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12 Best Baitcasting Rods of 2021

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Baitcasting Rods Overview

When deciding on a baitcasting rod, any decent product should offer great hook-setting power and withstand heavy cover situations. Baitcasting rods should be strong enough to battle fish into the boat but sensitive enough to perform well and give the angler complete control.

In general, the best baitcasting rods range between medium to heavy power and have a moderate to fast action rating. These qualities ensure versatility and that you’ll be prepared for any situation while out on the water.

There are some unique situations, such as when fishing for Striped Bass when you could benefit from extra-heavy power. Otherwise, medium to heavy power is the sweet spot.

If anyone ever says you need more than one baitcasting rod to catch fish, they’re wrong. While many experienced anglers will invest in a collection of specialized rods for unique applications, it certainly isn’t necessary. For beginners or anyone on a budget, a single rod can give you at least 90% of the performance you need to handle any fishing situation.

Entsport E Series (Value Rod)

Entsport E Series baitcasting rod

The Entsport E Series Casting Rod is a new product that deserves more attention and appreciation than it’s given. The rod is built from 24-ton carbon fiber while also being shockingly affordable.

You won’t find any other rod with the same quality level for anglers on a budget under $50.

Carbon fiber construction makes for a lightweight design. It has corrosion-resistant guides, high-density EVA handles, and superior comfort. The handle’s shape gives the angler more control while experiencing less fatigue, even through long days out on the water.

The rod components make it seem as though it would have a price tag of $200 or more. Smooth casts and a solid connection between the two pieces make it a joy to use, especially when it costs 75% less than similar products.

The difference between this rod and others is it doesn’t have the best durability. The performance and weight reduction are there, but it’s not a rod you can use extremely hard.

Given this word of caution, we also don’t want to make it appear weaker than it is. In reality, the Entsport E Series has plenty of durability and strength for most anglers. This is our #1 choice for beginner anglers or anyone who doesn’t wish to overspend on their equipment. Look at the Amazon ratings where the Entsport E Series has amassed over 800 5-star reviews to hear more opinions.

St. Croix Mojo Bass Baitcasting Rod

St. Croix Mojo Bass Baitcasting Rod for bass

The St. Croix Mojo Bass rod features plenty of power to cast heavier baits while still retaining a surprising amount of sensitivity. These balanced qualities also make it an effective baitcasting rod for lightweight lures.

Anglers describe this rod as “fun and exciting” because you can feel everything that’s happening under the water. Every impact with rocks, logs, pulls through weeds, and taps from fish send vibrations through the rod to the fisherman’s hand.

It’s great for soft-plastics, topwater baits, and finesse applications such as flipping and skipping under docks. We admire how this rod meets the needs of all anglers and all fishing styles.

The Mojo Bass is a great value for the money and is versatile enough to be used year-round. With a slim profile, cork handle, and smooth action, it has an elegant design while retaining its performance.

Any purchase from Amazon.com, BassPro.com, or St. Croix directly comes with a 5-year warranty as well. St. Croix wants you to use their products to their full capability and never have to worry about damaging your equipment.

Fishing should be fun, and mistakes shouldn’t be expensive.

Ugly Stik Elite Casting Rod

Ugly Stik Elite Casting Rod

Ugly Stik prioritized lightweight construction in their Elite Casting Rod series. They have a one-piece design enhancing their sensitivity, and all rods have fast action ratings.

With a graphite construction, sturdy guides, and a clear-tip design, every piece of this rod was meant to excel in quality. All materials are professional grade, without have a professional level price tag.

We recommend the 7-foot model for bass fishermen. It’s a joy to use inshore and doesn’t show the slightest signs of stress, even when casting heavier baits.

There aren’t many rods that are this high-quality and built by well-known brands with price tags under $100. Prices vary between models, as some can be purchased for less than $50.

We recommend checking the product out for yourself and skimming the 340 reviews where customers gave the Ugly Stik Elite Casting Rod an average rating o 4.6-Stars.

Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod

Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Fishing Rod

The other phenomenal baitcasting rod that Ugly Stik makes is the GX2 Casting Rod. It features the same clear tip design, which improves sensitivity in the most important location.

This enhanced tip sensitivity makes the GX2 the best rod for topwater fishing in our eyes. Ugly Stik developed a technology to reduce the amount of resin needed in production, which makes the GX2 far lighter without losing any performance.

A Lightweight design, thoroughly tuned performance, and graphite fiber materials all come together, making this one of the best rods on the market. It works very well with most lure types and weights.

Whether you’re a topwater fanatic, enjoy sensitive rods, or frequently fish in heavy cover, the GX2 Casting Rod, constructed from graphite fiber, will never let you down. It’s available in sizes from 5’6″ to 7’6″ to meet the needs of all anglers.

KastKing Perigee II Baitcasting Rod

KastKing Perigee II Baitcasting fishing rod

Many premium components of the KastKing Perigee II make it stand out amongst the crowd.

The Premium Fuji O-ring line guides and high-strength reel seat both work to maximize your casting distance and increase durability.

A High-density EVA grip makes the rod comfortable to use for repeated casts throughout the day. KastKing also added a Saf-T Keeper hook holder to the second edition of the Perigee for the fisherman’s convenience.

While you can choose between a dozen different models, varying in length, weight, and rod pieces, the best value undoubtedly comes in the twin-tip models. These come in a 3-piece set and enable the angler to switch out the tip and change the rod’s weight.

Basically, when buying a twin-tip model, you’re getting two rods for the price of one. Simply switching out the upper half of the rod changes it from medium power to medium-heavy power.

If you’re new to fishing and unsure about which rod is right for you, a twin-tip bargain is the best possible option. It allows the angler to experiment with strengths and effectively fish every lure type known to man.

The “spigot” connection technology in the Perigee II is usually only found in higher-end carbon fiber rods. You’re getting the value of two +$300 rods for under $100.

Daiwa Tatula Casting Rod

Daiwa Tatula Casting fishing rod

Daiwa focused on making the Tatula Baitcasting Rod as lightweight as possible, using less resin in their construction process. This rod has a great balance between power, precision, and sensitivity.

An outstanding feature is this rod’s ability to cast lightweight lures with pinpoint accuracy. There’s no sacrifice to accuracy and performance with the increased power and strength.

The Tatula has premium Fuji Alconite guides, which are the best in the industry, and is constructed from fiber graphite. A split-grip EVA handle makes the rod comfortable in hand and effortless to maneuver.

The graphite is corrosion resistant and gives the rod great sensitivity. The angler gets better feedback since vibrations flow through the line, resonate down the blank, and into the handle. Daiwa’s Tatula is available in lengths from 6’10” to 7’10”, making it ideal for bass anglers.

Abu Garcia Veritas Baitcasting Rod

Abu Garcia Veritas Casting fishing rod

The second generation of Abu Garcia’s Veritas is now available. The renowned manufacturer has reported a 22% increase in general strength and an exceptional 30% increase in tip strength.

Veritas Series Casting Rods have always had a strong backbone, abling them to fight larger fish than most rods. This is done without sacrificing accuracy since a softer tip compensates for the rigidity. Abu Garcia also uses titanium line guide frames to prevent wear of line and increase durability.

This rod has a Medium/Strong rating and is ideal for larger freshwater species. If there’s one complaint we have, the Abu Garcia Veritas doesn’t perform well with lighter lures and lines. This is a specialized setup and is not the best choice for an angler who wants a year-round baitcasting rod.

St. Croix Triumph Casting Rods

St. Croix Triumph Casting fishing rod

St. Croix Triumph Casting Rods have outstanding action and great sensitivity. The Fuji reel seats make this thing cast a mile. Since it has an extra-fast action rating, you’ll be able to identify strikes quickly and increase your hookup ratio.

The rod has Medium/Heavy power, and the price is very reasonable for the number of quality components it has. Like other St. Croix rods, we see Fuji reel seats, SCII graphite construction, and aluminum oxide guides.

St. Croix has delivered another high-quality product with professional-grade materials. Just like the St. Croix Mojo Bass, the Triumph Casting Rod comes with a 5-year warranty. When a company offers this long of a warranty, it certainly tells you how confident they are in their products.

Okuma Scott Martin Concept Rods TCS

Okuma Scott Martin Concept Rods TCS fishing

The Okuma Scott Martin Concept Rods TCS was designed by, you guessed it, FLW champion Scott Martin. When arguably the best angler in the world designs a rod and puts his name on it, there’s no questioning its quality.

While the rod was designed for tournament anglers, any fisherman who wants the highest quality gear will love it. Any fisherman who appreciates the attention to detail, balance, casting accuracy, power, and sensitivity needs to consider this investment.

The handle has a split design and is made from a combination of EVA material and cork. This gives the angler a ton of grip and adds to the elegant design of this legendary product.

The guide frames are the best in the industry, produced from ALPS stainless steel, and increase strength and durability.

It’s important to note the rod is specifically designed to be used with braided fishing line. This makes sense since professional anglers use braided lines on their baitcasting setups.

Models range between 6’6″ to 7’11” in length and are available in medium, medium-heavy, and extra-heavy powers. You should really only consider the extra-heavy style if you primarily target larger fish and use heavier lures. The extra-heavy power will effortlessly cast baits up to 2.5 oz in weight.

Components Overview

  • 30-ton carbon
  • Ultra sensitive blank
  • C-40X Carbon Reel Seat
  • Aluminum oxide guide inserts
  • EVA and Cork Split Grip
  • ALPS Stainless Steel Guide Frames

KastKing Speed Demon Pro Baitcasting Rod

KastKing Speed Demon Pro Baitcasting Rod orange color

The KastKing Speed Demon Pro is the best baitcasting crankbait rod for the money. It’s super lightweight and still strong enough to handle larger deep-diving cranks.

Well balanced and 30% stronger than KastKing’s standard graphite rod, this is truly a premium rod for anglers looking to invest in a quality product.

While we’ve identified this as a phenomenal crankbait rod, it’s durable and strong enough for all bait sizes. It has Fuji guides and a Fuji reel seat, allowing it to cast extremely far.

The guides also reduce the amount of friction your line has to endure, meaning your line will last longer and reducing the likelihood you’ll get broken off.

If you haven’t identified your favorite length and power, we like the 7′ long model with moderate action the best. This is especially true if you’re a largemouth or smallmouth bass angler.

The non-slip grip is effortless to use, even during all-day outings. We never faced issues with strain or fatigue while rigorously testing the product.

Abu Garcia Vengeance Casting Rod

Abu Garcia Vengeance Casting Fishing Rod

The Abu Garcia Vengeance Casting Rod has a 24-ton graphite blank, making it incredibly strong. The increased durability is added without making the build any heavier or any less responsive. This one-piece rod is a tank that withstands heavy use and battles with big fish.

Abu Garcia says they’ve used “Sublayer armor with high strength fibers for exceptional durability and hoop strength.” The stainless steel and titanium guides are sturdy and resilient. An EVA grip is also featured, makings casting more comfortable and ensuring the rod won’t slip from your hands, even when fighting larger fish.

The durability and increased leverage make this rod ideal for larger, harder fighting fish. The Heavy-power version of the Vengeance Casting Rod, in our opinion, is the best baitcasting pole for Striped Bass. It’s also a must-have when targeting Northern Pike.

For smaller, less aggressive game fish, the ultra-high power may not be ideal. If you’re going after smallmouth, largemouth, or spotted bass, the Medium or Medium-Heavy power versions are better options.

The Vengeance is a fast action casting rod, meaning feedback gets transferred faster through the blank, ultimately increasing your hook-up ratio. Length options range from 6’6″ to 7’6″, but the 7′ model is the best size that meets most angler’s needs.

Cadence CR7B (Value Rod)

Cadence CR7B Bass Fishing Baitcasting Rod

The rod manufacturer Cadence built a name for themselves when they released their CR6B rod. They took the popular model, made a few adjustments, and released their improved predecessor, the Cadence CR7B Casting Rod.

To give you a quick overview of the CR7B’s features, it’s a 1-piece and 40-ton build with a Fuji Reel Seet, a premium cork and EVA handle, stainless steel guides, and SIC inserts.

The combination of these features makes it stronger and more sensitive than the CR6B. The casting has only gotten smoother, and it continues to reduce the friction your line experiences with premium guides. Vibrations are transferred down the guides to your hand to give you better feedback and faster reaction times.

With a price tag of less than $100, it would be a shame not to consider the Cadence CR7B while making your purchase decision. All the lightweight and strong components make this rod a great value, and the wide variety of lengths and actions mean there’s a model suitable for everyone.

Cadence offers a “worry-free 1-year warranty” for the CR7B, which is a welcomed surprise given the rod costs less than $100.

So should you be considering this rod? If you’re an angler looking to start collecting specialized rods, this is the best place for you to start without spending too much.

Each model has different lengths, power ratings, and action ratings and has recommended lure types they should be fished with. There are models designed for Jerkbaits, Topwaters, Spinnerbaits & Chatterbaits, and several varieties that are Multi-Purpose.

Cadence CR7B Models

  • Jerkbait Model (CR7-661B-MF)
  • Length: 6’6″
  • Power: Medium
  • Action: Fast
  • Topwater Model (CR7-691B-MHF)
  • Length: 6’9″
  • Power: Medium/Heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Spinnerbait & Chatterbait Model (CR7-6101B-MHMF)
  • Length: 6’10”
  • Power: Medium/Heavy
  • Action: Moderate/Fast
  • Multi-Purpose Model (CR7-701B-MF)
  • Length: 7′
  • Power: Medium
  • Action: Fast
  • Multi-Purpose Model (CR7-701B-MHF)
  • Length: 7′
  • Power: Medium/Heavy
  • Action: Fast

Personalizing Your Decision

If you’re new to fishing and had difficulty understanding the terms we’ve used and how they apply to you, we’re here to help. In the section below, we’ve divided baitcasting information into several categories. We intend to help all anglers make personalized decisions when purchasing bass fishing, tackle & gear.

Rod Power

For beginner anglers, we’ll provide a few quick definitions of the terms we use. Rod power refers to the amount of pressure it takes to bend a rod. The higher the power rating, the better a rod is at landing bigger fish. On the other hand, lower power ratings are better for smaller fish, as it offers more sensitivity to detect bites.

Rod Action

There are four action ratings, slow, moderate, fast, and extra-fast. Action ratings are slightly more complicated, as they alter how a rod bends, where a rod bends, and the ideal lure weight.

Slow and fast action ratings are the most important. Slow action rods are more flexible, and they bend roughly halfway down the blank. Fast action rods bend higher up near the tip of the rod, allowing you to feel bites and feedback quicker.

Slow action rods are better for lighter lures and will cast baits slightly farther. Their greatest downside is that they don’t have as much hook-setting power, making them less ideal as baitcasting rods.

Fast action rods allow for better reaction times, which leads to much better hook-up ratios. These Fast/Moderate action rods have the ideal baitcasting qualities of increased hook-setting power, better hook-up ratios, and great casting distances with most sizes of baits.

Materials

Fiberglass is more flexible but not as durable or strong as graphite or carbon fiber. They’re generally less expensive and are usually used by beginner anglers who don’t care much about performance.

Graphite rods usually offer better durability, strength, and sensitivity, but they’re often more expensive and have mid-ranged prices. Most quality rods that don’t have astronomical prices are now at least partially constructed out of graphite.

Carbon Fiber is the ultimate high-end material. It allows for an incredible amount of strength while being super lightweight. These rods are often costly and should be considered by advanced anglers looking to invest.

Length and Sizing

When presented with dozens of length options, many anglers get confused and discouraged when making a purchase. While all fishermen will develop their own preferences, we’ll help you find a place to start.

For many, between 7′ and 7’6″ is the best baitcasting rod length. This range has the most versatility and tends to have considerably better performance than longer or shorter rods. One exception would be for anglers who frequently cast under low-hanging trees or in confined areas. If this sounds like you, it could mean a rod between 6’6″ and 7′ is the best choice.

Rods and Lure Types

Considering the lure types, you fish most frequently can be important. If you cast heavier baits all the time, you may want a Medium/High power rod, for example.

Anglers looking to diversify their gear and purchase specialized rods also need to consider lure types. Some brands such as Cadence (reviewed below) build models designed for specific lures such as Jerkbaits, Topwaters, Spinnerbaits, and Chatterbaits.

This only applies to anglers looking for the best performance possible and willing to spend the extra money.

One-Piece vs. Two-piece

There are two types of baitcasting rods, one-piece and two-piece. Two-piece rods are split in half and are easier to transport. They’re also more practical and aren’t as likely to be damaged in storage.

One-piece rods offer better performance with longer casts, increased sensitivity, and better durability. The sensitivity is always better when there isn’t a joint separating the two blanks.

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