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What is The Best Spinning Rod (For Your Money) in 2020?

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Spinning rods are among the most popular rods for any angler. Not only are they extremely versatile, but it doesn’t take long to master the spinning rod. With such a short learning curve, you can be fishing confidently within hours. Plus, fishing with a spinning rod is a lot of fun!

The great thing about a spinning rod is that you can use it on any kind of water, including rivers, lakes, and the open sea. It’s possible to target all sorts of fish species, from trout to salmon, walleye, perch, and flounder. There are no limits when it comes to spin fishing, and it’s very affordable to get started. Studies have shown that fishing reduces stress and helps people relax, so it’s a great hobby to get into. [1]

But before you head out on the water, you need a great spinning rod! With hundreds of different models available online or on the racks of your local fishing/sports store, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the best spinning rods on the market right now!

Best Option
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 7' - Medium Heavy -...
Luxury Feel
St Croix Avid X Spinning Rods
Budget Option
Cadence Fishing CR5 Spinning Rods | 30 Ton Carbon...
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 7' - Medium Heavy -...
St Croix Avid X Spinning Rods
Cadence Fishing CR5 Spinning Rods | 30 Ton Carbon...
Graphite Construction
High Grade SCIII Carbon
Carbon Fiber Blank
Continuous Cork Grips
Split-Grip Premium Cork Handle
Mixed Handle Construction
1 or 2 Piece
2 or 4 Piece
2 Piece
Best Option
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 7' - Medium Heavy -...
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 7' - Medium Heavy -...
Graphite Construction
Continuous Cork Grips
1 or 2 Piece
Luxury Feel
St Croix Avid X Spinning Rods
St Croix Avid X Spinning Rods
High Grade SCIII Carbon
Split-Grip Premium Cork Handle
2 or 4 Piece
Budget Option
Cadence Fishing CR5 Spinning Rods | 30 Ton Carbon...
Cadence Fishing CR5 Spinning Rods | 30 Ton Carbon...
Carbon Fiber Blank
Mixed Handle Construction
2 Piece

Best Spinning Rods – Our Reviews!

There are some excellent rods out there, with something for every budget. We’ll guide you through the most important factors to look for when choosing your first (or next) spinning rod. Then, we’ll get onto our reviews of the top-recommended rods around right now. So, let’s get stuck in!

Ugly Stik GX2

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod

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The Ugly Stik GX2 is a super-versatile spinning rod that is suitable for all anglers. Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran angler, this rod provides the right amount of power, sensitivity, and stiffness. It really can handle any type of fishing, from rivers and lakes to surf fishing for monster saltwater fish.

With its comfortable grip design and lightweight, you can use the Ugly Stik GX2 all day with no problems. It’s constructed from graphite and fiberglass for a durable, hardwearing rod that will last. Plus, you get a 7-year warranty for ease of mind while you fish, because we all know that accidents can happen.

Whether you’re looking for your first spinning rod or you’re after a backup rod on a budget, the Ugly Stik GX2 fits the bill. And for this price, you’ll be wowed by its impressive performance – the GX2 excels on the water every single time.

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • 7-year warranty included
  • Durable graphite and fiberglass construction
  • Very versatile for all types of fishing

Cons:

  • Not as lightweight as some other models like the Ugly Stik Elite

Daiwa Exceler

Daiwa Exceler Spinning Rod

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The Daiwa Exceler is a highly-rated freshwater spinning rod. If you love to get out on rivers and lakes and throw delicate lures, this is the top fishing pole for you. This rod is made from high modulus carbon fiber with titanium oxide guides, ergonomic cork handle, and a Fuji reel seat.

There’s nothing quite like the Daixa Exceler when it comes to fishing with extraordinary finesse. The unique tip action allows you to land your lures right on the mark. But don’t be fooled! This rod packs enough power to get your bait out to longer distances, too.

You can buy the Daiwa Exceler in lengths from 7ft to 10ft, and it comes in at a very reasonable price. Without a doubt, this is one of the best spinning rods for under $100!

Pros:

  • A very responsive rod
  • This medium action rod is versatile on the water
  • Titanium oxide guides and cork handle are high quality
  • Incredible precision and finesse
  • Great budget rod

Cons:

  • Better suited to shorter distances
  • Not designed for big, heavy lures

Tsunami Airwave Elite Surf

Tsunami Airwave Elite Surf Spin Fishing Rod

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For spin fishing in saltwater, you need something special. And that’s exactly what the Tsunami Airwave Elite Surf rod is! This high fiber density blank provides all the backbone you need for the long distances, heavy lures, and big fish you’ll encounter when saltwater fishing. It’s built to stand up to whatever you throw at it, with durable, textured vinyl grips and a super-strong blank.

The Tsunami Airwave Elite is a delight to fish with. It’s lightweight but powerful enough to get the lure exactly where you want it. You won’t miss a strike thanks to the extreme sensitivity the tip of this rod provides. These rods have a 2-piece construction, making them an excellent choice when it comes to travel spinning rods.

This isn’t the cheapest spinning rod, but it won’t let you down! That’s why we think it’s one of the best spinning rods on the market for saltwater fishing.

Pros:

  • Lightweight spinning rods
  • Can handle huge saltwater fish
  • Very strong and powerful
  • Suitable for long-distance casts

Cons:

  • More expensive at over $200

Ugly Stik Elite

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

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The Ugly Stik Elite is the next step up from the Ugly Stik GX2, and it’s an impressive rod. It has just the right amount of tip flex and sensitivity from the clear tip design, so you’ll feel every strike and catch more fish as a result.

Due to the high proportion of graphite in the blank, the Ugly Stik Elite is light as a feather. You can swing this rod all day without straining your arm, which means more time out on the water! The cork grips are premium quality and carefully shaped for a comfortable hold and superior control over your rod. Plus, this rod looks sleek and cool out on the water.

The Ugly Stik Elite is available in ultralight versions up to medium heavy, with lengths varying from 4’6″ to 7’6″. You can take your pick from the Ugly Stik range to select the perfect rod for your needs. Whichever model you go for, this rod is a bargain and comes with a 7-year warranty for extra protection.

Pros:

  • Very lightweight
  • Premium cork grips reduce arm fatigue
  • Wide range of rod models to choose from
  • Clear tip for enhanced sensitivity
  • 7-year warranty included
  • The rig balances out well when you add the spinning reel

Cons:

  • The guides aren’t very durable – you may need to replace them at some point
  • The reel seat is smaller than you’d expect

Ugly Stik Tiger Elite

Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Fishing Rod

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If you’re ready to splash out a bit more than for the Ugly Stik Elite, check out this beauty. The Tiger Elite fishing rods are streamlined and versatile, with fast action. It’s constructed from a smart combination of E-glass and graphite, with a higher proportion of graphite in the blank. This translates to increased sensitivity, so you’re always aware of what’s going on and won’t miss a single fish.

The Tiger Elite is a fast action rod that you can use to target any type of fish, no matter where you are. It’s super strong and sturdy enough to stand up to the wear and tear of fishing, so it should last you for years. You’ll get many a fishing trip in with this indestructible rod.

Now, onto the details: It’s got lightweight EVA grips, 1-piece stainless steel line guides, and stainless steel cushioned hoods for the reel seat. Take your pick from 1 piece or 2 piece models (handy as a travel rod) ranging from medium-light to medium-heavy.

We love the Ugly Stik Tiger Elite due to the amazing rod power, superior sensitivity, and long-distance casting ability. If you’re looking for a hardwearing rod that can go the distance and haul in big fish, you’ve found the ideal candidate in the Tiger Elite.

Pros:

  • Perfect for casting long distances
  • Incredible sensitivity
  • All the backbone you need
  • Excellent value for money

Cons:

  • Not as cheap as other models from the same brand
  • May feel too stiff for some anglers
  • Not suited to short-distance casting with light lures

KastKing Crixus

KastKing Crixus Fishing Rods

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KastKing’s vision is to make fishing affordable and fun! Coming in at under $50, the KastKing Crixus is a fantastic starter rod, but it’s not just for beginners. The Crixus performs exceptionally well out on the water and would be a great addition to any angler’s fishing gear.

You can fish for any type of fish in any environment with the Crixus, from freshwater rivers to the open sea. It’s available in 20 different models ranging from lightweight to heavy, and lengths from 5′ to 7’6″. KastKing makes it easy to find the right rod for you.

So, what’s so good about the Crixus? Well, you get excellent componentry, a comfortable-anti slip handle, and a magical combination of sensitivity and rod power. The stainless steel line guides are high quality and suitable for all types of line, from monofilament to braided line.

There’s an EVA fighting butt for extra control when you’re battling those trophy-sized fish. The comfortable SuperPolymer handles raise the bar when it comes to spin rods. Pair this rod with any spinning reel, and the setup balances out beautifully. Plus, this rod just looks cool!

Pros:

  • A rock-solid rod
  • Excellent components
  • Fantastic budget price for a high-quality rod
  • Impressive performance and faultless sensitivity

Cons:

  • The bait keeper is in an awkward position, too close to the handle

St Croix Avid X

St Croix Avid X Spinning Rod

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These high-end spinning rods from St Croix don’t come cheap. But if you’ve got a bit more cash to splash, it’s well worth considering the Avid X, one of the best spinning rods money can buy. The St Croix Avid X comes in a range of models from light medium to medium heavy and in lengths from 6′ to 7′.

As you’d expect, the components are all of the best quality. From the reels seats with twist-lock foregrip and gunsmoke hoods to the sturdy aluminum oxide guides, no detail has been overlooked. The St Croix company is passionate about fishing, and this shows in their products. The Avid X rods are no exception.

The SCIII graphite blank is made with IPC tooling technology for an outstanding result, making it even lighter and more sensitive than before. You really can feel every rock and pebble (and fish) under the water. These rods have a smooth action,m and the medium power provides enough strength to cover longer distances.

The Avid X won’t let you down thanks to its rugged build. It’s sealed with a Flex-Coat finish for even more durability and corrosion resistance. For serious anglers, the Avid X is the perfect spinning rod for every fishing trip.

Pros:

  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Heightened sensitivity (so you can catch more fish!)
  • Very hardwearing and corrosion-resistant
  • Top-quality aluminum oxide guides

Cons:

  • More expensive at over $200

Cadence

Cadence Spinning Rod

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The Cadence is another top spinning rod that can be bought on a budget! It offers everything you need for a great fishing trip in freshwater or saltwater and is suitable for fishing for all sorts of fish. Constructed from 30-ton carbon fiber with a unique 3-layer structure, it’s incredibly durable and can handle big fish.

The Cadence CR5 rods have high-quality components, including stainless steel line guides with SiC inserts and Fuji reel seats on every model. The comfortable EVA and cork handle finishes off the rod to the same high standard, and you can choose from a split grip or full grip.

The Cadence CR5 comes in an array of different models, with lengths from 4’8″ up to 7′. The rods range from moderate to fast action, making it easy to select the perfect rod for your needs. If you’re looking for a travel spinning rod, grab the 2 piece rod, which is ideal for easy transportation.

Pros:

  • Affordable and good value for money
  • Comfortable handle and quality stainless steel guides
  • Lots of different models to choose from for the perfect action and length

Cons:

  • Not as sensitive as other rods
  • The finish isn’t as neat as on premium rods

KastKing Brutus

KastKing Brutus Spinning Rod

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The KastKing Brutus was created with affordability in mind, to make angling accessible to even more people. They’ve achieved their goal with this bargain rod that comes in under $40! This composite glass and carbon fiber rod is very durable and great fun to fish with. You can use it on any type of water, and you won’t be disappointed!

This rod stands up to the challenge of open waters, big fish that put up a fight, and heavy lures. The Strike tip allows you to feel every tug on your bait, so you won’t shouldn’t miss a single fish. This rod looks and performs like a more expensive model, boasting a durable, full-length EVA handle and a sturdy graphite reel seat. The guides are made from stainless steel and titanium oxide and are suitable for every type of line.

So, how does it perform out on the water? The Brutus spinning rods feel firm and strong, yet sensitive. You can take your pick from 20+ different Brutus models, with a choice of length, action, and rod power.

Pros:

  • Extremely durable
  • A great price!
  • Impressive sensitivity – don’t miss a strike!

Cons:

  • One of the heavier spinning rods
  • The reel seat reportedly comes loose on some models
  • On some KastKing Brutus rods, the line guides are slightly off-center
  • Not large enough to take a saltwater spinning reel

G Loomis Trout Series

G Loomis Trout Series Spinning Rod

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The Trout Series spinning rods by G Loomis are highly specialized rods that excel out on the water. You’ll be wowed by the insane sensitivity that this rod provides. It’s easy to feel every pebble, weed, and fish (and tell the difference), even when you can’t see. When you’re trout fishing, it’s all about precision and responsiveness, and this rod won’t let you down.

What’s more, it’s one of the lightest rods around! The Trout Series rods have ultralight tips, giving you superior control over your rod, line, and lure. The rear grip is sturdy and gentle on your hands, while there are uplocking reel seats on every rod in the range.

Rig this up with any spinning reel, and you’ll be all set. Don’t be fooled by the name – it’s strong enough to handle everything from bass to walleye and salmon.

Pros:

  • When it comes to sensitivity, this rod wins hands down
  • Plenty of backbone for bigger trout and salmon
  • Highly specialized – perfect for trout anglers

Cons:

  • Not suitable for saltwater
  • One of the most expensive rods on our list

best spinning rod for trout

Buyers Guide

When you’re choosing a spin rod, there are a few factors you’ll need to weigh up before buying.

Firstly, think about the way you prefer to fish. Where do you fish (saltwater or freshwater, little creeks or big rivers)? What type of fish do you like to catch? And what are your favorite techniques?

This information will help you select the best rod to suit your needs. You might want to focus on looking for a rod that packs a lot of power if you like to use heavy lures or target bigger fish. But if you’re all about sensitivity, you can look for a rod that is lighter in weight and more responsive instead.

When it comes to spin rods, you need to choose a rod that is the right length, weight, and action. Plus, it’s essential to look at how durable a rod is and the quality of the materials it’s made from. Make sure to check out the reel seat and line guides (stainless steel guides tend to be the best).

The right kind of spin rod should last you for years if you choose carefully. Now, let’s look closer at the different factors:

Action

Action is all about how the rod bends and recovers and how stiff it is. This factor affects how quickly, powerfully, and accurately a rod can cast. A rod’s action can be extra fast, fast, medium, or slow. You need to understand the difference in order to pick the right kind of rod action.

A slow action rod bends much more deeply in a parabolic curve, protecting your line and rod from breaking. At the same time, you may struggle to reel in lunker fish with a more delicate, slow action rod. On the other hand, a fast action rod will be stiffer and may only bend right at the tip. This translates to more oomph to chuck those lures out longer distances.

Medium action rods have more flexibility and sensitivity than fast action rods, but you lose some of that strength. They tend to be the most versatile rods.

Length

Length is an essential factor for any spinning rod as it will determine how far you can cast. You can buy spin rods in a range of different lengths, from as short as 3 feet up to 10+ feet. The longer the rod, the faster the tip speed will be, allowing you to cover more water and throw your lures further. They are also more shock-absorbent than shorter rods, especially if you hook a big’un.

Short/medium length rods are more suited to fishing from a boat or kayak or using lighter lures. If you’re the kind of angler who appreciates precision more than power, go for a shorter rod (but make sure you realize its limitations before you buy.)

Weight

You need to match the weight of the rod to the lures you use and the fish you hope to catch. The weight denotes the strength of the rod and can range from an ultralight model right up to an extra-heavyweight rod. Having the right amount of sturdiness is critical to prevent your rod from snapping under too much pressure.

If you’re into fishing with big, heavy lures or deep sea fishing, go for a medium heavy to heavy weight rod. They can handle big fighting fish without breaking! Just beware that these models tend to be more tiring to use for long periods.

Ultralight or light medium rods are typically used for panfish and small trout. You’ll find that these rods are more responsive, plus there’s less chance of developing fatigue or arm strain. If you’re looking for an all-rounder, medium power rods are the most versatile for a wide range of fish and lures.

spinning rods

FAQ

What is the best spinning rod?

The best spinning rod will combine power, durability, and sensitivity. Some of the best spinning rod manufacturers include KastKing, Daiwa, St Croix, and G Loomis. (Check out our recommendations above for the top spinning rods on the market right now!)

What is the best length for a spinning rod?

You can buy spinning rods that range from as little as 4 feet up to 10+ feet. However, the best length for a spinning rod tends to be between 6 and 8 feet long. This makes for a highly versatile rod that you can fish almost anywhere.

What is the best all around fishing rod?

If you’re looking for the best all around fishing rod, spinning rods are the most popular and versatile rods around. It’s quick and easy to learn to fish on a spinning rod, and then you can get out there and have some fun! We’ve recommended 10 of the best spinning rods above, scroll up to check out our reviews!

The Wrap Up

So, armed with this information, picking the best spinning rod should be easy! Just think about the kind of fish you like to target, the lures you use, and where you fish, and you should be able to select a spinning rod that meets your needs.

We’ve carefully selected the rods recommended here because of their high-quality construction and impressive performance. There’s something for everyone here, no matter what your budget is. You’ll find the perfect spinning rod to take your fishing hobby to the next level! Just add a reel, and you’re all set!

Found this guide to the best spinning rods helpful? Why not give it a share on social media? And don’t miss more articles on all things fishing at Fly Fisher Pro!

References

[1] https://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain-series/fly-fishing-and-brain

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