If you’re an avid angler using a spinning rod you might have realized they have limitations. Maybe it’s time to buy a baitcasting rod, too. If you’ve heard of them and aren’t sure what the benefits are, or need help in learning the differences between baitcasting and spinning rods, check out our Buyer’s Guide. It will help explain everything you need to know. We discuss different materials, lengths, power, and action to help you decide which of the ten best baitcasting rods in our review is best for you. The reviews cover the features and specifications of each rod and the pros and cons of each model.
BEST BAITCASTING RODS IN 2023
- ABU GARCIA Vengence Casting Fishing Rod
- BERKLEY Cherrywood HD Fishing Rod
- B’N’M Silvercat Elite Rod
- SHIMANO Sojourn Spinning
- OKUMA Celilo Graphite Casting Rod
- DAIWA Tatula XT
- DOBYNS RODS Champion XP
- SHAKESPEARE Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod
- ENTSPORT E Series Camo Legend 2 Piece
- KASTKING Perigree II Casting Rod
ALL THE BAITCASTING RODS THAT WE TESTED
BERKLEY Cherrywood HD Fishing Rod
This baitcasting Cherrywood HD fishing rod has been reinvented for both experienced and inexperienced anglers. Thanks to its hybrid design, high-powered sensitivity, and an especially designed cork handle for added grip sensitivity make Berkley’s fishing rod a popular choice. This fishing rod features lightweight stainless steel inserts and guides, and thanks to the cork handle, slipping out of your hands is out of the question.
PIECES: 1 piece configuration
LENGTH: 5’6″, 6′, 6’6″, 7′ lengths
- Comfortable cork handle
- Durable and stable construction
- Good quality-to-price ratio
- Doesn’t have a specific hook holder
- For freshwater fishing only
B'N'M Silvercat Elite Rod
Made out of aircraft-grade aluminum, this double-locking reel seat-featuring spinning rod ensures a smooth yet powerful fishing experience. Boasting a high-visibility tip, the Silvercat Elite won’t fall short in night fishing, while its high-quality X-grip provides a firm hold on the rod without chances of slipping off.
B’n’M’s spinning rod is a 1-piece catfish fishing pole that’s composed of E-glass composite, perfect for heavy-duty fishing.
PIECES: 1 piece
LENGTH: 7’6″ Medium Heavy
- 1-year warranty
- Might be too large for women
SHIMANO Sojourn Spinning
Shimano’s Sojourn graphite composite construction ensures lightness of feel, but at the same time, it offers durability and sturdiness. The super-comfortable EVA grip makes navigating a breeze. This 2-piece spinning fishing rod is perfect for fast action and is compatible with a mono line. Thanks to its 2-piece design, storing and transport are made easy.
LENGTH: 5′ Ultra Light
- For both men and women
- For a spinning fishing technique only
OKUMA Celilo Graphite Casting Rod
The Celilo Graphite casting rod is made of high-quality materials like aluminum and graphite, offering a light but sturdy feel when fishing for salmon, steelhead, or trout. Designed as a 2-piece, storage and transport are easy. Put through quality and reliability tests, and a fan-favorite among professionals worldwide, the rod’s graphite construction uses aluminum oxide guide inserts and stainless steel reel seats that are also hooded. The quality-made rear and fore cork grips ensure a firm hold, no matter the conditions.
LENGTH: 8’6”, Medium Heavy
- Quality construction
- Corrosion-repelling steel details
- Comfortable feel
- 1-year warranty
- For certain types of fish only
- Might be too heavy for women
DAIWA Tatula XT
The Tatula XT Series aims to satisfy the fishing needs of bass fishermen. Using HVF (High Volume Fiber) for the carbon-graphite construction, this fishing rod is abundant in carbon fibers which automatically means more volume, making the Tatula XT lightweight and sensitive, yet sturdy.
Coming in hot with a 5-year warranty that’s somewhat limited, make Daiwa’s Tatula XT a safe choice for the next fishing adventure.
PIECES: 1 piece
LENGTH: 7′, Medium Heavy
- Stable for both genders
- 5-year warranty
- Quality-made details and construction
- For bass only
DOBYNS RODS Champion XP
Boasting a modulus graphite blank wrapped in kevlar lining, and a fuji reel seat, the Champion has a lot to offer – quality and balance-wise. Featuring carefully designed details, the Champion takes pride in its 14” split-cork handle that delivers accuracy, firmness of grip, and just the right amount of sensitivity. It’s a medium-heavy, fast action casting rod for a 10-17 lb. line and 1/4-3/4 oz. lures.
PIECES: 1 piece
LENGTH: 7’3”, Medium Heavy
- Excellent guide and handle
- Nice sensitivity
- Quality, wholesome blank
SHAKESPEARE Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod
Due to its remarkable design and reliability, the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is one of the best baitcasting rods that money can buy.
The rod, which was originally created in the late 70s, has continued to wow handlers due to its extreme durability and sensitivity. All current models are crafted with a combination of graphite and fiberglass, to capture the benefits of each material. As a result, every piece is extremely light to the touch, but also tough as nails. Hence why the piece has earned the title for the best baitcasting rod of 2023.
Anglers using an Ugly Stik can sense fish the second they even smell the bait, giving the fast action piece a serious advantage over other competitive models. Once fish do happen to take the bait, anglers can rely on the stiff graphite to set the hook and ensure a catch.
All in all, the Ugly Stik GX2 really is the best all around baitcasting rod currently on the market, as it does far more than just meet the basic needs of a casting rod
PIECES: 2 piece casting
LENGTH: 5’6, 6’, 6’6, 7’, 7’6
ROD: Lightweight EVA foam
- Great level of sensitivity
- Strong and durable construction
- One piece guides
- Stiff yet responsive
- Fiberglass tip
- Slightly susceptible to rust
- Pieces occasionally separate
ENTSPORT E Series Camo Legend 2 Piece
A sleek design, lightweight composition, and superior level of comfort make the Endsport E Series Camo Legend the best baitcasting rod for the money.
The rod, which is constructed of enhanced carbon fiber, offers an incredible level of comfort, while still offering plenty of strength. A well designed EVA handle allows for anglers to hold on while casting, and additionally apply pressure when a large fish is on the hook.
However, unlike many other rods, the Camo Legend comes with two separate tips that can be switched out. Each tip offers a slightly different power, to give anglers the chance to pursue different species.
Regardless of Endsport being a lesser-known brand, it has still managed to create the best budget baitcasting rod with the Camo Legend, while also capturing the title for the best baitcasting rod under $50.
PIECES: 2-Piece casting rod
ROD: High Density EVA
- Comfortable and well-shaped handle
- Sleek and catchy design
- Great level of power
- Lightweight construction
- Only 7 guides
- Low quality nylon travel bag
KASTKING Perigree II Casting Rod
A model that simply cannot be ignored on any of the good baitcasting rod reviews is the Kastking Perigee II.
The model, which can be found as a 2 piece baitcasting rod, or a 1 piece, has a variety of features that elevate it above other good baitcasting rods. Not only is the rod made of Toray 24-ton carbon, but it is also equipped with Fuji O-rings for guides. The two features nicely work together to ensure that the rod can hold its own in the elements.
However, the balance of the Perigee II is often what wins many anglers over. A central balance allows anglers to pitch and cast without any trouble, making the rod a very useful tool to have when jigging.
With all of its traits and features considered, the Kastking Perigee very well may be the best baitcasting rod under $100.
PIECES: 1 or 2-Piece casting rod
LENGTH: 6’, 6’6, 6’7, 7’, 7’1, 7’4, 7’6
ROD: High Density EVA
- Rubber end piece on handle
- Downward facing hook keeper
- Two included end pieces
- Well balanced construction
- Fuji guides
- Tip occasionally snaps
BEST BAITCASTING RODS
What is a baitcasting rod?
A baitcasting rod is a variant of the traditional fishing rod which places the reel and line guides on the top of the blank, rather than below it. The reel, as well as the rod itself, are specially made to be equipped for one another. Such a reel lets line loose via a frictionless wheel, which spins once a cast is made.
Baitcasting rods work in a very similar way to spinning rods, as both contain wrapped coils of line which are thread through the guides of the rod. With a spinning rod, anglers simply flip the top mechanism of the reel (the bail), to let the line uncoil while casting. Whereas with a baitcasting rod, anglers press a button on the reel, then hold their thumb against the line to keep it tight while casting.
Pressing a thumb down to control the release of the line is an essential element when using such a reel. If an angler fails to do so, the line often spins too rapidly on the spool and causes a ‘bird’s nest’ which cannot be fixed easily.
Experienced fishermen often turn to baitcasters as the variants are far better for casting great distances than spinning rods. Also, such rods handle large catches better, as the pressure from the line is pushed into the rod via the top guides, rather than away via bottom facing guides (spinning rods).
Spinning Rods Vs. Baitcasting Rods
Most anglers start their venture into fishing with a spinning rod. The pieces are wildly easy to use, can be found at almost any generic sports store, and are great for learning the basics. However, they function in a way that is very different to baitcasting rods.
A spinning rod is an ideal choice for new anglers, young children, and those who prefer accuracy over power. The rod and reel combo requires users to do nothing more than flip a small segment of the reel to release line. Once this is done, anglers can toss their bait out in any direction they choose, as the guides allow the line to flow with precise accuracy.
Nevertheless, spinning rods are not ideal in every situation. They struggle to cast bait great distances and fight fish which pull tremendously hard. In such situations, anglers are much better off with a baitcaster fishing pole.
Baitcaster poles do a tremendous job of casting bait great distances, due to the arrangement of the reel. The frictionless wheel inside of a baitcaster reel allows the line to freely flow with each cast. However, that free flow can be wildly messy if anglers do not monitor the release of the line with their thumb.
Thus, baitcasters are more efficient when fishing from shorelines, for large species, using topwater buzz baits, or maneuvering crankbaits. On the contrary, spinning rods are more appropriate when fishing for smaller species, finessing through shallow water, or using a lighter line.
An important element to consider when purchasing a baitcaster pole is the material that the piece is made of. The components of each piece can dramatically alter the tool’s properties and functions, which changes the overall fishing experience. Thus, there are three main variants that baitcasters can be found in.
The majority of slow action rods are composed of fiberglass materials.
Fiberglass rods are notoriously flexible, allowing anglers to nearly bend the piece in half before it snaps. For that very reason, anglers often choose the variant to fight fish that have softer mouths and require a softer hook setting.
When fashioned as a baitcaster, fiberglass rods are ideal for anglers searching for large species. The ultra-durable material bends appropriately, while also ensuring that the piece won’t snap mid-fight.
Many of the best casting rods are made of composite materials, as the variant satisfies a range of needs that other constructions cannot.
Composite rods are true to their name, as they are comprised of a variety of materials that give them special properties. Materials such as boron, graphite, fiberglass, and other light fibers are often combined into one piece, to offer sensitivity, power, and durability. With all of those beneficial elements, it is easy to see why such a combination is so widely loved.
However, composite rods do have a time and place when they are most appropriate. Anglers using baitcasters often choose composite rods when they search for a medium to medium fast action piece that also offers decent sensitivity.
When it comes to sensitivity, there is no greater blank material than graphite.
Graphite rods are incredibly sensitive, allowing anglers to feel even the slightest hit. The best baitcasting rods constructed of such material typically only bend on the upper third, which gives them a relatively fast action. As a result, anglers can easily feel when a fish pokes at the bait.
Though they sound like the ideal all-around rod, graphite pieces do also have an appropriate time and place. The fast actions of such pieces are not ideal for every species, as some such as catfish require a slow action where rods form a more parabolic shape. Thus, graphite baitcasting rods are best used when hunting for largemouth and smallmouth bass weighing less than 20 lbs.
Though it may not be the most important element, the length of a rod is yet another factor that should be considered when buying a new setup.
Baitcasting rods are designed to cast lures great distances, as the design of the reels permits a free flow of the line. However, the distance that baitcasters offer can also be augmented by choosing a longer or shorter rod.
Most the best baitcasting rods fall into the range of 7 to 8 feet. Though there are some outliers on each side of the spectrum those two sizes seem to be the most coveted. A 7 foot baitcaster rod allows slightly more casting accuracy than an 8 foot, but sacrifices casting distance in return.
Baitcasting anglers that desire more finesse are better off with a shorter rod around 7 foot. Those who wish to haul in larger species, cast farther, and set the hook quicker are more suited for an 8 foot rod.
The power of a rod is a critical factor that no angler using a baitcaster can ignore.
Power, which is simply defined as the amount of weight needed to bend a rod, is an essential component for anglers that target large species. In a more simple sense, power is the sheer lifting strenght that a rod has.
The power rating of a rod can be placed on the standard scale, which groups rods from ultra-light, to ultra-heavy. An ultra-light rod can barely lift even the smallest of panfish, while an ultra-heavy can haul in epic beasts like sturgeon.
Baitcasters are more specifically targeted to catch larger fish, thus it only makes sense that they are often medium to heavy power. Anglers searching for largemouth can rely on medium power, whereas anglers seeking catfish and salmon are better off with heavy power.
Unlike the other factors, the action component of a fishing rod is more muddled and slightly harder to understand.
Action, which is measured by speed, breaks down where a rod will bend when pressure is applied. The scale, which ranks rods from extra fast to slow, indicates where a rod will bend when a fish is on the line.
Fast and extra-fast rods bend very near the end of the rod when pressure is applied. Thus, anglers can more easily set the hook, and drag fish towards the surface.
Moderate speed rods, on the other hand, bend nearly a third of the way down the rod when pressure is applied. This speed is ideal for anglers that want to set the hook quickly, but without tearing the bait out of the mouth of the fish.
Slow speeds bend almost clear to the handle of a piece, giving anglers a fair amount of play when fighting a fish. Such a speed is ideal for anglers that want to fight fish with soft mouths, that also make quick runs. However, slow and medium speed rods are ideal for anglers that wish to cast great distances, as the rods ‘unload’ the stored energy from the bend into the lure.
One of the most essential factors to consider when choosing a rod is what the target species is.
Bass, salmon, and catfish all behave wildly different from one another. As a result, the rod which is best suited for each species also changes.
Largemouth bass is a species that requires a fast hook set. Thus, anglers are better off with baitcasting rods which have a fast action. Failure to set the hook fast often leads to a lost catch.
Salmon and catfish, however, are species that can be more efficiently wrestled in by slower action rods, with lots of power. Such species often suck the bait in and make long runs and circles in the water. A fast action rod may jerk the hook out of the mouths of each species, which yet again results in a lost catch.
BEST BAITCASTING RODS
1. What is a baitcasting rod?
A baitcaster fishing rod is a variant of the traditional fishing pole that is used to catch larger fish, cast greater distances, and angle from distant shorelines.
The setup of a baitcaster resembles that of the traditional fishing rod, but with a few minor differences. Though it is still comprised of a rod blank, a set of guides and a reel set, how it is arranged is altered.
Rather than holding a reel on the underside of a blank, a baitcaster places both the reel and guides on top of the blank. The specialized reel consists of a frictionless wheel that moves on a tube when the line is cast, allowing the line to move freely. As a result, the line can fly much faster through the guides, without experiencing any drag like a spinning piece.
As a result, baitcasters are often used by anglers or shorelines, or those searching for monster fish. Due to their design, they are often longer, more durable, and more efficient at dragging in heavy catches.
2. What is the difference between a regular and baitcasting rod?
The two main rods which make up the equipment market are regular (spinning) and baitcasting rods.
The large majority of anglers start their careers with spinning rods, as the pieces are more common and easier to use. Spinning rods consist of a set of guides, a reel, and a rod blank, all fashioned together on the underside of a piece. Anglers can simply turn the spinning reel over to let line loose, and cast their bait into the water.
While bait caster rods do consist of the same basic elements, they are radically different in their arrangement. The pieces place the reel and guides on top of a rod blank, rather than below. A specialized reel is then attached, which lets line loose via a frictionless bar. The combination allows the line to be cast farther out into the water, as there is little to no friction present.
3. When do I use a baitcasting rod?
Baitcaster rods can be incredibly helpful pieces of equipment if used at the right time.
However, many anglers start with spinning rods before they jump into using baitcasters. The more standardized rod type allows anglers to learn the basics of fishing, without having to deal with the complexities of a baitcaster.
Nevertheless, most experienced anglers eventually move into baitcasters as they are more powerful than traditional spinning rods. A good baitcasting rod is far more powerful, durable, and stiff than an affordable spinning rod. Due to these factors, they are often better for anglers that target larger fish. Largemouth bass, catfish, and striped bass are just a few of the many species that become easier to land when using a baitcaster. On the contrary, catching small panfish such as bluegill or crappie can be more of a challenge when using such a rod, as the heavy scale of the equipment is not meant for smaller fish.
Anglers who fish from shorelines can also benefit when using baitcasters. The rods offer more of a frictionless cast, allowing the bait to fly a much farther distance. Subsequently, when the target area is far from the shoreline, anglers on land can use a baitcaster to reach areas that they would not be able to with a spinning rod.
4. Can a baitcaster go on any rod?
Due to its unique design, a baitcaster reel can only be used with rods that are specially designed for such a setup.
Though spinning rods and baitcaster rods do look similar from a distance, they are very much the inverse of each other. The standard spinning rod places the reel and guides on the underside of the blank. Once the rod is cast, the line unwinds rapidly until the reel is then closed again.
Baitcaster rods, on the other hand, place the reel on top of the rod, as well as the guides. As a result, only reels that are built to work with baitcasting rods can be applied. However, many baitcaster rods can be equipped with reels from a variety of different brands of models.
5. What power baitcasting rod is best for Jerkbaits and Crankbaits?
The lures, which quickly dart through the water, accurately mimic the motions of smaller fish and minnows. Naturally, fish can’t resist the urge to try to gulp them up.
However, using the right baitcasting rod is key when fishing with such lures. And when it comes to power, anglers are best off using medium to medium heavy baitcasting rods.
Medium speeds are ideal for when an angler sets the hook, as the rod absorbs a large amount of shock, rather than ripping the hook out of the fish’s mouth.
Yet it is also worth noting that the fish which typically hit jerkbaits and crankbaits are quite large, as the lures themselves require a fairly large mouth just to ingest. Therefore, anglers using a medium to heavy power can rest assured that their rods won’t snap when dealing with such fish.
6. What is the best salmon baitcasting rod?
The Ugly Stik GX2 is certainly the best baitcasting rod for salmon.
For years the Ugly Stik has been aiding anglers in their quest to reel in monster fish. The incredible level of durability, extreme sensitivity, and fast action all combine to make the rod a serious weapon in the arsenal.
Thus, when it comes to salmon, it is well equipped and designed to take on the husky fish which often requires mass amounts of pulling and pressure. The sensitivity allows anglers to feel when a fish is on the line, but the sheer power allows handlers to wrestle the beasts in without too much trouble.
Though it is a product that rarely sees modifications, it is one that still continues to wow the salmon fishing community.
7. What is the best baitcasting rod for bass?
Nearly all of the rods on this list are suitable for bass, as each one has the needed features to catch such fish. However, if there has to be one absolute best, then that award goes to the Fenwick Elite Tech Bass Casting Rod.
Just as the name implies, the Elite Tech Bass Casting rod is an incredible fishing tool. The model comes in a variety of lengths and actions, to ensure that anglers are fully prepared for whatever swims their way.
However, the finer details such as the sensitivity and finesse allow the rod to rise above the rest. Fishermen can easily wiggle their jigs or lures through both shallow and deep water, without having to even break a sweat.
All in all, the rod is a monster that really is worthy of a trophy.
As always, we create our content with you, fellow adventurers, in mind. So, how’d we do? Did you find this informative? Did it help you make a decision? Did we miss anything? We’d love to hear from you below. Thanks for reading and we hope your next adventure is a great one!