6 Best Musky Rods in 2022 (Buyer's Guide & Reviews)
Musky is the type of freshwater fish that will put up a fight. For this reason, your everyday freshwater rod might not live up to the task.
So, I tested several musky rods and saw an immediate difference. The Abu Garcia Veritas is the best musky rod if you’re a bit more experienced, whereas the St. Croix Legend is meant for beginners.
If you’re on a budget, you might want to check the Kunnan IM7 Series rod.
But there’s more of that, so check the article below as we dive into more details on musky rods.
Abu Garcia Veritas Casting Fishing Rod
Best For Beginners
St. Croix Rods Legend Tournament Carbon
Best by Budget
Kunnan IM7 Series Muskie Rod
1. Abu Garcia Veritas Casting Fishing Rod
Abu Garcia Veritas is a 30-ton graphite casting rod with a balanced design. At first glance, it looks heavy-duty and sleek, so you’ll definitely stand out when musky fishing.
The company utilizes Sublayer Armor made up of special fibers to deliver hoop strength and durability. This gives it the backbone needed to retrieve large fighting fish.
Another thing you’ll notice is the micro-click reel seat for a secure connection between the reel and rod. It works with many reels out there, depending on the type of fish you’re after.
What I love the most is the ROCS, otherwise known as the Robotically Optimized Casting System. It really makes this one stand out with its guide train designed for distance casting.
This musky rod is best when paired with light lures, although the titanium guides can handle quite some weight. In addition, they come with light Zirconium inserts to eliminate pop-outs and allow smooth performance.
The EVA handle is cushioned enough to provide comfort but without taking away any sensitivity. You can still feel even the slightest nibble from the tip of the musky rod to your hand.
Lastly, it comes with a 3-year warranty, which is always nice.
2. St. Croix Rods Legend Tournament Carbon
This St. Croix might be your best musky rod choice if you’re after maximum comfort. It’s specially designed for distance casting for hours at a time.
The first thing we should mention is the ART, otherwise known as the Advanced Reinforcing Technology. It utilizes carbon fiber to provide strength and durability but without increasing the blank weight or diameter.
And, it also utilizes the IPC Tooling Technology (Integrated Poly Curve) to eliminate transitional points. As a result, it offers smooth casting, excellent sensitivity, and increased strength.
This 7’9’’ musky rod has heavy power paired with moderate fast action. It’s a one-piece with a line rating of 40-80 pounds and a lure weight of 2-6 ounces. The blank itself weighs 8.5 ounces and feels incredibly light and comfortable when you hold it.
What I liked the most about the St. Croix was the quality of its hardware. This one has Fuji K-Series tangle-free guides paired with Alconite rings and rust-free matte frames. This allows the line to run smoothly and with minimal traction, which is important when reeling musky.
I enjoyed fishing for hours at a time, especially thanks to the large cork handle and the pistol handle pushed further back.
3. Kunnan IM7 Series Muskie Rod
The Kunnan IM7 series is an extra-heavy, fast action one-piece musky rod measuring 7 feet from the top to handle. It’s a durable and reliable pole designed specifically for upwards of a 40-pound test line.
Although its specifications indicate it’s a power rod, the length plays a significant role here. In addition, it allows more accurate casting, which is especially important for beginners.
On top of that, this musky rod offers excellent lure maneuverability. As a result, you can easily work jerkbaits and jigs using any fishing technique you prefer for catching musky.
The cork handle is long enough for both your hands, so it’s comfortable to use for hours at a time. And you have enough space to grab tightly once your catch is hooked.
However, the blank itself lacks the stiffness needed for musky fishing. For this reason, you might struggle to reel a musky heavier than 30 pounds.
But, it’s an excellent choice if you’re after a lightweight and comfortable casting rod for smaller musky.
4. St. Croix Rods Premier Musky Casting Rod
This St. Croix Premier is an excellent choice for heavier baits. It’s powerful enough to handle heavy-duty crankbaits and fighting musky you’re probably after.
I paired it with heavy spinning lures and bucktails that work well with this musky rod. However, I also used lighter baits and lures to test its sensitivity and was not disappointed.
This is a heavy-duty musky rod, but you’ll notice it’s quite lightweight. This is primarily due to the SCII carbon construction that offers such incredible power packed in a light pole.
As a result, St. Croix Premier is easy to use for hours without feeling any hand fatigue. And, the cork handle helps with this even more as it’s quite soft to touch.
It’s not as cushioned as EVA foam, but it’s surprisingly comfortable for distance casting and fighting heavy-duty musky.
What stands out the most is that you can choose between a Fuji ECS, PSS, and TCS reel seat. Each option comes with a frosted silver hood.
On top of that, the Kigan hook-keeper makes it easy to use with different lines and muskie lures. However, keep in mind that this is a 6’10’’ musky rod with medium power and fast action.
It works with a 20-40lbs line and ½-2oz lures.
5. Okuma EVx-C-931H-TB EVx
Although an established brand, Okuma is relatively new among anglers in the musky community. And, the EVX rod is partially what introduced the brand to this type of fishing.
It’s durable and responsive, which makes it suitable for reeling some of the strongest game fish. But, it doesn’t lose any of its sensitivity, so it works with a light catch as well.
One thing to keep in mind is that this one is 9’3” long. And, it’s a one-piece, but with a telescopic design, so you probably won’t have any issues traveling. Plus, the casting distance it provides is unparalleled.
It casts far and accurately, making it easy to present the lure exactly where you want it. And, the responsiveness of the blank helps to transfer the vibration from the tip to the handle.
As a result, you’re unlikely to miss a catch regardless of how big or small. It’s a 24-ton blank designed specifically for heavy-duty musky and other freshwater gamefish.
It’s paired with ALPS stainless steel guides and frames with zirconium inserts. These work well with braided lines, especially thanks to the ALPS Tungsten carbide tip.
And, the cork handle is soft to touch, so you won’t have any fatigue even after fishing for hours.
6. Shimano SJCM70MHB Sojourn
This Shimano might be your best option for a musky rod if you’re on a budget. It’s an affordable piece that, despite its price, offers excellent durability, accuracy, and backbone.
It’s a 7’6’’ musky rod with plenty of strength to handle some of the heaviest gamefish. At the very first cast, you’ll notice the accuracy it works with, but also the comfort.
The blank features composite graphite and is highly resilient. However, its strength doesn’t come at the price of flexibility right where you need it.
It bends properly, matching the strength of the fish you’re after. Plus, the EVA handles allow for a tight grip even when the musky rod is wet.
It can handle a lot, but I suggest you rinse the handles after each use to prevent deterioration. The same goes for the rest of the rod, not just the handle.
This is a medium-heavy musky rod with fast action and a length of 7 feet. It has two handles – a 5’’ foregrip and a 13’’ rear grip for a more natural position important when reeling heavy fighting musky.
Musky Fishing Tips
Musky fishing is a lot of fun. Here are some tips you should know before going out on the water to catch muskies.
1. Use light line, between 6-8 lbs test.
2. You can successfully fish musky’s using 12 lb test but you need to have a long wire leader, like 20-30 inches of wire leader that is only as thick as your thumb or smaller. This will keep their teeth off of your line.
3. A lot of anglers use cheap monofilament for trout fishing on lakes because it has little resistance when it is pulled through the air and water. Musky fishing is much different than trout fishing in this respect. They tend to be more finicky about what they bite, so quality line makes a difference if you want to take full advantage of the opportunity to catch them when they are there.
4. The best musky fishing is when the water temp is around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which means they can be in any lake over 8 feet deep during this time of the year. If you fish a clear lake with an average depth of 20 feet or more, you should have lots of chances to catch them all season long regardless of what time of day it is.
5. Another good piece of advice has nothing to do with gear but rather how to approach big holes and weed lines where large muskies congregate: Approach them slowly and quietly from downwind if possible and cast just outside the weed line or into that hole or channel then let your bait sit for anywhere from 5-15 minutes before starting to reel it in, but after you start reeling in, do not stop until your lure is back in the boat. Then repeat this process until you catch a musky or give up trying to catch one and go somewhere else. You can easily get skunked if you make the mistake of moving on too soon when there are large muskies around.
Buying Guide: Musky Rods
Musky grows large, so don’t expect all rods to put up with it. It takes a solid blank and hardware to handle heavy line and lure before hooking the heavy fish as well.
The rods we talked about are by far the best for musky. How do we know that?
There are specific standards and specifications we know work best for musky. Here’s what you should pay attention to.
Rod power is the backbone of the blank. It’s essentially the lifting power, and you need a lot of it for musky.
It correlates to the line weight you can use with the particular rod. So the higher the line test, the higher the musky rod power you’ll need. And, since we use a heavy line for musky, we also need a high-power rod.
The power goes from ultra-light to ultra-heavy. However, you want to stick to medium-heavy and above. This way, your rod has enough power to handle the strong line and fish you’re after.
Rod Action for Musky Rods
Rod action is its ability to bend in the tip once you apply pressure. It’s rated as extra-fast, fast, moderate, and slow.
For musky rods, it’s best to go for fast action. These rods have the best ability to hook the fish securely so that you can fight it into the net.
A fast-action musky rod allows for a better casting performance, which is especially helpful for beginners. But don’t expect it to be enough. In other words, you should pair your fast musky rod with the right lure and line to get the best casting performance.
What is The Best Length for a Musky Rod?
Musky rods are often between 7.5 and 9 feet. For trolling, you might come across different rod length options, depending on your setup in these conditions.
As always, a longer musky rod gives you some extra casting distance so that you can cover more water. In most cases, the best length seems to be at around 8 feet.
An 8’ musky rod gives you enough backbone and length to cast large lures for hours. And, it’s easier to handle than a longer 9’ musky rod rod.
Line Weight for Musky Fishing
Line weight best for musky fishing is at least 65 pounds. It’s the minimum weight you should use with this fish and these rods.
However, you might want a musky rod that can handle a line of 80+ pounds. This line goes well with medium-heavy rods.
The combination will allow you to catch both big and small fish. And, it’s also suitable for other fishing methods and species.
Lure Weight for Musky Fishing
As you know, you need large lures for musky fishing. The lure size is one of the things that separate musky from other fish and fishing techniques.
We’re talking about large lures, so you need a musky rod with enough strength to cast these. Without enough strength, the musky rod will likely snap in half under pressure.
Musky lures can weigh up to 8 ounces. Add this to the weight of the potential catch, and you’re in for quite a battle.
Casting lures as large can easily break your rod even before you get a chance of catching anything. For this reason, make sure your rod is rated for bait that large.
The durability of a musky rod is one of the most critical factors to consider. Musky is a heavy-duty fish that will easily break a rod unless it’s made from quality materials.
Materials play the most significant role in durability. In most cases, these are made from graphite since the material offers the best combo of strength and sensitivity.
Anything other than graphite may or may not work. However, you should also think about the durability of other parts like the handle, reel seat, and guides.
Musky rods often have a long split handle because musky is larger than most other freshwater fish. Shorter rods might have a single handle, but longer ones almost always have a split one.
Having a longer handle gives you more control, making it easier to cast at a distance. This is especially important on long rods and if you use heavy lures.
Plus, a long handle gives you a mechanical advantage. In other words, it makes it easier to load the rod blank without putting as much muscle into it.
Most handles are made from cork, although you might come across some made from EVA foam. Choosing between the two is up to you since both have pros and cons.
Quality reel seats are vital when targeting large fish like musky. However, this is a factor many people overlook.
Your best bet is to focus on reputable brands. These companies often include good reel seats with their rods.
However, you should always double-check the quality of it. Fuji is the most popular name in the industry, so you can’t go wrong with this one.
And, where you have a Fuji reel seat, you almost always have Fuji rod eyes as well.
Price on Musky Rods
Musky rods can be pretty pricey because they’re heavy-duty and durable. Some musky rods cost as much as $400, but these are meant for an experienced muskie fisherman.
The truth is, most people don’t have to pay this much. You can find quality rods at a more affordable price, like the Kunnan IM7 Series Muskie Fishing Rod we talked about.
It helps to have a budget in mind so that you know how much you’re comfortable spending. This way, you can narrow down the list of options.
And, keep in mind that the price doesn’t always indicate quality. You can still find excellent rods that don’t cost a fortune, which is especially important if it’s your first time catching musky.
Warranties vary from one manufacturer to another, so there are no rules. However, it’s an important factor to consider since your musky rod is likely to put up with some abuse.
You should consider how long does the warranty lasts. Is it one year or fifteen years?
Again, no rules apply here. In most cases, you’ll notice that more expensive rods come with longer-lasting warranties, but even this varies with manufacturers.
And, remember to read the warranty and what it includes.
Final Thoughts on the Best Musky Rods
At this point, you probably see the difference between musky rods and those meant for other freshwater fish. Musky is a big catch, and it requires a special musky rod like the Abu Garcia Veritas.
Other musky rods we discussed are equally as suitable depending on your fishing style and other preferences.