In this modern technological world, when everything is available at a single touch on a smartphone or tablet, people are still going on fishing trips halfway around the world. They visit some of the most amazing destinations to catch some of the rarest prey.
Yet, with all of these destinations available to you (and many of those could be closer to home than you think), it's essential to look at the right equipment for your trip, and that includes the perfect baitcasting rod that won't burn a hole in your pocket.
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Baitcasting Rods Under $200 Compared
Full Grip, Cork Handle
Abu Garcia Veracity & Villain 2.0
carbon fiber Tennessee style handle
Abu Garcia IKE Signature
KastKing Speed Demon Pro Tournament
Enigma Fishing IPPON Pro
golf-style handles that are “double stitched”
St Croix Mojo
7’ comes with a full grip
Everything You Need to Know About Baitcasting Rods
A baitcasting rod is one of the most popular techniques for fishing, primarily off a boat or yacht. The term 'baitcasting' is used when you're casting a fishing rod using a baitcasting reel.
This reel sits on top of the rod, so the spool is parallel to the rod. Other rods may use a perpendicular reel to the rod. This is one of the key differences between baitcasting rods and other variations of rods, such as spincast rods.
Baitcaster reels are used in various fishing experiences. As it's lightweight, it's great to take with you on long journeys or if you're on a long fishing haul and decide not to use a rod holder. Don't be fooled by its lightweight feature, it's still great to catch heavier fish, and it's also perfect for when the weather is tough, or if there are harsh conditions.
Many use baitcasting rods for inshore saltwater species, and freshwater species that are typically bigger. You could catch anything from fresh trout, northern pike, or the most common fish associated with baitcasting- largemouth bass. There may be a lot to learn before you can catch a seabass to fill the family, but once you’ve your perfect rod, practice makes for a perfect angler.
Consider These Baitcasting Rod Features
When you're looking at the features of baitcasting rods, there are many features to consider. From the power, action, and line weight, a baitcasting rod has some spectacular specialties that stand out from the rest. Here's some important information when considering your perfect rod.
Rod Material Composition (Graphite vs. Fiberglass)
Fishing rods have developed dramatically over the past 40,000 years. They were originally composed of bamboo. Now baitcasting rods are commonly composed of either fiberglass or graphite. Fiberglass baitcasting rods are cheaper in price and are heavier in weight.
Graphite rods are typically lighter and more sensitive in certain fishing situations. So, for example, if you're fishing for small fish, it's better to go for a rod composed of fiberglass. It's important to remember that both materials are extremely durable, so depending on your budget and your fishing style, it could be beneficial to purchase a fiberglass rod over a graphite one.
Baitcasting rods vary in lengths. They typically range from five to eight feet long (and often longer). If you're looking for a rod that's suited for quick, short casts, then a smaller baitcasting rod is preferred by anglers. This could be in areas where you won't be able to do long casts, so at docks or mangroves, for example.
If you’re a more experienced fisherman, then long casts from boats or yachts may be what you’re looking for. Typically, baitcasting rods that are a minimum of seven and a half feet long are recommended for open water fishing and long casts in deeper water.
The “action” of a rod describes where a rod flexes when pressure is put on the rod. Faster action rods flex mostly near the tip. Moderate action rods flex more near the middle of the blank, and slower action rods flex down into the bottom section.
Baitcasting rods are fast action and will bend in the upper 25 to 30 percent. They provide more of a fighting strength when fishing for larger fish. This is why baitcasting rods are great for fishing for larger fish. Rod action is so essential that most baitcasting rods list their action style right on the handle or rod.
A baitcasting rod may differ from brand to brand depending on its' power. The power of a rod refers to the rod's resistance when it's being flexed. Different rod powers are designed to handle a specific range of bait weights and line sizes.
When selecting a baitcasting rod, its power will help you perform the best for your fishing experience, and it differs on each angler. Try to narrow your choice of rod depending on the weight of the lures and on the size of the line. It’s also important to focus on which fish you’d like to catch the most.
Luckily for you, a baitcasting rod has many features, and one of those is a braking system. Most baitcasting reels use some sort of braking system to assist anglers in battling backlash and for fighting the spool to overrun. If you feather the spool at the correct time, it can prevent the spool from building up and getting tangled. This is also known as the "dreaded bird's nest."
Two forms of braking can be applied to the spool on a baitcasting reel, passive braking, and active braking. Passive braking happens naturally during the cast, and it is easy to learn and adapt to your fishing technique.
Active braking works by adding pressure to the spinning spool using a force (typically with an angler's thumb) during a long cast. The braking system on most reels can be adjusted externally by way of a simple dial that controls its influence over the forward momentum of the spool. It’s usually found at the palm side of the reel.
Line Weight & Line Guides
Getting the hang of a baitcasting reel and understanding its power and braking is one thing. Now finding the perfect line and know how to apply it is another. You may feel like it's a daunting task as there are hundreds of fishing lines to choose from, but understanding the factors will cut your research time in half.
When shopping for a high-quality line, use the following as a guide to finding a line that suits you and your fishing style:
The weight of lines varies as well, and depending on the rod and fishing technique, it can make or break your experience. Baitcast reels were not designed for light lines, so it’s recommended to use 10-pound lines or above.
Larger diameter lines come off the spool easier and are less likely to overrun. If you’re learning how to fish with a baitcasting rod, it’s recommended to use a 17-pound monofilament as it handles more naturally. For more experienced anglers, a thinner line could be used.
Get a grip on rod handles, and be sure it's comfortable. These days rod handles come with mainly cork, foam, or the Winn polymer material. Some rods have split grips while others have full-length grips.
On a baitcasting rod, it's common to see the full-grip handles as they're the best for casting heavy baits or for long distances where two hands are required. This can increase the weight of the rod, so if you're hoping to reduce the overall weight of the rod, consider customizing your very own split-grip handle.
The main purpose of ball bearings is to allow a circular wheel inside the fishing reel to move with as little friction as possible. These balls allow the outer wheel to move, while the inner sections stay stationary. So, the higher the ball bearings, the lower the friction.
Ball bearings are a common topic that many anglers debate whether they make a difference. Some believe they're essential in terms of function but won't necessarily indicate quality. Others see considerable improvement with quality ball bearing with distance casting. Keep this in mind when choosing that perfect rod for your fishing trips in the future.
Price and Warranty Coverage
Depending on where you’ve bought your baitcasting rod, you could have it under warranty for up to three years. If you’re purchasing from online sites, be sure to read through the terms and conditions and see what you’re covered for. You may have a warranty on the rod that’s out of date. If a problem arises, you could still send it to the manufacturer to be repaired for a nominal fee.
Some anglers who customize and invest in their rods and fishing equipment often get insurance coverage in case of theft or breakage. If you’ve invested a lot of your time and money into your equipment, then this cover could be a good option for you!
7 Best Baitcasting Rods Under $200 Reviewed
1. Shimano Trevala
Our Top Pick
5'8", 6', 6'6", 7'
Full Grip, Cork Handle
Graphite nylon body
Yes, two-year when bought from the manufacturer
We start our list with our top pick, the stylish Shimano Trevala rods. From grip to tip, these rods feature high-quality material that's hard to compete with. Based on your reel preference, you'll have the choice between a spinning rod or a baitcasting rod. The spinning rods come in sizes ranging from 6'3" to 6'6". The baitcasting rods only come in a 6'3" size, but they have four different models, each with various power and line weight variations.
These innovative rods by Shimano are incredibly strong, yet they have a level of sensitivity that many anglers find essential. It's great for catching fish ranging from 30 to 80 Lbs (depending on the size of rod that you choose). If you’re all about fishing structure and spotting fish, you’ll love this rod that’s made specifically for butterfly or vertical jigging. They are a part of Shimano’s Butterfly range of jig rods, but are very versatile and can be used for a number of jobs.
The construction of the rods consists of a high carbon butt section and with a graphite material. It’s fused together with a TC4 tip section. This design gives you the pulling power of TC4 but with less weight. You will also notice a much faster recovery rate. This increases the jigging action to make your fishing experience go smoother and with ease.
2. Abu Garcia Veracity & Villain 2.0
Ranging from 6’6” to 8” long
carbon fiber Tennessee style handle
30-ton and 40-ton graphite
Yes, 3-year in the U.S and Canada when purchased from their site
The Abu Garcia Veracity & Villain 2.0 is the most renowned rod series focusing on increased comfort, weight, and balance. Veritas Rods have a 30-ton graphite construction for uncompromising strength. It still has a huge focus on the sensitivity so you can feel even the smallest bite. Abu designed a locking micro click reel seat, which offers a secure connection between the rod and reel. This gives each angler the ultimate in comfort when they're by the water.
This series from Abu has proven to be flat out amazing, with many anglers leaving dozens of positive reviews. Their soft tip is great to cast light lures but has enough backbone and flexibility to set the hook in large lures. The line weight can hold up to 50 lbs so you could catch an impressive sea bass at ease. It is well-balanced, making it easy to carry and feels light enough to hold for an extended period of time.
Not only will you want to buy this rod after you see its beautiful and elegant design, but you'll also want it once you know of its warranty. Abu Garcia offers a 3-year warranty of their products to give you peace of mind. If you're looking for an exceptional, high-quality tool this baitcasting rod, For the price, this runner up rod may be one of the best deals we have seen yet from Abu Garcia.
3. Abu Garcia IKE Signature
Best Baitcasting Rod Under $200 for Crankbait Fishing
7’, 7’2” & 7’10”
36-ton graphite blank
2-year warranty when purchased from the manufacturer
If you are looking for a baitcasting rod that's sensitive yet sturdy and has a good design, then look no further. This rod is particularly suitable for crankbait fishing as it’s a medium action rod.
Medium power rods are best for fishing medium to deep crankbaits. Power rods that are medium to heavy are best for fishing around the greenery as the extra stiffness can tear the bait free from vegetation. Moderate action helps control your lure and prevent yourself from pulling the hooks into rocks and wood.
The IKE signature series was released over 5 years ago and it is a direct result of three years of research and development with the elite series pro, Mike Laconelli. Mike helped in every aspect of its design and build. He helped specifically with the action and power to perfect this baitcasting rod from his own experience on the water.
The blank construction consists of 36-ton high modulus graphite for the majority of the series along with some unique, high strain glass (HSG) cranking rods. Anglers also love Mike's unmistakable cosmetic design as it sparkles in the sun during the day. This rod not only works amazingly, but it also looks impressive too, which is why we've listed it as the best baitcasting rod under $200 for crankbait fishing.
4. KastKing Speed Demon Pro Tournament
Best Baitcasting Rod Under $200 for Bass Fishing
7’ to 7’11” long
The Speed Demon Pro gets high marks for its superior portability and it's the best baitcasting rod under $200 for bass fishing. This baitcasting rod is perfect for any weather conditions and seasons. It features a lot of high-end components, including Fuji Alconite guides, custom Fuji reel seats and foregrips, and a proprietary carbon blank.
These features help the construction reduce its weight while increasing durability and lifting power. Yet it's made from standard graphite, so the exterior may not be as durable as our top pick and runner up. They also feature custom Winn Grips on the handles, which are made from a cork material. As a material, cork transmits vibrations very well and provides anglers with an improved level of sensitivity to fish bites. It also gives the rod a complete and high-end look.
When you're bass fishing, the recommended size would be from 7- to 8-feet long. Depending on where you're fishing, a longer rod can cover more water and casting distance. The Speed Demon Pro fits perfectly for bass fishing as they range in size from 7' to 7'11". They also range from medium action to medium-heavy and fast action levels.
So, whether you focus on just one or two techniques, there's a KastKing Speed Demon Pro rod that is sure to meet your needs.
5. Enigma Fishing IPPON Pro
Best Baitcasting Rod Under $200 for Freshwater Fishing
golf-style handles that are “double stitched”
Japanese Toray Graphite
Life Time Warranty available
Enigma Fishing's IPPON Series were designed exclusively for anglers who truly appreciate dominating on the water, and freshwater fishing is one that cannot be deceived. Catching fish in freshwater differs from saltwater as the species differ from the ocean to lakes and rivers. You may be closer to a lake than an ocean, and if that's the case, purchasing this baitcasting rod could help you catch some catfish, crappie, bass, perch, northern pike, and many more.
The Enigma Fishing IPPON Series Casting Rods offer a top of the line products at a reasonable price. The rod is built on high-quality 30-ton Japanese Toray graphite blanks. This gives an exceptional level of perfection against all types of weather and environments. The Enigma Fishing IPPON Series Casting Rods offer a tough, agile, and all-around powerful construction that outperforms other rods in its class, especially for freshwater fishing.
It comes in ten models varying in size and power- from medium to heavy. It has a beautiful titanium coated frame with Zirconium rings to secure longer casts, too. This helps balance out the weight perfectly! If you are an angler who likes to have peace of mind when buying their rod, then fear no more. Enigma offers a lifetime warranty on their reels. All you need to do is take it out and enjoy the experience.
6. St Croix Mojo Inshore
Best Baitcasting Rod for Under $200 for Saltwater Fishing
7’0” - 7’6” in length
With over 70 years in the business, St. Croix’s prides themselves on their ability to have complete control over the sourcing, manufacturing, and craftsmanship that go into building their baitcasting and spinning rods. These handmade rods leave most anglers stunned when using their new Inshore rod series.
Their premium rods are made of quality SCII graphite to give a more robust exterior and give a classic finish. The guides are Baston Forecast aluminum oxide with 316 stainless steel to reduce the chance of corrosion. This is particularly important for saltwater fishing as saltwater can cause serious erosion over time on your rod, and even on your reel.
The St. Croix Mojo inshore rod uses standard Fuji DPS reel seats that are known for their quality and durability. Another great feature is the premium-grade cork handle (split on the spinning series). This handle is not only beautiful to look at but also is not going to flake and fall apart after years of use.
Put all of these features together, and you'll find a rod that's exceptionally well balanced, flexible, and light. And if you want peace of mind when your purchase, it will be all backed by a 5-year manufacturer warranty from St. Croix.
7. Daiwa Tatula
Best Baitcasting Rod for Under $200 for Beginners
6’10”- 7’2’ in length
7’ comes with a full grip
SVF (Super Volume Fiber) graphite technology
1 year, 5 years, or limited lifetime warranty (model dependant)
If you’re a beginner and you’re hoping to buy a trustworthy rod, then this will be a perfect fit for you. It’s constructed of Exclusive X45 Bias Graphite with SVF (Super High Volume Fiber) Carbon Technology. This increases the strength and durability of the rod. The Zero-G design reduces the weight on the Tatula rods to a surprisingly new low, so beginners will feel comfortable yet confident in their fishing experience.
If you're hoping to use this rod for a full day of catching heavy sea bass or trout, then think again. The line weight is surprisingly low, with a maximum line weight of 14 lbs. Mid-sized species like tench, bream, and barbel are all great species to catch with this rod as the line is strong enough to make sure you have enough backbone to land them.
Another great feature is the new tension knob. The tension knob is a small dial on the side plate, near the reel. It is the precast adjustment that makes casting smooth and easy. It's tight and compact on the frame, so it still has an elegant design with an added bonus for beginners.
With a five-year warranty, you will love your new fishing equipment and will be proud to haul it around the States for all of your future fishing trips.
Baitcasting Rods Under $200: Advantages & Drawbacks
Now that you have a good indication of some of the best baitcasting rods in the industry, it could be even more beneficial to know their pros and cons compared to other fishing rods that are on the market.
Baitcasting reels allow you the highest level of casting accuracy. They enable you to aim for a particular spot and hit it with ease. If you realize you've made a lousy cast, then you can stop the baitcaster and avoid more significant issues with the reel. Another advantage is its construction. Baitcasting rods are built more complexly, and they should be sturdier and more durable than their competitors, like a spinning rod.
However, the durability also depends on the maintenance, as well as what happens when you're out on the water. Overall, baitcasting rods can handle much larger fish than other rods, so the chances of it breaking due to line weight are incredibly lower.
One drawback of buying a baitcasting rod may be that they’re tricky to get used to at first. It takes time and practice to perfect the reel and to get a true feel of the rod. Some rods are extremely sensitive, which is great for when they get a bite. Other anglers find spinning rods better suited as they’re easier to understand and have a lesser chance of bird-nesting.
Baitcasting rods are also trickier to maintain. They usually have a more complex structure than competing rods and reels. When maintaining a rod, It comes down to disassembling the reel and cleaning the components with an appropriate solution. Anglers have to grease the teeth in the gear and oil the ball bearings. For baitcasting rods, as they’re more complex, it may demand more time but shouldn’t make the process more difficult.
Baitcasting Rod Sizing Guide
Size does matter when it comes to choosing your perfect baitcasting rod. A few inches longer or shorter can impact your fishing capabilities immensely. Baitcasting rods range from as short as 5 feet in length and go way beyond the 8 feet mark. It's important to realize that subtle differences in lengths help anglers specialize in whatever fishing environment they're in. A specific size of a rod can even improve the chances of catching particular species.
The most common baitcasting rod being used by anglers is 6'1" in length. This sized rod has quickly gained popularity with anglers, especially as baitcasting fishing has diversified to finesse style fishing for species such as bream and bass. This size baitcasting rod allows for a lot more flexibility and is a good middle of the road sized rod in this market. Its action can be a little light, especially when you compare it with longer rods. However, most have plenty of power with the development of newer and better composites.
If you’re an experienced angler tackling large fish, then a rod larger than 6’6” will be better suited for your needs as it has all that’s mentioned above with the added benefits of long-winded casts and higher levels of accuracy.
Baitcasting Guide for Beginners
Baitcasting fishing may seem complicated for first-time anglers that are new to the game, but that doesn’t have to be the case. With the right baitcasting rod, you’ll be able to get on the water and try your hand at catching some of the larger fishes by this weekend.
The most important thing to remember if you’re new to baitcasting fishing is if you have the desire to learn and want to invest time and effort into improving your fishing skills, go with a baitcasting rod that’s in your budget and within your needs. These reels are more durable and accurate, which gives you an impressive level of control. They require tougher lines and lures, but they are suitable for catching large fish, too.
Once you’ve chosen your perfect rod, it’s time to focus on your preferred lures and baits. Live worms or PowerBait are always an option, but whereas many anglers use lures, which are decoys designed to attract a fish's attention. Like any outdoor pursuit, your fishing needs will only continue to expand as you gain more experience. You'll likely want to upgrade your lures and baits once you know where you're fishing and what works in that environment.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Is baitcasting better than spinning?
There are pros and cons for both baitcasting and spinning rods. Overall, baitcasting reels are better for long casts and can handle a heavier line. If you don't mind maintaining your rod with some extra TLC, then a baitcasting rod could be better for your style of fishing.
Can a baitcaster go on any rod?
Technically, yes. But it's not usually done because a spinning rod typically uses a spinning reel, which is the exact opposite of a baitcaster. You can bring your equipment to a professional to make the swap, but this could end up costing you more than buying a new baitcasting rod long term.
Does a longer rod cast further?
Longer rods will typically give you a more extended cast, but the weight of your bait and lure could set you back a couple of feet. If you stick to a light lure, then a longer cast is possible with a longer rod. Several other factors affect distance when casting your lines, such as wind, lure shape and size, and rod action.
What is the difference between a spinning rod and a baitcasting rod?
The biggest difference between baitcasting rods and spinning rods are the reels. The reel gives the rod its name, so for example, a baitcasting rod uses a baitcaster reel, and the same goes for spinning rods. The reels work completely oppositely - literally. A spinning wheel is located on the bottom of a rod, whereas a baitcasting reel is located on the top of the rod.
How long should the grip be on my baitcasting rod?
This simply depends on the preferred length for the angler. Generally, baitcasting rods come with a handle size of 1.6" inside diameter x 6" in length. Many anglers upgrade or add to their handles as they may be at the water all day and require more for comfort.
From handles, lengths and ball bearings, and more. These components are incredibly important in making the perfect and casting a baitcasting rod. Our top pick, the Shimano Trevala, illustrates how a quality rod with an impeccable construction doesn't have to break the bank.
If there’s another rod on our list that suits you and your preferences better, then go for it! All the rods featured on FishingPax are the best in their price range, so you won't be able to buy a 'bad' rod from this list here.