Three best fishing rods

Bob Beacham

Early fishing rods were made of split cane.

Whether you're new to fishing or want to replace fishing equipment you've been using for years, choosing a new fishing rod can be a complicated task. Do you need a short rod or a long rod? Would a spinning rod suit your needs, or is a baitcaster more your style? Your choice of fishing rod should be based primarily on two things: where you fish and which fishing method you prefer.

Read on to learn about the important features you should look for in a new fishing rod. For your consideration, we also present detailed information about three of our favorite fishing rods on today's market.

Considerations when choosing fishing rods

Rod length

Short fishing rods don't cast very far. If you fish primarily from a boat or pier, a short rod would probably suit you just fine. However, if you intend to fish from the bank of a lake or a shoreline, you will probably want a longer rod.

Rod function

If you know what you want to fish for -- and how you intend to fish for it -- it's a good idea to get a function-specific fishing rod. A spinning rod is great for a beginner because it's easy to operate, and backlash is rarely a problem. A baitcasting rod has more power when it comes to setting the hook. A fly rod can be used in fresh or saltwater for the purpose of catching trout, salmon, bass, pike, and even panfish.

Manufacturers usually make the decision easier by telling you exactly what the rod in question is for. It's a good idea to follow their advice!

Fishing rod features


Rods are graded from "ultra light" to "heavy". This is partly about where the rod bends; lighter rods bend closer to the tip. But it's also about power. A heavier rod is much stronger and therefore built for bigger fish.

A rod's weight can be used to reflect the poundage of line the rod can take. This correlates with the size of fish you go after. "Weight" also refers to the minimum and maximum weight of lure you can use with a particular rod.


Fiberglass rods are cheaper than rods made of graphite or composite material. Most general-purpose rods are made of fiberglass.

The material of the line guides matters, too. Line guides should be rust resistant. Chrome is inexpensive, but it tends to wear quickly. Stainless steel is better. Some line guides have ceramic inserts to help the line run smoothly.


You want a rod with a comfortable handle, but because it also needs to transmit "feel", it shouldn't be too soft. Cork is an excellent handle material, but it's pricey. EVA foam is durable and has a good feel, making it a very popular choice.


Q. Which is the better fishing rod material: graphite or fiberglass?

A. Graphite, also called carbon fiber, is lighter than fiberglass, but its excellent sensitivity is the main reason it's used for fishing rods. But while graphite is immensely strong under a steady load, it's also brittle. A sudden shock, like a big striking fish, could cause fractures.

Fiberglass rods lack the degree of sensitivity that graphite rods have, but they are considerably cheaper. Composite rods, which consist of a fiberglass core and a graphite shell, are an ideal combination favored by many professionals.

Q. What is modulus?

A. Although everything has a modulus -- the ability to deform and return to an original shape -- with graphite fishing rods, modulus represents sensitivity. This sensitivity is ranked from IM6 to IM10. The higher the number, the more sensitive the rod -- and the more susceptible it is to breakage, too.

Fishing rods we recommend

Best of the best: Entsport Camo Legend, 2-piece 7-foot Casting Rod 

Our take: This is a top-quality casting rod that nicely combines strength with sensitivity. Thanks to the interchangeable tips, buying this rod is like getting two rods for the price of one.

What we like: This fishing rod is light, strong, durable, and versatile. If baitcasting is your passion, you'd struggle to find better for the money.

What we dislike: This rod is not for big, hard-hitting fish -- but that's true of many carbon rods.

Best bang for your buck: Yongzhi Ultralight Telescopic Spinning Rod 

Our take: You can take this fishing rod with you wherever you go. It can fit in the trunk of your car, a suitcase, or perhaps even your purse.

What we like: We love the easy portability of this rod. If you've ever looked at a stretch of water and wished you had a rod with you, you may appreciate this option. And it's not just a toy for kids, either; this is a real fishing rod.

What we dislike: This option has a short casting distance, and some users have had problems with the telescopic mechanism not closing.

Choice 3: Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 

Our take: This rod and reel combination hails from one of the most respected names in fishing.

What we like: It's an excellent lightweight spinning rod with an exceptionally tough graphite and fiberglass construction.

What we dislike: Enthusiasts will want to replace the reel -- but the rod alone is worth the money.

Bob Beacham is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds. 

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