaver. It gives you leverage on the line and the fish you are tackling. The longer the rod, the more leverage it will give you.
Longer rods will increase your casting distance, allow you to use a lot of line and hooks, and might help you get around cover easily. But, they can get hard to manage in areas where you don’t have a lot of space to maneuver the rod.
If casting distance is not your priority and would prefer casting accuracy, you will probably be better off with a shorter fishing rod. Shorter rods will also help you work the lure more precisely as you can fish with the rod tip pointed down.
As a general rule of thumb: start with a 7ft long rod, and then go longer or shorter, depending on your needs.
The two main categories of rods when it comes to material are fiberglass and graphite rods.
Graphite rods are more widely used and will do the job most of the time. They give you a great deal of sensitivity and therefore allow you to feel the fish on the line more.
Rods made out of fiberglass are a lot stronger but less sensitive, which means it can be harder to detect light bites. They can offer a more premium feel but might get rather expensive.
The action or speed of the rod is used to describe the characteristics its bend. The faster the action, the more does the rod bend.
With fast action rods, that are mostly popular in bass fishing, you will notice that they mostly bend in the top quarter while the backbone of the rod is stiff. They are great for anything you need to quickly drive to the fish, like jigs and worms. On the other hand, faster action rods might limit your casting ability.
Medium action rods bend up to the middle of their length, and load up a lot. Those are the most balanced rods and great for general use and beginners.
Slow action rods are known for their parabolic bend as the bend along their entire length. You can put a lot more weight on a slow action rod and cast further than with faster action rods. Be wary that those are slower when it comes to pulling the hook into place.
A rod’s power goes hand in hand with the action. If action is represents the bend, power stands for the resistance of the rod to that bend.
The more power your rod has, the less will it bend. This will give you the ability to use heavier bait setups and allow you to pull fish from heavy cover.
And you would probably want to use a rod with less power, when you need more precision and are casting lighter jigs.
Reviews of 5 of The Best Fishing Rods
Now that you know what’s important when buying a fishing rod, it's time to take a look at the 5 best fishing rods. We have listed the most important characteristics of each rod along with its pros and cons to help you make an optimal decision.
A great all around rod for beginners and skilled anglers alike. Just like any Ugly Stik rod, the Elite Spinning Rod is extremely durable.
Setup: 1pcs & 2pcs
Power: Medium & Medium Light
Action: Very Fast
The newest version is made out of 35 percent more graphite which makes the rod even lighter without compromising on build quality. Its cork offers a firm grip which allows for hours of fishing and reliable hook sets.
You can use it for either freshwater or saltwater fishing and for almost any size of fish.
It will offer you a lot of leverage when tackling smaller fish but that might take some excitement out of fishing.
We’d recommend this rod for any recreational and beginner angler that’s looking for a reliable and affordable multipurpose rod.
The Scott Martin Tournament Concept Rod TCS-S-701ML is an amazing rod for more serious anglers and tournament bass fishermen.
Designed by one of the most successful tournament fishermen in history, Scott Martin, it’s built to meet the standards of even the most demanding users.
- Length: 7ft
- Setup: 1pcs
- Power: Medium Light
- Action: Fast
The price might be a bit higher than what a beginner angler is willing (or even should) spend on a rod. But, the Scott Martin Tournament Concept Rod TCS-S-701ML is a great investment for a serious or aspiring tournament pro.
We also recommend you take a look at the entire Okuma Scott Martin Tournament Concept Rods series which includes a wide array of spinning and casting rods.
The Berkley Glowstik stands out of the crowd with is glow in the dark top part that makes fishing at night as easy as catching fish in a barrel (pun intended).
- Length: 6'6" & 8'
- Setup: 1pcs & 2pcs
- Power: Medium & Medium Heavy
- Action: Moderate fast
This Moderate fast action rod comes in a 6'6" Medium (1pcs) and 8' Medium Heavy (2pcs) variants and is designed to throw about 4 ounces of lead and bait.
The glowing part is powered by a AAA battery. While this feature can come in handy when you are fishing at night, the glow is not particularly visible in the daylight.
We’d recommend you use it when fishing in lakes and smaller still rivers. If you fish in big rivers with strong currents or in an ocean, you might want to look for a rod that can cast heavier baits.
You’ll want to use a reel that has between 15 and 18 pounds of drag with the Berkley Glowstik Spinning Fishing Rod.
Many anglers swear by the Daiwa Aird X Casting Rod which offers unbelievable bank for your buck.
- Length: 7'
- Setup: 1pcs
- Power: Heavy
- Action: Fast
Not only its a well-rounded reliable rod it also has that premium look that is bound to attract attention of your fellow anglers.
The bottom 30% of the rod has added reinforcement called Braiding X construction which is said to increase its strength and reduce blank twist.
Its handle offers comfort and valance all throughout the day and the rods convenient hook keeper will make your fishing trips even more stress free.
It is perfect for a wide range of bass fishing applications including finesse worm applications.
The Entsport Camo Legend Casting Rod might just be one of the most versatile fishing rods out there.
- Length: 7'
- Setup: 2pcs
- Power: Medium Heavy
- Action: Medium
While this rod has a strong and structurally enhanced solid carbon fiber construction it remains lightweight and portable. A presence of graphite in the material also means the sensitivity is enhanced.
Keep in mind that you can choose between two upper parts of this rod, one with Medium Heavy and one with Medium Light power.
It has an EVA split grip which adds to control and comfort while fishing. The reel seat is ergonomically designed so it allows direct contact with your fingers.
It works great for skipping senkos under docks and flinging plastic jerkbaits, but it might not be ideal for pitching or flipping.
You can of course use it for saltwater or surf fishing just be sure to wash it with freshwater after use, to increase the rods lifespan.
Now that you know what you should be looking for when you are buying you are able to pick the best fishing rod for your needs.
To recap: every rod has a power, action, and length. What should any of these be is mostly dependant on what and where you are fishing.
All rods on our list should be appropriate for a wide range of application and will most likely be a valuable addition to your collection.
If we’d only have to go with one of them, we’d pick the Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod due to its versatility and ability to make reliable hook sets even after hours of fishing.