All anglers new and old will tell you that patience is key to catching a fish. But a great fishing pole, pocket knife, and other useful accessories certainly add to your odds. Of course, that’s if you find the right one. While some fishing rods will be well worth the money, some are just pricey sticks that will never see the light of day because they never feel right. Of course, quality fishing rods do cost money but with the advancements in technology, you don’t have to break the bank to get one that fits your fishing style and needs. If you’re in the market for a new rod (who isn’t, right?), then we’ve got just the list for you. Check out the best fishing poles for almost every occasion below.
Top 10 Fishing Poles Of 2018 Reviewed
- Top 10 Fishing Poles Of 2018 Reviewed
- 1. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod
- 2. Daiwa Minispin Ultralight Spinning Reel and Rod
- 3. PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel
- 4. Entsport Camo Legend Baitcasting Rod
- 5. Okuma Celilo Ultra Light Trout Rods
- 6. Shimano Stimula Spin Rod
- 7. Tailwater Outfitters Toccoa Fly Rod
- 8. YONGZHI Mini Pocket Telescopic Fishing Rod
- 9. Fiblink Surf Spinning Rod
- 10. Penn Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel & Rod Combo
- Fishing Pole Buying Guide
1. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning RodBest Fishing Rod For Catfish
The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is perfect for anglers who want a rod built to last and don’t want to create a huge hole in their pocket. This spinning rod is well-known for its durability and strength. It is a composite of graphite and fiberglass which gives it that strong backbone necessary for handling big fish as well as the sensitivity needed to detect the subtlest of bites.
The rod comes in a variety of sizes and line ratings such as ultralight for small trout and panfish, medium for 3 to 10-pound fish, and heavy for anything beyond the 25-pound range. But its versatility is not what makes the GX2 a favorite among old and new anglers alike. It’s the seven-year warranty that no one else offers. However, we did notice that the guides (stamped stainless steel, by the way) are not always placed correctly. Not a big deal really. Also, some anglers have found the rod heavier compared to high-performance graphite rods.
- Seven-year warranty
- Perfect blend of strength and sensitivity
- Heavier than high-end spinning rods
- The guides are not always placed correctly
2. Daiwa Minispin Ultralight Spinning Reel and RodBest Fishing Rod and Reel
If you’re always on the go, you’ll want to be able to take any pop-up fishing opportunities that life throws your way. And the Daiwa Minispin Ultralight Spinning Reel and Combo is perfect for just that. This fishing rod and reel combo come in an ultra-compact hard case that fits right in under your car seat. The case features multiple compartments that you can use to store some lures, floats, hooks, weights, and baits. The ultralight rod is 4.5 feet and breaks down into five pieces.
The line weight is two to six pounds which makes this ideal for panfish and trout, maybe some catfish and largemouth bass. The mini-reel has a ball bearing drive and a Twist Buster line twist reduction. One major flaw with this combo is, unfortunately, the case. Putting everything back inside the case is quite difficult. You’ll need to literally disassemble everything to make it fit. Also, this is not designed for everyday use. It will not be able to take that much abuse. But for those infrequent backpacking trips or rare moments when you come upon a prime fishing spot in your travels, this is just the thing.
- Rod and reel combo
- Hard case comes with tackle compartments
- Very portable
- Hard to put back in the case
- Not built for everyday use
3. PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and ReelBest Fishing Rod For Beginners
Any beginner angler will tell you that it’s easy to get bogged down with all the information you need to process when buying fishing gear. Well, if you’re not up for that hassle, this is the kit for you. The Plusinno Fishing Rod and Reel Combo is a complete fishing kit comes with a fishing line, lures, hooks, sinkers, and a bag. Basically, everything you’ll need to get started on your newest hobby.
The telescopic rod is constructed from high-density carbon fiber and fiberglass, stainless steel hooded reel seats, aluminum oxide guide inserts, and an EVA Foregrip. Both the rod and the reel are sturdily built and well worth the money. The additional stuff, however, is not equal in quality. You can buy better lures, lines, and weights elsewhere. And the case feels cheaply made. However, if you’re just starting out, the additional accessories will be great for developing your technique and learning control. Once you get better, you can upgrade the accessories. The rod and reel you can definitely keep for far longer. One thing to know about Plutino is they have excellent customer service.
- Everything you need for fishing
- Solidly built rod and reel
- Excellent customer service
- Accessories are poor quality
- Case is cheap
4. Entsport Camo Legend Baitcasting RodBest Fishing Rod For Bass
The Enstport Camo Legend Baitcasting Rod is in a league of its own. It comes with two different power rod tips – medium and medium heavy – which is as good as getting two rods for the price of one. The ability to change between the two tips increases its versatility. The rod is beautifully made; it has a stiff backbone, strong eyelets, and the reel seat is all metal. It’s lightweight, has a good balance, and feels really good in your hands.
The Entsport Camo Legend rods can definitely compete with other higher end rods out there for a fraction of the price. For anglers who want to learn baitcasting, this is the perfect rod to learn on without breaking the bank. However, there are some customers who have received tips that do not fit properly to the rod, requiring them to sand them to create a snug fit. Also, some anglers have reported breaking their rod when hooking bigger fish. Fortunately, the company has excellent customer service and replaces them quickly.
- Two-piece design is perfect for portability
- 2 different power rod tips
- Great performance at this price point
- Two pieces may not fit snugly without sanding
- Few reports of rod breaking when hooking big fish
5. Okuma Celilo Ultra Light Trout RodsBest Fishing Rod For Trout
The Okuma Celilo Ultra Light Rod is a fantastic spinning rod for small stream fishing. It features sensitive graphite blank construction, aluminum oxide guide inserts, stainless steel hooded real seats, and cork grips. The finish is beautiful, the cork handle feels great in your hand, and the guides are all properly placed.
This has moderate action with very good sensitivity and can cast with great accuracy. For catching trout or crappie, you can’t ask for more than this. Any flaws? Well, it comes in a 2-piece design which some angles do not like. Some feel that the rod is too flexible and needs more backbone. And there are a handful of reviews that talk about the rod breaking after a couple of uses or arriving broken. Quality issues aside, if you want an affordable spinning rod for impromptu trout fishing, the Okuma Celilo can’t be beaten.
- Good casting accuracy
- Graphite construction
- Very sensitive
- 2-piece design
- Some users report their rods breaking after a couple of uses
6. Shimano Stimula Spin Rod
The Shimano Stimula is an ultralight 2-piece spinning rod that has medium fast action, perfect for bank fishing at your local pond and/or lake. The rod features aluminum oxide guides, a Shimano reel seat, a custom shaped cork handle, an EVA butt cap, and a Multipurpose hook keeper. The cork grip feels great but some might find it smaller than what you’d find in other rods.
It has good strength in the lower portion of the rod and good sensitivity at the tip. Because it is a 2-piece design, you can easily store this fishing rod in the trunk of your car or in the back seat for any pop-up fishing opportunities that may come your way. However, we’re slightly concerned about the attachment method of the rod pieces. The bottom part is the one that fits into the upper section of the rod instead of the other way around. This may make the rod more likely to break especially if you hook larger fish.
- Good sensitivity
- Easily portable
- Medium fast action
- Not for saltwater fishing
- May break easily
7. Tailwater Outfitters Toccoa Fly RodBest Fishing Rod For The Money
The Tailwater Outfitters Toccoa Fly Rod is a 4-piece fishing rod constructed out of graphite, making it both durable and lightweight. Assembling the rod is easy (the alignment dots help), so is breaking it down. And the four-compartment rod tube has an adjustable shoulder strap which makes transporting your rod hassle-free. The rod also features an aluminum reel seat with double lock rings and a cork handle that will ensure your hands remain fatigue-free after more than a hundred casts. This is fast action fly rod so you can get a really long distance with more control. However, some felt that the rod was a bit on the heavy side.
- All graphite construction
- Alignment dots to help assembly
- Good value
- Some anglers felt that it was on the heavy side
8. YONGZHI Mini Pocket Telescopic Fishing RodBest Fishing Rod For Backpacking
The Yongzhi Mini Pocket Telescopic Rod is actually a misnomer because it doesn’t really fit in your pocket. That being said, it is a truly compact fishing rod that you can take with you on impromptu bike rides to the lake or pond for a spot of fishing with family or friends. The rod is a composite of carbon fiber and fiberglass, providing it with great flexibility and durability.
The aluminum steel hooded reel seat is treated with anti-saltwater corrosion. The rod also features stainless steel guides with ceramic inserts to reduce friction in the line. What’s really great about this rod is the fact that it fits right in your luggage or backpack for trips out of town where you never know if you might find a good fishing spot. You can also keep this in your car for fishing on a moment’s notice (lunch break, maybe?). And for a telescopic rod, the balance of this thing is great. While this is a spinning rod, the eyelets are very small so it limits how far you can cast. Also, some users reported that the tip of their rod wouldn’t collapse all the way back anymore.
- Very portable
- Good flexibility
- Solid construction
- Eyelets are on the small side for a spinning rod
- Some users had problems collapsing the tip
The Fiblink Surf Spinning Rod features a graphite construction and comes in two lengths – 10 feet and 12 feet, with varying power and action. The guides are made of a mixture of stainless steel and ceramic to prevent the lines getting stuck as well as reduces friction which means smooth, long casts all the time, every time. The rod also features a non-slip rubber shrink tube handle and an extreme exposure reel seat.
This surf rod is definitely one of the best in the market. It has a stiff backbone and is very sensitive. The casting distance of this rod is phenomenal. And the durability is amazing; you can hook 3-foot sharks and large rays with this thing and it won’t break. However, this isn’t a lightweight rod and you will feel the pain if you’re going to use this all day. Also, some have had problems with the ceramic insert breaking. Fortunately, the company’s customer service is great and replaces them without any hassle. In addition, this is a specific application fishing rod, not the kind you want for impromptu fishing.
- All graphite construction
- Very durable
- Long casting distance
- Reports of the ceramic insert breaking
- Not for simple fishing needs
10. Penn Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel & Rod Combo
The Penn Spinfisher V Spinning Rod and Reel combo may seem expensive to a new angler but with the quality of reel you get, the fishing rod is practically free! The rod has a graphite composite construction with stainless steel guides, aluminum oxide inserts, and EVA grips. It is sensitive and strong with great casting distance. The reel features a water seal design that makes it ideal for saltwater fishing.
It has a full metal body as well as a sealed HT-100 slammer drag system which allows for a smooth as silk output. And the Instant anti-reverse makes dealing with bird’s nests a thing of the past. One downside to the reel is its weight. It’s heavy and you will feel fatigue if you’re handling this all day. Another downside has to do with the rod. It’s a decent rod that’s paired with an awesome reel. However, there have been several reports of the rod breaking that do concern us. Still, with this reel, it truly is a bargain.
- Reel has a water seal design
- Rod has good sensitivity
- Instant anti-reverse feature
- Reports of the rod breaking
- Reel is heavy
Fishing Pole Buying Guide
You’d think that buying a fishing rod is going to be a simple exercise. Go in the shop, pick the longest one with the coolest color, and head out to the pier. To new anglers’ surprise, this simple rod has a load of specs and terms that you’ll need to be familiar with if you’re planning on taking up this sport/recreation. There are a lot of factors to consider and, as a result, a whole lot of fishing rods to choose from. In fact, there isn’t such a thing as the best fishing pole for everyone because everyone has different needs and preferences.
If you’re new to fishing, don’t get too intimidated. There’ll be time for you to learn all the ropes. Lots of experienced anglers love to talk about their passion. You may even get a fish tale or two. But for your first rod, the one that will start it all, you can keep things simple. Our guide should help you determine which fishing rod should be your first pick.
There are basically three questions you’ll need to answer when choosing a rod:
- What kind of fish do you want to catch?
- Where will you be fishing?
- How often will you be fishing?
What are the types of fishing rods?
Fishing rods can be divided into types and categories based on their structure/technique and where they can be used. For now, let’s discuss the two main types based on their structure.
These rods have large eyelets facing downwards and the reel is located beneath the rod. The handle is typically mounted on the side of the non-dominant hand. What this means is that your dominant hand is the one holding the rod while your non-dominant one is handling the reel. With a spinning rod, your line will feed out and pull down. This type of rod is best for new anglers because it’s easier to reel in the fish, much faster too. Also, the line doesn’t get tangled. This means you can learn the technique faster and start having fun earlier. However, because of the orientation of the eyelet, there is a higher chance for the eyelets/guides to break because of the force of the pull. The Shimano Stimula Spin Rod is an example of a spinning rod.
With casting rods, the eyelets are smaller and face upwards. Because of this, when the line is pulled down, the force is on the rod instead of the eyelets. The baitcasting reel is mounted on top of the rod. And there is a trigger grip on the handle. With a casting rod, it takes time to learn the technique. It can also be expensive with the line getting all tangled up in the reel, causing you to change the line often. However, once mastered, the casting rod like the Entsport Camo Legend Baitcasting Rod gives you better distance and smoother casts which is why experienced fishermen love them.
What are the other types of fishing rods?
As we’ve mentioned before, the fishing rods can also be divided based on the conditions in which they will be used.
Sea fishing rods
Specifically designed for fishing in the ocean. The length can range from short for boat use to very long for use on rocks or on the shore. These rods are typically thick and heavy duty with a long butt, strong eyes, and heavy tips. All the more to fight large fish. The heaviest you’ll find are designed for catching a shark.
This is a type of sea rod but has become popular enough that it now has its own category. Surf rods are designed for fishing from the shore which means that they tend to be longer than most other sea rods. This allows the angler to cast a long way, past the breaking surf to where the fish are, and the longer butt allows for two-handed casting. Surf rods like the Fiblink Surf Spinning Rod look like the heavier, bigger brother of regular spinning rods.
Specifically designed for fly fishing, these rods tend to be thin and flexible. Depending on the size, fly rods can be used to catch many kinds of fish. The bigger the fish, the heavier the fly rod. One distinctive feature of this type of rod is the lack of a butt below the reel which allows the fisherman to freely cast the line with speed. Fly rods also have specialized guides/eyelets, called snake eyes, to guide the heavy line and prevent it from getting tangled when you cast. The Tailwater Outfitters Toccoa Fly Rod is one of the best we’ve seen that’s sold at an affordable price.
Ice fishing rods
Due to the lack of space when ice fishing, these rods tend to be shorter (24-36 inches in length). Ice fishing rods also have lesser eyes compared to conventional spinning rods. Some classic ice fishing rods don’t even use a reel. Instead, there are two opposing hooks on the rod that is used to wind the line around by hand.
These are specifically designed for the traveling angler. Telescopic rods are compact sized rods (1-2 feet) that are extendable, reaching up to around 20 feet. This allows you to take the rod with you on foot, bike, car, or even in public transit. Telescopic rods like the PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel are particularly useful in surf fishing because it provides the angler with a very long rod that can be easily transported because it folds up.
Smaller than telescopic rods, these are rods that can be folded up and placed in a case; the case looks like a large pen, hence the name. Considered the world’s smallest fishing rods, these can fit in your backpack or pocket. The rods, when extended, are just a few feet long and ultra-light. This is not a rod you use for everyday fishing. This is one you keep with you just in case you come upon an unexpected, but entirely welcome, fishing opportunity.
Specifically designed to be cast from a moving boat, allowing you to drag the lure using the boat’s forward motion. These are typically used to catch large game fish such as marlin or tuna. Trolling rods are long, stiff, and heavy with a fast action.
If you find yourself confused as to what kind of fishing rod you should pick, here’s a simple guide: big fish = big rod, small fish = small rod.
What material should the fishing pole be made of?
There are four materials that are typically used to make a fishing rod – bamboo, graphite, fiberglass, or a combination of fiberglass and graphite.
Bamboo is typically used to make fly rods because it has a smooth, fluid backcast. While it is heavier than graphite, bamboo fishing rods provide a unique feel and experience. These are ideal when you require subtle and delicate presentation such as dry flies and unweighted small nymphs. Also, bamboo may have been the traditional material for rods but they are quite expensive.
Graphite is the most expensive material. They’re also the lightest as well as the most powerful. Graphite rods are also the most sensitive and have the fastest action. You’re more likely to feel little nibbles with this kind of rod. However, graphite rods break more easily than fiberglass ones. The Tailwater Outfitters Toccoa Fly Rod is an example of an all-graphite rod.
Fiberglass is heavier than graphite and less likely to break. Typically, these are what beginners use as they require little maintenance. Fiberglass rods are more flexible as well as the least expensive.
Composite is a combination of fiberglass and graphite, this provides the angler with better sensitivity, more durability, and greater flexibility. Our list has several rods that use a combination of fiberglass and graphite, YONGZHI Mini Pocket Telescopic Fishing Rod being one of them.
How long should my fishing rod be?
Fishing rods come in varying lengths, ranging from 4 feet to 14 feet and more. The length of your fishing rod will depend on the type of fishing you want to do, the fish you want to catch, and where you want to fish. Length will also depend on your experience and strength. For example, beginners might want to start off with a short rod that will help them develop their technique but not short enough that casting distance suffers. A rod length of 8 to 9 feet should be good. If you’re planning on fishing from a kayak or in wooded areas, you’ll want a shorter rod because of the lack of available space. Those who wish to catch big, aggressive fish will need a strong but short rod.
What do action and power mean?
An action is an amount of “bend” your rod has when pressure is applied to the tip as well as how fast it returns to its neutral position. A “fast” action is when only the tip bends. A “medium” action such as what you get with the Shimano Stimula Spin Rod is when the half of the rod bends while a “slow” action is when almost the entire length of the rod bends. Faster action rods will be more sensitive and allow you to put more pressure on the fish compared to slow action rods. On the other hand, a slow action rod has better casting distance.
Power also referred to as weight or taper, is how much it would take to bend the fishing rod. The more power a fishing rod has, the stiffer its backbone is and therefore it is less likely to bend. In the same way, light and ultralight fishing rods require less power to bend which is what makes them ideal for smaller species such as trout and panfish. You’re more likely to feel the bite because your rod has more bend. The categories for power or weight are ultralight, light, medium, heavy and ultra-heavy.
What type of fish can I catch with my fishing rod?
In general, the bigger the fish, the bigger the rod and vice versa. Of course, there are exceptions. But if you want to match the fish you want to catch with the type of rod you need to buy, below are some general configurations.
- Ultralight: bait fish, crappie
- Light: small fish such as bluegill
- Medium-Light: bass, trout
- Medium: bass, catfish, striper
- Medium-Heavy: salmon, pike, snook
- Heavy: salmon, sturgeon, tuna, tarpon
- Extra-Heavy: sailfish, tuna, halibut
How much should I spend?
It all depends on you. Typically, lower-priced rods tend to have lower quality components such as guides made out of plastic that break down more quickly. However, if you’re just beginning in the sport, you don’t necessarily have to go all out on your budget. You can get a really good rod for under $50 like the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod. In general, the rule is this: the more time you spend fishing, the better quality your fishing rod should be.
Is that everything I need to know?
No, it isn’t. There’s a lot of knowledge that you’ll gain only by going out there and fishing and talking to those with more experience. When choosing your rod, you’ll need to strike a balance between what you need and what you prefer. Take the time to hang out at your local bait shop or sporting goods store. Get a feel of the rods there and ask around for advice. Most importantly, have fun.