6 Best Spincasting Rods: Reviewed & Compared For Serious Anglers

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Spincast reels are designed to make fishing easier by eliminating the challenges of baitcasters and spinning reels. To take full advantage of a spincast reel, a spincast rod is necessary.​

Spincast rods better accommodate top-mounted spincast reels and come equipped with smaller eyes and a forefinger grip to support the use of the reel. The guide is the definitive resource for any angler in the market for a budget-friendly spincasting rod. 

Preview

Product

Rod Length

Action

Check Price

Ugly Stik Shakespeare Elite Salmon/Steelhead...

Ugly Stik Shakespeare Elite Salmon/Steelhead

8’6” - 10’6”

Moderate fast

Zebco Zcast 5'6' 2Piece Medium-Light Action...

Zebco Zcast

Spincast

5’6”

Moderate

Zebco ZR33 Spincast Combo, 6'

Zebco ZR33

Spincast

6’

Moderate

Eagle Claw Pack-IT Telescopic Spincast Rod, 1...

Eagle Claw Pack-IT Telescopic

5’6”

Moderate

Shakespeare 1423941 Wildcat Cating Rod, 7'...

Shakespeare

Wild Cat

7’

Fast

SOUTH BEND Proton Spincast Telescopic Rod

SOUTH BEND

Proton

6’

Moderate


Benefits of Using a Spincast Rod for Fishing

Spincast rods are unique because they often sport a forefinger grip and come equipped with smaller eyes than other rods. These features exist to work in sync with the top-mounted spincast reels.

Spincast rods are also often cheaper than other rods on the market. Spincast rods are simple to use, easy to hold, and very affordable. They are especially perfect for any new anglers who are just learning the ropes. 


Choosing A Spincast Rod: A Buyer’s Guide

Build/Frame Quality

Most rods these days are made out of graphite, fiberglass, or a composite of the two. Graphite is definitely the lighter of the two, but it is also more expensive. Length and weight are important considerations as well.

Weight will be a product of the material the rod is made of, and you should choose a weight that is comfortable for you to handle. Rod length is more a product of the type of fishing you hope to do. The longer you hope to cast the longer rod you will need. For most people though, a 6 - 6.5 ft rod is perfect.

You must also consider the action and power of the rod. Action refers to how flexible the rod is and is designated as slow, medium, or fast. The action can impact fishing style a lot, but for most people, a medium or medium-heavy action is a safe bet. The power of the rod then is a measure of just how hard it is to bend the rod. This is mostly determined by the material composition and length of the rod. If you consider all these factors, you can find the rod that is right for you.   

Ball Bearings

Your spincast rod won’t have ball bearings in it unless it is some kind of special build, but your spincast reel definitely will. These ball bearings make the movement of the reel smoother on the cast and the retrieve, so the more bearings you have, the better. Higher ball bearing counts often make the reel more expensive, though, so keep that in mind!  

Target Species & Size

The fish species that you are targeting and the size you hope to land are the determining factors for your rod and reel setup. Spincasting reels aren't built for very large fish, so under enough strain, the reel would probably fail before the rod. For larger fish and fish that put up more of a fight, you will want spinning or baitcasting rod/reel combinations.  

Preferred Baits & Lures

Although you can get away with fishing most baits and lures with a spincast rod/reel combination, keep in mind that spincast reels are best suited for beginners. You won’t get the same level of control or effectiveness out of a spincast rod/reel combination that you might be used to with other setups.  With larger baits and lures, you might be better off with a baitcaster or spinning kit.

Flexibility & Sensitivity

The flexibility and sensitivity of a rod are due to a collection of traits in the rod. The action and power are the most important determinant of this, and they, in turn, are connected to the length and material composition of the rod. A good graphite rod can be very sensitive and transmit motion well. 

Other Features

There are other features you should look for in a rod. The reel seat is vital as the point of attachment for the reel. This should be strong and well-integrated with the rod. The handle/grip of the rod is important too.

Many rods incorporate cork or foam materials to make a soft and durable grip. Make sure that whatever the material is, it will be easy to hold when wet. Finally, check the guides on the rod. On a spincast rod, these will be smaller than on other rods to help better guide the line into and out of the reel.  

Price & Warranty

With fishing rods, you can’t simply buy the cheapest or the most expensive and get what you pay for. You have to assess the value of your purchase. You must consider all the factors mentioned here against your own needs on the water and then consider the price. Sometimes paying a little extra gets you a whole lot more. Always be sure to check the warranty too. Some rods come with excellent multi-year warranties.


6 Best Spincast Rods Reviewed

1. Ugly Stik Shakespeare Elite Salmon/Steelhead

Our Top Pick

Rod Length

8’6” - 10’6”

Line Weight

8 - 40 lbs

Action

Moderate fast

Power

Medium - Extra Heavy

Primary Material

Graphite

Ugly Stik has made a name for themselves in the world of fishing by creating tough, affordable rods that perform well. The Ugly Stik Shakespeare Elite Salmon/Steelhead rod is a rod built for action. As the name implies, it is readymade to land you that Salmon or Trout you want.

Now, usually, spincast rods and reels aren't known for their power, but this Ugly Stik offers up a sturdy backbone. The Elite series actually features 35% more graphite than Ugly Stik GX2 for a lighter weight rod that maintains the same durability Ugly Stik is known for. Ugly Stik Elite rods feature premium cork handles, Ugly Tuff guides for durability, and the Ugly Stik Clear Tip design.

Many fishermen have used the rod and come back with reviews like this

If you want a great rod at a great price for big fish I would highly recommend this rod.”

This is a rod that speaks for itself and was an easy choice for our top pick. The Elite series of fishing rods from Ugly Stik live up to their name and maintain elite performance. Anglers from the Great Lakes to Alaska and all the way down to the Keys have praised this rod.     

Pros
  • Extra graphite makes it lighter weight
  • Very sturdy
  • Good sensitivity
Cons
  • Some anglers choose to replace the guides

2. Zebco Zcast

Best Cheap Spincast Rod

Rod Length

5’6”

Line Weight

6-10 lbs

Action

Moderate

Power

Medium-Light

Primary Material

Fiberglass

The Zebco Zcast spincast casting rod packs in a lot of value for a surprisingly low price tag. It features a tough and durable Z-glass blank construction with shock ring guides that ensure smooth and seamless casting and retrieving.

The soft EVA handles are lightweight and allow for a comfortable grip on the rod even under pressure. Also, a twist-lock reel seat keeps the line in the reel during tumultuous and jarring fishing moments.

This all packs on a well-balanced rod that works for all fishers from the novice to the seasoned angler. You can catch everything from light Panfish or Trout to medium bass and walleye without straining this rod. This rod is so good for the price that many fishers have taken to buying more than one.

As one review states, “I've bought 3 of them so far and always have at least 1 in my truck and 1 in the family car.”

A spincast rod like this is perfect when you need one for yourself, one to give as a gift, and one for the kids. It doesn't break the bank, yet it will hold up to years of use. That's what makes this the best cheap spincast rod on the market. 

Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Secure reel seat
  • Well constructed
Cons
  • Not as sturdy as other rods

3. Zebco ZR33 Spincast

Best Spincast Rod And Reel Combo

Rod Length

6’

Line Weight

10-20 lbs

Action

Moderate

Power

10-20 lbs

Primary Material

Fiberglass

With the Zebco ZR33 Spincast not only do you get one of their excellent rods, but this comes as a combo with a great spincast reel as well. The custom-designed 4 bearing Zebco 33 Spincast reel sports a 3.6:1 Retrieve Ratio and includes a Built-In Bite Alert, a MicroFine dial-adjustable drag, and dual ceramic pick-up pins. It also benefits from a quickset anti-reverse and changeable right- or left-hand retrieve. The reel also comes pre-spooled with 100-yards of 10-lb Cajun Line to top it all off.

The reel alone is worth the price tag, but then you have the spincast rod. The rod is made of patented extra-tough rhino e-glass rods and features the ATAC™ Advanced Tactile Grip. This makes for a rod that is tough in the body with a secure and comfortable hold. This is a rod that can easily land more substantial fish like catfish and stripers.  More than that, though, you'll come to realize that Zebco rods and reels have staying power.

As one review put it, “I wish I had a dollar for every fish I caught as a kid on a Zebco… My grandfather bought me my first one many many years ago and with little TLC, it is just as smooth today."

Pros
  • Great combo
  • ATAC™ Advanced Tactile Grip
  • Tough body
Cons
  • The tip isn’t very durable

4. Eagle Claw Pack-IT Telescopic

Best Telescoping Spincast Rod

Rod Length

5’6”

Line Weight

4-10 lbs

Action

Moderate

Power

Medium

Primary Material

Fiberglass

Many rods come as two pieces that you can assemble and disassemble as needed. That's fine for shipping and the occasional need to reduce the size of a rod, but realistically each piece is usually too big to really be portable.

This is where telescopic rods like Eagle Claw’s Pack-IT Telescopic spincast rod come in. Fully extended, it functions as a strong 5'6" spincast rod that lands fish just like any other rod. Then, when you want to go mobile, the rod telescopes down to around 16" in length, which is shorter than the respective halves of most rods.

This means you can take the rod with you camping, hiking, or wherever else you might like to go. The rods feature a durable fiberglass blank construction and a handle that is made of EVA foam. The reel seats are made of graphite, and the guides are a durable ceramic, which helps to reduce the overall weight of the rod. For a telescopic rod, it is solidly constructed and capable of taking a beating.

One review sums it up well, “I already got a 2nd one and both of them are side by side in my fishing backpack! I freaking LOVE these rods!” 

Pros
  • Telescopic
  • Durable construction
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Not very sensitive

5. Shakespeare Wild Cat

Top 2 Piece Spincast Rod

Rod Length

7’

Line Weight

12-25 lbs

Action

Fast

Power

Medium-Heavy

Primary Material

Fiberglass

While a telescoping rod like the Eagle Claw Pack-IT is perfect for portability, sometimes a 2 piece rod construction feels more secure while still offering some versatility. The Shakespeare Wild Cat spincast fishing rod is a great 2 part rod.

With a tubular glass blank, standard comfortable EVA grips and stainless steel guides with ceramic inserts, the rod remains sturdy yet reasonably lightweight. This rod is designed for a high-strength responsive feel while fishing, and you should have bigger fish in mind when using it. This rod is also a great value option that won’t break the bank because it maintains a fairly low price tag.   

One reviewer highlights that "the feel of the rod is surprisingly good for its price point," and that "The rod performed well deep dropping for lingcod... The rod handle like a champ." 

The Shakespeare Wild Cat is just another example of fishing gear where it pays to shop value and not price. Some anglers avoid cheaper rods thinking that they won't hold up under pressure, but that lack of research simply ends up costing them more money in the end. With the Shakespeare Wild Cat, you get a tough 2 piece rod that performs under pressure.   

Pros
  • Affordable rod
  • Strong construction
  • Good quality
Cons
  • The guides are small

6. SOUTH BEND Proton

Best For Traveling Anglers

Rod Length

6’

Line Weight

6-14 lbs

Action

Moderate

Power

Medium

Primary Material

Fiberglass

The SOUTH BEND Proton Telescopic spincast rod is another great collapsible rod built for the angler on the go. This is perfect for plane travel, backpacking, hiking, you name it. Fully extended this spincast rod is 6' of robust fish catching equipment but, when you are ready to go, it condenses down to only 21”.

It has everything you would expect from a quality construction. You have durable fiberglass rod blanks, smooth ceramic guides for accurate casting, a solid and lightweight graphite reel seat, stainless steel cushioned hoods, and an easily gripped cork handle. All of that expands and contracts as needed. 

A fisherman who has used the rod has this to say, “This pole is excellent for packing… Easy to expand, easy to collapse. I loved it. I am happy to tell others about it for backpacking.”

That review comes after 5 full days of trekking and fishing in the mountains. The SOUTH BEND Proton telescopic spincast rod has been put through its paces time and time again and consistently comes out the other side with rave reviews and happy fishermen. If you need a rod that can keep up with you when you are on the go, then this is one of the best options on the market.

Pros
  • Very portable
  • Strong construction
  • Well balanced
Cons
  • Eyelets don’t align perfectly

Fishing Rod Comparison

  • Spincast vs. Baitcast Rod
    Baitcasting rods are designed to support the long-distance accurate casting of baitcasting reels. Spincast rods and reels fall far on the other end of the spectrum in terms of casting distance and accuracy. They have much shorter and less accurate casting capabilities. Spincast rods are designed to work with top-mounted line feeding spincast reels.  Between the two, you would have a baitcasting setup at the ready if you are an experienced fisherman looking to land very accurate casts. At the same time, the spincast assembly is more often suited for a beginner or some light and easy fishing. 
  • Spincast vs. Spinning Rod
    These two types of rod are often confused for each other, but they are actually very different. A spincast rod, as a form of casting rod, has the reel seated above the rod with the guides positioned accordingly. A spinning rod, on the other hand, has the reel hanging beneath the rod so the guides are positioned there. This means you can’t use a spincast reel on a spinning rod.

How to Setup & Use Spincast Rods

First and foremost, make sure your rod and reel are assembled correctly. Check that all of the guides are aligned and that the reel is securely fastened to the rod. Next, set your drag. The drag should be set to about 25% of the breaking strength of the line you are using. You can adjust this later as you are fishing to tire a fish out or give it some room to play.

To use the spincast rod and reel, you simply add a bobber or lure to the end of your line and press the button on the reel during your forward cast. This will send the line out. Once it lands where you want, let go of the button. Then, when you’re ready, begin reeling the line in by cranking the handle. It isn’t any more complicated than that.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best type of material for spincast fishing rods?

The best material for spincast fishing rods is graphite. It is very lightweight yet strong as well. It also lends sensitivity to the rod, making it easier to tell when a fish is on the other end of the line. The only major critique with graphite is that it isn't cheap, so graphite rods are often more expensive.

What’s the difference between a light action rod, a medium-light rod, a medium-heavy rod, and a heavy rod?

Each of these classifications refers to the rod's power, which is a measure of how much pressure an angler must add to a rod to make it bend. On one end of the spectrum, you have light power rods that bend easily and are best suited for catching small baitfish. On the other end of that spectrum are the heavy and ultra-heavy rods that can hold up against larger fish and greater pressures. 

How do I clean and store my spincast fishing rod?

For short term storage, simply washing down your rod with freshwater, letting it dry, and then placing it on a secure rack to hold it out of the way is sufficient. For longer-term storage, you need to disassemble the rod and remove the line and reel after everything has been thoroughly cleaned. Removing the reel is a good time to service it as well and clean the interior parts.  

Who makes the best spincast fishing rods and where can I buy them?

Many brands are making some amazing spincast rods, and we covered them in this guide. Ugly Stik is an industry leader right now, Zebco is also spectacular, the list goes on and on. What's fantastic is you can find all these brands on Amazon, so shopping for fishing gear is a whole lot easier. 


Conclusion

There are many spincast rods on the market, so we did the leg work for you and selected the best ones for this guide. The Ugly Stik Shakespeare Elite Salmon/Steelhead is our top pick overall as the best spincast rod at the moment.

Ugly Stik has made a name for themselves, and it is well deserved. Check out all the selections on Amazon where you can grab the best deals, read reviews, and find the best rod for what you need.