Spinning rods are popular in North America and Europe because they’re enjoyable to use. And, they come in many lengths, powers, and actions to pick from.
One of the best ones we used is the Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod. It’s durable and accurate, bringing all a spinning rod should bring.
There’s also the Shimano FXS 2 Piece Spinning Rod if you’re after a more affordable option, and the Abu Garcia Vengeance Spinning Rod if you’re a beginner.
And, there’s more.
Let’s dive in, reviewing some of the best spinning rods and explaining how to pick one.
Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod
Best for Beginners
Abu Garcia Vengeance Spinning Rod
Best by Budget
Shimano FXS 2 Piece Spinning Rod
Quick Overview of The Best Spinning Rod
- Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod
- Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod
- Shimano FXS 2 Piece Spinning Rod
- Berkley BSLR562L Lightning Spinning Rod
- Croix Rods Bass X Spinning Rod
- Ugly Stik Carbon Spinning Fishing Rod
- KastKing Crixus Fishing Rods
- Abu Garcia Vengeance Spinning Rod
- PENN Mariner II Boat Spinning Fishing Rod
- Fenwick HMG Spinning Fishing Rod
Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod
The GX2 is the new series of Ugly Stik spinning rods, offering modern performance while still keeping traditional strength.
This particular one is made from fiberglass and graphite. The combination of materials gives it excellent stability and performance as a whole.
It comes with the Clear Tip design, known as one of the most efficient features. It helps anglers to detect some of the lightest strikes.
Plus, the butt-end features a lightweight but durable EVA foam grips. These enhance your grip, giving you enough control to handle different situations. Plus, they’re soft and comfortable.
This Ugly Stik comes in many different sizes, so you can choose between several rod configurations. For example, you can choose between one, two, and four-piece rods, depending on your needs.
Plus, there are several combinations of length and weight to adapt to most fishing situations.
All its variations feature the same ultra-durable stainless steel guides. These are corrosion-resistant and fit for a wide variety of lines.
Wide variety of configurations
Efficient Clear Tip design
Graphite and fiberglass construction
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod
We found plenty of durable and efficient spinning rods after Ugly Stick redesigned its Elite series. This one has 35% more graphite to offer optimal levels of strength, durability, and weight.
It’s a single-piece rod that’s 6′ long, but other sizes and configurations are also available. We chose this one because it doesn’t have any inserts where the rod could potentially break mid-battle.
The lengths range from 4.5′ to 7.5′, and you can also pick between several varieties of weight. Although it can be confusing for beginners, having this many options is always a good thing.
Since it’s made from graphite and fiberglass, you’ll notice it offers unsurpassed performance. This goes for all skill levels, beginners and experienced anglers.
And, much like other Ugly Stick spinning rods, this one has a Clear Tip for detecting the lightest nibbles.
It comes with cork handles and a padded reel seat and hood. These give it a classic look while also helping achieve excellent performance.
Classic cork handles
Graphite and fiberglass combination
Many weight and length varieties
Shimano FXS 2 Piece Spinning Rod
Shimano is a well-known name in the industry, making some of the best rods for all kinds of conditions. This FXS 2-piece spinning rod is convenient, versatile, and durable.
Since it’s a 2-piece, you can easily break it down for easier transport. This is highly helpful since the rod is made from aeroglass and would probably be too stiff to carry as a single piece.
Nonetheless, this one comes in a variety of lengths and weights. So it always helps to think about your specific needs before purchasing any, just so you’re sure it’ll fit your fishing style.
This one has a black EVA handle and a durable reel seat for a tight fit. It’s easy to use because it’s diverse and durable enough to handle pretty much anything in salt and freshwater.
Plus, Shimano FXS is quite affordable, offering an excellent cost to value ratio. In addition, it feels sturdy and resistant, so you won’t be afraid to tackle small and large fish.
Reinforced aluminum oxide guides
3/4-4 lure rating
Berkley BSLR562L Lightning Spinning Rod
Berkley Lightning spinning rod might not be such a common choice. However, it’s a great choice if you’re after a durable yet affordable spinning rod.
This one is among the lightest models and comes from the Berkley Shock Rod series. These are made for braided lines, so keep that in mind when purchasing.
It has graphite blank construction paired with fiberglass scrim. As a result, it’s both strong and lightweight.
And, thanks to the fortified bottom section, this one can endure quite some stress when combined with braided lines.
It also has excellent handles that show how much thought Berkley put in this spinning rod. The blank is exposed on top, providing increased sensitivity when you need it the most.
Its guides are double-footed, featuring silicone carbide ceramic inserts. These are stronger than aluminum oxide guides typically used, so you’ll find them great for braided lines.
Berkley Lightning spinning rod is an excellent choice if you’re after an affordable model. It comes in several lengths, and line weighs, making it easy to adapt to your needs.
Rubberized cork handles
Double-up locking reel seat
Silicone carbide ceramic inserts
Croix Rods Bass X Spinning Rod
St. Croix bass spinning rod is a premium 6′-8” piece. It’s made from mid-modulus graphite that had previously shown excellent performance.
The soft cork handle comes with a comfortable Fuji reel seat. It also has a small hood made from EVA foam. Its black-frame guides have aluminum inserts for maximum durability and style.
And, while this spinning rod does look the part, it has much more to offer than just looks. In other words, St. Croix paid particular attention to comfort and how its spinning rods feel in hand.
So, it’s clear that comfort was a priority for the brand. It feels lightweight in hand, and you’ll notice how comfortably the handle sits on your palm.
For durability and resistance, the brand incorporated two coats of Flex Coat slow-cure finish. This makes the construction corrosion-resistant.
The ergonomic design helps with comfort, making it ideal for long fishing rips and fighting heavier fish. But, again, you have many lengths and weights to choose from if the 6′-8” isn’t to your liking.
Aluminum oxide inserts
Fuji DPS reel seat
Ugly Stik Carbon Spinning Fishing Rod
This Ugly Stik spinning rod is one of the most notable models from the popular brand. It’s an ultra-light spinning rod and one of the lightest that Ugly Stik made to this date.
And, it’s reliable, sensitive, and durable, all at once. This makes it suitable for all conditions, styles, and experience levels.
Ugly Stik Carbon spinning rod is made entirely out of graphite, so it’s strong but lightweight. It’s well-balanced, so you’ll find it easy to use and control regardless of your catch.
Another thing worth noting is the solid graphite tip. This allows maximum sensitivity so that you can feel even the lightest nibbles and changes underwater.
It comes with the Ugly Tuff stainless steel guides known to withstand braided and other similarly tough fishing lines. And, it also has Winn split grips and Fuji Soft-Touch reel seats for comfort, traction, and ease of use.
Lastly, this one is relatively affordable, comes in six different models, and has a seven-year warranty.
Comfortable Fuji reel seat
Solid graphite tip
Ugly Tuff guides
KastKing Crixus Fishing Rods
KastKing Crixus spinning rod has an IM6 graphite blank. It gives just the right amount of strength and sensitivity for pretty much any fishing style.
Crixus is more affordable than many KastKing rods. It stands out as it brings the best value for money when it comes to this brand.
Another exciting thing is that it features a solid graphite blank foundation. This makes it suitable for catching different freshwater fish.
Also, it has stainless steel guides with zirconium oxide rings. They’re durable and fit for fluorocarbon, monofilament, and braided lines.
Its super-polymer handle is sturdy yet comfortable, which is always important if you use it for longer periods. It’s also non-slippery even when it’s wet.
KastKing Crixus spinning rod comes with a graphite reel seat. And, you have about twenty different models to pick from, depending on length, power, and action variations you’re interested in. However, they all have a two-piece construction.
Some are even suitable for inshore saltwater fishing.
Zirconium oxide rings
Comfortable super-polymer handle
EVA fighting butt
Abu Garcia Vengeance Spinning Rod
Abu Garcia Vengeance has a rod construction made from solid graphite. It’s a lightweight spinning rod that’s durable and resistant at the same time.
What stands out the most is the Spiral Carbon Core Construction designed to improve the break strength. It also has high-density EVA handle for maximum comfort and ease of use.
It’s easy to handle because it’s lightweight and perfectly balanced. In addition, it has titanium alloy guides that add even more value to its overall design.
Its micro click reel hood design provides a solid connection between the rod and the reel. And, it’s good for nearly all baits, especially since it comes with a Texas-rigged keeper.
We should also mention that this model has enhanced break strength. It’s compatible with fluorocarbon, monofilament, and braided lines, so it’s pretty versatile.
Apart from being affordable, Vengeance comes with a three-year warranty. So it’s suitable for beginners and experienced anglers regardless of the fish you’re after.
24-ton graphite construction
Texas-rigged hook keeper
PENN Mariner II Boat Spinning Fishing Rod
Penn Mariner II boat spinning rod is among the most reliable pieces for experienced anglers. It’s strong yet lightweight and stylish.
It’s designed specifically for fishing with braided and monofilament lines. Its stainless steel guides with aluminum oxide inserts ensure smooth performance by reducing friction.
Keep in mind that it’s a single-piece spinning rod with a tubular glass blank. It has a triangle-shaped grip that enhances the ease of use and comfort.
This lightweight rod comes with a corrosive-resistant reel seat that helps to reduce flex. As a result, it performs well even under lots of strain when you’re battling heavy-duty fish like pike or bass.
It also has a graphite gimbal for added leverage. It’s suitable for saltwater as it’s made from robust materials that won’t break or damage in rough conditions.
Lastly, Penn Mariner II Boat spinning rod is among the most affordable spinning rods from the brand.
Fenwick HMG Spinning Fishing Rod
Fenwick HMG has a carbon-bound blank with strong helical carbon threads. As such, it’s strong but sensitive and precise, so you’ll find it easy to use for all types of fishing.
It has a durable AAA cork handle, providing excellent grip at all times. On top of that, it has Fuji titanium guides with double retaining rings on the reel seat. This ensures the rings don’t break or loosen due to excessive use.
At first glance, you’ll notice its ergonomic design. It stands out as one of the most stylish models from the brand, mainly thanks to its eggshell blank and graphic detailing.
It looks more expensive than it is thanks to these few details. And, you can choose between many length and action varieties based on the type of fishing you do.
Finally, this one-piece spinning rod comes with a limited lifetime warranty, making it a reliable choice for all anglers.
AAA cork full grip
Carbon-bound blank with carbon thread
Soft-touch alien reel
Types of Fishing Rods
Best spinning rods are somewhat similar, featuring many of the same features. But, what sets them apart is the weight.
Different weight variations are suitable for different types of fishing. So, think about the species you’re after to make the best decision.
A lightweight spinning rod is meant for smaller fish like panfish, small bass, and trout. It’s generally only enough for this type of fish because anything larger requires a slightly heavier rod.
Luckily, most spinning rods come in different varieties, so you can often find lightweight models made by some of the best brands.
Heavyweight rods are more suitable for big lures and predatory fish. They’re meant for casting heavy spoons for saltwater fish that usually gives a heavy fight.
These are also available everywhere since most brands make variations of the same spinning rods. But, it’s up to you to think about if a heavyweight rod would work for the type of fish you’re after.
Medium Weight Rod
Medium-weight rods are meant for longer distances. You may want to consider one if you’re into off-shore fishing for catfish.
It can often handle different baits and lures, offering flexible fighting ability and overall good performance.
Medium-weight rods are longer, which is precisely what makes them suitable for long distances. They’re also great for casting for salmon and steelhead.
What to Consider When Buying a Top Rated Spinning Rod
Choosing one of the best spinning rods should be simple enough. However, it often takes time and experience to pick one right off the bat.
This is where a few buying guidelines can help you. However, apart from your needs and preferences, you may want to think about several other factors.
This way, you have the highest chance of ending up what the best spinning rod.
The power of your rod is the primary thing that affects its fighting ability and strength. It’s another way of referring to its pulling strength.
The best way to understand this is to think about its weight. So, a heavy rod can pull more weight but without bending as much. On the other hand, a lightweight rod can’t pull as much. It’ll also bend more.
As you may have noticed, spinning rods come in many varieties. You can choose between ultralight, light, medium, heavy, and some in-between combinations.
Remember that you need the most powerful rod for the biggest fish. A lightweight one is suitable for small fish that you don’t have to battle as much.
Action refers to how your rod bends, so make sure to look for this information before buying. Once again, you can find many combinations, but the three basics are slow, moderate, and fast.
Fast-action rods bend at the tip, whereas slow-action spinning rods bend all over the length. Which one you’ll choose depends on the size of your target fish and lures.
Heavy lures require a heavy rod, while ultralight lures require a slow-action rod. The many options on the market can make it a bit tricky for beginners to choose.
Generally speaking, you should find that balance between action and weight to achieve the best results.
Length of Spinning Rod
As you know, there are also different lengths to pick from. So, again, you may want to think about your specific needs before buying.
Best spinning rods are somewhere between 2′ 12′ or longer. Think about the type of fishing and if you’re doing it from the beach or the boat.
Ice fishing is entirely different from regular fishing, so that’s another thing to think about. Another thing that comes into play is the type of fish you’re after.
Simply put, longer rods can cast further, so they’re often best for surfcasting. On the other hand, short rods are better for accuracy but offer limited casting distance.
Line and Lure Weight
Not every rod can handle every line and lure. Most models have lure and line weights marked somewhere near the reel seat.
This is a crucial step to consider because it can affect your performance. In other words, using lures and lines that aren’t fit for your rod will make the whole experience less than impressive.
The weight of your lure and line depends on the rod’s action and power. So, look out for that information near the reel seat to find out what works best with your particular blank.
Guide quality is another critical point to consider. Dull and low-quality guides will make you lose more fish than you can imagine, so try not to overlook this.
The guides are the first to take the strain once you catch a fish. They put up with pressure as you fight your catch. And, the friction can easily wear your line unless the guides are made from high-quality materials.
In many cases, low-quality guides can break even the toughest line. What you can do is check what they’re made from. Also, you may want to read customer reviews to find valuable information about how the guides perform.
You should also think about the number of guides. The more you have, the less strain each of them will take.
Best spinning rods are made from high-quality materials like graphite, carbon fiber, and fiberglass. Some are made from composite materials, which means there’s more than one material in the blank construction.
Graphite is stiff, strong, and lightweight. It’s also sensitive because it’s so stiff. Overall, these typically perform well and are suitable for frequent use.
Fiberglass is less expensive than graphite but also heavier. It’s not sensitive or stiff, but you’ll find it strong enough to handle heavy fish.
Finally, carbon fiber is the strongest, lightest, and stiffest option. However, it’s also the most expensive out of all materials.
As with all rods, you’ll have a few handle options to pick from. Choosing one is usually up to you, so keep your needs and preferences in mind.
The thing with rod handle is that you might not like what other people like. So what you find comfortable might be uncomfortable to others.
The two primary materials for handles are cork and EVA foam. EVA foam is soft and cool to the touch, and it’s also pretty stiff.
Cork is considered more attractive. It’s warmer but not so suitable for rough use.
Fishing equipment is often quite pricey, so make sure to have a budget in mind. This way, you can narrow your list of options so that you don’t waste any time.
The good news is that the market offers many spinning rods at different prices. In addition, many of the best models are affordable, so there’s something for everyone.
However, you may want to take some time to check the materials, features, and other factors we talked about. Don’t let the price be the deciding factor because it doesn’t always indicate top quality.
Also, remember to check the warranty as it’s always helpful even if it’s only a year long.
One-Piece vs. Two-Piece Fishing Rods
One-piece and two-piece rods offer entirely different things when it comes to performance and convenience. Two-piece models are easier to transport because you can break them down into two pieces.
This makes them perfect for boat fishing.
On the other hand, they often lose sensitivity where the two pieces connect. As a result, they’re not the best for catching light fish.
A one-piece spinning rod is more sensitive but also trickier to carry around, depending on the rod length. So, it’s best to think about what you find more important because both types have their advantages and drawbacks.
What is the best all-around bass spinning rod?
Most of the spinning rods we reviewed will do fine when catching bass. These are durable and strong, so you probably won’t have any issues even with large fish.
However, you should focus on finding the strongest materials and quality of manufacturing. For example, you may want to check the Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod as one of the most stable and efficient.
It’s made from graphite and fiberglass, so it will handle heavy fish without any issues. Plus, it also has a series of useful features to help you fight your catch.
This one is comfortable and easy to use in many different fishing situations. And, you can choose between several sizes and variations.
How long should my spinning rod be?
It’s difficult to tell how long your rod should be. This depends on what you fish for, how, and where. In most cases, you can make do with what you have, but it always helps to have the right length for the specific conditions.
A short rod is usually 6′ or less. This one is perfect for short and accurate casts. However, you can go for something longer if you don’t care about pinpoint accuracy so much.
In this case, a rod over 7′ is probably a better choice.
You should also consider the water you’re fishing in as well as other conditions. Is the water dirty? Is there a heavy cover?
Things like these help determine how much accuracy you need, and with that, the perfect length.
What reel should I use?
There are many different spinning reels to pick from. They’re organized according to a specific numbering system that indicates their size.
Which one you’ll choose is up to you, depending on the fish you’re targeting. All you have to remember is that the smallest numbers indicate the smallest reels.
However, you’ll notice some brands use a 2-digit number, whereas others use a 4-digit number.
This shouldn’t be much of a problem because the first number is always the same. So, what one brand might call a 20 reel, another will call a 2000 reel.
Small reels go from 10/1000 to 35/3500, whereas large reels go from 70/7000 to 300/30,000.
Are spinning rods good for beginners?
Spinning rods are excellent for beginners because they’re easy to use. They’re also enjoyable to use in many situations and for a wide range of fish.
Another thing that makes them suitable is their weight. Spinning rods are typically lighter weight and more suitable for small fish, usually targeted by beginners.
Is an expensive fishing rod worth it?
Expensive fishing rods are worth it if you have the money to spend. However, some of these are far more expensive than other models, so make sure to check their pros and cons.
These are typically the best rods, but it always helps to check them in detail. This way, you can ensure that the price indicates quality because this isn’t always the case.
Final Thoughts on The Best Spinning Rod
Finding a perfect spinning rod and a suitable spinning reel might seem complicated. But, it doesn’t have to be. Hopefully, our reviews and guide helped you understand why these rods are as popular.
The best fishing rod has it all – strength, the perfect amount of flexibility, and ease of use. Still, it’s up to you to figure out which particular rod works for your needs and preferences.
These are the best on the market, so it’s unlikely you’ll go wrong with either, especially if you’re a beginner.