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Best Baitcasting Rod of 2021: Review and Buying Guide

Best Overall Choice
Daiwa Tatula XT Bass Casting Rods- Overall

Daiwa Tatula XT Bass Casting Rods

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Best Budget Choice
Abu Garcia Vengeance Casting Rod- Budget

Abu Garcia Vengeance Casting Rod- Best Baitcasting Rod for Striped Bass

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Best Premium Choice
St. Croix Mojo Bass Casting Rod- Premium

St. Croix Mojo Bass Casting Rod- Best Baitcasting Rod for Finesse Fishing

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Kyle W by Kyle W Updated on May 31, 2021. In

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Going after large fish requires a baitcasting rod with a lot of strength and first-rate guides to keep your line protected. On the other hand, finesse applications and catching smaller fish requires light power rods.

Finding the right rods for your specific purpose might not be as easy as picking the first option that pops up. Of course, you don’t want to do that, and that’s why you are reading this review and buying guide.

There are a few technicalities to consider when choosing the best baitcasting rod, such as power, action, material, and more. Don’t worry if any of this doesn’t make much sense to you at this point. You will figure it all out by the end of this guide.

Reviews of the Best Baitcasting Rods

Best Overall Choice

1. Daiwa Tatula XT Bass Casting Rods

Daiwa Tatula XT Bass Casting Rods- Overall

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The Daiwa Tatula XT checks almost everything you need in a baitcasting rod, including the best features as well as a reasonable price tag. But that’s not surprising considering the reputation of the brand.

Your purchase gives you a premium quality graphite fiber constructed rod that offers outstanding durability. Yet, it is one of the most flexible and sensitive rods available. The EVA split grip is comfortable, allowing you to handle it for extended periods.

We do not hesitate to recommend this option to anyone looking for a first-rate casting rod at a very affordable price.

Specs

  • Length: 7 ft to 7 ft 4 in
  • Material: Graphite fiber
  • Power: Medium-heavy
  • Action: Fast

Featured Specs

It features the brand’s X45 Bias graphite construction that significantly minimizes blank twists while maximizing the strength and bendiness required to handle bigger fish.

Additional Feature

EVA handles come in split-grip design for all-day comfort, particularly useful when fishing for longer periods.

Buying Advice

Get the 7-foot, medium-heavy rod. It is very durable and sensitive to the faintest nibbles, making it a better choice for fishing around dense cover.

Pros

  • Lightweight rod
  • Exceptionally durable
  • Graphite construction is corrosion-resistant
  • Extremely sensitive
  • Includes a hook keeper

Cons

  • Does not have micro guides

2. KastKing Speed Demon Pro- Best Baitcasting Rod for Crankbaits

KastKing Speed Demon Pro

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First off, the KastKing Speed Demon Pro is a gorgeous rod, plus it comes at a reasonable price. Beyond the looks and pocket-friendliness, this rod comes with a non-slip grip with a golf-style butt that improves the overall performance.

The rod features Fuji guides and reel seats that keep the reels securely in place and removes unnecessary friction from guides. The fast action rod is extremely light and offers tremendous balance.

Here’s a little detail that can come in handy for many anglers. If you are not too sure about the rod type that will work best for your fishing technique, KastKing included a table that spells out all the recommendations. This includes power, line weight, lure weight, guides, and more.

Specs

  • Length: 6 ft 10 in to 8 ft
  • Material: Carbon blanks with Nanotube resin
  • Power: Medium-light / Medium / Heavy
  • Action: Moderate / Fast

Featured Specs

The rod features a composite S-Glass material that improves overall balance and offers a soft crankbait action.

Additional Feature

The rod’s strength is 30% more than the typical graphite blank, giving you first-rate quality and superior craftsmanship.

Buying Advice

This is highly recommended for fishing crankbaits, as it a fine blend of strength, durability, lightweight, and sensitivity. Buy this if you want a rod that is sensitive enough for catching bass.

Pros

  • Top-notch craftsmanship and design
  • 30% stronger than the average graphite blank
  • Specially designed for crankbaits
  • Comes with the finest Fuji guides and reel seats

Cons

  • Slightly misaligned eyes on the pole

3. Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod- Best Baitcasting Rod for Topwater Fishing

Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod

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The GX2 might not be the best choice for baiting bass, but what you’re looking at is Ugly Stik’s best rod for trolling. The short end of the rod makes it a bit difficult to cast continuously, but it takes the lead when it comes to topwater fishing.

The durable graphite fiber construction means this rod will serve you for many years to come. It is light and extremely sensitive, thanks to the Clear Tip design that also lets you get quicker hook sets. You’ll find this great for fishing around visible structure or dense cover.

Specs

  • Length: 5 ft 6 in to 7 ft 6 in
  • Material: Graphite fiber
  • Power: Medium-light / Medium / Medium-heavy / Heavy
  • Action: Fast

Featured Specs

The rod comes with Ugly Tuff guides that eliminate line restrictions on casts and reduces the rod’s overall weight.

Additional Feature

The Clear Tip design provides additional strength and boosts the rod’s sensitivity.

Buying Advice

This rod is a great choice for topwater fishing due to its lightweight and sensitivity. Consider using it for jitterbugs and hula poppers in the spring.

Pros

  • Works well with plenty of line weights and lures
  • Lightweight rod
  • Works well for topwater fishing

Cons

  • Slightly short rod butt for bass fishing
Best Budget Choice

4. Abu Garcia Vengeance Casting Rod- Best Baitcasting Rod for Striped Bass

Abu Garcia Vengeance Casting Rod- Budget

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If you prefer larger fishing, you will need a strong and responsive casting rod like the Vengeance from the renowned manufacturer, Abu Garcia. The rod fits the bill perfectly, with the addition of being a very lightweight option.

Abu Garcia constructed the blank from 24-ton modulus graphite, giving it the lightweight quality. It comes with high-density grips plus stainless steel guides fitted with titanium inserts. This combination gives you all the leverage you need when a large fish puts the line under pressure.

The Vengeance is a one-piece rod, making it an excellent choice for fishing larger bass. To top it all, the rod includes a Texas-rigged hook keeper that works well for a good number of bait applications.

Specs

  • Length: 6 ft 6 in to 7 ft 6 in
  • Material: 24-ton modulus graphite
  • Power: Medium / Medium-heavy / Heavy
  • Action: Fast

Featured Specs

The rod can hold up with heavy line pressure due to the stainless steel guides with titanium inserts. The feature makes the rod suitable for fishing small and large bass.

Additional Feature

The casting rod comes with durable, high-density EVA handles for maximum comfort and leverage during long hours of fishing.

Buying Advice

Consider getting a heavy power rod if you plan to use this option for striped bass. You will need the extra strength to get the fish onto the boat.

Pros

  • One-piece rod construction
  • Excellent choice for fishing large striped bass
  • Strong and durable rod
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Not feature-rich
Best Premium Choice

5. St. Croix Mojo Bass Casting Rod- Best Baitcasting Rod for Finesse Fishing

St. Croix Mojo Bass Casting Rod- Premium

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Serious anglers who want to feel even the slightest nibble may want to check out this casting rod from St. Croix Mojo. It is arguably the best casting rod in terms of sensitivity, thanks to the SCII graphite construction and the Integrated Poly Curve tooling technology.

St. Croix is not new to fishing rods. The manufacturer has continuously innovated casting rods for over seven decades, which explains why the Mojo Bass Casting Rod is among the fishing community’s go-to options. The long years of manufacturing experience manifest in superior performance and unmatched sensitivity.

Specs

  • Length: 6 ft 8 in to 7 ft 1 in
  • Material: SCII Graphite
  • Power: Medium / Medium-heavy / Heavy
  • Action: Moderate-fast / Fast / Extra-fast

Featured Specs

The Integrated Poly Curve (IPC) tooling technology provides exceptionally smooth actions and greater sensitivity.

Additional Feature

The casting rod comes in a slim profile and includes a cork handle and small guides, all of which contribute to a smoother action.

Buying Advice

You are likely to get the most out of St Croix offerings if you choose a medium/fast action rod. Improve your chance of catching up to 2 to 3 pounds of bass or panfish by throwing a soft plastic on the rod and fishing around dense cover.

Pros

  • Unbeatable sensitivity
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Industry-leading 5-year warranty

Cons

  • Handle might be a bit short for some anglers

6. KastKing Perigee II- Best Twin-Tip Casting Rod

KastKing Perigee II

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Last on our list (and a second entry from KastKing) is the Perigee II, constructed from a 24-ton carbon matrix with KastFlex technology for improved strength and accuracy.

This twin tip rod is surprisingly inexpensive but comes with features that are seen only on high-end rods. For example, the spigot joint that minimizes the movement felt in a two-piece rod is usually found in expensive casting rods, but it is included in the Perigee II.

This is a great choice for fishing trout, bass, redfish, and snook. Plus, it works well for walleye and catfishing, too. Most importantly, you can use this rod for freshwater and saltwater fishing.

Specs

  • Length: 7 ft
  • Material: 24-ton Carbon Matrix
  • Power: Medium / Medium-heavy
  • Action: Fast

Featured Specs

The rod comes with the well-known Fuji O-Ring line guides plus high-density EVA grips and extra-strong reel seats to help with casting distance and repeated casts.

Additional Feature

The two different tips mean you can use one base portion of the blank with a medium-heavy and medium rod. This is the same as having two rods in one.

Buying Advice

This is a great choice for those who are relatively new to casting rods. It is a safe middle ground for anglers who are unsure of what rod type to choose, and it comes with impressive technology.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • The two-piece rod is essential two rods in one
  • Excellent build quality

Cons

  • Durability might be an issue

How to Choose a Baitcasting Rod

How to Choose a Baitcasting Rod

Baitcasting has been around for quite a long time. Unfortunately, many people are still unfamiliar with how to choose the right tools for the task.

Reading through reviews is great, but it can leave many people a little more confused than they were before they even started searching for the best product for their purpose. The scenario applies to finding the best baitcasting rod, too.

Here are the basic things to remember as you try to figure out the best choice to go with.

Power vs. Action

For many beginner anglers, the distinction between power and action is blurry at best. To some people, towing the path of “lightness” is better, but that is not always correct.

It is crucial to understand the difference between power and action if you must pick the right rod for your specific fishing style. Let’s take a closer look at these terms.

Power

Here’s a simple way to put it. First, power is equal to pressure, as far as casting is concerned. In other words, a rod’s power indicates the amount of pressure required to make it bend. Think of a rod’s power in terms of the size of fish that a rod can handle.

A light power rod is designed to handle less pressure, making it suitable for a small fish. Of course, as you may have already figured out, ultra-light rods are your best bet for finesse applications.

Trying to get a large fish into your boat using a light or ultra-light rod is usually an uphill task. The simply isn’t designed to handle such pressure.

On the other hand, heavy power rods are designed to handle larger fish since it takes a whole lot of pressure on the end of the line to bend the rod. These rod types are best suited for deep-sea fishing and similar applications.

If you flip back to each rod’s specs in this review, you will see that the power (medium, heavy, etc.) now makes more sense.

Action

A rod’s action is not as easy to explain as its power. Without getting into the nitty-gritty technicalities, a rod’s action is determined by:

  • How easy a rod bends
  • The extent to which it can bend (how far down the blank it can go)
  • The time it takes for the pressure to move to the blank
  • How heavy or light the lure is

In a nutshell, all these factors translate into slow and fast action.

Slow Action

Typically, a slow action rod bends a lot down the blank (nearly halfway). This information is crucial because the bend’s inertia will allow you to cast lighter lures much farther.

While this can be a good thing in some situations, it has the disadvantage of preventing you from quickly feeling the nibble. Usually, it is harder to set the hook in slow action rods.

Fast Action

Fast action rods typically bend only about a foot down the blank, allowing you to get a feel of the pressure more quickly. In other words, you will feel the nibble a lot faster and better, and it takes less of a hassle to set the hook, particularly on smaller fish.

The recommendation is to use fast action rods for finesses applications and for catching smaller fish, while slow action rods are more suitable for larger fish with heavy strikes.

If you flip back (again) to the rods we’ve reviewed, you will notice that they are all medium power and fast action rods. Choosing any of the options gives you a rod with a moderate amount of power plus the ease of setting the hook. Any of the rods will also offer you considerable casting distance.

Choosing Between Fiberglass Material vs. Graphite Material

The two common choices when it comes to baitcasting rod materials are fiberglass and graphite. Which should you pick? Is one better than the other?

We recommend choosing a rod constructed from graphite. They are stronger, more sensitive, and generally more durable. Rods can be made from only graphite or a combination of graphite and other elements. The downside to graphite rods is their price, as they tend to be more expensive.

Fiberglass rods do not have the strength and durability of their graphite counterparts, but they are very flexible. In addition, they usually have lower prices.

Nearly all major manufacturers have moved away from using fiberglass. Most modern rods are made from graphite rods, and a good number of them also use carbon fiber material, which is considered the highest quality material for rods.

Here’s the bottom line. We suggest that you shift your focus from specific materials and pay more attention to the feature of the rod you want to buy. What it can do and how well it performs in different fishing conditions and environments are more important considerations.

Any rod material is great as long as customer reviews don’t point out concerns about the product falling apart or breaking. If you find a good rod that you think will serve your purpose, go for it, even if it is made from fiberglass. You might be pleasantly surprised that it performs excellently.

Rod Length

The best rod length generally comes down to what you want to do with the rod. Of course, you want to go fishing probably on your new canoe, but do you want more accuracy, or are you hoping to make long-distance casting?

The length of the rod you choose will greatly impact these two factors, but there’s more. It also determines the leverage with which you fish and, most importantly, how comfortable you are fishing with the rod.

We recommend choosing a shorter rod (about 6 feet or less) if you want a more accurate cast within a small body of water. Shorter rods are easier to manage and maneuver. When precise accuracy matters less, you can go with a long rod (over 7 feet). A 7-foot rod is okay for general purpose fishing.

It is important to consider your personal comfort when choosing a rod length. Just because your favorite pro angler uses a 10-foot baitcasting rod doesn’t mean it will work for you.

Consider your height and how easy it will be to handle the rod before deciding what is best for you. Tall individuals are likely more comfortable with longer rods than shorter people.

Final Thoughts

There is no shortage of rods in the market, but the best baitcasting rod is one that fits your fishing technique and makes a lot of sense to you. Hopefully, you will find that one among the options we have reviewed in this guide.

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