10 Best Spinning Rods Reviews & Buying Guide

Buying a new spinning rod for the first time is very difficult. There are so many options, prices, combinations, and features that what is supposed to be an enjoyable experience ends up being a little bit overwhelming. 

Besides, if you know nothing about the angling world, you are less likely to find the spinning rod that best suits your needs. So, that’s the principal reason for this guide. Here, you have a review of the 10 best spinning rods available in the market.

Plus, we add a buyers’ guide section, where you can find all the technical information you need to know before starting your search. 

Contents

Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Rod 

Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Fishing Rod, 7' - Heavy - 1pcs
  • Plug and jetty fishing rod designed for versatile...
  • Virtually indestructible blank construction with...
  • Lightweight EVA grips provide comfort during...

Ugly Stik is a name to remember. And, the Elite series is one of the most famous lines from the company. This rod makes an excellent choice if you are looking for a budget rod, without sacrificing quality. 

The Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Rod is great for those budget-anglers looking for a new rod, and you have many options of length and power for your convenience. 

Materials and Construction

The rod features a composite pole of graphite and fiberglass. It has more graphite than the elite version, thus, less weight. The extra graphite makes the Ugly Stik Tiger Elite extra sensitive and stronger. But the fiberglass content is more than enough to keep the legendary robustness than comes with the name. 

The company kept the single-footed stainless steel line guides of the previous versions. Thus, you can use this rod for both fresh and saltwater fishing. 

Lastly, the company added EVA foam handles, for increased comfort, especially for prolonged fishing sessions. 

Features

  • One-piece.
  • Available lengths: 6’6’’, 6’9’’, and 7’.
  • Power: 
    • Medium.
    • Medium Heavy.
    • Heavy. 
  • Composite core. 
  • Eva foam grip. 
  • Graphite reel seats.
  • Line weight: Starting at 10 pounds.
  • Lure Weight: Starting at 1/2 oz.

Pros: 

  • You can choose from several options depending on your needs.
  • Durable and strong rod.
  • Lightweight. 
  • Bang for the buck. 

Cons:

  • Since this is a one-piece rod, it will be tedious to transport it.
  • The line guides wear out quicker than other rods. 

KastKing Speed Demon Pro Tournament Series

KastKing Speed Demon Pro Bass Fishing Rods, Spinning Rod-Finesse Tube-6ft 10in...
  • Elite Carbon Blanks & Nano Resin Technology -...
  • Fuji Guides/Reel Seats & WINN Grips - Only the...
  • 15 Technique Specific Actions & Lengths - We've...

As soon as you see this rod, you will know that it is different from the rest. First, it comes in a good-looking black and orange combo. Then you have the golf-like handles to make the rod stand out from the rest classic-looking grips. 

But the KastKing Speed Demon Pro has more to offer than only looks. The pole, reel seats, and line guides craft is something else. The creators of this rod put a big effort into making the best spinning rod possible. And, they make sure to build a rod for a wide variety of purposes and needs! 

The rod isn’t cheap, but like the St. Croix, you get the premium rod you are paying for. 

Materials and Construction

The Kastking has a one-piece graphite pole. You might think that is nothing special, as many other rods have such poles. However, the company added multiple carbon fiber layers coated with a carbon nanotube resin and high-density carbon for increased strength. Still, we feel that the rod was light and flexible to the touch. 

Additionally, the rod has both Fuji reel seats and line guides. Enjoy the smooth, frictionless casting that the alconite rings offer. 

One of the distinctive features of the Kastking Speed Demon spinning rod is its handles. Made with a plastic polymer, it feels soft and firm, even when wet. 

Features.

  • One-piece rod.
  • The Fuji line guides with alconite rings.
  • Available lengths: 6’1”, 7’5”, 7’3”, and 8′
  • Power:
    • Medium.
    • Medium-heavy
    • Heavy
  • Action: Fast and moderate
  • Line weight: 4 to 17 pounds depending on the model.
  • Lure weight: 1/16 to 3/4 oz depending on the model. 

Pros:

  • Strong, durable, and flexible rod. 
  • Wide variety of options to choose from depending on your needs. 
  • Comfy handle. 
  • The grip has a hook holder. 
  • Fuji reel seats and line guides make the rod marine-proof.

Cons: 

  • Pricy. 
  • It has a love it or hate it look. 
  • Not a good rod for beginners. 
  • One-piece rod. 

SHIMANO Zodias Spinning Rod

ZODIAS 6'8" LIGHT SPINNING ROD
  • Length: 6'8"
  • Lure Rating: 1/16 - 1/14
  • Line Rating: 4-8

If you are looking for a budget, low price spinning rod, this is not the ideal candidate. Still, we couldn’t leave this rod out of this review.

The SHIMANO Zodias Spinning Rod is one of a kind. The rod is beautifully crafted and is packed with top-tier features. And it performs exceedingly well regardless of the situation. 

The Zodias line comes in 8 different power/length combinations depending on your needs. All of them have fast action, which makes this a very sensible rod and great for casting from afar. 

Materials and Construction

As you would expect from a high-end rod, the SHIMANO Zodias has a tailor-made graphite blank. This lowers the weight of the rod while keeping it strong and flexible. 

The fishing line sits on Fuji Alconite guides that lower the friction allowing you to cast farther and accurately. Besides, the SIC tips transfer all vibrations through the entire core and into your hands.  

All SHIMANO Zodias come with EVA foam handles, which makes them pretty comfortable even after extended usage. 

Features

  • One-piece rod.
  • Graphite blank.
  • Fuji reel seats and guides.
  • SIC Tip.
  • Available lengths: 6’8”, 7′, and 7’3”
  • Power: Light to medium-heavy
  • Action: Fast.
  • Line weight: 4 to 12 pounds depending on the model. 
  • Lure weight: 1/16 to 1/2 oz depending on the model. 

Pros:

  • Quality built.
  • Corrosive-resistant materials.
  • Great casting and accuracy.
  • Strong, flexible, and sensitive. 
  • Beautiful craftsmanship.

Cons:

  • Expensive.
  • It could be difficult to transport due to its length.
  • Not the best rod for beginners. 

St. Croix Mojo Inshore Spinning Rods

Sale
St. Croix MIS70MF Mojo Inshore Graphite Saltwater Spinning Fishing Rod with...
  • PREMIUM SCII GRAPHITE CONSTRUCTION: Perfect for...
  • SPLIT-GRIP PREMIUM-GRADE CORK HANDLE: Ensure you...
  • FEATURES: Specialized inshore saltwater design...

If you know something about fishing, you know that St. Croix means quality. However, in this case, it also means big money. But the good thing is that you get what you paid for, a superb performance.

The Mojo Inshore Spinning Rods series are marine-proof. That means that it is tough enough to cope with the corrosive nature of saltwater. So, if you are on the market for an all-purpose rod, this bad boy is for you. 

Materials and Construction

The rod has a graphite core, conferring a great sensitivity, strength, and durability. Still, graphite is a delicate material. Thus, we recommend keeping the rod secure at all times.

The line guides are of aluminum oxide, a corrosion-resistant material. So, as long as you clean it properly, there is no reason to change the guides in the short term. 

The Mojo Inshore Spinning Rods have cork handles, while it might offer you a great grip, cork is less durable than foam grips.

Features

  • One-piece rod.
  • Aluminum oxide line guides.
  • Available lengths: 7’ and 7’6’’
  • Power: Medium-light to heavy
  • Action: Fast.
  • Line weight: 6 to 30 pounds depending on the model.
  • Lure weight: ⅛ to 2 oz depending on the model.

Pros:

  • Sensitive. 
  • Marine-rated materials.
  • Lightweight. 
  • Durable. 
  • Suitable for a wide range of fish.
  • Strong.

Cons:

  • A little expensive for a first rod. 
  • The graphite makes the rod delicate.
  • One-piece rod. 
  • Cork is not as comfortable as EVA foam

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod

Ugly Stik USSP602M30CB Shakespeare USSP602M/30CBO GX2 Spinning Fishing Reel and...
  • Ugly StikGX2 spinning rod
  • 3 ball bearings plus one way clutch instant anti...
  • Machined double anodized aluminum spool with...

Yes, we know what you are thinking. Another Ugly Stik? Well, it is not our fault that Shakespeare makes such great rods!

The Ugly Stik GX2 is cheaper than the Tiger Elite we reviewed. And offers a wide variety of power, action, and length combinations, for you to choose the one that best fits your needs. You can also pick between a one-piece or two-piece rod. 

A great thing about this rod comes with a reel! Which makes it great for beginners or seasoned anglers looking for a rod without breaking their bank accounts in the process. 

Materials and Construction

The composite cores offer the best of two worlds. The graphite keeps the rod strong and flexible, whereas the fiberglass increases its durability and makes it abuse-proof. 

Since the Ugly Stik GX2 has a lower graphite proportion than the Elite Tiger, it is a little heavier. But nothing to worry about; it won’t crack your back. 

The rod features the same line guide of the previous Ugly Stik. That is a single-footed stainless steel line guide. Additionally, the rod has a clear tip, an Ugly Stik classic, which increases rod sensitivity. 

You will get EVA foam grips with any of the GX2 versions. The handles are quite comfortable, plus it prevents the classic, stiff fingers after a long fight. 

Features

  • One or two-piece rod.
  • Available lengths: 4’8’’,6’, 6’6’’, and 7’.
  • Power: Ultralight to medium-heavy
  • Action: Fast.
  • Line weight: 2 to 20 depending on the model.

Pros: 

  • Great rod and reel combo. 
  • Superb quality for the price. 
  • Wide variety of power, action, length, and portability combinations.
  • Durable, strong, and sensitive.

Cons:

  • Don’t expect too much from the reel.
  • Heavier than the Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Rod.

SHIMANO Solara 2-piece

SHIMANO Solora 2 Piece Spinning Rod (6-Feet 6-Inch, Medium)
  • Durable aeroglass construction rod blank
  • Reinforced aluminum oxide guides
  • Solid locking graphite reel seat

SHIMANO is another great spinning rod maker. And, they are known for creating durable and budget-friendly spinning rods.

Thanks to its 2-piece system, the rod won’t take as much space as a single piece rod. And, it is less likely to get damaged during the trip. Still, some anglers prefer one-piece poles since they are stronger. 

The SHIMANO Solara 2-piece spinning rods come in a medium weight fast action combo. There is no other power/action combination available. But hey! You won’t find anything better in this price range. 

Materials and Construction

The rod has a fiberglass core, making it sturdy, durable, heavy, and thick. But, as fiberglass lacks the flexibility of graphite, this medium power rod could feel a little less flexible than other medium power rods. 

In terms of the line guides, this rod wields black oxide guides. They are quite resistant to corrosion. However, we do not recommend this rod for saltwater fishing. Still, if you want to use it, we recommend coating the line guides with some wax or oil. 

The rod is rounded up with cork handles, which gives a great grip. But they could be a little hard on the hands in the long run.

Features

  • 2-piece rod.
  • Length: 6’6’’ and 7’.
  • Power: Medium.
  • Action: Fast.
  • Fiberglass core.
  • Graphite reel seats. 
  • Cork handles. 
  • Line weight: 6-14 pounds depending on the model.
  • Lure weight: 1/8 to 1/2 oz depending on the model.

Pros.

  • Great price
  • 2-piece rod.
  • Abuse-proof.

Cons:

  • Heavier than graphite rods. 
  • Lack of customization. 
  • Less flexible than other medium weight rods.

Cadence CR5 Spinning Rod

Cadence Fishing CR5 Spinning Rods | 30 Ton Carbon | Fuji Reel Seat | Stainless...
  • 【What You Get From Cadence】Cadence fishing...
  • 【Ultra-High Quality 30-TON Carbon Fiber...
  • 【Premium Materials】Cadence CR5 spinning rods...

Cadence makes top-notch fishing equipment, and this budget spinning rod is no exception. 

The Cadence CR5 Spinning Rod is perfect for those anglers searching for a strong, lightweight, and portable spinning rod. 

The company offers a lot of power, action, and length combinations so you can find the one that best suits your needs. Additionally, you can choose from one or two-piece poles, depending on your portability needs.

But what makes Cadence CR5 such a great spinning rod? Well, let’s see.

Materials and Construction

The Cadence CR5 Spinning Rod has a 30-ton graphite core, which means that breaking it, is almost impossible. Moreover, the graphite backbone provides great flexibility, and it transmits even the slightest movement. 

The cork/EVA foam handle is a nice addition as it brings the best from two worlds. You will have a great grip. Still, your hands will start to hurt during long fishing sessions.

The rod has stainless steel guides, allowing a frictionless transition of the line and some resistance to corrosion. 

Features

  • One or two-piece rods. 
  • Available lengths: 4’8’’,6’,6’6’’, and 7’.
  • Fuji reel seats.
  • Power: Ultralight to medium-heavy.
  • Action: Fast and moderate.
  • Line weight: 2 to 20pound depending on the model.
  • Lure weight: 3/8 to 3/4 oz.

Pros:

  • Durable and lightweight.
  • Wide variety of combinations.
  • Superb quality for the price.
  • Convenient handle layout. 

Cons:

  • As the rod has a graphite core, it is more fragile than other rods. 
  • The rod gets uncomfortable after prolonged use. 

Penn Battalion Inshore Spinning Rod

PENN Battalion Inshore Spinning
  • 100% graphite blank for incredible strength
  • Fuji aluminum oxide guides
  • Fuji skeleton reel seat (select models)

Penn has a long history of making light and durable spinning rods. Entirely made of 30-ton graphite shards, this rod is capable of handling big fish without any trouble. Yet, the rod feels comfortable, even after prolonged fishing sessions. 

Of course, as you would expect, everything comes with a price. The Penn Battalion is quite costly. Although not as expensive as the St. Croix, we previously reviewed. 

There are a lot of different lengths, actions, and power combinations available. And you can even choose between different handles layouts! The materials and built quality are the same regardless of which model you choose.

Materials and Construction

The rod has a 30-ton graphite backbone. Its light carbon fiber construction allows you to feel even the slightest of bites. And we are not joking, the Penn Battalion rods are fast-action only. Therefore, they are like a lightning rod for vibrations. 

The Fuji reel seat does a great job securing the reel in place. Additionally, the aluminum oxide line guides lower the friction between the line and the guides. Thus, softening the line movements through the guides.

In terms of handles, the Battalion has different layouts to choose from. Each one with various lengths and materials. The lighters rods feature cork and smaller handles. While heavier rods have EVA handles for extra comfort. 

Features

  • One-piece rod.
  • Available lengths: 6’6”, 7′, 7’6”, and 8”
  • Power: From extra-light to extra-heavy
  • Action: 
    • Extra fast
    • Fast
    • Moderate fast
  • Line weight: 4-40 pounds depending on the model
  • Lure weight: 1/16 to 4 oz depending on the model

Pros:

  • Strong and flexible rod.
  • Durable.
  • Wide variety of options to choose from. 
  • 100% graphite core makes the rod lightweight. 
  • Fuji reels and line guides.

Cons:

  • The rod is strong but brittle.
  • It has the same price as the Kastking, but lower quality.

Falcon Rods Coastal Split Spinning Rod

Falcon Rods Coastal Split Spinning Rod (7-Feet x 6-Inch/Medium)
  • Graphite blank
  • 100-Percent Fuji guides
  • Fuji exposed blank reel seat

On the market for an inshore spinning rod? You came to the right place. Falcon has a long-time tradition of making great, marine-rated fishing rods. 

They combine length, action, and power in a way that suits best for inshore anglers. With it, you will be able to cast from afar and muscle the fish to the shore. But this means that the rod lacks maneuverability.

Falcon has made its coastal split spinning rods with corrosive-resistant material. Ergo, you can use this rod for both fresh and saltwater fishing. 

Materials and Construction

The rod has a core entirely made with graphite. The rod feels light and strong. Still, as graphite is more fragile than fiberglass, you should take great care of this rod. The great thing is that the carbon fiber enhances the rod sensibility. 

The cork handles are comfortable enough for short fishing sessions. And, you can choose between different grip sizes depending on the leverage effect you want. 

Casting with the Falcon Coastal Spinning Rod is smooth as it can be in this price range. The guides allow a smooth line transition and improve the accuracy, especially for long casts. Furthermore, the Fuji stainless steel line guides paired with the graphite core are a great conduit for vibrations. 

As you can see, the rod is well-balanced in terms of construction, which translates into great performance in both salt and freshwater. 

Features

  • One-piece rod.
  • Graphite core.
  • Fuji reels and line guides.
  • Available lengths: 6’6”, 7′, 7’6”, and 8′
  • Power: Medium and medium-heavy
  • Action: Moderate.
  • Line weight: 8 to 20 pounds depending on the model
  • Lure weight: 1/4 to 3/4 oz depending on the model.

Pros:

  • Lightweight. 
  • Great casting range. 
  • Quality, marine-rated materials.

Cons:

  • The rod feels uncomfortable after long fishing sessions. 
  • Not suitable for fishing in reduced spaces. 
  • One-piece rod. 

Daiwa Mini System Spinning Rod

Daiwa Mini System Minispin Ultralight Spinning Reel and Rod Combo in Hard Carry...
  • Terminal tackle not included
  • Ultra compact hard case
  • Perfect size for tucking in your luggage

After choosing the best spinning rod for your needs, you need to choose the correct reel. But guess what, with this spinning rod you are killing two birds with one shot!

The Daiwa Mini already comes with its reel and case, and it is very compact. You can separate the rod in 5 different parts and easily store it in its case. The carry-on box has in-built compartments to stash your tackle, making it great for fishing trips and anglers on the go.

Materials and Construction

The rod has a graphite backbone, making the rod both lightweight and flexible. So, it is not a surprise that this is an ultralight power rod with fast action. 

It features a short foam handle, for fast handling and superior maneuverability. Therefore, if you are looking for a spinning rod for the occasional boat fishing, this is a great option. However, it doesn’t have a premium feeling like other rods in the same price range. 

The reel seat and the lines aren’t marine-proof. Thus, we don’t recommend using it to fish on saltwater.

Features

  • 5-piece rod.
  • Length: 4’5’’.
  • Power: Ultralight. 
  • Action: Fast.
  • Graphite core.
  • Foam handles.
  • Line weight: 2-6 pounds.
  • Lure weight: 1/16 to 1/4 oz

Pros:

  • Very portable.
  • Lightweight. 
  • Cheap reel and rod combo.
  • Hard storage case with tackle chambers. 

Cons:

  • The 5-piece breakdown could affect rod integrity. 
  • Only suitable for small freshwaters fishes.
  • You can only use it on waters without any structure. 
  • No casting from afar. 

But Who’s the Winner?

The best spinning rod depends on what your needs are. Different anglers might have different opinions on which is the best rod available in the market and why. But if you want our opinion, here you have our favorites. 

Best Spinning Rod: Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Fishing Rod

It is not a real surprise to choose an Ugly Stik as the best spinning rod. They make an amazing effort to make excellent and affordable rods, very bad for the competition. 

But why did we choose this rod? Well, first, you are getting a composite blank at an affordable price. You might be thinking that the Ugly Stik GX2 also has a composite blank for a lower price. Plus, it comes with a reel. But the Tiger series has more graphite, which means less weight, more flexibility, and extra sensitivity. 

Furthermore, the Ugly Stik Tiger Elite is cheaper than the St. Croix, SHIMANO Zodias, and Kastking Speed Demon spinning rods. So, this is an ideal rod for greenhorns looking for a durable rod without asking for a loan. 

Compared with the cheaper rods on this list like the Cadence CR5, SHIMANO Solara 2-piece, and the Daiwa Mini System, this rod outperforms them in terms of build quality. First, the foam handles offer a comfortable and tight grip. And, the stainless-steel line guides are more than capable of handling the corrosive nature of salty water. A feature that you won’t find on the other rods. 

Lastly, you have different options to choose from. So, after you finish reading our buyers’ guide, you can buy the Ugly Stik Tiger Elite that best suits your needs!

Honorable Mention: KastKing Speed Demon Pro

This is a great choice if you are looking for a rod with better specs, and you are willing to invest some extra bucks. It has similar features like the St. Croix Mojo Inshore Spinning Rod, for less money. 

Additionally, the grip on this rod is better than the one found in the St. Croix. And the full graphite body and the Fuji guides and reel seats are a big plus compared with the cheaper rods. Therefore, those extra bucks compared with the Ugly Stik Tiger Elite is more than justified. Still, it isn’t the best option for a first rod. 

Lastly, this is a very personal preference. We love how the looks of this rod. It makes it stand out from the rest. 

Best Premium Rod: SHIMANO Zodias Spinning Rod

Now, if you are looking for a high-end fishing rod with superb quality and outstanding performance, this rod is for you. 

The only downside is that this is the most expensive rod in this review. But it has better specs than the St. Croix in terms of line guides and blank construction. Furthermore, The SHIMANO Zodias features EVA handles, which we like better, especially if you like to fish during prolonged sessions. 

The Fuji reel and guides are great for long casts. And, they have lower friction thanks to the Alconite technology. Things that you don’t have with the St. Croix.

Still, we don’t recommend the SHIMANO Zodias as a first spinning rod. Why? Well, you are merely beginning in this world, and breaking the bank is not an option. 

Buyer’s Guide.

What to Look When Buying a Spinning Rod? 

The market is full of different spinning rods with different prices and purposes. We know that it is a little bit overwhelming seeing all those poles in your local sports shop, especially if the sales clerk is driving you to buy the most expensive rod. 

So, the first thing that you should do is to narrow the search down. This way, you will have fewer options, and you are more likely to buy the spinning rod you need and don’t get ripped in the process. 

Therefore, you should ask yourself the following question:

  • What kind of fish are you targeting? The fish weight and strength have an impact on the weight and length of the rod. 
  • From where are you fishing? Casting from the shore means that you need a spinning rod capable of throwing your lure farther. In contrast, if you are fishing from a boat, you might want a shorter, precise rod. 
  • Fresh or saltwater? Typically, saltwater fishing requires heavier rods and marine-proof materials.
  • What kind of tackle are you using? Choosing the right combination of line, rod, reel, and terminal tackle is essential. 
  • How much money are you willing to invest? It might not affect the spinning rod properties. Still, it is a crucial factor when buying. 

Once you’ve answered those questions, you’ll have a shorter list of possible candidates. Now, it is time to dig deeper. You need to choose the features that your ideal rod should have. Here, you have a summary of the characteristics that you should take into account when buying a spinning rod.

  • Rod power or weight.
  • Action.
  • Length.
  • Pole material.
  • Portability.
  • Grip.
  • Line guides.

Rod Weight or Power.

The rod power, or weight, refers to the amount of weight the rod tip can handle before it snaps. The heavier the rod is, the bigger fish you can catch. But this doesn’t mean that you should buy the heaviest rod available. It all depends on the fish you are targeting, and the weight of the line and terminal tackle.  

Rod manufacturers usually engrave the rod power above the handle. This general classification goes as follows:

Light. 

These rods are quite flexible and usually very responsive, allowing you to feel and see even the slightest movement. Thus, we recommend using such rods when targeting small fish. 

Additionally, these rods are more suitable for freshwater. Still, make sure not to cast over weeds or underwater structure, as they will put your rod through too much strain. 

You might find ultralight spinning rods in the market as well. The main difference between light rods is that they are more flexible and slimmer. Additionally, ultralight rods respond faster to tension. However, such rods have fewer applications. 

Light lines, lures, hooks, and terminal tackle are great companions with light or ultralight spinning rods. Make sure to check the engraving above the handle. There you should see which lures and line ranges are the most suitable for that rod. 

How do I identify a light or ultralight rod?

Check whether the rod has an L or UL label in its body. If the rod has an L, it is a light spinning rod. Whereas, the UL is for ultralight rods. 

Some people grab the rod and push it against the floor to feel the resistance. If the rod beds easily, it is a light or ultralight rod. However, this is not the right way to choose a rod; trust the manufacturer. 

When should I use a light or ultralight rod? 

As we said before, you should use light or ultralight spinning rods if you are targeting small fishes. But don’t cast these rods over water with too many weeds or underwater structures. 

These rods are usually paired with thin lines and light tackle. Check the manufacturer recommendations. 

Medium.

If you want an all-purpose fishing rod, you should buy a medium weight rod. They have a slower response and are less flexible when compared with light or ultralight rods. But with the advantage that they can handle bigger fishes. 

Additionally, you can use it on both salt and freshwater. And, you won’t have to struggle too long to free your line if it gets tangled in the weeds. 

You might find medium-light and medium-heavy spinning rods as well. The difference relies on the lure/line combination and the maximum weight the rod can handle. Also, Medium-heavy spinning rods are thicker than medium rods, and so on. Thus, medium-heavy rods are a good choice for trolling, as the rod won’t bend as easy as lighter rods. 

We recommend buying a medium rod if you like to go on the occasional fishing trip, and you don’t have a specific target in mind.           

How do I identify a medium or medium-heavy rod?  

Like light spinning rods, medium rods have an “M” in their body. If you see an ML or MH, it means that the rod is medium-light or medium-heavy, respectively. Again, trust the manufacturer on this. 

When should I use a medium or medium-heavy spinning rod? 

Medium rods are suitable for fishes up to 20 pounds. And for waters with light to moderate cover. 

In contrast, medium-heavy rods are most suitable to fish over waters with more cover. Also, you will be able to land bigger fishes with it. And the rod won’t struggle as much as a lighter rod would. 

Additionally, we recommend buying a medium or medium-heavy rod if you like to fish over both salt and freshwater. Just make sure that the metal alloys and other pieces are marine-rated.

Normally, 4 to 12 pounds lines are suitable for medium rods. For medium-heavy, you can use up to 14-pound lines. 

Heavy.

Heavy spinning rods are less flexible than lighter ones. However, they can withstand much more weight. Consequently, you will be able to land some big bad boys with it. Additionally, heavy rods are great to snatch fishes hiding under heavy cover. 

As heavy spinning rods are very stiff, we do not recommend using them to catch bass or smaller fishes. But, if it is the only rod you have, you should add a bobber. Otherwise, you won’t see whether or not a fish is biting. 

There are also extra-heavy and ultra-heavy spinning rods. Both of them are thicker than heavy spinning rods. But as happens with ultralight ones, extra-heavy and ultra-heavy rods have fewer applications. That is why most anglers use them to land saltwater monsters. 

How do I identify a heavy, extra-heavy, or ultra-heavy rod?

You should know the drill by now. H stands for heavy. While XH and UH mean extra-heavy and ultra-heavy, respectively.

When should I use a heavy, extra-heavy, or ultra-heavy rod? 

If you are going for massive fighters, you should consider picking a heavy spinning rod. Just remember to use them with the appropriate tackle. Check the rod body to see which lures/lines work better on it. 

Bear in mind that you can’t use thin lines on heavy spinning rods. Why? Well, the rings and body are stiffer than lighter rods. Thus, all the tension centers on the line, making it more likely to snap. So, it is better to use 15-pound plus lines on these heavy-duty rods.

Rod Action.

Many anglers tend to confuse power with action. But they are not the same. While power refers to the maximum weight the rod can pull, the action is related to how and where the spinning rod bends. Some anglers see action as to how fast the rod gets back to its normal state. Both definitions are valid, as you will see in just a moment. 

Most spinning rods are either fast, moderate, or slow. But you can also find moderate-fast and extra-fast action rods. Let’s see the differences between them.

Fast and extra-fast action.

Fast action spinning rods are very stiff. So, as soon as you apply tension on the rod, only the tip will bend. As soon as the tension ceases, the rod quickly gets back to its normal state. As a consequence, these rods are very responsive to movement. 

Now, the difference between fast and extra-fast action spinning rods is that the first bends on the upper quarter of the rod. While the latter bends closer to the end. 

Fast and extra-fast spinning rods store most of the power in the last quarter of the rod. Therefore, they are great to hook massive fishes. 

How do I identify a fast or extra-fast action rod? 

Well, the easiest way is to look if the rod has a label. There you should see the type of actions that the rod has. 

Alternatively, you can apply pressure to the rod and see where it bends. If it beds close to the tip, it is a fast or extra-fast spinning rod. 

When should I use a fast or extra-fast action rod? 

The main feature of these rods is their fast response. Thus, use them to keep a tight grasp of fishes, especially if you are targeting very aggressive fishes that tend to move and shake a lot.

We recommend using fast or extra-fast spinning rods if you need to cast from afar. Or if you are using a heavy terminal tackle. The catapult-like motion of the rod gives you more strength to cast. 

Moderate Action.

Moderate action spinning rods bend close to the middle. They aren’t as stiff as fast rods. But are less sensitive to movement. 

As happens with medium weight rods, moderation action rods are suitable for a wide range of situations. Their response is fast enough to hook game fish. But not so fast as to jeopardize the integrity of a delicate bait. 

How do I identify a moderate action rod? 

The rod should have a label above the handle. There you should see the word medium or moderate action.

If you prefer, you can bend the rod, just as we explained before. Remember, these rods bend around the middle.

When should I use a moderate action rod?

As moderate action rods grant enough control over the hook, you can use this rod to catch both small and large fishes. Still, you need good rod skills to secure the hook and land the fish. For example, if you happen to catch a small fish with a moderate action rod, you have to be careful not to rip the hook off the fish mouth. In contrast, hooking an aggressive monster takes quick reflexes to keep the hook attached. 

Typically, you want to use this type of rods combined with medium-weight gear. Or if you want to cast long distances. 

Slow Action.

So, if fast action rods bend in the top, and moderate action rods bend in the middle. There is only one area left to bend; in the lowest quarter. That’s right! Slow action spinning rods bed throughout its entire length. 

As is expected, slow action spinning rods are more flexible than moderate and fast action rods. But this means that these rods are less sensitive than the others we mentioned before. 

How do I identify a slow action rod? 

Same process here, look at the label. There should be a tag that says “Action: Slow”

When should I use a slow action rod?

You might be asking yourself, why would I want a rod with low sensitivity and slow response? Well, it has its advantages. For instance, if you are targeting small fishes like panfish, you should use this type of rod. Otherwise, you might end up tearing the mouth of the fish. 

Following the same line of thoughts, a slow action rod is useful when you are using delicate life bait, such as worms. 

Because the rod bends in its entire length, the weight distribution is better. Thus, the tension doesn’t concentrate on a specific area, making the fishing rod less likely to snap. That’s the reason why many light weight rods have slow actions.

As you can see, power and action are combined to mutually compensate for their deficiencies. For example, heavy rods aren’t flexible and have low sensitivity. Thus, if you combine a heavy rod with fast action, you will add some sensitivity to counterbalance. 

Length.

New anglers commonly overlook this feature. The rod length might not have a great impact on rod performance as power and action does. However, it does have an influence on casting and maneuverability,

For instance, the longer the rod is, the farther you can cast. But keep in mind that you will be sacrificing maneuverability. In contrast, shorter rods are easier to handle. Though, you can’t cast from afar. 

As you can see, it all depends on the kind of fishing that you will be doing. For example, if you are casting from the shore, you might want a longer spinning rod. You will be able to cast far away. Plus, the lack of maneuverability won’t be a problem as you will have plenty of space to muscle the fish.  

But if you are fishing from a boat, especially a small one. You might prefer a smaller rod. You will make shorter, precise casts. In this case, the lack of space won’t be a problem, as shorter rods have superior handling.

We usually use short spinning rods when fishing in or around weeds and underwater structures. In contrast, we use longer poles if we need to muscle a big fish or make long casts. 

Pole Material. 

Most spinning rods are either made with fiberglass of graphite. The pole material has an enormous impact on rod performance, price, and durability. Now, to help you understand the differences, we will analyze each one individually. 

Fiberglass.

Fiberglass spinning rods are typically thicker than graphite spinning rods. Thus, they usually have more power. The downside is that they are heavier.

Furthermore, fiberglass cores are robust and durable. So, if you are looking for an abuse-proof spinning rod, you should consider looking for one made out with fiberglass. 

Graphite. 

Most fast action rods have graphite cores. Why? Well, graphite is lighter and stronger than fiberglass. Thus, it is the ideal material for fast action rods. Nevertheless, graphite spinning rods are more fragile than those made out of fiberglass. Consequently, you must handle them with extra care. 

The main downside is that graphite is more expensive than fiberglass. That’s why most high-end spinning rods have graphite cores. 

Do I have to choose the material? 

The simple answer is no; you don’t have to. Most companies make their rods with the most suitable material depending on the qualities they want. You might even find composite rods,

However, it doesn’t hurt to know the difference between both construction materials. 

Portability.

Portability might not look as important when it comes to fishing and performance. Still, it is quite important in terms of storage space. 

So, we have classified the rods in three different groups: Two-piece, telescopic, and one-piece spinning rods. Let’s see the difference. 

Two-piece spinning rods. 

As the name suggests, this type of rods comprises two sections. All you need to do is to join them together, and that’s it.  

We love Two-piece spinning rods because they don’t take too much space, which makes them easier to handle. Therefore, less likely to suffer any damages during the trip.  

One-piece spinning rods.

The pole is a single, straight piece. Thanks to its continuous construction, they are stronger than two-piece rods. But they occupy more space. Therefore, you must handle them with care.

Telescopic spinning rods.

No, these rods don’t have magnifying lenses to spy the fishes. Anglers gave this name because the way that the rod folds resemble the folding mechanisms of a telescope. As two-piece rods, these are very portable. Yet, telescopic rods take less time to assemble. 

Grip. 

Most greenhorns overlook the grip/handle layout. But, if you understand basic physics, or you ever changed a tire, you know that it matters. The bigger the grip is, the more leverage the rod has. However, the rod has less maneuverability. In contrast, small grips offer superior handling, at the expense of less leverage. 

In terms of which grip layout, you should use, it all depends on what you want. If you need precision and maneuverability, go with a small grip. But, if you want to hook large fish and perform long casts, you should choose a rod with big handles. 

Line Guides.

Last but not least, we have line guides. These are the ring-shaped pieces that you see along the rod body. Line guides, as the name suggests, are the ones that control and hold your line. 

Line guides should be strong enough to withstand tension. If possible, these pieces should have the lowest friction coefficient possible. Otherwise, the constant reeling and releasing will erode the line to the point of failure. If you want low friction, you should buy guides made with ceramic. Keep in mind that ceramic is fragile, so try your best not to drop the rod. 

If you are looking for a spinning rod for saltwater fishing, you must make sure that the guides are marine-proof. Otherwise, the metal will corrode, and you will have to change your line guide sooner than expected. 

best spinning rods

Q&A.

  1. Can I use a freshwater rod for saltwater fishing?  

The short answer is yes. We do not recommend it, though. Freshwater rod materials are not marine-proof. Therefore, freshwater rods won’t last as long as a saltwater rod does. 

  1. Which rod is the best for beginners? 

As we said, it all depends on what you are targeting. Seasoned anglers typically have more than one spinning rod. However, my first rod was a medium weight with moderate action. I choose it because it splits the differences between the two extremes. 

So, I can safely recommend a medium weight/ moderate action combo. 

  1. Are spinning reels interchangeable? 

As long as you are using them on spinning rods, there shouldn’t be any compatibility issues. 

  1. I bought a lightweight spinning rod. Which line should I use?

Typically, you can use up to 8 pounds fishing lines on lightweight rods. However, I highly recommend looking at the label on your rod. There you can see the manufacturer’s suggestions. 

Remember that power/weight classification is not a standard. Therefore, the medium weight of the “X” brand could be equivalent to a medium-heavy from the “Y” brand. Again, trust the people who made the rod. 

  1. Can’t I use a light rod to land big fish? 

Any spinning rods, regardless of power, action, length, material, grip, and line guide is suitable for any fish. Still, trying to catch a large fish using a light rod requires excellent rod handling skills. Still, it is more likely that either the line or the rod will snap before you land the fish.

Likewise, landing small fishes with a heavy rod is possible, but not fun at all. 

  1. Cork Vs EVA foam. Which is better? 

I think that cork handles are better. They offer a tight grip on the rod and your hands won’t feel stiff after a long session. 

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