The 10 Best Fishing Rods of 2022

The best fishing poles for every scenario, from saltwater to fly fishing

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TRIPSAVVY-best-fishing-poles

TripSavvy / Chloe Jeong

There’s nothing more relaxing than a day fishing your favorite spot, yet deciding which rod to purchase can be a stressful prospect for those with limited experience. The right rod for your chosen type of fishing (whether you’re keen to try your hand at fly fishing, planning a summer of crappie fishing with the kids, or heading out to sea) is determined by a wide variety of different factors, from rod power and action to length and line weight. 

The correct combination of these factors gives you a rod that will support the best line weight and lure size for your target species while improving sensitivity, casting distance, and accuracy. According to Orvis Fly Fishing expert Tom Rosenbauer, other considerations could range from the type and length of guarantee to the reputation of the rod maker for prompt repairs. To make the selection process easier, here are the best fishing rods across various categories.

Best Overall: KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rod

KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rod

Amazon

What We Like
  • Great performance for under $100

  • 29 length, power, and action combos to choose from

  • Twin Tip option gives you two different power rods in one

What We Don't Like
  • No extra-length rods for long-distance casting applications

  • Some reviewers report that the rod can be fragile

If you’re looking for a fishing rod that provides review-backed performance at a very reasonable price point, the KastKing Perigee II fits the bill. It’s also one of the most versatile rods on this list, coming in various formats to suit multiple applications. First, choose whether you want a spinning rod or a baitcasting rod; then, choose a one-piece or a two-piece (for easier transport and storage). 

Both versions come in a range of power, action, and length combinations—from an ultra-light 4-foot, 6-inches stick with moderate action to a heavy, 7-foot, 6-inch fast action rod. You can even choose a Twin Tip rod, with interchangeable tips rated for two different powers. All Perigee II varieties are constructed from carbon fiber for superior sensitivity and strength and pair Fuji O-Ring line guides with a high-strength graphite reel seat. 

Length: From 4-feet, 6-inches to 7-feet, 6-inches | Power: From ultra-light to heavy | Action: Moderate, moderate fast, or fast | Line Weight: From 1 to 4 pounds to 14 to 25 pounds

Best Budget: Sougayilang Telescopic Fishing Pole With Spinning Reel Combo

Sougayilang Telescopic Fishing Pole With Spinning Reel Combo

Amazon

What We Like
  • Includes rod, reel, and tackle for less than many rods on this list

  • Telescoping rod in a choice of three lengths

  • Reel has a high number of ball bearings for reduced friction

What We Don't Like
  • Reel’s low gear ratio is more suited to some techniques than others

  • Quality is unlikely to satisfy more experienced fishermen

If you’re getting into fishing and don’t want to make a significant investment until you know the sport’s right for you, if you’re buying for a child, or want a spare rod that won’t break the bank, check out this telescopic rod combo from Sougayilang. For less than a quarter of the price of some of the rods on this list, you’ll receive the rod itself and all of the accessories needed to get out and fish. 

The telescoping rod blank is made of carbon fiber and fiberglass, with stainless steel line guides and a machined aluminum reel seat. Lengths range from 5-feet, 9-inches to just under 7-feet, 9-inches. The included spinning reel features a relatively low gear ratio of 5.5:1 (perfect for heavier, deep-diving lures that require a slow retrieval speed) and 13+1 stainless steel ball bearings for smooth casting performance. The combo comes with a carry case, fishing line, and tackle.

Length: From 5-feet, 9-inches to just under 7-feet, 9-inches | Power: Not specified | Action: Not specified | Line Weight: Not specified

Best for Bass: Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

Amazon

What We Like
  • Durable, lightweight blank with extra graphite

  • One- and two-piece options available

  • Seven-year warranty

What We Don't Like
  • No slow or moderate action option

  • Some reviewers say line guides are easily grooved by braid

Famed for its toughness, the Ugly Stik Elite spinning rod comes in various lengths (from 5-feet to 7-feet, 6-inches) and powers (from ultra-light to medium-heavy). The 7-foot medium rod is considered one of the best all-rounders for bass anglers, with a fast action that lets you feel even the tiniest of bites and excellent hook-setting capability. It is compatible with 6 to 14-pound line and 1/4 to 5/8 lures; it offers exceptional versatility for various bass fishing scenarios. 

The rod comes in one or two pieces, with a blank constructed using 35% more graphite than Ugly Stik’s popular GX2 rod. This makes it significantly lighter, helping to reduce fatigue during long days out on the water. Other Ugly Stik innovations include the Clear Tip (for strength and sensitivity where you need it most) and Ugly Tuff one-piece stainless steel line guides (no risk of inserts popping out mid-action). 

Length: From 5-feet to 7-feet, 6-inches | Power: From ultra-light to medium-heavy | Action: Medium fast or fast | Line Weight: From 2 to 6 pounds to 8 to 17 pounds

Best for Trout: Okuma Celilo Ultralight Spinning Rod

Okuma Celilo Ultralight Spinning Rod

Amazon

What We Like
  • Ultra-light and light models in a range of lengths

  • Fore and rear cork grips for added comfort

  • One of the most affordable rods on this list

What We Don't Like
  • Limited warranty is only valid for one year

  • No crossover for larger fish species

Explicitly designed to give anglers the best possible fight when targeting smaller fish species, the Okuma Celilo Ultralight spinning rod is ideal for trout, perch, and panfish. It comes in sizes from 4-feet, 6-inches to 8-feet, 6-inches—providing a solution for every situation, whether you’re looking for the superior accuracy of a short rod in a tight, overgrown space; or the maximum casting distance afforded by a longer rod. 

Depending on your model, these moderate action rods are compatible with anything from 1 to 4-pound line to 4 to 10-pound line. The shortest stick comes in one piece only, while the rest break down into two pieces for more convenient transport and storage. No matter which you choose, you can expect all the sensitivity and lightness of a graphite composite blank, paired with the durability of a stainless steel hooded reel seat and hook keeper. 

Length: From 4-feet, 6-inches to 8-feet, 6-inches | Power: Ultra-light or light | Action: Moderate | Line Weight: From 1 to 4 pounds to 4 to 10 pounds

Best for Crappie: Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod

Dick's Sporting Goods

What We Like
  • Multiple lengths and powers to choose from

  • Crappie model combines sensitivity and casting distance

  • Seven-year warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Product information doesn’t specify rod action

  • Several customers say line guides cannot withstand braid

The GX2 spinning rod has been recently updated with improved components and a sleek black-and-red aesthetic, a slightly cheaper option than the Ugly Stik Elite. With 10 rod lengths, five power options, and five-line weights to choose from, there’s a GX2 model for most freshwater and inshore saltwater applications. However, the ultra-light, 7-foot rod is an excellent choice for crappie anglers, providing sensitivity and finesse with a longer casting distance than many ultra-light rods. 

This rod has a line weight of 2 to 6-pounds and a lure rating of 1/32 to 1/4, which is perfectly compatible with the kind of light tackle recommended for crappie fishing. It breaks into two pieces and is made from graphite and fiberglass with the iconic Ugly Stik Clear Tip design for added strength and sensitivity. The only downside? While the Ugly Tuff one-piece stainless steel line guides will never pop out, braided lines may erode them over time. 

Length: From 4-feet, 6-inches to 9-feet | Power: From ultra-light to heavy | Action: Not specified | Line Weight: From 2 to 6 pounds to 8 to 20 pounds

Best for Walleye: Fenwick Elite Tech Walleye Spinning Rod

Fenwick Elite Tech Walleye Spinning Rod

Amazon

What We Like
  • Designed especially for walleye fishing techniques

  • Comfortable Hidden Handle Design

  • Extra-strength titanium line guides

What We Don't Like
  • One of the more expensive options on this list

  • Not as much of an all-rounder as other rods

Designed specifically for walleye anglers, the Fenwick Elite Tech Walleye spinning rod is one of the most respected choices on the market for this species. There are multiple models to choose from, all with either fast or extra fast action for the kind of superior sensitivity and quick hook-setting action required for catching walleye. Rod lengths range from 5-feet, 9-inches to 7-feet, 6-inches, while the power is either medium (great for lures and soft plastics) or medium-light (ideal for jigging and live bait).

Whichever model you go for, you can depend on the titanium-frame line guides to withstand both hard-fighting fish and all kinds of fishing lines (including braid). The TAC and EVA handle provides a firm grip even when wet, while the reel seat features Fenwick’s Hidden Handle Design for extra comfort. The longer rod lengths offer the option of a two-piece construction for added convenience. 

Length: From 5-feet, 9-inches to 7-feet, 6-inches | Power: Medium-light or medium | Action: Fast or extra fast | Line Weight: 4 to 10 pounds or 4 to 12 pounds

Best for Saltwater: Berkeley Big Game Spinning Rod

Berkeley Big Game Spinning Rod

Berkeley

What We Like
  • Great performance at a very reasonable price

  • Compatible with heavy tackle for targeting big fish

  • Titanium line guide inserts

What We Don't Like
  • Full fiberglass blank is heavier than graphite alternatives

  • Only one model available

With excellent customer reviews and an incredibly affordable price tag, it’s hard to go wrong with the Berkeley Big Game spinning rod if you’re headed to the coast for a day of saltwater fishing. It is specially designed to handle heavy tackle and big fish; it features robust fiberglass construction and stainless steel line guides with titanium oxide inserts. The latter enables you to use lines with a pound test of up to 30 lb without worrying about them breaking or eroding. 

The rod’s lure weight is 1 to 4 and has a medium-heavy power rating. Moderate fast action gives you the best of both worlds: Most of the sensitivity and hook-setting capacity of a fast action rod, teamed with the added casting distance of a moderate action rod (great for getting your line out past the surf break). The rod’s extended 8-foot length also enables casting distance. Other highlights include a lightweight graphite reel seat and a full EVA handle for extra grip.

Length: 8-feet | Power: Medium-heavy | Action: Moderate fast | Line Weight: 12 to 30 pounds

Best for Baitcasting: Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Rod

Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Rod

Amazon

What We Like
  • Review-backed quality at a reasonable price

  • Some models can handle big saltwater fish as well

  • Zirconium guide inserts for use with braided line

What We Don't Like
  • No ultralight or light power options

  • Middle-of-the-road rod lengths only

Baitcasting rod and reel setups can be tricky to master but are often preferred by experienced anglers to deliver better casting range and accuracy. If you wish to add a baitcasting rod to your arsenal, the Piscifun Torrent is a great place to start. You can choose from several rod lengths (from 6-feet, 8-inches to 7-feet, 6-inches), while power options include medium, medium-heavy, and heavy. When it comes to rod action, you have two choices: moderate fast or fast. 

This series is designed with bigger fish in mind, and as such, line weight ratings start at 8 to 12 pounds and go all the way up to 15 to 65 pounds—the heaviest pound-test on this list. Baitcasters at the higher end of this range are therefore suitable for inshore and offshore saltwater fishing. The blank is constructed from a graphite and fiberglass composite, while zirconium inserts give added strength to the stainless steel line guides and make them braid-compatible. 

Length: From 6-feet, 8-inches to 7-feet, 6-inches | Power: Medium, medium-heavy, or heavy | Action: Moderate fast or fast | Line Weight: From 8 to 12 pounds to 15 to 65 pounds

Best for Fly Fishing: Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod

Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod

Cabela's

What We Like
  • Full range of rod lengths and line weights for every angler

  • Different grip configurations to suit each model’s purpose

  • Full rod, reel, and line outfits available

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive for casual fly fishermen

  • Product specifications do not include power or action

Orvis Clearwater fly fishing rods make up one of the most popular series from one of the biggest brands in fly fishing. With a rod for every possible scenario (from tiny trout streams to saltwater flats fishing), these tried-and-tested favorites range in length from 7-feet, 6-inches to 10-feet. As for line weight, options span the entire spectrum from an ultra-light 2-weight rod to a heavy-duty 12-weight rod. Whichever you choose, the blank is crafted from lightweight chrome with a nickel aluminum reel seat.

Snake and stripping guides are made from chrome with a ceramic insert for added durability. Meanwhile, the cork grips come in various configurations designed to suit the specifications of whichever model you choose, with possibilities including half wells, modified complete wells, full wells with a fighting butt, and front and rear grips. Rods with fighting butts and those with double grips feature composite cork sections to enhance their lifespan. 

Length: From 7-feet, 6-inches to 10-feet | Power: Not specified | Action: Not specified  | Line Weight: From 2-weight to 12-weight

Best for Backpacking: KastKing Blackhawk II Telescopic Fishing Rod

KastKing Blackhawk II Telescopic Fishing Rod

KastKing

What We Like
  • Collapses to less than a third of extended length

  • Can leave reel and line attached when collapsed

  • Available in spinning and baitcasting styles

What We Don't Like
  • A lack of alignment markers can make it difficult to line guides up

  • Warranty has significant limitations

Whether you’re heading out on a multi-day, backcountry fishing expedition or have a favorite fishing spot that’s only accessible on foot, KastKing’s Blackhawk II telescopic fishing rod is made for fitting in your pack. The carbon matrix blank has all the strength and performance of a one-piece rod but telescopes down in six stages to less than a third of its length. The smallest rod in the series is a 6-foot, 6-inch spinning stick that collapses to 1-foot, 8-inches.

The Blackhawk II comes in both spinning and baitcasting versions, with lengths from 6-feet, 6-inches to 8-feet. Your rod will have moderate fast or fast action and one of four power options from medium to heavy, depending on which you choose. The strongest packs a punch with a maximum line weight of 25 pounds—so despite their compact convenience, it’s still possible to target oversized fish on your remote fishing adventure.

Length: From 6-feet, 6-inches to 8-feet | Power: From medium to heavy | Action: Moderate fast or fast | Line Weight: From 6 to 12 pounds to 12 to 25 pounds

Final Verdict 

The best fishing rod for you depends on various factors, including your target species, preferred fishing techniques, and budget. For a rod series with models that cover most bases without costing the Earth, we recommend the KastKing Perigee II (view at Amazon). If you're looking for a budget option to get you on the water quickly, we recommend the Sougayilang Telescopic Combo (view at Amazon).

What to Look for in a Fishing Rod

Power

Sometimes referred to as rod weight, the power of a fishing rod dictates the amount of pressure needed to make it bend. Ratings range from ultra-light to ultra-heavy, and the right rating for you depends mainly on the size of the fish you generally target and the kind of tackle you use. For example, those fishing for small species (e.g., panfish) would do best with an ultra-light rod. Medium rods are best for bass and walleye, while ultra-heavy is required for trophy saltwater species. Choosing the correct power means being able to cast appropriate lures without risking rod breakage. For multiple applications, medium-light to medium-heavy rods are most popular.

Action

Rod action describes where the rod bends when applied pressure, with options ranging from slow to fast. Fast action rods bend at the tip only and are the most common, offering greater bite sensitivity and a firmer hook set. They are appropriate for multiple techniques and species. When casting distance is more important than sensitivity, a moderate action rod might be a better choice, while slow action rods that flex along most of their length are ideal for launching light lines and small lures as far as possible. According to Rosenbauer, however, “an experienced angler can make any type of action work for any situation with some adjustment in casting style.”

Line Weight

All fishing lines have weight ratings, which describe how much force they can bear before breaking – and therefore, in Rosenbauer’s words, “the size of lure you can cast well, how far you can cast, and what size fish you can easily land.” A rod’s line weight rating stipulates which line weights it is compatible with. This is presented as a range in pounds for spinning and baitcasting rods and a single number (e.g., 7-weight) for fly fishing rods. It would help if you chose a rod corresponding to the line weight you primarily use. Failure to do so can result in either the line or the rod breaking before you can land your fish.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What size fishing rod should I get?

    Fishing rods are measured in length, with options generally ranging from 6-feet to 12-feet. The best length for you depends on your intended application—to put it simply, longer rods cast further, making them ideal for scenarios that require covering more water or fishing at depth (the longest rods, for example, are used for surfcasting).

    Shorter rods do not have the same range but can provide better precision in tight spaces. Six to 7-feet is standard for regular rods; if fly fishing, Rosenbauer recommends a rod length of “less than 9-feet for smaller trout streams,” and “9-feet or longer for larger trout streams and salmon or steelhead fishing.”

  • How much should I spend on a fishing rod?

    Pro bass angler Destin DeMarion says that rods in the $150 to $250 price range “should provide great quality and an excellent warranty too,” while Team USA fly fisherman Ben Wilcox agrees that the more you spend, the “stronger, lighter, and more accurate” the rod will be.

    However, there are many good entry-level rods on the market, with several on this list coming in at around the $50 to $60 mark. Wilcox recommends “casting a variety of rods at your local fishing store and purchasing the one that feels best while also fitting your budget.”

  • What is a good all-round fishing rod?

    If you’re looking for a rod that can be used for multiple scenarios, DeMarion recommends looking for “a rod length, power, and action combination that has the most crossover.” Although similarly rated rods may perform differently from one brand to the next, a good all-rounder will typically have medium-light to medium-heavy power and a fast action. A rod that can support middle-of-the-road line weights (bearing in mind that rods are typically rated for use with monofilament line) will also be suitable for the greatest variety of applications.

  • How do I choose a fishing rod to match my reel?

    Fishing reels come in different sizes, with smaller reels intended for use with light line to target smaller species, and larger reels intended for heavier lines and greater capacities (necessary when targeting big fish). Whatever purpose and line weight your reel is rated for, your fishing rod should match. Many brands also sell pre-paired rod and reel combos to make the process a little bit easier.

Why Trust TripSavvy

When researching this article, Jessica Macdonald consulted the opinion of three fishing rod experts: Tom Rosenbauer, Chief Enthusiast for Orvis Fly Fishing; pro bass angler Destin DeMarion; and Team USA fly fisherman Ben Wilcox. She used their input to create a shortlist of more than 20 different rods, then narrowed these down to the category winners listed above after comparing prices, specifications, and real-life customer reviews.

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