SUMMARY TABLE

Name

Image

Rating

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FENWICK
HMG Spinning Rod
BEST SPINNING ROD UNDER $100

Fenwicks HMG70MH-FS HMG Spinning Rod Rod

4.9  /5

ABU GARCIA
Vengeance
BEST SPINNING ROD UNDER $50

Abu Garcia Vengeance Spinning Rod

4.8  /5

ST. CROIX
Bass X

St Croix Bass X Casting Rods (MHF, 7'1")

4.6  /5

CADENCE
CR7

Cadence CR7 Spinning Rod, Fishing Rod with 40 Ton Carbon,Fuji Reel Seat,Durable Stainless Steel Guides with SiC Inserts,Full Assortment of Lengths, Actions for Spinning Reels

4.4  /5

BEST SPINNING ROD UNDER $100

Fenwicks HMG70MH-FS HMG Spinning Rod Rod

Overall Rating

4.9 /5

Durability

4.9

Build Quality

5.0

Grip & Comfort

5.0

Portability

4.7

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General Impression

The Fenwick HMG Spinning Rod allows you to obtain an affordable piece of equipment with compromising on quality. From tip to butt, this rod is constructed utilizing components rarely found in spinning rods under $100. The blank is constructed of 100% graphite spiraled with carbon thread for increased strength at a reduced weight. The deep pressed titanium guides are virtually indestructible, and the Fuji reel seat is both comfortable and lightweight. Even the handle is groundbreaking with an EVA and TAC blend for increased durability and grooved for greater comfort. The HMG spinning rod offers the strength, durability, and comfort needed for long days on the water with a price tag that makes it attainable for the recreational angler, our choice for best spinning rod under $100.

Specifications

BRAND: Fenwick
LENGTH:
6′ to 7’6″
ACTION: Fast
POWER: Light to Medium-heavy
LINE WEIGHT: 4 to 12 LBS

PROS

  • Very sensitive, well suited for detecting light bites.
  • The graphite/carbon thread blank provides impressive strength and durability.
  • Fenwick backs this rod with a lifetime warranty.

CONS

  • Disappointing maximum line weight
  • Power rating too light for larger species
  • May not be suitable for tournament-level anglers
BEST SPINNING ROD UNDER $50

Abu Garcia Vengeance Spinning Rod

Overall Rating

4.8 /5

Durability

4.8

Build Quality

4.8

Grip & Comfort

5.0

Portability

4.7

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General Impression

Abu Garcia has made a name for themselves by producing some of the most durable, cost-efficient fishing rods on the market, and the Vengeance is no exception. The backbone and the source of the exceptional durability is a 24-ton high modulus graphite blank. This is paired with stainless steel titanium oxide lined guides and a split grip constructed of high-density EVA. The result is a rod built to ensure day-long comfort and season after season durability. Available in lengths of 6’6″ or 7′ and powers ranging from medium-light to medium-heavy the Vengeance is one of the best spinning rods for the money and suitable for a wide range of applications regardless of experience level.

Specifications

BRAND: Abu Garcia
LENGTH: 6’6″ to 7′

ACTION: Fast
POWER: Medium-light to Medium-heavy
LINE WEIGHT: 6 to 14 LBS

PROS

  • An extremely strong blank is suitable for even the largest species.
  • Designed with user comfort as a top priority.
  • The Vengeance offers superior balance in a lightweight package.

CONS

  • Disappointing that steel line guides were used.
  • Good rod for the money but may not last as long as other models.
  • Cork handles would improve look and comfort.

PENN Battalion Inshore Spinning

Overall Rating

4.7 /5

Durability

4.7

Build Quality

4.7

Grip & Comfort

4.9

Portability

4.7

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General Impression

Each rod is constructed using a graphite composite material, 70% graphite, and 30% fiberglass. Thanks to the graphite, the sensitivity is far greater than expected from a large surf rod, while the fiberglass provided the strength and power needed to fight the tide and fish alike. The Fuji aluminum oxide guides offer the perfect combination of lightweight, strength, and smoothness, allowing for excellent casting with either monofilament or braided lines. The Fuji reel seat is strong, lightweight, and backed by a proven track record. The rubber shrink tube handle is a unique component, designed to provide maximum security when making a long cast with wet hands. The 2-piece construction makes this surf rod easier to transport, even when selecting the 12′ model.

Specifications

BRAND: Penn
LENGTH: 8′ – 12′

ACTION: Moderate-fast to Fast
POWER: Medium-light to Heavy
LINE WEIGHT: 8 to 40 LBS

PROS

  • The 2-piece design allows for easier transportation.
  • Rubber shrink tube handles allow for increased gripping ability even when wet.
  • Fuji guides and reel seats provide lightweight, durable, and long-lasting components.

CONS

  • Lighter models not suitable for larger species often found cruising inshore areas.
  • Two-piece models suffer a decrease in power and action.
  • Many of the same features can be found in the cheaper Penn Prevail II.

Daiwa PSO704ULFS-TR Presso Ultralight Pack Spinning Rod, 7' Length, 4Piece Rod, Ultralight Power, Fast Action

Overall Rating

4.7 /5

Durability

4.5

Build Quality

4.8

Grip & Comfort

4.8

Portability

5.0

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General Impression

If you are in search of one of the best travel spinning rods for under $100, the DIAWA Presso deserves a place on your list of options. This superior ultralight 4-piece travel rod is perfect for tucking into luggage or packing into the backcountry. Available in length of 5’6″, 6′, 6’6″ or 7′ means your needing to travel does not mean you need to sacrifice the improved performance you are looking for when fighting bigger fish. Each blank is constructed from IM-7 graphite and incorporates a micro pitch taper for even distribution of resin and un-sanded finish resulting in maximum strength, stability, and sensitivity. Minima black ring guides mean your line is offered maximum protection when fishing or moving. A lightweight split-grip cork handle provides a solid gripping surface in any condition, and the woven reel seat clamp nut with woven graphite insert means you reel will be secure no matter how many times it is removed and replaced for travel.

Specifications

BRAND: Daiwa
LENGTH: 5’6″ – 7′

ACTION: Fast
POWER: Ultralight
LINE WEIGHT: 1 to 8 LBS

PROS

  • The 4-piece construct allows you to pack a traditional rod rather than the collapsible alternative.
  • Micro pitch taper means you get a denser, stronger blank.
  • Each rod includes a zippered carry case for protection when traveling.

CONS

  • Longer models may experience some difficulty casting true ultralight lures.
  • Although rated for a maximum of 8 LB test, ultralight power limits use to no more than 6 LBS.
  • Light design may make it difficult to land bigger fish easily.

St Croix Bass X Casting Rods (MHF, 7'1")

Overall Rating

4.6 /5

Durability

4.6

Build Quality

4.8

Grip & Comfort

4.6

Portability

4.6

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General Impression

Although bass anglers spend enormous amounts of money on the gear, they need that does not mean they want to, so they will appreciate the ability to pick this quality bass rod for under $100. Each Bass X incorporates premium SCII graphite blank, hard aluminum-oxide guides, and a FUJI DPS reel seat. The rod is finished with two coats of FLEX-COAT slow cure finish in grey while components, except for the split grip premium cork handle, are blacked out. Passionate bass anglers will appreciate they four available lengths and fast or extra fast action for increased sensitivity and powerful hook setting ability.

Specifications

BRAND: St. Croix
LENGTH: 6’01” to 7’01”

ACTION: Fast to Extra-fast
POWER: Medium-light to Medium-heavy
LINE WEIGHT: 6 to 14 LBS

PROS

  • Provides bass angler with a quality option in under $100 price range.
  • The combination of graphite construction and FLEX-COAT provides extreme strength.
  • Each rod is backed by a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.

CONS

  • The softer tip is more suitable for use with braid or fluorocarbon than monofilament.
  • Lightweight and forward balance can result in extreme fatigue.

Buzz Ramsey Air Series Spinning Rod

Overall Rating

4.6 /5

Durability

4.5

Build Quality

4.6

Grip & Comfort

4.7

Portability

4.5

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General Impression

Berkley is known for its wide range of fishing lines and baits, not quality rods. But the Buzz Ramsey Air-Series Spinning Rod is a homerun. With a wide range of lengths ranging from 8’6″ to 10’9″ and a combination of power and action backed by quality components, this rod has earned a place as one of the best steelhead spinning rods under 100 dollars. Each rod includes a Matrix Composite blank that provides the strength and flexibility needed for finesse techniques that land big fish. The SS304 guides and titanium nitride inserts allow for long life and worry-free use even with braided line. The extended foregrips with premium cork handle material not only offers a traditional look but provides the comfort and control needed for long hours of fishing. Finally, the two-piece construction allows for easier transportation of even the longest 10’9 model.

Specifications

BRAND: Berkley
LENGTH: 8’6″ – 10’9″

ACTION: Medium to Medium- fast
POWER: Light to Medium-heavy
LINE WEIGHT: 6 to 20 LBS

PROS

  • These rods offer a near-perfect combination of length and power.
  • Premium cork handle material provides increased comfort and durability.
  • Capable of handling even the lightest lure, ideal choice for targeting large salmon or steelhead.

CONS

  • It would be nice to have the ability to use less than 6 LB test.
  • Disappointing the longer models are offered in only a limited option of powers.

OKUMA RA-S-1002ML Rockaway Surf

Overall Rating

4.5 /5

Durability

4.5

Build Quality

4.6

Grip & Comfort

4.6

Portability

4.3

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General Impression

Surf anglers will appreciate Okuma’s Rockaway Spinning Rod thanks to its combination of quality, sensitivity, responsiveness, and economical price tag. Each rod starts with a lightweight 24-ton carbon blank, Ultimate Flex Reinforcement rod tip, and tip over butt ferrule connection for improved strength and balance. XQ series 316-stainless steel guides and Zirconium inserts provide superior performance with either braid or monofilament. While the tapered shrink tube / EVA grips provide a non-slip grip even when wet and the rounded EVA butt cap provides improved leverage for long casting. Available in lengths from 8′ to 12′, all incorporating a one-piece design, the Rockaway is perfect for the surf angler with limited transportation space who still want a rod that will provide the length needed to reach out and touch those fish that are just out of reach of others. Without a doubt, one of the best surf fishing rods of 2019 for under 100 dollars. For additional surf fishing options check out “The Best Surf Fishing Rods 2019”

Specifications

BRAND: Okuma
LENGTH: 10′

ACTION: Medium -fast
POWER: Medium-light to Medium
LINE WEIGHT: 8 to 20 LBS

PROS

  • Forward angled Sea Guides are exceptionally well suited for use with braided line.
  • Ultimate Flex Reinforcement allows for better force distribution at the tip to reduce breaks.
  • The lighter, more sensitive design allows anglers to feel the bite much sooner.
  • The Zirconium inserts will increase the life of guides when exposed to saltwater.

CONS

  • This rod does have fewer guides for the length than some competitors.
  • The increased sensitivity can result in increased fatigue on long days.
  • The lighter design may not be the best choice in rougher conditions.

Shimano Solara 6'6 MH Spinning Freshwater Spinning Rod

Overall Rating

4.4 /5

Durability

4.3

Build Quality

4.3

Grip & Comfort

4.6

Portability

4.6

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General Impression

Are you looking for a quality saltwater spinning rod that can handle the stresses of inshore or bay fishing without breaking the bank? If so, the Solara by Shimano deserves your consideration. These entry-level rods were originally advertised for use in freshwater; however, countless anglers have confirmed that they are perfect for your first foray in the salt spray as well. The aero glass (i.e. fiberglass) blank with graphite reel seat may not be as light as today’s graphite or composite versions, but it will not cost near as much either. Plus, it still provides the power and strength needed for deep hook sets and to turn stubborn fish. The aluminum oxide guides are well suited for use with all line types, including braid, and will withstand the corrosion-prone saltwater. Finished in a stylish and comfortable cork handle rather than the EVA you would expect on a rod in this price range.

Specifications

BRAND: Shimano
LENGTH: 5′ – 8′

ACTION: Fast
POWER: Ultralight to Medium-heavy
LINE WEIGHT: 2 to 17 LBS

PROS

  • The combination of power and sensitivity make this an excellent choice for beginners.
  • Easy to cast, detects even slight bites, and allows for good hook sets.
  • Perfect for the new angler.
  • Cork handle material and lightweight means this rod feels good in the hand.

CONS

  • Aero glass tends to be stiffer, resulting in action that is not truly as light as labeled.
  • It would be nice to have a little larger foregrip length.
  • Heavier weight can lead to increased casting fatigue.

Shakespeare Micro Series Spinning Rod

Overall Rating

4.4 /5

Durability

4.2

Build Quality

4.4

Grip & Comfort

4.5

Portability

4.5

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General Impression

Shakespeare is known for producing quality, but lower-priced, entry-level rods, and the Micro Series not only fit into that category, it takes it to another level. Lower prices are no longer sought only by those entering the sport. They are also desired by experienced anglers who paddle or travel when fishing – activities sure to result in high incidents of broken or damaged equipment. While many would look down on the stainless-steel guides, others will appreciate the return to basics when their new rod slips overboard or between a closing tailgate. But the lack of flare does not mean a lack of quality. The graphite blank offers the sensitivity needed from an ultra-light set up, and the traditional cork handles are both comfortable and attractive. This rod may not cost a million bucks, but it does look and perform as if it does, making the Micro Series one of the best budget spinning rods.

Specifications

BRAND: Shakespeare
LENGTH: 4’6″ to 7’6″

ACTION: Medium to Medium- fast
POWER: Ultralight to Light
LINE WEIGHT: 2 to 10 LBS

PROS

  • Extremely smooth feel even with the lightest tackle.
  • Long casts with far fewer tangles that one would expect when using light line.
  • Anglers of all experience levels will find a model that fits their needs and style.

CONS

  • The stainless-steel guides and inserts are unlikely to last that long.
  • Hollow blank construction leave question as to long term durability
  • The handle is a bit narrow for some users.

Cadence CR7 Spinning Rod, Fishing Rod with 40 Ton Carbon,Fuji Reel Seat,Durable Stainless Steel Guides with SiC Inserts,Full Assortment of Lengths, Actions for Spinning Reels

Overall Rating

4.4 /5

Durability

4.5

Build Quality

4.4

Grip & Comfort

4.6

Portability

4.4

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General Impression

The CR7 is one of the lightest spinning rods available for under $100 thanks to a groundbreaking combination of technological advances and modern construction materials. Each blank is constructed utilizing 40-ton carbon with a wrapped veil for increased strength and rigidity. Stainless-steel guides coupled with SIC inserts, improve casting ability while also withstanding corrosion even in saltwater. Finally, the FUJI reel seat and premium cork/EVA handle provide a firm, comfortable grip regardless of conditions. In the end, the Cadence CR7 ranks as one of the best bargains when it comes to spinning rods for under 100 dollars.

Specifications

BRAND: Cadence
LENGTH:
5’10 -7’06”
ACTION: Medium -fast to Extra -fast
POWER: Medium-light to Medium-heavy
LINE WEIGHT: 4 to 20 LBS

PROS

  • The CR7 is extremely lightweight and easy to handle.
  • Excels as a light tackle rod and is ideal for smaller lures.
  • Even the shorted 5’6″ model offers exceptional casting distance and accuracy.

CONS

  • The use of thinner blanks leaves some doubt when it comes to the CR7’s ability to tackle larger fish.
  • Stainless-steel guides and thinner design make it better suited for freshwater only.

When purchasing a spinning rod, there are three main features you need to consider- action, power, and length. These features, along with overall construction, is far more important than how much money you spend. With the right combination of these three features, you will cast farther, be more accurate when doing so, and better control the fish you hook. The best rod is not always a matter of how much money you spend.

Action refers to how easily the rod will bend and how far from the tip it will do so. Most manufacturers describe the action as slow, moderate, fast, or extra fast, although some will use light, medium, medium/heavy, or heavy. The latter will also be used to describe power, which we will discuss in a moment. An extra fast, or heavy, the rod will bend 3-4″ from the tip. A slow, or light, the rod will bend approximately 1/3 of the from tip to handle.

The action determines how the rod will react when under stress, either when fighting a fish or casting a lure. A lighter action will allow casting of lighter lures and bend under the initial pressure of a fish striking, which lessens the chance the fish will detect your line. However, this lighter action will also make hook set more difficult and not provide the combination needed to wrestle large fish to the surface or out of thick cover.

Power, sometimes referred to as weight, is the pressure needed to bend the rod. The most common terms used to describe power are light, medium, and heavy, with heavy rods requiring more pressure to bend. Some manufacturers also offer mid-range power levels such as medium/light or medium/heavy, while higher-end rods often utilize a number rating (1 to 5) with lower numbers being lighter power. This latter method is used when describing fly fishing rods.

Length is, of course, the measurement of the rod from base to tip. While shorter rods allow for easier use in confined spaces or aboard a boat, they limit casting and do not provide as strong a hook set. A longer rod not only increases casting distance & it also allows the angler to take up more line during the hook set. Plus, the increased length provides additional control when a fish is hooked. Most experts would recommend using the longest rod the angler can handle, and conditions allow. The key is finding the length that provides you the perfect combination of distance and accuracy.

Components

Although power, action, and length are the foundation of a good rod, there are a few additional features or components you need to be aware of – blank material, guides, reel seat, and handle construction. While these features will not make a bad rod good, they will make an already decent rod better and are often the tiebreaker when selecting one rod over another with power, action, and length are equal.

Most of today’s rod blanks are constructed from graphite or similar composite material, although some are still made using fiberglass. Due to its ability to provide a consistent flex throughout its length, fiberglass rods are a favorite for deep-sea fishing graphite is lighter and more sensitive and thus more suitable for casting and jigging. While graphite is more expensive, it is the preferred choice in most applications.

The guides, or loops through which the line passes from reel to tip, are often overlooked when selecting a rod. This is a mistake as the better the guides, the more sensitive the rod will be and less wear they will place on the line. The best guides are lined with ceramic or similar material to further protect the line from damage. Although some anglers place great emphasis on guide size, claiming the smaller guides increase casting distance, this is a matter of opinion rather than the industry standard.

The reel seat is rather basic, both in function and options. Other than holding the spinning reel in place and providing a point at which to grip the rod when using the reel, there is not much else it does. Some are open and allow the angler to feel the blank while others include a trigger like grip – which you choose is a matter of personal preference rather than performance. It is more important to make sure the reel seat fits the reel you will be using, is comfortable in your hand, and includes a large gnarled knob that is easy to use with wet or cold hands that secures tightly.

Cork is the traditional handle material and is still widely used today, with an increasing number of manufacturers turning to Eva foam or a combination of foam & cork. Although cork tends to last longer and looks better, your final selection again depends on personal preference. What is more important than handle material is handle length. Shorter handles are the preferred choice when casting lighter lures as they allow one-handed or rolling casts. Longer handles permit two-handed casting and are better when using heavy lures or casting for distance.

REACH OUT

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!

Tom Burrell

Tom is a product expert, a degreed career Conservation Officer, and an avid outdoorsman originally from Northeast Pennsylvania. Tom has spent 23 years as a Conservation Officer, during which time he has fished throughout the Americas. He has targeted some of the most prized fresh and saltwater species using a variety of techniques. His key interests include boating, reading, anything outdoors and spending time with his family. Tom takes unique pride in sharing his love for the outdoors with his young son and teaching him the subtleties of nature.

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