The Best Kayak Fishing Rod On The Market Today: Kayak Anglers Guide

Last Updated on March 20, 2022

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Technically you can use any fishing rod in a kayak. However, not all fishing rods are designed to be used in a kayak.

The best kayak fishing rod has a versatility that others don’t because it can be used in a cramped space.

I chose the St. Croix Mojo Yak Casting Rod as the best kayak fishing rod because it’s designed for kayak fishing, and it’s versatile enough to be used in several fishing scenarios.

The Offshore Angler Inshore Extreme Spinning Rod is an excellent choice if you’re chasing saltwater species because the shorter models have a short handle that makes kayak angling more manageable.

If neither of these rods fit your style, don’t fret, there are plenty of other kayak fishing rods listed below.

Comparison Table – Best Kayak Fishing Rods

ImageFeaturesRatingPrice
Best Overall
St. Croix Mojo Yak Casting Rod
St. Croix Mojo Yak Casting Rod
  • Length - 7' or 7' 6"
  • Action - Fast
  • Power - Medium or Medium-Heavy
9
Bass ProCabela's
Best Saltwater
Lew's Inshore Speed Stick Casting Rod
Lew's Inshore Speed Stick Casting Rod
  • Length - 6' 9", 7', or 7' 6"
  • Action - Fast
  • Power - Medium Light or Medium
8
Bass ProCabela's
Best Combo
Abu Garcia Revo SX/Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier 2 Combo
Abu Garcia Revo SX/Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier 2 Combo
  • Length - 6' 6", 7', or 7' 6"
  • Action - Fast or Extra Fast
  • Power - Medium or Medium-Heavy
8
Bass ProCabela's
Best Kayak Spinning Rod
St. Croix Mojo Yak Spinning Rod
St. Croix Mojo Yak Spinning Rod
  • Length - 7' or 7' 6"
  • Action - Fast
  • Power - Medium-Light, Medium, or Medium-Heavy
8
Bass ProCabela's
Best Saltwater Kayak Rod
Offshore Angler Inshore Extreme Spinning Rod
Offshore Angler Inshore Extreme Spinning Rod
  • Length - 6'6", 7", 7' 6", 8"
  • Action - Fast
  • Power - Medium or Medium-Heavy
7
Bass ProCabela's
Best Travel Rod
Bass Pro Shops Fish Eagle Travel Spinning Rod
Bass Pro Shops Fish Eagle Travel Spinning Rod
  • Length - 6' 6" or 7' both break down into four sections
  • Action - Fast
  • Power - Light, medium-light, and medium
7
Bass ProCabela's
Budget-Friendly
Berkley Lightning Casting Rod
Berkley Lightning Casting Rod
  • Length - 6', 6' 6", or 7'
  • Action - Moderat fast or fast
  • Power - Medium, medium-heavy, heavy
7
Bass ProCabela's

Reviews Of The Best Kayak Fishing Poles

St. Croix Mojo Yak Casting Rod

St. Croix Mojo Yak Casting Rod

BEST KAYAK FISHING ROD OVERALL

Specs

  • Length – 7′ or 7′ 6″
  • Action – Fast
  • Power – Medium or Medium-Heavy

Pros

  • Designed for Kayak fishing
  • Multiple rod lengths
  • Multiple rod power options
  • Capable of fishing multiple patterns
  • Fuji ECS reel seat

Cons

  • Semi-expensive
  • Only offers fast action

Why We Chose It

St. Croix is a well-respected brand in the fishing industry. They’ve manufactured high-quality fishing rods for years, and they designed the Mojo Yak casting rod specifically for kayak fishing.

St. Croix shortened the split grip handle to make it easier to handle while fishing from a kayak. I like this because my rod handles are often too long for the rod holders and then get in my way while casting.

Owning a rod that can fish multiple lures is essential for kayak fishing. Unlike bass boat anglers, kayak anglers can only bring a max of 8 rods, and that’s the professionals. Most of the weekend anglers like you and me carry a maximum of 4 rods or less.

I love having different rod lengths and power because I can choose what suites my needs the best.

The St. Croix Mojo Yak Casting Rod is an excellent all-around kayak rod. It is a little expensive though, so I recommend another rod on the list if you’re on a tight budget.

Lew’s Inshore Speed Stick Casting Rod

Lew's Inshore Speed Stick Casting Rod

BEST SALTWATER KAYAK FISHING ROD

Specs

  • Length – 6′ 9″, 7′, or 7′ 6″
  • Action – Fast
  • Power – Medium Light or Medium

Pros

  • Designed for saltwater
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Professional-style hook keeper
  • Use with multiple lures

Cons

  • Expensive
  • It only goes up to medium power
  • Only offers fast action

Why We Chose It

Lew’s has been a staple in the fishing industry for years now. They’re a name you can trust and I personally use their products when I’m kayak fishing.

The Lew’s Inshore Speed Stick is designed to handle the abusive nature of saltwater with stainless steel guides and hard aluminum oxide inserts, so you won’t have to worry as much about corrosion because it has multiple options for length and power you can find the one that best suits your needs.

What I don’t like about the Inshore Speed Stick is that it only goes up to medium power. So you won’t be able to take it offshore if you have an ocean fishing kayak and battle larger fish. However, it can handle several different presentation styles and lures, so you won’t have to buy a rod for each presentation you plan to use.

As the name suggests, the Lew’s Inshore Speed Stick is primarily for inshore kayak anglers. You will need a much stronger rod if you’re fishing the open water.

Abu Garcia Revo SX/Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier 2

Abu Garcia Revo SXBass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier 2 Combo

BEST KAYAK FISHING ROD AND REEL COMBO

Specs

  • Length – 6′ 6″, 7′, or 7′ 6″
  • Action – Fast or Extra Fast
  • Power – Medium or Medium-Heavy
  • Retrieve – Right or Left
  • Gear Ratio – 6.6:1 or 7.3:1

Pros

  • You don’t have to worry about fitting a reel and rod together
  • Multiple options so you can get precisely what you need
  • Minimalist reel seat
  • EVA foam grips with X-Wrap
  • Fuji guides with aluminum oxide inserts

Cons

  • Expensive*

Why We Chose It

Abu Garcia and Bass Pro Shops have been trusted by professional anglers worldwide for decades. They’ve combined forces to offer excellent rod and reel combos that benefit most kayak anglers.

The Revo SX/Pro Qualifier 2 Baitcaster Rod and Reel combo comes in various options, so you are sure to find the best kayak fishing rod and reel for your situation. I especially like the minimalist reel seat because I can be confident that it will securely hold my reel, even after the abuses of kayak fishing.

The reel can come in a right or left-handed retrieve, and you can choose between multiple gear ratios. This means you can select the lower gear ratio for slower moving lures or the higher gear ratio for faster moving lures.

At first glance, the Abu Garcia Revo SX/Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier 2 is expensive. However, you must keep in mind that you’re getting a rod and reel for the price of a good rod, so, in reality, you’re getting a good deal for both.

St. Croix Mojo Yak Spinning Fishing Rod

St. Croix Mojo Yak Spinning Rod

BEST KAYAK SPINNING ROD

Specs

  • Length – 7′ or 7′ 6″
  • Action – Fast
  • Power – Medium-Light, Medium, or Medium-Heavy

Pros

  • Designed for kayak fishing
  • Multiple lengths and power options
  • Five-year Manufacturers warranty
  • Premium quality graphite blanks

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Only fast action rods

Why We Chose It

As I mentioned earlier, St. Croix is a respected brand in the fishing industry, and to go along with the Mojo Yak Casting Rod, they developed the Mojo Yak Spinning Rod. This series was designed specifically for kayak anglers and considered all the fishing limitations of a kayak.

I love having options, and knowing that you can choose between different rod lengths and powers means you can choose the best combination for your style of fishing. If you happen to purchase a rod with a manufacturer defect, then you can count on the five-year warranty of St. Croix to take care of your problem.

Graphite blanks are solid-quality rods. They’re better than fiberglass blanks but a step below carbon fiber blanks. Most anglers use graphite blanks because they’re less expensive than carbon fiber but have excellent strength and sensitivity.

St. Croix only offers a fast action for this spinning rod which might limit some of your fishing techniques, but it is still a good all-around fishing pole.

The St. Croix Mojo Yak Spinning Rod is the best kayak spinning rod because it’s one of the only rods specifically designed for kayak fishing. This is an excellent mid-range fishing rod.

Offshore Angler Inshore Extreme Spinning Rod

Offshore Angler Inshore Extreme Spinning Rod

BEST SALTWATER KAYAK ROD

Specs

  • Length – 6’6″, 7″, 7′ 6″, 8″
  • Action – Fast
  • Power – Medium or Medium-Heavy

Pros

  • Multiple rod lengths and power options
  • The shorter handle is ideal for kayak fishing
  • Sea Guide aluminum oxide guides for long casts
  • Best benefits of fiberglass and graphite

Cons

  • Less than ideal customer service
  • The longer rod will be more challenging to handle in a kayak.

Why We Chose It

The Offshore Angler Inshore Extreme Spinning Rod covers a wide variety of saltwater fishing. You can trust it’s corrosion-resistant since it’s been designed for inshore fishing. With multiple lengths and power options, you’re sure to find the best combination for your style of fishing.

I would stay with the 6’6″ and 7′ rod because the handles are shorter and less likely to get in the way; however, it’s helpful to have a larger rod when battling large fish. So I recommend getting only as large of a rod as you need.

This rod is a graphite fiberglass hybrid, so you get the sensitivity of graphite and the power of the fiberglass, but you also get some of the downfalls of both materials.

A few customers complained of broken rods. While they could have shipped them off and possibly gotten them replaced, the return process was more complicated than the rod was worth, so they gave the rod away and bought another inshore fishing rod.

I know all products have defects now and then, but I would like to see a simple return procedure when it happens.

Suppose you’re an inshore kayak angler who needs another spinning rod for a 4000-4500 sized spinning reel. In that case, the Offshore Angler Inshore Extreme Spinning Rod is worth checking out because of its many advantages and few disadvantages.

Bass Pro Shops Fish Eagle Travel Spinning Rod

Bass Pro Shops Fish Eagle Travel Spinning Rod

BEST KAYAK FISHING TRAVEL ROD

Specs

  • Length – 6′ 6″ or 7′ both break down into four sections
  • Action – Fast
  • Power – Light, medium-light, and medium

Pros

  • Great for traveling, four-piece rod
  • The one-piece skeletonized reel seat
  • Premium RT3 graphite blank
  • Rod tube included

Cons

  • Sections can come apart when casting
  • Premium cork handle with EVA butt cap

Why We Chose It

The Bass Pro Shops Fish Eagle Travel Spinning Rod easily breaks down to simplify traveling. It comes with a rod tube to keep it protected during transport, which is ideal.

Even though I often travel with my fishing rods, I’m not the biggest fan of a telescopic rod or sectional rods. I’ve used both, and they have their downfalls that traditional rods don’t. However, I understand not everyone has the luxury of a full-length rod box or truck, so travel rods are needed.

I love that this rod has a one-piece reel seat, so your reel is secure. Since it’s graphite, it is sensitive and robust. Plus, you have a couple of length options and power options to fit your needs. I’m not a fan of cork handles. I’ve always found them to deteriorate quicker than EVA foam grips, but that’s just a personal preference.

The Bass Pro Shops Fish Eagle Travel Spinning Rod is for kayak anglers who travel often but don’t have the room for full-length rods.

Berkley Lightning Rod

Berkley Lightning Casting Rod

BEST BUDGET-FRIENDLY KAYAK FISHING ROD

Specs

  • Length – 6′, 6′ 6″, or 7′
  • Action – Moderat fast or fast
  • Power – Medium, medium-heavy, heavy

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • All-purpose rod
  • The double-locking reel seat

Cons

  • Rubberized cork handle
  • Casting rod only, not for spinning reels

Why We Chose It

Berkely is known for its fishing baits and for making budget-friendly fishing poles. Berkley lures are trusted by professional and weekend anglers alike across the country.

The Berkley Lightning Casting Rod is very inexpensive compared to other rods, especially since it’s a graphite blank. Because it’s graphite, you will get better strength and sensitivity than a fiberglass rod, which are usually budget-friendly rods.

I like that this rod is a multi-purpose rod for kayak fishing because that means you don’t have to try and cram another rod onto your kayak; instead, you can use this rod for multiple applications. I’m not a massive fan of the rubberized cork handle. For one, I’m not too fond of the feel, and two, I don’t think it is as durable as EVA foam.

However, for the price, that’s an inconvenience I can manage.

The Berkely Lightning Casting Rod is the best budget-friendly kayak fishing rod because it’s multi-purpose and inexpensive.

Considerations Before Buying The Best Kayak Fishing Pole

Considerations Before Buying The Best Kayak Fishing Pole

Whether you’re shopping for an ultralight pole, trolling rod, or fly fishing rod, there are several factors to consider because you’re fishing from a kayak, and yes, you can fly fish from a kayak!

Buying a kayak fishing pole is similar to purchasing any other fishing pole. However, there are a few special considerations you have to keep in mind because of the limited space a kayak offers. Factors like:

  • Rod/handle length
  • The Species you plan to catch
  • Power and action
  • Reel preference
  • And Price

While there are other factors to consider, these are the most important.

Ideal Rod Length For Kayak Fishing

The best rod length for kayak fishing depends on the species of fish your trying to catch and the presentation you’re using. It would be best if you were most concerned with the size of the handle.

A handle that’s eight to ten inches long will be long enough to give you leverage for fighting big fish but short enough that it won’t constantly be getting in your way.

An overall rod length of seven-foot is great for most fishing scenarios. Even when fishing for giant catfish, I don’t use a rod longer than eight-foot because rods become too cumbersome to operate effectively in a kayak around eight and a half feet long.

What Species Are You Targeting?

Crappie fish

If you’re targeting crappie or other panfish, then you’ll likely be using an ultralight rod, whereas when you’re bass fishing, you’ll want a casting or spinning rod that can handle the heavier fishing line.

Some freshwater species and most saltwater species will require heavy-duty fishing poles. That’s why it’s important to know what species you plan to catch so you can buy the proper rod.

I own several different rods based on the species I am targeting, and I use them all while fishing from my kayak.

Power And Action

I believe the power and action of the rod are essential to consider if you want the best chance of catching fish. Once again, determining what power and action you need depend on several other factors like what species you’re targeting and what lure you’re using.

In my opinion, the best all-around power and action is a fast-action medium-heavy rod. You can cover a wide variety of techniques and species. However, it won’t be ideal for all scenarios, but that’s the power and action I use most often when fishing out of my kayak.

Reel Preference

Your fishing reel preference will partially determine the type of rod you choose. If you like using a spinning reel, then don’t buy a casting rod because it won’t work with a spinning reel. That’s why purchasing a rod and reel combo is helpful because you know you’re buying the correct rod and reel.

There are a few ways to tell the difference, the main one being the eyes of a spinning rod are larger than the eyes on a casting rod. Most brands should make it clear on the packaging.

I use both depending on my technique because casting rods and reels can generally handle heavier lines while spinning rods and reels work best with lighter tackle.

Price

The price of the rod often determines the quality of the rod. Cheap rods are constructed from fiberglass. They’re typically not as sensitive or strong as graphite rods. Graphite rods are considered the middle of the road and are what most anglers use because they are pretty sensitive and strong.

High-end rods are made from different materials, including carbon fiber. These rods are the most sensitive while maintaining their strength.

A good rod will cost you between $100-$200, while the best rods cost $200-$500+. I’ve bought cheap rods that work just as well as my middle-of-the-road rods, but I’ve also had some budget rods that couldn’t hold up to the rigors of kayak fishing.

You’ll Also Need

Now that you have you’re kayak fishing pole; you’ll also need to purchase other fishing accessories for kayaks. Some of these accessories are essential, while others are convenient to own.

You can see which fishing gear is vital in our kayak fishing tips and tricks article, where we list several tips that will help your kayak fishing experience.

Kayak Fishing PFD

A kayak fishing life jacket is a must if you need one I highly recommend checking out my best kayak fishing PFD article, where you’ll discover five of the best kayak fishing life vests on the market.

If you’re in a kayak, always wear your PFD. I know it can be hot and make fishing a little more complicated, but the minor inconvenience is worth it if an accident happens. I put mine on when I step into my kayak, and I don’t take it off until I’m back where I launched.

It’s a cliche for a reason, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t ruin a good day of kayak fishing because you refuse to wear your PFD.

Kayak Fishing Net

Kayak Fishing Net

Several kayak fishing nets on the market will help you land more fish. I’ve netted countless fish just in the nick of time before they spit the hook. Having a net on my kayak has helped me land my personal best largemouth and numerous other fish.

I highly recommend purchasing a net that floats!

Kayak Fish Finder

Adding a fish finder to my kayak has helped me locate and catch more fish. I love having the ability to see the depth I’m sitting in and the contour of the bottom. While it’s not a necessary fishing accessory, it’s useful. In our article, you can find some of the best kayak fish finders on the market.

Kayak Trolling Motor

I love having a trolling motor on my kayak. I can get to places quicker and less tired, which means more time fishing. If you are interested in adding a trolling motor to your kayak, read my best kayak trolling motor article.

Kayak Trolling Motor Battery

If you install a trolling motor or a fish finder, you’ll need a power source. Lithium-Ion batteries are the way to go. However, in my best kayak trolling motor battery article, you’ll see I also recommend a few lead-acid batteries because some trolling motors still require a lead-acid battery.

One More Cast

The type of rod you choose ultimately comes down to the type of fishing you plan to do. So when I rate the St. Croix Mojo Yak Casting Rod as the best kayak fishing rod, it’s because I know that it is an excellent all-around fishing rod that is designed for kayak angling.

However, all the rods listed above can catch fish from a kayak, including the budget-friendly Berkley Lightning Casting Rod.

If you have any questions about the best kayak fishing rod or kayak fishing in general, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! I’m always down to talk fishing.

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