Casting rod

Choosing a fishing rod is an incredibly personal choice. Selecting a baitcasting rod is even more selective. 

Working a baitcasting reel successfully requires a lot of skill. It also requires a sturdy support. It doesn’t matter how high quality your baitcasting reel is if the rod it’s sitting on doesn’t offer the sensitivity, accuracy or power required to land fish. 

As someone who has been fishing for about 25 years at this point and has been through more rods than I care to mention I’d like to think I know a thing or two about selecting a great rod. 

Below I have gathered 9 incredible baitcasting rods that are sure to give you the quality you’re looking for in a casting rod without breaking the bank to do so. 

If you’re in a hurry here are 3 of the best baitcasting rods.

Best X review Table

Title
Budget Friendly
Berkley Cherrywood HD
Best Overall
Daiwa Tatula XT
Most Durable
UglyStik GX2
Length
7'
7'
7'
Power
Medium-Heavy
Medium
Medium
Action
Fast
Fast
Fast
Material
Fiberglass
HVF High Modulus Carbon Graphite
Fiberglass Graphite blend
Handle
Cork
EVA Foam
EVA Foam
Guides
6 + Tip
8 + Tip
7 + Tip
Lure Size
1/4 -1 ounce
1/4 - 1 ounce
1/4 - 5/8 ounce
Budget Friendly
Title
Berkley Cherrywood HD
Length
7'
Power
Medium-Heavy
Action
Fast
Material
Fiberglass
Handle
Cork
Guides
6 + Tip
Lure Size
1/4 -1 ounce
Best Overall
Title
Daiwa Tatula XT
Length
7'
Power
Medium
Action
Fast
Material
HVF High Modulus Carbon Graphite
Handle
EVA Foam
Guides
8 + Tip
Lure Size
1/4 - 1 ounce
Most Durable
Title
UglyStik GX2
Length
7'
Power
Medium
Action
Fast
Material
Fiberglass Graphite blend
Handle
EVA Foam
Guides
7 + Tip
Lure Size
1/4 - 5/8 ounce

Read More: Best Baitcasting Reels
Read More: How To Fish For Bass

Daiwa Tatula XT

Daiwa Tatula XT
  • High Volume Fiber (Hvf) High Modulus Carbon Graphite Construction
  • X45 Bias Graphite Construction For Zero Blank Twist
  • Un-Sanded Micro Pitch Taping Blank
  • Made In The U.S.A.

Specifications:

  • Length: 7′
  • Power: Medium
  • Action: Fast
  • Material: High Volume Fiber (HVF) high modulus carbon graphite
  • Handle / Grip: Split grip with EVA foam
  • Guides: 8 + tip
  • Lure Size: 1/4 – 1 ounce
  • Line Weight (lb): 10 – 20
  • Pieces: 1

Starting off this list with probably one of the best rods on the list. The Daiwa Tatula XT. Tip construction on these rods is excellent. The sensitivity of the tip makes this rod great for jigging and fishing topwater baits.

The premium construction of this rod offers anglers increased durability, flexibility, and sensitivity while remaining at a price point that is affordable. You get a high quality rod without the price tag. A great deal if you ask me. 

This series of rods come in a variety of heights. Anywhere from 7 foot upwards to 7 foot 3 inches. Making it a great choice if you’ll be fishing for bass. 

While this is a great all purpose rod there are a few concerns I have with them. First is the weight.

The Daiwa XT certainly is lightweight compared to some other rods but it is still a bit on the heavier side and can cause arm fatigue if you are fishing for long periods of time. 

Secondly is there seems to be a quality issue with the tips snapping. While rare there have been a few reports of this issue so it’s something to consider if this is the rod you end up going with. 

Daiwa is a well-known brand so it’s no surprise that this rod made the list. Overall even with some of the quality issues you really can’t beat the features and performance of the XT series. Especially at the price point that Daiwa is selling it for.

Pros

  • Unique graphite construction offers both durability and flexibility. 
  • Rod tip sensitivity makes this a great rod fish a variety of lures and baits 
  • Great price to performance ratio with an excellent feature set

Cons

  • Reported issues of the tip snapping 
  • A bit on the heavy side

UglyStik GX2

UglyStik GX2
  • The product is Skakes 6' MED Cast Rod
  • Easy to use
  • The product is manufactured in China
  • 6' Medium Power Casting Rod
  • 1 piece rod construction

Specifications:

  • Length: 7′
  • Power: Medium
  • Action: Fast
  • Material: Blend of fiberglass and graphite
  • Handle / Grip: EVA Foam
  • Guides: 7 + tip
  • Lure Size: 1/4 – 5/8 ounces
  • Line Weight (lb): 8 – 20
  • Pieces: 1

UglyStik has been making rods for a long time. The GX2 series is a personal favorite of mine. Mostly because of the price. But also the durability of these rods is unmatched. 

You would be hard pressed to find reports of this rod snapping. Even under load from fish that weigh as much as 25 pounds this rod offers the support to reel in fish of that size. 

UglyStik has constructed this rod with a unique blend of fiberglass with graphite to offer a rod that is both durable and lightweight. 

The GX2 series of rods still features UglyStik’s clear tip at the end of the rod for extra sensitivity to tugs from hungry fish.

I’ve been using a GX2 paired with an Abu Garcia Blackmax for a while now and one thing I can say about the sensitivity is it’s excellent. I have no problem feeling even slight nibbles on slackline. 

One great thing that stands out about this series of rods is UglyStik’s 7 year warranty. Uglystik is confident enough that their rods are so tough they warranty them for 7 years. 

It’s pretty rare I don’t have anything negative to say about a product but in all reality, the GX2 is just a quality rod at a great price. You would be hard-pressed to find another series of rods that offers the durability and price combination found in these rods.

Pros

  • Uglystiks’s clear tip offers increased sensitivity
  • 7 year warranty 
  • Great price to performance ratio 
  • Ultra durable rod that will last you for many years

Cons

  • Can be somewhat stiff
  • Could use an additional guide or two

KastKing Speed Demon Pro

KastKing Speed Demon Pro
  • Elite Carbon Blanks & Nano Resin Technology - Speed Demon Pro rods start with our own Elite Carbon blanks that utilize Carbon Nano Tube resin technology to reduce weight, increase breaking and lifting...
  • Fuji Guides/Reel Seats & WINN Grips - Only the finest Fuji guides and reel seats are used to ensure that reels stay firmly in place and that lines are never frayed or are slowed down by inferior...
  • 15 Technique Specific Actions & Lengths - We've design each action based on years of experience and elite angler input to ensure that each model is precisely built to delivery uncompromising...
  • Lightweight Composite S-Glass Crankbait Rods - The Speed Demon Pro crankbait rods use a composite blend of S-Glass and high modulus graphite for a lightweight, well balanced, thin rod blank that still...
  • True Tournament Performance Rod - We've spared no cost in building these rods to ensure that they look as good as they perform! You'll be proud to have the entire series on your boat knowing that...

Specifications:

  • Length: 7′
  • Power: Medium
  • Action: Medium
  • Material: Composite blend of S-Glass and High modulus graphite
  • Handle / Grip: Custom Winn Grips
  • Guides: 10 + tip
  • Lure Size: 1/4 – 1 ounce
  • Line Weight (lb): 10 -20
  • Pieces: 1

The KastKing Speed Demon Pro is a powerful but sensitive rod. In fact the tip of the rod is sensitive enough that you can feel bites even on slackline. Useful for detecting small nudges from unsure fish. 

Aiding in the Speed Demons power is a proprietary carbon blank construction that reduces weight but maintains increased durability and lifting power compared to more conventional graphite blanks on the market. [2]

Along with a solid blank you also get high end components such as Fuji Alconite line guides and a custom Fuji reel seat. 

One thing that really makes this rod stand out from other rods on this list is the custom Winn grips on the handle. The Winn grips allow for more powerful casts by allowing you to put a really strong load on the rod during casting. 

The KastKing speed demon pro is a high-quality rod with a decent price tag. You get high-quality components and a rod that is sure to last you a long time without having to spend hundreds of dollars. 

Pros

  • High quality construction with premium materials
  • Reel seat is designed to be incredibly stable
  • Lightweight with a strong backbone

Cons

  • Some models suffer from issues with accuracy

St Croix Mojo

St Croix Mojo
  • ADVANCED SCIII GRAPHITE CONSTRUCTION: For a serious angler who demands high-performance and value; High-modulus, high-strain graphite fiber; Produces sensitive and lightweight rods with great...
  • INTEGRATED POLY CURVE (IPC) TOOLING TECHNOLOGY: Eliminates all transitional points in the Mojo bass casting fishing rod blank to provide smoother actions, increased strength, and greater sensitivity
  • FEATURES: Slim-profile ferrules; Kigan Master Hand 3D guides w/ slim, strong aluminum-oxide rings and black frames; Fuji ECS reel seat w/ black hood; Split-grip/premium-grade cork handle; Kigan...
  • SPECIFICATIONS: Technique – Plastics; Length – 7’1”; Power – M; Action – Fast; Pieces – 1; Line Weight – 10-17 lbs; Lure Weight – 1/4-5/8 oz; Rod Wt. – 3.7 oz; Handle – 1
  • 5-YEAR WARRANTY: Backed by St. Croix Superstar Service

Specifications:

  • Length: 7′
  • Power: High
  • Action: Moderate Fast
  • Material: SCIII Graphite
  • Handle / Grip: Split Cork
  • Guides: 8 + tip
  • Lure Size: 3/8 – 3/4
  • Line Weight (lb): 10 -20
  • Pieces: 1

St croix is a reputable brand and is known for making high quality rods so it’s no surprise that one has made the list. The St croix Moo series of rods are constructed from SCIII graphite. An improvement over older models of rods. 

The rod itself is fairly sensitive and translates feeling well. Allowing you to know exactly what your lure is in.  St Croix has also included a Fuji reel seat for increased reel stability and performance. [3]

One problem the Mojo does suffer from is weight. A long day of fishing can take a toll on your arm. It’s not a huge issue but something to be aware of. There also appears to be some sort of quality control issue as there are reports of people receiving broken rods. 

Thankfully St Croix is a respectable company and gets the rods replaced quickly. St Croix also offers a 5-year warranty with all of the Mojo line so at the very least you’re getting a decent quality rod that will last you a decent amount of time. Possibly longer as long as it is well maintained.

Pros

  • 5 year warranty
  • Premium features on this series of rods 
  • Sensitivity is excellent

Cons

  • Can be a bit on the heavy side 
  • Some reported quality control issues

KastKing Perigee II

KastKing Perigee II
  • AMAZING QUALITY CARBON FIBER BLANK - All Perigee II two-piece fishing rods are constructed with Toray 24-ton carbon matrix KastFlex blank technology for power, strength, and accuracy. Available in 29...
  • PREMIUM COMPONENTS - KastKing uses the best quality components in a Perigee II fishing rod. World renowned Fuji O-Ring line guides, tuned ergonomic graphite high-strength reel seats, high-density EVA...
  • SMOOTH POWER - KastKing PTS (Power Transition System) hybrid spigot joints in Perigee II 2-pcs rods transition power smoothly throughout your fishing rod blank. Specialized high technology computer...
  • STEP UP - Throw away your old technology ugly fishing pole and step into the future of fishing with a dynamic KastKing Perigee II high performance casting rod or spinning fishing poles for bass...
  • BEST VALUE –KastKing Perigee II graphite fishing poles are one of the best value rods in the fishing tackle market! Don’t be confused by the low price. Even better, these are simply one of the...

Specifications:

  • Length: 7′
  • Power: Medium
  • Action: Fast
  • Material: 24 Ton Carbon
  • Handle / Grip: EVA Foam
  • Guides: 8 + tip
  • Lure Size: 3/8 – 1 ounce
  • Line Weight (lb): 10 -20
  • Pieces: 2

KastKing has a motto that good fishing gear doesn’t need to be expensive. I would say with the Perigee II they have delivered on that motto. 

The Perigee II has been a popular choice among anglers since it’s introduction. Mostly due to it’s high quality features. The Perigee II features an ergonomic reel seat made from high quality graphite that allows line to be dispensed without issue. 

The rob blank itself is made from 24 ton carbon that provides stability without sacrificing maneuverability. Because you don’t sacrifice maneuverability you also get increased accuracy. A pretty nice perk. 

Further increasing the accuracy of the Perigee II are Fuji O-ring line guides that help you get your line where the fish are. Ensuring you don’t miss a fish because of bad accuracy. 

One negative that I have seen with the Perigee II rod is isolated reports of tips snapping. This seems to be rare but something you will want to consider when selecting a rod. 

Aside from the reported tip snapping issue KastKing really delivers on their motto with the Perigee II. You get a high-quality rod for a decent price. One last perk is this rod comes with an additional tip insert allowing for more versatility while fishing.

Pros

  • Comes with 2 rod tips for increased versatility
  • 2 piece rods performs like 1 
  • High quality rod without breaking the bank

Cons

  • Tip construction could be better

Lew’s TP1 Speed Stick

Lew's TP1 Speed Stick
  • Premium IM8 graphite 1-piece blanks
  • American tackle microwave guide system. Eliminates wind Knots, improves casting distance and improves casting accuracy
  • Lew's exclusive skeletal graphite reel seats
  • Spinning

Specifications:

  • Length: 7′
  • Power: Medium
  • Action: Moderate Fast
  • Material: IM8 Graphite
  • Handle / Grip: Split Grip Dri-Tac handle with Winn Grips
  • Guides: 8 + tip
  • Lure Size: 3/16 – 5/8 ounce
  • Line Weight (lb): 10 -20
  • Pieces: 1

Lews’ make great reels. However, this doesn’t always transfer well to making rods. But the TP1 Speed Stick is a pleasant surprise. Priced at $99 mark it’s a decent rod at that price point. 

One great thing about the TP1 Speed Stick is the handle. Equipped with Winn Grips the handle allows you to control the rod and a fish on your line with ease. Even in the rain the handle remains sticky in your hand.[4]

Beyond the handle the rod is incredibly sensitive. A rod where you can’t feel what’s going is a pretty useless rod in my opinion.

Feeling the bottom with various rig setup isn’t an issue. Regardless if you are drop shotting or using something simple like a wacky rig. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with this rod. [5]

The TP1 Speed stick is capable of throwing lures up to an ounce with ¾ being the sweet spot. 

Lastly, this rod is durable. There are plenty of rods at the same price point that lack the quality you get with the Lew’s TP1.

However, while it’s really durable and has a decent backbone you will find that the rod is a bit stiffer than other rods on this list. A small trade-off that I personally find worth it for durability. 

Overall Lew’s has really proven themselves as decent rod makers with the TP1 Speed Stick and is a decent rod that anyone can pick up.

Pros

  • Sensitive rod that allows you to use a number of rigs 
  • Extremely durable 
  • Affordable price point 
  • Handle comes with Winn Grips that allows you to maintain control.

Cons

  • A bit on the heavier side
  • A bit stiffer than other rods

Cadence CR7B

Cadence CR7B
  • 【Amazing Quality Graphite Blank】: All CR7B 1-piece rods are constructed with 40-ton graphite blanks with carbon wrapped veil. It's light weighted yet providing great power, strength, durability...
  • 【Ergonomic Design】: Fuji reel seat and premium grade cork and EVA handles offers the firm, comfortable handhold you need to overcome hard-fighting fish.
  • 【Smooth Power】: Stainless steel guides with SiC inserts makes it more smooth, avoids line stucking in the guides, minimizes friction while also enhancing sensitivity by transferring vibrations...
  • 【Never Worry about Customer Service】: What you can get from Cadence products is not only the best cost-effective fishing gear but also the customer service which makes you most at ease. All...
  • 【Multipurpose】: You'll find CR7B fishing poles perfect for almost any saltwater or freshwater fishing condition whether you're trout fishing, bass fishing, kayak fishing or surf fishing. We are...

Specifications:

  • Length: 7′
  • Power: Medium-Heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Handle / Grip: Split EVA Foam
  • Guides: 7 + tip
  • Lure Size: 1/4 – 3/4 ounce
  • Line Weight (lb): 12 – 20
  • Pieces: 1

When it comes to people who are more budget conscious Cadence offers a great line of fishing rods at a reasonable price. They are surprisingly able to offer a lower price point without sacrificing quality. 

Unlike a few higher end rods on this list the blank is made from carbon fiber. While not as strong as graphite you shouldn’t have any issue with the durability of the blank. 

One thing I would like to point out is the guides on this blank are lower end than other guides they are smaller. Smaller guides tend to translate to improved sensitivity. Something that is critical. It doesn’t matter how great the rod is if you can’t feel bites. 

The blank also offers a comfortable split EVA foam grip. Providing you decent control when trying to land a fish. 

Overall the Cadence CR7 is a decent series of rods that offer the more budget-conscious a decent high-quality rod at a reasonable price.

Pros

  • High quality carbon fiber rod 
  • Fuji reel seat 
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Reports of rods being shipped improperly and arriving broken

Berkley Cherrywood HD

Berkley Cherrywood HD
  • Hybrid design construction for un-matched sensitivity with the security of through handle construction
  • SS304 Guides - 20x tougher and 55% lighter than traditional aluminum oxide guides and are factory tested for dependability
  • Cork handle design for added comfort and grip

Specifications:

  • Length: 7′
  • Power: Medium-Heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Material: Fiberglass
  • Handle / Grip: Cork
  • Guides: 7
  • Lure Size: 1/4 – 1 ounce
  • Line Weight (lb): 10 – 20
  • Pieces: 1

Probably the cheapest casting rod on this list. The Berkley Cherrywood HD is a surprising gem in the sea of casting rods. 

Made from fiberglass this isn’t the most durable rod to make the list but at about 30 bucks you really can’t beat it. This is a great rod for introducing someone to baitcasting or just as a spare to keep around. 

The sensitivity on this rod is decent making it great for fishing jigs and worms. Texas rigging should also yield you decent results. 

There are a few reports online that the rods can snap pretty easily but are usually fine under normal fishing conditions. Again for the $30 price range, it’s easy to pick a second to have as a spare.

Pros

  • Extremely affordable for the budget conscious
  • Decent sensitivity 
  • lightweight

Cons

  • Can be snapped easily if not properly cared for 
  • Fairly short handle

How To Choose The Best Baitcasting Rod 

Power and Action

Power and action go hand in hand. While they are similar you need to have the right combination for the intended use. 

We’ll discuss power first. Power describes the strength or lifting power of the rod. It is categorized as heavy, medium heavy, medium, light, etc.

Lighter power rods are used for smaller fish such as trout or bluegill. Whereas a heavy action rod is used for larger fish species such as bass or pike.

Power in this regard is fairly simple. For most beginning anglers with a baitcaster a medium or medium-heavy rod will fill the need. [6][7]

Action on the other hand is a little more complicated. The action is defined as where the rod bends along the blank. Action is typically classified from slow to extra fast. Slow action rods will bend closer to the handle and faster action rods will bend closer to the tip. [8][9]

Slower action rods are designed for throwing lighter lures due to the inertia you get from the rod bending so far down.

Similarly, fast action rods are designed for throwing much heavier lures. You will also have an easier time setting the hook on smaller fish as you’ll feel the pressure much sooner than you would with a slow action rod. [10]

Fast action rods provide quick hooksets when using techniques such as jigging. With a finesse technique such as jigging you want the rod tip to be sensitive and whip-like as that will allow you to create action with your jig. [11][12]

For bass fishing a fast action/medium power rod is preferred. You’ll be able to throw a decent range of lures while also targeting a decent range of fish sizes. 

Length

The length of a fishing rod is measured from the butt of the handle all the way to the tip. Fishing rods in general come in a variety of sizes. Usually anywhere from a few feet upwards to 12 feet. 

Shorter rods are great for when you don’t have a lot of casting clearance. They also have less bend making them more suitable for fighting fish. Longer rods on the other hand allow you to cover more distance and are better suited for fishing deeper water. 

For a beginning baitcaster the 7 foot range is typically recommended as you get a good balance of casting distance and accuracy. 

Blank Material

Rods today come in a variety of materials. Everything from fiberglass to graphite. 

Graphite rods tend to be higher quality rods. They’re also more expensive as the process in making graphite can be quite involved.

Graphite rods offer better durability, strength, and sensitivity. If you are serious about fishing these are the rods you will want to choose. 

Fiberglass rods on the other hand are incredibly flexible but don’t have the strength and durability of graphite rods. But they do come in a lower price point than their graphite counterparts. 

You can also find composite mixtures and carbon fiber rods as well. Carbon fiber tend to be really high end so if you’re on a budget you likely won’t come across to many carbon fiber rods. 

Overall the material of the rod doesn’t matter too much. I would look at reviews and see if the rod you are thinking of purchasing has any quality issues. If the rod is fiberglass but has proven durability then I say it’s worth trying out.

Handle / Grip 

The handle is more of a personal choice and basically what is more comfortable for you. Generally you will find rods either come with cork or EVA foam. 

On average longer handles are the preferred choice when looking to increase casting distance as you can use both hands to increase the load on the rod.

Likewise shorter handles tend to allow for more finesse. Such as shorter casts, casting with one hand, etc. 

Along with the handle comes the grip. Typically you will find either a split grip or a pistol grip. Pistol grips are the shortest type of grip. They feature a trigger that provides better control and is my personal favorite. 

Line Guides

Line guides are critical and not a point of compromise. They assist when fighting fish and are crucial for accuracy. Typically you will find guides are made from either plastic metal, or ceramic materials.  

With casting rods the line guides point towards the sky and are typically smaller than those found on spinning rods. 

While fighting fish your line guides help to distribute force and friction. As such having more guides is preferable.

The number of guides on a particular rod is usually based on the length and flexibility of the rod. Longer rods will often provide more guides. You will also see more guides on rods that offer more flexibility such as slow action rods. 

Reel Seat

Along with your line guides, your reel seat is probably one of the most crucial parts to your rod. 

During a fight a lot of torque will be applied to the reel. The last thing you want is for the reel to come loose. 

When placing a reel on the rod the reel should slip firmly into place between the collars. When tightened there shouldn’t be any play or wobble. 

Most anglers today prefer reel seats with a portion of the blank exposed. This allows you to detect very slight nibbles by simply placing a finger over the exposed blank. 

Bottom Line

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing the best baitcasting rod. Items such as line guides, the reel seat and the action of the rod are critical factors. Not just for quality but for application as well. 

In general choosing a rod that is 7 foot in length with a medium power and fast action will be the best bet for most beginning baitcasting anglers. Any of the rods on our list will suit your needs quite well and most come in a variety of configurations. 

Baitcasting is a ton of fun and really allows you to up your fishing game. Consider picking up a new baitcasting rod today. 

Also if you are in the market for a baitcasting reel check out our guide to the best baitcasting reels

As always thanks for reading and remember….Adventure is waiting.

All of my life has been focused on the outdoors. From the days of fishing with my father when I was young, to learning more advanced outdoor skills through the Boy Scouts of America; you could say the outdoors is pretty much my life blood. I enjoy a wide range of activities including camping, survival, fishing, hunting, and bushcraft. I have spent most of my life learning these skills and now I want to pass on my knowledge and hopefully learn even more in return.

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