The Best Baitcasting Rods for Catching Bass in 2020

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BEST OVERALL BAITCASTING ROD

Daiwa Tatula XT Bass Casting Rod

4.5/5

BEST BAITCASTING ROD UNDER $100

Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod

4.5/5

BEST BAITCASTER FOR CRANKBAITS

KastKing Speed Demon Pro

4.7/5

Here we are for another review, and I hope you’re excited for this one. Everyone loves a good baitcaster, and we all love the best baitcasting rods for bass even more. As for me, if you’ve read any of my reviews, you’ll know that I’m a big spinning reel guy, but I do dabble with a casting rig every now and then. 

Casting rods require a bit of a different strategy and feel on the rod. You’ll have to deploy different techniques when fishing with these rods than you would with a spinning rod. That said, it doesn’t mean you can’t still fish finesse lures and catch a ton of bass in dense cover like you would any other day. 

Baitcasting rods are the classic rod of professional anglers everywhere, and in this buying guide, we’re taking a look at six of the best baitcasting rods for bass in 2020.

Our Reviews Of The Best Baitcasting Rods For Bass

Daiwa Tatula XT Bass Casting Rod

BEST OVERALL BAITCASTING ROD

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Length: 7’ to 7’4”
  • Power: Medium-Heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Material: Graphite Fiber

FEATURED SPECS

  • It comes with Diawa's graphite fiber construction that limits the amount of blank twist you experience while maximizing the flexibility and strength of the rod to handle big fish.

EXTRA FEATURES

  • The split-grip design of the EVA handles provides all-day comfort while fishing long days on the water.

BUYING ADVICE

  • Grab the medium-heavy 7’ rod and take it to your favorite spot. Fish around dense cover or visible structure, and you should have no problem bringing in a few bass. This rod is durable but sensitive enough to feel the small nibbles as well.

BENEFITS

  • Fiercely durable
  • Comes with a hook keeper
  • Corrosion resistant graphite fiber construction improves sensitivity
  • Lightweight

DRAWBACKS

  • There isn’t really anything bad to say about this rod

I know it’s not often that I come into a review with nothing bad to say, but the Daiwa Tatula XT is about as perfect as you can get with a casting rod. The price is right on the money, and the features of the rod back up the moderate tag. 

What you’re getting here is a graphite fiber constructed rod that brings you the best of both worlds. You’re getting premium construction that offers durability, but you’re also getting the flexibility and sensitivity you need for bass fishing. For these reasons, I chose this one as the best rod for a bass fishing baitcaster. 

As for comfort, the EVA split grip is nice because it gives you plenty of room to hang on, plus the hook keeper is useful when you’re traveling to the water. 

During my research and experience with this rod, I’ve never heard of anyone complain about durability or eyes popping off or anything like that. Daiwa is a well-known brand and well respected as far as I’m concerned. This rod just furthers my respect for the company. Do you want a high-quality casting rod for an affordable price? Get this one.

Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod

BEST BAITCASTING ROD UNDER $100

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Length: 5’6” to 7’6”
  • Power: Medium Light/Medium/Medium-Heavy/Heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Material: Graphite Fiber

FEATURED SPECS

  • The Ugly Tuff guides on this rod reduce the overall weight and ensure you don’t experience any line restriction or pitfalls on your casts.

EXTRA FEATURES

  • What makes this rod so great for bass fishing is the Clear Tip design. I’m a big fan of it because it provides added sensitivity right where you need it.

BUYING ADVICE

  • Since you have the clear tip design, this makes this rod an exceptional choice for lightweight topwater fishing. I’d recommend using this for hula poppers and jitterbugs in the spring right after the spawn.

BENEFITS

  • Works with a lot of lures and line weights
  • The rod itself is lightweight
  • A great choice for topwater fishing

DRAWBACKS

  • The butt of the rod is a bit short for bass fishing

I’m a big fan of Ugly Stik rods, and I’ve used quite a few of them myself. This one is a unique choice for bass fishing, and here’s why. The end of the rod is quite short, which makes it harder to cast repeatedly all day like you would for bass fishing. For that reason, many anglers recommend this rod for trolling, but here’s why I like it for bass fishing. 

It’s light, it’s super sensitive, and it has the clear tip which allows you to get faster hook sets. With that said, this makes a great topwater fishing rod when you’re fishing around dense cover. The graphite fiber construction makes sure the rod is durable enough. 

During my research, I found that a lot of people are catching large striped bass using this rod, so you’re pretty much getting the best of both worlds.

KastKing Speed Demon Pro

BEST BAITCASTER FOR CRANKBAITS

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Length: 6’10” to 8’
  • Power: Medium Light/Medium/Heavy
  • Action: Moderate/Fast
  • Material: Carbon Blanks with Nano Resin

FEATURED SPECS

  • The composite S-glass material used to make this rod brings you a blank that is both lightweight but strong enough for crankbaits. It’s well balanced while providing the right action for the type of bait you’re looking to fish.

EXTRA FEATURES

  • They’ve increased the strength of this rod by 30% compared to your standard graphite blank. You’re getting maximum quality and leading craftsmanship with this rod.

BUYING ADVICE

  • The challenge a lot of anglers face when fishing crankbaits is finding a rod that is both durable and strong enough for the crank but lightweight and sensitive enough for catching bass. When I found this rod, I literally said, “holy crap” this is the one, and I bought it for myself.

I look forward to telling you about it when bass season rolls around!

BENEFITS

  • Fuji guides and reel seats
  • Each rod is designed for crankbaits
  • 30% stronger than standard graphite blanks
  • The craftsmanship and design of this rod is unmatched

DRAWBACKS

  • Not much negative I can say here

Before you even read this review, hop on over to Amazon and take a look at this rod, you’ll realize why I’m so impressed. This rod looks incredible, and they’re not charging you an arm and a leg either. They even provide a table that tells you which rod type will work best for the technique you’re fishing. 

Here we’re talking about crankbaits, so you’ll want to stay around the 7’ moderate action range, but I am seriously impressed by this rod. You get the golf style fighting butt, which is awesome for bass, and the non-slip grip helps ensure you always win the fight as well. 

It’s got Fuji guides and reel seats, which are the highest quality products on the market right now. They ensure everything stays firmly in place even after years of fishing, and you won’t have to deal with any excessive friction from the guides getting in the way of your fishing line. 

Finally, these rods are feather-light, and they offer the perfect balance. It has a beautiful, fast action, and I’m personally a fan of single piece rods because I think they hold up better over the long-term while offering the maximum amount of durability and strength out of the gate. 

If you love to fish crankbaits (or anything for that matter), you owe it to yourself to check out this rod. Do something nice for someone and tell yourself it’s been a while since you’ve splurged on yourself and get this rod.

St. Croix Mojo Bass Casting Rod

BEST BAITCASTING ROD FOR FINESSE FISHING

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Length: 6’8” to 7’1”
  • Power: Medium/Medium-Heavy/Heavy
  • Action: Moderate Fast/Fast/Extra Fast
  • Material: SCIII Graphite Construction

FEATURED SPECS

  • The SCIII graphite construction on this rod blank is about the best you can do in terms of sensitivity. If you’re fishing lightweight lures and small lines, you will feel every single nibble on this rod.

EXTRA FEATURES

  • The rod has a slim profile with small guides, a cork handle, and smooth action, all in the name of sensitivity.

BUYING ADVICE

  • As you know, I’m a lover of these types of rods. I feel they’re fun to fish with, and they add another level of excitement to the game because you can feel all the action happening under the water. That said, I recommend choosing a medium/fast action rod and throwing a soft plastic on it to fish around dense cover. You’ll have your best chance of catching 2-3lb bass doing this, and it works well for panfish too if that’s your game.

BENEFITS

  • Plenty of options
  • Light as a feather
  • Great sensitivity
  • 5-year warranty

DRAWBACKS

  • It seems like there are many issues with people receiving broken rods (but then they are quickly replaced).

If you can get past the broken rod issue, you will get a high-quality finesse fishing rod. St. Croix is a well respected and known brand in the fishing community, so I wouldn’t worry too much about that. 

They offer plenty of power and action variations here, and all of their rods produce superior sensitivity and performance. Plus, it’s worth mentioning that you’re getting this rod for a bargain compared to some of the other options available on the market. The rod is highly responsive, sensitive, and the perfect choice for soft plastics and topwaters.

KastKing Perigee II

BEST TWIN-TIP CASTING ROD

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Length: 7’
  • Power: Medium/Medium-Heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Material: 24-ton carbon matrix

FEATURED SPECS

  • These rods come with the Fuji O-ring line guides and high-strength reel seats to maximize casting distance while ensuring you can continue to cast over and over again for bass.

EXTRA FEATURES

  • The best part about a twin-tip casting rod is that you essentially get two rods in one. You’re getting two different tips so you can have a medium and medium-heavy rod with the same base portion of the blank.

BUYING ADVICE

  • I’m starting to really like the technology KastKing is putting into their rods. This rod does a great job of offering a safe middle ground for anglers who aren’t sure what type of rod they want. If you are new to casting rods and reels but you’re looking to jump in the water, I would suggest going with this one.

BENEFITS

  • Affordable
  • Like two rods in one
  • Premium construction

DRAWBACKS

  • Concerns over durability with this two-piece rod

Let me start off by saying, this is a value fishing rod. You can’t get the highest quality rod for less than $100; it’s not possible. So, what you need to do is try to find the perfect balance between quality and affordability, and I believe that’s what this rod is. There are few situations where you can find a twin tip rod for this price. 

Overall, they provide a few different actions and power options, but if you’re fishing freshwater for bass, you’ll want to go with a medium power. 

One thing that stands out is the spigot connection because this is something you will see on some of the most expensive rods on the market. This connection helps reduce the amount of movement you feel since this is a two-piece rod. I would say that this baitcasting rod comes as close to one-piece performance in a two-piece rod.

Abu Garcia Vengeance Casting Rod

BEST BAITCASTING ROD FOR STRIPED BASS

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Length: 6’6” to 7’6”
  • Power: Medium/Medium-Heavy/Heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Material: 24-ton modulus graphite

FEATURED SPECS

  • The stainless steel guides with titanium inserts help the rod hold up with heavy line pressure. You can catch both large and small bass using this rod.

EXTRA FEATURES

  • The butt features a high-density EVA grips for comfort, durability, and leverage for long hours out on the water.

BUYING ADVICE

  • If you’re using this rod for striped bass, you’ll want to choose a heavy power rod, so you have the strength necessary to get them in the boat. This is a one-piece rod which makes it more ideal for larger fishing and even in possible saltwater applications.

BENEFITS

  • Great for large striped bass
  • Durable and strong
  • One-piece rod construction

DRAWBACKS

  • Lacking in features

Our final option here is a rod that is ideal for striped bass. The blank is 24-ton modulus graphite, so it’s lightweight, responsive, but strong as hell. The stainless steel guides with titanium inserts help when you’re under serious pressure from a large bass. Plus, the high-density grips give you the ability to grab hold of the rod and ensure it doesn’t slip out of your hands when you’re trying to get the fish in the boat. 

The rod comes with a Texas-rigged hook keeper, which is always nice, and I’m a fan of one-piece constructed rods, especially when we’re talking about fishing larger bass like we are in this situation.

How to Choose a Baitcasting Rod For Bass Fishing

How to Choose a Baitcasting Rod For Bass Fishing
Now that you’ve seen some awesome examples of baitcasting rods for bass fishing, now let’s talk a little more about how you can make a choice on one. There are many things you’ll want to keep in mind before committing to one, and I’m here to help you with that. Let’s take a look.

Action vs. Power

It’s so critical that you understand the difference between action and power when settling on a rod. These two factors are highly important, but most bass anglers don’t understand what they mean, and they typically go for the lightest of everything, thinking it will work best for beginners. That’s not entirely true.

Power = Pressure

When you think of power, I want you to think of pressure. This is the amount of pressure you need to make the rod bend. So, ultimately, power translates into the size of the fish that you can handle with your rod. 

If you choose a heavy power rod, you’ll be able to handle a much larger fish because it will take a lot more pressure on the end of the line to bend the rod. 

On the other side, if you choose a light power rod, it will take a lot less pressure to bend the rod, which means you will have a harder time getting a large fish into your boat. 

As you can probably guess, ultra-light rods are suitable for small fish and finesse applications, while heavy rods are ideal for stout cranks and deep-sea fishing. 

Action = Confusion

The action of the rod is a lot more complicated, so strap up and get ready for an education today. When it comes to action, you have slow, moderate, fast, and extra-fast. The action of the rod results in a few different things: 

  • How easily the rod bends
  • How far down the blank it bends
  • The weight of the lure you should use
  • How long it takes for the pressure to transfer to the blank

Let’s break each of these down in more detail.

Slow Action

So, the action determines how easily the rod bends. A slow action rod will bend a lot, and it will bend roughly halfway down the blank. This is important to know because since it’s bending so much, it means you will be able to cast lighter lures further because of the inertia you’re creating with the bend. The downside is you’ll have a harder time setting the hook because it will take a lot longer to feel the nibble. 

Fast Action 

I’m going to focus on the main two here, so you understand. If you choose a fast action rod, it will only bend about a foot down the blank so you will feel the pressure much faster. This means you’ll feel the nibble better and have an easier time setting the hook on smaller fish.

Ideally, you want to use a slow action rod for large fish with heavy strikes and fast action rods for smaller fish and finesse angling. 

Can you guess which type of rod you should use for bass fishing in most situations? You’ll realize that all the rods I recommended above are typically fast action/medium power rods. This means you’re getting a moderate amount of power and a rod that makes it easy to set the hook while offering a decent casting distance.

Rod Material: Graphite vs. Fiberglass

Rod Material: Graphite vs. Fiberglass

When it comes to materials, you have two choices. Graphite is more expensive, but it offers improved durability, strength, and sensitivity. These are typically the rods you want to go with, and sometimes you can find a composite mixture like some of the choices offered above. These rods combine elements of both graphite and fiberglass. 

Fiberglass rods are very flexible, but they lack the durability and strength of graphite. With that comes a lower price as well. You’ll find that many of the major brands like Daiwa, Berkley, St. Croix, and Shimano have gone away from fiberglass and only make graphite rods at this point. There is also carbon fiber which is considered the highest quality material. 

I wouldn’t worry too much about the material and focus on the overall reviews and features of the rod. If there isn’t a lot of concern about the rod breaking or falling apart and it’s fiberglass, give it a shot because you never know what you’ll find!

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed this review, and I think we covered a lot of awesome baitcasting rods to pair perfectly with your baitcasting reels. The best bass fishing rod is one that makes sense for you. I would recommend choosing any of the options above but go back through the reviews and make sure you get the right choice for your fishing style, needs, and the lure of choice. 

Thanks for reading, now grab your fishing gear and get out there!

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