Rods

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning & Casting Rod Review

The Ugly Stik Elite is an all around great fishing rod that consistently outperforms other rods in its price range. Once you take a look at what that price is, the Elite looks even better. While not perfect, it’s a great rod that’s worth consideration. Check out our full review.

Ugly Stik Elite Overview:

Ugly Stik Elite rods are designed tough. Built for durability and strength, the Elite series features a fiberglass and graphite rod blank that is perfect for catching big bass.

The Elite rods are not only built with the same quality you’d expect from Ugly Stik, but have actually been upgraded for better performance than previously models. You won’t have to worry about these rods breaking when you need them most.

The Elite has a powerful backbone, so it can land the big bass you’re after, but it still has the sensitivity needed to bring in smaller fish.

The Elite is a great option for all kinds of fishing, but particularly good if you’re on a tight budget.

It’d be hard to find another rod that gives you as much bang for your buck.

Amazon doesn’t maintain a good stock of the baitcast version of the Elite, so we’ve included a Bass Pro Shop link below.

Elite Specs:

Available Spinning models:

  • 5′ | Ultra Light power | Medium Fast action | 1 piece | 6 guide tips | 6 lbs line rating
  • 5’6″ | Light power | Fast action | 2 pieces | 6 guides | 8 lbs line rating
  • 6′ | Medium power | Fast action | 2 pieces | 7 guides | 14 lbs line rating
  • 6′ | Medium Heavy power | Fast action | 1 pieces | 7 guides | 17 lbs line rating
  • 6’6″ | Medium power | Fast action | 1 piece | 7 guides | 14 lbs line rating
  • 6’6″ | Medium Heavy power | Fast action | 1 pieces | 7 guides | 17 lbs line rating
  • 6’6″ | Ultra Light power | Medium Fast action | 2 pieces | 7 guide tips | 6 lbs line rating
  • 6’6″ | Medium power | Extra Fast action | 2 pieces | 7 guides | 14 lbs line rating
  • 6’6″ | Medium Light power | Medium Fast action | 1 piece | 8 guides | 10 lbs line rating
  • 7′ | Medium power | Fast action | 1 piece | 8 guides | 14 lbs line rating
  • 7′ | Medium Heavy power | Extra Fast action | 1 pieces | 8 guides | 17 lbs line rating
  • 7′ | Ultra Light power | Medium Fast action | 2 pieces | 8 guide tips | 6 lbs line rating
  • 7′ | Medium power | Fast action | 2 pieces | 8 guides | 14 lbs line rating
  • 7’6″ | Medium Light power | Medium Fast action | 1 piece | 9 guides | 12 lbs line rating

Available Casting models:

  • 6’6″ | Medium power | Extra Fast action | 1 piece | 8 guides | 17 lbs line rating
  • 6’6″ | Medium Heavy power | Fast action | 1 piece | 8 guides | 20 lbs line rating
  • 7′ | Medium power | Extra Fast action | 1 piece | 9 guides | 17 lbs line rating
  • 7′ | Medium Heavy power | Fast action | 1 piece | 9 guides | 20 lbs line rating
  • 7′ | Ultra Light power | Medium Fast action | 2 pieces | 9 guides | 6 lbs line rating

Andrew's Ugly Stik Elite Review:

I’m not going to lie to you: I didn’t expect much from this rod when I first saw it out of the box.

I’m fussy about what I fish with, and though I’ve appreciated the value Ugly Stiks offer for a long time, I’ve never had one in my hands.

So, with a healthy dose of skepticism, I put this rod to the test, and I was genuinely impressed.

Casting is easy, the sensitivity is terrific, and the backbone immense.

If you’re looking for a rod that gives you plenty of power but also lets you feel even the slightest tap, the Ugly Stik Elite will deliver.

It’s worth pointing out that I’d love to see Ugly Stik do some work on the reel seat for the Elite. The seat is good, but it doesn’t match the high quality of the rod blank.

If you’re in the market for a rod that can fight big fish and hold its own for under $60, the Ugly Stik Elite rod is a fantastic choice.

Andrew Q.

Features:

The Ugly Stik Elite is a great choice for anglers who are looking for a well-crafted and affordable rod. The Elite is built with 35 percent more graphite than other Ugly Stik models, making it more sensitive and lightweight.

The Clear Tip design ensures that you’ll always have an extra strong connection to your line, while the stainless steel guides are smooth and durable.

The Ugly Stik Elite is a great option for anglers of all skill levels.

Extra Light Blank Design

Ugly Stik rods are known for being virtually unbreakable. They accomplish this by building their rod blanks out of a proprietary blend of graphite and fiberglass. This Ugly Tech Construction provides an extreme level of durability.

With the Elite, they took it to the next level by utilizing 35% more graphite than they typically use in their other rod blank models. This updated blank formula provides increased levels of performance through a lighter rod that still brings the strength and legendary durability that Ugly Stik is famous for.

Ugly Stik Elite rods are virtually unbreakable and are backed by a 7 year warranty.

Premium Cork Handles:

Cork has always been a favorite for rod handles. It is a natural material that comes from the bark of the cork oak tree. A cork grip is known for its insulating properties, as well as its shock absorption and durability. These features make it a perfect choice for rod handles. The Elite comes with a cork composite handle that provides both comfort and a great grip.

Huge Power:

Depending on the tackle set up you use, you will be surprised by the power behind the Elite. It can handle light tackle and also has the power to handle big fish. The rod has a sensitive tip that is capable of picking up the lightest of bites, and the backbone can easily handle bigger fish.

It has the power to bring a big fish in, but it’s still sensitive enough to feel the lightest of bites.

High Quality Specialized Guides:

A quality rod needs top-quality guides to complement the rest of the rod and the Elite spinning rod has 6 to 8 high-quality guides made from one-piece, hardened stainless steel.

The Ugly Tuff guides are designed for smooth line flow, excellent durability and reduced line friction while maintaining optimal sensitivity.

Adjustable Reel Seat:

This Ugly Stik rod has a lightweight and durable double lock, exposed blank reel seat. This provides a strong adjustable seat designed for different sized reels.

It has an extremely firm wiggle-free hold. Once attached, your reel isn’t going anywhere.

Ugly Stik Clear Tip:

The Elite is built with Ugly Stik’s Clear Tip technology that utilizes fiberglass only in the rod tip.

Since rod tips are particularly vulnerable to breaking when fishing, especially when you hook a big one. Ugly Stik utilizes an incredibly robust material for their rod tips. This provides the rod strength exactly where it’s needed without using too much fiberglass and weighing down the rod.

Jim's Thoughts:

Personally, I love the Ugly Stik Elite rods. For the money, they can not be beat!

You can do just about anything with them, and they hold up great. I’ve caught some awesome largemouth and smallies with the Elite and couldn’t ask for more.

These rods are every bit as good as my higher priced rods, and they didn’t break the bank.

Jim G.

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Super affordable
  • Looks and feels great
  • Good sensitivity
  • 1-piece stainless steel guides
  • Tough and durable

Cons:

  • Cork handle may not last as long as other handle material types
  • Reel seat works well, but does seem a little cheaply made

Dennis's Impressions:

I’ve been a fan of Ugly Stiks for years. I’ve been using the Elite model for the last year or so. I’m not a heavy-duty bass fisherman, but I do like to target them from time to time.

The Elite has been a great rod for that, and I’ve had no complaints at all. I like that it’s lightweight, that the responsiveness is good, and that I’m able to cast quite a long distance with it.

For the price, I don’t think you can ask for much more!

It’s easy to carry in a car or on the kayak, and I’ve used it fishing a variety of locations, from under bridges and along shorelines to the middle of reservoirs.

If you’re looking for a good deal on a heavy-duty rod, give the Ugly Stik Elite a try.

Dennis B.

FAQs

Both the Elite spinning rod and baitcasting rod models are built virtually identical. Outside a few layout changes, the main difference between these two different versions will be the type of reel you’re going to be using with the rod.

If you’re going to be using a spinning reel, you’ll want to get the Elite spinning rod version.

If you’re going to be using a baitcaster, you’ll want to get the casting rod version.

The rod itself is made exactly the same way, but since spinning reels and baitcasters attach to the rod differently, there are some minor changes that are required in order for the rod to work correctly with that type of reel.

Just make sure when purchasing the Elite you get the correct version to work with the reel you’re going to be using.

The Ugly Stik Elite is available in multiple different lengths ranging from 5′ up to 7’6″. For most bass fishing applications you’ll probably want to go with the 6’6” or 7’ model.

Depending on the type of fishing you’re doing, you may want to opt for a longer or shorter pole. For more information on this, I’d recommend checkout out our guide on selecting the right fishing pole length.

The Ugly Stik Elite is available in a range of actions, including ultra light, light, medium, and medium heavy. For bass fishing, the medium and medium heavy actions are most popular.

The Elite is available in both 1 and 2 piece blanks. Depending on the size you get.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best reel to go with the Elite Ugly Stik fishing rod will vary depending on the specific fishing conditions and the type of fish being targeted. However, we do have some favorite reels we’d suggest you check out.

See the following articles for more information:

Yes, the Elite is saltwater approved.

You’re probably only want to use this for inshore fishing though, as the Elite isn’t the right type of rod for any type of deep sea fishing or surf fishing.

That is what they say.

Whether It’s true or not, I’m not exactly sure, though I can say that I’ve never broken one.

The best advice I can give would be to adhere to the line rating of the particular version of the Elite that you get. Depending on the power/action of the rod, the line rating changes.

This isn’t to say that the Elite Ultra Light couldn’t hold up to more than 6 lbs of pressure, but I’d also recommend not trying to pull in a striper with an ultra light setup.

For most bass fishing applications, getting the medium / medium-heavy Elite versions should probably you with the power needed to handle just about any fish you hook.

Score:

We’ve given the Ugly Stik Elite ratings in four categories. They are as follows:

Price: A+
Build: A
Feature Set: A
Design: A

The Ugly Stik Elite earns an overall score of: A

Conclusion:

When it comes down to it, there are a lot of great options out there for your fishing rod. But it mostly comes down to how you’re going to fish with it and what your budget is.

Are there better performance rods than the Ugly Stik Elite?

Yes, there definitely are.

But can you find another rod, at the same price point, that’s going to last as long as an Ugly Stik will?

No, probably not.

So if you’re after the highest performance in your rod, you’ll probably want to check out some other models, but if you’re looking for a workhorse rod that will take the abuse and just keep going…

Then you should definitely check out the Ugly Stik Elite.

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