8 Must-Have Fishing Rods for Sportsmen in 2019

As it turns out, the cheap multipurpose rod you’ve been using for any and every fishing trip is not necessarily one of the best fishing rods around. There are a wide variety of rods on the market with different purposes, pluses and minuses. The best fishers have different rods for each weight of fish and each type of lure they’ll be throwing into the water.

Fishing Rods

If you’re getting serious about fishing, it’s time to drop some cash on a few specialized rods. From Ugly Stiks to Okumas, fishing brands have a ton of options for you to dive into. Do you need a bass rod? Do you need a spinning rod? Do you need a surf rod?

It’s tempting to walk into a gear store, pick up the first popular fishing rod you see and walk out with it. Don’t do this. First of all, you need to pay for it – rude. Second of all, even a tiny bit of research will provide you with more reassurance that your rod is perfectly suited to your needs. This article can serve as that tiny bit of research. You can also download our guide to learn more about how to become a master angler.

1.    Best Bass Fishing Rod

One of the best baitcasting rods on the market right now is the Entsport Camo Legend. It’s got a split grip to take off that final bit of weight. It’s made of carbon fiber, which means it’s ultralight. The rod itself is medium-heavy and it comes with two tips to swap out the precise weight. Because of its strength and flexibility, the Entsport may easily be one of the best bass fishing rods you can pick up. This seven-foot tackle includes:

  • A portable, two-piece design so you can actually bring it out to the lake.
  • Two power tips, including one medium and one medium-heavy tip.
  • A sturdy 24-ton carbon fiber material that won’t snap in your hands.
  • An ergonomically designed reel seats that’s easy to handle.

Pick up the Entsport Camo Legend for only $39.99 on Amazon.

2.    Best Rods for Surf Fishing

Surf fishing  is fun because I like throwing string at water that is aggressively rushing towards me and expecting to catch something. I’m kidding, but barely. Surf fishing was hard the first time I tried it. But if you’re looking for the best rod for surf fishing, you’re no novice. You probably know that you need something rust and saltwater resistant, long enough to give you a nice deep cast and sensitive enough to give you a visible sign when you’ve gotten a bite.

The Fiblink Surf Spinning Rod meets these criteria and includes the following:

  • A medium-heavy to heavy rod weight
  • A moderate-fast action for increased sensitivity
  • A 10- or 12-foot length that aids in long, smooth casts
  • Graphite construction that resists wind and salt corrosion

Get the Fiblink Surf Spinning Fishing Rod on Amazon for $54.99 (10-foot/medium-heavy power), $59.99 (12-foot/heavy power) or $61.99 (12-foot with upgrades).

3.    Best Fly Rods

There’s a ton of marketing around fly rods all trying to convince you that the more expensive, the better. That’s super-duper not true and is entirely designed to trick you into shelling out more than you have to. Rather than spending a ton of money to buy the most expensive rod available, figure out what you’re looking for in a fly rod. I recommend looking for the following characteristics:

  • A medium to fast action for zippy casts along great distances
  • A cork grip and carbon fiber design to reduce the weight
  • A medium line weight rod to balance between distance and control

As it happens, the Tailwater Outfitters Toccoa Fly Rod fits that description. This is one of the best fly rods in the less-than-$100 category. If you aren’t looking to shell out big money just yet, the Toccoa makes an excellent choice.

4.    Best Spinning Rod

If you have literally no experience fishing whatsoever, consider buying the best spinning rod you can afford. Spinning rods are a great multi-purpose rod, and more importantly, they’re super easy for someone with no fishing experience to pick up. They won’t get all tangled up like the now-unusable Apple earbuds you have at the bottom of your gym bag.

One excellent choice of spinning rod is the Okuma Celilo Lightweight Ultra-Light Trout Rod. Affordable and sturdy, this is one of the best rods for trout fishing. It’s got the sensitivity required to detect gentle bites and get your hook wedged. Made of graphite and cork, it’s designed to be as light as possible. The action is moderate for easy stream and river fishing. You can find the OKUMA Celilo Graphite Lightweight Ultra-Light Rod on Amazon for anywhere between $23 to $37.

Download our guide on mastering fishing to find out more about picking the right rod for your activity.

5.    Best Fishing Rod Brands for Ice Anglers

To be interested in ice fishing, you have to think to yourself, “I sure would love to sit around a small one-by-one-foot hole in the ice and try to catch fish in the freezing temperature.” If you’re looking for the best ice fishing rod, you’ve already had that thought and moved on to the next step. Possibly ill-advised, but here we are.

The best fishing pole for ice fishing is much smaller than a standard rod. A pole’s casting ability becomes completely irrelevant for ice fishing as well. Instead, you want to focus on the power, how much the rod bends when you snag a fish.

My recommendation? The Fenwick Elite Tech Ice Fishing Rod. A 16-inch light power version sells for $39.95 while a 28-inch medium-heavy power version is $39.95. Fenwick also offers saltwater rods for vertical jigging – you can pick up a six-foot medium heavy spinning or casting rod for $65.99.

6.    Best Fishing Poles for Sea Fishing

A good sea fishing rod should be able to stand up to the harsh winds and salt water of the open ocean. In addition, it needs the strength and durability to lift a fish twice your size out of the water (if you’re not sea fishing to catch some massive fish you’re wasting your time). If you’re talking trolling, you definitely need strength to back you up. Look for a rod with heavy power.

The best fishing rods for fishing in the open ocean will depend on what kind of fish you want to get. In general, the Okuma Longitude Surf Graphite Rod may meet your needs while still landing a variety of fish. They come in a variety of models ranging in power from medium to heavy and in length from eight to 12 feet. Prices range from $39.57 to less than $79.

7.    Best Fishing Rods for Traveling

The best rods for fishing while traveling will be easy to fold up and store. Fishers who try to transport a one-piece fishing rod across long distances often end up with a two-piece fishing rod by the end of their trip. Rather than coming home with a snapped rod, look to multi-piece, pen and telescopic rods that can be folded down.

Pen rods are more limited than standard rods are, so they won’t necessarily make a perfect replacement rod. They should be limited to distance traveling when you don’t have the space to bring full kit. Telescopic rods still don’t reach the performance of a multi-piece rod, but they will bear more weight and cast farther.

The Docooler Fishing Rod Mini Fishing Pole ($13.99) is the best fishing pole for the pen rod route. It’s made of fiberglass and aluminum alloy and extends to just under 38 inches and can work for small, lightweight fish (although you may have to switch out the line that comes with it). It can retract to under eight inches, small enough to fit in a bag or large pocket.

The PLUSINNO Telescopic Rod and Reel combo can catch slightly heavier fish, making it a good fishing rod for fishermen on the go. The prices range from $33.59 to $46.98 and the combo offers both saltwater and freshwater affixtures.

8.    Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

The best fishing rod and reel combo for the money is probably the UglyStix GX@ Spinning Reel Combo. It’s the most popular rod and reel combo on Amazon so I promise I am not the only one claiming this. The UglyStix combos can pick up fish that weigh less than two pounds and fish that weigh more than 20. It comes in whatever combination of rod length and power that your heart desires, so you don’t have to make so many compromises.

Go over the following specifications and fishing rod costs for UglyStix Rod and Reel combos to find the one best suited to your needs:

  • Six feet/medium rod power – $39.99
    • Catches fish of between six and 15 pounds
  • Six-and-a-half feet medium rod power – $39.99
    • Catches fish of between six and 15 pounds
  • Five feet/light power – $49.95
    • Catches fish of between two and six pounds
  • Six-and-a-half feet/medium-heavy power – $49.95
    • Catches fish of between eight and 20 pounds
  • Four-and-a-half feet/ultra-light power – $49.95
    • Catches fish of between two and six pounds
  • Seven feet/ultra-light power – $49.95
    • Catches fish of between two and six pounds

Interested in learning other methods of catching fish? Click here to download our guide on mastering fishing.