7 Best Spinning Rods (2021)

Best Spinning Rods
 

Spinning fishing rods are best used by beginner anglers who want something that’s not only less prone to tangles but also ideal for casting smaller lures and live bait. That doesn’t mean that the best spinning rod isn’t right for an experienced angler. Spinning rods are perfect for just about every fishing experience level.

Given that these spinning fishing rods are so popular, it’s easy to see why the market would be flooded with a host of options and why any angler would get inundated by the available choices. As such, finding the right one for your specific needs can be a little tricky.

In this guide, we will go through a few of the best options available today and the kind of factors you need to consider before buying one. Here’s a quick review of some of the best spinning rods on the market.


Best Spinning Rods – Winners

Check out our quick recommendations here, or keep scrolling for detailed reviews:


Best Overall Spinning Rod

1. Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod

Length: 5’6″

Material:  Graphite

Power/action: Light/Moderate Fast

Lure size: 1/16 – 3/8 oz.

Line weight: 4-8 lbs.

Handle: Cork

Guides: Stainless Steel

Pros

  • Durable
  • It is easy to use
  • It’s versatile enough to be used with all types of lines, including braid
  • Stainless steel guides
  • It features a Clear Tip design for improved sensitivity
  • 35% graphite for lighter weight
  • Manufactured by a reliable brand
  • 7-year warranty

Cons

  • The tip eye isn’t as durable when using a braided line

The Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod is all about increased strength and sensitivity, making it ideal for anglers of any skill level. The rod is made with more graphite (about 35% more), making it lighter yet just as tough as Ugly Stik spinning rods have been known to be.

Couple that with a comfortable cork handle that offers a smooth and luxurious feel when fishing, and you have a spinning rod designed to help you fish for hours on end.

This graphite spinning fish rod is unique because it features the “Clear Tip” design, which responds well to the lightest strikes or nibbles when they occur. This makes the graphite rod extremely versatile and capable of being used while fishing for smaller to larger or heavier fish.

The rod has one-piece Ugly Tuff guides made out of stainless steel. Not only are these guides durable, but they are also quite easy to use. The one-piece design all but eliminates insert pop-outs. The spinning rod also has exposed blank style reel seats that feature cushioned stainless steel hoods. These ensure that your reel stays in place at all times.

View on Bass Pro Shops >>

Also Available on Amazon >>


Best Budget Spinning Rod

2. Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod

Length: 5’10” – 9′

Material: Fiberglass

Power/action: Light/Fast

Lure size: 1/8 – 1/2 oz.

Line weight: 4-10 lbs.

Handle: EVA foam grips

Guides: Stainless steel

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Strong
  • Sensitive
  • Features stainless steel guides
  • Comfortable EVA grips
  • 7-year warranty
  • 2-piece rod construction
  • Clear Tip design for increased sensitivity and strength

Cons

  • The guide quality isn’t as high as it could be

Yet another excellent entry from Ugly Stik. This is the Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod designed to be strong and well-balanced. Featuring the unique Ugly Tech construction, the spinning rod is made out of a graphite and fiberglass combination that makes it lighter, stronger, and even more reliable than most of its rivals in the same category. That graphite and fiberglass combination gives this rod a blank that is not only lightweight but also very sensitive, all the while being almost unbreakable.

Featuring one-piece inserts made out of stainless steel, you will hardly have any issues with your line when using this fiberglass rod. Since the guides are quite slick, the lines easily feed through and run back quite freely. Finally, the rod features what has become Ugly Stik’s renowned clear fiberglass tip that offers more sensitivity and power.

View on Bass Pro Shops >>

Also Available on Amazon >>


Most Versatile

 3. KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rods

Length: 7′

Material: Carbon fiber

Power/action: Medium/Fast

Lure size: 3/16 – 5/8 oz.

Line weight: 6-12 lbs.

Handle: EVA foam grips

Guides: Fuji O-Ring

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Sensitive
  • It has Fuji O-Ring guidelines
  • It offers smooth power transition
  • Ideal for larger fish
  • Designed and manufactured by an ICAST award-winning manufacturer

Cons

  • A little expensive

Designed for bass fishing, catfishing, walleye fishing, and a host of other bigger fish, this KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rod is nothing short of a premium product. Featuring premium components such as the renowned Fuji O-Ring line guides, high quality and high-density EVA grips for improved fishing comfort, and ergonomic graphite reel seats that offer incredible strength, this is an excellent spinning fishing rod for anglers of all skill levels.

The fishing rod features KastKing PTS (Power Transition System), which ensures a smooth transition of power throughout the entire rod blank. It also has a specialized high technology computer control wrapping that spans four different angles (0⁰, 45⁰, 90⁰, 135⁰), ensuring that the power keeps flowing.

Constructed with specialized Toray 24-ton carbon matrix KastFlex technology, this rod offers impressive strength, power, and accuracy. For your convenience, it’s available in 29 different sizes, including an ultra-light option and a heavy spinning rod of 7′. As an ICAST award-winning manufacturer, KastKing has put its unparalleled craftsmanship into this rod, and it shows.

View on Amazon >>


Most Durable

4. Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.0 Spinning Rod

Length: 5’6″

Material: Graphite

Power/action: Ultra-Light/Fast

Lure size: 1-6 lbs.

Line weight: 1/32 – 1/4 oz.

Handle: Winn grips

Guides: Fuji FaZlite guides

Pros

  • 10-year warranty
  • Lightweight
  • Extra sensitive
  • It features a line ID system
  • Comfortable Winn grips
  • Strong and durable
  • Good enough for tournament fishing

Cons

  • Quite expensive

The Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.0 Spinning Rod is so well-built that it’s good enough for avid tournament anglers from across the globe. Designed and built using Carbon Coil Technology, this spinning rod features an impressive construction process that creates a structurally reinforced rod using a double-helix configuration. The rod is made out of RT4 graphite, which makes it quite light and very sensitive.

The Fuji FaZlite guides on this spinning fishing rod offer more than just the iconic weight reduction; you also get a unique line ID system that is integral in helping tournament anglers to keep track of and easily identify which lines have something on.

The Winn grips on this rod offer you the ultimate level of comfort, which goes a long way towards reducing the amount of stress experienced by your hands and entire body. This means that you can fish more accurately for much longer.

View on Bass Pro Shops >>


Most Portable Spinning Rod

5. Cadence CR5 30

Length: 6’6″

Material: Carbon fiber

Power/action: Light/Moderate Fast

Lure size: 1/16-3/8 oz.

Line weight: 4-8 lbs.

Handle: Cork

Guides: Stainless steel

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Highly sensitive
  • Two handle options (EVA or premium cork)
  • The lines don’t get stuck in the guides
  • Stainless steel guides
  • 2-piece design which is travel friendly

Cons

  • A little expensive

Best used in fishing for panfish and trout, this Cadence CR5 30 gives you nothing short of awesome dependability. This is a product that is built for high-performance at an incredibly affordable rate. Made out of a 30-ton carbon fiber blank, the spinning rod is both lightweight and strong. As a two-piece spinning rod, not only is it ideal for game fishing, but it’s also quite portable, which makes it great for fishing anywhere.

Complete with stainless steel guides and SiC inserts, this fishing rod is both durable and smooth. The lines hardly ever stick into the guides, which minimizes friction and enhances sensitivity.

That’s mostly because the vibrations are easily transferred to the fishing rod and then to your hand through the guide. You get two handle options with this rod. You can either go for the full grip or the carbon split grip. Either one could be made out of EVA or premium cork.

View on Amazon >>


Most Basic Spinning Rod (Great for Beginners)

6. Shimano FXS 2 Piece Spinning Rod

Length: 7’0″

Material: Aeroglass

Power/action: Medium Heavy/Fast

Lure size: 1/4-5/8 oz.

Line weight: 15-30 lbs.

Handle: EVA foam

Guides: Aluminum oxide

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable EVA foam grips
  • Smooth aluminum oxide guides
  • Ideal for anglers of all skill levels, including beginners

Cons

  • Not as well constructed as others within its price range

If you are just starting out, this Shimano FXS 2 Piece Spinning Rod is an excellent alternative for beginners who want something that is not only well-designed but also quite effective and sensitive. This is a two-piece rod, which means it’s quite portable and can be taken whenever you travel to a new fishing hole without any issues.

The spinning rod is made out of an aeroglass blank construction, which gives it incredible durability and sensitivity. It also has aluminum oxide guides which offer you smooth line flow with every cast.

The handles are made out of EVA foam rubber grips, which makes them quite comfortable. They are perfect for beginners who want to enjoy long hours of fishing without needing to rest their hands because of the discomfort brought about by some handles on the market today.

It even features a split-grip handle ideal for offshore conditions, which means you still get a comfortable and stable grip even when wet.

View on Amazon >>


Best Fast Action Rod

7. Shimano Solora 2 Piece Spinning Rod

Length: 6’0″

Material: Fiberglass

Power/action: Medium/Fast

Lure size: 1/8-1/2 oz.

Line weight: 6-14 lbs.

Handle: Cork

Guides: Aluminum oxide

Pros

  • Ultra-light
  • Durable
  • Ideal for beginners
  • The guides allow for smooth casting and line retrieval
  • Strong

Cons

  • Not ideal for larger fish

This is yet another spinning rod designed for the novice angler looking to learn and perfect their trade. The Shimano Solora 2 Piece Spinning Rod is made out of fiberglass, making it tough, lightweight, and quite durable.

The handle is made out of cork, ensuring comfort and durability, which works well for new anglers looking to spend hours fishing and learning the craft.

Made out of aluminum oxide, the guides in this spinning rod are designed to help make the casting process smooth and easy. This is a lightweight, easy-to-use rod that is durable, affordable, and perfect for beginners.

View on Amazon >>


What We Consider When Selecting a Spinning Rod | Buying Guide

Depending on your level of experience in fishing, there are a few fundamental mistakes that you could make when looking to buy the best spinning rod. The first mistake that most people make is choosing based solely on price.

Whether you want something affordable or something just a little more luxurious, price shouldn’t be the primary factor. That is not to say that it shouldn’t be a factor since we all have different financial capabilities.

All it means is that many other factors need to be considered to find the best possible spinning rod for your needs.

As such, here are some questions you might ask yourself before reaching for your wallet:

  • Are you going after larger or smaller fish?
  • What kind of fishing technique do you intend to use?
  • Will you need to cast far?
  • Is accuracy a big factor for you?

The answers to these questions and many others could help lead you to the best spinning rod for you. Here are a host of other factors you need to take into account.

Action

When we talk about rod action, we are really talking about where it begins to bend under load or when fish engage with the bait along the rod’s length. For example, a fast action rod is often stiff for most of its length, which means it bends more towards the tip.

On the other hand, slow action rods begin bending much closer towards the reel seat and handle. This means that a slow action rod will curve over a much larger part of its length.

What does this mean for your fishing? Is a fast action rod better than a slow action rod? The answer is no. One type of rod isn’t necessarily better than the other. It all comes down to your fishing style.

Granted, a fast action rod is typically more sensitive than a slow action rod, which means that you will be able to detect strikes more easily when fishing with a fast action rod. That, alone, makes these kinds of rods ideal for novice anglers.

Power

When talking about the power of a rod, you are essentially talking about how much force is necessary to bend that rod. That, combined with its action, gives you a clearer picture of how the rod performs. For example, a rod with a stiff blank increases the power offered by your hookset, which, in turn, allows for longer casts.

There are rods with ultralight rod power. This kind of power rating is often mistaken to mean that the rod is weak, which couldn’t be further from the truth. An ultralight rod simply means that the rod is so sensitive that it will bend even with the slightest of loads.

It’s important to remember that as the power rating of a rod increases from light towards medium and ultimately heavy, so does the strength and stiffness of the blank. If you are going fishing for larger fish, you need a much heavier rod.

With that in mind, rods with heavy power are generally ideal for larger fish such as monster pike, lake trout, and huge muskie. On the other hand, medium power rods are designed to give you a stiffer backbone, which means that you get better hooksets. They are ideal for fish such as tuna, redfish, pike, and large bass.

In short, the kind of fish you are going after will determine the power of the rod you use.

Length

When it comes to the length of the rod, two main factors come into play: casting distance and accuracy. Longer rods offer you more casting distance but tend to reduce the accuracy. Shorter rods are quite accurate but don’t offer you that much casting distance.

The kind of rod you choose, therefore, will be determined by your fishing location and style. If you are more interested in surf fishing, where you might be standing in the shallows and casting for quite a bit of distance, then you will need a longer rod.

However, if you will be casting into heavy cover and you need to place your lure exactly where the fish are, you should consider using a much shorter rod that offers you deadly accuracy.

As a novice, if you don’t know exactly what kind of fishing style you prefer, it’s advisable to start with a rod in-between, like a 6’6″ rod. This isn’t too short, and neither is it too long. It’s just good enough to offer you the best of two worlds until you can decide whether to go in one direction or the other.

Line and Lure Weight

On the reel seat of your fishing rod, you will find many numbers indicating the line and lure weight for that specific fishing rod. These numbers are often considered guidelines that can be slightly exceeded, which means you have some leeway here.

However, be advised that exceeding these limits will affect the effectiveness of your spinning rod. With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at line and lure weights and what they mean to your fishing.

  • Lure weight: As the name suggests, this is the weight of the lure loaded on your fishing rod. If you have the right lure weight on your rod, then casting will be seamless and ideal. However, if your lure is ultralight, the pole won’t load properly, and, as such, you will achieve a much shorter distance when you cast. If your lure weight is too high, the rod will give you a sluggish cast. Your fishing rod and line will work properly with the right lure weight, giving you the ideal casting distance.
  • Line weight: Typically expressed in pounds, this measures the tensile force required before the line parts. The line weight is often given as a range. If, for example, you have a spinning rod that has a line weight of 6-10 lbs., then you can easily struggle with a fish without breaking the line or rod even when there’s a reasonable drag. What the line weight doesn’t tell you is how heavy the fish needs to be. While it might seem to reason that a rod with a line weight of 6-10 lbs. could mean that any fish within that weight range should be good enough for the line, the truth is that there’s no telling just how strong that fish is, especially when it begins to put up a fight.

Guides

As the name suggests, the guides on your rod quite literally guide the lines through the length of the rod. Buying a spinning rod with high-quality guides should be a priority for every angler looking to land more fish than they lose.

If your rod has low-quality guides, you are more likely to lose more fish than you will catch. That’s mostly because your guides determine how well the line performs.

Whenever you are fighting fish on your line, it’s the guides that take the brunt of that struggle. The friction produced between your line and the guide material can be incredibly intense. If the guides on your fishing rod are made out of poor quality material, that friction will not only ruin your line but most likely cause them to break.

One of the best ways to test whether or not the material of the guides on your fishing rod is good enough is to saw your fishing line against the guides themselves before you buy the rod. If the lines quickly become compromised or begin to break, then you might want to leave that rod alone.

Material

As is the case with pretty much every physical product on the market today, the material used to make the product determines its quality and durability. When it comes to fishing rods, the material used goes a step further by determining the weight of the rod too.

Here are some of the best materials that can be used in making spinning rods today:

  • Graphite: This is a very strong material. It’s also ultra-light and quite stiff. Since this material is stiff, it also makes for fishing rods that are quite sensitive, making it an ideal choice.
  • Fiberglass: This material is a little heavier than graphite but typically a little less expensive. The problem with fiberglass is that it isn’t quite as stiff nor sensitive as graphite. However, it’s incredibly strong, which not only makes it quite durable but also makes it ideal for fighting fish that are just slightly above the weight rating indicated on your rod.
  • Carbon fiber: This is by far the stiffest, lightest, and strongest material on this list. It’s, unfortunately, also the most expensive material here. Thankfully, that price is well worth it since you will get unparalleled performance from carbon fiber rods.

Handle

The kind of handle on your rod determines the comfort level you will get. Of course, a choice like this is highly subjective; what could be comfortable for you might not be ideal for someone else. That being said, there are two main handle materials used in the fishing rod industry:

  • Cork: This material is more attractive and warmer but can be quite rough sometimes.
  • EVA foam: This material is cooler and softer while remaining tough.

Baitcasting Rods vs. Spinning Rods

The biggest difference between baitcasting rods and spinning rods is quite simply the kind of reel attached to each one. In a spinning rod, you have spinning reels that allow for the casting of lighter lures. This gives you an admirable casting distance. Baitcasting reels, on the other hand, allow for better accuracy while losing out on casting distance. They are, however, more powerful.

As you may have already picked up, there really aren’t any clear-cut winners and losers as far as spinning rods are concerned. Each option on this list serves a specific purpose and could be the ideal fishing rod for someone out there.

The idea is to look closely at the kind of fish you intend to go after, the kind of lure you want to use, and your specific fishing technique. Even then, other factors such as personal preferences and financial capabilities still come into play.

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    Riley Draper

    Riley Draper is a writer and entrepreneur from Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a world traveler, he has been to more than fifty countries and hiked some of the most elusive trails in the world. He is the co-founder of WeCounsel Solutions and has published work in both national and global outlets, including the Times Free Press, Patch, and Healthcare Global. When he's not writing, he's probably on a hiking trip or climbing in the mountains.