How To Choose The Best Baitcasting Rod For Your Needs

No matter what type of fishing you prefer, it is still a chore to sort through all the available fishing rods on the market. Even though it might be tempting, you don’t just want to buy the first baitcasting rod you see that’s affordable and has decent reviews. It’s important to do your research and make sure that you are getting a baitcasting rod that suits your needs and your preferences. Here are a few tips on what to look for in the best baitcasting rod for you and a few reviews to help you start shopping.

Choosing a Baitcasting Rod

Reel Seats

One major feature that is obviously important is to use the right reel with your baitcasting rod. Reels for baitcasting rods are specifically designed to sit on top of the rod so you will need a top seated reel for your rod.

The reel seat is the little slots where the dovetail found on the reel fits before you clamp it into position. Trigger grips are also commonly found on most baitcasting rods which allows you to manage the rod with the baitcasting style, and, although this isn’t a universal rule, it’s pretty common on baitcasting rods.

Line Guides

The little metal eyelets on the rod are called the line guides which guide and hold your fishing line down the length of the rod. They control the fishing line as you retrieve and cast, and they also cause a lot of friction for the line unspooling from the reel.

With a baitcasting rod, you will need to look for line guides that decrease in size the further they go down from the reel seat. And, unlike a spinning rod, baitcasting rod line guides aren’t as big due to the straighter release of a baitcasting reel.

There are two major features to consider with line guides that include:

  • Durability - If a fragile or stiff line guide is mishandled or involved in a hard fight, it can snap so it is important that you find a rod with durable line guides. You can even find some line guides that are made with a springy metal that can completely bend but still snap right back into position.
  • Low Friction - Some guides, like ceramic guides, have very low friction but are also very fragile. These line guides help to increase your cast distance by cutting down on friction when the line unspools during a cast which also makes reeling more efficient and easier.

You will find that most line guides have a mix of both durability and low friction.

Rod Power

When discussing fishing rods, you will see different words describing their power that include:

  • Heavy
  • Medium Heavy
  • Medium
  • Light
  • Ultra-Light

This is the general ranking system for power with lighter rods having less power and heavier rods having more power.

When deciding on the type of rod you need, it is important to consider what species you are targeting. The size and type of fish you plan to catch should determine the power you will need from your rod. If you are targeting small fish you will need a lighter rod while bigger fish need heavier rods, so make sure to do your research on the fish species you want to target so you know which type of rod you need to use.

Baitcasting Rod Action

One important thing to remember is that rod power and rod action are two different things. You can have a slow action rod that is also heavy, although it is unusual.

Action refers to the total amount of bend your rod has in the tip when you cast or pressure the rod. You will have slower action when most of the rod bends as you cast. Rod action is also often referred to as taper since the diameter tapers through the length of the rod which helps to determine the rod power.

The type of bait you use will usually determine the rod action, so a rod that has slow action will often set hooks slower and let the fish get the hook into their mouth further than a fast action rod.

With a fast action rod, it will set faster since the rod is engaged sooner on the set, so you won’t have to move the rod as far to get hook movement. Make sure you understand the different lure types and the species you are targeting to determine what mix of action and power is best for you.

Baitcasting Rod Materials

There are two common materials that pretty much every baitcasting rod is made of:

  • Graphite
  • Fiberglass

The most commonly used material is probably graphite, but since many rod use layers of both fiberglass and graphite, it can be hard to say for sure. These materials are often combined to create a rod with tons of characteristics and qualities.

Fiberglass rods are often considered as the better choice for its durability and toughness as they tend to take a beating a better than graphite. However, graphite does seem to make better fast action rods than fiberglass produces.

Best Baitcasting Rod Reviews

Shakespeare Ugly Stik

If you are looking for one of the best baitcasting rods on the market, the Shakespeare Ugly Stik is worth checking out. It is a medium heavy power casting rod measuring 6 feet 6 inches that allows you to catch medium to large size fish. This is a durable and lightweight rod that was created to provide reliable and smooth performance whenever you use it.

Since you will be holding your rod for long periods of time, a dense EVA foam handle is included that provides a comfortable fishing experience with a durable handle that won’t crumble from constant use. This redesigned rod has tons of enhancements that increase its durability and reliability allowing it to use it for years to come.



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    High-quality, durable, and portable
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    Great option for professional anglers
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    Easily catches fish between 15 and 25 pounds
  • Not all users like using a 2 piece rod

If you are looking for a medium heavy casting rod that will help you catch a lot of fish, the Rippin Lips Casting Rod won't’ give you any problems with gripping, holding, or pulling when you are fishing.

Measuring seven feet six inches, you will feel a big difference when you use this rod in comparison to other rods on the market. This rod features a high tensile strength with its S-glass blanks that are fused together to create a rigid rod.

You won’t have to worry about damage or rush with the chrome plated stainless-steel guides that make it very durable. All of the guides are coated with epoxy to stop abrasions giving it a finished look, plus this also gets rid of the noise that can result from metal-on-metal movement.

With a split handle, you get a brilliantly featured rod that is subjective, balanced, and lightweight. Not only does this rod have a cool look but it will also give you all the confidence you need when you are out on the water.

With the Rippin Lips Super Cat Casting Rod, you are guaranteed an accurate casting experience that provides equal sensitivity even when fishing in the dark with available glow tips that are highly visible for all of the rod tips.



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    Lightweight and durable
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    Rigidity provided with S-glass blanks
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    Available glow tips that are highly visible
  • Not an easy rod for a beginner to use
  • Not easy to transport or store due to its length

Custom designed by professional anglers, the Berkley Casting Rod features sensitive IM6 graphite blank actions that give you a superior casting experience.

With the IM6 graphite action fiber blanks strategically positioned, the design allows the high modulus graphite material to lessen rod weight, increase its sensitivity and performance without worrying about losing strength. Featuring a unique mix of sensitivity and strength, the Berkley Casting Rod has incredible dependability and measure 7 feet long.

Due to the use of multi-modulus graphite, you get the feel of a high-end graphite rod that features a fore-grip that utilizes a hidden thread technology that lessens wear on your fingers.

The included skeleton reel seat also gives you more sensitivity while helping to lessen the overall weight. Some of the top professional fishermen have integrated their own personal requirements to help design this unique tournament-tested casting rod with its technique-specific actions.



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    Has a great mix of durability and strength
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    Tears are reduced with its Fore-grip technology
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    Great sensitivity from the multi-modulus graphite
  • Might not be the easiest rod to carry

If you are looking for a rod high in sensitivity, you can’t beat a graphite constructed rod for bass fishing. You are also going to want a rod that is durable which is hard with a rod that has high sensitivity as they tend to be fragile and break while pulling in your target.

The Okuma Celilo’s Graphite Casting rod is one of the few baitcasting rods that appeals to anglers wanting durability as well as sensitivity with its delicacy and sturdiness it gives you the strength you need when struggling with a large fish like steelhead or salmon.

The Okuma Celilo is a lighter rod than fiberglass allowing you to come back from fishing less tired than when using competitor rods. This rod also stays rust free thanks to the reel seat’s stainless steel hoods allowing you to use the same fitted reel and rod for years to come. This easy handling rod also features a quality cork rear and foregrip that is enjoyed by lots of anglers that appreciate the satisfactory fishing experience they get.



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    Durable and lightweight
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    Great flexibility due to the number of backbones
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    Aluminum oxide guides are smooth and durable
  • A little on the expensive side

Both lightweight and durable, the Entsport Graphite Baitcasting Rod measure seven feet long and is a medium heavy rod. This maximum strength rod is made with a solid carbon fiber that gives it great sensitivity and durability.

With dexterously designed reel seats, it is easy to grip the Entsport Baitcasting Rod and your fingers can have direct contact with the seats so you can have better friction when you are holding the rod.

There are two top pieces featuring different powers that include medium heavy and medium, plus a fast action extension. This mix of incredible features makes the Entsport Graphite Baitcasting Rod a high-quality product for anyone on a budget.

Perfect for both seasoned and beginner anglers, the Entsport is not only cool looking but also gives you a comfortable and responsive casting rod experience. 



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    Should not corrode easily
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    Great control with the EVA split grip
  • Some users have complained of breaks


The winner of the baitcasting rod roundup is the Shakespeare Ugly Stik which is one of the baitcasting rods available. This medium heavy power casting rod easily lets you catch medium to large size fish with its lightweight durability. This rod features a design with smooth and reliable performance that is consistent each time you use it.

This rod has been redesigned and given a ton of features that help to increase its durability and reliability. Plus, it is also comfortable to use for long periods of time with its durable EVA foam handle. The definite winner of the baitcasting rod is the Shakespeare Ugly Stik hands down

If you are looking to learn more about fishing rods, make sure to check our fly fishing and surf fishing rod buying guides.

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