Best Spinning Rods
We recently published articles about the different types of fishing rods, as well as the best all-around fishing rods. Today, we would like to focus specifically on spinning rods so you can learn more about what they have to offer, and where they may have limitations.
Spinning rods are arguably the most popular type of fishing rods available, slightly more common than baitcasting rods, for a few reasons. They are extremely versatile, allowing you to use them successfully in many different settings and when fishing for many different species. If you want something a little more specialized, then spinning rods can also be good for that, as you are able to select between a variety of lengths, action, and power, all based on your own particular needs. Lastly, spinning rods are paired with spinning reels, the latter of which is a popular type of reel that also offers significant versatility, as well as ease of use.
For us, the main downfall of spinning rods are that the selection is so huge. It's pretty easy to select a good spinning rod, but if you're looking for the best spinning rod for your individual needs, then it becomes a little more complicated. Fortunately, knowing some of the basics, as well as knowing what the more popular spinning rods are and why they're known to be good, can both really help when narrowing down your own selection.
Therefore, in this article we will provide our own reviews of the best spinning rods available at different price points, hopefully allowing you to gain a better understanding of what you get at different prices, as well as what may be best for your needs, which includes your budget. Below the reviews, we will also provide a little more information about spinning rods in general, in case you want to learn more.
Reviews of the Best Spinning Rods
The following is a selection of our top picks for the best spinning rods available. We tried to highlight spinning rods that come in at different price ranges, just so you can see what's out there and how they differ.
- Low cost and widely available
- 2-piece design for storage and transportation
- Aeroglass construction rod blank
- Aluminum-oxide guides
- Fast action and medium power
- Available in a variety of lengths
- Design and quality are good for the cost, but there are higher quality rods available at higher price points.
- Durability can be compromised if 2-piece interface becomes damaged.
- Lower sensitivity with 2-piece design.
- Just a little bit heavy.
The Shimano Solora 2-piece spinning rod is a great value all-around fishing rod. We don't say this only because it's one of the cheapest spinning rods you can get, but that the low cost doesn't come at the cost of quality, at least to huge extent. Of course, there are better spinning rods available that are way more expensive, but if you're tight for cash, the Solora provides good bang-for-your-buck.
The materials used in this good all-around fishing rod aren't anything fancy, but are still solid. The aeroglass rod blank will hold up well, but it's definitely not as light as carbon fiber. The use graphite components for the reel seat, which is nice, and the aluminum oxide guides are fairly standard for low-mid range fishing rods.
The convenient 2-piece design allows for easy storage and convenient transportation, and you will have a hard time finding something of the same quality at a lower price. However, where this rod may entice some anglers is with its versatility, mainly due to the available lengths, flex, and power. This rod comes in multiple lengths, but in this case, 7 feet will be ideal if you are prioritizing versatility. The medium power and fast action of this rod really maximize the versatility, which makes it a great universal rod to own.
Overall, this is one of the best spinning rods you can find at such a low cost. It's one of the cheaper rods out there, so you will have a hard time finding anything of similar quality at the same price point. Additionally, you can feel a little more confident in this rod, as it is manufactured by Shimano, which is one of the most reliable fishing rod brands. If your feeling the pinch on your wallet, this is a great option. If you have a good amount of funds to play with, keep this in mind, but you may also want to check out some higher quality spinning rods.
- Still a good price point
- Ugly Stik Clear Tip
- Ugly Tech Construction
- Ugly Tuff Guides
- Medium action and heavy power
- Available in a variety of lengths
- While the one-piece design is ideal for performance and durability, it makes it a little more difficult to store and transport.
- Cost is higher than base-level due to slightly more expensive materials.
- Not ideal for lighter line (e.g. under 4 or 6 lbs), very small fish, or very small lures.
The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 spinning rod is a step up from the Shimano Solora spinning rod that we reviewed in the previous tab. While completely different manufacturers, Shakespeare is known for rods that perform well and stand up to the test of time, and in this case, the components in the Ugly Stik GX2 are manufactured with higher quality materials and sophisticated designs.
This spinning rod comes with lots of proprietary enhancements that are well-liked by many customers. For example, the Ugly Stik Clear Tip provides extra strength in high stress areas along the rod blank while still maintaining excellent sensitivity. The Ugly Tech Construction combines graphite with fiberglass to optimize sensitivity and balance, and the Ugly Tuff Guides are known for solid durability.
The main downsides to this rod are the higher cost, and while considered affordable, you can still get good quality spinning rods at a lower price (e.g. Shimano Solora). Additionally, the one-piece design facilitates performance and durability, but this may not be preferred by those who prioritize easy storage and transportation.
Overall, the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is an excellent spinning rod that is good for beginners or experienced anglers alike. The design of the rod combined with the higher quality components give this rod a little more overall strength, so compared to the lower-end Shimano Solora, it could be a better option for fish closer to 20 lbs. Therefore, if you're looking for a good spinning rod that is best for slightly larger fish and don't mind spending a moderate price, then we definitely recommend the GX2.
- Very reliable brand
- Drop shot action
- Low profile aluminum oxide guides
- 24 ton graphite blank
- EVA split grip handle
- Medium power
- Extra fast action
- Getting more expensive
- One-piece design may be less convenient for some anglers.
The Shimano Sellus Dropshot spinning rod is an excellent spinning rod that, while more expensive, still offer decent value. This rod is designed more so for bass fishermen, and the 24 ton construction of the rod enhances sensitivity and a lightweight design. The EVA split grip handle is very comfortable and offers a great combination of sensitivity and strength when feeling for bites.
This dropshot spinning rod is a great way to get started with the technique, and you may find yourself surprised by how little an added weight will affect the action of your soft plastic lure, yet this rod will still be able to detect the slight nibbles and set the hook on some monster bass.
The fact that this spinning rod is so great for the dropshot technique is a little bit of a double-edged sword, as many recreational anglers simply prefer versatility so they can fish wherever, whenever. However, while this rod is quite technique-specific, it really can be used for any light line fishing, say under 10 lbs.
Overall, this is a great spinning rod especially if you're plan on rigging it up for the dropshot technique, and for its primary purpose, it's arguably the best value spinning rod you will be able to find. That being said, if you're planning on fishing much heavier line and want something more conventional or versatile, we suggest looking around a little bit to see if you find something else that is more appropriate for your style of fishing.
Spinning rods are some of the best all-around fishing rods. These types of fishing rods are commonly used for smaller fish like panfish, but are also more than capable of battling moderate sized fish such as bass and walleye. These rods are usually made out of graphite or fiberglass, with the ideal material depending largely on the type of fishing. For more info about when to use a graphite rod or a fiberglass rod, please check out the video below courtesy of Fox Sports Outdoors.
These rods are often combined with a spinning reel, which is mounted below the rod at the handle. With this arrangement, the angler can grip the handle at the point of the reel for optimal balance, leverage, and comfort. Handles are typically made of cork or EVA foam, each of which is ideal for casting.
Spinning rods will have multiple line guides running along the length of the rod. The line will come off the spool of the reel and subsequently run through the line guides which gradually descend in size, ultimately helping to manage the alignment and tension of the line. For the best performance and durability, ceramic guides are recommended, but inexperienced anglers are unlikely to notice a difference. Longer and more flexible spinning rods will have more guides than shorter or stiffer rods.