15 Best Fishing Rods 2019 – Complete Buyer’s Guide

Most people make the mistake of overlooking the importance of selecting the best fishing rods for the money. What they don’t know is that this simple tool can make or make your angling career or hobby.

At all times, you want to ensure that you are able to place your bait as precisely as possible. And you want to comfortably do that without having to spook any fish.

If you compromise on your rod, you may struggle especially when it comes to casting over great distances. Your accuracy can significantly be affected. That’s why it’s important not to just make a blind purchase.

Luckily, if you’re reading this review, we have all the details that you need to make an informed choice. It’s our hope that these guidelines will make your search much easier.

Top 15 Best Fishing Rods 2019 – Comparison List

Even though using the perfect, high-quality rod may not get you into the Bassmaster Classic overnight, a poorly made knockoff rod is guaranteed to make your life difficult. To avoid those pathetic ones, here’s a comprehensive list designed to help you make a sound judgment.

The Best Fishing Rods 2019 – Review

1. PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos

Are you a beginner in the fishing game and you are wondering which would be the best fishing kit to introduce you to the game? The Telescopic Fishing Rod and Reel Combos by Plusinno would be a reasonable place to start. It is a convenient fishing pack for beginners as it comes with everything you need to get things started including a carrier bag, a fishing rod, a fishing reel, a fishing line and fishing lures.

Although pricier than most of its competitors, most fishers still rate this Combo very highly as they know they will be getting value for every penny they spend.

Product Description

The fishing rod in this kit is collapsible to make it compact for easy storage and portability. It features aluminum oxide guide inserts, a graphite blank construction, stainless steel hooded reel seats and EVA foregrip for comfort while fishing.

The S-Curve Oscillation system will prevent line tangling while the handle is interchangeable and allows for left or right-handed use.

Other Features and Benefits

The Plusinno Fishing rod is durable, and we can attribute this to the high-density and elastic carbon fiber construction. The body is crafted from high tensile strength plastic, which gives it the power to handle the big fish without any difficulty.

The stainless steel frame is corrosion resistant, and this means that you can use it in saltwater for many years, and it will still serve you for a long time to come.

It also features graphite material in its construction, which is also corrosion resistant and adds to the lightweight nature of the fishing rod.

Lastly, it is available in different lengths and sizes, and so you can choose according to your preferred specifications.

Pros

  • Durable and sturdy
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Allows for left and right-handed use

Cons

  • Poor sensitivity

2. Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod

If you have been fishing for several years, chances are you have used an Ugly Stik Spinning Rod at some point. However, they have always been labeled as beginner and transitional rods as well, and anglers would dump them for more advanced and flashier rods.

The manufacturer noted this trend and came up with the GX2 rods which would be suited for the novices and professionals as well. It is affordable, has a rugged construction, and is packed with features that you can find in the high-end models. Let us go into a more in-depth review of this fishing rod.

Product Description

The GX2 Spinning Rod has a graphite and fiberglass construction that makes it sturdy and lightweight at the same time plus gives it more balance. It features the Ugly Tuff one-piece stainless steel guides that are durable and has a clear tip design for added strength and sensitivity. The rod features EVA grips that are lightweight and durable and will keep your hands comfortable even when you hold it for long durations. This rod comes with a 7-year warranty.

Other Features and Benefits

Although previous Ugly Stik models also used graphite and fiberglass in its construction, the GX2 uses more graphite for added durability and sensitivity for a more efficient fishing process.

The name may convince you that this rod is unattractive. On the contrary, it has a black matte finish with red trims plus it has a diamond pattern running along with the blank above the grip.

The stainless steel guides are compatible with many types of lines, including fluorocarbon, braided, and monofilament lines. These guides will allow a smooth running of the lines and will have no significant impact on the casting distance.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Pleasing to look at
  • Sturdy construction and enhanced sensitivity

Cons

  • Complaints of poor packaging, e.g. missing/mismatched parts

3. Daiwa Mini System Spinning Reel and Rod Combo

Daiwa is one of the most famous names in the fishing world, and it has been producing world-class fishing gear since 1955. It has gone on to expand its reach, and you can find its products as far as South America. The firm is a pacesetter in the fishing industry and is keen on quality, and innovation to ensure that it keeps tabs on the competition and also maximize customer satisfaction.

The Daiwa Mini System is not an exception to the rule, and it maintains the same high standards set over the years. It is also affordable among other features as you shall see in our review below.

Product Description

The Ultralight fishing rod by Daiwa weighs only 14oz and weighs 13.8 by 3.9 by 7.1-Inches to make it compact and convenient for carrying around. It features a hard case for extra protection of the rod and reel plus has extra space for holding your tackle too. The Mini-spin system features a reel with a smooth bearing system, a multi-disc drag, GyroSpin Balancing and Twist Buster Line twist reduction for effective line maintenance. The package comes with a one year manufacturer’s warranty.

Other Features and Benefits

The Daiwa Mini-system is compact, lightweight, and comes in a hard carry case, and this makes it your ultimate travel fishing rod. It is easy to use, cast, assemble and disassemble, and is versatile for use in all types of fishing.

It has a sturdy and durable construction, and you can pass it onto the next generation.

Pros

  • Easy to assemble and disassemble
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Fantastic castability

Cons

  • Poor line memory

4. Shimano 2-Piece Stimula Spin Rod

You may be confused as to why the name Shimano is making an appearance among fishing rods since it has made its name in the fishing industry. Well, the answer is simple; the difference in manufacturing bicycles and fishing rods is not that big since they rely on similar principles and gears.

Since bicycles are constructed to be of high-quality and comfortable and you can expect the same in their fishing rods. Let us do a brief review of this brand to give you a better understanding of it.

Product Description

The Shimano 2-piece rod has an elegant design to give it an attractive appearance. It is 6-inches long, and this is a very convenient length for both pros and beginners. The 2-piece rod is crafted from low-profile aluminum, which is stain-resistant to maintain the same attractive look for years to come. It features a cork split grip to enhance durability, and you can use it for catching both small and big fish.

Other Features and Benefits

This rod is lightweight but will still guarantee you a decent performance. It is crafted from sturdy and durable materials that will ensure it serves you for a long time to come.

It is highly sensitive, and you can easily detect the slightest bite of a fish to allow you to react faster to increase your chances of success. In case you lure the big and robust fish, this rod will be more than capable of handling its resistance.

There is also a safety feature whereby the hook keeper is designed not to swing around as this may cause injuries, especially to children.

Lastly, you can use it in fresh as well as salt water.

Pros

  • Sturdy construction
  • Lightweight
  • Attractive appearance

Cons

  • Fragile tip

5. Okuma Longitude Graphite Surf Rods

If you are looking for a fishing rod that is versatile and affordable at the same time, the Longitude Surf Graphite Rods by Okuma could be the solution to your problem. It is manufactured by the Okuma Company which was founded in 1987 and has gone on to become the global leader in producing fishing tackles (in terms of volume).

Product Description

This rod is available in different sizes ranging from 9 to 12 feet in length, and you also get to choose between heavy or medium power. All these varieties mean that you get to choose the rod depending on your preferences. It also features Graphite composite blanks which are highly sensitive, Aluminum Oxide Guide Inserts, Double-footed guide frames, Stainless Steel Hooded Reel Seat, Non-slip Cork Wrapped handles, EVA Cushions close to the handle and a Pac Bay Butt Cap.

Other Features and Benefits

The Stainless-steel guides are durable and can accommodate different types of lines, from Fluorocarbon, Co-polymer, Monofilament and Braid. The inserts will assure you of a smooth line release by the reel to eliminate chances of damage by rough surfaces.

The handles have Cork grips that will offer you maximum comfort as you deal with the fighting fish. It has a solid feel, and your palms will not get fatigued even if you hold the rod for the whole day nor will there be any slippage.

The graphite blanks will add to the strength of the rod and also enhance its sensitivity.

Pros

  • Very sensitive
  • Compact for easy storage and transportation
  • Sturdy construction

Cons

  • Too Stiff

6. Okuma Celilo Trout Rods

Okuma does it again with the Celilo Trout rod which is a light fishing rod that is crafted from a graphite blank for added strength and sensitivity. It is engineered to be highly sensitive, and you need to hook the hook at the right time to make a successful kill. This is a skill that only a pro would possess, and this implies that this rod does not suit beginners.

This rod maintains the same innovative standards that Okuma has set over the years and our review should give you a deeper understanding of them.

Product Description

This tool is made in the USA and is an ultra-light rod that is suited for freshwater fishing, and it features graphite composite blanks that are highly sensitive, aluminum oxide guide inserts, stainless steel hooded reel seats, a standard pipe reel seat with short cork, and Fore and rear cork grips. 

Other Features and Benefits

This is a two piece rod, and this makes it convenient for storage and carrying around. Further, it is constructed out of graphite material that enhances its lightweight nature and ultra-sensitivity such that you can detect the slightest bite by a fish for you to set your hook fast enough.

The handle with cork grips is solid and will offer you comfort so that your palms will not experience discomfort or pain even when you hold it for long durations.

It is an affordable rod that should be used in freshwater. Ensure you rinse it immediately if it comes in touch with saltwater.

Pros

  • Lightweight and sensitive
  • Great castability
  • Attractive finishing

Cons

  • Not suited for beginners

7. Penn Spinfisher V&VI Spinning Reel and Rod Combo

The Penn Company has been around since the 1930s and has been producing the sturdiest fishing reels in the market. The Spinfisher models came about in the 60s and have over the years been built like a tank. The V & VI series is different from the older models by being lighter but maintain the same level of toughness as before.

Product Description

This series of Penn Spinfishers weighs 790g and utilizes the CNC gear technology with six sealed stainless steel ball bearings. It has a gear ratio of 4.7:1 and has a full metal body which is IPX5 sealed. The Combo also has HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers, superline aluminum spool and line capacity rings. The models are available in a range of sizes starting from 2500 to 10500.

Other Features and Benefits

The IPX5 sealing will help keep out saltwater and other debris from the gears, which may result in the reel rusting and become less efficient.

When it comes to the gears, it utilizes the CNC gear technology which is better lubricated and is constructed from brass and aluminum materials that make the system smoother, stronger and more durable.

The full metal body will help then gears stay aligned and give it the capacity to handle the pressure from the big and hard fighting fish.

Pros

  • Available in different sizes
  • IPX5 sealed body
  • Even line lay

Cons

  • Bail arm loosens after several uses

8. Fiblink 2-Piece Surf Spinning Fishing Rod

If you are a beginner and you are looking for an affordable Spinning rod that has fast action and can comfortably handle the hard fighting fish, this Spinning Rod by Fiblink should be on your list. It is versatile, has a greater casting distance, has corrosion-resistant graphite blank, and the 10” rod can accommodate 15-30lb line and a lure weight of 1-5oz, while the 12” rod can accommodate 20-40lb line and a lure weight of 4-8oz.

Product Description 

The Fiblink Surf Spinning Fishing Rod has a Carbon Fiber Construction for increased sensitivity while the stainless steel guides are mixed with ceramic to prevent the line from sticking to the guides and lead to a smooth and longer casting. Both the 10” and the 12” rods have moderate-fast action and come with a one year warranty.

Other Features and Benefits 

In terms of power, this is a medium-heavy rod, and it is well-suited for tackling medium-sized as well as the large fish species. It is also a moderate fast action rod that has the first half of the blank bending, and this gives it more castability and hook setting power.

The rod also has better sensitivity, which will help you detect faster when the fish bites the lure, and this will help you decide whether you should set the hook or not. This sensitivity comes about due to the graphite construction.

It has a rubber shrink tube handle that offers you a firm grip and will ensure that the rod does not slip out of your hands during use. The rear grip is tapered to enhance its strength and durability.

Pros

  • Sturdy construction
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable handle

Cons

  • Graphite can be brittle if not handled with care

9. St. Croix Triumph Travel Surf Spinning Rods

Usually, when someone mentions a cheap fishing rod, you start thinking of a fragile tool that will snap into two after using it for a few times. Well, the St. Croix Travel Spinning rod is an exception to this rule. It is constructed out of SCII graphite for longevity and is an all-around performer that you can use in catching big and small fish alike. Let us analyze other qualities of this fishing reel and try to give you a better understanding of this spinning rod.

Product Description

The rod by St. Coix comes with advanced reinforcing technology and features exotic carbon fibers for added strength and durability. It can break down into four pieces, and this makes it easy to store and move around with it. The blanks are made of premium quality SCII graphite, and this makes them corrosion-resistant and lightweight at the same time. There are also the hard aluminum oxide guides which are lightweight while the reel seat features frosted silver hoods. The rod comes with a nylon case, which is a useful accessory, especially for the travelling angler.

Other Features and Benefits

The construction of this rod utilizes the latest Fortified Resin System technology which aligns the carbon fibers and this result in sturdier blanks that enhance the rod’s capacity to resist bending.

The graphite material enhances the sensitivity of this rod, and you can feel the lightest bites by the fish. The rod will remain lightweight but is one of the strongest that you will ever come across.

Additionally, this rod takes a very short time to recover and has a greater casting distance as a result. It is also a fast action rod as a result of the hard aluminum oxide handles with high-grade premium cork.

Pros

  • Very lightweight
  • sturdy and durable construction
  • Comes with a 5-year warranty

Cons

  • The handle is too long

10. Okuma Celilo Salmon/Steelhead Graphite Baitcasting Rod

If you are looking for the ultimate fishing rod for catching Salmon and Steelhead, then this rod by Okuma is just what you need. It is engineered towards durability and also to give you an outstanding performance that will provide you with unforgettable fishing experience.

This rod is affordable, available in ten models and is well-suited for bottom bouncing, trout fishing and salmon fishing.

Product Description 

The Okuma Celilo Salmon/Steelhead baitcasting rod is manufactured in the USA, and it weighs 7oz, making it lightweight for convenience in carrying around. The blank is constructed out of graphite for added sensitivity and strength, plus it helps the rod maintain its lightweight nature. It also features aluminum oxide guide inserts, stainless steel hooded reel seats and quality grade fore and rear cork grips. It is a medium-heavy action rod and has a line capacity of 10-20lbs.

Other Features and Benefits

This rod is available in ten models, all with different specifications in terms of sizes and styles, and so the potential customer will have the liberty to choose from whichever category he wants depending on their preferences.

All the materials used in constructing the various parts of this rod are meant to ensure durability and a high-quality rod in the end. Graphite enhances sensitivity while the reel seats and hook keeper are made of stainless steel material, which is corrosion-resistant and ensures that you can use this rod in fresh and saltwater as well.

Lastly, it is one of the most of affordable fishing rods in the market, and for the service, you will get, it is worth every value of your penny.

Pros

  • Comes with a one-year warranty
  • High-quality construction
  • Beautifully designed

Cons

  • The tip is too fragile

11. Penn Battalion 2-Piece Surf Spinning Rod

If you are a fishing enthusiast, then the name Penn should not sound new to you. Their reels and rods have a reputation for being sturdy and having an attractive appearance. In this case, we shall talk about the Penn Battalion Surf Spinning rod, which is specifically designed for freshwater fishing. You can also use it in currents and swifter streams, although it will not be as effective as you would expect.

You can also use it for inshore saltwater fishing, although there are better options for this. Its price may put you off, but our review will explain why we believe this fishing rod is one that you should go after.

Product Description  

The Penn Battalion Spinning Rod is available in seven models which have minor differences, so you get to choose the one that you feel suits your preferences. It features aluminum oxide guides and is a two piece rod for easier storage and transportation. High-grade graphite is used in its construction to help in making it sturdy and corrosion-resistant and this feature that means you can also use it in salty water.

Other Features and Benefits

As you may already know, the bigger fish are found in saltwater and graphite material will make this rod well-suited to handle this situation. Note that this saltwater capability is limited and you will have to rinse it with fresh water immediately after use.

This particular rod is eight feet long, and this is a convenient height for ensuring that your rod is highly sensitive, and this will allow you to react faster in case a fish gets close to your line.

Lastly, the rubber shrink tube handles will offer you a good grip such that the rod will not slip out of your hands even in wet conditions. These handles will also keep the palm of your hands comfortable, and you will not experience fatigue after long durations of fishing.

Pros

  • Smooth operation
  • Versatile rod
  • Sturdy construction

Cons

  • Poor casting speed

12. Okuma’s Solaris SS-C-1102H-2 Surf Fishing Rod

Fishing is a tricky affair while getting the right fishing rod is even trickier. The worst case scenario for any angler is spending a lot of money on a particular device, only to be disappointed after a few days. It is also vital that you find a fishing rod that would suit many categories of people, such as pros and novices, instead of being restricted to a particular group.

One rod that would solve this problem is the Solaris surf fishing rod by Okuma, which is a three piece rod that is stunning and suits both professionals and beginners alike.

Product Description 

This fishing rod has an IM-6 graphite blank construction for high sensitivity, durability and strength and features Fuji aluminum oxide guide inserts. The Double-footed guide frames are made of stainless steel, and this means they can withstand the corrosion brought about by salty water. The handle has cork wrapped non-slip Fore and rear grips that are comfortable and will no slip out of your hands. It also comes with a lifetime warranty to give you peace of mind as you use it.

Other Features and Benefits

The Fuji guides and aluminum oxide inserts will prevent the line from getting stuck and as a result, the line will operate very smoothly.

The cork-wrapped grips part from being comfortable will also allow you to work with the rod even in wet and rainy conditions.

It is lightweight and durable it will be easy to travel around with it. Lastly, it has medium-heavy power, is well-balanced and has a greater casting distance.

Pros

  • Operates smoothly
  • Lightweight
  • Highly sensitive

Cons

  • Might not be stiff enough for some

13. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Two-Piece Bigwater Spinning Rod

The Ugly Stik series is one of the best works ever done by Shakespeare, and the brand continues to dazzle many decades later. They are one of the most durable rods you will ever come across and will put an exemplary performance in saltwater. The Bigwater series maintains the same standards and will be comfortably used by both beginners and professionals as well.

Product Description

The Ugly Stik Bigwater rod features Fuji guides with stainless steel frames and aluminum oxide inserts. The Fuji reel seats stainless steel hoods which are corrosion-resistant and will work survive in saltwater conditions. The handle has the Ugly Tuff EVA grips which are durable and will not slip out of your hands easily. The rod also has the Ugly Stik clear tip design for strength and sensitivity.

Other Features and Benefits

The construction involves a combination of Graphite and Fiberglass, and this will give it exceptional strength and makes it extremely versatile as well. It can withstand the weight of the big fish and is also sensitive so that you can detect the slightest bite by a fish

Most of the parts have stainless steel material in their construction, and this makes them corrosion resistant. As a result, you can use the rod in fresh and salt water as well without worrying about the corrosion by the ocean water.

It is also strong enough to withstand bumping while in storage and even by the ocean waves and currents.

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Sturdy construction
  • Suits beginners and experts as well

Cons

  • The manufacturer could do better on the tip

14. Shakespeare Ugly Stik 1397904 Tiger Elite Casting Rod

Shakespeare does it again with another model from its Ugly Stik series. The Tiger Elite Casting rod maintains the same standards that other Ugly Stik rods have set over the years, and they remain durable and extremely sturdy for satisfactory performance. Let us do a brief review of this rod to give you a better understanding of it.

Product Description

The construction of this rod utilized graphite to make it lightweight, more sensitive and sturdier. The stainless steel double-footed guides will enhance durability and ensure that the line stays in place. It has EVA handles wrapped in diamond shrink tape for a firm grip.

Other Features and Benefits 

Just like other Ugly Stik rods, the Tiger Elite model’s outstanding feature is its strength and durability. This will ensure that tackling the big and robust saltwater fish will not be a big deal as its construction will ensure that you pull it out successfully with minimal effort and it will stay intact after that.

It is also lightweight, and you can carry it around without it being an inconvenience.

Pros

  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable and durable handle

Cons

  • Poor packaging

15. St. Croix Tournament Legend Bass Casting Rod

When it comes to innovation and research on fishing rods, St. Croix leads the pack. Our review will focus on the Legend Tournament Series which utilizes the IPC and ART technology in their manufacturing, and as a result, you will end up with a sturdy rod that will give you reliable performance in bass fishing.

Product Description 

This is a medium-fast rod which weighs 4.03oz and can accommodate lines weighing 10-17lb and lure weight of 1/4 to 5/8 ounces. It is a one-piece rod crafted from graphite material and has a split grip cork handle for durability and comfort. It is cobalt blue and comes with a lifetime limited warranty.

Other Features and Benefits 

This rod is highly sensitive, and this will allow you to react faster whenever a fish comes close to your line.

The Fuji guides will help in the line maintenance plus will add to the stunning appearance of this rod. The ART technology will help in strengthening the rod without making it bulky.

It is also easy to cast, plus the casting distance will be much greater.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Highly sensitive
  • Comfortable handle

Cons

  • A bit pricey

The Buying Guidelines for a Decent Fishing Rod

What factors define a good rod for angling? Is it affordability, the length of the kind of material used? While there is nothing like a one-size-fits-all unit, it makes perfect sense to consider “bite detection” as a top factor. Choose the wrong stick and you’re likely to end up mistaking hang-ups and collisions for bites!

Rod Length

So, does the length of the rod influence its efficiency in regard to bite detection? Well, we think it really does matter. One thing you need to know is that the length of rods typically falls between 4 feet and 14 feet.

With such a wide range of options, you might be left wondering which one is truly the ideal choice to go for. Well, we’d say that the length you settle for depends on your preferred style of fishing.

However, on average, rods measuring between 6 and 8 feet are the easiest to use. But just to help you get a clearer picture always remember the following.

Short Rods: These are best suited for casting over short distances. These rods are ideal for fighting aggressive fish species. So, if you’re hunting for big feisty fish, this would be a good choice.

Long Roads: It goes without saying that these ones are masters at casting long distances. However, they aren’t good for fighting fish although they provide you with the best deal when you need to walk baits. Using some crankbaits? Long rods are highly recommended for that.

The Right Kind of Material to Go For

There are two common kinds of materials used for making rods. They are fiberglass and graphite. Sometimes, it’s possible to find a combination of both in use.

What’s the best material to settle for? Once again, here it’s all a matter of preference. Graphite material is known for being light in weight but it’s stiff and, therefore, can easily break.

The fiberglass material is known to be incredibly flexible but not as sensitive as the graphite one. In our view, a rod that combines these two materials would be the best one to settle for.

Think Power

Power in the context of rods is the rod’s ability to bend. In other words, if your rod has lots of power, then it will be difficult to bend. So, you really don’t want to end up with a unit with an extremely stiff backbone as that might work against you.

But at this point, we’d also like to note the fact that the light or extremely light rods are only best suited for small fish species. For a safer bet especially if you use spinnerbaits, jerkbaits or crankbaits, we’d suggest moderate powered rods.

Do you regularly use frogs, topwaters and jigs? It’s recommended to settle for heavy power rods. These are good especially when your target fish species is a fighting one.

Think About The Action

The word action in the context of fish rods merely stands for the ability of the rod to bend particularly toward its tip. A slow action rod is one that bends closer toward the butt while a fast action one bends toward the tip.

If you are into bass fishing, we’d recommend going for the fast action rods as they also tend to have a stiff backbone. However, if you’re planning to use treble hooks, you want to go for something slower.

Other Factors To Consider

In addition to the factors mentioned above, it is worth keeping in mind the fact that the following ones still play a big role.

Handle: As far as the handle goes, you can either choose from cork, foam or composite material. We prefer foam due to its comfort.

Reel Seat: This should be well made and tight enough to eliminate any play or wobbling of the entire set up.

Guides: If you can afford it, go for ceramic guides, they are quite effective. But if on a budget, you can always start out with plastic or metallic ones.

Which One Is The Best?

After testing tens of different fishing rods out there, our absolute favorite one is the UglyStik GX2 Spinning Rod. This works quite well especially when paired up with a good spinning reel such as the Daiwa BG 3000.

We like its power and action plus the fact that it’s a 1-piece rod which makes it quite durable. We really like how it performs especially when used to wrestle those saltwater monsters.

Final Thoughts

Now that you are here – it is our hope that you have gained as much background information as possible on this topic. Moving forward, you can now be choosier in settling for the best fishing rods. Remember, it’s the little things like the handle quality and length that ultimately matter.  

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