Baitcasting is the oldest modern form of fishing but using baitcasting reels had taken a back seat to spinning reels the past couple of decades. While spinning reels still maintain the most comfortable learning curve, baitcasting rigs are now regularly outperforming spinning setups for professional anglers.
Baitcasting initially failed to spread in popularity due to the learning curve associated with mastering a baitcasting reel. However, once you learn how to use a baitcaster, most don’t go back due to the additional control, larger line, and better accuracy that can be achieved.
When you’re picking out a new rod, the rod must match whatever reel you have or plan to buy. A casting rod matches up with a baitcasting reel, and a spinning rod matches up with a spinning reel.
When you’re in the market for a new baitcasting rod, there are three key differentiators to consider, other than rod material and length:
A rod’s power is determined by how much weight it can bend under before breaking. You’ll see a rod’s power ranging from ultralight to heavy, with many possible variations in between such as medium-light and medium-heavy. Another way to think about a rod’s power is in terms of its power to bend while lifting a fish out of the water. A rod with heavier power should be paired with a heavier line, and vice versa.
The action on a rod is how much and where it starts to bend. The faster the action, the less bend in your rod, and the more sensitive the rod will be to feel a fish nibble on the lure.
A faster rod features a faster hook set as well. When you set the hook, with less bend at the top of the rod, there is less distance needed to travel before pressure is applied on your line. Slower action means more bend, and the more delicate you can be with your presentation. The slower the action, the smaller the intended fish will be.
The guides on your rod will go a long way towards determining overall performance, so paying attention to what the rod guides are made from is key. On a baitcasting rod, the guides sit on the top of the rod, as opposed to the bottom on a spinning rod. They’re also smaller in diameter on a baitcasting rod as its easier for line to pay out of a baitcasting reel.
The insert of the line guide is what to pay attention to. Typically, these are made out of plastic on the low end, metal, and ceramic on the high-end. There are also some anglers who prefer RECOIL nickel-titanium guides which cannot corrode and claim to “recoil” back to their original shape after repeated use.
Less expensive rods will be made from fiberglass, while mid-tier rods can be constructed from carbon fiber, which is both stronger and lighter than fiberglass. Some rods will be constructed of a carbon-fiberglass composite, which is a lower cost blend of the two materials that can still deliver decent results. At the upper echelon, high-end rod manufacturers typically use proprietary forms of graphite on their best rods.
So, what are the 10 best bait casting rods? The many answers to that are below, beginning with the best casting rod for the money.
1. Best Casting Rods for the Money
The best casting rods for the price come from a lesser known company, which leads to initial caution but bear with me here. The brand is called Entsport, and this is their E Series Camo Legend rod. What sets this rod apart, aside from the sweet looking camo on the handle, is that the rod comes with two separate tips. One tip is for medium action, and the other is for medium heavy action. For the money, you can’t do much better than that.
If Entsport sacrificed on quality to make up for the two-for-one tips, well then obviously this rod wouldn’t have made the list, right? Fear not, as the two-piece rod is constructed with 24-Ton Carbon fiber, providing optimal strength and structurally enhanced carbon-fiber construction. Both the reel seat and the guides are corrosion resistant, and the camo handle is made from high-density EVA.
For under $40, the Entsport E Series Camo Legend is a great place to start.
Best Casting Rods Under $150
The Daiwa Tatula is the first rod that I’d like to highlight in the under $150 category because it comes in well under that number.
2. Daiwa Tatula
The Tatula features x45 graphite construction. According to Daiwa, this means that a 45-degree construction prevents any twisting of the blank, providing improved hook setting power, sensitivity, and strength. The rod also features Daiwa’s exclusive Super Volume Fiber (SVF) graphite technology.
Another highlight of the Daiwa Tatula is the highest quality of guide material in Fuji’s Concept Alconite. The Alconite ring provides for a thinner, lighter weight which improves the smoothness of line travel while casting and retrieving.
The best part about the Daiwa Tatula is the price tag of right around $120, a steal for the value.
A close contender to the Daiwa for best casting rods under $150 is the St. Croix Premier, which comes in just under the number. The Premier is well worth the additional $30 over the Daiwa due to its unmatched material quality.
The St. Croix Premier features St. Croix’s proprietary premium quality SCII graphite shaft. It also features Kigan Master Hand 3D guides which are specially designed to be the best guides for braided lines.
Best Casting Rods Under $100
The under $100 category is the toughest to crown a winner, as there are many rods to consider. There are two rods, though, that rise above the rest:
What separates these two rods from other rods in the $50-$100 category is their graphite construction. There are other quality rods you can buy for $10-30 less, but they won’t have the superior strength and weight combination of graphite.
The Triumph is constructed from St. Croix’s premium-quality SCII graphite, giving it nearly unmatched sensitivity and strength. The guides are made from hard aluminum oxide, and the handle is made from premium cork.
The Vendetta is the real winner in the under $100 category for one main reason: better quality guides. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the St. Croix aluminum-oxide guides, they are softer than other materials and wear could be an issue with beefier lines in the future.
The Abu Garcia Vendetta features 30-Ton graphite construction, with stainless-steel guides featuring titanium-oxide inserts. It features an EVA handle, so if you prefer cork you may want to go with the St. Croix Triumph.
Best Casting Rods Under $50
The Abu Garcia Vengeance is my top recommendation in this range. It features everything you’re looking for, including a 24-Ton graphite shaft, stainless steel guides with titanium oxide inserts, and a high-density EVA handle.
I may have to rescind my earlier best casting rod for the money because the Abu Garcia Vengeance is a perfect combination of high-quality materials and value for your money.
The Vengeance features a 34-ton high modulus graphite shaft, stainless steel guides with titanium inserts, and a high-density EVA handle.
For a penny under $40 though, you can still buy a quality rod that’s perfect for a first-time buyer. The Piscifun Torrent II Baitcasting Rod comes in two sizes, a 6’9” medium action rod, and a 7’ medium-heavy rod. Both rod sizes are versatile and can handle a wide range of applications.
What you sacrifice for your $10 is the shaft material, which goes from all graphite on the Abu Garcia Vengeance, to a composite on the Piscifun.
The rod gains its durability from a composite of fiberglass and graphite, resulting in a well-balanced nearly unbreakable rod. The rod is not quite as lightweight as carbon fiber but still feels light in your hands.
Other features include:
- High-quality stainless-steel guides that can be used with any type of line.
- An EVA grip keeps your hand comfortable.
- A sensitive tip to detect the smallest of bites.
- High strength graphite reel seat.
8.Best Cheap Casting Rods
For under $20 you can still find a decent casting rod, and look good while you’re at it with the Berkley Cherrywood HD. The model under $20 is the $18 6’6” Medium 2-piece rod, but you can get every other size under $30. While you won’t be using any fancy materials, the Cherrywood HD will reliably get the job done.
9.Best Casting Rods for Bass
The best casting rods for bass fishing can go to no other rod than the St. Croix Mojo Bass. This is St. Croix’s bestselling rod and the reason is because of excellent construction and a breadth of options dialed in to however you want to fish for bass.
The Mojo Bass uses St. Croix’ SCII Graphite, which allowed the famed fishing manufacturer to create specialized tips. The Mojo Bass series can be technique specific and comes in 17 different models. Currently, Amazon has just two of those models available, but both are versatile and worth owning: a 6’8” Medium-Heavy Fast and a 7’1” Medium/Fast rod, both for under $130.
10. Best Saltwater Casting Rods
Shimano is one of the best-known fishing brands around, and for obvious reasons. Shimano makes high-quality products. My only problem with Shimano is that I don’t always agree with the value you’re getting for the price. This saltwater rod, however, is an exception.
The Shimano Trevala Butterfly is a saltwater jigging rod featuring Fuji aluminum-oxide guides and graphite construction. An engineered high-carbon butt is fused to a TC4 tip in one of Shimano’s newest innovations.
This is brand new blank technology from Shimano which provides less weight with increased sensitivity, perfect for jigging. The guides on the rod are Fuji aluminum oxide which helps to decrease line wear and provide both corrosion resistance and heat dissipation. From top to bottom this rod has been designed to excel in saltwater.