Field Test Results for the 10 Best Spinning Rods

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Written By Russ Egan

Russ is a professional fisherman with over 20 years of experience. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ comprehensively tests and reviews all his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. There is nothing he prefers than heading down to his local tackle store, buying the latest fishing reel, and taking it to the water to test.


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The best spinning rods are extremely durable, have a wide range of actions and powers, have a comfortable non-slip grip, and corrosion-resistant guides.

The Ugly Stik GX2 is my top choice because it offers an extremely durable construction without sacrificing performance. It features a fiberglass and graphite blank with EVA grips. It is ideal for anglers looking for a spinning reel that will last for years to come.

I judge each reel personally based on its performance, durability, cost, value for money, and comfort based on my own individual testing experience. 

Best Overall
Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod

  • Strong, yet balanced graphite and fiberglass construction
  • Durable one-piece stainless steel guides
  • 7-year warranty
  • Comfortable EVA handle
Best Value for Money
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

  • Comfortable Cork Handle
  • Saltwater and Freshwater Ready
  • Stainless Steel Guides
  • Flexible with greater fiberglass content
Best Premium Rod
St. Croix  Premier Spinning Rod

St. Croix Premier Spinning Rod

  • Premium SCII Carbon Construction
  • Premium Grade Cork Handle
  • 5-Year Warranty
  • Fuji DPS Reel Seat and Hook Keeper

Here I’ll include all of my favorite spinning rods:

1. Ugly Stik GX2

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod
  • Solid Construction Yet Lightweight
  • Comfortable EVA Handle
  • Graphite and Fiberglass Combination
  • Stainless Steel Guides

The Ugly Stik GX2 is also a great pick for folks who are looking for a good quality casting weight rod. The rod is very hard with a solid construction quality to resist any kind of environment. No matter when you take it for fishing, it will do exactly what it needs to do.

But with the solid construction, this lightweight rod is also very comfortable to carry and feel. You can easily hold the weight and the manageable rod would help you to cast even more effectively. Those who are tired of massive rods can pick this excellent quality model.

The fiberglass and graphite rod also includes a great design that can provide better durability and control. The length is quite easy to use as well. It’s a one-piece rod that goes through various tests while manufacturing to ensure optimum quality. With an EVA handle it’s even better to hold and use.


  • Extremely easy to use
  • Convenient weight in one hand
  • Solids parts
  • Easy to store and carry


  • The handle can be too small for large hands


The UglyStik GX2 is casting a capable rod that would give you a lifelong solution to catch huge fish. The construction, handle quality, stability, portability, and ergonomic design are all features of this excellent fishing rod.

2. Ugly Stik Elite

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod
  • Comfortable Cork Grip
  • Graphite/Fiberglass Composite
  • Virtually Indestructible
  • Ugly Tuff Guides

The Ugly Stik Elite is a great spinning rod that comes with superior strength and better sensitivity that can be a perfect fit for high-quality performance. It’s a great pick for folks who are looking for an exceptional medium rod.

The construction quality is beyond awesome. It’s actually virtually indestructible with a 35% graphite construction process. This brings in a great amount of forte and feels to the rod. Also, the tip design is very convenient to get a quick response when needed.

The construction also includes another strong material, fiberglass. It’s a great addition that gives you better control and durability to withstand any fishing condition.

There’s no scope for any insert pop-out ever. Thanks to the one-piece stainless steel guide you get along with the rod. It’s perfect for any line you use.


  • Suitable for jigging
  • Very durable for everyday use
  • Manageable weight for casting
  • Able to handle large fish


  • The reel seat is a little small and doesn’t fit larger sized reels


The Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod is a premium choice for anglers who need a rod that can lift huge fish without any difficulty. It’s a nicely designed pro rod that you should think about getting. Definitely a yes from my side!

3. Shimano FX

Shimano FX Spinning Rod
  • Aeroglass Blank Construction
  • 2 Piece for Easy Transport
  • Reinforced Oxide Guides
  • Sturdy and Sensitive

The Shimano FXS Spinning Rod is a two-piece spinning rod that comes with great quality and design. It’s an efficient fishing gear for anglers who are of any skill level. No matter what age they are this would satisfy most of them.

The length is perfect and it comes with usability that is applicable to any situation. It’s a great pick for a lake, river, or stream. This is one of the greatest light saltwater rods you can get for the price. It’s one of the versatile tools that will cover most areas of application for you.

The construction quality is another golden feature we need to talk about. The Aero glass blank built-in gives you a stable and durable functioning ability. It’s superb with sensitivity and handiness.

Also, the aluminum oxide guide does a great job to maintain smooth line flow. It’s one of the best to do casting because of the guides.

There is also a comfortable handle that works great for extra usability. You are going to enjoy a strong hold even when there is dampness available. It’s also suitable for offshore situations.


  • Extra durable with good construction
  • Firm grip
  • Comfortable to use with a nice balance
  • Easy to use and cast
  • Suitable for most situations


  • Can be on the heavy side when you hold it in one hand


Shimano FXS Fishing Rod is one of the flawless choices for budget fishing rods. It’s a great rod that is top class for durability and heavy construction. It might be a hassle to fish with this rod in one hand. But otherwise, it’s totally superior.

4. Cadence CR5

Cadence CR5 Spinning Rod
  • Cork and EVA Handle
  • Fuji Reel Seat
  • Stainless Steel Guides
  • Lightweight and Strong

The Cadence CR5 spinning rod is a medium-fast two-piece model that comes with a bunch of facilities to praise about. With the price range, it’s one of the effecting rods you can grab.

The carbon fiber blank rod comes with a construction that includes almost 30 ton of graphite blanks. That’s the reason it is a superior choice to depend on for better durability, sensitivity, power, and strength.

The rods come with stainless steel guides. These are smooth and long-lasting as well. It can easily avoid any line stuck or minor problems.

The seats and handle are another two great addition to this excellent rod. They are both really comfortable plus firm to fight any hard power fish.

Even with all these features, the rod is super easy to manage. It’s portable and light to carry. The design is convenient to fit in boat hatch, backpack, or even trunks if needed.


  • Affordable price tag
  • High-quality construction
  • Easy to carry and store


  • High maintenance and needs to be looked after with care


Cadence CR5 can be your ideal pick if you want to have two-piece high-quality spinning rods. However, be sure that you can give your time to a good maintenance routine. If you promise to do so, the model will be one of the top rods for fishing you can have.

5. Okuma Celilo Graphite Trout Rods

Okuma Celilo Trout Rod
  • Stainless Steel Reel Seat
  • Aluminum-Oxide Guides
  • Comfortable Cork Grip
  • Graphite Composite Blank

The Okuma Celilo Spinning Rod is a trout rod that comes with lightweight application benefits to make anglers’ jobs easier than ever. The perfect budget spinning rod gives you a great lifelong servicing with good-looking features.

It’s basically a trout rod combo that comes with excellent quality material for hard and solid construction quality. The reliability is high enough with proven tests and measurements. So that the user can have an end product actually valuable for their fishing needs.

The quality of the rod is extremely appraisable. It is made of sensitive graphite blank construction that includes stainless steel reel seats. These ensure you are going to have a tough built-in that would help you no matter how hard the conditions or fish fighting is.

Also, there are aluminum oxide guides available to make lining effortless. It’s one rod that is very popular among professional fishermen.


  • The perfect trout rod
  • Suitable for almost any conditions
  • Good at casting and retrieving
  • Highly sensitive
  • Easy and comfortable to carry


  • The shipping process can be poor


The Okuma Celilo is not a bad choice if you are looking for a freshwater spinning rod that is quite lightweight. The design and usability will help you to go fishing whenever you want since it is super easy to fit in trunks and carry along. It is one of the best spinning rods for the money that performs well under most situations.

6. St Croix Premier Spinning Rods

St. Croix Premier Spinning Rod
  • SCII Graphite Material
  • Premium Cork Handles
  • Fuji Reel Seat
  • Flex-Coat Slow Cure Finish

For those who don’t have budget problems and want a better flexible rod, you can choose the ST Croix premier spinning rod. It is a light, reliable, sensitive, and flexible fishing pole for versatile fishing. The rod has options from 4 ft. 6 inches to maximum 7 ft. Long rods with all power variation. However, you need to choose anything from 5 ft. 6 inches to 7 ft. Long medium to heavy rods for bass, trout, etc. fishing.

The ST Croix spinning rod is made of premium quality SCII graphite blanks. Not only the main body that has made of quality elements but the tips, hook, reel seat also well-made. That is why the rod is very balanced and sensitive too. The light construction not only makes it easy to hold and handle but also let you carry easily. 

The rod includes the Fuji TCS reel seats with premium quality cork handle. That is why it won’t get slippery if your grip is wet by water or sweat. The St Croix designed and handmade In the USA. It has twice slow cure fishing that helps to withstand salt and freshwater. 


  • Very sensitive and durable rod.  
  • Has outstanding hook-setting power. 
  • Suitable for use with different types of lures. 
  • Has a lot of length options and power. 
  • Firm grip cork handle.


  • Little pricey. 
  • Does not look that attractive.

7. Fiblink 3-Piece Spinning Rod

Fiblink 3-Piece Spinning Rod
  • Corrosion Resistant Aluminum Alloy Reel Seat
  • Flexible, Lightweight, and Sensitive
  • Affordable Price Tag

Portable fishing rods are best when it comes to transport it one place to another. That is why we have tested the Fiblink 3-Piece Spinning Rod. This rod is detachable into three pieces and can be stored in the bag that comes with it. The rod comes into three length- 6, 7, and 8 inches. You will get an equivalent carrying case for respective modes.

In addition, the sensitive carbon composite body of the rod is the best quality of it. The body structure increases sensitivity and stiffness. That’s why it’s useful for managing catch the big baits.

This is a heavy-fast action rod. It’s suitable for saltwater coat fishing or surf fishing. It comes with an aluminum alloy reel seat with corrosion resistant steel hood. All of these are very much rust-proof and long durable in saltwater. 

This fishing pole is good with 30-50 line weight with 2-8 oz. of lure bearing capacity. It includes the EVA foam grip that offers much more fir control and better comfort. Also, it comes under a year of warranty. 


  • Fits into your bags or suitcase
  • Flexible, lightweight, and sensitive
  • Suitable for surf fishing
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Affordable price


  • The pieces may be stuck sometimes if not maintain properly, like, detach, clean, and oil regularly.

8. EAT MY TACKLE Sabiki Spinning Rod

EatMyTackle Sabiki Rig Bait Fishing Rod
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Light, Stiff, and Sensitive
  • Stylish Design

Here is another rod that comes with great features, look, and performance. If you see the EAT MY TACKLE Sabiki Fishing Rod Bait Rod, you will forget your old rod. This is a 7 ft. Fishing rod for catching large size of fish. The opening of the rod is 7/16 inches and would put up the maximum type of hooks found on most rigs.

It has a durable fiberglass base with plastic fittings. It weighs 2.8 pounds but still suitable to hold for a long time or to handle the fighting fish.

The rod is very durable yet flexible to use. This Sabiki fishing rod is perfect for catching Ballyhoo, Cigar Minnows, hardtails, Blue runners, Google eyes, and many more. It allows the while sabiki rig with all hooks stored inside the rod. So there is no more problem with sticking hooks in your clothes. 


  • Stiff and sturdy rod for handling worst fighting fish.
  • Looks great and modern.  
  • Light, stiff and sensitive.
  • Two pcs rod for easy portability. 
  • Offer lifetime warranty.


  • Not long enough.

9. Shimano Trevala Saltwater Rod

Shimano Trevala Spinning Rod
  • Designed for Jigging
  • Fuji Aluminum Oxide Guides
  • High-Density EVA Grips
  • Split Grip Handle

​Shimano is one of the top class fishing rod brands that are known to produce high quality rods for fishing. However, the Shimano Travala spinning rod is an excellent creation of the company, which is praised by many professional anglers. It’s a beautiful, reliable, and sensitive rod to catch any vast fish.

The Shimano Trevala features advance of TC4 construction. And it contains a rigid carbon butt section with the TC4 tip section. This outright design gives you extra pulling power in different weight conditions and increases the sensitivity. The rod is a jigging rod, and it’s good at the jigging action with a quicker retrieval rate. It’s subdued fish quite fast and gives you the opportunity to ready for the next step.

Like the other top quality fishing rod, this one has some options to choose. It has 5 ft. 8 inches to 7 ft. rods for heavy-weight fishing. The rod seems beautiful and also modern in design. Its gear up with Fuji Aluminum Oxide guides which makes it more long-lasting. For the handle, it contains EVA foam rubber grips. The grip is very comfortable while giving an excellent firm hold even if your hand is wet. 


  • Made of high-quality materials
  • Offers excellent performance that could reach any professional angler’s expectation
  • Sensitive rod for fast action
  • The splits grip style handle for offshore conditions is excellent
  • High-density EVA foam grip


  • Little pricy

10. Penn Carnage III Spinning Rod

Penn Carnage III Spinning Rod
  • Great for high-speed vertical jigging
  • No slip foregrip
  • High quality and efficient rod
  • Nice looking durable construction

​The Penn Carnage III jigging spinning rods are strong and more durable than the land-based freshwater rods. You can use it for catching large fish with live or artificial lures. This one is especially good for a small boat or kayak fishing. With the proper lining and reel, you would get a better result of it. The rod weighs only 1 lb. And come to a single piece. It’s easier to hold, manageable, and also powerful enough to tackle large fighting fish.

The rod has three different options to choose from, like the massive 6 ft., 6 ft. 4 inches with medium-heavy power and the 6 ft. 6 with medium strength. All of them are a single piece. The rod is suitable to use with 50-130 lbs. line rate. It offers moderate fast action, which is suitable for any beginners who just have started catching fish like salmon, bass, and trout. 


  • Great for high-speed vertical jigging
  • No slip foregrip
  • High quality and efficient rod
  • Nice looking durable construction


  • Little expensive
  • The order I received was packed very loosely and I was worried that it would arrive broken but it didn’t.

Spinning Rod Buying Guide

​There are a few factors you should be considering to get going with the journey and make a better decision at the end of the day. It’s important to mull over each of these criteria. Please don’t neglect the basic requirements that almost any angler would need to have in their spinning rod.


The action means the amount of bending a rod can do. Obviously, you’ll have to put pressure on the tip for that. Now there are rods that would vary from slow action to fast action. Parabolic is the term used for slower action rods.

This feature helps you to have better sensitivity and faster control for hook setting.

Most of the time a fast action rod is preferable for fishing because the faster power would help to set the hook faster.


Taper actually is a synonym for action to many folks. However, this term also determines the thickness of the wall of the blank. The blank where a lower amount of material is available would give a better bend. These are the familiar case with the best spinning rods.


The best spinning rods should have good lifting power. This ability is usually known as the power of a particular rod. The rod that would say it includes a lot of backbone is usually greater in power.

Fishing Rod Selection Power

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The power is most of the time measured as heavy, medium-heavy, and medium. It’s sort of connected to line strength. The powerful lines with heavy ratings would be better to hold more weight. While the ones that are less in power rating would be able to withstand less weight lifting.

You should depend on the type of water environment you would be fishing in. This condition would usually determine what type of power you need in your rod. Thick or heavy water usually needs stronger rods. On the other hand, clear and open water needs thin and hard to notice lines.

The Reaction Ratio

The ability of a rod to flex below the weight and release the inner energy in the casting task has a connection with responsiveness. A completed rod actually is a result of a lot of layers of a different material. This really affects the ability to respond.

The most basic rule is to remember that a rod that has less weight would respond faster. The more the modulus of a rod the better energy-saving energy the rod would have. This later would help the rod to give a precious casting result when trying on a lower trajectory.

Transportable (telescopic, 1 piece, or 2 piece)

Of course, it is all about preference what piece suits you most? Also, I figure out quality will vary slightly with the style of the rod. However, if you ask, then I must admit telescoping, and 2pcs are way convenient to carry. But if you feel 1pcs is best for you, go for it.

Material of Construction


No matter if we are talking about the lightest spinning rod or a heavy version, most rods will surely have this very common material in them. It is known as graphite. Recently, graphite is made at high temperatures. It’s completed with two major processes. There are some best cheap spinning rods as well that would go through this process.


Fiberglass is a popular material used in so many tools. It’s been around for construction from the late 50s. The soft toughness that glass construction gives is the reason behind its popularity. Rods use this as well for better quality. So good cheap fishing rods will also include fiberglass along with graphite and others.

There are various anglers who love a fiberglass rod for activities such as crankbaits. Basically where you need to have a medium to slow action will require a fiberglass construction for better results.

The finest rod for spinning reels would usually have a variety of elements to make different layers of fiberglass as well as graphite. The most fascinating thing about this excellent material is that it shows off its toughness, sensitivity and weight. Best rods in the market use this material along with others.

There are also rods made from other materials such as bamboo that are great for float rods.

Quality Guides

A guide is a metal frame with a ceramic ring. It connects the line to the rod. The guide quality often varies according to price and rod type. This ring often depends on the fishing rod quality and suitability. There are so many best budget spinning rod that includes quality guides made of aluminum material.

A great guide gives less friction with better smoothness on the surface with the line. It helps to have a longer cast and fewer friction problems. We all know the huge issue of heat killing the fishing line.

Look for rods that include more guides. It might cost more but the results will include better bent, consistent balance throughout the length, and properly utilize of power. It would help greatly to fight huge fish.

fishing reel guide

Reel Seats

The reel seats are basically the place that holds the reel. It comes in many variations depending on the price. Most anglers would like seats that are made of graphite. Don’t get a low-quality rod that would lack a plastic cushion inside the hoods. These types of seats often rust and cause a stain on your reel.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between IM6 and IM7?

These are actually the graphite name produced by a Hexcel. This is a measurement used to refer to graphite by other companies as well. It would help you to compare the quality of the material in general. Both types are used to make good-quality spinning rods. However, the IM7 rod is better in quality than the IM6.

What is Modulus?

Modulus is a term that is used to understand the strength of graphite material in a rod. It usually tells about the stiffness you can have in a particular rod. It is a measurement unit that will decide which rod would be a more premium choice for a certain activity. However, this is not the only feature to judge a rod. There are other things needed as well to ensure the finest performance as well as durability of a rod.


When it comes to finding the best spinning rods then there is a lot you need to be careful about. But throughout your purchasing journey, you need to be conscious of your instinct. Your instinct will best tell you what you need and what you don’t.

I have also written some more buying guides into more specific rods that might be better suited to your needs:

So when you are confused even after knowing the basics and all essentials, think more. Always keep in mind that it’s the best thing to choose a spinning rod that will maintain your basic requirements. A fancy one might end up being pricey and also less manageable.

There are also some great rods made by G Loomis and Abu Garcia that didn’t make my top 10 but are still solid options.

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