9 Best Baitcasting Rods for Bass Fishing
Selecting The Best Baitcasting Rod
Fishing rods are among the most essential parts of a fisherman’s arsenal. Without one, it would be pretty difficult to go fishing.
Rods come in varying lengths, designs, and sizes. There are literally thousands of different rods available on the market today to choose from.
This choice can be a bit intimidating, especially if you’re new to buying a casting rod.
Before purchasing a fishing rod, it’s important to know you’re getting the right type of rod. Most bass fishing rods can be categorized into two types of rods – casting and spinning rods.
Casting rods are used with a baitcasting reel and are the choice of most professional bass anglers. Spinning rods are used with a spinning reel and are the choice of most beginners and hobbyists.
It’s important you know this distinction, as you will need to purchase the right type of rod to make the right baitcasting combo.
If you’re actually looking for a spinning rod, go over to our best spinning rod article.
Otherwise, read on for our list of the best bass baitcasting rod.
Top 9 Bass Baitcasting Rods
If you’d like a little more information on selecting the right casting rod, go ahead and click here to skip ahead and learn more about what you should be looking for in a baitcasting rod.
If you already know what you’re looking for, go ahead and read on for the top casting rods for bass fishing.
Abu Garcia IKE Signature Power Casting Fishing Rod
The Abu Garcia IKE Signature Power Casting Fishing Rod is a great baitcasting rod for a variety of fishing situations.
Its unique action was designed to cater to Elite Series Pro Mike Iaconelli’s fishing style. The rod’s premium-grade graphite blank is remarkably streamlined and its multiple guides and sensitive tip receptive to any subtle vibration picked up by the line.
Abu Garcia has managed to maintain top quality with its IKE Power Series Casting Rods, which are outfitted with stainless steel guides equipped with zirconium inserts.
The rod maintains an excellent cosmetic appeal the look taking inspiration from Mike’s outgoing personality.
The Abu Garcia IKE Signature Power Casting Fishing Rod employs one of Abu Garcia’s signature techniques by implementing the new “Ike Approved” reel seat with a trigger lock and rubber grip handle for improved handling.
The IKE Casting rod delivers a high-quality and professionally crafted design that provides anglers the edge over big bass and heavy fish.
“I have had nothing but success with this Abu Garcia IKE casting rod. I have had no issues with it and it has been a joy to use. I have used this rod for at least a year now and love it to death.
I am an avid bass fisherman and I have been able to catch more bass because the sensitivity on this rod is so good. I have also had great luck with the flipping and pitching techniques I’ve been using.
I am so glad that I made the purchase and I have no regrets.”
- Size: 7′ ft to 8′ ft
- Power: Medium up to Heavy
- Action: Moderate-Fast to Fast
St Croix Legend Tournament Bass Casting Rod
Designed, engineered, and handcrafted in Park Falls, Wisconsin. The St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass Casting Rod combines the best of St. Croix’s unprecedented quality and experience with the best technologies and materials available.
With unmatched strength and durability, St. Croix Legend Tournament Series Casting Rods set the bar for all-out performance, providing unmatched execution with an exceptional design.
The St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass Casting Rod features IPC (Integrated Poly Curve) tooling and ART (Advanced Reinforcing Technology) that provides unsurpassed strength without the increase in weight and blank diameter. The slow-cured double Flex Coat finish helps prolong the life of the rod.
Alconite inserts with CC matte finished frames on the Fuji K-Series tangle-free guides provide superior strength and corrosion resistance.
Fortified Resin System features high-modulus, high-strain SC IV graphite rod with an aramid fiber overlay. Split Grip, supreme grade cork-made handles with incorporated reel seat enhances comfort and balance.
All of this together makes the St Croix Legend Tournament Bass Casting Rod one of the most advanced bass baitcasting rods on the market.
“I’ve been fishing with the 7’1” medium heavy, fast action rod for about 6 months now and I’m very impressed.
It does everything I need it to do and I can’t really ask for anything more. I feel the sensitivity is good, the rod is lightweight but still has a good weight to it, and is durable.
The rod is quite an investment, but at this point in time I feel like it’s been one of the best fishing investments I’ve made!“
- Size: 6’8″ ft to 9’11” ft
- Power: Medium-Light up to Extra-Heavy
- Action: Moderate to Extra-Fast
Dobyns Rods Fury Series Casting Rod
The Fury Casting Rods are an excellent option for any bass fisherman. Built to a price that will not break the bank, these rods still deliver the quality that has made them a great option for experienced anglers.
Featuring a sensitive high modulus graphite blank that’s performance balanced, this rod will provide the sensitivity that any bass fisherman is looking for.
Fuji reel seats, secured with Kevlar wrapping, provide an excellent foundation for your reel, while AA grade cork grips, with high-density Hypalon butts, ensure all-day comfort.
It has what it takes to tackle a range of applications, from topwater to flipping, and the Dobyns Rods Fury Casting Rods deliver the technique-specific performance anglers have come to expect from Dobyns Rods.
Whether you’re looking for an extra rod for your lineup or wanting to find an affordable option for your first baitcasting rod. Dobyns Fury Casting Rods are definitely worth a look.
“I’m a hunting and fishing guide on the west coast of Florida. I have been guiding for over fifteen years now. I have used a lot of different rods over the years and I have always found the value in the Dobyns rods.
I have been using the 7′ heavy fast rod for a while now. I use it for jigs, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. I’ve found this to be an excellent rod for the price.
I like the foam and cork grip design. The rod feels very sturdy and well built. The guides are high quality and I have had no real problems with them.
I have owned rods that cost a lot more but did not perform as well as these rods. These rods are a great rod for the price.”
- Size: 6’6″ ft to 7’9″ ft
- Power: Medium-Heavy up to Extra-Heavy
- Action: Moderate-Fast to Extra-Fast
Lew's Custom Lite Speed Stick Casting Rod
The Lew’s Custom Lite Speed Stick Casting Rods come in specific actions with specific techniques to match. Action-specific taper designs feature a progressively softer tip to maximize sensitivity and help you detect subtle bites.
Newly re-engineered APT: Advanced Performance Technology graphite top-grade 85-million modulus blanks (found in the upper tier of Lew’s Speed Stick series) are lightweight and responsive, permitting the quickest, most direct transfer of sensitivity.
Multi-layer construction gives maximum durability where it’s needed most. These rods are sensitive enough to detect the lightest nibble, yet durable enough to handle the toughest battles.
Titanium oxide guides deliver smooth line flow and increased casting performance.
With its SoftTouch skeletal baitcaster reel seats, Lew delivers direct connection with the blank for superb sensitivity transfer and it is corrosion-free to stand up to dirty conditions.
If you’re looking for a rod for multiple techniques, look no further than Lew’s Custom Lite Speed Stick Rods. Match the technique-specific action with your technique to fish all day in confidence.
“I was recommended the 7’3” Lew’s Custom Lite Speed Stick Casting Rod for my medium-heavy use, and it has exceeded my expectations.
The rod is the perfect balance of stiffness and flexibility, and it has a nice weight to it. The action is great for throwing lures for bass, black crappie, and walleye.
I love that it is durable enough to use for river fishing, but also sensitive enough to fish for trout. It is a great rod for the money.”
- Size: 6’8″ ft to 7’1″ ft
- Power: Medium-Light up to Extra-Heavy
- Action: Moderate to Fast
FAVORITE White Bird Powered Casting Rod
Known for its unique design and impressive performance, the Favorite White Bird Casting Rods deliver an uncanny amount of versatility and precision that is hard to match.
Sporting a premium IM24 ton blank that features a multi-layer structure designed with varying modulus and direction carbon fibers, the White Bird Casting Rods offer torsional resistance and a greater degree of strength than other rods in its class.
To help facilitate longer, more accurate casts, the Favorite White Bird Casting Rods feature SiC Guides that allow a smoother and more efficient transition of energy.
Finished with a split cork handle for added comfort and durability, the Favorite White Bird Casting Rods deliver everything a bass angler needs to cover a wide range of fishing applications.
“I bought the 7’ MH and it’s a great rod. I’ve had it for about a year now and it’s been absolutely bomb. The rod is super sensitive and I can feel everything.
I fish primarily for bass and I like how this rod is able to knock in a good hookset. It’s also a good rod for fishing crankbaits because I can feel the fish a lot better.
I’ve caught a lot of bass on it and think it’s a real winner, especially for the price!”
- Size: 6’6″ ft to 7’6″ ft
- Power: Medium-Heavy up to Heavy
- Action: Moderate-Fast to Extra-Fast
Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite Casting Fishing Rod
Ugly Stik is back again with the strength and durability they’re known for with the Elite Casting Rod. The rugged one-piece Ugly Tech design delivers 35% more graphite than the famous GX2 model; this results in a stronger, more sensitive rod that’s also lighter than the GX2.
The Ugly Stik Elite Casting Rod features a Clear Tip design that adds even more strength where you need it most, and Ugly Stik’s legendary Ugly Tuff guides are super-slick and durable.
The Ugly Stik Elite Casting Rod is designed for everything from topwaters and crankbaits to flies and live baits.
Whether you’re targeting largemouth bass on your favorite pond or channel catfish in the tidal creeks, the Ugly Stik Elite Casting Rod gives you the sensitivity and strength you need for the fight of your life.
With the Ugly Stik, you’ll never have to worry about your rod failing you when you need it most.
“Ugly Stik’s are beasts and the Elite casting rod is no exception. While not the most sensitive rod I’ve used, it is a very well made rod.
The Elite is very durable and can take a beating. It gets the job done and is a fabulous rod for someone who is just starting out.
While there are better rods out there, I would recommend this rod for beginners who are just getting started baitcasting.”
- Size: 6’6″ ft to 7′ ft
- Power: Ultra-Light up to Medium-Heavy
- Action: Moderate-Fast to Extra-Fast
Berkley Lightning Casting Rod
A multi-action casting rod, the Berkley Lightning Casting Rod is offered at one of the most affordable prices on this list.
It’s constructed with a strong and durable one-piece design with 24 Ton MM (multi-modulus) graphite. The Lightning casting rod offers great sensitivity that makes it easy to set a hook quickly, yet it’s sturdy enough to last for years to come.
The Berkley Lightning Casting Rod includes a double locking reel seat that keeps your fishing reel snugged up throughout the day. Stainless steel guides offer smooth casts as they resist corrosion and aluminum oxide inserts offer smoother line flow. Rubberized cork handles provide extra comfort during those long and tough hours.
If you’re looking for a surprisingly good casting rod, the Berkley Lightning is definitely worth checking out.
“I have a lot of rods and reels and I have to say this is one of the best bait caster rods I own. It is light and strong, and has a nice backbone. It has a great action and you can feel the power in the tip without a lot of weight in the butt.
I mostly fish for bass and this rod is perfect for it. I like the cork handle design because it absorbs sweat and the rubberized handle on the rod locks perfectly to the casting reel. I will never fish with another rod again.
My recommendation is to check out the Berkley Lightning Casting Rod if you’re in the market for a new rod.”
- Size: 6′ ft to 8′ ft
- Power: Ultra-Light up to Heavy
- Action: Moderate to Extra-Fast
13 FISHING Fate Black 2 Freshwater Casting Fishing Rod
The 13 Fishing Fate Black 2 Casting Rod is a versatile baitcaster rod that can be used for a variety of freshwater fishing techniques. This rod is a great choice for anglers who needs a rod to cater to different fishing conditions and are wanting to give a new brand a try.
The sleek green matte-finished blank is constructed with Japanese 30-ton HTC3 carbon fiber delivering lightweight durability. The rod features a seamless Evolve reel seat, Zirconia insert guides and a 3A Portuguese cork grip.
While not the most well-known, the Fate Black 2 casting rod offers solid performance.
“I like this rod. It’s very sensitive and light for casting. It is also very sturdy, so good for bass fishing.
The reel seat is a little odd with my reel Pflueger President XT. It doesn’t seem to make complete flush contact with the reel seat, so it tends to move a bit when I’m pulling hard on a fish.
Other than the reel seat, I think it’s nicely designed and comfortable to use. Overall, I am a satisfied customer.”
- Size: 6’7″ ft to 7’11” ft
- Power: Medium up to Heavy
- Action: Fast
Berkley Cherrywood HD Casting Rod
Last but not least is the least expensive rod on our list of the best bass baitcasting rod, the Berkley Cherrywood HD Casting Rod.
The rod features a hybrid design construction as well as a cork handle which provides a comfortable, sure grip. Its SS304 Guides are 20x tougher and 55% lighter than aluminum oxide guides and are also factory-tested for dependability.
Even though inexpensive, the Cherrywood HD has a following among anglers due to its great construction, sensitivity, and grip. If you’re looking for a sub $50 rod, this is it.
“I have purchased several of these and they work extremely well for the price. I have paired them with a variety of Pflueger and Shimano reels. I have had no issues with any of them.
I have caught everything from bass to walleye to pike to catfish to bluegill on these rods. They are very light and sensitive. This is a great rod for the money.”
- Size: 5’6″ ft to 7′ ft
- Power: Medium-Light up to Medium-Heavy
- Action: Fast
What To Look For When Buying A Baitcasting Bass Rod
You will need to choose a casting rod based on the kind of fishing you wish to do. Finding out a new rod doesn’t work as you expected it to can be quite disappointing.
So getting the right information before purchasing your rod will help you make the right choice.
The 3 main characteristics that will greatly affect the rod that you choose will be rod action, power, and length.
Below we go into more detail on each of these and how they impact your fishing.
Selecting Rod Action
Action is the term used to describe how much of the rod bends when under pressure measured from the rod tip to the butt of the rod.
The action is a result of the overall design of the rod and is based on the amount of bend in the rod and the stiffness of the rod blank.
The term “fast action” is used to describe a rod that bends toward the tip, with only around 25% of the rod bending.
The term “slow action” is used to describe a rod that has a large amount of rod bend, with over 50% of the rod bending under pressure.
A rod with a fast action rod is typically more sensitive to nibbles and will provide a lot of setting force when a bass strikes.
A slow action rod will have the ability to cast a longer distance.
Depending on the type of fishing style or lure you’re going to be using will impact the action of the rod you should choose.
15% flex. Provides the highest level of sensitivity and control. The downside of extra-fast action is the potential of being too quick at the hookset and actually pulling the lure away from the bass when it strikes.
Around 20-30% flex. This is one of the most common actions used by bass anglers. It provides a high level of sensitivity and better casting distance. It works with many of the most popular lure types including Carolina rigs, Texas rigs, drop shot rigs, mojo rigs, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, buzzbaits, swimbaits, frogs, and more.
Around 30-40% flex. Slower reaction time compared to the fast action. The moderate fast can be a great option when you need better castability and maintaining some sensitivity. This action can work well when using spinnerbaits, jerkBaits, swimbaits, squarebills, chatterbaits, and spooks.
40-50% flex. Moderate action rods can be a great option when you really need distance casting but do sacrifice rod sensitivity. Moderate action is mostly designed for treble-style lures like crankbaits.
50% and more flex. Slow action rods are not typically used as they can be difficult to hook a bass on a strike, however, they do provide the ability to use a lighter line on your rod. Slow action rods can be used with lures that are hard like steelheads.
Selecting Rod Power
A rod’s power refers to the amount of force required to make the rod flex. The different levels of rod powers allow them to handle various line sizes and lure weights.
Choosing the right baitcasting rod power is easier than you think, just narrow your choices down to the ones designed for the lures and lines you fish most often with.
Rod power is typically categorized into the following ratings:
- Extra Heavy
When bass fishing, you’re typically going to be using a rod that’s of a medium-light up to a heavy power rating.
The power you’re going to select will depend on the fishing technique, lure, and line you’re going to be using.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, let’s take a look at some of the basic guidelines for rod power.
The medium-light rod will typically be used for finesse fishing and lighter bait. Using lightweight lures weighing around 1/16 oz to 3/16 oz such as tiny jigs, splitshots, and dropshots. You’ll want to use around 4-8 lbs test line.
One of the most popular power ratings for bass anglers. Medium power rods work great with lures of the medium weight category. You’ll typically want to avoid heavy cover and stick to areas with minimal vegetation.
Medium power rods can work great with Texas rigs, jerkbaits, small topwaters, select lipless crankbait, shaky heads, tubes, and grubs. You’ll want to keep your lures weighing between 1/8 oz to 3/8 oz and use 6-12 lbs fishing line.
Medium-heavy rods are the most popular power rating among bass anglers. This power works great with Carolina rigs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, spoons, toads, casting jigs, chatterbaits, buzzbaits, and spooks.
You’ll want to keep your lures weighing between 1/4 oz to 3/4 oz and use 10-17 lbs test line.
Heavy powered rods are not as commonly used for bass fishing, though there are certainly applications for them. Heavy power will typically be needed when you’re using very large lures and need that extra pulling power for bigger fish.
This power level is typically good for deep diving crankbaits, punch rigs, hollow frogs, flipping jigs, and large topwater lures.
You’re able to use a heavier lure with heavy power, but you’ll want to keep your lures weighing between 3/8 oz to 1 1/2 oz and use 14-25 lbs test line.
The last two power levels, heavy and medium heavy power, will provide you with the rod strength needed to use a heavier lure and reel in larger fish. But this will come at the expense of rod flexibility.
When you’re first starting out building your rod collection, we would recommend starting out with a medium heavy rod and then expanding from there.
This will allow you to utilize the widest range of fishing technique immediately and provide the power needed to pull in big fish without damaging your fishing pole.
What is the best rod length for bass fishing?
Finding the right fishing rod is affected greatly by personal preference, but despite that, there are some general guidelines you should consider when choosing your next casting rod.
Most anglers put most of their attention into selecting a rod based on the material and action of the baitcasting rod. This is good, but you also need to take into consideration the length of the rod.
Rod length has a very large, and underappreciated influence on your fishing.
Over the past 60 years, the length of the standard bass rod has changed.
In the 1960s almost all bass rods were around 5 feet long.
In the 1970s the flippin’ technique became popular which caused the standard length of a bass fishing rod to become 7 feet long.
Over the years, the length of the rods has continued to increase.
Longer rods provide you with more setting force when a bass strikes, as well as helping to compensate for the stretch in mono line. Longer rods provide a longer casting ability, particularly when using crankbait type lures that need to be provided a lot of room on the retrieve.
In more recent years, rod lengths have become more focused to correlate more with various different fishing techniques that work better with rods of a certain length.
Overall, your rod length will have an impact on the 4 following categories: accuracy, distance, leverage, and comfort.
Lengthening the rod provides you with the ability to cast further distances, but in the process, you are sacrificing accuracy.
Every time you increase the overall length, you increase the distance that the rod is able to get out of the casting arc.
At 5.5 feet the rod is able to stretch up to 51 degrees.
At 7 feet the rod is able to stretch up to 58.3 degrees.
At 8 feet the rod is able to stretch up to 64.2 degrees.
So, as you can see, the longer the rod, the less accurate it becomes.
Because of that reason, it is recommended that you fish a 5 or 6-foot rod if your goal is to fish with a round bait and catch bass that are holding tight to cover.
If you want to cast a long distance, then you need to lean more towards the longer rods.
The shorter rods are better if you are fishing a smaller body of water, fishing with a jig, fishing a shallow flat, or trying to use your rod to cast topwater lures.
When you are fishing deep with crankbaits, you need a longer rod. Rods that are 7′ or longer allow you to get a better hookset on a bass that is hanging deep.
Rod length also affects the leverage you have. The longer the rod, the more leverage you have.
This is important because longer rods also provide more setting force when a bass strikes.
Since longer rods allow you to cast further distances, they also add to your overall comfort level.
Older anglers who are used to using shorter rods, will probably not be as comfortable using longer rods.
So, how do you decide the length of the rod you want?
So, how do you decide the length of the rod you want?
The best way is to take into account where you will be fishing, what kind of fishing you will be doing, and your overall comfort with the rod.
As a general guideline, if you want to fish crankbaits, you want a 7′ or 8′ rod. If you want to fish a spinnerbait, you want a 7′ or 8′ rod. If you want to fish topwater lures, you want a 6′ or 7′ rod.
If you are fishing the same type of lures as well as crankbaits you may want a 6′ or 7′ rod. If you are fishing in a larger body of water, you might want a 7′ to 8′ rod.
The longer the rod, the more room you have on the retrieve when you are using a crankbait to make those longer casts and create a bigger wake with it.
The longer rod will also help you keep better control of the bait when it is on the fall of the retrieve.
If you feel more comfortable using a shorter rod, and you will be fishing in close, then you might want to consider a 5.5′ to 6′ baitcasting rod.
If you are looking for a rod that can do it all, then look into a rod with a 6’6″ or 7′ length. This will allow you to use it with a variety of different baits and will provide more leverage than a shorter rod without sacrificing too much distance.
Quality Control Advice
I would strongly recommend looking over your rod very closely after delivery to ensure there were no signs of shipping damage.
Put the rod through a stress test by bending it as it would bend after hooking a bass. Also, check again for any cracks or crack-lines after the stress test.
I would also suggest checking out each stainless steel guide and inspecting the EVA handle to confirm there are no problems.
If there is any evidence of damage, you should request a replacement from the seller.
Some retailers’ shipping quality control has gone down the tubes. I’ve bought rods and stuff in boxes that weren’t even padded.
When purchasing a fishing rod from Amazon, I highly recommend selecting a smaller seller that doesn’t use Amazon’s fulfillment centers. While Amazon fulfillment is amazing most of the time, they are focused on the speed of packaging and not the quality.
It may take longer than 2 days for smaller Amazon sellers to pack and ship their items, but the items will generally arrive in much better condition.
Hopefully, our list of the top 9 best baitcaster rods will help you select a quality rod that will help you catch more bass. Whether you go with a graphite or fiberglass rod each rod on this list was selected for its quality manufacturing and bass fishing potential.
Once you’ve made your selection, the next step will be selecting the right reel to make a great baitcaster combo. To find the right reel combo, head over to our article on the 9 best baitcasting reels for bass. In it with cover selecting the right reel based on gear ratio, aluminum spool, and drag system.
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