Whether you are a professional angler or enjoy tossing out a line now and then on the weekends, the rod you use is a crucial part of your success. The last thing you want to have to worry about on the water is rod failure, leaving you empty handed after a long day of fishing.
There are a few key things you need to understand when shopping for this piece of fishing gear if you want to end up with the best bass fishing rod for your skill level and budget.
Unsure of what features to look for when shopping for the right rod? In this article, we’ll lead you through all of the important features you need to pay attention to as you shop and highlight some of the top rods available on today’s market.
Top 14 Bass Fishing Rods Comparison Table
What Design Features to Look For
So what should you look for when searching for the best bass fishing rod?
If you want to be sure that are getting the best quality rod you can, you need to be sure you check the material, rod strength, length, rod action, and whether or not it can be disassembled into various pieces for easier transport.
- Material – Bass fishing rods can come in many different materials, with the most popular being graphite. A graphite rod is extremely lightweight, and yet withstand the weight of even the biggest bass.
Another good option is a composite rod, which is just as strong and light as graphite is yet not quite as stiff. They’re great for an angler looking for a sensitive rod.
- Rod Strength – Obviously, if you are after trophy size bass, you want a rod that won’t break under pressure. Most rods are sold with a maximum weight limit listed. Be sure that you have the right strength rod or you’ll be going home fishless.
- Length – Depending upon the location you’ll be fishing in, you should pay close attention to the length of your rod before you set out. If you are going to be on a wide open lake where you’ll want to cast longer distances, a longer rod can be used.
However, if you are going into the thick of things, with overhanging trees and brush, where casting room will be tight, you should use a shorter rod.
- Rod Action – The action of a bass rod is how much and where it will bend. This can be broken down into several different categories.
- Moderate – A rod with a moderate action will bend in the middle, which makes it great for finesse tactics, like casting into tight spaces under docks or around obstacles where the big bass like to hang out.
- Fast – A fast action rod will bend near the top of the rod. It will provide plenty of power for casting bigger lures greater distances.
- Extra Fast – An extra fast action rod will only bend at the tip. This makes it an ideal choice if you will have to haul a fish away from obstacles quickly. Since the rod is so stiff, you can put tons of pressure on the fish as you try to reel them in.
- Number of Pieces – You can get rods that are made as one piece or in multiple pieces. One piece rods will generally be stronger than rods that can be broken down. However, since they are one piece, they are a bit cumbersome, making it difficult to carry them on a camping trip or fit in your car with all of your gear. Since multiple piece rods can be broken down, they are easier to take with you in the car or camping.
Basically, for bass fishing, you will be using either a spinning rod or a casting rod. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
- Casting Rod/Reel – While they might take a bit more practice than a spinning rod/reel, a casting rod is perfect for bass fishing. Able to be used with heavy bait and heavy line, they are perfect for fishing situations where a lot of power is a good thing. However, if you aren’t careful, the line does tend to become tangled more easily on a casting reel than a spinning reel.
- Spinning Rod/Reel – Perfect for beginning anglers and certain techniques, a spinning rod and reel combo cannot be used with heavy line and should not be used in the heavier cover. They are best suited for open water. If you intend to muscle a fish out of a tough spot, this type of rod/reel might not be the best choice.
While it might seem simple to select a line’s tensile strength based on the size of the fish you are after, you also have to take several other factors into consideration as well.
Make sure that you pick a line that can adequately handle your lures or bait has enough strength for the fish you intend to catch and is compatible with whatever reel you choose to utilize on your rod.
14 Best Bass Fishing Rods Reviewed
1. Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod
After having a look at all 14 rods, the Ugly Stik was clearly the best bass fishing rod of the bunch. For many years, Ugly Stik has been synonymous with high quality, strong, and durable fishing rods. This particular rod meets all of those qualifications easily.
While this spinning rod can be purchased in many different formats, the rod we tested was a two piece, medium strength rod. It was sensitive enough to sense a fish on the end of the line but strong enough to reel them in easily. The two-piece design will make it easy to pack up and travel with, whether you are going by car on even on your bike.
Summary – While its name might be Ugly Stick, it was anything but! An easily transported, sensitive, and durable spinning rod that would work well for beginners and experts alike, we would highly recommend the Elite to any bass angler.
2. Entsport Portable Baitcasting Fishing Rod
This is another great bass fishing rod. It can be broken down into two pieces, making it ideal for travel. Another cool feature is the fact that it comes with two separate top pieces, with one being less flexible than the other. This convenient feature almost makes it feel like you are getting two rods for the price of one since you can use the two tops for different situations.
The guides on this rod are well-designed. On some of the lower quality rods that we looked into, the guides were small and flimsy. The guides on this Entsport rod, however, are oversized, and reinforced, making it highly unlikely that they will snap off or bent.
The overall length of this rod was 7 feet, making it ideal for long casts into open water, but limiting its effectiveness in tight quarters.
3. Okuma Scott Martin Tournament Concept Rods
If you are looking for a high-quality rod that comes in many different configurations, then this is the rod for you! You can get this rod in pretty much any combination that you desire, making it possible to have the right type of rod, with the right type of reel and bait, for whatever bass fishing situation may come up. You can choose from either spinning or casting models, short or long, lightweight or heavy.
Each of the rods, it should be noted, only came in one piece, which might make it more difficult to travel with. However, this single piece design makes it less likely that your rod will pull apart on you when you have a real fighter on the end of your line, which is a real plus.
Summary – This Okuma rod comes in multiple varieties, making it great for every fishing situation. Since you can get it in such a wide variety of configurations, there is sure to be a rod that will fit your fishing needs.
4. Fenwick Eagle Spinning Rods
This rod, designed and manufactured by Fenwick, is a high-quality spinning rod. It comes in multiple different lengths and strengths and is extremely well made.
Each length was extraordinarily lightweight. This is made possible by the materials used in its construction. The cork handle, graphite body, and stainless steel guides combine to make this one of the lightest feeling rods that we tested, all while maintaining the proper level of toughness needed to haul in some truly big bass.
You have your choice, with most of the lengths, of either getting the rod as a two-piece or one-piece. Knowing this, you have the freedom to choose whichever configuration works best for your situation and allows you to feel more comfortable with the rod in your hand.
Summary – Fenwick has been synonymous with quality fishing gear for many years. They continue this wonderful tradition with these rods, which can be purchased in multiple lengths, builds, and strengths, making them ideal for whatever bass fishing situation you might get into.
5. Shimano FXS 2 Piece Spinning Rod
This expertly crafted rod is made by Shimano, another company that has built a reputation of quality bass fishing products, with this rod being no exception. The rod is designed to be used with a spinning reel, making it a good rod for beginners and experts alike.
While it can be purchased in a variety of configurations, we tried out the 7-foot fast action version of the rod. We found that it was great for casting bigger lures out pretty good distances, but maintained the right level of sensitivity needed to feel when a fish struck the bait.
The FXS rod can be broken down into two separate pieces, making it ideal for transport. The guides were well made, consisting of thick, reinforced aluminum oxide. This extra thickness will make sure that they last you a good long time without breaking.
6. Entsport Graphite Portable Baitcast Rod
This rod, made by Entsport, is designed with bait casting reels in mind, which means it is designed for more power situations, like pulling a big fish out of a tight spot.
You can purchase this rod in a variety of strengths, making it easy to get the right rod for whatever fishing situation you might encounter. The guides on this rod are especially strong since they are made out of stainless steel, rather than aluminum or plastic.
A unique feature that we liked in our tests was the little loop on the handle which is meant for you to hook your lure into while you are traveling. Since the rod can be broken down into two pieces, this loop was really handy to make sure that our hook was always stored safely.
7. Berkley Cherrywood HD Casting Rods
The first thing you notice when you pick up this casting rod from Berkley is its size. While the length of the rod is relatively standard, ranging from 5 feet 6 inches to 7 feet, the thickness is striking. This is an extremely powerful rod, meant for hauling the biggest fish out of the tightest spots without having to worry if the rod will break.
While this thickness is without a doubt a plus in the right types of situations, it might also serve as a disadvantage as well, since you lose some of the sensitivity you might be used to in a bass rod.
Summary – An extremely thick rod which would be perfect for getting trophy bass out of tight quarters, this offering from Berkley might take some getting used to since it won’t be as sensitive as other bass rods on the market.
8. Abu Garcia Vengeance Casting Rod
The Vengeance is another well made, tough, and durable bait casting rod that can be purchased in a variety of actions and lengths, making it easy for you to find the perfect rod for your unique fishing needs. We found that during our tests it worked especially well with heavier lures, like a frog jig, casting them out to great distances with ease.
While the rod is well made and strong, you might have a tough time transporting it, since it cannot be broken down at all. It also has a nice hook storage system to at least make that part of traveling a bit easier on you.
The guides on this rod, while well designed, are on the small side. Make sure that you keep an eye on them to be sure that they will not fail you while you are on the water.
Summary – The Vengeance is a nice heavy duty bait casting rod. Though it is a tough rod, it cannot be broken down, and the guides are a bit on the smaller side, which might be a disadvantage to some anglers.
9. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Spinning Fishing Combo
This spinning rod from Ugly Stik is one of the few rods on our list that also comes with a reel; this will help you take the guesswork out of your reel purchase since the one that came with the rod will work just fine.
The rod itself can come in a wide variety of options, ranging from an ultra-light 4 foot 8-inch rod to a medium 7-foot rod. Be sure that you choose the correct rod for your particular fishing needs.
Something else to keep in mind before you purchase this rod, are the guides. While they are oversized, they were easily bent. While it was easy to bend the guides back in place simply, each bend will weaken the guide, increasing the likelihood of them breaking off.
10. Shimano Stimula 2-Piece Spin Rod
Another good rod from Shimano, the Stimula comes in several different lengths and strengths, making it easy to find the right combination for most fishing situations. It can be broken down into two pieces and is made to fit spinning reels.
As the name would suggest, the Stimula rod is designed to be extremely sensitive, which will make it easier to feel if a trophy bass is after your lure/bait. However, this sensitivity is gained by sacrificing some strength. If you intend to use this rod in the open water, you should have no trouble at all, but it might not be the best fit for tighter spots.
Summary – The Shimano Stimula is a highly sensitive spinning rod, which would be great for beginners in open water. However, if you are trying to pull bass out of some tougher spots, this might not be the best rod to use.
11. Shimano Solora 2 Piece Spinning Rod
A simple, no frills type of spinning rod, the Shimano Solora would be a great purchase for someone who knows exactly what they want and doesn’t need lots of extra features. The rod only comes in two lengths. You can either purchase it with a length of 5’6” or 6’6”, with both models being medium strength rods.
The Solora cannot be broken down for easier traveling, but since it is not an overly large rod, this might not be too big of a disadvantage, especially if you decide to use the smaller length rod.
Unlike some other rods we tested out, there is not specific loop for you to attach your hook when the rod is not in use. You could hook it into the cork handle, but that might make the handle break down quickly over time.
Summary – A basic bass rod for the angler who knows exactly what they need, the Solora only comes in two lengths and cannot be broken down, but would provide a solid fishing experience for moderate cover or open water.
12. Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod
If you are looking for the most sensitive rod on the market, then this spinning rod from Shakespeare might be just what the doctor ordered. Even though it comes in a variety of lengths, you can only get it in light or ultra-light strengths.
While this makes the rod extremely flexible and sensitive, which is perfect for night fishing or fishing in open water, these would not be the best rods if you want to go chasing after trophy bass in extreme cover or tight spots. Even when you hook a bass in open water, you will have to work hard to finesse them into you, since the rod might break if you try to be too forceful.
Summary – This rod from Shakespeare is ideal for night fishing or use in the open water. However, be sure to take your time when reeling in your fish, since the lightweight nature of the rod might break more easily if too much force is applied.
13. Tica SMHA Spinning Fishing Rod
This spinning rod from Tica has the widest varieties of sizes available of any of the rods that we looked at. This is probably because the rod is designed for more types of fish than just bass. However, if you have always wanted to have an extremely heavy rod so that you can put a lot of pull into the bass that you hook, then this might be the rod for you.
Since the rod comes in such a wide variety of sizes and strengths, you can purchase multiple sizes to tailor fit your bass angling needs. Whether you are looking to fish in open water, thick cover, from a boat, or from a dock, you should be able to find the right rod for your needs.
14. Shakespeare Catch More Fish Spinning
If you are a beginning bass angler, then this is the rod for you. Not only will you get a good quality fishing rod, but you will also get a reel, line, bait, and hooks to get you started on your fishing journey.
While the rod will serve for someone just entering into the world of bass fishing, it is not the best quality rod on the market. It is made from fiberglass, rather than graphite. While fiberglass is a durable material, this rod will not last as long as a graphite one, especially if you can hook lots of fish.
Summary – If you are not sure whether or not you will like bass fishing, this is a good first bass rod purchase. While the rod might not be as durable as it could be, the fact that you get all of the fishing essentials with it make it a good choice for a first-time angler.