Choosing the best bass fishing rod is a lot like going on a blind date. You can read reviews, listen to your buddies, and even hold it in your hands in the store but you never know what to expect until you show up and try it on the water.
While your reel is incredibly important you can’t forget that you need to pair it with a high-quality, durable, and sensitive rod from a company that you know and trust.
So, how do you make that decision? You’ve got a few different choices. One you could go to your local pro shop and play Russian Roulette with the salesman who hasn’t likely picked up a rod once in his life – or, you could let us offer you our honest opinions based on experience, research, and years of trial and error.
Let’s go with the latter!
Our Reviews Of The Best Rod For Bass Fishing
St Croix Triumph Spinning Rod
St. Croix is a name that everyone will recognize and this rod keeps that legacy going. The Triumph brand of bass spinning rod are your standard, high-quality rod, made from graphite fiber. The spinning rod is lightweight, easy to handle, and the perfect choice for bass.
UglyStik GX2 Spinning Rod
Whether you are a beginner fisherman or an experienced angler, it is hard to go wrong with adding a few of the Ugly Stik GX2 models into your collection.
The Ugly Stik GX2 is the next generation of Ugly Stik that combines the legacy and tradition of the original while maintaining the strength and durability Ugly Stiks are known for.
The new Ugly Stik GX2 rods offer better balance for lighter feel, improved components, and eye-catching cosmetics for a more modern look.
Entsport E Series – Camo Legend 2-Piece Casting Rod
The E series is light weight with tremendous overall strength. Structurally enhanced high grade solid carbon fiber construction, maximizes strength while maintaining sensitivity.
Abu Garcia Vengeance Casting Fishing Rod
The Vengeance series of rods delivers on-the-water performance and style in a balanced, lightweight design. Split grip high density EVA handles ensure comfort and durability for the long haul. This rod delivers excellent performance at a great value.
Enigma Fishing Pro Tournament Rod
Enigma Fishing’s IPPON Series was designed exclusively for anglers who truly appreciate leading on the water! Designed by tournament Pro’s in the highest levels you know they are sure to perform beyond your expectations.
Enigma Fishing has customized and precision-balanced each IPPON rod to be ultra-functional, exceptionally striking and tailored to exacting actions and specifications demanded by today’s tournament anglers.
Introduction To Bass Fishing Rods
If you’ve never fished a day in your life, this might be a little overwhelming but there’s no need to worry. Understanding the purpose of a bass fishing rod is very simple. The rod is made up of a few parts not limited to the butt, the blank, reel seat, and the tip. Some rods will come in one full piece while others are split apart to make it easier to transport.
The butt of the rod is on the bottom and this will supply you the necessary leverage needed to handle a big fish. If you’ve got a six-pound bass on the hook you’ll need something to hold onto so the rod doesn’t fly out of your hands, this is where the butt comes in.
Next, you’ve got the reel seat. The seat is usually two corkscrew like sections that you can crank back and forth to secure the reel in place. This part of the rod allows you to remove the reel without having to scrap the rod.
The blank is the majority of the rod and it’s everything from the reel seat to the tip. These are fiberglass, graphite, or a hybrid mixture of the two. The blank is also where you’ll find the guides or eyes. These are the round loops that your line will run through when you cast and retrieve. The heavier the fish, the heavier line you need.
Finally, the tip is another guide that is usually molded to the blank or welded in place. Many rods have removable tips so they can break and be easily replaced.
How to Choose the Best Bass Fishing Rod
Now that you understand the components of a bass fishing rod, let’s talk about some of the special features or unique specs you should look for before committing to one.
Let’s focus on the two primary rod blank materials. Those would be graphite and fiberglass. Fiberglass is incredibly flexible and it’s heavier than graphite but it has some disadvantages.
You’ll sacrifice some durability and sensitivity with fiberglass. These rods are usually more affordable and many consider them to be a “bottom shelf” rod. That said, if you’re just starting out fiberglass is a great place to start.
Graphite is where most anglers want to be. This material is durable and more sensitive so you’ll be able to pick up on every little nibble. Plus, graphite comes with something called a “modulus rating” which refers to how stiff the rod is based on what strain of graphite it is.
Rod Action vs. Power
When you see that a rod has fast action or heavy power, do you know what that means? Some anglers who have been fishing for years still don’t understand what it means. It’s not the easiest thing to understand.
Action on a spinning rod refers to the location on the blank at which the rod bends. For example, a fast action rod will bend about 15% down the blank from the tip. This makes the rod more sensitive for smaller fish but more liable to break for larger fish.
Power refers to the amount of pressure you need to apply to make the rod bend. So, for example a heavy power rod will require a lot of pressure from a heavy fish to bend the rod.
With that knowledge in mind. Fast action, medium power rods are ideal for bass in my opinion. You don’t need to get too carried away with the power of your rod but fast action is always a good way to go.
I’m a big believer in saving a buck and going with generic products in my life. If it’s five dollars cheaper to buy the off brand detergent, you know I’m doing it.
I won’t do that with my fishing gear though. You need to stick to brands you can trust. We recognize names like St. Croix, Ugly Stik, Penn, and Entsport because they have a reputation of building quality fishing products.
As a result, we continue to do business with them. I would pair reviews that you read with brand reputation and use that to guide your decision.
What Rods do I Need for Bass Fishing?
When it comes to the types of rods that you need, there are three types that you will want to consider: a baitcasting rod, spinning and combination rods.
Later in this article, we will discuss the differences between a casting and spinning rod.
However it is important to mention at this time, that for the greatest level of success, experienced anglers will recommend that you have at least one of each.
Combination rods are a good option for new anglers, and those who don’t want to mess with switching reels between rods.
Combination rods come complete with a matching reel that allows you to adequately fish for bass without the questions about which rod and which reel go together.
Combination rods are also a good option if you don’t want to make a big investment on a rod and reel, until you are certain that this is a sport or hobby that you are going to enjoy.
It is also helpful to mention that there is also a fourth rod, the fly rod, that you can use for bass fishing, but it is not as popular, and requires a completely different technique for fishing.
Why Is Action Important To Bass Fishing
Before you can understand why action type is important to selecting a bass fishing rod, it is helpful to understand what “action” is referring to in the description of a fishing rod.
In the case of a fishing rod, action is a description of how much the rod will bend when pressure is placed on it.
Rods that bend a lot are considered parabolic, or that they bend consistently along the length of the rod. Rods that have a parabolic bend are generally slow action rods.
When you are bass fishing, a slow action rod may not pull back a hook fast enough to keep the fish from fully swallowing the hook.
Slow action bass rods can also cause some types of lures to tear from a strong fish’s mouth, causing damage to the fish.
In general, slow action rods are not a good choice for bass fishing, but they can be used with careful consideration of hook and lure type.
Because even small bass can be very strong, and can give even the most experienced angler a run for their money, it is important that you select a rod that has no less than medium-fast action.
These bass rods still have a good amount of bend, and if you are doing more shore fishing than boat fishing, medium-fast action will give you increased casting distance.
Medium-fast action bass rods are great for crankbait and spinnerbaits.
However, in most cases, the best bass rod action is fast to very fast. Rods with this level of action will only bend near the tip of the rod. This will allow you to set a hook easier without having to do a lot of work.
Fast baitcasting rods are good for fishing locations where your casting distance is shorter. Also, if you are using a single hook lure such as a live bait lure or bait jigs.
What Size Fishing Rod Should I Use?
Fishing rods come in a range of lengths, and in general, the length that you choose depends on the type of fishing that you will be doing.
A good rule of thumb to remember is that shorter rods are good for short casting distances while long rods have a greater casting distance.
On the small end, a tiny 4 foot rod can serve you well for close-in fishing. Short rods also have a lot less bend, so if you are fishing for big, trophy size fish, you may want to think about using a shorter rod.
Your on-lake transportation also plays a part in length selection. While you can be comfortable using a longer rod from a power boat, if you are fishing from a kayak or canoe a shorter rod will be easier to transport.
Long rods are great for open water fishing for covering a lot of water quickly. Longer rods are also great for fishing in deeper water.
Just keep in mind when you are selecting a longer rod to consider the action of the rod. Select a faster action for longer rods to protect your catch and to have the greatest level of control.
What’s The Difference Between A Spinning Rod And A Casting Rod?
We now know that it is helpful to have a couple of different rods for the most success in bass fishing.
The two most common rods that bass anglers use are spinning rods and casting rods.
The rods have some differences that make them useful for different fishing conditions.
First, the most obvious difference between casting and spinning rods is the location of the reel. On spinning rods, the spinning reel hangs from the bottom of the rod, with the spool aligned with the rod.
Baitcasting rods have the reel sitting on the top of the rod, and the reel is perpendicular with the rod. Each rod is intended to be paired with a matching reel, spinning rods use a spin reel, a casting rod uses a baitcasting reel.
From a function standpoint, spinning rods are very popular for sport fishing especially for bass, trout, pike and walleye. Spinning rods are also good for fishing with live bait, since their reel tends to have a slower return action.
Spinning rods are generally shorter than casting rods so they are good for close-in fishing, while casting rods are great tools for setting your lure a long distance from your boat or the shore.
Many spinning rods are lighter weight than casting rods, so they are better for lighter lures, casting rods and their more robust weight can give you more distance with larger lures, so they are a good option for those trophy fishing opportunities.
The best bass angler always knows how to choose the right rod for the job!
Bass fishing is such a diverse sport that most anglers will benefit from a couple of different rod options.
Doing your research before you shop will ensure that you select the right rod for the conditions that you are most likely to encounter.
Our goal with this buying guide was to help make this research easier and shopping for bass fishing rod more enjoyable.