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10 Best Bass Fishing Rods of 2021

Best bass fishing rods of 2021 cover image

Bass Fishing Rods

Whether you’re new to bass fishing or expanding your rod collection, our professional team is here to give you advice. In this guide, we discuss the best bass fishing rods of 2021. We analyze spinning rods, baitcasting rods, and equipment in every price range.

Bass fishing is a beginner-friendly sport, but it’s also intricate at the professional level. You could spend as little as $20 on a beginner rod and as much as $600 on a tournament model. Regardless of where you lie on this spectrum, you’ll be able to catch fish.

A premium rod may help you advance your skillsets, but spending your entire bank account won’t make you a better angler. It’s important to have fun, practice, and enjoy yourself out on the water. Without further ado, let’s break down the year’s best bass fishing rods.

Quick Overview

First, we discuss every type of bass fishing rod. From spinning and casting varieties to cheap and expensive models, we cover it all.

At the end of this post, we’ve included a buyer’s guide to help you make a personalized purchase decision. See our guide to the best bass fishing reels 2021 for more equipment information.

Use the links below to jump to different sections of this article.

Spinning Rods

Every angler should own a spinning rod. This is the best place for beginners to start, and it’s the most versatile option. You can fish almost all types of bass lures on a spinning setup, especially your lightweight baits.

These rods are great for beginners who don’t have baitcasting experience. Spinning rods are also perfect for advanced fishermen who want precision, sensitivity, and freedom from baitcasting reels’ hassles.

When it comes to power, the most beginner-friendly option is a medium power rating. This style will fish just about everything and is ideal for your most common fishing situations. Medium-light power will give you more sensitivity and is performance-oriented for technical bass fishing situations.

Bass X Spinning Rod – Best Spinning Rod Overall

4.6 Stars | 92 Angler Reviews | $110 – $170

Bass X Spinning Fishing Rod

The most versatile fishing rod of 2021 is the St Croix Bass X Spinning Rod. We recommend the 7’1″ model with a medium power rating; however, any similar length will work as well. St Croix is the most highly-respected fishing rod brand in the world. They’ve built their reputation through exceptional build-quality and an angler-first design approach.

This model is designed for bass fishermen and has a very reasonable price. St Croix knew many anglers couldn’t spend hundreds of dollars on equipment, so they designed the Bass X. Now, you can get professional-level quality for a third of what high-end tournament rods cost.

You’ll also love St Croix’s warranty offer. Every purchase includes a 5-year warranty that covers all damages to the product. This customer service is why many anglers invest in a St Croix rod and stick with the brand for years.

The Bass X lets you fish every type of bass lure. From shakey heads, Senko Worms, and topwaters to jerkbaits, flukes, and crankbaits, the list is nearly endless. We’ve linked to the Bass X through the button above to check it out for yourself.

Shimano Zodias – Best Finesse Spinning Rod

5 Stars | 9 Angler Reviews | $200 – $250

Shimano Zodias finesse spinning bass fishing rod

The best spinning rod for finesse baits is the Medium-Light Shimano Zodias. This pole comes in many lengths, although the 7’0″ model is best for technical fishing. If you’re a serious angler who fishes drop shots, ned rigs, finesse swimbaits, Texas rigs, or shaky heads, this bass rod is a must-have.

This medium-light rod is also ideal for clear water conditions. When the fish have better visibility, they become harder to trick, and finesse baits usually catch them. The heightened-sensitivity of the Shimano Zodias is essential for your jigging presentation and indicating strikes.

Shimano’s design team built this rod from lightweight carbon fiber. The sleek handle design increases sensitivity by 30% compared to the average high-end spinning rod.

Everything about this bass fishing rod screams high-quality. We’ve found that the greater amount of feedback makes the Zodias far more exciting and engaging than other models.

Baitcasting Rods

Baitcasting rods are frequently seen as a step-up in performance from spinning rods. These setups offer an increase in reel power and allow you to cast larger baits. You’ll also get the advantage of being able to cover water much faster.

If you have experience bass fishing and are looking to upgrade your tackle, you should learn to use a baitcasting rod and reel combo.

KastKing Perigee II – Best Value Baitcasting Rod

4.5 Stars | 2,417 Angler Reviews | $73

KastKing Perigee II Baitcasting fishing rod

The KastKing Perigee II is the best value baitcasting bass fishing rod. For around $75, this rod features a carbon fiber blank, Fuji O-ring guides, a high-strength reel seat, and more. We recommend the 7’0″ medium power model for the most lure versatility.

Most two-piece rods aren’t as durable or sensitive as one-piece bass rods. However, the Perigee II has power transition technology that increases the strength of the joints. The two-piece rods are super convenient and have the performance of one-piece rods.

This rod is perfect for fishing spoons, blade baits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and more. The cosmetics are outstanding, making the Perigee II look far more expensive than it is.

Favorite Defender – Most Versatile Bass Rod

4.9 Stars | 82 Angler Reviews

Favorite Defender bass fishing rod

One of our favorite bass fishing products this year is the Favorite Defender Baitcasting Rod. The Medium-Heavy model is extremely versatile and enables you to fish most types of lures. We recommend lengths between 7’0″ and 7’4″, especially if you frequently use Texas Rigs, Jigs, Light Topwaters, Soft Plastics, or Crankbaits.

When a product receives an average rating of 4.9 stars on Amazon, it’s a great sign. With wicked cool graphics and a well-balanced blank, there’s little not to like.

The Defender also has good two-piece models to choose from. Favorite Rods uses high-quality joints in these poles that give them the performance of one-piece setups.

Dobyns Fury Series – Best Heavy Cover Bass Rod

4.5 Stars | 98 Angler Reviews

Dobyns Fury Series heavy Cover bass fishing rod

During the summer, most bass lakes see an increase in vegetation. Anglers that frequently fish around heavy cover or throw topwater lures will love the Dobyns Fury Series Rod. When you’re fishing around obstacles such as grasses and lily pads, it’s best to use a heavy power rod.

The Fury Bass Rod is exceptionally well-balanced for its strength. It’s lightweight, sensitive, comfortable, and as durable as possible. You’ll be prepared to throw topwater frogs, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, and more. Many anglers use the Fury Series for flipping and punching as well.

Dobyns always incorporates premium components into their products. The Fury Series features a kevlar wrap, Fuji reel seat, and an ultra-sensitive graphite blank.

Budget Bass Rods

Anglers that are new to bass fishing don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on equipment. There are plenty of affordable rods that will get you started, and they have all the features that a novice angler needs.

The beginners who buy expensive tournament-quality rods are only wasting their money. You need the proper technique to get the benefits out of a performance-rod, so you might as well learn on a cheaper product.

Quality vs. Price

While this is all true, you should be cautious when buying an inexpensive fishing rod. There are many cheap products with false advertising online. You don’t want to spend money on a rod that’s sure to break.

We’ve found some “gems” that are inexpensive and have exceptional build-quality. If you know what qualities to look for, you can save a ton of money and fish with a higher-quality pole.

Ugly Stik GX2 – Toughest Budget Bass Rod

4.6 Stars | 1,680 Angler Reviews

Ugly Stik Gx2 fishing rod

If you ask experienced anglers what the best beginner rod brand is, 90% of them will say Ugly Stik. This fishing rod manufacturer is known for making the most affordable and highest-quality rods on the market. Currently, the most advanced rod in their lineup is the Ugly Stik GX2. For under $50, there’s no better value pole on the market.

Ugly Stik uses a combination of graphite and fiberglass materials to construct their blanks. This design makes the GX2 ultra-strong without adding unnecessary weight. You won’t have to worry about this product snapping, cracking, or chipping like other cheap bass rods.

Berkley Cherrywood HD – Best Beginner Bass Rod

4.4 Stars | 873 Angler Reviews

KastKing Crixus fishing rod

If you’re looking to save as much money as possible, the Berkley Cherrywood HD could be right for you. Starting at only $25, this is an exceptionally affordable bass rod. While the Cherrywood HD doesn’t have the durability of the Ugly Stik GX2, it’s lightweight with a greater focus on performance.

You’ll have the versatility to target any freshwater species. The blank is sensitive, and the backbone is strong enough to land gigantic fish. This model is available in both spinning and casting models, so it’s sure to match whatever reel you’re using.

KastKing Crixus – Best Rated Budget Rod

4.8 Stars | 1,420 Angler Reviews

G. Loomis NRX casting bass fishing rod

We’re amazed that the KastKing Crixus Rod has amassed such positive ratings on Amazon. It’s not often that you see an inexpensive product receive an average rating of 4.8-stars from over a thousand customers. This certainly goes to show that KastKing is one of the top budget-friendly fishing rod brands.

The Crixus bass fishing rod is a superb option for beginners. There are many options available, from different lengths to spinning and casting models. With a graphite blank and high-power handle for strong hooksets, we’d expect the Crixus to cost far more.

Tournament Bass Rods

If you’re an avid fisherman, investing in high-end equipment will help you improve. Tournament bass fishing rods are constructed with premium components and feature advanced designs to give you a competitive edge.

Expensive bass rods are lightweight, agile, cast farther, and allow you to target larger fish. Anyone with a tournament-quality bass rod also knows the satisfying feeling of casting baits with professional-level tackle.

A few high-end brands, such as St Croix, offer extended multi-year warranties. You won’t have to worry about damaging your investment, as most brands will replace your gear. St Croix’s warranties are also transferrable, so you’ll keep these benefits for future models in years to come.

G. Loomis NRX Casting Rod – Best Specialized Rod

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One of the most expensive and most advanced bass fishing rods is the G. Loomis NRX Casting Rod. This is a top-of-the-line product from a brand that supplies FLW anglers with their favorite rods.

The NRX far lighter than any other rod on the market, and it’s versatile enough to be fished with multiple types of lures. This G. Loomis product is an exceptional rubber worm fishing rod, but in the end, it’s up to you.

Anglers can fish the NRX Bass Rod all day without getting tired or feeling fatigued after a long day on the water. This rod has an ultra-strong backbone that’s able to pull bass out from thick cover quickly. The NRX model shows that sometimes, you really do get what you pay for.

St Croix Legend Tournament – Best High-End Bass Rod

4.7 Stars | 18 Angler Reviews

St Croix Legend Tournament bass fishing rod

The St Croix Legend Tournament is a professional-grade bass fishing rod that comes with a 15-year warranty. If one thing’s for sure, St Croix cares about their customers and demonstrates their confidence through extended warranties. You can quite literally get more than a decade of use out of this product.

St Croix utilizes advanced reinforcement technology. Layers of specialized carbon fiber allow the blank to be ultra-strong without adding unnecessary weight. An integrated “poly curve” also eliminates the transition points for smoother casts, increases strength and greater sensitivity.

This model was made for professional tournament anglers and designed by FLW legends. If you’re serious about bass fishing, you need to experience the power behind St Croix’s Legend Tournament Rod.

Bass Fishing Rod Buyer’s Guide

If you’re still not sure which rod is right for you, don’t worry. Since there are so many options and models from different brands, many beginners get confused. We’ll discuss the qualities of different rods and who benefits from each style.

Bass fishing rod buyer's guide cover image

One-piece vs. Two-piece Rods

When brands say their rods are “one-piece” or “two-piece,” they’re talking about the ability to split the rod in half.

  • Two-piece rods can be separated in the middle, making them easier to store and transport to-and-from your fishing hole. Most beginners and novice anglers prefer this style because they run less risk of snapping their rod tip.
    • One-piece bass rods are best for experienced and competitive anglers. These rods efficiently transfer vibrations down the blank, and the lack of a connector leads to overall better performance.

The most critical situation to have a one-piece rod is when you’re finesse fishing. When you’re throwing a drop shot, ned rig, or finesse jig, you want as much sensitivity as possible. It’s better to get a shorter one-piece finesse rod than a longer two-piece rod.

Spinning vs. Casting Rods

When you’re shopping for a bass fishing rod, you’ll notice “spinning” and “casting” options. This refers to the type of reel the rod’s designed to be paired with.

    • Spinning rods are frequently used for finesse-applications or fishing with lighter baits. It would be best if you paired your rod with a spinning reel of a similar size.
      • Baitcasting rods are used by amateur to professional bass fishermen and are designed to be paired with baitcasting reels. These setups are more difficult to use and generally have a steeper learning curve than spinning setups. However, a casting rod gives you longer casts, more power, and quick turn-around time between casts.

Rod Action Explained

fishing rod action diagram, fast action vs medium action vs slow action chart

Rod power and rod action are usually the most confusing metrics to beginner anglers. These terms aren’t all that complicated, and they’re super important to understand.

There are two ways to understand rod action. This metric measures how far down the blank the rod bends. You can also think of rod action as the speed at which the rod bends.

Slow action rods bend towards the middle of the rod and take more time to react to strikes. Fast and Extra Fast actions bend quickly, towards the top of the pole.

Rod Power Meaning

Rod power refers to the amount of force needed to bend a rod. Light rod power is suited for smaller baits and offers more sensitivity. The heaviest power rating, Extra-Heavy, is best for topwater baits and fishing around thick vegetation.

The more power you have, the easier it will be to pull baits through grasses and weeds. We recommend medium to medium-heavy power ratings for the most versatility.

Fishing Rod Length Guide

When choosing your rod length, you should consider what techniques you’ll be using. Some lengths are more versatile, while others are fine-tuned for certain situations. You can either start a collection of multiple technique-specific poles or find a single bass fishing rod.

The longer your rod, the more leverage you’ll have. Longer rods enable longer casts and help you make powerful hooksets. 7′ to 8′ Rods are best for open water fishing and make great frog rods and striped bass rods.

Shorter fishing rods are more accurate and portable than longer alternatives. If you’re fishing in “close-quarters,” where precision is more important than casting distance, you’ll want a rod between 6′ and 6’6″ in length.

Beginners looking for a “do-it-all” solution will want a middle ground between these two extremes. Any rod between 6’6″ and 7′ will have balanced casting distance and accuracy and will be a more versatile setup.

Fishing Rod Material Comparison

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Not all bass rods are made the same. The material composition of a fishing rod changes its behavior, performance, and price tag. Some of the most common materials include fiberglass, graphite, composites, and carbon fiber.

  • Fiberglass and graphite rods are the least expensive and provide more than enough performance for the average angler. Graphite rods are sensitive and stiff, making it easier to feel bites and giving you more powerful hook-sets. On the other hand, fiberglass rods are flexible and more durable but lack sensitivity and stiffness.
  • Glass composite rods are constructed from a combination of fiberglass and graphite materials. This gives these rods the ideal qualities for technique-specific crankbait fishing rods where you need dialed-in sensitivity and powerful hook-sets to drive in your treble hooks.
  • Carbon fiber rods were traditionally more expensive. However, this has changed in recent years. Innovative brands such as KastKing have designed carbon fiber bass rods that anyone can afford. Carbon fiber is strong, sensitive, and much lighter than any other fishing rod material.

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