10 Best Fishing Rods Compared

There are hundreds of different kinds of fishing rods, short rods, long rods, high action &  low action rods, sea fishing rods, surf fishing rods, fly fishing rods, ice fishing rods, surf fishing rods, rods for travelling, rods for competitions, you name it and there is probably a rod for it. Fishing is a massive sport and hobby, with varied types and places to fish. If you just think about the length of fishing rod they can vary drastically from 2ft (62cm) ice fishing rods to 14ft (4m) surf fishing rods. There is a reason for this and every difference inherent in a fishing rod, for example, surf fishermen need to cast out past the breaking surf and the longer rod enables the fisherman to cast heavy tackle longer distances, whereas  ice fishing you are not casting but lowering the tackle through a hole in the ice so a long rod is a disadvantage. So buying the right rod is an important decision, throughout this best guide I have looked at the best fresh water rods, and how to choose the best one for you. Don’t worry if you are new to fishing terminology, there is a brief explanation at the end.

Shimano Expride EX266L
  • Shimano Expride EX266L
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Well balanced handle
  • Durable
  • Price: See Here
St. Croix Legend
  • St. Croix Legend
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Reinforcet graphite
  • Excellent balance
  • Price: See Here
G Loomis NRX802s
  • G Loomis NRX802s
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Light
  • Sensitive
  • Price: See Here

 

8 Best Fishing Rods

 

G Loomis NRX802s

G Loomis NRX802s
Length: 6ft 8inch
Pieces: 1 Piece
Line: weight 6-10 lb
Lure: weight 1/8oz to 1/4oz
Power: Medium
Action: Extra Fast
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G Loomis have been in the rod business for over 30 years. And over that 30 plus year have became experts in everything to do with fishing rods. They have a huge range of fishing rods for just about every type of fish and water. Just to start with they divide there rods into two categories, fly fishing and conventional, then each of these is divided into sub-categories and ranges, they have 8 different rod lines for bass fishing, each with a minimum of 5 rods within each, that is a huge range of rods. This can add confusion to which rod to go for, so I picked one for you. The NRX range of rod are excellent rods, extremely light and sensitive, but also unbelievable strength, they feel too light to be able to handle any serious fishing but I assure you that these rods can handle any fish you hook. These rods have extra fast actions, meaning you will feel every bite and set the hook quickly and with some power. The Handle is cork, which will feel warm to the touch whilst optimizing your grip.
Pros
  • Extra sensitive
  • Fast action
  • Cork handle
Cons
  • Price

St. Croix Legend Elite Freshwater Fly Fishing Rods

St. Croix Legend Elite Freshwater Fly Fishing Rods
Length: 6ft 6inch
Pieces: 1 piece or 2 pieces available
Line weight: 6lb to 12lb
Lure Weight: 3/16oz to 5/8oz
Power: Medium
Action: Fast
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“Best Rods on Earth” that’s what it says on the label on every St. Croix rod, and it is more than likely true. St. Croix have an excellent reputation, and it is impossible to find someone who has fished with a St. Croix rod and has something bad to say about them. St. Croix develop a lot of proprietary technologies in their rods and then they employ professional fishermen to test and help them to refine the rod to perfection. As a company, it is obvious that they spend a lot of money in research and development of their equipment. The St. Croix Legend Elite is no exception to their continued devotion to the highest standards in fishing rods. Constructed from high strain graphite and reinforced graphite, with solid titanium guides. These rods have excellent balance and sensitivity. The handle is cork, and every rod comes with a protective case and a 15-year warranty. The range consists of 22 different rods, but if I have to choose I would go for the ES66MF2, which is a 6ft 6inch rod with a fast action, it comes in two parts which makes it easy to transport. The length will give you a good cast distance but with the sensitivity to feel even a small bite.
Pros
  • Reinforced graphite
  • 15 years warranty
  • Comes in 2 parts
Cons
  • Price

Shimano Expride spinning (EX268MA)

Shimano Expride spinning (EX268MA)
Length: 6ft 8inch
Pieces: 1 piece
Line weight: 5lb to 10lb
Lure Weight: 3/16oz to 1/2oz
Power: Medium
Action: Moderate
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“I aim to make Shimano’s products the best in Kansai, then the best in Japan, and finally the best in the world.” said Shozaburo Shimano the founder of Shimano fishing in 1921. It’s safe to say that Shimano are the best in Japan and possibly the world. When you hear the name Shimano most people think of fishing tackle and reels, and its true Shimano make excellent gears which in turn make excellent reels. But they make rods as well.
Shimano says that it is their goal to enhance the enjoyment of fishing. To do this they have engineered rods for every possible type of fishing, fish and body of water, Salt water rods, fresh water rods, surf rods, inshore rods, to name a few and within these categories yet more subcategories, they have so much choice it's a bit scary to attempt to buy a rod from them in case you get it wrong. But don’t over think it, a good spinning rod can be used to work well in most environments. What Shimano have done is make the best rod for every type of fishing imaginable, will it mean that you will catch the perfect fish? Maybe, but it will certainly give you confidence in the knowledge that you have the best rod for that fish. One thing I can guarantee is that if you buy a Shimano rod it will give you many years of excellent fishing. If I have to choose a rod, then it's the Expride spinning series.
These rods were tested by professional anglers for two seasons across the USA, feedback given and improvements made. These are excellent rods. The Expride series of freshwater spinning rods are available in lengths from 6ft 8inchs to 7ft 2inchs, however all of these are one piece rods which can make transporting them difficult. But transport aside the smallest rod at 6ft 8inchs whose specs I listed above is a great rod, medium power and a moderate action it is great from new and seasoned anglers alike.
New anglers will find casting and setting the hook fairly easy to master with this rod, and seasoned anglers will enjoy the feeling through the rod during the fight to land the fish. The handle is about 8.5 inches and well balanced with cork grips. Match this rod with a Shimano spinning reel and you will be the envy of everyone no matter where you choose to fish.
Pros
  • Durable
  • Suitable for new anglers as well
Cons
  • A bit hard to transport

Lamiglas INF 735C Infinity Bass Fishing Rod

Lamiglas INF 735C Infinity Bass Fishing Rod
Length: 7ft
Pieces: 2 pieces
Line weight: 2lb to 6lb
Lure Weight: 1/16oz to 3/8oz
Power: Ultra light
Action: Moderate to Fast
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Lamiglas have been making fishing rods since 1949 were one of the first real innovators in the use of fiberglass, but they have not stopped there over the years they have continued to innovate, with different reflex technologies, lightweight constructions, copolymer resins to high-performance graphites.

The infinity freshwater range is a new line, but don't think it is an untested rod. These rods are incredibly light and very sensitive. Even with a small fish on the line, you will feel it, the moderate to fast action will help you to set the hook with ease and maintain a good pressure to tire the fish until landed. The rod comes in two pieces enabling ease of transport whether you have the 7ft or 7ft 6inch rod.
Pros
  • Very lightweight
  • High-quality materials
  • Sensitive
Cons
  • Might be too lightweight for some people

Fenwick HMG Spinning Rods

Fenwick HMG Spinning Rods
Length: 6ft 6inch
Pieces: 2 pieces
Line weight: 4lb to 8lb
Lure weight: 1/16oz to 3/8oz
Power: Light
Action: Moderate Fast
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Fenwick is another company who have been making fishing rods for a long time, since 1952. They began specializing in fly fishing and saltwater rods, like most businesses to supply the local demand in their location.

But as the company grew they noticed the significance of the new sport of Bass fishing and began to develop rods specifically for this type of fishing alongside their existing range of rods. Then in the 1970’s Fenwick became the first rod manufacturer to make an all graphite fishing rod, which as I’m sure your can understand revolutionized fishing rod construction in every area of fishing.

Today Fenwick are still innovating and pushing the boundaries in fishing rods, specializing in rods for specific types of fishing rods rather than general angling. If your are looking for a great spinning or casting rod, ice fishing, or fly fishing then Fenwick is well worth looking at. The HMG Spinning series are excellent rods for use with a spinning reel, and range in length from 6ft to 7ft 6in in length, some one pieces some two piece rods. I have chosen the HMG66M-FS-2 as my favorite. It is a nice length at 6ft 6inchs and a two piece making transportation easier. The rod is graphite with Eva and cork handle. The action in moderate fast which will give a good degree of sensitivity and casting distance. The line is supported by 8 titanium guides along the rod. The handle is not too long that it will feel cumbersome, but long enough to give good balance allowing comfortable grip over the reel.
Pros
  • Great spinning
  • Great casting distance
  • Sensitivity
Cons
  • Not too long handle

Daiwa Tatula Casting Rod

Daiwa Tatula Casting Rod
Length: 7ft
Pieces: 1 piece
Line weight: 4lb to 10lb
Lure weight: 1/16oz to 3/8oz
Power: Medium Light
Action: Fast
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Daiwa another Japanese manufacturer founded in 1958. Daiwa makes some of the best fishing tackle in the world at present especially their spinning reels. The design and innovation they put into their reels is carried across to their rods as well. Dividing their range of rods into freshwater, fly, salt water and surf rods, Daiwa has a lot to offer. The Tatula Elite series were developed by Bass fishing pros from the Daiwa team. Daiwa allowed these pro anglers to select everything and build their own bespoke rods, they selected everything from the rod blank, guides, reel seat and handle types.

Daiwa then took these bespoke rods and made them for you and everyone else, pretty cool huh! The rod I like best is the model above, developed by Cody Meyer, and is a 7ft spinning rod with a fast action and medium light power. The rod features Daiwa’s Fuji guides. The rod is one piece so riding on the bus might be an issue.
Pros
  • Fast action
  • Suitable for pro anglers
Cons
  • Not suitable for transport

Abu Garcia Venerate Casting Rod

Abu Garcia Venerate Casting Rod
Length: 6ft 3inch
Pieces: 1piece
Line weight: 4lb to 10lb
Lure weight: 1/16oz to 1/2oz
Power: Medium Light
Action: Fast
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Abu Garcia began making fishing reels in 1941 in Sweden under the AB Urfabriken, and in 1984 combined with a US distributor called Garcia and hence the name ABU Garcia. Abu Garcia has since the beginning of the company has designed and manufactured excellent reels and tackle, and holds the honor of being “Purveyor to the Royal Swedish Court” a distinction bestowed on only a handful or manufacturers who meet the highest standards of quality and craftsmanship.

So if they have achieved honors as high as this surely they are going to continue this excellence in their fishing rods. The Venerate series are all manufactured from 36-ton graphite meaning they are incredibly lightweight, strong, but balanced and very sensitive.

The guides are titanium alloy which only maintains the lightweight balance of the rod. The handle is premium cork and well balanced. The state that this rod delivers unparalleled comfort and sensitivity. I have to say the rod does seem like they made it fit for royalty.
Pros
  • Extra lightweight
  • Very strong
  • Well balanced
  • Sensitive
Cons
  • Comes in only 1 piece

Ugly Stik Inshore Select Spinning Rods

Ugly Stik Inshore Select Spinning Rods
Length: 7ft
Pieces: 1 piece
Line weight: 6lb to 15lb
Lure weight: 1/8oz to 1/2oz
Power: Medium Light
Action: Medium
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Ugly Stik are made by the Shakespeare company, yes that’s right the budget fishing equipment company, you find their rod and reel combos in just about every Walmart, and supermarket in the world, and yes some of the reels and rod made by Shakespeare are not the best you could buy, but the Ugly Stik line are exceptionally good all round freshwater rod. They are made from glass fiber and graphite mix, which reduces the cost.

If you are just starting angling, and you have a limited budget, this is the rod for you, its 7ft length is long but will help with learning to cast, and the handle is cork, which is great for any rod let alone a rod with a price as low as this.
Pros
  • Price
  • Suitable for starting anglers
  • Cork handle
Cons
  • Not suitable for pro anglers

Criteria used for the evaluation

 

Pieces

One piece rods, rods that are one complete piece from the butt to the tip are, for most anglers to be better in regards to the feel of the rod, when handling fish. But due to the length of most fishing rods, 6ft or more the problem with a one piece rod is transporting the rod safely, and this becomes more difficult the longer the rod. Two piece rod are engineered to be split into two parts and easy to slide together. Some fishermen say that two piece rods lack sensitivity. I have never really noticed the difference, other than every rod whether one piece or two piece has a different feel.

Line Weight

Refers to the best line weight to use with the rod.

Lure Weight

Refers to the minimum to maximum lure or hook weight the rod is designed for. The rod will handle substantially heavier lure weight but this will effect the action.

Power

The power of a rod is not a specific measurable value and more a guide issued by the manufacturer of the rod. The power classification range from; ultralight, light, medium light, medium, medium heavy, heavy and ultra heavy. The power is really an indication of the type of fishing you intend to do with the rod, what size of fish you are aiming to catch. For example, an Ultralight rod is suitable for catching smaller fish and situations where the rods responsiveness is important, opposed to ultra heavy rods are used for surf fishing and heavy fish. In theory, you can catch a fish with any rod, but using a heavy powered rod to catch a small fish, would work but you would not feel much of the fight, and a light powered rod catching a heavy fish would need exceptional rod skills and would usually end in broken line or tackle. The best way to view the power value stated on rods is to take into account the purpose the manufacturer states for the rod, and what they state the rod is best suited for.

Action

An action is often confused with the amount of bend the rod has and where on the rod the bend is, tip, middle to tip or whole rod, but this is not correct. The Action of a rod is the speed in which the rod returns to its natural or starting position. It is also often assumed that the action is related to reeling in the fish, reeling and landing the fish is more about technique, a fast action rod will give you sensitivity and enable a softer hook set. The action is important for casting, but only when in conjunction with line weight and lure weight. A fast action rod will bend and return to its starting point or natural point very quickly. The casting weight and line weight must be within the weights stated for the rod, then when casting the cast weight will cause the rod to bend during the cast, this bend then flexes back to its natural position helping to flick the tackle and weights a greater distance, with a slow action rod the rod returns to its natural position slower, and most of the casting power is from the length of the rod and the technique of the cast. However, if you load a rod with more weight than it is designed for you will reduce the actions of the rod. The action as the power value is a value that is decided by the manufacturer, I might feel that a rod has a fast action, but someone else will think it is a medium action.