Shopping for the perfect bass fishing pole can seem similar to shopping for a vehicle. The massive amount of options available can be a bit overwhelming. The variety in price range combined with the different functions causes most people to shake their heads and just buy a popular model that has many solid reviews.
While this isn’t a bad strategy, choosing a fishing rod should be a bit more personal. Depending on how serious you are as an angler, you want it to feel right. This takes some trial and error to determine what is best, but a quality rod that fulfills all of your needs is hard to beat.
This article serves as a guide to help you choose a bass rod that best fits you. In addition, we have also recommended 6 models that we feel represent real bargains for the affordability and quality they deliver.
Casting vs. Spinning Rods
There are a few things anglers must know before choosing a rod. First, it’s important to understand the difference between casting and spinning rods. Casting and spinning rods play two different roles. It’s best to know what type of bait you’re going to be throwing before you make your choice.
Casting rods, also known as baitcasters, are heavier and meant to throw larger lures and handle some more dense cover. They’ll be heavier in the power category and use a thicker line.
Spinning rods have less power, but similar action. They’re used to throw lighter lures and utilize lighter line.
Rod Action vs. Power (What Are They and How They Affect Your Fishing)
The action is how much the rod flexes when pressure is applied. For bass angling, the two actions you need are either fast or extra fast. Fast rods are going to bend at the top 25 percent of the rod. Extra fast action rods are going to bend near the top of the rod and provide a more efficient fight with a bass.
Slow action rods are going to almost bend double and work well for deep-sea fishing. These rods are helpful when you may need to pull a big fish from under the boat. When you’re fighting bass, you’re likely fighting them from a longer distance and need the action to help keep their head elevated and keep the fight linear.
The final aspect of action that is necessary to understand is sensitivity. A sensitive rod tip is going to be a natural feature on a fast or extra fast action rod. You’ll want to be able to detect even the smallest bite since bass can tend to be picky with what they eat. They may spit out the bait before you know it with a slow action rod – it wouldn’t allow you to detect the bite fast enough to set the hook.
The power determines how much pressure it takes to bend the rod. These options range from ultra-light to Extra-Heavy. Ultra-light rods are great options for panfish and trout fishing. They’re extremely sensitive and lead to some amazing fights. However, for bass, they are not the proper choice.
Medium-Heavy to Heavy are solid options for bass. Along with the power rating, we must consider the details regarding line weight. Rods like ultralights are going to use a smaller line that is great for clear, open water. Hence the fact that they’re good options for trout.
The heavier the rod, the thicker the line. Bass are often going to be caught in cover and you’ll need enough power to get them through the obstacles.
The power of your rod determines what line you need to use. Most rods have the recommended line weights and sizes listed somewhere near the handle. However, a general rule of thumb is that spin casting rods will handle line between 4 and 16-pound test. Somewhere between 6 and 8-pound test will be able to handle the majority of fish you catch.
Baitcasters are going to use a heavier line. It’s smart to tie on a 16-20 pound test line. This will help with control of the larger baits and also help to reduce worries about losing fish or an expensive lure.
Just a Minute Before Buying: Choosing Length and Composition
There are a few other things you need to understand about fishing rods before you purchase one. First, is the length. The longer the rod, the further it will cast and vice versa. If you’re fishing tighter water, a short rod is a smart choice. Longer rods are great if you’re out to cover water. A solid length that is the most versatile is right around 7 feet. It is versatile enough for almost all situations.
Next, it’s important to know the different rod materials. There are three main types of bass rod construction: graphite (carbon fiber), fiberglass and composite.
Graphite rods are going to be more rigid and have more power. They’re also a bit more sensitive. They can’t be jerked around or take too much abuse, so beginner anglers should not likely start out using this type of rod – fiberglass or composites rods are better beginner options.
Fiberglass is going to be a bit heavier, but also more durable. They’re also useful for catching larger fish like pike and musky. They are also less expensive than graphite
Composite rods, a combination of graphite and fiberglass, are a great compromise, one that offers some of the best qualities of each type at an affordable cost.
Working Within Your Budget
Now, what rod do you choose? Here is where things can get personal. First, you must understand your budget. You can easily spend a few hundred dollars on a nice bass rod. However, that’s not necessary. There are plenty of quality bass rods on the market under $100. Don’t forget that you’ll also need to purchase a reel with most setups. The rod, however, is extremely important so shop for that first.
6 Best Bass Rods for the Money
St. Croix Bass X BXC71MHF Baitcasting Rod
St. Croix is a staple within the fishing industry. The options range from 7’1” to 7’11”. The BXC71MHF is a 7’1″ fast-action, medium-heavy baitcasting rod.
The rod works well in both close quarters as well as bigger water. The St. Croix can handle frogging and pitching for bass as well as throwing some larger lures for pike. You can find it in fast or extra fast action as well. Go ahead throw on anywhere between 12-20 pound Monofilament or braid. It’s a wonderful rod that won’t break the bank and can be used for a variety of purposes.
Sometimes versatility and ease of mind are worth the money. The St. Croix can provide both of those for you.
St. Croix Premier Crankbait Rod
This St. Croix baitcasting rod is going to be one of the heavier duty rods on the list, but it works extremely well for those heavier baits. It can be found in 6’6” and has enough power to handle some pretty substantial fish.
It has medium power and moderate action. This will give you enough strength to rip through the brush and other structures with your crankbaits. It handles reaction bites extremely well. Plus, St. Croix is an extremely reputable brand and you won’t be spending all that much for it.
Enigma Atomic29 Pro Tournament Series Rod
These baitcasting bass rods are great to work with. There are a variety of sizes to choose from, but they’re all going to be heavy power. You can find them between 7 and 8 feet.
The rods can handle any type of structure you put in their way. Plus, their sensitivity is quite impressive considering they are made out of composite blank (E-glass and graphite).
Remember, with graphite you get added sensitivity and fiberglass provides strength. But don’t be too careless with them, otherwise, you may run into some trouble. You can throw any sort of reaction bait with this rod and land some pretty impressive fish.
KastKing Speed Demon Pro Tournament Series Rod
KastKing Speed Demon Pro offers a wide variety of bass rods to choose from, in both casting and spinning models. You won’t go wrong with any of them, plus they’re affordable to most anglers. These rods are generally fast action so the sensitivity on them is wonderful. Bass like to spit baits they don’t like so the ability to see the bites early on is a must.
This KastKing is surprisingly light but powerful. For any type of fishing, you’ll be able to find the necessary rod. However, if you want some versatility, go with the 7’0” medium with fast action.
Shakespeare UglyStik GX2 Spinning Rod
Some may scoff at this rod being on the list, but it is a solid rod for the price. These rods are spin casting rods so pay attention. They’re not meant for throwing the heavier baits that you would usually toss with a baitcaster (click to see baitcasting model). However, they can handle some of the bigger fish that you can catch.
Don’t knock this rod until you try it. No, it’s not going to have the fastest action or the most power, but it does work extremely well for such a low price. Plus, UglyStik rods rarely break. They’re a mix between graphite and fluorocarbon and are great for all types of fishing. Keep it in the back of your truck for any spontaneous fishing adventures that may appear.
Entsport E Series – Camo Legend Casting Rod
This is another great affordable option for a casting rod. The Entsport E Series is a unique setup due to the fact that the rod has interchangeable tips. It comes with both a medium and medium-heavy tip to help you succeed in all different situations. It has a nice amount of sensitivity and durability that will give you give you the necessary versatility for catching a wide variety of fish.
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