Best Frog Rod
Best Frog Rod

Best Spinning Rods – Buying Guide and Reviews

Any experienced angler will tell you that the rod is a key component to their success. A good rod, quality line, and reel, as well as the right lures, are just as important as skill and knowledge.

However, there is an old saying about lures that rods should be used to catch fish. It can be difficult to choose the right spinning rod for you, given all of the options available, professional endorsements, and too many options to assess fairly.

We want to assist you in deciding what rod is right for you. Below is a detailed guide to rod selection as well as reviews and recommendations of our favorite rods.

Here’s a quick look at the top spinning rods today:

Ultralight spinning rods

  • St. Croix Premier PS60ULF
  • Cadence Fishing CR5 562S-ULMF
  • G. Loomis Classic Panfish and Trout 10241-01

Light-Power Spinning Rods

  • St. Croix Premier PS66LF
  • Fenwick HMG HMG66L-MFS-2
  • Ugly Stik USSP562L

Medium-Power Spinning Rods

  • Ugly Stik Elite USESP702M
  • Shimano Teramar Southeast TMSX710M
  • St. Croix Mojo Inshore MIS76MF

Heavy-Power Spinning Rods

  • Shimano Teramar Southeast TMSF70H
  • St. Croix Mojo Inshore MIS76HF

Best Ultralight Spinning Rods

St. Croix Premier PS60ULF

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Length6
Materialgraphite
Power/actionUltralight/Fast
Size of the lure: 1/32 oz. 1/32 oz. to 3/16 oz.
Line weight:2-6
Handle: Split cork/spinning 12.25 inches
Guide material 6 + 1 Fuji aluminum oxide
Piece1

St. Croix’s rods outperform their premium competitors, including Fenwick. Fenwick rods are excellent, but St. Croix’s rods just keep getting better. This rod is the most expensive ultralight rod available if you have the cash.

The Premier ultralight has quick action and a cushioned hookset for fish like crappie. This rod is strong, flexible, light, and well-balanced. This rod is perfect for fishing trout, bass, and perch.

Your line will be spoiled by the high-quality aluminum oxide guides. These guides are considered to be among the finest available. This rod is great for casting, provided you respect the line weight and lure recommendations.

This rod’s long handle is made of quality cork and allows for comfortable casting. Split handles are a preferred choice for some anglers. The Fenwick might be a better option.

Although ultralight rods tend to be more expensive than regular rods, this is not the case. The St. Croix is a great rod if you are willing to spend a lot. This rod is my personal favorite, although I would say it beats the G. Loomis in premium rod competition.

Pros

  • Amazing sensitivity
  • Excellent casting
  • Qualitative handles
  • Amazing guides

Cons

  • Expensive

Cadence Fishing CR5 562S-ULMF

Cadence Fishing CR5 Spinning Rods | 30 Ton Carbon | Fuji Reel Seat | Stainless Steel Guides with SiC Inserts | CR5-562S-ULMF

Length5’6″

Materialgraphite

Action/Powerultralight/moderate-fast
The lure’s size:1/32 to 1/8 oz
Line weight:2-6
Handle: Cork 12 inches, EVA foam/spinning
Guides5 + 1stainless Steel With SiC Inserts
Pieces2

Cadence Fishing offers serious rods at great rates. If you’re looking for a panfish rod, this is the right choice. We love the 5’6″, which has moderately fast action.

The CR5 is a great rod to cast accurately because it combined power, action, and length. Like all the other short rods, this rod would be my first choice when trout fishing in small streams.

This moderately fast action can make larger fish fight you, but it also allows for light lines to be used under high stress. The rod bends along its length to absorb any force that would otherwise be transferred onto the line.

The CR5 ultralight rod has a strong construction and will catch largemouth and walleye wherever the line takes it. This rod isn’t ideal for controlling brutes but it’s one that I’d be happy to own!

The guide is of exceptional quality and the handle is perfect in length.

This rod is a great choice for panfish fishing and is a strong contender for our top spot.

Pros

  • Amazing sense of touch
  • Management of qualitative quality
  • Amazing guides
  • Soft hooksets are almost guaranteed
  • Affordable

Cons

  • ???? ????????

G. Loomis Classic Panfish and Trout 102241-01

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Length7
MaterialIMX graphite
Power/actionUltralight/Fast
Size of the lure: 1/32 oz. 1/32 oz. to 3/16 oz.
Line weight:2-6
Handle: continuous cork/spinning
Guide material8 + 1
Pieces2

Loomis is synonymous with quality. You can expect to pay a premium if you want these American-made rods. However, I have never met anyone who regretted spending the money on Loomis rods. Their performance is unmatched.

Loomis’s Panfish and Trout line is extensive. The 7-foot ultralight is my favorite. The company’s blank technology makes this rod whip-thin, but it is surprisingly strong. G. Loomis uses a series of “micro-tapers” along the length of his rod to strengthen the blank at stressed points and keep it slim elsewhere.

This rod works well and can take any big trout you throw at it! This rod is tough enough to take on largemouths.

The cork handle, which is high-end and offers plenty of space for both two-handed casting or hard fighting, is beautiful. This rod is a great guide quality and shows off its superior pedigree.

The Classic Trout and Panfish are a hard-fighting and great casting choice if you can afford it.

Pros

  • Excellent sensitivity
  • Excellent casting
  • Qualitative handles
  • Amazing guides

Cons

  • Expensive

The Best Light-Power Spinning Rods

St. Croix Premier PS66LF

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Length6’6″Materialgraphite
Power/action light/fast
Size of the lure:1/16 to 5/16 oz.
Line weight:4-8 #
Handle: Cork
Guides7+1 Fuji stainless steel with aluminum dioxide inserts
Pieces1 or 2

There are many St. Croix rods on our shortlist. If you have ever fished with one of these rods, you will know why. These rods often offer the best value for money and quickly surpass the quality of competitors. The blank can handle all types of fish, including perch, walleye, bass, and blues.

See also  Best Drop Shot Rods for the Money: Our Favorites Reviewed

The 6’6″ is a favorite in the Premier series. This rod is very well balanced, sensitive, and strong enough to handle smaller species. This rod is not great for worm fishing.

However, I would still choose this rod if I had a single rod.

It’s small enough to cast in the thick material but long enough to propel a 5/16-ounce lure across the country. It’ll be hard to miss big bass, hungry walleye, and angry stripers, but it will do its job admirably when you do yours.

Line failure in a fight will not occur due to friction with eight–that’s correct, eight-Fuji stainless or aluminum oxide guides. This makes it more durable than other similar rods, and it can take a lot more fight than rods with lesser guides.

The rod’s long and continuous handle is covered in premium cork. Split grips are not for you?

Pros

  • Amazing sensitivity
  • Excellent casting
  • Qualitative quality management
  • Amazing guides
  • A great all-arounder for smaller species

Cons

  • Expensive

Fenwick HMG HMG66L-MFS-2

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Length6’6″
MaterialComposite graphite/carbon fiber
Power/actioned. Fast
Size of the lure:1/16 to 3/8 oz
Line weight:4-8 #
Handle: continuous cork
Guides6 + 1 Fuji inserts with Alconite
Pieces2

Fenwick’s HMG is a bargain at an affordable price. It delivers top-quality performance in a rod that’s not too expensive.

The rod is 6’6″, and comes with a blank wrapped in carbon fiber. This provides uncompromising strength, lightweight, and durability. It has a moderately fast action that allows you to detect soft strikes or hesitant bites. However, you will also find plenty of backbone.

This Fenwick, like the more expensive St. Croix, is a great one-rod battery for all small species. I’d be willing to fight any kind of threat my line can withstand with it.

This rod is easy to load and cast, and it will work on everything from small blues to panfish, perch to flounder, and even small blues.

You can expect a high-quality continuous cork and an excellent Fuji Alconite guide, which both speak to the value of this gem.

Pros

  • Amazing sensitivity
  • Excellent casting
  • Qualitative quality management
  • Amazing guides
  • A great all-arounder for smaller species

Cons

  • ?? ??

Ugly Stik USSP562L

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Length5’6″
MaterialComposite fiberglass/graphite
Power/action light/fast
Size of the lure:1/8 to 1/2 oz.
Line weight: From 4-10 #
Handle: continuous EVA foam
GuidesGuides for 5 + 1 Ugly Tuff
Pieces2

I’ve never seen a rod that is as tough as the Ugly Stik. And they have built their reputation by fighting hard every day. The GX2 line-up is tough and lightweight, making it affordable for all anglers.

This 5’6″ rod has a sensitive tip. It is also very short in length, so it will not load well. This rod is excellent for throwing a lure in tight spots, and accuracy is amazing if you do your bit.

This rod’s backbone will be obvious very quickly. It can handle far more fights than you might think. Given the weight of this line, it is unlikely that you will break this rod in the fight.

The reputation of Fuji’s Ugly Tuff guides is not true. They work well in controlled conditions as well as on the water. They will protect your line during a fight and I have nothing bad to say.

You can expect a long, EVA foam handle that is quite comfortable.

Pros

  • Amazing price
  • Sensitivity is a virtue
  • Comfortable grip
  • Excellent guides

Cons

  • They are not as sophisticated as the more expensive rods

Best Medium-Power Spinning Rods

Ugly Stik Elite USESP702M

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 7' - Medium - 2pc

Length 7
Material Composite fiberglass/graphite
Power/action medium/Medium
Size of the lure:1/4 to 5/8 oz.
Line weight:#6-14
Handle: Cork
Guides7 + 1 stainless steel
Pieces2

Ugly Stik rods are made with function in mind and have become a legend for their bomb-proof toughness. A durable stick is a great choice if you have ever seen a rod tip do something stupid.

The Elite series, as its name implies, is a step above Ugly Stik’s other offerings. It offers a lot more graphite in a predominantly fiberglass blank. This reduces the weight and gives stiffness to the fiberglass. This rod is rated medium for action.

You’ll have plenty of rods to cast long distances and enough backbone to catch big fish at seven feet. This rod is so good that I feel confident using it on all kinds of fish, from pike to bull reds. This is a remarkable feat, especially considering the price.

As for sensitivity, it is very high and I have no complaints whatsoever about the blank.

The Ugly Tuff guides on this rod may not look very nice and don’t have the same reputation as their higher-priced counterparts, but they perform well when put to the test. They prevented friction from creating heat by building up line-eating heat. I tried to saw my mono against them.

Even though there are many stainless guides, I am not a fan. While SiC is not required, it’s a cost-saving measure. However, my line will be subject to a lot of abuse from angry or big red pike. I need a high-tech material that can protect it. According to other anglers, braided lines can be worn very quickly by guides.

It is long and well contoured. The handle is also very comfortable. It is a confidence-inspiring sight to see your slip disappear in salt marshes, and you will have plenty of space for a large fish to get into your boat.

Pros

  • Amazing sensitivity
  • Excellent casting
  • Excellent handle
  • A great all-arounder for larger fish
  • Right price

Cons

  • The quality of guides is not good

Shimano Teramar Southeast TMSX710M

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Length7’10”MaterialComposite fiberglass/graphite
Power/action medium/fast
Size of the lure:1/4 to 1 oz
Line weight:8-17 #
Handle: continuous cork
Guides 8 + 1 Fuji New Concept
Pieces1

The Teramar Southeast by Shimano is an excellent inshore rod. It offers great quality and a reasonable price. This rod is terrifying to large fish and a great example of Shimano’s attention to detail.

The blank measures 7’10”, and is made of fiberglass with graphite inner and outer wraps. You get strength when you need it, great casting, and sensitivity. This tech is truly amazing.

This rod is rated for large lures and heavy lines but can still handle 1/4-ounce offerings with ease, making it an excellent choice for inshore fishing. This Shimano is the rod that can rule them all inshore.

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It provides a lot of support for big fish fighting, and you won’t feel outgunned by blues, barracuda, or reds, mahi-mahi to Mahi. Your fish will learn who the boss is quickly when you hit the “steel” fast.

9 Fuji New Concept Guides are worn by the Teramar Southeast. They’ll be a great cushion for your line during a tough struggle.

You can expect very nice continuous cork handles that have plenty of space to work a bruiser.

Pros

  • Amazing blank
  • Excellent casting
  • Excellent handle
  • Amazing guides
  • A great all-rounder for inshore fishing

Cons

  • ?? ??

St. Croix Mojo Inshore MIS76MF

St. Croix MIS76MF Mojo Inshore Graphite Saltwater Spinning Fishing Rod with Split-Grip Handle, 7-feet 6-inches, Black Cherry Metallic

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Length7’6″
Materialgraphite
Power/action medium/fast
Size of the lure:3/8 to 3/4 oz
Line weight:8-17 #
Handle: Split cork
Guides 8 + 1 aluminum oxide

The St. Croix Mojo Inshore, another rod made for saltwater fishing, is capable of handling everything from tuna to stripers. It’s equally adept when dealing with lake trout or pike. I would not hesitate to take this rod on a trip to the Great Lakes and Lake of the Woods.

Our guide to the best offshore spinning rods is available!

St. Croix rods are made to the highest standards, which is evident in every component.

It is light, strong, and sensitive. Although it might just be me, it has a superior length, power, action, and strength to any other blank. This rod excels in wide-open fishing where it is at its best. It’s also ready to fight!

You can also expect premium guides and lots of them. You can rely on them in times of pressure. You can land big fish if you have a quality line and a good drag.

Split cork handles on the Mojo are a love-it or hate-it affair. However, there is no denying the quality materials and attention to detail.

This is a great rod overall!

Pros

  • Amazing sensitivity
  • Excellent casting
  • Excellent handle
  • Amazing guides
  • A great all-arounder for larger fish
  • Right price

Cons

  • ?? ??

Best Heavy-Power Spinning Rods

A heavy rod is usually used in conjunction with a baitcasting line, though there are some notable exceptions.

Shimano Teramar Southeast TMSX710M

CHECK LATEST PRICE

Length7’10”MaterialComposite fiberglass/graphite
Power/action medium/fast
Size of the lure:1/4 to 1 oz
Line weight:8-17 #
Handle: continuous cork
Guides 8 + 1 Fuji New Concept
Pieces1

The Teramar Southeast by Shimano is an excellent inshore rod. It offers great quality and a reasonable price. This rod is terrifying to large fish and a great example of Shimano’s attention to detail.

The blank measures 7’10”, and is made of fiberglass with graphite inner and outer wraps. You get strength when you need it, great casting, and sensitivity. This tech is truly amazing.

This rod is rated for large lures and heavy lines but can still handle 1/4-ounce offerings with ease, making it an excellent choice for inshore fishing. This Shimano is the rod that can rule them all inshore.

It provides a lot of support for big fish fighting, and you won’t feel outgunned by blues, barracuda, or reds, mahi-mahi to Mahi. Your fish will learn who the boss is quickly when you hit that “steel”, just as quickly.

9 Fuji New Concept Guides are worn by the Teramar Southeast. They’ll be a great cushion for your line during a tough struggle.

You can expect very nice continuous cork handles that have plenty of space to work a bruiser.

Pros

  • Amazing blank
  • Excellent casting
  • Excellent handle
  • Amazing guides
  • A great all-rounder for inshore fishing

Cons

  • ?? ??

St. Croix Mojo Inshore MIS76HF

St. Croix Rods Mojo Inshore Casting Rod HF, 7'6'

Length7’6″
MaterialComposite graphite/fiberglass
Power/action-heavy/fast
Size of the lure:1/2 to 2 oz
Line weight:15-30 #
Handle: Split cork
Guides 8 + 1 aluminum oxide

The medium St. Croix Mojo inshore salty rod is perfect for freshwater fish. The quality of the Mojo is more important than the handle preference.

We have already stated that St. Croix makes their rods to a high standard. This is evident in every component.

The blank is strong, sensitive, and durable, just as it should for deep fishing. There is no stronger spinning rod on the market, and I would not hesitate to take this rod to its limits with the spinning reel that it’s paired.

You can expect premium guides and plenty of them. This rod can handle big fish if you use a high-quality line and adjust your drag correctly.

This Mojo’s 21-inch split cork handle is easy to use or not affair. However, it shows the quality materials and attention that went into every detail. This length will give you the leverage you need to tie into a marlin, swordfish, or other fish. It will help you win the fights of your dreams!

This is a great rod overall!

Pros

  • Amazing sensitivity
  • Excellent casting
  • Excellent handle
  • Amazing guides
  • A great all-arounder for larger fish
  • Right price

Cons

  • ???? ??

What to Consider when Choosing a Spinning Rod

You need to ask yourself some basic questions before you can choose the right rod.

  • What size fish are you after?
  • Which techniques will you use?
  • A sharp hookset is crucial.
  • What distance will you need?
  • How precise will you have to cast?

These questions will tell you a lot about what action, power, and length are best for you.

We’ll be reviewing “general purpose” rods and not technique- or species-specific models. This means that rod companies such as B’n’M, Dobyns, and others will not be included in our reviews.

Take Action

The rod’s action is the point along which its length will bend under load. Fast action rods bend near the tip and are stiff for most of their length. Slow action rods, on the other hand, bend closer to their handle and reel the seat, and curve over a greater portion of their length.

A rod with a rapid action will generally offer more sensitivity at the tip. This allows you to detect strikes easier. A rod with a slower action will generally provide more cushion at the hookset.

However, fast is not better than slow, and slow is not better than slow.

You should match the rod’s action with the technique you are using.

A good pitching rod should have moderately fast action and bend near the tip. A good drop shot rod, on the other hand, will bend closer to its handle.

Hookset is a function of power. The faster the rod, and the better the set, the more powerful it will be. If you’re worm fishing using a single hook, it’s easy to notice the difference between slow and fast rods. However, crankbaits that have sharp treble hooks will require a slower rod because the fish has less time to swallow your lure.

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The same holds for America’s most beloved game fish, but it is also true for many other species. If you are fishing with a single hook, it is better to go faster. If you have to wait for the fish’s attention or if you are throwing a treble-hooked lure it is better to go slower.

Description power and action

Power

The force required to bend a rod is called power. A rod’s power, together with its action, tells you a lot about how it will perform. A stiffer blank will allow you to last longer and increase your hookset’s power.

Ultralight explains everything: The blank’s power, which is extremely light, means that it can bend under small loads. A two-pound fish will bend your rod into an arc, even with quick action.

You might think ultralight is “weak” but that could not be further from reality.

Ultralight and light don’t mean weak. However, heavy can be used to refer to very, very strong.

You can increase the power by moving the rod up from light to medium to heavy. This increases the stiffness of the blank. You should use a heavier rod for bigger fish. However, as with action, the rod should match your fishing style.

Heavy power rods can be used to catch the biggest, most dangerous fish: sharks, large muskies, lake trout, and monster pike. Medium power rods, on the other hand, have a strong backbone that allows for great hooksets. They are excellent for species such as redfish, tuna, and large bass.

They would make a horrible choice for bluegill or crappie!

Most of the time, the answer to the question “What species am I after?” will reveal which power you should choose.

Length

The rod’s length will determine how far you can cast, but it will also affect how precise your casts are. While shorter rods can be deadly precise, casting distance will be affected by them being less accurate.

A longer rod is a good choice if you are certain you will be fishing in shallow waters and you need to cast a long distance to catch the fish. Surf fishing is another example.

If you need to cast into dense cover, however, it is best to go short.

I fish with a rod six-and-a-half feet in length. If you aren’t sure of your needs, that’s the ideal length to start with.

Line and lure weight

Near the reel seat, a rod will almost always include a designated line and lure weight. These limits can be exceeded, but performance will suffer.

These weights are indicative of the rod’s power, action, and casting ability.

Guides

A good rod has a great guide. Bad guides can cost you more fish than dull hooks or cheap lines.

The guides divide the strain you experience fighting fish with your line by the number of their numbers (roughly). The friction between the line’s and guide material can become intense. If they aren’t made of high-quality materials and designed to perform, guides will wear your line, compromising even the most strong braids.

This video demonstrates how to best test guide quality. Try sawing the line against a large guide. If the line breaks fast, it’s time to give the rod a pass.

Video showing how fragile a line is and how quality guides are tested

As a general rule, more is better. An increase in the guide count means that each one takes less strain and creates less friction.

One guide per foot is a good rule of thumb.

Material

Modern fishing rods are made of a variety of materials including graphite and carbon fiber. Some fishing rods feature composite construction that uses more than one material as their backbone.

  • graphite is strong, stiff, and light. It is a durable and strong choice for rods due to its stiffness.
  • fiberglass is usually more expensive than graphite, but it is heavier. Although it isn’t as sensitive nor as stiff as graphite, it can still be extremely strong and deserves a place in your arsenal of angling tools. A bit of fiberglass in your blank is welcome, especially if you are fighting over the weight of your rod.
  • Carbon fiber is the strongest, strongest, lightest, and most expensive material for rod blanks. Its performance is unmatched, but so too is its cost!

Handle

The decision about which handle you choose is personal. What’s easy for me may not be right for you. There are generally two main handle materials: EVA foam and cork.

  • work is more appealing and warmer, but it is less forgiving of rough treatment.
  • EVA foam’s softer to the touch and more flexible than other materials.

Last Thoughts

It’s hard to take in all that information, but it’s worth taking the time to read through our thoughts.

It’s important to remember that there is no “best” rod. There are many better and worse options for the species you want, the techniques you will use, and the lures that you’ll throw.

Even if these questions have been answered, your personal preference still matters. You can choose a few rods that meet your most basic needs and then decide which one you like best.

My favorite rod is my favorite.

We’ll still review the book, but we will be fair and impartial, noting any merits or issues that may be of concern.

Last Thoughts

You might have the perfect rod, but it may not be right for you. It is important to know what you fish and how you fish. If you are a spinner tackle angler, you will be happy to know that rod manufacturers offer a range of rods, from ultralight to heavy.

We haven’t included any technique or species-specific rods in this review. You won’t find crappie and bass rods such as the great B’n’M or trolling rods such as the Shimano. All the products we review are “general-purpose” tools that allow you to get maximum use out of a single purchase.

We hope you found this buying guide helpful and look forward to hearing from you.

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Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.