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Although fishing rods aren’t usually species-specific, their length, action and power all dictate the size and type of fish they’re best used for as well as their suitability for a number of different factors including lure type and fishing environment. In this article, we look at some of our favorite fishing rods for different bass fishing techniques and budgets. Category winners range from lengthy baitcasting sticks perfect for pitching and flipping to legendary spinning rods that operate when drop shotting.
Our Top Picks
Best All-Rounder: Abu Garcia Villain 2.0 Casting Rod
If you’re just starting out or don’t have the funds to purchase specialist rods for each bass fishing technique, opt for a versatile all-rounder like the Abu Garcia Villain 2.0 Casting Rod. This rod is designed for use with a baitcasting reel, traditionally the most popular choice for bass fishermen. It comes in a range of sizes, but the seven-foot length with medium power is the best middle-of-the-road option.
Fast action guarantees great sensitivity and solid hook sets and is especially suited to single-hook lures, including jigs and worms. The seven-foot model is a one-piece rod made from lightweight, perfectly balanced 40-ton graphite and complemented by the brand’s V Wrap carbon construction for added strength and durability. Other highlights include the high-quality Fuji reel seat, the comfortable EVA non-slip handle, and the titanium alloy guides. The latter have zirconium inserts for unparalleled lightness.
Best for Flipping & Pitching: Lew’s Fishing American Hero Speed Stick
For flipping and pitching in heavy cover, 7’6” rods like the Lew’s Fishing American Hero Speed Stick are considered standard. The longer length allows for the greater accuracy this fishing method requires, while the fast action allows you to set hooks quickly and efficiently. Like all good flipping rods, this one features a heavy power rating suitable for line weights of between twenty to forty pounds. These stronger lines are made to cope with the strain of digging bass out of thick cover, and reduce the likelihood of you snapping up before you can land your trophy fish.
The rod's multilayer, multi-directional graphite blank is reinforced with premium resins for structural strength, while the gunsmoke stainless steel guides are exceptionally durable. In between pitches, keep your hook out of the way using the titanium-coated hook keeper. Other enviable features include the lightweight graphite reel seat and the split grip handle with its high-density EVA grip. A portion of the proceeds goes towards supporting veterans through Lew’s American Hero program.
Best for Topwater Lures: Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod
The Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod is a worthy addition to any bass fisherman’s arsenal. It comes in many different lengths and power ratings, but the 6’6” medium power model is especially suited to triggering explosive surface bites using a topwater lure. The rod is rated for six to 15-pound line weights, and is designed to work with a spinning reel to allow distance casting with 1/8- to 5/8-ounce lures. If you’re planning on using heavier lures, consider opting for the Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod instead.
This fast action rod comes in two or four pieces. It's also made from a blend of graphite and fiberglass for the perfect blend of lightness and durability, while signature Clear Tip design affords excellent sensitivity. As an added bonus, one-piece stainless steel guides mean you don’t have to worry about your inserts popping out.
Best for Drop Shotting: St. Croix Triumph Spinning Rod
The finesse method known as drop shotting is one of the few bass fishing techniques that consistently favors a spinning rod over a baitcasting rod. This is because spinning rods are naturally compatible with the light lines typically used for drop shot rigs. The St. Croix Triumph Spinning Rod is a masterpiece of strength, sensitivity and hook-setting power with many different power, action and length combinations to choose from. For drop shotting, the 6’6” medium light power model with a fast action is ideal.
The rod is made from high-quality SCII graphite with a slow cure Flex-Coat finish. As well as delivering a flawless performance, St. Croix rods also look great with black-framed aluminum-oxide guides and a Fuji DPS reel seat with a frosted silver hood. The handle is made from premium-grade cork. Choose whether you want a one or two-piece rod, and revel in the peace of mind afforded by the manufacturer’s five-year warranty.
Best for Spinnerbaits: Entsport Camo Legend 2-Piece Baitcasting Rod
If spinnerbaits are your lure of choice, choose a seven-foot stick like the Entsport Camo Legend 2-Piece Baitcasting Rod to give you the casting distance, leverage and capacity for a speedy retrieve that this fishing technique requires. This fast action rod breaks down into two pieces for maximum portability and comes with two interchangeable tips. One delivers medium power for use in moderate cover, while the other is rated medium heavy for fighting through the tough cover that spinnerbaits are often synonymous with. This two-in-one design also comes in handy for those looking to save money or packing space.
Made from 24-ton carbon fiber, the rod is both lightweight and strong. The stainless steel guides are cleverly spaced to reduce line friction, while the reel seat is protected by a corrosion-resistant aluminum hood. After a long day on the water, you’ll be grateful for the high-density EVA handle, which is designed to increase control and keep hand and wrist fatigue to a minimum. The rod comes with a protective bag and a one-year warranty.
Best for Crankbaits: Shimano Sojourn Casting Rod
Arguably the most versatile of all types of bass lure, crankbaits can be used effectively with most casting rods. The Shimano Sojourn Casting Rod linked here is an affordable brand classic that has been recently reinvented with a smart black-and-red aesthetic. Available in 6.5- or seven-foot lengths, many fishermen find that the added casting distance afforded by the seven-foot rod makes it a better choice for crankbait fishing.
Both the medium and the medium heavy power versions are suited to this technique. Choose according to the density of the cover you usually fish in, or according to your intended line weight and lure size. As a guide, the medium power rod is rated for six to 15-pound line, while the medium heavy rod is ideal for 10 to 20-pound lines. Either way, the blank’s graphite composite construction guarantees a good blend of lightness and durability, while the EVA handle is made for comfort.
Best Ultralight: G. Loomis Trout & Panfish Spinning Rod
Those wishing to take on the challenge of ultralight bass fishing need a much lighter rod than those usually associated with the species. As its name suggests, the G. Loomis Trout & Panfish Spinning Rod is intended for smaller fish; but has the strength necessary to target decent-sized bass using small lures and soft plastics as well. On Amazon, you’ll find this rod in a range of different lengths, from five to seven feet. The longer lengths (6.5 to seven feet) are best suited for ultralight fishing as they combine the flexibility needed to cast tiny lures with the backbone required to land bass.
These longer rods have a fast action and are designed to carry two to 10-pound lines, depending on the model you choose. Some models break down into two pieces, which is a bonus for those that like ultralight set-ups for their compactness as well as the excitement of catching big fish on light tackle. Models also vary in terms of their materials. The one linked here is made from Loomis’ signature Fiber Blend, with a cork grip and Fuji Alconite guides.
Best Budget: KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rod
The KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rod is the choice for those in search of a bargain. It’s one of the best priced bass fishing rods online, yet boasts such good quality that many reviewers claim there is little difference between this rod and their $200+ rods. It comes in many different models, allowing you to select the best one for your chosen fishing technique. There are casting and spinning rods in 6’7”, 7’1” and 7’4” lengths, in addition to seven-foot two-piece casting or spinning rods that come with two tips rated to different powers.
All models pair a versatile medium, medium light or medium heavy power rating with a fast action. The blanks are made from 24-ton carbon fiber for excellent strength and durability, while other notable features include Fuji O-ring line guides, an EVA grip and a safety-conscious hook keeper. The ergonomic reel seat is crafted from high-strength graphite.