The 5 Best Spinning Rods in 2021 [Top 5 List]

Your skills as an angler can help you catch some pretty big fish, but without a good spinning rod, you won’t be able to make the most out of your expertise.

However, it’s not as simple as choosing a brand and getting its best offer. There are tons of models and configurations to pick from, which can make it harder for you to decide on a single rod.

To make things easier for you, we’ve created this guide to help you pick the best spinning rod for your fishing adventures, so stick around.

Comparison Table

ModelBuild MaterialsHandle MaterialWarranty
Ugly Stik EliteFiberglass and graphiteCork7 years
Ugly Stik GX2Fiberglass and graphiteEVA7 years
Fenwick HMGGraphiteCorkLifetime
St. Croix Legend Tournament BassCarbon fiberCork15 years
Abu Garcia Vendetta30T graphiteEVA3 years

The 5 Best Spinning Rods in 2021

Now, let’s explore 5 of the most promising spinning rods and uncover their strengths and weaknesses.

1. Ugly Stik Elite – Best Overall

Ugly Stik Elite

The Ugly Stik Elite integrates a graphite-fiberglass construction that provides the rod with all the strength it needs to catch large fish species.

Equipped with cork handles, the Elite is built to maximize comfort on long fishing trips. Add to that the responsive Clear Tip design, and you get yourself a well-rounded spinning rod for all your fishing needs!

This spinning rod is available in various configurations that include lengths from 5’ to 7’. This gives you the option to pick the right length for the fishing spot you usually fish in, whether you like to fish from a shore, a riverbank, or a kayak.

The Ugly Stik Elite is also offered in ultra-light, medium, or medium-heavy rod weights. Plus, you can get it in 1 piece for ease of storage or 2 pieces for longevity.

Pros:

  • Made from durable materials
  • Comfortable cork handles
  • Strong Clear Tip design
  • 7-year warranty
  • Lots of configurations

Cons:

  • The line guide isn’t very reliable

Bottom Line

The Ugly Stik Elite is a robust and affordable spinning rod that’ll serve you well for many years to come.

2. Ugly Stik GX2 – Runner Up

Ugly Stik GX2

Next on our list is the Ugly Stik GX2, a durable 5’10” spinning rod that has lots of tricks up its sleeve. For starters, it flaunts a professional-grade fiberglass and graphite construction that makes it ready for anything you throw at it. On top of that, it boasts EVA grips that maximize durability without compromising comfort.

And just like many other spinning rods from Ugly Stik, the GX2 uses the Clear Tip design that offers unmatched sensitivity and sturdiness. You also get the innovative one-piece stainless steel guides that allow you to attach any line type you want.

The icing on top is that the GX2 comes with a 7-year warranty for your peace of mind!

The Ugly Stik GX2 is offered in lengths from 5’10” all the way up to 9’, so you can pick the most suitable length for the fish species and fishing environment you deal with.

You also get to choose between light, ultra-light, medium, and medium-heavy rod weights. What’s more, the rod is available in 1 or 2-piece variants. The former is more portable, while the latter is more durable.

Pros:

  • Durable design
  • 7-year warranty
  • Excellent sensitivity
  • Comfortable grips

Cons:

  • The lock mechanism could’ve been better
  • The handle lacks when it comes to durability

Bottom Line

With unmatched sensitivity and great material choices, the Ugly Stik GX2 leaves little to be desired.

3. Fenwick HMG – Best for Advanced Anglers

Fenwick HMG

The Fenwick HMG flaunts carbon-bound blanks and carbon thread combo that provides it with a high level of durability and precise action.

Additionally, it has a sea-guide, soft-touch alien reel seat that integrates a positive lock design so that you can easily secure the reel in place. Thanks to the thin AAA cork handle, the Fenwick HMG is also quite comfortable to hold for prolonged periods.

The edge at the butt is slightly beveled to act as a pivot point in two-handed casts. Not to mention, the guides are framed with titanium for ultimate durability.

On top of all that, the HMG comes with a lifetime limited warranty, so you can rest assured that it’ll never fail you.

Fenwick offers their HMG rods in multiple configurations that cater to all needs, with lengths from 6’ to 7’ and 1 or 2-piece options. You also get a variety of rod weights for different casting capabilities, including ultra-light, medium, medium-light, and medium-heavy.

Pros:

  • Handle provides a good grip
  • Positive lock design for securing your reels
  • Lifetime limited warranty

Cons:

  • Can be challenging to use for beginners

Bottom Line

The Fenwick HMG has everything an angler could ask for. From the sturdy construction to the positive lock design and lifetime warranty, this rod is a bargain.

4. St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass – Most Durable

St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass

The St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass premium rod takes durability to the next level by integrating a carbon fiber design that barely adds anything to the rod’s diameter. Now you can challenge yourself and target bigger fish species without worrying about breaking your rod.

One notable feature of the Legend Tournament Bass rod is the integrated poly curve tooling technology that gets rid of the transitional points in the rod to provide smoother action, increased strength, and greater sensitivity.

What’s more, it has a Fuji K-Series tangle-free guide train that utilizes corrosion control matte-finish frames and aconite rings. It’s also equipped with premium reel seats that make securing your reel to the rod a breeze.

In addition, the rod uses split-grip cork handles for a tremendous grip and uncompromised comfort.

St. Croix backs this spinning rod with a 15-year transferable warranty, ensuring that your rod’s maintenance is covered for a long time.

The rod is available in 5’10”, 6’8”, and 6’10” lengths. You can also choose from numerous configurations that range from medium-light to medium-heavy with different actions.

Pros:

  • Carbon fiber design adds strength
  • 15-year transferable warranty
  • Tangle-free guide train
  • Comfortable handles

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No slow or medium action options

Bottom Line

The St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass rod is a fisherman’s dream, with a carbon fiber construction, premium cork handles, and a tangle-free guide train.

5. Abu Garcia Vendetta – Budget Choice

Abu Garcia Vendetta

Do you have a fishing partner? If so, then you need to consider getting the Abu Garcia Unisex Vendetta rod, which appeals to both men and women. This rod has what it takes to excel in action. With a 30T graphite build, the Vendetta spinning rod is durable, lightweight, and easy to handle.

Moreover, it’s equipped with Texas-rigged hook holders, so you can hook all the types of bait you want. It also allows you to use a wide range of line types, thanks to the stainless steel rod rings and zirconium inserts.

On top of that, you get durable EVA handles, which are sensitive and provide a comfortably strong grip.

Pros:

  • Durable design
  • Stainless steel rod rings
  • Strong zirconium inserts
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Only one configuration

Bottom Line

The Abu Garcia Unisex Vendetta 2-piece rod can take your fishing to the next level with a solid build and versatile hook holders.

How to Pick the Right Spinning Rod for Your Needs

Spinning rods come in various shapes, dimensions, and materials. You can find the perfect blend for you by keeping the following considerations in mind.

Length

Spinning rods have lengths that can be anywhere from 6’ to 12’. Choosing a specific length is all about your experience, the fishing environment, lure sizes, and the fish species.

If you’re a beginner, try sticking to short rods that are 6’ to 9’ in length because they’re much easier to manage and control. Alternatively, you can opt for longer rods if you want to be able to perform longer casts.

If you’re traveling or hiking, a telescoping rod would be ideal. For freshwater, a 7’ rod would be suitable for lakes and ponds, while a 5’ one would be enough for a small river. Fishing in a medium-sized river? Consider getting a 7’ to 8’ rod. If it’s a big one, pumping it up to 8’-10’ is recommended.

For saltwater, you need a 7’ to 8’ rod for offshore fishing and a 6.5’ to 8’ rod for saltwater. The same goes for deep seas. On the other hand, if you’re surf-fishing, you need a 9’ to 14’ rod to be able to cast far to where the fish is swimming.

Combining Your Spinning Reel With Your Rod

If you already have a spinning reel, you need to make sure that it matches your rod. If you have a 1000-3500 reel, go for an ultralight or light spinning rod. But if you own a 4000-5500 one, a medium-power rod is recommended.

A medium-heavy or heavy rod for 6000-9500 spinning reels would give you the best performance, while 10000+ spinning reels need ultra-heavy power rods.

Rod Materials

Many modern spinning rods integrate carbon fiber material compositions to improve strength without increasing thickness or weight. Some manufacturers opt for fiberglass as a more economical alternative. However, fiberglass only makes sense in slow-action rods because it has low rigidity. Nevertheless, it’s pretty solid and durable.

It’s also preferable that the rod has some graphite content for extra strength.

Handle Materials

Most spinning rods have cork or EVA handles. Cork handles are durable and provide a good grip. However, they’re somewhat heavy compared to other handle materials.

On the other hand, EVA handles are superior to cork handles when it comes to durability and weight. They’re also pretty easy to clean and maintain.

Power Rating

There are two ways to identify a rod’s power rating: casting weight and line weight.

Casting Weight

The casting weight is how much weight the rod can hold. It’s typically printed on the rod. For instance, if a rod’s casting weight is 20-50gm, this means that your lure must be within that range. If you use a lighter lure, the rod won’t compress sufficiently.

On the flip side, using a heavier lure will place a more significant compression load on the rod, resulting in compromised casting performance.

Line Weight

The line weight is the weight of the breaking strain of the line recommended for the rod. Similar to the casting weight, the line weight is printed on the rod. Using an optimum line weight is essential for improving casting performance.

If you use a light line, you may not be able to cast heavier lures. On the other side of the coin, using a heavy line can negatively affect the casting distance.

Action

A spinning rod can be slow, medium, or fast-action. A slow-action rod is designed to bend fully, making it easier to catch bigger fish with soft mouths. The bend absorbs the majority of the pulling force so that the fish has no chance to escape.

As for medium-action rods, they only bend at the top half portion, allowing for longer casts without sacrificing much of the absorption capabilities of slow-action rods.

A fast-action rod is much more rigid than slow and medium-action ones, meaning that it provides you with the maximum casting distance. It also compresses pretty quickly. Not to mention, fast-action rods are perfect for catching hard-mouthed predators. However, hook pulls are inevitable, especially if you don’t have much experience using fast-action rods.

Here are some of the things to consider when choosing a fishing rod.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Expensive Fishing Rods Worth It?

Well, premium fishing rods are quite sensitive, making them ideal for capturing even the smallest bites. So, if you’re serious about your fishing action, then an expensive rod can make a big difference for you.

Are Spinning or Casting Rods Better?

It depends on your needs. If you want a rod that can cast over a long distance and has lighter lures, go for a spinning rod. On the other hand, casting rods have more power and allow you to make more accurate casts.

Can I Use a Casting Reel With a Spinning Rod?

You can use a casting reel with a spinning rod, but it isn’t really recommended to do that, at least if you want to have a reliable fishing experience. Spinning rods have large guides because the line comes off in large loops.

In opposition, the line in casting reels comes off in smaller loops. In other words, attempting to use a casting reel with a spinning rod is a surefire way to mess up your spinning rod’s guides.

Are Spinning Rods More Sensitive?

Yes, spinning rods are generally much more sensitive than casting rods.

Do Bass Pros Use Spinning Rods?

Yes, the majority of professional bass anglers use spinning rods because they’re great for casting small lures.

Final Words

To sum it all up, choosing the best spinning rod isn’t a black and white situation. Many variables come into play, and if you haven’t made a decision yet, we can help you with a couple of hints.

The Ugly Stik Elite would be an excellent choice for anglers who need a durable and comfortable spinning rod, with the option to choose the configuration you need. It’s also pretty affordable.

On the other hand, if you want a premium spinning rod with all the bells and whistles you can find, you should definitely check out the St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass rod.

Finally, go for the Abu Garcia Unisex Vendetta 2-piece rod if you’re on a tight budget.

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