7 Best Fishing Rods 2024: Top Picks (Tested & Rated)

by | Last updated Jun 13, 2024

Best Overall St. Croix Legend Xtreme
St. Croix Legend Xtreme

Unmatched sensitivity with SCVI graphite & IPC technology, lightweight yet powerful, 15-year warranty.

Best Value Shimano Zodias
Shimano Zodias

Affordable workhorse with Hi-Power X construction, Custom Carbon Monocoque Grip, and Fuji Alconite guides.

Most Featured Ugly Stik GX2
6. Ugly Stik GX2

Virtually indestructible with Ugly Tech construction, Ugly Tuff guides, and a 7-year warranty.

best fishing rods

Ever feel like your fishing rod is sabotaging your chances of landing the big one?

You’re not alone. With so many rods on the market, it’s tough to know which one will actually help you reel in that trophy fish.

Don’t throw in the towel just yet! We’ve been out on the water, putting the latest fishing rods to the test, and we’ve found the absolute best of 2024. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting, we’ve got the perfect rod for you.

So ditch those frustrating fishless days and get ready to upgrade your gear.

What are the Best Fishing Rods in 2024?

Tired of broken lines and missed bites? The right fishing rod can make all the difference. Our hands-on testing has revealed the top performers that offer the perfect balance of performance, durability, and value. Let’s dive into our top picks for the best fishing rods of 2024.

1. St. Croix Legend Xtreme

If you’re serious about fishing and want the absolute best, look no further. This rod feels like an extension of your arm, transmitting every nibble and bump with incredible sensitivity.

St. Croix Legend Xtreme

Our Take

0out of 10

It's the most sensitive and well-balanced rod I've ever used. The only reason it doesn't get a perfect 10 is the hefty price tag, but if you're serious about your fishing, it's worth every penny.

Key Benefits

  • Unmatched Sensitivity: The Legend Xtreme's SCVI graphite blank with Integrated Poly Curve (IPC) tooling technology delivers an incredibly responsive feel, allowing you to detect even the subtlest strikes.
  • Lightweight Powerhouse: Don't let its lightweight design fool you. This rod packs a serious punch thanks to Advanced Reinforcing Technology (ART), which enhances strength and durability.
  • Versatility: Available in a wide range of lengths, powers, and actions, the Legend Xtreme is perfect for various fishing techniques and species.
  • Premium Components: Fuji K-R Concept guides and a Fuji SK2 reel seat ensure smooth line flow and a secure reel attachment.
  • 15-Year Transferable Warranty: St. Croix stands behind its product with a generous warranty, giving you peace of mind with your investment.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $655.00
St. Croix Legend Xtreme

Pros

  • Unparalleled sensitivity, lightweight yet powerful, versatile for various fishing techniques, premium components, excellent warranty.

Cons

  • High price point, maybe overkill for casual anglers.

2. G. Loomis NRX+ LP

This rod is pure fishing magic. The G. Loomis NRX+ LP is a masterpiece of engineering, combining lightness with power in a way that'll make you wonder how you ever fished without it. It's incredibly versatile, making it a great choice for anglers who enjoy different styles of fishing.

G. Loomis NRX+ LP

Our Take

0out of 10

It's a truly exceptional rod that excels in almost every category. The only reason it doesn't get a perfect 10 is that there are slightly more sensitive rods available, but if you prioritize lightness and power, this is the rod for you.

Key Benefits

  • Unbelievable Lightness: The NRX+ LP is ridiculously light, thanks to G. Loomis' proprietary Multi-Taper Design technology and the use of high-modulus graphite. You can cast for hours without feeling fatigued.
  • Impressive Power: Don't be fooled by its weight. This rod has a surprising amount of backbone, allowing you to handle larger fish effortlessly.
  • Dynamic Recovery Technology (DRT): This exclusive feature significantly reduces blank vibration, resulting in improved casting accuracy and increased sensitivity.
  • Fuji Titanium SiC Stripping Guides: These top-notch guides minimize friction, ensuring smooth line flow and longer casts.
  • Handcrafted Cork Grip: The comfortable cork handle provides a secure grip, even in wet conditions.
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty: G. Loomis offers a comprehensive warranty, demonstrating their confidence in the NRX+ LP's quality.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $915
G. Loomis NRX+ LP

Pros

  • Incredibly lightweight, surprisingly powerful, versatile for various fishing techniques, innovative DRT technology, premium components, excellent warranty.

Cons

  • Very expensive, not the most sensitive rod on the market.

3. Shimano Zodias

The workhorse of the fishing world. The Shimano Zodias is a reliable and versatile rod that won't break the bank. It's a popular choice among anglers who want a high-quality rod without spending a fortune. It's tough as nails, perfect for battling those aggressive fish that put up a good fight.

Shimano Zodias

Our Take

0out of 10

It's an excellent all-around rod that offers great value for the price. It's not the most sensitive or lightweight rod on the market, but it's a reliable workhorse that will get the job done.

Key Benefits

  • Hi-Power X Technology: This unique construction technique reinforces the rod blank with carbon tape, increasing overall strength and preventing twisting under pressure.
  • Custom Carbon Monocoque Grip: This innovative grip design eliminates the need for a traditional reel seat, reducing weight and increasing sensitivity.
  • Fuji Alconite Guides: These durable guides provide smooth line flow and minimize friction, enhancing casting distance and accuracy.
  • CI4+ Reel Seat: This lightweight and ergonomic reel seat ensures a comfortable and secure grip.
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty: Shimano backs their product with a generous warranty, giving you peace of mind with your purchase.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $209.99
Shimano Zodias

Pros

  • Affordable, durable, versatile for various fishing techniques, innovative grip design, lightweight, excellent warranty.

Cons

  • Not as sensitive as some high-end rods, may not be the best choice for ultralight fishing.

4. Douglas LRS

It's a classic with a modern twist. The Douglas LRS is a rod that's been around for years, and it's a good reason. It's a tried-and-true performer that's been updated with modern materials and technology. It's smooth as butter, perfect for casting long distances with ease.

Douglas LRS

Our Take

0out of 10

It's a classic rod that's been updated for the It's smooth, sensitive, and built to last. The only reason it doesn't get a perfect 10 is that it's not the lightest rod on the market, but it's a great choice for anglers who prioritize casting performance.

Key Benefits

  • High-Modulus Graphite Blank: The LRS features a high-quality graphite blank that provides a perfect balance of sensitivity, strength, and responsiveness.
  • Fuji FazLite Guides: These lightweight and durable guides minimize friction, ensuring smooth line flow and longer casts.
  • Reel Seat with Carbon Fiber Inserts: This ergonomic reel seat provides a comfortable and secure grip, while the carbon fiber inserts add a touch of style.
  • Handcrafted in the USA: Each LRS rod is meticulously crafted by skilled artisans in the USA, ensuring the highest level of quality and craftsmanship.
  • Lifetime Warranty: Douglas stands behind their product with a lifetime warranty, giving you peace of mind with your purchase.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $269.00
Douglas LRS

Pros

  • Smooth casting, excellent sensitivity, well-balanced, durable, handcrafted in the USA, lifetime warranty.

Cons

  • Not as lightweight as some other rods, may not be the best choice for power fishing.

5. 13 Fishing Omen Black 3

The high-performance rod that won't break the bank. The 13 Fishing Omen Black 3 is a fantastic all-rounder that delivers impressive performance without the hefty price tag of some other high-end rods. It's stylish, responsive, and perfect for anglers who want to up their game without emptying their wallets.

13 Fishing Omen Black 3

Our Take

0out of 10

It's a fantastic rod that punches well above its weight class in terms of performance and value. It may not have all the bells and whistles of some high-end rods, but it's a reliable and enjoyable tool that won't disappoint.

Key Benefits

  • Japanese 36 Ton Toray Blanks: This high-quality graphite blank is lightweight, sensitive, and surprisingly powerful, allowing you to tackle a variety of species and techniques.
  • Poly Vector Graphite Technology (PVG): PVG enhances the blank's strength and responsiveness, ensuring crisp casting and solid hooksets.
  • Evolve Custom Ported Reel Seat: This ergonomic reel seat provides a comfortable and secure grip, enhancing your control and feel.
  • ALPS 316 Stainless Steel Guides with Zirconia Inserts: These durable guides minimize friction, ensuring smooth line flow and maximizing casting distance.
  • 4A Portuguese Cork Handle: The high-quality cork handle provides a comfortable and classic feel.
  • 1-Year Limited Warranty: 13 Fishing offers a limited warranty on the Omen Black 3, covering defects in materials and workmanship.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $110.30
13 Fishing Omen Black 3

Pros

  • Affordable, lightweight, sensitive, powerful, stylish design, wide range of models available, excellent value for the price.

Cons

  • Warranty isn't as comprehensive as some other brands, cork handle may not be everyone's preference.

6. Ugly Stik GX2

The indestructible tank of fishing rods. If you're looking for a rod that can handle anything you throw at it (or anything that throws itself at it), the Ugly Stik GX2 is your best bet. It's been the go-to choice for anglers who prioritize durability for decades, and the latest generation is no exception.

6. Ugly Stik GX2

Our Take

0out of 10

It's not the fanciest or most high-tech rod, but it's a reliable workhorse that can handle anything you throw at it. If you're a beginner or an angler who prioritizes durability, this is a great option.

Key Benefits

  • Ugly Tech™ Construction: A blend of graphite and fiberglass creates a rod that's both strong and sensitive. You can feel the bite, but you won't have to worry about your rod snapping under pressure.
  • Ugly Tuff™ Guides: These one-piece stainless steel guides are virtually indestructible, eliminating the risk of insert pop-outs that plague other rods.
  • Ugly Stik® Clear Tip® Design: This signature feature combines a solid fiberglass tip with a graphite core, providing exceptional strength and sensitivity.
  • Durable EVA Grips: The comfortable EVA grips provide a secure hold, even in wet conditions.
  • 7-Year Warranty: Ugly Stik backs their GX2 rods with a generous warranty, demonstrating their confidence in the rod's durability.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $104.99
6. Ugly Stik GX2

Pros

  • They are incredibly durable, affordable, sensitive enough for most fishing techniques, and available in a wide range of models with a great warranty.

Cons

  • It is not the lightest or most sensitive rod on the market, and it does not have the most stylish design.

7. KastKing Perigee II

The budget-friendly overachiever. The KastKing Perigee II proves that you don't have to break the bank to get a quality fishing rod. It's a surprisingly well-rounded rod that offers excellent performance for the price. It's like finding a hidden gem in a thrift store, a steal of a deal that'll have you grinning from ear to ear.

KastKing Perigee II

Our Take

0out of 10

It's an excellent rod for anglers on a budget who want to maintain performance. It could be a more durable or feature-packed rod on the market, but it offers exceptional value for the price.

Key Benefits

  • Toray 24-Ton Carbon Matrix Blank: This high-quality carbon fiber blank provides a lightweight and responsive feel, allowing you to detect even the subtlest strikes.
  • Fuji O-Ring Line Guides: These durable guides minimize friction, ensuring smooth line flow and longer casts.
  • Ergonomic EVA Handle: The comfortable EVA handle provides a secure grip, even in wet conditions.
  • 2-Piece Construction: The Perigee II's two-piece design makes it easy to transport and store.
  • 1-Year Limited Warranty: KastKing offers a limited warranty on the Perigee II, covering defects in materials and artistry.

Pricing

  • Price: Starting at $65.99
KastKing Perigee II

Pros

  • Very affordable, surprisingly sensitive, lightweight, versatile for various fishing techniques, excellent value for the price.

Cons

  • It is not as durable as some other rods, and the warranty isn't as comprehensive as some other brands.

How Can Fishing Rod Benefit You?

Choosing the right fishing rod isn't just about aesthetics; it's about enhancing your entire angling experience.

A well-suited spinning rod or casting rod can significantly improve your casting distance and accuracy, allowing you to reach those elusive fish lurking in the depths.

The right rod tip action will help you detect even the subtlest nibbles, giving you a better chance of hooking your target. Moreover, a balanced and ergonomic rod can reduce fatigue, allowing you to fish for longer periods without discomfort.

Investing in a quality spinning rod or other rod type tailored to your specific fishing style can be a game-changer. It's not just about catching more fish; it's about enjoying the process more fully.

fishing with fishing rod

Buyer's Guide: How We Conducted Our Research

When doing our research to find the best fishing rods, we determined our picks using these factors:

  1. Pricing: We considered a wide range of price points to accommodate different budgets, from affordable options to high-end specialty rods.
  2. Features: We meticulously examined each rod's features, including rod action, power, material, length, guides, and handle material, to assess their suitability for various fishing styles and freshwater fishing conditions.
  3. Negatives: We were bold in identifying each rod's shortcomings or drawbacks, ensuring a balanced and honest assessment.
  4. Support or Refund: We looked into the warranty and customer support offered by each brand to gauge the level of after-sales service you can expect.

Wrapping Up

Choosing the right fishing rod is essential for a successful and enjoyable fishing experience.

Whether you're a seasoned bass fisherman chasing trophy fish or a beginner eager to land your first catch, the perfect rod can make all the difference.

Please take a look at the type of fish you're targeting, your preferred casting style, and your budget when making your choice.

Remember, a longer rod can give you an edge in casting distance, while a medium-light power rod might be ideal for smaller species. And remember to weigh the pros and cons of two-piece rods versus one-piece rod designs.

With so many excellent options available, you're sure to find the perfect rod to help you reel in those big fish and create lasting memories on the water.

fishing rod

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best fishing rod for beginners?

For beginners, the Ugly Stik GX2 is a fantastic choice. It's durable, affordable, and forgiving, making it perfect for learning the ropes of fishing without worrying about breaking your gear.

What are the best spinning rods for saltwater fishing?

While the St. Croix Legend Xtreme and G. Loomis NRX+ LP excel in both freshwater and saltwater, the Shimano Zodias is a more budget-friendly option that still performs admirably in saltwater environments.

What is the most versatile fishing rod on the market?

The St. Croix Legend Xtreme takes the crown for versatility. It's available in various lengths, powers, and actions, making it suitable for a wide range of fishing techniques and species.

What is the difference between a one-piece and a two-piece fishing rod?

One-piece rods offer better sensitivity and power transfer but are less convenient to transport. Two-piece rods sacrifice a bit of performance for increased portability.

How do I choose the right fishing rod for me?

Consider the type of fish you'll be targeting, your preferred fishing style (e.g., casting, spinning), and your budget. Research different brands and models read reviews, and try out a few rods before making your final decision.