Home » Best Fishing Rods of 2018 – The Buyer’s Guide

What Is A Fishing Rod?

A fishing rod is a tool that fishermen use to catch fish of various shapes and sizes. Earlier civilizations used to ensnare fish with very basic equipment and methods. However, recent revolutions in the fishing industry have brought us great fishing tools that have made fishing easier. That being said, you need loads of experience and the right equipment to make a reasonable dent in your efforts to learn fishing.

The choice of the best fishing rods can depend on a number of factors, such as the size and type of fish you hope to catch (salmon, trout, bass), the surface where you will fish (river, stream, sea), and the lure you will be using. Hence, there is literally a multitude of choices you can make with best fishing rods. You can buy a new fishing rod or look at old fishing rods worth the money. To narrow down your options, you must consider the length, weight, and action of a fishing rod among other features that suit you and your fishing style.

Best Fishing Rods Comparison Table

Name Length Rating Price  
Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod 84’  $39.95 Buy Now
Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Rod 6’6” – 7’  $79.95 Buy Now
St. Croix Triumph Spin Rod 5’ – 7’6”  $80.00 Buy Now
St. Croix Bass X Spinning Rods 6’8” – 7’1”  $99.99 Buy Now
Fenwick Eagle Spinning Rod 5’6” – 8’  $50.00 Buy Now
Daiwa BG Spinning Reel  $65.96 Buy Now

Editor’s Choice

Best Fishing Rods

Personal experience and recommendations of countless experts have led us to claim Ugly Stik GX2 as the best fishing rod for beginners as well as pros looking to save up money. It becomes an explosive combo when teamed up with a Daiwa BG reel.

For the price range, you won’t find anything more long lasting and resourceful than the Daiwa BG SW and the medium Ugly Stik GX2. In most cases, a cheap buying only gets you products that are not long lasting, while an expensive product gives you the latest features, however, such characteristics may not translate to a purposeful and casual fishing experience. The Daiwa and Ugly Stik combo will allow you to fish trout, bass, and salmon among other inland fish.

Nonetheless, if you are adamant about staying with fishing small freshwater fish, an Ultra-Light Ugly Stik GX2 and a BG SW reel with a size 2,500 or less, can work wonders. For your fishing adventures near vegetation, consider owning a smaller length rod, perhaps a 5ft version to avoid getting caught up in bushes.

Coincidentally, according to Salt Water Sportsman and Sports Fishing Magazine, Daiwa BG SW was the most favorite $100 reel last year in 2017. The reason for its popularity lies in the durable motor, small ball-bearings (worthy of more expensive reels), and strong springs for anti-reverse clutching. The intuitive design lets the water drain easily from inside the reel and the drag mechanism mirrors the one common with premium reels, which makes the Daiwa BG SW equal the greats at half the price.

Best Fishing Rods of 2018 Top Rated List

01

Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod

Overview

The Ugly StikGX2TM is the embodiment of the upcoming generation of Ugly Stik rods blending the company’s age-old customs and legacy together into a fishing rod that is strong, durable, sensitive and reminiscent of the Ugly Stik premium rod construction. The spinning rod will give you a smooth and balanced feel as soon as you hold it in your hand. The attractive design and top-grade components are sure to impress you as well as the other anglers wishing to get their hands on the GX2 as soon as they set their eyes on this ergonomic masterpiece.

Specs

  • Length: 84’
  • Power: Medium
  • Technique: Spinning
  • Color: Multicolor
  • Price: $39.95

Pros

  • Highly sensitive
  • Ability to handle most small and medium-sized fish
  • Extremely Cheap

Cons

  • Low quality
  • Not built to handle large fish

Conclusion

We really appreciate the eye-catching design of the Ugly Stik GX2 spin fishing rod, which is really a true depiction of Ugly Stik fishing rods. The rod is highly sensitive allowing you to feel minor touches on the hook and line. On the other hand, the rod is cheap, so there are some shortcomings related to the quality of the fishing rod. The construction is not completely graphite, as a mixture of fiberglass and graphite has been used. But that is not something to complain about given the price of these Shakespeare fishing rods.

02

Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Rod

Overview

The Ugly Stik Tiger Elite spinning rods are multi-faceted fishing rods that can be used on any surface to catch any kind of fish. The fishing rod incorporates Ugly Tech construction, which gives you a meaningful edge over other anglers, and the brand new Ugly Tuff guides provide line durability by saving it from corrosion.  The Tiger Elite fishing rod series is lightweight, sensitive and strong complementing your performance standards.

Specs

  • Length: 6’6” – 7’
  • Power: Medium Heavy to Heavy
  • Pieces: 1
  • Reel Seat: Conventional
  • Price: $79.95

Pros

  • Ceramic inserts enhance durability
  • Dependable

Cons

  • The absence of a hook keeper
  • Unsatisfactory winding

Conclusion

The Tiger Elite from Ugly Stik is a great fishing rod overall. Although the price is under 100 dollars, the components are well above its price range. You will have a comfortable time fishing with this fishing rod. Using its high-quality blank construction, you will be able to catch fish easily with precision.

03

St. Croix Triumph Spin Rod

Overview

The St. Croix Triumph is the prime example of St. Croix’s rod building excellence. Built using SCII graphite and in a variety of models, the rod can fit all of your spin fishing needs. Triumph rods offer exceptional castability compared to other rods in this price range. Moreover, they are light on your packets and are packed with a bunch of brilliant features.

Specs

  • Length: 5’ – 7’6”
  • Power: Ultra Light to Medium Heavy
  • Action: Moderate to Fast
  • Pieces: 1 & 2
  • Line Weight: 2-17
  • Rod Weight: 1 – 5.8 oz
  • Price: $80 – $230.72

Pros

  • Great sensitivity
  • Value for money
  • One piece is better than the two piece

Cons

  • Poor packaging

Conclusion

You will enjoy the Triumph series by St. Croix as they offer the best in performance and durability. The overall feel and balance of the fishing rod are immaculate. Even the slightest touch on the line will be felt in your hands. This fishing rod can be used as your main choice for fishing or as a backup option.

04

St. Croix Bass X Spinning Rods

Overview

The St. Croix Bass X spinning rod offers performance alien to other rods in the under hundred dollars category. Constructed using high-quality graphite, aluminum oxide guides, and Fuji DPS reel seats, the fishing rod is the best of the best when it comes to incredible balance and sensitivity. The cork handles and the 5-year warranty for St. Croix rods are sure to keep you relaxed at all times.

Specs

  • Length: 6’8” – 7’1”
  • Power: Medium to Medium Heavy
  • Action: Extra Fast to Fast
  • Line Weight: 6-14
  • Rod Weight: 4 – 4.7 oz
  • Price: $100 – $119.99

Inserted: –

Pros

  • Value for money
  • Highly sensitive

Cons

  • Might be too stiff for some

Conclusion

The extra fast to fast action of the St. Croix Bass X spinning rod offers you stiffness that allows you to throw casts for long distances with quick line speeds. As for the price range, the rod performs exceptionally well. It is pretty hard to find a good substitute for this fishing rod in the market.

05

Fenwick Eagle Spinning Rod

Overview

Fenwick Eagle spinning rods have been tested through time to be a great companion for anglers wanting high performance at a low price. The Eagle revives the century-old Fenwick rod building craftsmanship and provokes it to be much better. All the rods in the series are built to perfection using year’s old experience, therefore prove to be a bridge between classic and conventional eras.

Specs

  • Length: 5’6” – 8’
  • Power: Medium Heavy to Ultra Light
  • Action: Moderate to Fast
  • Technique: Spinning
  • Price: $50 – $85.99

Pros

  • Great for small panfish
  • Nice flexible backbone

Cons

  • Should have been more guides
  • Poor packaging

Conclusion

The varying lengths of the Fenwick Eagle spinning rods are made to fit the needs of pro and beginner anglers. This fishing rod won’t disappoint when it comes to freshwater fishing, as it is highly capable of dealing with all freshwater fish from bass to trout. Buy the best spinning rod under 100 to have a casual fishing fun on a nice sunny weekend!

06

Daiwa BG Spinning Reel

Overview

The Daiwa BG spinning reel has a class of its own thanks to the advanced new model. The product features reels ranging from ultralight freshwater actions to heavy premium saltwater versions. The air rotor waterproof design, as well as the aluminum and carbon components, is pleasing for all anglers.

Specs

  • Action: Ultra-light to Extra Heavy
  • Bearings: 6+1
  • Gear Ratio: 3:1 to 5.7:1
  • Line Per Handle Turn: 3” – 53.3”
  • Weight: 5 – 30 oz
  • Max Drag: 4 – 33
  • Price: $66.39 – $192.58

 

Pros

  • Value for money
  • Exceptional quality
  • Very smooth

Cons

  • A better reel could be bought for a higher price

Conclusion

The Daiwa brand has made high-quality reels accessible to all anglers. Even the novices can get a professional feel with Daiwa BG, thanks to its high-quality construction and a wide range of models. We recommend this reel above any; does not matter if you are starting out as a fisherman or have already established yourself as an angler.

Types of Fishing Rod

Fishing rods vary depending on their application. For instance, a rod made for casting is wholly different from a rod that is meant to be used for ice fishing. Therefore, it is important to understand the various types of fishing rods. Below are a few major fishing rod types.

Types of Fishing Rod

Fly Rods

A Fly rod differs in its design and application from other fishing rods. The rod is used when you are fishing using synthetic ‘flies’ – an artificial bait used to lure fish – which are applied in a method called fly fishing. The fly is attached to a line and is usually bright and colorful with lots of hair or fur to attract fish to the trap. The fly fishing rods are used to catch different kinds of fish, from trout and pike to salmon and sharks. However, you should contemplate the size and weight of the fish and buy a fly rod based on that knowledge. Generally, the larger the size of the fish the heavier should be the fly rod.

Tenkara Rods

Tenkara is an ancient Japanese fishing technique that allows you to be as stealthy as possible while allowing you enough cover to catch fish that are far away from the shore. The method includes the use of a long rod with a line attached to its butt. The rod is stretched far on to the water surface and the fish is caught without using a reel. In olden times, the Tenkara technique was accomplished using bamboo rods or other wooden sticks, however, presently, after Tenkara’s rise in fame in the USA, several manufacturers have emerged that make rods just for this purpose.

Baitcasting Rods

Baitcasting rods, commonly known as casting rods or spin casting rods, are special rods that are specifically drafted to have the reel fixed on top of the rod handle. They are great for professionals as well as for novice anglers, as casting is a fairly easy task with this type of fishing rod, thanks to the one-touch line release. Casting rods can usually fit under every budget because they are cheaper than most other rods. Moreover, they are built for all water surfaces like saltwater and freshwater and are normally much more powerful and sturdy compared to spinning rods.

Spinning Rods

Contrary to a casting rod, a spinning rod has the reel placed below the handle. You will learn with experience that handling a spinning rod requires a bit more skill compared to casting rods. On the other hand, they are more comfortable to use for long fishing adventures, as the rod feels more balanced with the reel below the handle. A spinning rod works perfectly when you use lightweight lure and bait because the heavy tension on the rod can cause it to snap or the line/reel to break. Best Spinning rods are widely used by fishermen to catch Trout, Bass, and other inland fishes.

Ultra-Light Rods

Ultra-Light rods were created to enhance your fishing skills by providing a more challenging and exciting fishing experience. This special fishing rod is known by its short length, lightweight construction and more agile lines and hence it is primarily used to catch lightweight and small fish. Some fishermen use a light line and small bait to their advantage by reeling in larger fish using unintimidating flies and baits. However, this requires good skills on part of the angler. You cannot go wrong with tubes, worms and wet flies as baits when using Ultra-Light Rods.

Ice Rods

As the name suggests, an Ice Rod is meant to catch fish on ice. Although ice is a very rare fishing medium, it is a widely growing choice among anglers living in cold regions. Ice fishing involves hunting for fish by cutting a hole in the ice frozen atop ponds and lakes. Conventional ice rods are just tiny spinning rods ranging between 24 to 36 inches, however, classical ice fishing rods that are still widely being used, are basically wooden sticks consisting of two or more guides, a wooden handle, and two hooks that facilitate the lowering of the line into the water.

Sea Rods

Ocean fishing requires the right equipment which is sturdy enough to handle the strong and mean fish of the sea. Sea rods are fishing rods that are built for this purpose, and therefore they are very long, thick, and powerful compared to an inshore fishing rod. There are sea rods constructed for specific purposes such as for ensnaring sharks and marlins. Typically, sea rods are mated to heavy-duty equipment and usually teamed up with a sports fishing boat for maximum yield.

Surf Rods

Amongst the most common sea rods is a surf rod. Surf Casting Rods look like bulky and bigger versions of casting or spinning rods and hence they are primarily handled using a two-handed technique. A surf rod can be 10 to 14 feet long, allowing you enough liberty to cast long distances, thus making it easy to catch the fish that accumulate behind a breaking surf. It is widely used for inshore fishing as these surf fishing rods grant you throwing heavy baits for long distances with maximum ease.

Trolling Rods

Trolling is a unique casting method which involves casting a bait from a moving boat and allowing the boat’s motion to drag the bait across the water. Given the nature of this type of fishing, trolling is optimal for large lakes and the ocean. Therefore, trolling rods are forged to be strong and stiff with fast actions, and are able to withstand the pull of the water from atop a fast-moving boat.

Telescopic Rods

A Telescopic fishing rod is an excellent choice for travelers, owing to its versatile design which allows it to be shortened and lengthened using a telescope inspired blueprint. The collapsible fishing rod is renowned among surf fishermen who revel in the rod’s collapsing functionality, letting this 14-15ft rod to be transported with relative ease. You should be attentive when collapsing and extending this travel fishing rod as well as in cleaning it because this fishing rod is fragile and once broken can be difficult to reassemble.

How to Choose the Best Fishing Rod?

How to Choose the Best Fishing Rod

Understanding the key features of a fishing rod is necessary before making your purchase decision. The best fishing rod might just be the catalyst you need to become the best fisherman in your area with a beautiful fishing rod rack. However, remember that a rod doesn’t define you. A skillful angler should be able to adjust and adapt to any condition and take control of all challenges he might face.

It is always better to start off with a cheap rod and build upon your expertise as you climb up the ‘skill’ ladder. Later on, when you have perfected yourself by minimizing your errors and mistakes, opt for expensive fishing rods for sale with better quality components and high-grade construction.

The surface where you fish is also influential for your rod’s choice. Fishing rods are made for either freshwater or saltwater surface application. Determine beforehand which surface and condition you are willing to fish at, and then look for the fishing rod relevant to that category.

To help you out, below are a few important considerations to buy the best fishing rods.

Length

Fishing rods can be found in different lengths. The choice of the rod should largely depend on its length. If you are an avid inshore angler, a medium to long length fishing rod will do the job for you, whereas if you are thinking of adopting fly fishing or Tenkara fishing, a longer rod will be more suitable.

Action

The action of a fishing rod comes second in terms of importance. It refers to how much your rod bends during casting. Rod actions generally vary from fast to slow. The faster your rod action is the stiffer your rod will be, enabling you

Material

Fishing rods are generally built using graphite nowadays, however, a few manufacturers still make fiberglass and bamboo rods. Graphite is usually lightweight and sturdy, so it is the best choice for any kind of fishing. Fiberglass is an old technology and soon will go obsolete. As for bamboo rods, they are a luxury. A Bamboo rod can cost a great amount of money, so it is best to stay away unless you have won a huge lottery.

Warranty

Perhaps, what matters most for some people is the warranty of a fishing rod. Rods, especially cheap ones, are prone to snapping; not only the blank but the guides and ferrules among other components can also break. Most brands offer a lifetime warranty, which covers replacements and repairs at a small fee, and some even offer limited lifetime warranties. We advise you to weigh all your options before deciding.

Price

Before you decide on the above factors, you need to know your budget. You can buy a very cheap fishing rod or an exorbitant one. It really depends on what you can afford. However, keep in mind, higher price doesn’t necessarily translate to better quality or performance. There are many fishing rods that are cheap but can last a lifetime.

Power

The power of a fishing rod refers to its ability to lift up weight. The more powerful the rod is the heavier fish it can bring up. The Power generally ranges from heavy to light. A heavy power rod will manage to handle weighty lines and baits, whereas, a light power rod will do the opposite. Be mindful of the type of fish you want to catch because a trout would not require the same power a salmon or bass would.

Rod and Reel

The fishing rods and reels come together to make the perfect fishing package. Both are integral to each other. If you match a wrong reel for the rod, your fishing efforts can prove unproductive.

Therefore, right after selecting a fishing rod, your focus should shift toward selecting an appropriate rod and reel combo. A reel holds the chunk of your line and helps to pull in prey and therefore the quality of the reel should be high, considering fish are strong and can put in a lot of fight. If your reel breaks or if it is incompatible with the rod’s reel seat (causing the reel to dislodge), you can lose your catch in the blink of an eye.

Furthermore, for fishing rods, especially in the case of fly rods, the reel can affect the balance of the pole. If you want a comfortable all-day fishing experience, you would want a balanced fishing rod.

Maintenance of A Fishing Rod

Just because your rod is built to be strong and tough, it doesn’t mean you abuse it. Like every other mechanical and technical equipment/tool, a fishing rod requires constant maintenance and cleaning to ensure its durability and functionality. You should go for periodic fishing rod repair to make it last for long.

Here are 4 steps you should follow to make sure your fishing rod is in perfect working condition for the next time you use it:

Maintenance of A Fishing Rod

Cleaning the Guides

The guides hold the line in place, therefore they go through the most wear and tear caused by the constant tugging tension put on them. Various specimens can get stuck on a rod’s guides like weeds, sand or stone, and that can cause the line to break. The best way to clean your steel guides is to use a water-based lubricant like WD-40 or something as simple as a dishwashing soap. Just make sure you dry the water after washing as remaining water can cause rusting. Guides, however small, are very significant, so even you do not find any cleaning lubricant, you should just apply some water and use a clean cloth to wipe off all the impurities.

Reel Seat and Handle

The reel seat is where you fix your reel. Over time dust or other particles can clog up the reel seat which can really hamper your efforts to mount a reel on your rod. Therefore, it is important to clean up the reel seat area before and after every use. Furthermore, the fishing rod should be thoroughly cleaned to avoid it sticking to your palms and result in you losing a prize-winning fish. Use alcohol rubs to clean off all the germs and impurities from your special equipment.

Blank Cleaning

The blank of a fishing rod makes up the larger part of the shaft and is the backbone of your fishing operation. Keep your blank clean and sparkly to make it look new forever. To achieve that, you can use a carnauba-based wax or a mixture of lemon and water to preserve the sparkle of the fishing rod 

Storage

After all the cleaning, it is necessary to store the fishing rod in a secure place, away from dust and susceptibility to breakage. For this matter, you can use rod sleeves or a fishing rod case both of which are widely available in the market. For facility inside your vessel, you can opt for fishing rod holders for boats. Make sure to place rods vertically and in a cool place because its awkward position and hot conditions can make it bend. You could also use fishing rod holders for added protection.

Top Fishing Brands You Should Consider

G. Loomis

G. Loomis

The G. Loomis brand creates some of the highest-quality mass-produced fishing rods. Ask professionals and beginners around the world and they will confidently place G. Loomis brand among the top. However, hasten to empty your pockets as the G. Loomis rods don’t come cheap.

St. Croix

St. Croix

St. Croix is a premium rod building company and one of our personal favorites. The high-quality rod construction and attention to detail are some of the brilliant aspects this brand possesses, so you can be sure you are getting the best when it comes to St. Croix fishing rods.

Fenwick

Fenwick

Fenwick has been delivering high-performance fishing rods for more than a century. The Fenwick rods are multi-purpose and fit all fishing conditions and surfaces. You will never be disappointed using a Fenwick fishing rod.

Shimano

Shimano

The Shimano brand is mostly known for making high-quality reels but it doesn’t hold back when it comes to fishing rods. If you are looking for a great entry level cheap fishing rod, Shimano is your best choice.

Ugly Stik

Ugly Stik

The Ugly Stik brand is an offshoot of Shakespeare, a fishing equipment company. The Shakespeare fishing rods are one of the premium rods available in the market and this is the reason why it is the best-selling fishing rod series.

The Test

To ensure you get the most authentic information, we thoroughly tested different fishing rods. Our recommendation is based on 5 important features that are integral to a fishing rod’s performance.

Components

Each rod component has been rigorously reviewed by the blank and guides to the handle and reel seat to judge the quality standard of the fittings.

Sensitivity

How magical it is to feel a hint of touch on your line up to your hands! For you to experience that, we casted all the rods on various services like wood, concrete, mud, and grass to make the best judgment.

Casting

To determine maximum castability of the fishing rods we matched them with relevant reels and casted using different baits and flies to assess how far a fishing rod could cast.

Feel and Balance

We held each fishing rod with various hand positions so that a true feel of the balance, ergonomics, and design could be ascertained. Our ratings are based on the amount of comfort and functionality each fishing rod possessed.

Blank Construction

The overall quality of the blank and the performance were judged through a series of trials catching small and large-sized fish in both salt and freshwater conditions.

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