The 5 Best Baitcasting Rods Reviewed 2020

The 5 Best Baitcasting Rods Reviewed 2020


A baitcasting rod is a fishing rod designed to be used in combination with a baitcasting reel. Baitcasting rods give the angler more control on the cast and on the fight with larger fish.

The baitcasting reel is mounted to the top of the rod and the angler controls the line coming off the reel with the thumb or a forefinger trigger. The line guides on a baitcasting rod face upward rather than downward like the guides on a spinning rod.

Purchasing new fishing rods can be intimidating because there are so many options on the shelves. Baitcasting fishing rods come in all shapes and sizes, the action on the rods varies from fast to medium and the power jumps from light to heavy. Whether you’re adept at using casting rods or looking for your first baitcaster ever, you need a well-constructed rod that feels good in your hand and offers the right combination of power, action, length and other features for your fishing style. It will enable you to accurately cast heavier lures and have the backbone to pull larger, heavier fish from deep water and heavy cover.

Now I’m going to suggest a handful of top rated baitcasting rods so you can get started selecting the right one for you immediately!

Quick Answer: The 5 Best Baitcasting Rods For 2020

  1. Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod
  2. Shimano Trevala Casting Rod
  3. Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Rod
  4. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Tiger Casting Rod
  5. Ugly Stik Elite Casting Fishing Rod

For more of my top gear recommendations, have a look through these popular Trizily guide links: Fishing Kayaks, Baitcasting Reels, Spinning Rods, Fly Fishing Reels.

Best  Baitcasting Rods


Lengths:5'6", 6', 6'6", 7' & 7'6"5', 5'5", 7'25", 7'75" & 8'6'6", 6'9" & 7'
Construction:1 & 2 piece designs with graphite and fiberglass constructionEngineered with a high carbon butt section fused together with a TC4 tipTwo piece baitcasting rod design is crafted with a composite of graphite and fiberglass
Rating:4,4 / 5,04,5 / 5,04,4 / 5,0

Baitcasting Rod Reviews

So, what are the best fishing rods for baitcasting this year? I’ll lay out an array of choices for you so that you can get started selecting the right one for your needs!

#1 Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod

Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod at a Glance:

Graphite and fiberglass construction

Tuff line guides

Clear fiberglass tip

UglyStik is know for durability and strength. The GX2 is designed to be durable as well as sensitive. The UglyStik by Shakespeare combines quality graphite and fiberglass to create a rod that is sensitive enough to detect the smallest strike and strong enough to get your catch into the boat, onto the pier, or onto the bank. The GX2 is one of the best budget baitcasting rods on the market.

For over 115 years, Shakespeare has been one of the go-to brands for affordable, high-quality fishing tackle and products. For a century, Shakespeare and the UglyStik brand have had one goal in mind – making fishing easy and fun. UglyStik offers gear for the entire family across all levels of experience – from beginner fishing kits for the little ones to fishing gear for all types of fishing (salt-and-freshwater, small fish and large fish).

Best For: Ugly Stik lovers looking for a powerful and indestructible medium rod.

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#2 Shimano Trevala Casting Rod

Shimano Trevala Casting Rod at a Glance:

Shimano TC4 Construction

Fuji reel seat

Convenient hook keeper

Add a reel and you will get the best fishing rod and reel combo. This casting rod is one of the rare models at the moment which offers prestigious quality and strength. It is far more than an ordinary version which can be used by beginners.

It is a professional and heavy-duty model which should be used only by professionals that always expects the best results. There are a lot of great features to this model and it is almost impossible to list them all here. In short, if you are interested in getting the best and the most expensive casting rod, this is the right one for you.

Superior Sensitivity:

Thanks to the use of modern and high-tech materials, such as carbon fiber, and stainless steel, this casting rod is impressive when it comes to sensitivity. Add the Shimano Butterfly Jigs and you will get a unit with superior performances.

Of course, the strength shouldn’t be taken into consideration. After all, the model is made by professionals and we believe it isn’t suitable for beginners.

Diamond Polished Guides:

In order to understand how advanced this casting rod is, we must mention this feature right here. The guides are polished to perfection with the use of artificial diamonds.

This almost eliminates friction and makes the guides truly special. In the lack of a more appropriate word, the guides are perfect and can be compared with premium models.

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#3 Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Rod

Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Fishing Rod at a Glance:

Durable 2-piece casting rod design

5’ long rod crafted with a composite of graphite and fiberglass

Medium heavy action

Stainless steel reel seat

This is a simple, effective baitcasting rod from an increasingly popular brand. Piscifun is more and more known for bringing good fishing products to market at an irresistible price. That’s not to say it’s a cheap toy, though.

Again we have a stainless steel reel seat which I like. Honestly though I’m not totally floored by the reel seat design on this one. It looks like a weak point but users rate it highly so I’m not too worried about it when all is said and done. I won’t ding this rod for it.

Similar to the Ugly Stik, this rod has a full length EVA foam handle. I personally like this feature because it allows more personal preference and grip distance. Unlike the seperated handles of other rods, you can put your grip wherever you want.

Again we have stainless steel line guides but this time Zirconium inserts help reinforce them. While it’s not top of the line, the price tag isn’t going to give you a nosebleed, either.

This two-piece rod can be collapsed for transportation. Because of the medium length it’s a versatile rod. That, combined with the medium heavy power, makes it a great all around rod.

Best For: Beginners or those looking for an all around rod that can fit anywhere in the arsenal.

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#4 Shakespeare Ugly Stik Tiger Casting Rod

Shimano Trevala Casting Rod at a Glance:

Ugly Tech construction

Ugly Tuff one-piece stainless steel double-foote guides

Diamond shrink tape over EVA handles

Rubber gimbals

Durability is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing any fishing gear, especially with rods. Your rod is probably the most significant piece of equipment that may break on any given outing. But anglers seldom give much thought to this consideration.

Many anglers simply decide they’ll be careful with their new gear and protect it from any possible harm. But this never lasts.

Six weeks later, they are chucking their favorite new rod onto the bottom of the boat as they try to switch fishing poles quickly enough to cast out to that school of feeding strippers.

Like it or not, you are going to abuse your new rod so you need one that can take this kind of wear and tear, and still be ready to get the job done now and for years to come. The Shakespeare Ugly Stik Tiger Spinning Rod series offers exactly this.

Shakespeare’s Ugly Stik Tiger Spinning Rod series makes most comparable fishing poles look like flimsy garbage. They are built to take a beating and user after user raves about their durability.

Built from a combination of E-glass and graphite, they are designed to have a fast action which is the most popular choice among anglers of all types. This gives you enough tip to cast small lures a mile, yet enough backbone to turn a fish headed for heavy cover.

Users report that properly selected Ugly Stiks excel in almost every fishing application – you just need to select the best length and power combination for your needs.

This is true for fishers seeking tiny native trout in secluded streams and off-shore anglers trying to drag in 50-pound cobia

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#5 Ugly Stik Elite Casting Fishing Rod

Ugly Stik Elite Casting Rod at a Glance:

Ugly Stik Clear Tip design for strength and sensitivity

Ugly Tech Construction

Ugly Tuff one piece stainless steel guides provide excellent durability and eliminate insert pop-outs

This may be the best baitcasting rod under $50 available on the market right now. We know that the name of the brand is more than just interesting, but nevertheless, they make some of the best models.

The one we have here comes specifically designed and made for tough operations. It is based on the latest technology and it comes with a high level of strength.

Of course, even the guides are made of stainless steel, so the overall value for the money is an understatement. If you are a beginner who is looking for good basic applications, this may be the best alternative.

Ugly Stik Clear Tip Design:

This feature refers to the design or better said the overall strength of the rod. It means that the rod is made to last and it is extremely strong.

At the same time, it is durable and powerful so it can be used for more advanced applications. Surprisingly, this model can also be compared with other more expensive models.

Added Graphite:

Obviously, we all know that graphite is added for improving the sensitivity and the strength of the rods. But till now this feature was reserved for more expensive models.

This one, however, comes with added graphite for improved accuracy, sensitivity, and overall strength. And yes, all of this actually works and helps in real world applications. We tested it and we must say that the casting rod in question is phenomenal.

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How to Choose the Best Baitcasting Rod

  • Line Guides
  • Reel Seats
  • Rod Power
  • Baitcasting Rod Action
  • Baitcasting Rod Materials
  • Handle/Grip
  • Frame Quality

Now I’m going to guide you through the finer points of baitcasting rod selection. Let’s dive in to some criteria you can use to select your next baitcasting reel!

Line Guides

The line guides are the circular rings positioned along the length of the road facing towards the sky on a baitcaster pole. Their purpose is to control the flow of fishing line as you cast and retrieve and minimize the amount of friction and heat on the line to ensure smooth line flow without tangles and enhance the durability of your fishing line.

These eyelets may seem insignificant but they’re very important as they affect the rod’s quality, durability, sensitivity and how smooth and far out casting is. It is, therefore, important to examine the kind of line guides a casting rod you’re considering has. Pay attention to their quality and positioning.

A quality, well-made casting rod will have carefully placed guides that line up and remain straight without twisting or snapping when under pressure. The more guides the rod has, the better its casting performance but the more expensive the rod. Fuji’s Concept guides are considered some of the best.

Most guides feature a metal frame with inserts that the fishing line glides on when flowing. The inserts can be made of plastic, metal or ceramics. Silicon carbide (SiC), is considered the best material and offers a super-smooth, low-friction surface. Nickel-titanium is top quality, extremely corrosion resistant and when bent will spring back into position instead of breaking. Alconite is another smooth material. Ceramic guides are good quality and extremely resistant to wear and friction. Plastic inserts are inferior in quality, durability, and performance.

Reel Seats

The reel seat is where the baitcasting reel you choose to match with your baitcaster rod will sit and attach to the rod. On a baitcaster rod, the reel sits on the top of the rod and so casting rods are top seated.

Pay attention to the quality of the reel seats on any casting rod you’re considering. There’s a lot of pressure on this feature when throwing the heavy line, bait, and lures and fighting heavy fish. You want to ensure the seat is built well to resist the elements, hold the reel securely so it doesn’t fall in the midst of a tough fish fight and enhance the rod’s performance.

Check that the reel seat is designed in such a way that the reel will fit snugly when tightened. Additional screw-down options provide extra security. Beware of poor quality reel seats made out of plastic or faux metal that will bend, break, or snap and cause your reel to fall off.

For added sensitivity, some reel seats have a cutout on the bottom that exposes the rod’s blank so you can feel the blank with your finger when holding the rod. Cushioning inside the metal hoods is good as it prevents rust and stains and makes it easy to remove the reel. Choose a design you find most comfortable to hold.

Rod Power

The power of a casting rod refers to its strength or lifting power. There are ultra-light, light, medium light, medium, medium-heavy and heavy power fishing rods.

Ultra-light and light powers are meant for lighter fishing lines, lures and fighting small fish. Medium heavy, heavy and extra heavy powers give the rod enough backbone to throw heavier lines, lures and bring in large, heavy fish.

Since a casting rod is designed to throw heavier lures and baits to catch bigger fish, you will need a baitcaster pole with medium to heavy powers so it has enough strength to cast heavy lines, lures, baits and lift heavy fish out of heavy cover or deep waters without breaking.

Baitcasting Rod Action

The action of a baitcasting rod describes where it bends when a load is placed at its tip and how quickly it recovers when the load is removed. It determines how a baitcaster rod will perform when casting and fighting fish. There are extra fast, fast, medium, and slow action fishing rods.

Extra fast action rods are extremely stiff and only bend at the tip. Fast action rods are a little more flexible and bend in the top third of the rod from the tip. They pack a lot of power at the tip which enables them to achieve superior casting distance. They’re also very sensitive and set hooks fast and hard.

Moderate action rods are equally stiff and flexible and will bend in the top half of the rod. They are versatile and suitable for casting middleweight baits. They are the easiest for beginners to master.

Slow action rods are the most flexible and bend uniformly throughout the rod’s length. They are good for gentle casts and fishing with delicate and live baits. They set hooks slower and allow fish to get the hook further into their mouth.

Baitcasting Rod Materials

The material the casting rod’s blank is made of will affect its ease of use, durability, strength, and performance when fishing.

When using a baitcaster rod to cast heavy lures and land trophy fish, the most important thing you need is strength and durability and fiberglass offers you this. It is strong but heavy and doesn’t have as much sensitivity as graphite. It performs best in heavier applications that don’t require much sensitivity.

Graphite rods are unbeatable when it comes to sensitivity and lightweight comfort. Graphite is also strong but has a tendency to be brittle. It is great for casting, fishing for long durations, and for situations that require a superior feel.

Composite construction combines both graphite and fiberglass to produce lightweight and sensitive yet sturdy and durable rods.


On a good fishing day, you will have your hand on your casting rod’s handle for hours. It should feel good in your hands and provide a strong grip even when your hands are wet and slippery and no matter how cold or hot it gets. It should also be ergonomically designed to ensure you don’t go home with achy wrists. This is why the handle on a rod and the kind of grip it offers are very important considerations when choosing a casting rod.

Cork and EVA foam are the top handle materials. Both are very lightweight, easy and comfortable to grip. Eva, Hyperlon or Duralon made handles offer a solid, non-slip grip and are also resistant to stains, corrosion and temperature changes. They are the most durable and more affordable than cork handles.

Cork handles offer sufficient grip even when it’s wet and add to the sensitivity and aesthetic appeal of a rod. However, they’re expensive and not all cork handles are made equal. The quality of cork varies with the most expensive rods featuring the best cork grade.

When it comes to length, longer handles help with heavy baits and long casts because the angler you can use two hands to generate more load and forward force. For two-handed casting, an extended rear grip length offers more control and leverage. For short casts of lighter baits, short handles allow for one-handed or roll casting.

Handles on a casting rod also come in full grip, split grip, and pistol grip designs. Full grip handles are best for casting heavy baits or for long distances using two hands. For lighter baits or close target casting, a split grip or pistol grip casting rod is good. A pistol grip is the shortest type of grip a casting rod can have and is usually contoured to conform to the angler’s hand. Blank-through-handle construction enhances the rod’s stability.

Frame Quality

When it comes to frame quality, high-grade aluminum or graphite is good. Graphite frames are lightweight and withstand shock well. Aluminum frames are stronger, heavier and more resistant to flexing than graphite frames. Graphite suits light fishing tasks such as catching small fish while aluminum is ideal for heavier fishing tasks such as bringing in large game fish or saltwater fishing.

Final Thoughts

When you’re ready to buy your next baitcasting reel, make sure you revisit the “how to choose” section. Give it a rough read over before making a final decision.

Half of the important factors of choosing the right rod for you are in knowing what you’ll be fishing for and how. Target species and bait are the most important factors other than fishing technique for choosing the right rod.

Once you’re sure, start with the rods I’ve outlined on our review list. Of course, there are other rods available. I’ve made sure that the baitcasting rods on our list span the range of prices and quality so there’s something for everyone.

I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best baitcasting rod to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a rod I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.

Have fun and good luck!

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