8 Best Casting Rods (2024)

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a largemouth bass splashing out of the water
a largemouth bass splashing out of the water

Choosing the best casting rod is crucial for successful fishing because it directly impacts your ability to control your bait and catch fish effectively.

Key Reasons why Selecting the Right Casting Rod is Essential

Casting Distance and Accuracy:

The length and action of a casting rod greatly affect your casting distance and accuracy. Longer rods typically cast farther, while shorter ones offer more precision. Selecting the right rod for your fishing situation ensures you can place your bait or lure where the fish are.

Casting Technique:

Different casting rods are designed for specific casting techniques. Whether you're into baitcasting, flipping, pitching, or other methods, using the right rod can make these techniques easier and more effective.

Fish Species:

The species of fish you are targeting plays a significant role in choosing a good casting rod. Different fish have different behaviors and strengths. A rod suited for bass fishing may not be ideal for saltwater fishing or targeting large game fish.

Lure Weight and Line Strength:

Casting rods are designed to handle specific lure weights and line strengths. Using a rod that is properly matched to your bait or lure ensures you can cast it effectively without breaking your line or stressing the rod.

Rod Power and Action:

Rods come in various power ratings (light, medium, heavy, etc.) and actions (fast, medium, slow). Selecting the right combination of power and action is essential for handling the size and fighting style of the fish you're pursuing.

Comfort and Ergonomics:

The grip and handle design of a casting rod can impact your comfort during long fishing sessions. An ergonomically designed handle and reel seat can reduce fatigue and enhance your overall experience.


A good casting rod should be sensitive enough to detect subtle movements or bites. This is especially important when fishing for species that exhibit cautious feeding behavior.


The quality of the rod materials, construction, and components affects its durability and lifespan. A well-built casting rod can last for years and provide value for your investment.


Consider your budget when choosing a casting rod. There are rods available at various price points, so it's essential to find one that meets your requirements while staying within your budget.

Experience Level:

Your experience level as an angler also plays a role in rod selection. Beginners may benefit from a versatile, forgiving rod, while experienced anglers might opt for specialized, high-performance rods.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Casting Rod

Blank Material:

This refers to the main structural component of the rod, which is essentially the rod's core. The most popular options are graphite and fiberglass. There are even fishing rods constructed by blending multiple materials to improve their performance.

Graphite Casting Rods:

Graphite casting rods, also known as baitcasting rods, have become popular among anglers for their versatility and performance. Like any fishing gear, they come with their own set of pros and cons:

  • Pros: Better sensitivity, lightweight, strong and durable, versatile, and helps improve control.

  • Cons: High quality graphite rods can be expensive, and less forgiving than fiberglass.

Fiberglass Casting Rods:

Fiberglass casting rods have been a staple in the world of fishing for a long time and have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here are the pros and cons of using fiberglass casting rods:

  • Pros: Very durable, more flexible, more affordable, great for crankbaits due to slower rod action, and good shock absorption for when fish makes sudden jumps or runs.

  • Cons: Weigh more than graphite rods, less sensitive, not as versatile, less suited for finesse fishing techniques, and not great for long casting due to the slower action of fiberglass rods.

Blended or Hybrid Casting Rods:

Blended or hybrid constructed casting rods are designed to combine the strengths of different materials, typically a mix of graphite and fiberglass. These baitcaster rods aim to offer a balance between sensitivity, power, and durability. Here are the pros and cons of using blended or hybrid casting rods:

  • Pros: Good versatility, better sensitivity than fiberglass, durability, smooth casting, and their weight is typically better than fiberglass.

  • Cons: Usually more pricey, less sensitive than graphite, and less forgiving than fiberglass.

When to use each rod type based on its construction material:

  • Graphite Rods: Bass fishing, when using finesse techniques like drop-shotting, inshore saltwater fishing, lightweight lure fishing, and when casting long distances.

  • Fiberglass Rods: When fishing crankbaits, spinnerbaits, topwater lures, catfish or musky fishing, trolling, fishing in heavy cover.

  • Blended/Hybrid Rods: When switching between fishing techniques and lure types, fishing in heavy cover, flipping or pitching, when a balance of power and sensitivity is vital, when using heavier lures, for techniques requiring strong hooksets, when saltwater fishing, and when needing longer casts.

Guide Types:

Casting rods are equipped with guides, also known as eyelets or line guides, which play a crucial role in controlling the line and facilitating smooth casting and retrieval.

Grip and Reel Seat:

The grip and reel seat of a casting rod are two critical components that directly impact your comfort, control, and overall fishing experience. They play a pivotal role in how you handle the rod and reel, affecting your casting accuracy and endurance during long days on the water.

  • Grip: The grip, also known as the handle or handle grip, is the part of the rod that you hold onto while fishing. It can significantly vary in design and materials. Grips are typically made with cork, EVA foam, or a combination of cork and EVA foam.

  • Reel Seat: The reel seat is the component of the rod where your fishing reel is attached. It's a crucial connection point between the rod and the reel. Reel seats are usually constructed with graphite, aluminum, or a proprietary material.


Casting rod power is a critical factor in choosing the right rod for your fishing needs. It determines the rod's strength and its ability to handle different line and lure weights, as well as the size and fighting power of the fish you're targeting. Let's delve into this aspect of casting rods:

  • Ultralight: Ultra-light casting rods are the lightest in power, designed for tackling small to medium-sized fish species and using lightweight lures. They offer excellent sensitivity, making them ideal for finesse techniques like trout or panfish fishing.

  • Light: Light power rods are versatile, suitable for a wide range of applications, including finesse fishing and targeting small to medium-sized freshwater fish. They offer a good balance of sensitivity and strength.

  • Medium: Medium power rods are among the most popular choices for general freshwater fishing. They can handle a wide variety of lures and fish species, including bass and walleye.

  • Medium-Heavy: Medium-heavy casting rods are suitable for larger fish and heavier lures. They offer increased power and backbone, making them great for techniques like crankbait and swimbait fishing.

  • Heavy: Heavy power rods are designed for big game fishing, capable of handling large fish species and heavy lures. They are common choices for saltwater angling and scenarios where significant power is required.


A fishing rod's action refers to the flexibility and bending characteristics of the rod when pressure is applied to it, typically by a fish biting the bait and pulling on the line.

  • Fast-Action Rods: Fast-action rods typically bend only in the top one-third to one-quarter of their length when pressure is applied. This provides sensitivity and allows for quick hook sets. Fast-action rods are ideal for techniques that require casting accuracy and a swift response to fish strikes, such as worm and jig fishing.

  • Moderate-Action Rods: Moderate-action rods flex throughout the upper half of their length. They offer a balance between sensitivity and power. These rods are well-suited for a variety of applications, including crankbait and spinnerbait fishing, as the moderate action helps prevent treble hook lures from tearing out of the fish's mouth.

  • Slow-Action Rods: Slow-action rods bend along the entire length, right down to the handle. This provides maximum flexibility and sensitivity. Slow-action rods are excellent for finesse techniques like drop-shot and light-line fishing, where a delicate touch is necessary to detect subtle bites.

Fishing Rod Length:

  • Short Rods: Short fishing rods typically measure 5 feet or less. They are known for their precision and control. Shorter rods are excellent for fishing in tight spaces, casting under overhanging trees or around structure, and when a more accurate cast is essential. They are also favored by anglers who fish from small boats, kayaks, or paddleboards.

  • Medium-Length Rods: These rods typically measure between 5.5 to 7 feet and offer a versatile compromise between control and casting distance. Medium-length rods are the go-to choice for many anglers as they can cover a broad range of fishing techniques and environments.

  • Long Rods: Long fishing rods are typically longer than 7 feet and are known for their casting distance. They are favored by surf and pier anglers and are suitable for scenarios where you need to cast far from the shoreline. Long rods provide an advantage when you're trying to reach fish that are positioned at a distance.

Line and Lure Compatibility:

  • Line Weight: Line weight, often measured in pounds, refers to the breaking strength of the fishing line. It represents the maximum force in pounds that the line can withstand before breaking.

  • Test: The line's test rating signifies its strength. For instance, a fishing line labeled as 10lb test means it can withstand a maximum load of 10 pounds. Matching Line Test with Rod Power: It's crucial to match the line test to the rod's power rating. Here are some guidelines:

    Light Power Rod: 2-10lb test for finesse fishing.

    Medium Power Rod: 6-12lb test for versatile freshwater applications.

    Medium-Heavy Power Rod: 10-20lb test for larger fish and heavier lures.

    Heavy Power Rod: 15lb test or more for big game and heavy lures.

Line Types:

  • Monofilament Line: Monofilament is a versatile and widely-used line known for its buoyancy, stretch, and ease of use. It's suitable for a broad range of fishing scenarios.

  • Fluorocarbon Line: Fluorocarbon is virtually invisible underwater and is less buoyant than monofilament. It's often used for techniques where fish are line-shy or for applications requiring sinking lures.

  • Braided Line: Braided lines are exceptionally strong and have minimal stretch. They are preferred for heavy cover situations, deep-water fishing, and when sensitivity is crucial.

Lure Weight Range: Matching Lure Weight to Rod Power: Ensure that the lures you plan to use fall within the appropriate weight range for your rod. Overloading or underloading the rod can affect casting accuracy and performance. For example, a medium power rod might be rated for lures weighing 1/4 to 3/4 ounce. Using lures significantly heavier or lighter can lead to casting issues.

You now have all of the necessary information needed when purchasing a casting rod so let's review our recommendations for the best casting rods. These recommendations are based upon our combined 112 years of fishing experience and each of the factors we touched upon above. Cast & Conquer isn't sponsored by any of the following companies.


Best Overall: Shimano Expride

Shimano Expride Casting RodShimano Expride Casting Rod

Rod Specs:

  • Length: 7' 2"

  • Material: Graphite Blend

  • Power: Medium-Heavy

  • Action: Fast

  • Guides: Fuji

  • Reel Seat: CI4+

  • Grip: Cork Grip w/ Carbon Handle

The Shimano Expride Casting Rod is the perfect fusion of cutting-edge technology and unmatched craftsmanship. Designed to meet the demands of both novice and seasoned anglers, this baitcasting rod is engineered to deliver a truly exceptional fishing experience. Whether you're a freshwater bass enthusiast or a seasoned pro targeting big game fish, the Shimano Expride Casting Rod will not disappoint. We definitely consider this the best baitcasting rod for general use.

Best for Bass: Abu Garcia Veritas

Abu Garcia Veritas Casting RodAbu Garcia Veritas Casting Rod

Rod Specs:

  • Length: 6' 10"

  • Material: Graphite

  • Power: Medium-Heavy

  • Action: Fast

  • Guides: Titanium Alloy

  • Reel Seat: Graphite

  • Grip: EVA Foam with Carbon Split Handle

Experience unparalleled performance and precision on the water with the Abu Garcia Veritas Casting Rod. Meticulously engineered and crafted, this rod is designed to meet the needs of anglers who demand the best. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice angler, the Veritas Casting Rod is sure to elevate your fishing experience to new heights.

Best Surf Fishing: Penn Battalion II

Penn Battalion II Surf Fishing Casting RodPenn Battalion II Surf Fishing Casting Rod

Rod Specs:

  • Length: 12'

  • Material: Graphite

  • Power: Heavy

  • Action: Moderate-Fast

  • Guides: Fuji Alconite

  • Reel Seat: Graphite

  • Grip: Shrink Tube Rod Butt

Elevate your surf casting game with the Penn Battalion II Surf Casting Rod, a powerful and versatile fishing tool designed to deliver outstanding performance in challenging coastal environments. Whether you're a seasoned angler or a beginner looking to up your casting skills, this rod is your ticket to a successful day at the beach.

Best Ultralight: Rosewood 602UL

Rosewood 602UL Ultralight Casting RodRosewood 602UL Ultralight Casting Rod

Rod Specs:

  • Length: 5' 11"

  • Material: Carbon Fiber

  • Power: Ultralight

  • Action: Fast

  • Guides: Ceramic

  • Reel Seat: Carbon Fiber

  • Grip: HD Cork Handle

Take your fishing to the next level with the Rosewood 602UL Casting Rod, a meticulously crafted fishing tool designed for ultimate precision and performance. This high-quality, ultralight casting rod is a testament to the fusion of modern technology and time-honored craftsmanship, catering to both novice and seasoned anglers seeking a superior fishing experience.

Best Medium: St. Croix Bass Mojo

St. Croix Bass Mojo Casting RodSt. Croix Bass Mojo Casting Rod

Rod Specs:

  • Length: 6' 8"

  • Material: Graphite

  • Power: Medium

  • Action: Fast

  • Guides: Kigan Master 3D

  • Reel Seat: Fuji ECS

  • Grip: Cork Split Handle

The Bass Mojo Casting Rod is constructed from high-quality SCIII graphite, providing the perfect blend of strength and sensitivity. Feel every twitch and nibble, while still having the backbone to handle big bass.

Best Medium-Heavy: Abu Garcia Vengeance

Abu Garcia Vengeance Casting RodAbu Garcia Vengeance Casting Rod

Rod Specs:

  • Length: 7'

  • Material: Graphite

  • Power: Medium-Heavy

  • Action: Fast

  • Guides: Stainless Steel

  • Reel Seat: Graphite

  • Grip: EVA Foam Split Handle

Crafted from 24-ton high modulus graphite, the Abu Garcia Vengeance Casting Rod boasts exceptional strength and sensitivity while remaining lightweight. You can feel every nibble and strike.

KastKing Perigee II Casting RodKastKing Perigee II Casting Rod

Rod Specs:

  • Length: 7' 4"

  • Material: Carbon Fiber

  • Power: Heavy

  • Action: Fast

  • Guides: Fuji Guides

  • Reel Seat: Graphite

  • Grip: EVA Foam Handle

Are you on the hunt for a high-performance casting rod that won't break the bank? Look no further than the KastKing Perigee II Casting Rod. The two-piece design of this rod offers a smooth, consistent power transition from the handle to the tip, enhancing casting distance and control.

Best Budget: Ugly Stik Elite

Ugly Stik Elite Casting RodUgly Stik Elite Casting Rod

Rod Specs:

  • Length: 7'

  • Material: Graphite/Fiberglass Blend

  • Power: Medium-Heavy

  • Action: Fast

  • Guides: Stainless Steel

  • Reel Seat: Blank Reel Seat w/ Stainless Steel Hood

  • Grip: Cork Handle

The Ugly Stik Elite features a Clear Tip design that adds extra strength to the rod while retaining incredible sensitivity to detect even the lightest nibbles. The fast action and crisp taper allow for long, precise casts and quick hook sets, making it a versatile choice for various fishing techniques.

Casting rods are a popular choice for many types of fishing. To enhance your fishing experience with casting rods, there are several accessories and fishing gear items you should definitely consider:

  • Baitcaster Reel: A casting rod is typically used with a baitcast reel (sometimes spincast reels), which allows for precise control of your line and lure.

  • Fishing Line: You'll need suitable fishing line to increase your odds for success. For baitcasting, braided lines and fluorocarbon lines are the most popular options.

  • Lures and Baits: Depending on the type of fish you're targeting, you'll want a variety of lures and baits. For bass fishing, you'll want at least a good selection of crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and soft plastic lures.

  • Fishing Tackle Box: A tackle box or bag keeps your lures, hooks, and other small items organized and easily accessible.

  • Fishing Pliers: Pliers are useful for removing hooks, crimping split shot weights, and other tasks.

  • Rod Storage: Keep your fishing rods out of harm's way by placing them in a rod holder. It's an easy way to keep them organized.

  • Rod Sleeves: A protective rod sleeve can help prevent damage to your casting rod during transportation and storage.

  • Fishing Hat & Polarized Glasses: Protect yourself from the sun with a wide-brimmed hat and polarized sunglasses for better visibility in the water.

  • Digital Fish Scale: A scale allows you to weigh your catch and record your personal bests.

These accessories can enhance your casting rod fishing experience and help you be better prepared for various fishing situations. The specific accessories you need may vary depending on your target species and the type of water you're fishing.