Any angler will tell you that the right fishing pole is paramount to catching the fish you’re after. While skill and other accessories are also vital, they’re pointless unless you have the correct fishing pole.
We reviewed dozens of fishing poles and rods to identify the best of the best. We considered customer reviews, weight, action, cost, customization options, responsiveness, shape, number of pieces, ease of storage, and length when choosing each product.
After reviewing tons of fishing rods, the St. Croix Triumph Spinning Rod stood out as the best option for most users. It won’t cost you tons of money and is still capable of catching decently large fish. It is durable and comes in many different options so that you can customize it to your goals and preferences. It is also super sensitive and has aluminum-oxide guards.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Fishing Poles and Rods
|Best Overall||St Croix Triumph Spinning Rods||4.3|
|Best Telescopic Fishing Rod||KastKing Blackhawk II Telescopic Fishing Rod||4.4|
|Best Budget Buy||Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo||4.2|
|Best Kids Fishing Rod||Plusinno Kids Fishing Pole||4.5|
|Best Fly Fishing Rod||Wild Water Fly-Fishing 9-foot Rod||4.6|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Best Fishing Pole Overall: St Croix Triumph Spinning Rods
Out of all the fishing poles we reviewed, the St Croix Triumph Spinning Rods is one of the best you can purchase for the money. It is made of a premium SCII Graphite construction, so it is more durable than most. The mid-modulus, graphite fiber that can strain more than other fibers commonly used. Plus, this material is often lightweight and durable, as well as sensitive. It is made with a premium cork handle to ensure you can get a strong grip on the fishing rod. The frame is made with aluminum-oxide guides with a black frame and two coats of Flex-Coat slow-cure finish to further improve durability. It also has a 5-year warranty and is backed by the company’s Superstar service.
There are multiple options available, allowing you to choose the best option for your situation and preferences. It comes in all sorts of action options from x-fast to slow. Many of the action options can be paired with various powers as well, allowing for near-complete customization. To select the best rod for you, they recommend narrowing down your choice based on the weight of the lures and sizes of lines you’ll fish with most often.
St Croix Triumph Spinning Rods Key Features:
- Many options available
- Made with graphite fiber
- Made with a premium cork handle
- 5-year warranty
Best Telescopic Fishing Rod: KastKing Blackhawk II Telescopic Fishing Rod
For storage and space constraints, many fishers choose a telescopic fishing rod. These rods fold within themselves, making them easier to store and transport. Out of all the telescoping fishing rods we looked at, the KastKing Blackhawk II Telescopic Fishing Rod was the best value. It is made a premium, in-house material, and features a solid glass tip for great performance and durability. It is one-piece despite its telescopic design. This lowers the chance of it breaking and improves the overall sensitivity and performance of the rod. This one-piece design was a huge reason we put this rod in our top 5 section.
This rod is available in 14 different lengths and action combinations, allowing you to purchase this rod for a large variety of situations. You can leave the reel on the rod and the line through the guides while in storage, lowering the amount of time it takes you to set up. The guides themselves are made of stainless steel, and the handle is made of comfortable EVA. We thought the handle was quite comfortable, though it appears to be very durable as well. Best of all, this rod is very inexpensive when compared to other fishing poles available.
KastKing Blackhawk II Telescopic Fishing Rod Key Features:
- Quick assembly
- EVA handles
- Stainless steel guides
- Made of a premium in-house material
Best Budget Fishing Pole: Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo
Not everyone has hundreds of dollars to spend on a fishing pole. If you’re new to the world of fishing, you likely don’t need a very expensive rod to get started. The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo is a solid budget option. It is ideal for those who are newer to fishing, though anglers of any skill level can use it. It has a graphite and fiberglass construction, which makes it very sensitive and durable. Plus, the design is minimalistic and lightweight, so you don’t need much endurance to hold it for long periods. It has a clear tip design to increase the overall responsiveness of the rod. The lightweight EVA handle is comfortable and durable.
We particularly liked the three ball bearings and one-way clutch anti-reverse system, which is a great choice for beginners. There are a few different sizes options, though not quite as many as some of our other top picks. The rod is made with one continuous piece, so you shouldn’t worry about it breaking unnecessarily.
The rod itself comes with a 7-year warranty, while the included reel comes with a one-year warranty. The reel does not come with a line, but that is an extremely inexpensive addition.
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo Key Features:
- Comes with a reel
- Graphite and fiberglass
- Lightweight EVA grip
- 1-piece construction
Best Kids Fishing Rod: Plusinno Kids Fishing Pole
Fishing poles for kids are inherently different than those for adults. They have to be smaller, more lightweight, and inevitably more durable. Luckily, the Plusinno Kids Fishing Pole checks all of these boxes. There are a few different size options available so that you can choose one based on your child’s age and skill. The rod comes with everything you need, including fishing line, tackle, and a reel. The reel is spin-cast, making it safer for smaller children as well. The rod itself is telescopic, so children can easily transport it without much help. It is made of lightweight material and is quite flexible to prevent accidental damage.
The handle is made of EVA, which is one of the most common materials used. It is durable and comfortable, as well as easy to hold onto. Many parents reported that this rod was a great option for children and that they didn’t need much help using it. The crank is very smooth, making it easy for children to do it with minimum assistance.
They have options down to tiny rods for preschoolers. This rod is best used for lake and freshwater fishing only.
Plusinno Kids Fishing Pole Key Features:
- Available for many ages
- Easy to use for children
- Comes with everything you need
Best Fly Fishing Rod: Wild Water Fly Fishing 9-Foot Rod
Fly-fishing is a completely different beast from other sorts of fishing. Because of this, it requires a different type of rod. We looked at several different fly fishing rods and concluded that the Wild Water Fly-Fishing 9-foot Rod is the best option in most cases. It comes with absolutely everything you need to get started, making it the perfect option for those new to the sport. You get a fly box that is waterproof and designed to float if dropped. It contains nine flies of various sizes and colors.
The rod is made out of aluminum for an ultimate lightweight design, and it features a western-style cork handle. Most of the rings and other accessories are made of stainless steel. The rod comes with a hard tube case that features extra room to store all your accessories and a fly box. The case has a hand ring and a carrying strap. The rod comes ready to be used by someone who is right-handed, but you can easily change to rod for left-handed use.
The rod is quite decorative and nice – much better than the other beginner rods out there. Even someone who has been fly fishing for a while will enjoy this four-piece rod.
Wild Water Fly-Fishing 9-foot Rod Key Features:
- Comes with everything you need
- Carrying case included
- Cork handle with accent rings
Who Should Buy a Fishing Pole
If you want to go fishing, a fishing rod is a must. Without one, you aren’t going to be catching much of anything. Of course, there are many different types of fishing poles out there, and they are all suitable for different situations and fish. Most average fishing poles are designed for freshwater and lakes. If you want to fish in saltwater or do any specialized type of fishing, like ice fishing or fly fishing, you will need a fishing rod specifically made for those purposes. Your average fishing pole designed for freshwater is not going to be suitable for fly-fishing.
You can find most fishing pole varieties at low prices. In many cases, you don’t have to spend over $100 for a decent rod. Even if you aren’t going fishing very often, purchasing your pole is highly suggested. Fishing poles designed for saltwater are the only sort you can’t purchase at an exceedingly low price.
Important Features to Consider
A fishing pole should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a fishing rod:
- Power. The “power” of a rod is its stiffness or how much resistance it has to bending. The power is rated from ultra-light to ultra-heavy. You should match the power of your rod with the fish you’re fishing for. The smaller the fish, the lighter the rod. Ultra-heavy rods are used for things like deep-sea fishing, while ultra-light rods are used to catch small bait fish.
- Action. Action refers to how much the rod bends when you put pressure on the tip, as well as how fast it returns to its normal position when the pressure is released. Similarly to the power, you should match the rod’s action to the sort of fishing you’re planning on catching. Slow actions are used for smaller fish so that the hook doesn’t just rip out of their mouth. Fast actions are used for catching bigger fish or fishing in areas with lots of plant life in the water.
- Taper. Put plainly – the thickness of the rod. You usually don’t have to pay much attention to this feature, since it is usually matched with the action. In some cases, though, you might need to get a rod with a specific taper.
- Responsiveness. This is how much the rod flexes. A rod that is light and thin will be much more responsive, allowing you to cast more efficiently. Generally speaking, you want a responsive rod – especially if you’re just starting.
- Weight. This relates directly to the responsiveness but also affects how much fatigue the rod causes. A lightweight rod is usually appropriate for most beginners since they are easier to cast. However, lightweight rods do break easier, which is a problem if you’re going after large fish.
- Shape. Some rods come with unique shapes. However, the classical design that tapers off from the base to the tip is the tried-and-true option. This is the one we recommend in general to all beginners and advanced users. Don’t get a uniquely shaped rod unless you have a specific purpose in mind.
- Pieces. Many rods come in different pieces, which makes it easier to transport them. Most rods come in one or two pieces, though some fishing rods are designed to come apart into multiple pieces. One-piece rods are considered to have a better “feel,” but they are more difficult to transport safely.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does a fishing rod work?
A fishing rod works most by bending. This launches the lure or bait outwards like a cannonball when you cast. Then, when you get a bite, the rod bends appropriately to the size of the fish, ensuring that the hook stays in its mouth.
What type of fishing rod do I need?
This depends on what you’re planning on catching. Smaller fish require lightweight rods that have very little resistance to bending and slow action, so the hook doesn’t just fly out of the fish’s mouth. A larger fish needs to be caught with a rod that has the exact opposite features.
How much does a fishing rod cost?
You can pick up a basic fishing rod for about $50. The price goes up as you add-in higher quality materials and more features. The length will also play a role since longer fishing rods require more material. Rods with special features will cost more than your basic pole.
How much weight can a fishing rod hold?
This depends on the exact rod. Some are designed for deep-sea fishing and can, therefore, hold quite a bit of weight. Others are designed for small fish or fly fishing, which means they will hold very little weight comparatively. More weight is not always better since this means the rods likely have different actions and powers. You want a rod suitable to the fish you’re catching.
Other Fishing Poles and Rods We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other fishing rods. Even though they didn’t make our five best fishing poles like, they’re the best of the rest, and each is still a great option. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
This telescopic fishing pole is made by Daiwa – one of the most popular producers of fishing poles on the market. It is made with carbon fiber and has a shrink tube handle.
- Multiple lengths available
- Carbon Fiber
- Titanium oxide guides
At a lower cost than most other options, you can purchase this fishing rod from Eagle Claw. It is made of durable glass and has an EVA foam handle.
- 1-year warranty
- Ceramic guides
- One hook per pack
This spinning rod comes with a lightweight, aluminum reel and is pre-loaded with the line. It is suitable for bass and freshwater fishing.
- Fiberglass construction
- Many sizes available
- EVA foam handle
Cost: $25 – $169
This kit comes with a fishing rod and several other accessories you need to get started. There are several particular kits available for you to choose from.
- Comes with many accessories
- Made with graphite composite
Made with 24T carbon fiber and a stainless-steel reel seat, this fishing pole is very durable. They have a few different options available, so you can choose the correct one for the fish you’re fishing for.
- Six sizes available
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
This fishing rod has an anti-corrosion stainless steel hood and is suitable for saltwater fishing. It has an instant anti-reverse, as well as many other features.
- EVA force grip
- Carbon fiber
- Includes a fishing rod and fishing reel
Cost: $40 – $70
This ultra lightweight fishing rod is suitable for smaller fish. It is made of carbon fiber and e-glass composite, ensuring it is durable.
- Stainless steel spinning guides
- Very portable
This rod comes in many different options. No matter which one you choose, though, it is made with stainless steel and corrosion-resistant aluminum.
- Several options available
- Made with durable materials
- Easy to carry
With 37 different pieces, this kit comes with everything you need to start fishing right away. It also comes with a tackle storage box and a carrying case.
- Comes with everything you need
- Easy to cast
- Tackle box included
This pole comes with a complete fishing kit with everything your child needs to start fishing right away. It comes in multiple different color options and sizes as well.
- Comes with many accessories
- Multiple size options available
- Bright coloring
Cost: $42 – $50
This set includes almost everything a kid needs to start fishing right away, including a pole, tackle, lures, a net, and a carry-on bag. It is lightweight and made specifically for children.
- Many accessories included
- Compact travel bag
- Comfortable grip
For everything you need to get started, this combo set is a solid choice. It even comes with a book about teaching your children to fish.
- Easy to assemble
This fishing rod comes with tackle, hooks, and a drawstring bag. It is telescopic to make transportation and set up fast and easy – even for children.
- Combo kit
- Spinning reel
- 60” long
Wakeman designed this rod for children and other beginners who might benefit from a 5’6” rod. This fishing pole looks and feels like an adult rod, only smaller, making it a good choice for older children.
- Spincast reel included
- Non-slip handle
For older children, you might want to try this fiberglass rod. While it isn’t made for kids, specifically, it is a great option for older children who need a bigger rod.
- Spinning reel
- Tackle included
For a basic rod, this is a good option. It doesn’t come with a carrying case or tackle box, making it a great option if you already have those things.
- Assorted custom flies
- Comes with a starting guide
- Three-piece design
For those completely new to fly fishing, you might want to try this set. It comes with everything you need to get started, including a tackle box and carrying case.
- Multiple accessories available
For more advanced fly fishers, we recommend this professional rod. It is made with IM7 graphite for durability and performance and has a machined aluminum reel seat.
- Multiple actions available
- 4-piece design
This set comes with many accessories so you can start fly fishing right away. It comes with a premium performance pole, which makes this a good set for experienced fly fishers as well.
- Comes with a floating fly box
- A diecast aluminum fly reel
- Premium pole
Made with mid-flex IM8 graphite, this rod is both sensitive and durable. It comes with everything you need to start fly fishing right away.
- Combo pack
- Includes a travel bag
- Pre-spooled fly line
This starter set comes with an EVA foam grip handle for a secure grip and a built-in hook keeper. It comes with a carrying case as well.
- 8 feet long
- EVA foam grip
- Carrying case included