If you’re into bass fishing or thinking about getting into bass fishing, then you’re probably in need of a good quality baitcasting rod! To help point you in the right direction, I’ve put together a list of a few of the best baitcasting rods for bass currently on the market today.
Have you ever heard the saying “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link?” The same holds true when it comes to your bass fishing rod. If you have a great reel, but a less than optimal rod, you could be in for a bad day on the water. The fishing rod is the backbone of a rod and reel and should be of the best quality. In my opinion, it’s always better to spend more money on your rod rather than your reel!
Generally, most bass fishermen use baitcasting rods and reels, as they are able to handle heavy lines and big lures. In this article, we are going to go over some key features to look for in a baitcasting rod, and then we will review some of the best baitcasting rods currently on the market.
Quick Review: Best Baitcasting Rods for Bass
Buyer’s Guide: What to Look for in a Good Casting Rod
Line guides affect both casting distance and your rods’ ability to win battles with the bass, thus choosing a rod with quality guides is essential.
Line guides on baitcasting rods are generally smaller (have a smaller diameter) than those on spinning rods. From butt to tip, each line guide descends in size. The number of guides depends on the rod blank’s length and flexibility. If you want a rod that flexes more, pick one with more line guides.
Line guides are usually built with a metal frame. For the insert of line guides, plastic is on the lower end in terms of quality, aluminum oxides/stainless steel is mid-quality, and ceramic is considered top quality, as it is the most resistant to wear.
A benefit of going with aluminum oxide/stainless steel guides, however, is that they are less prone to popping out of their insert than ceramic guides. Thus, you will find stainless steel guides on a number of medium-end to high-end fishing rods.
Another line guide to consider are the RECOIL® guides which are made from a special nickel-titanium alloy with unique physical properties. These guides do not require plating, are non-corrosive, and return to their original shape after being used.
An advantage of the RECOIL® guides over guides with ceramic inserts is increased sensitivity. Since there is no material in the way to halt vibrations from reaching your hand, you will be able to tell much easier whether or not a fish has touched your bait.
Another great line guide to consider for your baitcasting rod is Fuji’s® Concept guide. This guide has an alconite ring material which creates a thinner, lighter weight guide that allows your line to travel a lot smoother during casting and retrieving.
The action of a fishing rod describes its performance while casting and reeling in fish. This is a key factor to consider when picking out a baitcasting rod. There are three kinds of action:
Fast action – Bending in the rod occurs mostly in the top one-third of the length of the rod. This allows for greater sensitivity and quicker hook sets, however, casting distance will decrease.
Moderate action – Bending in the rod occurs mostly in the middle of the rod. These are a strong choice for crankbaits and slightly longer casts. Also, use moderate action rods when you are using smaller lures.
Slow action – Bending occurs from the top of the rod all the way down to the handle. These kinds of rods are good for casting distance as you can get all the power out of the full blank. These are best for when you are using natural bait.
While none of these actions, in particular, are best suited to catching bass, be sure to use a rod with an action best suited for the kind of lure you are using at that time.
As you become a more advanced bass fisherman, you will develop a personal preference towards one sort of action over the others. For beginners, however, it is always safe to start off using fast action rods.
Baitcasting rods are generally longer than spinning rods. When using a longer rod, by putting more power in you get more power out. Thus, if you are using large lures, you will have to apply a bit more force when casting.
Length is usually one of the most underlooked variables when someone is purchasing a baitcasting rod. Surprisingly, even just a few inches can have a major impact on your fishing bass experience.
To simplify things, let’s break length up into three sections and go over the best applications of each: short, medium, and large.
Short – Short baitcasting rods are anywhere from 5’ to 5’6”. Even though it is considered short, 5’6” is one of the most popular lengths for baitcasters.
At this length, your rod is best suited for casting lures in tight, confined spaces such as small ponds, rivers, lakes, or creeks where space is limited by your surroundings.
When fishing in a cramped area, having a shorter rod will help make your experience a lot better, as you will still be able to cast comfortably and accurately.
Another good feature of shorter rods is that they have less give at the tip, which creates better torque for those first crucial seconds in fights with fish.
Medium – A medium sized rod is anywhere from 5’6” to 6’6”, with 6’1” being the most popular size rod in this range.
While baitcasters most often are found using shorter rods, medium length rods have grown in popularity in recent years, specifically for those looking to do more finesse style fishing for fish such as bass.
The extra 5” you gain by going with a medium rod provides you with a lot more flexibility, as it becomes much easier to cast long distances and throw underhand casts.
At this length, you can still fish in cramped conditions with decent control. Also, this length rod is better suited for using lighter weighted lures.
Overall, as long as you pick one that is good quality with high power, you really can’t go wrong by going with a medium length rod.
Long – Longs baitcasting rods are rods with a length of 6’6”+. If you are looking to make longer casts for fish such as largemouth bass, this is the right length to go for.
These longer rods are able to cast heavy lures and still produce a good amount of power due to advances in technology, design, strength, and action.
One might think that rods that are this long are going to be a lot heavier, however many times they are built with carbon to help decrease the overall weight.
If you are looking to catch bass and big barra, going with a longer rod will be best for casting past open weed beds and allowing for a less direct fight with the fish that can see hooks pulled.
Power refers to the strength of the rod blank. There is a direct correlation between power and the size of fish you can catch.
Fishing rod power is described in the following ways:
- Ultralight – used for light tackle and lures
- Light – used for tackle/lures slightly larger than the ultralight
- Medium – good all-around choice if you only have one rod
- Medium/Heavy – good for large freshwater species
- Heavy – good for large saltwater species
Most quality rods are going to be made of either graphite, fiberglass, or a combination of these two materials.
Graphite – While in the past, graphite was considered fragile and bruised easily, in recent years it has been refined so that this is no longer an issue.
Pros of graphite rods include flexibility, resistance to pressure when flexed, fighting the power, and sensitivity for feeling if a fish has touched your bait.
A graphite rods’ modulus of elasticity rating is a measurement that indicates the rod’s tensile strength. On graphite rods, this rating ranges from range from 33-million to 64-million modulus.
The higher the modulus rating, the lower the elasticity, which means the rod will not elongate, stretch, bend, or spring back as easily.
Fiberglass – Fiberglass rods are heavier and more durable than graphite rods, but less sensitive. Boat rods are usually made of fiberglass since they are used for catching large fish and heavier applications which do not require casting or sensitivity. Fiberglass is also a good option for a beginner just learning to use a baitcaster.
Rods that are made of a composite of these two materials are lightweight, powerful and sensitive, but not as lightweight and sensitive as a pure graphite rod, and not as powerful as a pure fiberglass rod.
The handle/grip of your rod plays a crucial role in how much comfort you feel while fishing.
The shortest kind of grip is called a pistol grip. This kind of grip is usually contoured to fit the shape of the angler’s hand. Pistol grips can be made of either composites or cork mounted on a metal frame with a trigger to help with control.
A rear grip is optimal for two-handed casting and having more leverage in a fight.
A split grip rod is the best overall for casting since you can use the full length of the rod to generate your swing. This would be the kind of grip to look for in the best baitcasting rods for bass.
Regarding the material of the handle itself, cork and EVA foam are the two most common materials used. Cork is slightly softer, while EVA foam is more resistant to stains, changes in temperature and is the most durable long-term.
The reel seat is the place where the reel attaches to the rod, and thus having a quality reel seat is essential. During fights with the fish, the stress of the fight applies torque directly to this area.
A good reel seat should fit snugly when tightened and accept all of the major brands of reels.
In some rods with newer, innovative designs, their reel seats come with a portion of the blank exposed. By placing your finger on this exposed blank, you will be able to detect the slightest nibble of your bait.
Product Reviews: Three of the Best Baitcasting Reels for Bass Fishing
St Croix Bass X Casting Rods
The St Croix Bass X Casting Rod is the perfect baitcasting rod for someone who is looking for a high-quality rod to use for catching bass at a decent price.
In terms of features and the quality of the build, this rod has everything a fisherman looking to catch some bass can ask for. In designing the Bass X, St Croix focused on workmanship, hand craftsmanship, and technology at the highest level.
The Bass X is a 14-model series rod (10 casting, 4 spinning) by St Croix that provides rods built specifically for the large variety of bass-bait strategies including topwater, shaky head, jerk baits, lipless rattle baits, and crankbaits.
This rod is fully decked out with awesome features. The material is SCII graphite, which is a premium quality graphite that is lightweight, and the line guides are made of hard aluminum oxide with stylish black frames.
Working with one of the strongest brands in the fishing rod industry, the St Croix Bass X casting model comes with an ECS reel seat by Fuji®.
The handle itself is comfortable and perfect for baitcasting, with a split-grip with premium grade cork.
The finish on the rod itself is built to remain well-polished with two coats of flex-coat.
With a great warranty from St. Croix, your Bass X is guaranteed to have all of these features in brand new working condition for 5 years.
The Bass X is designed with the user in mind, placing an immense focus on the power and action of the rod. Depending on the length of the rod you select, the power is either medium or high, and the action is fast to extra fast. These are the exact specs that you want on a rod with the goal of catching bass.
While the sensitivity on this rod might not be as good as some of your more expensive models, many consider it to be good enough for catching bass. The casting is smooth and the rod itself is built to last a long time.
This rod is considered lightweight, however, it has no issue catching bass that is on the heavier side. This rod being lightweight is great for beginners, as it is more comfortable to hold and cast, especially after longer periods of time have passed.
Overall, this rod has all of the best features to look for in a baitcasting rod for bass and will provide you with an enjoyable bass fishing experience for years to come. Thus, I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a new baitcasting rod.
UglyStik GX2 Casting Rod
- Equipment for anglers of all ages and experience
- Made to be reliable and durable
- Tested to be easy to use and high quality
For those on a budget, the UglyStik GX2 Casting Rod is definitely a baitcasting rod to consider when looking to fish for bass. While this rod is nothing extremely fancy, it is still a step up from cheap combos offered by other brands.
This rod is built using Ugly Tech construction. The frame material is a combination of fiberglass and graphite which creates a rod that is both strong and sensitive with a light-weight feel and good balance.
The line-guides are each one-piece stainless steel which works to stop the inserts from popping out and can be used with all types of line. Also, this rod has a lightweight and extremely durable EVA grips.
Aesthetically pleasing, this rod has enhanced cosmetics which give it a more modern look.
The biggest benefit of this rod is the strength and thus longevity of it. While it might not have the fastest action, strongest power, best sensitivity, or smoothest cast, rest assured, this rod will last a very long time.
Regarding these rods’ strength, even if you try bending the rod with force, it does not bend that much. This allows the rod to last over the years without incurring any damage that would prevent you from being able to use it anymore.
This rod has one ball bearing, a 6.2:1 gear ratio, and is pre-spooled with a 12 lb monofilament. These features are all just right for someone looking to do bass fishing.
The entire handle is foam, which gives the user a strong grip and a lot of area to grip. Another cool feature is the mini eye available to hook your bait onto when transferring from one piece of bait to the next.
Even life-long bass fishers who have opted for a higher-end rod such as the St Croix Bass X Fishing Rod or Abu Garcia IKE Signature Power Casting Fishing Rod tend to hold onto an UglyStik fishing rod, considering it to be one of their most reliable, albeit least expensive, rods.
Overall, this rod is a great option that you can rely on and use for bass-fishing for a long time. I definitely would recommend it for beginners who are still learning the fundamentals of bass fishing.
Abu Garcia IKE Signature Power Casting Fishing Rod
- Lightweight 36-ton graphite for increased sensitivity
- Fuji reel seat for greater comfort
- Durable stainless-steel guides with Zirconium inserts
- Actions designed by Mike Facinelli
- EVA-grip handles
The Abu Garcia IKE Signature Power Casting Fishing Rod is the perfect baitcasting rod for those who are looking for a rod on the higher-end side of things.
Prior to the release of this fishing rod, over 5 years of intensive research and development was done by Abu Garcia along with Elite Series Pro Mike Iaconelli. Abu Garcia worked with Mike to design and dial in specific actions that he recommends.
With a length of 7’+, this rod comes with medium – medium-heavy action, which is just about what you want when bass fishing. The material is 36-ton graphite which is lightweight and provides increased sensitivity.
Some other features include a reel seat by Fuji®, stainless-steel guides with extremely durable zirconium inserts, and EVA-grip handles. This rod is fully decked out with every feature imaginable for a high-end baitcasting rod for catching bass.
The 7’ model comes with medium-heavy action, throws a ¼ oz. to ¾ oz. lure, and is compatible with a 10lb to 17lb line.
The tip on this rod is extremely sensitive, so when it is in the water with the lure, it is very easy to feel anything that is moving around or touching the lure.
The handle is a comfortable, soft foam which means you can fish for many hours without feeling any discomfort.
Many people who purchase this rod also love the style of it. With a sleek design, there are several sharp colors that really pop. In fact, some people even note that the colors change depending on how the sunlight hits the rod.
If you are a beginner to fishing for bass, the 70/30 split on this rod can make things a lot easier for you.
This means that 70% of the rod is backbone, while 30% is tip. This means that when throwing a spinnerbait, vibrating jig, or a swim jig around heavy cover, you have enough backbone to pull the fish out, but enough give to give the fish time to swallow the bait as you get ready to set the hook.
With a selection of 21 different models, the Ike’s Signature Series has the absolute best rod available for any bass fishing situation.
Overall, this is the best baitcasting rod for bass and I would highly recommend it for anyone interested in increasing the amount of bass they catch during bass fishing.
Now that you know the fundamentals of what to look for in a great baitcasting rod and have had the chance to look at our reviews of three amazing options, you can take the information provided and pick out the perfect rod for you.