Are you in the market for new fishing rods?
Most rods are reliable; it just comes down to which brand you want to purchase. This page is about family fishing - not the pros.
Do you need advise on fishing rods? If you are in the market to buy a spinning rod in the near future, you may want to read this so you can make an educated decision.
Spinning rods are versatile compared to bait casting rods, and are used by all ages and all skill levels. Beginners can learn in a few minutes, yet these rods are sophisticated enough for someone who is highly skilled in the sport. Spinning rods can lure and land all but the largest fish in various situations which make them very popular.
Spinning rods can be purchased in various sizes and could catch anything from a small bluegill up to large blue marlin, depending on what you purchased.
Anglers can use spinning rods for trolling, and bottom-fishing in a pinch - but are perfect for casting lures or bait. Spinning rods were developed to replace more difficult bait casting rigs which can easily develop line tangles or "bird nests."
Spinning rods are so versatile that they can be used for the three major types of fishing. "Trolling" is when you pull a lure behind a boat at a specific speed, "still fishing" or "vertical jigging" is when you fish off the bottom or higher up usually on a boat, and "casting" if of course using lures and live bait. If you rig a spinning rod with a bobber and a weight you can even cast a tiny fly.
On the negative side, spinning rods and reels tend to twist
fishing line when used for trolling or vertical jigging. You'll
encounter kinks and tangles and may have to re-spool more frequently if
you prefer fishing in this manner. Make sure you have extra spools of
fishing line that fit your reel in the tackle box.
When we are trolling, we have purchased trolling (conventional) rod and reels just for this type of fishing and are well worth the money.
Fishing rods and reels come in so many price ranges and categories, it's hard to just list all of the equipment that's out there. The best store to go in and browse (in my honest opinion) is Cabelas. They have EVERYTHING.
For now, I'm NOT going to get into salt water fishing, just fresh water; and only spinning rods not bait casting rods. If you hear someone referring to "swim-bait fishing" - they are talking about using a type of plastic bait that is designed to specifically imitate bait fish.
The different brand names that we are suggesting are our opinions only. We are not paid to say that "XYZ is the best," nor would we.
The price point I am starting with is the rods that are the best at the lowest price and then I'm listing the highest rated rods and reels for each category. Ready?
What To Look For In A Spinning Fishing Rod
All rods come in different styles and lengths depending on what you're going to use it for. How often and where will you fish? What type of fish are you targeting? Panfish? Walleye? Musky? Pike? Believe me, there is a rod and thousands of other items for each one of these species of fish.
A good all-around length to look for is 5.5 to 6.5 feet and capable of casting 1/4 oz to 1/2 oz sized bait and lures.
If you are looking for graphite, look for a high modulus model (IM8 or IM10). What's the difference? The higher number means more rod strength, stiffness and accurate casting ability.
I find that cork handles are more sensitive to fish nibbling and softly biting on the bait or lure. Do rod blanks run through the handle? If so, this ensures extra sensitivity and split grip handles (that show part of the blank) have even more sensitivity. If this is important to you should purchase a single piece rod compared to a rod that you can break down into pieces.
The line guides that run from the reel to the tip of the pole should be made out of stainless steel or another material that doesn't rust.
"Action" refers to the rods bending force (curve) and how fast it returns back to the neutral position. The action may be slow, medium, fast or a combination; say medium-fast. Fast action rods flex more in the tip area. Slow action rods bend more towards the butt of the rod (near the handle).
If you were asked what you thought was the best inexpensive rod for casual fishing out there what would you say?
The first one that I'm going to mention under this category is the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 (left). It is very popular and has been for the last 40+ years or so.
This company was founded in 1897 so they know what they are doing. Kids and adults alike love this durable rod and I agree with them. It is VIRTUALLY UNBREAKABLE, and comes with a 7 year warranty. They do carry a variety of Ugly Stiks; from freshwater to deep sea fishing in salt water.
Grandpa/ma's, Dad's and Mom's -- spend the extra money to purchase this rod for your (grand) child; they'll still have it years later.
Another rod that is a bargain for the price and has the same level of strength is the Berkley Lightning Rod It has received a lot of attention lately due to an upgrade which is footed titanium guides and this rod is made entirely of graphite. It is lightweight and sensitive, but not as durable as the Ugly Stick.
Berkley has another fishing rod out on the market in this price range and it is the Berkley Cherrywood HD Casting Rod a great choice for beginners. You get a graphite composition rod with 20x tougher and 55% lighter than traditional aluminum oxide guides and a cork grip.
Cabela's Whuppin' Stik has a 7' fishing rod in this category and is completely fiberglass. I believe it works like the Ugly Stik and the price is lower. This makes it strong but overall it is a bit heavier and less sensitive rod because it is made in two pieces.A rod make in one piece is much more sensitive then a two piece rod (I have both).
Ninety-Two percent of customers polled stated they would recommend this rod to a friend.
Eagle Claw is well known for their hooks and tackle. You must check out their Eagle Claw Fly Fishing Rod. It is strong enough to land a 5# catfish and you can fish the rivers with this rod. It is a fun rod to use and very durable. Well worth owning.
Another rod worth mentioning is the DAIWA Spinmatic Rod. Daiwa is very innovative and can also make it's unique products while keeping the prices down.
I want to mention that you should take a peek at the "x-treme guide system," which are designed to increase strength, and hook potential - which means less fish will get away. This rod is make of high performance graphite and a high grade cork handle. This is designed so you can FEEL EVERY NIBBLE and has the strength to pull in a large fish. Gotta love it.
This section is for those that want a step up from the fishing rods that I have listed above, but not digging too deep into your pockets.
The first fishing rod that I love in this category is the St Croix Triumph Spinning Rod. We use this for pan fish and are fond of the high sensitivity and fast action that it provides for the price.
As we speak, I had to send one of our rods back. I set the hook and there was a walleye on the other end. Needless to say the rod snapped and the fish was just a keeper at 20 inches in length. I will let you know how the warranty/customer service is with St. Croix. Update: Excellent customer service, as always.
Okuma Guide Select Rod has received great reviews. It has great power for the price and made entirely out of IM-8 graphite and molded cork handles.
KastKing Sharkey III Rods feature powerful, sensitive and light-weight Toray IM7 Graphite blanks designed for serious fishing enthusiasts. All spinning fishing pole combos are 2 pc and come in lengths from 6’6” for panfish, trout and bass fishing and go all the way to 9’ for catfish, salmon and steelhead.
The St. Croix Legend Xtreme Rod is something else. Super sensitive and light - it's the angler's dream rod.
Another St Croix rod I highly recommend for fresh water is St. Croix Premier Spinning Rod. A buyer stated, "This rod seems to be everything I wanted - the sensitivity is fantastic, I can cast properly weighted lures a mile, yet have the strength to set hooks when needed."
Another awesome rod is the G Loomis E6X Spinning Rod. Many have stated that these are the best rods ever made for lightweight lures and plastics.
If you travel often, travel rods can be broken down into four pieces and are stored in easy carrying travel cases. Travel fishing rods are frequently sold with switchable handles to accommodate spinning or fly reels, simplifying tackle transportation. Some say that the versatility of these rods may slightly decrease the performance. Who's to say, try it for yourself.