The 8 Best Fishing Poles of 2020

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The Rundown

Best Overall: Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 at Amazon

"This fishing rod is ideal for both beginners and experts looking for a reliable option."

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Shakespeare Micro Spinning Fishing Pole at Amazon

"The handle features a cork grip to keep your hands comfortable."

Best Value: Plusinno Spin Rod and Reel Combo at Amazon

"Includes a rod, reel, six lures, six hooks, and four sinkers."

Best Lightweight: Daiwa Minispin Ultralight Spinning Reel and Rod at Amazon

"Made for anglers who are traveling and want to be ready at the first sight of water."

Best for Bass: Denali Rods Attax Heavy-Spinning Fishing Pole at Amazon

"Features solid construction for the expert fisherman wanting to snag the best bass."

Best for Catfish: KastKing Centron Spinning Reel at Amazon

"These poles are designed specifically for catfish fishing, with an emphasis on larger catches."

Best for Fly Fishing: Redington Crosswater Outfit at Amazon

"This fast-action rod comes with different line weight options that work well for fly fishing."

Best Telescoping: Eagle Claw Pack-It Telescopic Spinning Rod at Amazon

"The durable telescoping rod is made from fiberglass, so it will stay safe even in precarious conditions."

Although there is no guarantee that the fish will be biting when you head out to the lake or river, at least you can feel confident that your pole will help. Fishing poles can vary by what type of fish you are searching for and your level of expertise. However, rods can also differ by action, length, and line weight it can hold. The action is the how much the rod bends when you have a fish on the line; the length is how long the rod is, which depends on how heavy a fish you are working with; and the power or line strength describes how strong the rod will be compared to the weight of the fish. Need help picking out the best rod for you?

Read on for our picks of the best fishing poles available. 

Our Top Picks

01 of 08

Best Overall: Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2

Not only does the medium-heavy Ugly Stik GX2 by Shakespeare have a sleek, modern look for today’s fisherman, but it also has the capabilities anglers need when it comes to a sensitive rod that is perfect for whatever they are catching. The spinning rod comes in different lengths, and is made in a one-piece construction from graphite and fiberglass. It's strong, durable, and will stay comfortable in your grip with an EVA handle. This fishing rod is ideal for both beginners and experts looking for a sturdy, reliable, and versatile option. The line weight is 8 to 20 pounds.

02 of 08

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Shakespeare Micro Spinning Fishing Pole

For a lighter rod, chose the Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod that is classified as an ultralight rod made from graphite. The handle features a cork grip to keep your hands comfortable and the guides are stainless steel for added durability. The light models have a line weight of 4 to 10 pounds and the ultralight models have a line weight of 2 to 6 pounds. Sizes come in 4 feet, 6 inches; 5 feet; 7 feet; or 7 feet, 6 inches for ultralight models. Light models come in 5 feet, 6 inches; 6 feet, 6 inches; and 7 feet. All sizes, except the 4 feet, 6-inch model, are constructed with two pieces.

03 of 08

Best Value: Plusinno Spin Rod and Reel Combo

Made for the beginner fisherman, the budget-friendly Plusinno Spin Rod and Reel Full Combo comes with a rod, reel, six lures, six hooks, four sinkers, and the other accessories necessary for a good day on the water. This telescopic fishing pole is flexible and comfortable with an EVA grip. It has medium power in the carbon and fiberglass rod, which provides a long-lasting, durable experience.

04 of 08

Best Lightweight: Daiwa Minispin Ultralight Spinning Reel and Rod

The Daiwa Minispin Reel and Rod Combo is made for anglers who are traveling and want to be ready at the first sight of water. The mini-reel is ultralight with one ball bearing and a line twist-reducing feature. It breaks down into five pieces to fit into a compact hardshell case with various built-in tackle compartments. Load it up, stick it under your car seat and you are ready to go whenever the fish are biting—the case measures 14 x 8 x 3 inches and weighs just under 1 pound. The line weight is 2 to 6 pounds, perfect for panfish or trout.

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Best for Bass: Denali Rods Attax Heavy-Spinning Fishing Pole

The Denali Attax Heavy-Spinning Rod is made with top technology and solid construction for the expert fisherman wanting to snag the best bass. This rod is sensitive and lightweight, yet still strong with a graphite inlay, and the grip has added cushion for increased comfort. It comes in sizes ranging from 6 feet, 8 inches to 7 feet, 10 inches and can hold 15 to 25-pound lines.

06 of 08

Best for Catfish: KastKing Centron Spinning Reel

These 8-foot poles are designed specifically for catfish fishing, with an emphasis on larger catches. The Toray IM6 graphite the pole’s made from is exceptionally durable—enough to take a beating from a flailing fish—and has great lifting power to get your prize up onto the boat (the recommended line weight is 15 to 30 pounds). The stainless-steel double-foot guides are also built to withstand a thrashing, as are the reinforced nylon reel seats, which can hold the reel of your choice in place. We also love the cross-wrapped EVA handles that keep the rod tight in slippery conditions or wet hands without straining hand muscles or demanding too much from one’s grip.

Users say that the poles are great for both fresh- and salt-water fishing. Each rod also comes with KastKing’s “Total Peace of Mind” warranty, so you can make your purchase with confidence.

07 of 08

Best for Fly Fishing: Redington Crosswater Outfit

Head to the river with this rod and you're sure to stay blister-free while you're fly fishing. The Redington Crosswater Outfit has a cork handle for accuracy and comfort, and the graphite construction means it's durable and lightweight. It’s easy to break down and reassemble the four-piece rod, which comes with a carrying case for easy traveling. The fast-action rod (perfect for long casts) comes in a four- and five-weight option that's best for trout, as well as an eight and nine-weight option for salmon, large rainbow trout, or bonefish.

08 of 08

Best Telescoping: Eagle Claw Pack-It Telescopic Spinning Rod

Pack this 5-foot, 6-inch spinning rod by Eagle Claw right into your pack for easy use on the trail or at the campsite. The durable telescoping rod is made from fiberglass, so it will stay safe even in precarious conditions. The comfortable handle is made from EVA foam and folds up for easy transportation. The line weight is 4 to 10 pounds, ideal for bass fishing or freshwater fishing.

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