A successful journalist and news reporter in the past, George is now focused on freelance work to be able to dedicate more time to the most important things in his life: family, friends, his dogs, and fishing.
John is an avid traveler, hiker, and RVer. Moreover, it seems like he knows everything when it comes to fishing and hunting: his father started sharing all the tips and tricks he knew when John was a kid. No wonder we trust his opinion every time a new article is being created.
Last updated: May 11, 2021
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If fishing is a favorite pastime for you, it’s only right that you have the best equipment for it. Once you do, you can expect great results from your fishing exploits, hence why you should invest in a quality fishing rod.
Finding and buying one of the best fishing rods can be a daunting challenge. Luckily for you, we have reviewed over 40 products and can thus assist you in finding the ideal one for you. Our top pick was the Penn Carnage II Surf Casting Fishing Rod. Of course, it ranks this way due to its positive attributes, including fast action, durable components, the non-slip foregrip, and more. However, the other products on the list are also impressive in many aspects and may present better choices for different demographics of people.
Compiling our research from the various manufacturer websites took quite a bit of time, but it was worth it since it left us able to rank the products below according to features. The features in question include the type of rod since that influences the kind of fish you can catch. This is in conjunction with the power of the rod, action, material components, and other features as well. We as well took customer reviews under consideration as provided by vendor sites. The result is a table below that ranks said products. Also, below are in-depth reviews of the rods and a buying guide that helps just about anybody choose the best fishing rod for themselves.
Mojo fishing rods have gained a reputation for being versatile, and even though they vary in length, it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into designing them. If you’re looking for an all-rounded fishing rod that you can take with you for various angling methods, then the St. Croix Rods Mojo Inshore Casting Rod should be at the top of your list. Everything about this rod screams quality, and at its price range, you’ll be getting great value for your money.
This fishing rod has a premium build and is made from a premium carbon construction that has been integrated with (IPC) mandrel technology. This not only gives it unparalleled strength & makes it durable but also gives it a sleek design. Some select models also have an Alps rubber gimbal.
The handle of the St. Croix Rods Mojo Inshore Casting Rod is comfortable and has been contoured to make sure it fits perfectly in your hand. This also helps you maintain a strong grip on your rod, a feature that comes in handy when you’re casting your lines far away. The only kind of resistance you should expect is that of your catch.
This fishing rod has various fishing power modes, including high, medium-heavy/ fast, extra-heavy/ mod-fast, etc., which enhances your ability to fish. Its weight line can also carry 15 to 30 pounds which makes it easy for you to handle large catches without much resistance.
Some of the other features of the St. Croix Rods Mojo Inshore Casting Rod include a dual Flex-Coat slow cure finish and SS316 stainless gunsmoke frames. Overall, this fishing rod is a great buy and has all the features that an expert would look for.
What makes it special?
Various power options to choose from.
Comfortable and contoured handle that fits in your hands.
Today’s premium pick will no doubt have featured on some of your wish lists for quite a while. There are, of course, the features that make it stand out more than some of the other options on our list. The construction of the device is top of that list. The rod’s main component is graphite. As some of you may well know, graphite is known for sensitivity on fishing rods, and as such, you can detect it as soon as a fish takes a bit of your bait. This is also in addition to nano cellulose Resin fibers. What this combination guarantees you is that your rod will be lightweight in addition to the sensitivity mentioned above.
Another thing to think about is the construction of the grip. This particular fishing rod features 5A grade cork, which is a common material for handles. Also, you can see the split reel seat on the back of the device. As such, the reel will come into full contact with the blank. This allows for a bit more sensitivity than with other counterparts. It is to be noted that the device is better suited to more experienced anglers who already know their way around a fishing pole.
As to the guides on the device, you get the gold on gold titanium option. This looks good and is durable enough for the job. You would also need to know the action and power of the rod before committing to a purchase. For the former, you get two options, namely the fast and moderate action blanks. With power, you have about six options that range from medium to extra heavy. Of course, these options will also come with variations in the size.
What makes it special?
Various options available with regards to power and action
What cons did we find?
The device is not an ideal fishing rod for beginners
Like the editor’s choice, this tool is also rather expensive
With these rods, you won’t have to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what type of fish they are ideal for. As such, if you regularly encounter salmon/steelhead fish at your usual fishing spot, this may be the tool for you. Alternatively, you may have done your research and found these types of fish to be native to your next fishing destination.
Among the components that make up the blank of the rod are nano resins and Kevlar. As you would expect, this will result in a bit of durability as well as enough sensitivity for the kind of fish, you look to catch. You will also appreciate how light the device is since you are going to spend hours casting and reeling in.
The manufacturer also made sure to reinforce the butt section of the rod. This is where the reel seat of the device is situated, and with the right reel attached, you should experience improved hook setting power. Fuji guides are also a staple to some of the most high-quality fishing rods since they offer unmatched smoothness and allow for easy casting.
Covering the butt section is a carbon fiber handle. As you may well know, carbon fiber is extremely durable and easy to clean. Each of these rods on offer is a medium, fast, or hotshot action option. With regards to power, the variable selection is displayed above in the features section. Nevertheless, the right option is one that is in line with the type of fish you want to catch.
Ugly Stik is one of the top fishing rod manufacturers in the industry; hence it’s only right that at least one of their products gets featured on the list. In addition to the name, this product earned its place here based on merit. It comes as a single piece, and the only option available in terms of length is 6’6” long. In addition to that, power for the rod is limited to medium-heavy.
As is familiar to a lot of the manufacturer’s products, the blanks for these tools are made of Ugly Tech construction. These are materials unique to the brand and involve a blend of graphite and fiberglass for both sensitivity and long-lasting bodies. Since the length of these tools is constant, the number of guides also remains the same at six.
Also, EVA has been known as a suitable alternative to cork. It, therefore, has been used to make the handle on the butt end of the rod. Clear tip design has as well been included to give the device an edge with regards to sensitivity. A feature to write home about is the 7-year warranty. Not many options will be able to top that. It also implies that the manufacturer has put the device through durability tests and determined that all components are capable of lasting a long time.
You can get this particular rod for as little as 40 dollars if you order it from Amazon. In comparison to some of the others that require you to part with almost $200, you can see this is quite a bargain. Also, this rod has been designated as a starter tool and should help many beginners learn the tools of the trade. As mentioned above, this is a multi-piece fishing rod and will need all the components attached to work effectively.
When elongated, the rod can measure either 5’91” to 8’86”. You are going to have to select which of these two options is the right size for you based on the type of fishing you want to take part in. If you pay attention to the picture provided, you will notice that the blank is collapsible, and this allows for easier storage and carry. The power of the device remains at medium for both size options. However, when it comes to action, each device has multiple options.
As to the characteristics of the blank, the manufacturer was going for a durable feel when they thought to mix carbon fiber with fiberglass. The result is a tool that should last a long time after purchase if used and maintained correctly.
There is also the aspect of the stainless steel hooded real seat. This, as well as other components of the rod, are sea-water corrosion resistant. As such, this tool will allow for both sea fishing as well as freshwater fishing. As mentioned above, you can choose the close to 40 dollar option, and all this provides you with is a rod in addition to the reel. The other more expensive option comes with a carrier bag, lures, and fishing line in addition to the basics. As to the reel, it features an s-curved oscillation system, and this will result in more natural line winding.
What stands out?
Easy storage and carry
Comes with a reel
The option of a carry bag is available
What cons did we manage to find?
Rod is heavy as compared to other options
The quality of the reel is not all that impressive to some
Concerning the design, the Sougayilang Telescopic Fishing Rod is strikingly similar to the PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos. Both options are telescopic hence can collapse into smaller sizes when not in use. They also come with their reels attached to the respective reel seats. Despite being collapsible, the device is also capable of carrying some rather heavy weights. This is made possible by the 24 Ton elastic carbon fiber material that makes up the blank of the rod.
Pricing also comes into play in determining the suitability of these tools to the masses. The Sougayilang Telescopic Fishing Rod does not disappoint in this regard with its sub 100 dollar price point. Since both the rod and reel are made to complement each other, it is unlikely that you will face any problems concerning compatibility.
These features listed above represent the positive attributes of the device. Nevertheless, no tool is perfect, and we will as well mention the downsides in the cons section below.
Fishing rods don’t need to have a basic color combination, and the Zebco Roam Orange Spincast Reel and Fishing Rod Combo is proof of this. It is 6 feet long, is a 2 piece, and provides moderate fast action and medium power. This makes it easy for you to catch medium and light fish species such as bass, walleye, trout, panfish, etc.
This fishing rod is expertly crafted, and the blank rod construction is made from durable fiberglass. The drag is dial adjustable and is made from ultra-tough material that makes it easy for you to cast and retrieve your line while the handle is well cushioned and smooth to ensure you have a comfortable grip all day long.
This Zebco fishing rod has an anti-reverse reel that guarantees the hook is well set in the fish’s mouth when you’re reeling in your catch. It also prevents your handle from moving backward, a feature that comes in handy when you have a big catch. The hand retrieve is changeable and has a no-tangle design.
This fishing rod has a 3:6:1 gear ratio, and the pick-up pins are made from dual ceramic that guarantees an extended life, smooth retrieve, and unmatched abrasion resistance that turns ordinary fishing experiences into extraordinary ones.
Zebco has been manufacturing premium outdoor products since 1946, and this fishing rod is a true reflection of their craftsmanship. It also comes with a 1-year warranty.
Why is it special?
Makes it easy to catch the light and medium-weight fish species.
Beautiful construction design.
Changeable hand retrieve with a no-tangle design.
Anti-reverse reel feature.
What are the flaws?
There have been complaints of the rod breaking easily.
24Ton carbon lines the body of the device. In addition to that, there is the EVA handle, stainless steel ball bearings for the spool, and stainless steel guides. It seems that the whole device is meant for heavy use without succumbing to the pressure exerted by multiple, bulky fish. Once the rod arrives at your doorstep and you have unpacked it, you will realize that it comes in two pieces. These pieces, when joined, will range from 5’6” to 7” with three size options in-between the two extremes.
Also, we have mentioned the ball bearings that are eight in total and include one anti-reverse bearing. You will do well to note that the rod actions are variable with these devices and often follow the lead of the rod length. As such, the smallest option is moderate, while the 7’ counterpart is moderate fast. There are also differences in rod power with regards to length as well.
Why are we impressed?
Durable blank material
Variable action and power options
Comes with a reel attached
Anti-reverse ball bearing included
Different rod lengths available
What negatives must you be aware of?
Some users have mentioned that product is not ideal for a braided line
The OKUMA Celilo Graphite Lightweight Ultralight Trout Rods is another budget pick that is accessible to the masses. Unlike the PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos, this model only comes with two pieces and no reel. Nevertheless, it proves a suitable option for some angling enthusiasts out there. As mentioned in the device’s name, you can see that it features graphite as the critical component in the making of the blank. Fishing experts know this to be the recipe for the creation of lightweight and sensitive devices.
Another critical component in the construction of the device is the steel hooded reel seat that sits in between rear and fore cork grips. The price allows beginners more freedom to experiment with the tool since it is likely easier to replace than some of its counterparts. Also, you have the one-year warranty that will surely come in handy should any breakages or damage occur to the pole.
The manufacturer advises that you use this tool for trout, perch, and panfish. By these criteria, you can surmise that this tool is meant for use in lakes, streams, and rivers. Aluminum oxide guide inserts also line the length of the blank. There are as well a total of nine options of the same device by the manufacturer to choose from. Major differences come in where the power and length of the rods are concerned.
What are our favorite features?
Smooth aluminum oxide guide inserts
What could be better?
Action is limited to only the medium option
Requires additional budgeting for the reel and line
The Moonshine Rod Co. The Drifter Series Fly Fishing Rod also deserves mention as one of the high-quality fishing rods in the market. You will, of course, find similarity between this device and the Carrot Stix Gen X Elite Casting Rods premium pick with regards to the making of the blank. Both of these have graphite bodies and, as such, should be quite responsive to tugging fish.
As to the handle, you get AAA cork that is comfortable and easy to hold but also firm. Burled ends also characterize the cork section of the rod. This is in addition to the spalted burl in the reel seat of the device. As a user, you will probably learn to appreciate the wood-like aesthetic that comes by as a result of this. Not many of the other options mentioned above come with their cases unless you decide to part with more of your money. This tool is different in that regard and even throws in a lifetime warranty.
What are its best features?
High-quality cork handle
Sensitive graphite blank
Comes with a canvas case
What could be improved?
The tool is relatively pricey and adding a reel and line will only add to the expense
Guides are small and may limit the lines you can use with the tool
This is an inshore fishing rod and is designed to give the best results when used the right way. Even before going into the details of this particular rod, you should note that the manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty with most of their offerings, including this one.
As to the blank material, the device is made up of IM7 high modulus graphite, which is something you will find in almost all hurricane redbone rods. In addition to that, you get a cork handle, which the device has in common with many other options on the list. You also need to look at the construction of the guides. These are of the fuji aluminum oxide variation. As mentioned before, these are quite smooth and make casting a breeze.
Another benefit of the device is the Fuji graphite reel seats. These are coupled with cushioned hoods for easy attachment of the spool. You as well get a triangle hook keeper.
What stands out?
High-quality reel seat
Comes with a hook keeper
What cons did we manage to find?
Rod length and action are limited to one option each
This rod is much easier to break than some of the other options
For this device to exhibit its full size, all four component pieces have to be attached. Once this is done, the device should total 7” in size. This is a fast action rod, and hence the moment fish start tugging on the line, it should begin to bend near the tip. This is not to mean that it is a fragile piece of equipment. On the contrary, the blanks for these devices are made of carbon. As such, the rod should be able to hold its own against a fighting fish.
Another Prominent and notable feature is the inclusion of Fuji guides. On the outside, these have stainless steel frames that provide durability while on the inside, you find alconite. The touch alien reel seat also deserves mention whereby it even features a lock design. As such any reel, you decide to pair with this tool will end up held fast and secure for the duration of the fishing trip.
Also, for a comfortable yet firm grip, you get the inclusion of a cork handle.
Why is it special?
Lock design on the reel seat
What are the flaws?
Owning this rod is a costly affair if you add the other accessories needed to complete the fishing setup
Some users have mentioned the guides to be too small
With regard to affordable rods, you would be remiss not to mention the Berkley C-Series Crappie Pro Spinning. As you have come to expect from devices on our list, despite being relatively cheap, the tool is adept at carrying out its mandate. Power and action remain constant for the device, with the former being light while the latter is classified as moderate fast.
You as well find an EVA handle featuring on the butt end of the rod in addition to 24-ton carbon fiber material making up the blank. Nevertheless, there are variable rod lengths, and the number of pieces that make up the device may also increase with length.
Durability is exhibited not only in the making of the blank but in the inclusion of the steel guides as well. These components are also lined with titanium oxide on the inside so they can withstand friction from the lines.
This 2-piece fishing rod is unique in design in comparison to others on the list and the market. It provides an ideal fishing design for catching baitfish. As such, it will prove a perfect addition to any small bait caster reel you may have lying around. However, most people don’t, and that adds the cost of purchasing them as well.
You may also want to purchase or make your sabiki rig. The rod has space inside that is capable of storing the whole sabiki rig, including the hooks inside it. Also, the pole comes in two size options, namely the 7 ft and 8 ft variations. It is also worth noting that the blank of the device is made of fiberglass.
What stands out?
Compatible with any small bait caster reel
Has an opening for the storage of hooks
What cons did we manage to find?
The device only works with tiny hooks
Things to Consider
Having set your sights on a fishing trip, you need to be aware that better equipment yields better results. For you to be certain your piece of equipment is the right one for the job, you need to have all the right information pertaining to fishing rods. Rather than leave you to fend for yourselves, we have provided such information below in an organized fashion so you can easily read and understand.
Benefits of having a fishing rod
Fishing rods are easy to operate and also to pair with other compatible equipment. This includes reels, lines, and lures. They as well make catching fish easy. Also, most rods are lightweight and thus easy to carry around.
Features to consider when choosing a fishing rod
There are many features as pertains to fishing rods, and all of them serve a different purpose. As a consequence being familiar with both the features and the purposes they serve may be a guiding light in the selection process. This information is highlighted below, as well.
You will find that there is a variety of fishing rods in the market. Telescopic rods are one such example. These are collapsible and easy to transport. You can also elongate them whenever you are at your fishing site and need the full length of the rod while fishing. One such example is the Sougayilang Telescopic Fishing Rod. Casting rods as well have their characteristics, including the following: the bait cast is positioned above the rod by the design of the reel seat, rod guides similarly face upwards, and this design allows the user to control the line during a cast with their finger or thumb.
Sea fishing rods, or saltwater fishing rods, are just as their name suggests and are built with the idea of being able to handle saltwater fish. Surf fishing rods as well are usually 7 feet or longer. They are meant for shoreline fishing and need to be equipped with a spinning or standard casting reel to complete the setup.
The name ice rod is indicative of the type of scenario the pole is suitable for. If ice fishing is your hobby of choice, then this is the type of rod to purchase. Another different kind of rod is the trolling rod. If you are in a moving boat, this is the rod that is ideal for you since it uses the motion of the ship to help you pull in the catch. It is also not uncommon to find a rod that can fit in two or more categories.
How many pieces it consists of
The number of pieces of a fishing rod is not likely to affect the usability of the device.
However, there are some problems associated with multiple sections. Among them, you may find that pieces may slip apart and come loose. They may also twist out of place and mess up the alignment of the guides.
A positive to the multi-piece rod is that they are easier to pack and transport without breaking.
You will also want to know the rod length before making your purchase. Characteristics of shorter rods include higher accuracy. The longer rods, however, are better suited to casting further. Depending on the type of fishing you are looking to do, you will have to choose between these two options.
Power is one of the things that consistently came up in the features listed, and in layman’s terms refers to the stiffness of the rod. Light, medium, and heavy are some of the descriptions you will see with regards to power. To put this into perspective, light power rods are more susceptible to bending when weight is placed on them. The opposite is true for heavy power rods.
Action is another area that describes how each rod will bend when you subject it to pressure and weight. In this regard, there are fast, medium, and slow rods. The fast ones will start bending closer to the tip when a fish tries to pull away from the line. A slow action rod will experience bending closer to the butt of the device. You probably already surmised that the medium action rod is more susceptible to bending in the middle. The EatMyTackle Sabiki Rig Bait Fishing Rod is an example of a medium action rod while the Fenwick HMG Travel Rod is of the fast action variation.
The material as well will affect the usability of the rod. The two most common materials used in the construction of blanks are graphite and fiberglass. The former is better suited to pros who are used to fishing and have learned the ropes. Graphite is more sensitive hence easier to break. However, if you are a pro, you know how to work it, so it doesn’t get to the point of breakage. Fiberglass is more durable and hence can handle more mistakes. Composite rods will exhibit positive features such as being lightweight, durable and a bit of sensitivity. As such, our first pick is a composite option, while directly below it, you find the Carrot Stix Gen X Elite Casting Rod, which is a graphite rod.
A lightweight rod is ideal. However, some options achieve their lightweight nature by giving up some of their other features, such as durability. Check for this as you look to invest in a fishing rod.
You also want an easy to grip handle that is as well durable. Some options even provide for fore and back grip, and that makes it easier to reel in the big fish.
Guides and rings
Guides also need to be top-notch if you are going to catch the fish you are after. Alconite inserts on the guides are very common and for a good reason. They are smooth enough and will thus not provide any resistance during the casting process.
The Hurricane Redbone Inshore Spinning Rod provides an impressive reel seat and one that even features cushioned hoods. Other high-quality reel seats are also available, and you only need to find yourself one that is also compatible with the type of reel you want to purchase.
Freshwater vs. seawater
There are freshwater fishing rods and saltwater fishing rods. The latter will have guards against seawater corrosion and will also be able to handle seawater fish. You may want to put your intended fishing spot into consideration before you go into the market looking for a good rod.
There are tools with extra features such as carry bags and other accessories as well. While these features are beneficial, they may need you to go further into your pocket. You thus need to decide whether these extra features are worth the extra money or not.
The type of fish you catch with the rod you purchased is mostly dependent on the power of the rod you buy. For that reason, you will often find experienced anglers with several different rods. For ultralight fishing rods, the typical fish are baitfish and crappie. Higher up the chart, you find light power rods, and these work best for small species of fish such as bluegill.
The next power section is medium-light. Here bass and trout are the usual customers. For medium, you can use the rod to catch bass, stripe, and catfish. Medium-heavy is another section you may have to contend with. Snook, pike and salmon are the usual fish to use with this type of rod. Speaking of salmon, you can also use the heavy rods to catch them. This is in addition to sturgeon, tarpon, and tuna. Lastly, we have the extra-heavy rods. With these, you can catch tuna, halibut, and sailfish.
Always clean with freshwater and soap after use, making sure to rinse properly. After that, check the ferrules for any dirt before leaving out to dry. Also, before hanging your rod for storage, ensure no scratches are evident on the guides. Always endeavor to keep the rod straight. A carry bag may make it easier to prevent damage while storing the rod.
In layman’s terms, inshore fishing is where you are close to the shore. Offshore fishing is where you are in a boat in the middle of the water. Of course, this is relative to most anglers. Another good way to check if you are inshore or offshore is with water depth. Thirty meters deep or less is inshore, while a depth of more than the 30 stipulated meters is offshore.
The Penn Carnage II Surf Casting Fishing Rod is a quality tool and would be a great purchase for many anglers. The composite body is more forgiving than graphite yet still provides almost similar levels of sensitivity. It can also hold more weight than most of its counterparts. The Carrot Stix Gen X Elite Casting Rods also happens to make a case for itself as a likely option for pros. It can hold relatively heavy fish, is sensitive, and offers many options with regards to length power and action.
Another likely selection is the KastKing Krome Salmon/Steelhead Fishing Rods. The material makeup allows a user and especially a beginner to make more mistakes. With the right information, anybody will be able to pick out the right combination of length, power, and action that allows for the best use of the tool. These three are our team’s favorites. You can also assemble a team of sorts to help you pick out a few favorites from our list. This should make the whole selection process easier for you.