The 9 Best Bass Fishing Rods of 2023

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Best Bass Fishing Rods

TripSavvy / Chloe Jeong

TripSavvy's Picks

The Phenix 2020 Maxim Casting Rod is our best overall bass rod for its fast action, which increases sensitivity and efficient hook sets. KastKing's Peregrine II is our top budget pick and comes in many different models.

There are few things more satisfying than the moment you first see the shiny scales of your catch about to break through the water. Getting to that point requires finding the right rod for you, and there's a lot to consider.

"If you've ever seen a bass fishing show, you'll notice that they usually have a dozen rods on their boat," says Mark Ravonausky of Tackle Haven. "Each of those rods is tuned to the bait and how they want to fish."

You certainly don't need 12 rods if you're a beginner—you just need to choose a technique to focus on. From there, you should also consider versatility, weight, length, and sensitivity. We're here to help get you on your way. Here are some of our favorite bass fishing rods to help land your trophy fish.

The Rundown

Best Overall: Phenix Maxim Casting Rod at sportsmans.com

"Made from lightweight, perfectly balanced carbon fiber."

Best Budget: KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rod at Amazon

"There is little difference between this rod and $200+ rods."

Best for Crankbaits: St. Croix Premier Casting Rod at dickssportinggoods.com

"The seven-foot rod is a great choice for crankbait fishing."

Best for Topwater Lures: Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod at Amazon

"Especially suited to triggering explosive surface bites."

Best for Spinnerbaits: Entsport Camo Legend 2-Piece Baitcasting Rod at Amazon

"Breaks down into two pieces for maximum portability."

Best Lightweight: G. Loomis Trout & Panfish Spinning Rod at tackledirect.com

"Intended for smaller fish, but has the strength necessary to target decent-sized bass."

Best for Flipping & Pitching: Lew's Fishing American Hero Triggerstick Casting Rod at tacklewarehouse.com

"The longer length allows for, the greater accuracy."

Best for Drop Shotting: St. Croix Triumph Spinning Rod at cabelas.com

"A masterpiece of strength, sensitivity, and hook-setting power."

Best for Beginners: PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combo at Amazon

"The carbon fiber and fiberglass in the construction make the pole durable."

Best Overall: Phenix Maxim Casting Rod

Phenix Maxim Casting Rod

 Courtesy of Sportman's Warehouse

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Versatile

  • Sensitive

What We Don't Like
  • Not specialized

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 Phenix Maxim Casting Rod. This rod is designed for use with a baitcasting reel, traditionally the most popular choice for bass fishermen. It comes in various sizes, but the 7-foot, 3-inch length with medium power is the best middle-of-the-road option.

Fast action guarantees excellent sensitivity and solid hook sets and is especially suited to single-hook lures, including jigs and worms. The 7-foot, 3-inch model is a one-piece rod made from lightweight, perfectly balanced carbon fiber and complemented by the brand’s wrapped carbon tape construction for added strength and durability. Other highlights include the custom-designed locking reel seat, the comfortable EVA non-slip handle, and the SiC guides.

Price at time of publish: $119

Rod Length: 6 feet, 10 inches | Weight: 8-14 pounds | Type: Casting | Power Rating: Medium-heavy

Best Budget: KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rod

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Multiple models

  • Stylish

What We Don't Like
  • Heavier

  • Not great for large fish

The KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rod is the choice for those searching for 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-foot, 7-inch, 7-foot, 1-inch, and 7-foot, 4-inch lengths, in addition to 7-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 features high-strength graphite.

Price at time of publish: $70

Rod Length: Ranges from 4-foot, 6-inch to 7-foot, 6-inch | Weight: 1-25 pounds depending on pole | Type: Casting and Spinning | Power Rating: Ultralight to heavy

Best for Crankbaits: St. Croix Premier Casting Rod

St. Croix Premier Casting Rod

 Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

What We Like
  • Versatile

  • Solid warranty

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Challenging for beginners

Arguably the most versatile of all types of bass lure, crankbaits can be used effectively with most casting rods. And the St. Croix Premier Casting Rod is an excellent option to use with crankbaits. Available in 5.6 up to 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.

The medium and the medium-heavy power versions suit this technique. Choose according to the density of the cover you usually fish in or your intended line weight and lure size. As a guide, the medium power rod is rated for eight to 14-pound lines, 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.

Price at time of publish: $165 for 5'6"

Rod Length: 6-foot | Type: Casting | Power Rating: Medium-heavy

Best for Topwater Lures: Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

What We Like
  • Multiple sizes

  • Sensitive

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Meant for casual fishermen

  • Small reel space

The Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod is a worthy addition to any bass angler's arsenal. It has many lengths and power ratings, but the 6-foot, 6-inch medium-power model is especially suited to triggering explosive surface bites using a topwater lure. The rod is rated for eight to 17-pound line weights and is designed to work with a spinning reel to allow distance casting with 1/4- to 3/4-ounce lures.

This fast-action rod comes in one or two pieces. It's also made from 35 percent more graphite than previous models for the perfect blend of lightness and durability, while the signature Clear Tip design affords excellent sensitivity. As a bonus, one-piece stainless steel guides mean you don't have to worry about your inserts popping out.

Price at time of publish: $60

Rod Length: 4-foot, 6-inch to 7-foot | Weight: 2-17 pounds depending on rod | Type: Spinning | Power Rating: Ultralight to medium-heavy

Best for Spinnerbaits: Entsport Camo Legend 2-Piece Baitcasting Rod

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Comes with two tips

  • Protective bag

What We Don't Like
  • Separating parts can be challenging

  • Less sensitive

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 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 a corrosion-resistant aluminum hood protects the reel seat. After a long day on the water, you’ll be grateful for the high-density EVA handle, 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.

Price at time of publish: $38

Rod Length: 7-foot | Weight: 10-26 pounds | Type: Casting | Power Rating: Medium

Best Lightweight: G. Loomis Trout & Panfish Spinning Rod

G. Loomis Trout & Panfish Spinning Rod

Courtesy of G. Loomis

What We Like
  • Sensitive

  • Lightweight

  • High-quality

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

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. On Amazon, you’ll find this rod in different lengths, from 5 to 7 feet. The longer lengths (6.5 to 7 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 2 to 10-pound lines, depending on your chosen model. Some models break down into two pieces, which is a bonus for those who like ultralight set-ups for their compactness and 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.

Price at time of publish: $345

Rod Length: 7-foot, 6-inch | Weight: 2-6 pounds | Type: Spinning | Power Rating: Light

Best for Flipping & Pitching: Lew’s Fishing American Hero Triggerstick Casting Rod

Lew’s Fishing American Hero Speed Stick

 Courtesy of Bass Pro Shops

What we like
  • Durable

  • Heavy duty

  • Sensitive

What we don't like
  • Better for beginners

For flipping and pitching in heavy cover, 7-foot, 6-inch rods like the Lew's Fishing American Hero Triggerstick are considered standard. The longer length allows for, the greater accuracy this fishing method requires, while the fast action will enable 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 20 to 40 pounds. These stronger lines are made to cope with the strain of digging bass out of thick cover and reduce the likelihood of line snapping 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. Keep your hook out of the way between pitches using the titanium-coated hook keeper. Other desirable 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.

Price at time of publish: $50 for casting 6' md pistol

Rod Length: 6-foot - 7-foot, 6-inch | Weight: 6-40 pounds depending on pole | Type: Casting | Power Rating: Medium to heavy

Best for Drop Shotting: St. Croix Triumph Spinning Rod

St. Croix Triumph Spinning Rod

 Amazon

What we like
  • Durable

  • Reliable

  • Affordable

What we don't like
  • Not specialized

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 powers, action, and length combinations from which to choose. The 6-foot, 6-inch medium-light power model with a fast action is ideal for drop-shotting.

The rod features 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.

Price at time of publish: $100

Rod Length: 5-foot - 7-foot | Weight: 2-12 pounds depending on pole | Type: Spinning | Power Rating: Ultralight to medium-heavy

Best for Beginners: PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

Best for beginners bass fishing pole
What we like
  • Affordable

  • Full kit

  • Durable

What we don't like
  • Not very sensitive

  • Meant for beginners

Considering the price point for this rod is relatively affordable, and it comes with a full kit (we're talking rod, reel, six hooks, four sinkers, six lures, and a line, among other accessories) of necessary fishing bits and pieces, it makes for a fine set to get the hang of fishing with (and frankly, decide if the sport is for you).

The carbon fiber and fiberglass in the construction make the pole durable, which is excellent, considering beginners are likelier to snag on rocks, branches, and debris. It is also telescopic and lightweight, making it portable and easy to carry around.

Price at time of publish: $90

Rod Length: 5-foot, 11-inch - 8-foot, 10-inch | Weight: 3-18 pounds depending on pole | Type: Casting | Power Rating: Medium

What to Look for in a Bass Fishing Rod

Fishing Environment

One thing to consider when choosing a rod is where you'll use it. Are you going to be fishing from land? Off a boat? From a beach or rocks? Will the water be moving quickly (like in a river) or still (like in a lake)? Generally speaking, spinning rods are the most versatile—good for all skill levels and most environments.

Material

Most rods are made from graphite or fiberglass. We'll start with graphite because, according to Dan Chimelak of Lakeside Fishing Shop, "they're really hot right now." Manufacturers have different ways of treating (or not treating) the material. The better ones subject the graphite to high heat to build strength and stiffness, while the lesser ones skip that step, resulting in a more brittle rod. Look for manufacturers who tout their production techniques. Seasoned anglers generally prefer graphite because of its sensitivity and fighting power.

Fiberglass rods used to be popular and are starting to come back. It's a sturdier material, so your rod is less likely to snap, but it's also heavier, which can be tiring if you're planning long days on the water. The durability of fiberglass makes it suitable for beginners and those going after larger fish.

"Either way, you want something that feels good in your hands," Chimelak said. "You're probably not going to use it much if it doesn't feel right."

Price

Luckily, you don't have to spend a ton to get a good rod. There are oodles of things manufacturers will add to a rod that will make it more expensive, like a real cork handle or a pretty finish, but ultimately you'll need to consider how the rod will be used. Since you'll likely have to purchase multiple rods over time for different fishing techniques, you might as well pick something on the lower or middle end of the price spectrum, provided it does the job.

Another thing to consider is whether or not the price includes a warranty. "Make sure to ask about the warranty, what it covers, and whether there's any replacement fees," Chimelak said. "It doesn't make sense to get a rod because of its lifetime warranty if the replacement fee is almost as much as a new rod."

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is a good size rod for bass fishing?

    The longer a rod is, the longer it casts. However, longer rods are harder to maneuver. For people trying to catch fish below them (if they're on a boat, for example), a pole with a big cast isn't necessary. Instead, look for a rod that is easy to handle—around 5 to 7 feet in length. For those wading or fishing from shore, longer (over 8 feet) is better. Beginner anglers should also consider a 7-foot rod because it's longer but relatively easy to maneuver.

  • What's the difference between a spinning rod and a casting rod?

    The most significant differences between spinning and casting rods are the reel type, the reel seat, and the placement of the guides. A casting rod requires a baitcasting reel (the kind that looks like a small winch mounted on the side), whereas spinning rods have an open-faced spinning reel (mounted on the underside), and a revolving bail winds the line. The guides are found on the spinning rod's underside and the casting rod's topside.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Jessica Macdonald is a UK-based writer and gear reviewer for TripSavvy. Jessica has honed her skills as a freelance writer specializing in travel, scuba diving, and wildlife conservation. She is a two-time winner of The Telegraph's Just Back travel writing competition and has written extensively for various magazines, travel agencies, websites, and PR companies.

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