Best Baitcasting Rods

Baitcasting rods fall under the general category of casting rods, the latter of which includes spincasting rods and baitcasting rods. They are essentially the same, but the main difference is what type of reel you combine with the rod. Rather than using a spinning reel, baitcasting rods use baitcasting reels, which are becoming increasingly popular as of late.

In the past, baitcasting setups were thought to be more advanced combinations, usually reserved for highly experienced anglers. The main reason for this was due to the finicky nature of baitcasting reels, which were way more susceptible to backlash many years ago. However, with the advancement in magnetic braking systems for the reels, as well as other backlash-preventing mechanisms, these reels have become much more user-friendly, and and their benefits are becoming more recognized by recreational and competitive anglers alike.

In this article, we would like to provide our top picks for the best baitcasting rods that will combine nicely with a baitcasting reel. These baitcasting rods are not ranked in any particular order, as we try to highlight a few from different price ranges, mainly so you can see what is available across these price ranges, and what you get in each baitcasting rod. Below our reviews of the best baitcasting rods, we will provide more general information about baitcasting rods, and a little bit about the reels as well. For now, to get straight to the point, here are our reviews of the top baitcasting rods.

Reviews - Best Baitcasting Rods

  • Basic
  • Mid-Range
  • High-End

Okuma Fishing TCS Baitasting Rod

$$$

Pros

  • Scott Martin design
  • Designed for specific tournament applications
  • 30-ton carbon, ultra-sensitive blank construction
  • Customized C-40X carbon reel seat
  • Hard aluminum oxide guides

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lacks versatility

General Consensus

This Okuma Scott Martin Concept technique-specific casting rod is an excellent overall baitcasting rod that is design for specific tournament applications. This specific rod (model TCS-C-731H) is designed for lures in the 1.4-2.0 oz range, line weights around 17-65 lb (ideally suited for braid), and frog/swimbait applications.

The one-piece design is expected for something with such a high-performance and specific application, and the total length is 7'3", which will suit many anglers just fine. This rod is highly sensitive, which doesn't just allow for you to feel small bites, but also any bumps and taps along the way, which can be great when optimizing your strategy.

The main downside to this rod is the cost, albeit that can be expected with something that's designed for such high-performance with quality materials and specific applications. If you need something for this type of fishing, it's an excellent rod. While you can use it for other applications as well, you may be just as well off with something a little cheaper and more versatile, but again, if this suits your style, it's great.

Overall, this is an excellent technique-specific rod that offers next level sensitivity and high-quality construction, but it comes at a higher cost. Additionally, if you're looking for something that is highly versatile for many different situations, you may be better off looking for something a little cheaper with a wider variety of applications, but otherwise, it's tough to go wrong with the Okuma Scott Martin designs.

Advantages of a Baitcasting Rod

To be honest, the main advantages of baitcasting rods simply depend on your personal preference. That being said, there are some common themes of when anglers tend to use them more than spinning rods. Many anglers prefer a baitcasting rod when fighting bigger fish. The fact that the reel sits on top of the rod, as well as the guides, provides more leverage than a spinning setup, so you can fight the fish in a slightly more efficient manner.

Other advantages of baitcasting rods include more precise casts, although some anglers contend that they are just as accurate with spinning setups. One of the reasons casts can be more accurate with a baitcasting setup is because the thumb brake allows you to cut the distance at any point while the lure is still in the air. In fact, this is highly recommended as your reel will be highly susceptible to backlash otherwise. For example, if you're fishing for bass and looking to flip a topwater lure in or around heavy cover, a baitcastin rod and reel will allow you to do this efficiently and with maximum control. Moreover, when casting a lure off a baitcasting rod, the lure will more or less be projected in the direction of the rod, whereas a spinning rod can be more of a 90 degree angle. Again, this last point is personal preference.

Some anglers say baitcasting rods and reels are better for heavier lures, and we tend to agree; however, not all anglers agree with this point, so this is one that boils down to personal preference. No matter what type of lure you you use, baitcasting rods are typically more sensitive to bites, so you can have a better overall feel for the line. In amny instances you will also have a little more feel for the drag, as the drag system on baitcasting reels are quite smooth and the additional feel provided by the baitcasting rod gives you a better overall sense of the drag in general.

Casting with a Baitcasting Rod

For tips on casting techniques and increasing your casting distance with a baitcaster, check out this informative video by professional angler Jonathon VanDam.

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