Baitcasting rods are a relatively new addition to the fishing supply market, and they have become widely popular amongst all types of anglers for very good reason. Baitcasting rods are designed with the specific purpose of casting baits of various sizes and weights with great ease and remarkable distance.
Anglers fishing for species such as bass, musky, or pike can really benefit from the ease in casting that a casting rod provides. Due to these rods’ aerodynamic design and powerful baitcasting reels, these rods can launch bait considerably longer distances than a spinning or open-faced rod and reel can, all with much less stress to the angler.
Baitcasting rods are designed to place pressure on the back of the rod’s guide rings and the entirety of the rod blank itself. With fishing pressure reinforced throughout the entire rod, anglers can have more confidence when fishing for larger species.
Here we have gathered information on the latest and greatest baitcasting rods of 2021 to bring you an extensive top-of-the-line list of rods along with several reasons why they may be the best baitcasting rods for you.
Carry on reading or jump straight to our number #1 pick here.
Table of Contents
- What Should I Look For When Buying a Baitcasting Rod?
- Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Baitcasting Rods
- Budget Options
- Verdict: Your Best Baitcasting Rods
What Should I Look For When Buying a Baitcasting Rod?
When purchasing a new baitcasting rod, there are several important factors to consider that will help you find the rod that is the perfect fit for your fishing needs and goals. As with any type of fishing rod, all baitcasting rods are designed with different features and attributes to fit the needs of various types of anglers.
The most important part of purchasing a new baitcasting rod – or any rod, for that matter – is to find the rod that is designed for your needs. Here we have curated a detailed list of important criteria to look for in a baitcasting rod, as well as the various features that can be found in them.
This list will help you pinpoint exactly what you are looking for and what you need in a baitcasting rod so that your final decision can be made that much easier.
First, consider the composite material of each part of your rod, which includes the rod blank, its guide rings, reel seat, and handle. Each of these pieces of the rod plays an important role in the overall functioning of the rod itself.
Making sure that each of these components is made of high-quality and durable material will ensure the longevity of your purchase.
When considering the rod blank there are generally two types of composite material that are most often used. These are fiberglass and graphite, or a mix of both materials. While fiberglass has been a staple material used for several years, many anglers are moving towards rods made of graphite because of the added strength, durability, sensitivity, and longevity that it provides. Anglers have found a significant difference in overall quality and longevity between rods made with graphite over fiberglass.
Next, consider the guide ring and reel seat materials. The guide rings should be constructed of a smooth, durable material such as graphite or stainless steel. This will ensure that your fishing line remains tangle-free and is resistant to snags. If you are saltwater fishing, it is also important to find guide rings and a reel seat that is corrosion resistant against the harshness of saltwater.
The reel seat is the part of the rod, near the handle, that secures your reel in place. Because many baitcasting rods and reels are sold separately, it is important to make sure that your rod’s reel seat is made of a strong material such as graphite or a high-quality alternative. This will ensure the security and castability of your reel.
Finally, consider the handle of your rod. Typically you will find rod handles made of EVA foam or cork. Either is a perfectly suitable option – it just depends more on your preferences. EVA will generally wear a bit better than cork will, but many anglers prefer the look and feel of cork.
To get the most out of your new baitcasting rod, you want to choose a rod that is the correct length for your fishing goals and needs. Most baitcaster rods come in a variety of different lengths anywhere from about 5 to 8 feet in length.
Longer rods, which generally range between 7 and 8 feet, are known for achieving significantly longer casting distances and hold the ability to reel in large fish as well as handle heavier lures with ease.
Shorter rods, anywhere between 5 and 6 feet in length, provide a short but much more accurate casting distance. Even though they may not be able to cast as far, they are usually quite strong and can easily accommodate braided fishing lines and heavy tackles.
Action and Power Ratings
Baitcasting rods are designed to fit a wide range of fishing types. This means that anglers are given a wide variety of action and power ratings to choose from.
First, let’s break down exactly what a rod’s power rating and action mean. The power rating of your rod can range from ultralight to heavy, and this simply is referring to the overall strength of the rod blank itself.
An ultralight rod will work great for fishing smaller species and working with live bait, however, it will most likely not be strong enough to withstand the fight of larger fish. A heavier power rod, however, will be able to easily take on the big guys, however, it will not have the ability to cast lightweight lures in the same way that a light rod would.
Next, let’s consider a rod’s action. Rod actions range anywhere from fast to medium to slow action. The action of a rod refers to the bendability of the rod blank itself. A fast action rod is stiffer and will bend mostly at the very tip of the rod. This makes it a great choice for heavier lures and big fish.
A slow-action rod, on the other hand, will bend quite dramatically throughout the entire rod blank. They are made to be extremely flexible and give anglers excellent control over the movement and display of their bait. Slow action rods are typically best for fishing smaller species or bass.
Casting rods come in just about any action and power rating choice you would like. So, before you select a rod to purchase, it is important to determine the main fishing goal you will place on your new rod and purchase one with an action and power rating that matches your desired type of fishing.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Baitcasting Rods
Determining the best baitcasting rod all really comes down to understanding your options and selecting the rod that will fit your fishing needs and goals the very best. Here we have constructed a detailed list of the best options to help narrow down your search and help you find exactly what you are looking for.
To select our top choices, we took part in careful research, paying close attention to all of the guidelines listed above, while also carefully considering buyer reviews and ratings. We hope that this list will be able to give you just what you need to find the next baitcasting rod of your dreams.
#1: Abu Garcia Vengeance (Best Value – All-Purpose)
The Abu Garcia Vengeance is a medium to heavyweight baitcasting rod manufactured by one of the top brands in the industry. Many professional anglers and fishing enthusiasts trust their success in the sport to Abu Garcia.
Begun by a Swedish watch craftsman in 1921, Abu Garcia has grown to be one the largest and most successful fishing brands on the market for generations. There is no doubt that the Abu Garcia Vengeance will provide extraordinary fishing and durability for years to come.
Let’s get into the specs of this beautifully crafted rod. First, it is a longer rod coming in length options of 6’6″ to 7’6″. It is constructed of 24-ton graphite which makes it extremely strong and durable while also very flexible to accommodate several different fishing techniques.
The Vengeance is equipped with corrosion-resistant, stainless steel guides making it a great option for saltwater anglers. Just be sure to pair this rod with a corrosion-resistant, baitcasting reel to make it fully saltwater friendly.
This baitcasting rod also features a Texas rigged hook keeper which is great for accommodating all kinds of baits and keeping your rod and bait streamlined for ideal storage.
The Abu Garcia Vengeance is a medium-heavy rod which means that it is a thicker rod and is made to handle big fish and heavy lures. This rod is not designed for light fishing such as panfish. While it may be able to catch panfish just fine, it is important to remember that it is not designed to be used with small bait. It will not perform as well if used for this type of fishing.
Overall, Vengeance received excellent reviews from many satisfied customers. Customers boasted of its strength and durability, which Abu Garcia is definitely known for. Even though it features titanium inserts which are great for heavy braided lines, there were some complaints of this rod not being able to hold the braided line very well.
Just make sure when you are selecting a line for your rod and reel combo to carefully check the line recommendations of both the rod and reel to achieve the best result.
#2: St. Croix Triumph (Best Rod)
Like Abu Garcia, St. Croix is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, name brand in the fishing industry. Based in Park Falls, Wisconsin, in the heart of the Northwoods fishing community, St. Croix has been perfecting fishing tackle design and development for over 70 years.
St. Croix is highly recommended by both professional and amateur fishermen from all over the world, and they are known for their customer loyalty and satisfaction. Almost all of the rods and reels come with an extensive warranty which fully backs up the quality and performance of their product.
Let’s dive into the specs of the St. Croix Triumph baitcasting rod and highlight some of the features that make this rod our top, overall choice.
Reason #1 – Construction Material
Like all St. Croix rods, the Triumph is constructed with the company’s very own, premium blend of mid-modulus graphite which makes up the entire rod blank. This specially formulated graphite, which contains a higher strain rate than other rods, is known for its weightless feeling, durability, and extreme sensitivity.
Many anglers think that St. Croix rods have a feeling all their own. They are unlike any other rod with their exceptional sensitivity and durability. It is important to note, however, that this uniquely crafted rod with premium graphite does come at quite a price.
All St. Croix rods tend to be on the pricier side, but, for many anglers, the higher price is well worth the many years of use and countless fish they bring in with their rods.
Reason #2 – Aluminum Oxide Inserts and Guides
The Triumph features aluminum oxide inserts and guide rings which makes it a highly durable rod that can accommodate a wide variety of different lines. This rod handles heavy braided line with great ease, and it is also completely corrosion resistant, which makes it a great choice for saltwater anglers.
Reason #3 – Hook Setting Power
The hook setting power of a rod refers to the rod’s ability to perform an ideal hook placement to lead to a successful catch. The strength and sensitivity of this rod allow anglers to do just that.
Because of the custom graphite material that is placed in this rod, anglers can sense the precise moment a fish is biting or investigating a bait, often several seconds before other rods would indicate this. This allows anglers to provide a quality hook set and have confidence when reeling in their catch.
Other Important Specs
This rod ranges in length from 6’8″ to 7’6″ which makes it a long rod. It also is a medium-heavy power rod which means it is very strong and durable to easily handle harder fighting fish, but it is sensitive and flexible enough to also work great with smaller species.
The Triumph is a very versatile rod. Unlike our previous rod which caters more to the fishing of larger species, anglers enjoy the fact that this bait caster rod can be used to fish a wide range of different species.
Overall, this rod received rave reviews from professional and amateur fishermen alike. Many fishermen attribute their best, record fish to their St. Croix rod. That is why this rod is so highly recommended. Just remember that it is a much more expensive rod than our first option. If you do have the budget for this, however, it will be a purchase that will last a lifetime.
#3: Ugly Stik GX2 (Most Durable)
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Ugly Stik by Shakespeare is one of the top brands in the fishing industry that is known specifically for the strength and durability of their rods. The company even boasts that all of its rods are virtually indestructible, due to their meticulous design and composite materials.
The Ugly Stik GX2 rivals all other rods with its strength and durability, and the price simply cannot be beaten. The GX2 is the new and improved version of the original GX model and features a more streamlined rod blank and added strength.
This casting rod contains a specifically formulated blend of graphite and fiberglass to create an ultra-sensitive and durable, yet very lightweight rod that can literally last forever with proper care and storage.
This fishing rod features stainless steel, corrosion-resistant guides that are made to accommodate basically any time of line, including heavy braid. The corrosion resistance of this rod makes it not only a great choice for saltwater fishing but also for freshwater fishing because corrosion can occur within any rod over a considerable amount of time.
The Ugly Stik GX2 also features Ugly Stik’s trademark Clear Tip which is constructed completely of fiberglass and is reinforced for added strength and sensitivity. The clear tip design of this rod also allows anglers to easily visualize slight changes in the positioning of their rod determining if and when fish are present.
The overall specs of this rod are traditional to almost any baitcasting rod. It ranges in lengths between 5’6″ and 7′ and is considered a medium-heavy power rod. This rod would be ideal for bass fishing as well as larger or smaller species.
Anglers reviewing the GX2 appreciated the versatility of this rod. It also received many positive reviews for its option of being a one or two-piece construction rod. Unlike our other two choices which are strictly one-piece constructions, the GX2 can be made into a two-piece rod, which gives anglers more options for transportation and portability.
#4: KastKing Brutus Series (Best Low Cost)
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The KastKing Brutus series is a series of over 22 different casting rods and spinning rods, which means there is a KastKing rod for every angler and their style of fishing. The KastKing Brutus is one of the most affordable casting rods on the market, however, it does not lack quality and durability for its price, which makes it a great choice for beginners and enthusiasts alike.
This medium-heavy power rod is a great choice for anglers, such as bass fishermen or those that are going after harder fighting fish and using larger baits. The KastKing is a moderate to fast action rod which means most of the rod bend will occur near the tip of the rod, making it ideal for heavier lures.
Made of a unique blend of carbon fiber, graphite, and fiberglass, the KastKing Brutus is strong, yet flexible, and able to withstand even the harshest fishing elements that the environment can put forth. Stainless steel, corrosion-resistant guide rings also make this rod a great choice for a wide variety of fishing lines and saltwater environments.
A unique characteristic that this rod features is a “high-vis” rod tip for maximum bite indication. The tip of this rod features a highly visible, bright green coating that makes even the slightest bends in the rod tip visible throughout the day and even at night. The top ring on the rod tip is made of zirconium which helps to prevent line fray and snags.
The KastKing comes strictly as a two-piece rod which means that it can be disassembled in the middle for easier travel and portability. Some anglers prefer this, while others do not, so it is important to consider this before buying this specific rod.
Overall, this rod received excellent reviews for its quality and durability in harsh conditions and heavy fishing. While it would be a great rod for seasonal anglers looking for a great price, it may not be the best choice for professional anglers or enthusiasts looking to get an extended amount of heavy use out of this rod. Several reviews complained of the rod inadvertently breaking. However, this may be due to attempting to catch fish that were too large for this rod’s capabilities.
So, if you are a beginner angler looking for an affordable, yet high-quality rod to use on occasion, this would be a great pick. It has the strength and durability to bring in many great catches for years to come.
#5: St. Croix Mojo Bass Series (Best for Bass Fishing)
Bass fishing rods come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, lengths, brands – you name it. Basically, every major fishing supply company has its version of a great bass fishing rod. Fishing rods used for bass come in many different styles, including both casting rods and spinning rods. However, today we are going to be taking a closer look at the best baitcasting rod for bass fishing.
St. Croix has done it again with their Mojo Bass Series! These rods are nothing short of extraordinary and are in some ways more of a piece of technology than they are fishing rods. If you want to take your bass fishing from great to downright amazing, the Mojo Bass Series will do just that and more.
These rods are specifically designed for bass fishing which means they’re lightweight and have a very fast action but are also extremely strong and durable. This type of baitcasting rod can easily cast and retrieve the heavier spinning baits that bass are crazy for, and anglers can easily reel in this hard fighting fish with the great balance and stability that this fishing rod provides.
Ranging in lengths between 6’8″ and 7’11” a Mojo is definitely a lengthier rod, however, this comes in handy when bass fishing as you can achieve a significantly longer cast into the weed beds and fallen foliage that bass love.
This baitcasting rod also features St. Croix’s signature graphite composite, and this specific composite is even a step up in strength and durability from the Triumph which is shown above. This is most likely due to the added strength and durability that a bass-specific rod requires. These are made of SCIII graphite, which is a high modulus graphite fiber that creates the perfect blend of strength and sensitivity, which is imperative for the bass fisherman.
The Fuji reel seat of this rod will also ensure the stabilization and security of the baitcasting reel you choose to accompany this beautiful rod. Professionals and enthusiasts alike simply cannot say enough good about this rod. However, for a rod this modernly crafted, it does come at quite an expensive price, so keep this in mind when making your final decision. It is sure to last a lifetime and provide endless hours of fishing enjoyment, not only for bass, but for other species as well.
Here we will explore some budget-friendly, baitcasting rod options because you certainly don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy some time out on the water filled with fishing success. There are plenty of very affordable options on the market today that will provide many years of fishing success and endless enjoyment. So let’s take a look at some of the budget-friendly options and see how they compare to and differ from our previous five picks.
#1 Best Budget – Ugly Stik Elite Casting Rod
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The Ugly Stik Elite is an excellent, budget-friendly option for all types of anglers. This ultralight rod is great for fishing panfish or bass and is made of graphite composite. It is very strong and durable which is a constant among all Ugly Stik rods.
This 7 foot, two-piece fishing rod disassembles in the middle of the rod blank which gives anglers the option for portability and ease in transportation. Also, like all Ugly Stik fishing rods, the Elite features the characteristic clear tip which alerts the angler to even the slightest bites.
While this rod has a great price, it is important to keep in mind that it will not be able to perform at the same level as some of our higher-priced picks above. This rod would perform great for a seasonal fisherman, however, for the professional level angler looking to reel in large, hard fighting fish, this rod will likely not be able to achieve the goals you have.
#2 Best Budget – Entsport E Series
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This baitcasting rod packs both power and versatility for anglers of all kinds. The Entsport E Series is a 2-in-1 fishing rod that comes with two separate tips to give anglers the option of fishing with a medium power rod tip or a medium-heavy rod tip. This rod is also easily transportable with its compactable, 2-piece design.
The Entsport E Series is made of a strong yet sensitive blend of 24-ton carbon fiber. While it may not be as strong as some of our other casting rods that feature graphite fiber, it will still prove to be a great option for the seasonal fishermen looking to have hours of successful fishing out on the water.
The reel seat and guide rings of this rod are also corrosion-resistant which means that when it is paired with a corrosion-resistant baitcasting reel it would be a great rig for a saltwater fishing trip.
#3 Best Budget – Entsport Sirius
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The Entsport Sirius is a multi-purpose, casting rod that is perfected suited for freshwater fishing. With the ability to handle a wide variety of fish species, this rod is strong and dependable with excellent sensitivity.
At 7 feet in length, the Entsport comes in three different power ratings of medium, medium-heavy, or medium light. This rod series offers something for everyone. It is made completely of carbon fiber with stainless steel guides and inserts to give this rod strength and durability. However, anglers need to understand that carbon fiber will not have the same longevity and overall strength as a graphite rod would.
Overall, the Entsport Sirius is a good rod that has proven to be successful by many anglers. If you are looking for a casting rod that will provide you with several different power options for a great price, the Entsport may be just the rod for you. Just remember that it is not designed to take on professional leveling fishing pressure and could most likely break from extreme overuse.
What Is the Difference Between a Casting Rod and a Spinning Rod?
The main difference between a casting rod and a spinning rod lies within the reel and guide ring placements. Both types of rods can be used to fish the same species, however, the fishing technique used to bring in your catch is different between the two rods.
First, casting rods, such as the ones featured in the article, are paired with a casting reel in which the reel is on top of the rod blank and faces the angler. The casting reel also aligns with the upward-facing guide rings on the rod. When fighting a fish with a baitcasting rod, both the reel and the guide rings are facing up and the pressure is being applied against the rod blank as a whole, which makes baitcasting rods and reel combos an ideal choice for heavier fish and tackle.
A spinning rod is basically set up in the opposite fashion of casting rods. Spinning rods feature a downward-facing, spinning reel that is open-faced and spins a line back onto the spool in the open. Like a casting rod, the guide rings of a spinning rod match the downward direction of the spinning reel. This puts more of the fishing pressure on the guide rings which are much larger than those of a casting rod making it a great choice for lighter tackle and lighter fish.
How To Use a Casting Rod
Casting rod and reel combos can often be considered the easiest type of rod to fish with. However, for new anglers, there can be quite a learning curve.
A casting rod works with a casting reel to provide a long and steady cast and easy retrieval. All parts of the reel and rod work together in unison to achieve the optimum result.
Proper use begins even before the first cast is placed, and this has to do with the tension of the spool. All casting reels include a spinning spool that meticulously threads line in and out of the reel to avoid snags and backlashes. To fully avoid these, it is important to match the tension of your spool exactly to your lure’s size and weight.
Before casting, adjust the spool tension of your reel so that when you press the thumb bar, the bait slowly lowers from the tip of the rod. If the bait lowers at a fast rate, this is a sign that there is not enough tension placed on your spool, and when you cast, the fishing line will continue threading out of the reel, even after the bait has hit the water.
The goal with a casting rod is to achieve a steady cast in which the line stops threading from the reel as soon as the lure hits the water. Anglers can sometimes help this process when they apply gentle pressure to the reel spool before their lure hits the water. This will prevent backlashes and snags.
The secret for success in using a casting rod is practice, practice, practice – it is as simple as that. Start with small casts to help you get the feel for your new casting rod and then slowly graduate up to longer and longer casting with heavier lures.
In no time you will be a casting rod expert, and you will be reeling in the big fish these rods were made for.
Verdict: Your Best Baitcasting Rods
Now that you know exactly what to look for in a baitcasting rod and have a great place to start in your search, we hope that you can find the best casting rod for your fishing goals and have several successful fishing adventures to come.
Here, we have briefly summarized our findings to provide you with a comprehensive list to take with you before you shop.
If you want the best value for your money, pick the Ugly Stik GX2. This versatile rod is extremely strong and durable while also providing anglers with incredible sensitivity. It is designed to be fished hard, so give it all you got and get out there and get your dream fish.
If you are looking for a bass casting rod, pick the St. Croix Mojo Bass Series, which has been designed specifically for bass fishing. This rod makes casting a breeze and reeling in those hard-fighting bass a walk in the park. You really cannot go wrong with this awesome bass setup.
If you want to keep the spend under $50, pick any of our budget-friendly picks described above. All of these choices are high quality yet affordable and provide a great option for seasonal fishermen that are looking for a dependable rod that they can use on occasion.
Now, the fun begins! Go on out there and take a look at several different rods. Start with the ones we have suggested and then expand your search based on your preferences. Once you find a rod that feels right in your hands and has all of the specifications you are looking for, the next step is catching your next dream fish. Any of the rods featured in this article will help you do just that.