Best Fishing Rods: A Review & Guide (2017 Update)

Deciding on the best fishing rod is subjective and dependent on a variety of factors including your experience level, how often you fish, and what your objectives are during each trip.

Finding the best fishing rod for general fishing is a completely different rod compared to the best fishing rod for fly fishing or competitive tournament fishing.

No matter your situation, ultimately the best fishing rod is one that fits your budget, your lifestyle, and is the one you use the most often.

Fishing rods are not the best because they’re expensive, state of the art, or the most complicated or advanced, the best one is the one you use, enjoy using, and find success fishing with.

Best Fishing Rods Compared

Article overview

The following showcases how to go about finding the best fishing rod for general fishing, most specifically beginner fishing.

The world of fishing and navigating the tools and supplies can be very overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start.

The best fishing rod for general fishing includes a rod with a balanced reel and the correct weighted line. The rest is up to personal preference, experience, and budget.

In order to discover the best fishing rod for your situation, you should focus on which type of fishing you’ll be doing, which fishing rod components are the most important to this fishing type, and what to look for when you’re ready to shop for your best fishing rod.

Brief History of the Fishing Rod

Fishing has been around since 2000 BC in the ancient civilizations of Egypt and China. The art of fishing became more popular in the 1600s with publications in England discussing technique and experimentation with fly fishing.

This led to commercialization of the sport with shops carrying rods and tackle to accommodate the market.

In the 18th century, the fishing rod saw advancements with the addition of guides to the rod, along with rods becoming more flexible, sensitive, and accurate.

Fishing rods continued to become more complicated with the use of new materials and advancements as technology developed.

By the 1960s and 1970s fishing rods were more detailed with rod materials incorporating graphite and the fishing market continued to expand, catering to the growing hobby and sport.

Fishing Categories

There are four main fishing categories which can dictate which fishing rod setup is best for the job. Since choosing the best fishing rod depends on which type of fishing you’re doing and how frequently you fish, these four freshwater fishing categories can help narrow down your fishing rod choices.

In addition to the fishing categories, there are two main rod categories, casting rods and spinning rods.

Casting rods handle a variety of fishing techniques while spinning rods are typically for more advanced techniques and cater towards lighter lures.

Baitcasting

This type of fishing is one of the more common options, using bait to cast and catch fish.

The rod setup in this type of fishing is a one-piece rod with a level wind or baitcasting reel on top of the rod handle, facing the angler.

The guides are small to medium and the rod grip can either be straight or pistol shaped depending on your preference and the size of the fish you’re looking to catch.

This fishing rod setup is a great choice for accurate casting.

Spincasting

This type of fishing is similar to baitcasting in that it’s uncomplicated but is a little less stiff compared to baitcasting, using a lighter line, lures, and a lighter rod action.

The rod handle can be straight or pistol shaped with guides on top of the rod and the reel sitting a bit higher in the reel seat compared to a baitcasting fishing rod.

Spinning

Fishing with a spinning rod and reel is a very popular option because it allows for a wide range of fishing.

This type of fishing is still pretty uncomplicated with an open faced reel mounted under the rod. The rod has a straight handle with a fixed or adjustable reel seat and wide guides to accommodate a variety of line.

Fly

Fly fishing is different compared to traditional fishing in that a light object is cast with a heavier gauge line.

A fly fishing rod varies in length from 5 to 14 feet with the reel seated at the bottom of the handle with an extension to handle bigger fish.

Casting involves a specific weighted line and the guides on these rods are small.

Fishing Rod Basics

Fishing can be as complicated or as simple as you’d like.

As a beginner seeing all the components and purchasing each individually can be overwhelming and expensive, but to the intermediate or expert knowing each piece of a fishing rod outfit can make all the difference in your success on the water.

The following components make up the basic fishing rod outfit and knowing what each piece does take some of the mystery out of what makes the best fishing rod.

Once you know the components it will be a bit easier to shop for the right rod for your personal fishing preferences and will help you purchase the best equipment for your needs.

A fishing rod outfit has three basic parts, the rod, the reel, and the line.

Fishing Rod Components

Rod

The rod is the central component of a fishing rod. It is the foundation of any outfit which means it can be customized in a variety of ways.

The rod is the stick part that has a handle, which you grip as you fish, guides, which keep the line on the rod, and a reel seat which holds the reel to the rod.

Beyond the basic fishing rod pieces, there are several ways the rod can be customized to your fishing needs.

A beginner may not need to pay much attention to rod customization but if you’re considering fishing as a serious hobby you will want to know more about how the rod can affect your fishing and help you find success.

Handle

The handle of the rod allows you to grip the outfit and hold on while you fish. The handle can be straight or pistol shaped with a trigger to release the line.

The type of handle or grip you select depends on personal comfort, the size of fish you’re after, and the type of reel you’re using.

Action

The action of the rod is what describes how the rod bends when it’s under tension. Action can be described as fast, where the top third of the rod bends first, moderate where the middle half bends, or slow, where the bottom third bends first.

Choosing an action depends on the type of fishing you’ll be doing. Bass rods are usually fast action rods because they have better sensitivity and power.

Fast action rods are chosen for short to long casting, single hooks, and worm or jig fishing. Moderate action rods allow for a longer cast, and typically you chose the action of your rod based on the lure and type of fish you’re looking to land.

Power

The power of a rod indicates how much it can lift. Power is usually described as heavy, medium-heavy, or medium.

The power of a rod also correlates with the type of line you should use and this is important because if you use the wrong line gauge outside of your rod’s limits either the line or the rod will break.

The power is typically marked on each rod and will give you the specifications. Power is chosen based on what you’re fishing for and the water environment you’ll be fishing in.

The right power will help you get the fish out of the water and land the catch.

Responsiveness

The responsiveness of a fishing rod refers to how the rod stores and releases energy.

Knowing the responsiveness indicates how accurate you can be with a cast, and is dependent on the rod’s overall weight.

This is also related to the action of the rod and the line you’re using.

Guides

The guides of a fishing rod are the rings on a rod that hold the fishing line in place.

Most rods have a metal frame that holds the guides in place, and guides come in a variety of materials and price points.

When choosing a guide it’s important to consider the material, friction, and interaction with the line. Smoother guides have less friction with allows the line to move faster.

A rod with more guides will cast better but will also cost more than a rod with fewer guides. If a rod has more guides it will also respond more consistently which provides more power and longer casts.

Reel Seat

The reel seat is the part of the rod that holds the reel in place.

While this portion of the rod isn’t very customizable, some cheaper rods will not cushion the part of the reel seat that the reel fits into which can rust over time.

Look for a rod with a plastic cushioned reel seat to avoid rusting and prolong the life of your rod.

Some cheap rods will also use cardboard to fill the space between the reel seat and the rod blank which will get wet over time and allow the reel to move and rotate.

Avoid cardboard at all costs, it’s worth it to spend a little more and get a quality rod that will last than getting cheap options and have them break down after a season or two.

Reel

The reel is a customizable part of a rod that holds the line. The reel spins to allow the line to be cast and pulled back in.

A reel must be balanced to the rod, ensuring both parts can handle the same line and lures. Reels are chosen based on the line you’re using and what you’re fishing for.

A bass rod will require a different reel than a fly fishing rod. The best way to select a reel for a beginner is by purchasing a rod and reel combo so you know it’s compatible with the rod for general fishing.

Line

The line portion of a fishing rod is how you bring in the fish. Line is very dependent on what you’re fishing for and which rod you’re using.

Make sure to check your rod and reel specs before choosing a line. You’ll want to make sure you use the right line for your rod or else you could break your line or your rod, which is a quick way to end your first fishing trip.

A combo outfit often includes the correct line for your rod and reel, so this is a good option for beginners to avoid choosing the right line from a wide variety available at the shop or online.

Choosing the Best Fishing Rod

In order to choose the best fishing rod you have to consider the following elements:

  • How often do you fish?
  • How serious are you about fishing?
    • Do you compete or do you just fish for enjoyment?
  • What is your price range?
  • Are you new to fishing or do you have some experience?

Answering these questions will help you tailor your fishing rod options and guide you in a specific direction based on what you are looking for in a rod.

The best fishing rod is the one you use, so it’s important to spend some time thinking about what you’re looking to get out of each fishing trip and find a rod that will help you accomplish your goals.

If you’re just starting out and are looking for the best fishing rod for a wide range of general fishing there are a few qualifications to look for in a rod.

The following specifics will help you put together a rod that will be uncomplicated and easy to handle for a beginner but will also adapt and accommodate you as you grow and become more experienced.

The best fishing rod for general and beginner fishing should have the following components:

  • Rod
    • Medium, but can also be medium-light or medium-heavy depending on personal preference
    • 6 to 7 feet in length
    • Two pieces
    • Graphite
  • Reel
    • Medium to medium-light
    • 8 pound test monofilament line
    • Have a sparse spool as well
  • Line
    • 4# and 6# test
    • 6# on the sparse spool

Rod and Reel Balancing

When buying a fishing rod, especially if you’re just starting out, it can quickly become overwhelming and complicated. The most important piece to remember when fishing rod shopping is that the

The most important piece to remember when fishing rod shopping is that the rod and reel must be balanced, or matched. This means that both the rod and the reel can handle the same weight or size line. There are two ways to match a rod and reel.

This means that both the rod and the reel can handle the same weight or size line. There are two ways to match a rod and reel.

The first way is to read the specs on both the rod and reel to ensure they match up. This lets you individually select a rod and a reel which can give you some freedom and options. Choosing each piece individually allows you to customize your outfit, but it can also further complicate things for a beginner who is already lost in all the details.

Choosing each piece individually allows you to customize your outfit, but it can also further complicate things for a beginner who is already lost in all the details.

If you’d rather simplify things the second way to match a rod and reel is to buy a combo or kit. Buying something that’s already selected will ensure things are balanced and can be more budget friendly. These combos are put together with the beginner in mind and may also include accessories like line and

Buying something that’s already selected will ensure things are balanced and can be more budget friendly. These combos are put together with the beginner in mind and may also include accessories like line and

These combos are put together with the beginner in mind and may also include accessories like line and lure for a whole beginner package. Getting a combo is a great way to start out and learn the basics,

Getting a combo is a great way to start out and learn the basics, so, later on, you can customize your outfit, or take the next step and purchase custom pieces down the line.

Best Fishing Rods Reviewed

As discussed one of the best fishing rods for a beginner or someone with some technical experience who is looking to buy their own outfit, is to buy a combo rod and reel.

This will save you from the hassle of making sure each component is compatible with the other and is often budget friendly.

A combo outfit may also come with accessories which save you time, gives you a place to start, and is a great way to get started or get serious about the sport.

PLUSINNO spinning rod and reel combo

A great combo outfit is PLUSINNO spinning rod and reel combo. This is a saltwater and freshwater fishing rod kit that can be purchased as a rod and reel kit or as a full kit which includes hooks, lures, and other accessories.

The full kit was put together with a novice in mind, so it includes everything you’d need to get started fishing, right out of the box.

If you’re looking to avoid the guesswork of putting together a rod and reel set or have no clue where to start, this is a great outfit.

The rod is telescopic, made of high-density carbon fiber and fiberglass which makes it hard and durable yet still flexible.

The reel seat is stainless steel which handles freshwater and seawater well with no corroding or degrading.

This fishing rod has a medium power and an extended handle, available in several lengths to cater to your specific fishing needs.

The reel is a short body with a large spool and large line capacity. It is made of deep aluminum with an S-curve oscillation, good for line winding.

This reel is right and left handed adjustable, which is great for someone who is brand new and isn’t sure of their personal specifications.

Overall this rod and reel outfit as a complete kit is a solid option for someone who wants the best fishing rod all in one package.

This combo takes the guesswork out of purchasing a rod and reel and is available online so you don’t have to navigate the tackle shop and talk details until you’re comfortable with the basics.

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

If you’re someone who is beyond the fishing basics and is looking to upgrade your outfit, a great place to start is with your rod.

Since the rod is responsive to the type of fish you want to catch, you may need to swap out a new rod from your general outfit to suit your fishing style.

The more you fish the more you’ll know how your current or original rod responds and how you’d like to adjust your outfit to your personal fishing style.

As long as your current reel is balanced with your new rod, you can still use your current outfit pieces with your upgraded rod.

A great advanced rod is the Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod. This is a one piece or two piece rod that comes in a variety of powers and lengths which are perfect for catering to your fishing skills.

There is a straight handle with cork gripping, making the rod better suited for freshwater fishing. This rod is ideal for lighter fishing and makes a great second outfit or upgrade to your current novice rod.

Since it is available in a range of lengths and powers this rod is a great step beyond a combo kit and gives you some flexibility in where to make adjustments and take your kit to the next level.

Denali Rods Attax Heavy Casting One Piece Rod

Another rod option is the Denali Rods Attax Heavy Casting One Piece Rod. This is a one piece medium-heavy casting action rod made of woven graphite for added strength.

There is a Winn grip for more comfort and a skeleton reel seat for added sensitivity. This advanced rod is a solid option for someone who knows what kind of fish they want and needs a sensitive yet heavy rod to do the job.

13 Fishing Muse Gold M Spinning Rod

For a high sensitivity rod, something like the 13 Fishing Muse Gold M Spinning Rod is a great place to start.

This rod is over six feet and is medium action. It has a straight handle with some grip and is a very balanced rod but is extremely lightweight.

This spinning rod is a great option if you’re looking for something that is more responsive and lighter, so you can place your hook accurately and feel the outfit in action.


So there you have it! I hope this guide set you on the right track to getting a fishing rod that fits your needs.

Leave a Reply