Best Baitcasting Rods 2018 Reviews & Buyer Guide
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, Flannel fishermen and his team 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.
Best Baitcasting Rods Reviews:-
- Great value
- Hybrid design
- SS304 guides
- Medium power - Fast action
- Lower durability than some higher end baitcasters
- Flexible, but weak tip. This is likely where it will break first.
The Berkley Cherrywood HD baitcasting rod comes in at a decent price point, one that isn't the absolute cheapest, but slightly above that. The hybrid design allows for maximum sensitivity while still providing a through-handle construction. The SS304 guides are supposedly 20x tougher and 55% lighter than the traditional aluminum oxide guides, and we personally like th ecork handle over EVA foam as well.
These high quality features combined with the specs (fast action, medium power, 7 feet length) make it a great choice for baitcasters who want a good all-around fishing rod without spending much money at all. It's ideal for line in the range of 6-14lbs, which makes it ideal in many different situations. You can also get this baitcasting rod in lengths of 5.6 feet, 6 feet, and 6.6 feet, in case you prefer a more specific setup based on your own personal preferences.
Overall, we highly recommend the Berkley Cherrywood baitcasting rod for anyone looking to make the switch from a spinning rod, or at least want to start learning the baitcasting technique, particularly if you go with the 7-feet length. If you use it heavily, don't be surprised if it breaks after a while, especially at the tip. While this is definitely a disadvantage, the cost is low enough that it still offers solid bang-for-your-buck.
- Texas rigged hook keeper for all bait applications.
- 30 ton graphite for lightweight balanced design.
- High density EVA for increased sensitivity and durability.
- Stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts.
- Advanced Intra-Carbon Technology.
- One piece rod is preferred by some, but less convenient for storage and transportation.
- Starting to creep into the expensive category.
- Tip is fairly fragile.
The Abu Garcia Vendetta baitcasting rod is an excellent mid-range casting rod that employs lots of high quality features without being overly expensive. For example, the 30-ton graphite blank leads to a nice lightweight design that is well balanced, something you will definitely notice if you have been using a low-end rod for a long time. Additionally, the Advanced Intra-Carbon Technology layers thin layers of carbon fiber in different directions, which again promotes a lightweight, but very strong design.
The high density EVA foam handle is meant to provide increased sensitivity and durability, but this is based much more in personal preference. If you're an angler that strongly prefers a cork handle, then this may actually be a bit of a downfall for you. The guides on this rod are pretty good as well, and in our opinion, guides are often one of the more underrated features of a fishing rod. In this case, they are made from stainless steel with zirconium inserts, allowing them to be lightweight, yet incredibly strong and smooth.
There are two main disadvantages to this rod. The first comes down to personal preference, whereby the one-piece design is less convenient for storage and transportation, but it's simple and ensures no blatant areas of weakness. That being said, the tip of the rod is fairly fragile. It's highly sensitive when you're using it, which is good, but it can break in that area a little sooner than expected compared with other rods of similar quality.
Overall, this is a great mid-range casting rod that offers solid performance and overall good value. For such a highly performing rod, the construction is quite lightweight, but there is slightly compromised durability in the tip. If this is within your budget, you will be hard-pressed to find something of better value, but this will also depend slightly on your personal preferences.
- 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
- Lacks versatility
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 Good 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 use, baitcasting rods are typically more sensitive to bites, so you can have a better overall feel for the line. In many 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.