The best bass fishing rods are based on the price. What one angler can afford varies from another angler. The best rods are going to cost over $250, unaffordable for most people. The good rods will be between $100 and $250. The rods under $100 are okay with a few being good.
The right rod will depend on how you fish and your budget. A few rods fall into the general-purpose category. The majority are specific to lure presentations.
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Bass fishing rods are the same as other fishing equipment. Since the price determines the quality of the components. The higher-cost offerings will have better guides, reel seats, and handles. The blank is something to be aware of also.
The good to best rods will have better blanks than a rod under $100 so consider the fact. Look at a rod as an investment if you fish more than an occasional angler.
Best Bass Fishing Rods Components
The components make the difference in a rod’s quality. Components in many materials with some being more durable and others performance-based. They also come in single or double-footed and other variations. Due to the type of fishing styles.
The reel seat holds the reel to the rod and more. A good reel seat transmits the feel into the reel and hands of the angler. The handle is a comfortable item but needs to be sensitive and durable also.
Rod Line Guides
The material used in the guides is important. Some materials will break while others bend. A few reduce line friction and some ignore the friction over durability. Choosing what is best takes a little forethought.
The number of feet will affect how sturdy the guides attach to the rod. Pulling lures through heavy cover or landing bigger fish put a strain on the guide’s feet.
The number of guides matters. Better bass fishing rods will have at least one per foot plus the tip any less, place it back on the rack. The number of guides spreads out the stress evenly through the blank.
The guides keep the line going straight on the cast. A rod with too few guides will get looping between the guides on the spinning tackle. This reduces the distance of the cast.
Durability and reduced friction come at a price. The lower-quality materials make trade-offs in the two features. A rod able to make longer casts is desirable but has to have enough guides and good materials. Going cheap on the materials or number of guides costs you casting distance.
The frames made from stainless steel with inserts installed are common. The inserts described below come in different materials. Stainless steel frames protect the stiffer guide materials. A few rods use other materials for frames. But in general, fishing rods use stainless steel guide frames.
Silicone carbide is often listed as SiC in ads or titanium carbide and is extremely hard and smooth. The guide keeps friction down and prevents the line from cutting into them. Custom-made or high-end rods use these guides. The best bass fishing rods will cost upwards of $250 and likely more. As a result, rods with these guides are for the serious angler.
A generally standard guide found on most fishing rods made today. Called Alconite, Hardloy, or simply aluminum oxide depending on quality. Alconite and Hardloy are composites with aluminum oxide as the base material.
The friction is reduced and durability is increased by adding other compounds. Alconite is lighter while Hardloy is slightly more durable. Both are a good choice.
The newest material in guide technology has its pros and cons. The titanium is very light and will spring back into shape. The durability is questioned by custom rod makers. So it is likely a material better suited for something other than bass rods using braided lines. The cost of the guides is high also.
Stainless steel inserts are of the lowest quality and are found on low-cost rods. The guides will bend and stay bent, the line will cut into the material, and they are heavier. In other words, the rods will not last and will be disposable items. These rods do not cast very well either due to friction from the guides.
Feet and Wrappings
Single foot guides are lighter and more sensitive. A single-foot guide will help with light finesse lures for that reason. They are found on spinning rods more than on casting rods. The double foot guide is for heavier use in lures or bigger fish. The guide will not twist when under a heavy load compared to a single foot.
The wrappings hold the guides on and need to be of good quality. The better rods use higher-quality threads with an epoxy coating. A few cheaper rods use cheap threads and more of it. This affects the rod’s bend modulus to some degree making stiffer points along the blank. Look at the wrappings and if excessive choose another rod.
Bass Fishing Rods Reel Seats Materials
The reel seat holds the reel as its primary function. That said different reel seats are better than others. The majority of rods have plastic reel seats and the quality varies. Do not be misled by it saying Fuji because they make several levels of quality.
The chances are the exact reel seat will not be mentioned in the ad and it will be hard to find out which one is on the rod. There are visual clues however that will help make the decision.
The best seats are metal with plastic linings. These are the strongest with the metal backing up the plastic. The plastic keeps the seat and reel from becoming stuck. This is due to chemical processes with the different metals. It is galvanic corrosion if you choose to look it up.
A metal reel seat without a liner will get stuck leading to problems changing reels. The plastic reel seats do not have a problem.
Plastics reel seats are fine and found on low to mid-priced rods. They are not as strong as plastic-lined metal. The use of good materials and proper design is important.
Look at the threads to see if they are deep enough to prevent stripping. Threads stripping happens with cheap reel seats. Over-tightening good reel seats can strip the threads also. Do not over-tighten the reel seat.
Reel Seat Sensitivity
The second function of a reel seat is sensitivity. A quality seat will send the feel through the rod to your hands. Jigging requires feeling the light bites quite often as do a few other lures. Feeling what is happening at the other end of the line is important. Crankbaits and other lures vibrate and you need to feel the vibrations to know what the lure is doing in the water.
A good rod with a good seat will tell if a spinner blade is turning whereas cheap rods may not allow the feel. Jigging requires feeling when a fish only mouths the bait. Mouthing a bait is when the fish takes a lure but keeps swimming towards you not pulling on the line. It is likely not going to be felt with a cheap outfit.
Bass Fishing Rods Handles
The handle is where comfort comes into play. A handle has to extend to where you hold the rod and feel right. Look at the handle does it extend to where you hold the rod. Additionally, the material used in handles will affect the feel. The plastic foam handles deaden the feel from the rod and cork is the best if it is good cork.
The cork handles can be made from very good to garbage-grade materials. The best rods will have quality cork handles. A rod under $100 will have a lower quality cork handle. Buying a budget rod may mean forgoing a cork handle.
The other option is to replace the handle in a couple of years. Cork is not as durable as the plastic handles but is preferable because of the sensitivity. Every angler needs to decide their preference.
Bass Fishing Rods Blank
The blanks come in different lengths, actions, and powers. How and where the rod is used may influence the selection of these factors in the rod. The length affects casting distance. The power is how strong the rod is and how heavy of a line can be used. The action works with the hook set. Fast action rods for single hooks and medium or medium-fast for treble hooks.
The length of the rod matters for casting distance. Shore anglers need a longer rod for distance. Fishing streams or the shore may limit the length. A long rod will slap trees and branches hanging down. Boat anglers will not have a problem. Boat anglers need to look at the style of fishing. Is the rod for pitching, flipping, or running jerks or crankbaits.
Pulling largemouths out of thick cover requires a heavier line. The power has to match the line used. A rod power too heavy will break the line and too light the rod can break. The majority of bass fishing rods fall into the medium to medium-heavy power range.
Medium power uses 8-12 at most 14-pound lines whereas a medium-heavy one uses up to 20 or more pound lines. Match the power to how you fish.
The power will dictate the lure weights also. A medium action may be able to handle 1/8 to 1/2 ounce lures and heavier rods work 3/8 to 1-ounce lures. The information on the line and lure weight is listed on the rod or in the ads for online shoppers.
The lure weight coupled with the power achieves farther casting distances. Using a large array of lures will need several rods of various power ratings.
Rod action can be specific for certain lures. Since there are only a few rods able to cover using many types of lures. The simple test is, do the lures have a single point or 3 hook points? The single-point hook has better hook sets with fast or very fast actions. The fast action loads the rod quicker for driving the larger hooks in deep.
Treble hooks are better with a medium to medium-fast action. The slower action gives the fish a split second more to swallow the lure. Since it does matter with crankbaits or jerk baits.
A common problem with treble hooks is pulling the hooks out of the fish’s mouth. A slower action reduces the problem. As a result, many pro anglers use medium-action rods for the treble hook lures.
Graphite or Glass
The chances are a graphite rod is the best for most anglers. Crankbaits tend to work better on fiberglass rods. A fiberglass rod gets better over time by getting a little more whip in the action. The whip helps with the action on the lipped lures but can affect casting distance. Fiberglass is limited to these types of lures. Using other types of lures requires graphite rods.
The best bass fishing rods are usually graphite rods. Graphite is lighter and stronger with more backbone since it is harder to bend. The backbone is the power of the rod. There are different grades of graphite blanks used by manufacturers.
A few makers rate by the IM system. An Im7 is better than an IM6 if made by the same company. It is a standard used by rod makers to judge quality among their products and not industry-wide.
A rod made by one maker that is an IM7 may be better than another manufacturer’s IM8 rod. Do not put too much emphasis on the IM rating unless comparing rods made by the same company.
The better the rod such as high-quality guides, reel seats, and handle. Shows the rod has a better blank also. In other words, judge a rod by the quality of all the components.
A fiberglass rod will be heavier and have a slower reaction time. The rods allow a slower casting tempo and load easier during the cast. An angler can feel the rod loading during the cast more than with graphite. This is likely not important to most bass anglers.
Fiberglass is tougher than graphite due to its flexibility making it harder to break. Since the fibers stretch more, preventing the rod from snapping with proper use.
The softness in the blank will help keep larger fish on since bass will come off near the boat when thrashing. The rod bending easier keeps the hooks in the fish. Fiberglass rods don’t pull them out as graphite may do with poorer hook sets.
Throwing crankbaits is fiberglass’s best use. The glass rods improve hook sets on treble hooks. Then flex when a bass surges away instead of tearing the hooks out.
The difference between E-glass and S-glass. The E-glass rods have a woven fiber construction whereas the S-glass is more unidirectional. The unidirectional fibers turn out lighter and better for fishing rods. Unidirectional fibers create strength along the blank and allow it to bend. The woven fibers make a rod stiffer and too tough for good action.
Bass fishing rods in this price range are affordable and deliver solid performance. The closer the rod is to the $200 price will usually be a better rod with a better handle, guides, or reel seat. They all are good rods for any level of angler from novice to aspiring pro. In other words, a rod in the high price range of the category is a little less quality than the top rods.
- G Loomis E6X
- Lew’s Custom Speed Stick
- Fenwick HMG
- St Croix Bass Mojo
G Loomis E6X
If looking at a rod close to $200 this rod should be considered. The rod is a little above the price but worth the extra cash. G. Loomis offers more variation in the blank’s power, action, and length. As a result, allowing an angler to fine-tune the rod better to their fishing styles.
The models include rods specific for crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and various soft plastics presentations. Anglers seeking high performance for specific lures will like the choices available.
- Fuji Titanium SIC stripper guides 9-10+tip
- A, B, C, F, G Cork Handles depends on the model
- Fuji ECS reel seat
- Medium to X-heavy power
- Moderate fast to extra-fast actions
- Limited Lifetime warranty
The most affordable G. Loomis rod on the market, that said, the rod is around $200 give or take depending on the vendor. The rod does deliver the G. Loomis quality and performance expected at a lower price.
As a result, it is the best in the category. The guides, reel seats, and handles are the same as the ones on higher-priced gear. In other words, a top-quality rod in the mid-price range of fishing rods.
Lew’s Custom Speed Stick
Lew’s primary focus is on bass fishing equipment and the custom speed stick offers nice features at a low price. They go with EVA for the handle but include titanium oxide inserts on the guides a nice move. The features will hold up under heavier use. The rod also has a skeletal reel seat for increased sensitivity. Soft plastics need a sensitive rod.
- Titanium oxide inserts in S.S. 9+tip
- A, B, C EVA grips with Duracork
- Lew’s graphite skeletal reel seat
- Medium-lite to heavy power
- Moderate=fast to fast action
- 1 year limited warranty
The rod comes in a few designs including lite and standard and different models in each design. Look at the blank designation also as they come in HM50, HM 60, and HM85. The higher number indicates more sensitivity in the blank of the rod and raises the price.
The lengths range from 6′ 7″ to over 7 1/2 feet depending on the blank and model. This rod is well designed and built for enjoyment by all levels of anglers. A great beginner rod or a solid backup.
One of the best $100 rods for fishing. Quality inserts in the guides and the cork handle are usually found at higher prices. The rod does lack a little in options but it is designed for the budget-minded angler. There is always a trade-off between features and price. Fenwick stayed with good components and instead only produced a few models of the HMG series rod.
- Fuji guides Alconite inserts 10+tip
- A, B, cork handles
- Sea-Guide Soft Touch Alien Reel Seat
- Medium or medium-heavy
- Moderate fast to extra-fast action
- Limited lifetime warranty
The rods perform well and do come in the lengths needed for bass fishing. The option to have a different action with the power or length is not available. In other words, the rods are fairly basic in choices with quality more of the focus. The options will cover most applications in bass fishing. Another great beginning rod or solid backup for any bass angler.
St. Croix Bass Mojo
This rod would rank higher except for the guide inserts and handles. A rod priced at $150 should have aluminum composite guides, not aluminum oxide. Some anglers have also reported problems with the handle. The 5-year warranty is not unexpected but two of the other rods in the category do have better ones. The rest of the rod is quality with solid performance.
- Kigan Master Hand 3D guides (Aluminum oxide) 8+tip
- A, C, D cork handles
- Fuji ECS reel seat
- Medium to heavy power
- Moderate fast or fast actions
- 5-year warranty
The rod rates high in casting distance even with fewer guides. The options of length, action, and power offer many set-ups. A plus for the mojo is the 2-piece option not found in many of the better rods. An angler without a truck or boat can easily transport the rod to where they fish. This is something to consider if you only have a small car.
Rods under $100 are budget offerings for the average angler. The rods will perform well for a novice or an angler fishing less than 2 times a week on average. Fishing over 300 hours a year an angler should look at better equipment.
Since there will be a difference in weight and performance. That said, the following fishing rods are choices for a second rod if you fish more and are on a tight budget.
- Fenwick HMX
- Bass Pro Tourney
- Bass Pro Crankin Stick
- Berkley Lightning Rod
The best rod under $100 since it has a good reel seat, guides, and enough guides. The rods under $100 have fewer guides and lower quality components. This makes the rods less sensitive. This rod is the exception.
It has quality components. The HMX is like the HMG with fewer guides and a different reel seat. The average angler will likely not notice any difference. On a tight budget, this is the best choice at a price of around eighty dollars.
- Sea Guide SS316 Zirconium inserted; 7 or 8+tip heavy model has 9+tip
- Fuji Skeleton reel seats
- A, B, C Cork handles with tac grip
- Medium to heavy power
- Fast action
- 5-year limited warranty
Bass Pro Crankin Stick
A low price rod with titanium oxide guides is a good deal. Additionally, with the 12 models to choose from it may be difficult for a beginner. Look at the medium to medium-heavy power rods with fast action. The combined features will have the best all-around performance.
Anglers looking for a specific rod can choose among the other ten models and find a good choice for a low price. The rod is good for people who fish less often and cannot justify spending $100 or more on a rod.
- Fiberglass-graphite composite blank
- Sea Guide stainless steel guides w/ titanium inserts
- A, B, C, D, Split-Grip EVA Handle
- 2-piece minimalist reel seat
- Medium-lite to heavy power
- Fast to extra-fast action
Bass Pro Tourney
A rod with 14 models ranging from 5 1/2 to 7 1/2 feet long. The power and length can be chosen but the actions are all fast. It is common on low-priced rods for there to be one action choice. The shorter length is good for children and the longer rods fit anyone.
Anglers on a strict budget will find the rod affordable. The rod performs catching bass. This rod does come in a heavy model but is not rated for musky. It is a good rod at a very low price for tight budgets and occasional anglers.
- 304 stainless steel guides w/ S.S. inserts
- Low-profile reel seat
- A, B, C, D eva handle
- Medium-lite to heavy power
- Fast action
- Graphite blank
Berkley Lightning Rod
There is a standard model and the shock model. The shock model has better guide inserts, as a result, it is the better of the two rods. The rods come in various models. The standard models have more to choose from in power, action, and lengths.
The rods are for anglers on a budget, starting to fish, or who fish very little during the year. One of the better starter rods is the shock model. As it will be a good backup rod after upgrading to a better rod at a later date.
- A, B, C, Rubberized cork handles
- Stainless steel guides w/ aluminum oxide inserts
- A double-locking reel seat
- Graphite blank
- Medium to heavy power
- Moderate fast to fast action
Best Bass Fishing Rods Summary
Choosing a bass fishing rod is a serious decision for many anglers. The result of more information is a better choice. Look at various models and find what is best for your style of fishing.
Using soft plastics versus hard baits requires a different performance from a rod. An example is flipping rods, they are for short casts into heavy cover. There are a few rods that perform well with all lures also.
The chances are two or more rods are needed to cover the range of lures. Start by purchasing one then add to your rods as time and budget permit. Buy a rod that fits best your style of fishing to start then buy rods specific to certain lures. This will make fishing more enjoyable and productive.