One Rod To Rule Them All? Best Bass Fishing Rods Reviewed

Bass fishing requires a wide range of techniques and the right tackle. It’s not difficult to find dedicated anglers with dozens of rods in their boats.

For most people, however, it’s not possible to spend thousands on rods. If you’re just starting out in largemouth bass fishing, one stick will suffice. You can always expand your options to tackle specific techniques later, but right now you only need one rod that does everything well.

What are the qualities you should look for in an all-rounder?

This is a difficult question and we are here to answer it. Below you will find detailed information on what to look out for as well as reviews about some of our favorite bass rods.

Here’s a quick look at the top bass fishing rods currently on the market:

  • Dobyns Rods, FR 703COur Choice!
  • Cadence CR7B
  • Daiwa Tatula XT TXT731MHFB
  • Lew’s Tournament Performance Speed Stick TP1
  • St. Croix Mojo MJC70MHMF

Reviews of the Best Bass Fishing Rods

Dobyns Rods, FR 703COur Choice!Dobyns Rods Fury Series 7'0

 

Length 7
Power/Action Medium-Heavy/Fast
Material Graphite
Handle: Split cork/Hypalon Butt
Guides10 + tip/Zero Tangle Knit with SiC Inserts
Size of the lure:1/4 – 1 ounce
Line weight:10-17 lb
Pieces1

Dobyns rods are a well-known brand to bass anglers. They have been proven reliable year after season, tournament after tournament. The 703C from Dobyns is a remarkable addition to our reviews.

The 703C is 7 feet long and has a graphite blank. It offers strength and sensitivity. This rod is so sensitive and powerful at the tip, it can be used with topwater lures such as worms and chatterbaits. This rod is also great for throwing crankbaits. The rod’s high-modulus blank provides plenty of stiffness, so you can fish senkos, soft plastics and other soft materials with great hooksets.

Casting is great, as you would expect. The rod’s small guides really aid in this regard.

The 703C can throw 1/4 ounce jigs, despite being rated for heavy lures. This tells you a lot more about tip sensitivity, blank quality, and helps explain why this rod is a great all-arounder.

Your line will stay cool and free from fraying with 11 Kigan guides that have silicone carbide inserts. This rod will be your first quality rod. You’ll notice a decrease in break-offs during hard fights if you use it.

The 703C has a split handle with Hypalon, a synthetic rubber to the rear and high-grade cork at the fore. Dobyns has executed a great design.

Pros

  • Amazing, completely blank
  • Excellent guides
  • Excellent handle
  • Extremely sensitive
  • Use a variety lures and techniques to attract them.

Cons

  • ?? ??

Cadence CR7B

Cadence CR7B Baitcasting Rods Fast Action Fishing Rods Super Lightweight Sensitive Portable Casting Rods 40 Ton Carbon Fuji Reel Seat Stainless Steel Guides with SiC Insert Baitcast Rods(CR7-691B-MHF)

Length7’0″
Power/ActionMedium-heavy/Fast
MaterialCarbon fiber
Handle:Split EVA foam
Guides7+ tip/Stainless steel with SiC inserts
Size of the lure:1/4 to 3/4 ounce
Line weight:12-20 lb
Pieces1

John Crews points out that a rod of moderate price can be as good as expensive ones. This is certainly true of the Cadence CR7. While you will notice some cost savings, it’s still a highly-performance rod for a low price.

Let’s start by stating a simple truth: The Cadence CR7 rod series offers features you would expect to find at a higher price. These rods are made from carbon fiber, not graphite. We’re impressed with the components of the CR7!

If you are looking for an all-arounder, the 7′ multi-purpose Rod is a good place to start. The blank is medium-heavy and has enough backbone to handle large fish. It also features a tip with good strike detection and lure action. Although it is not as versatile as the Dobyns’, I would still use this rod to run crankbaits, pitch soft plastics and topwater poppers.

There were some compromises made in order to reduce costs. This is evident in the guide and handle.

The CR7 uses stainless guides with silicon carbide inserts. These rods are an excellent choice but they don’t compete with more expensive rods. We’re disappointed that there are only eight of these rods.

The handle of the CR7 features split EVA foam. It’s not flashy or fancy, but it’s sufficient comfortable to be a pleasant surprise.

Blank quality is where the rod shines.

Pros

  • Amazing, completely blank
  • Extremely sensitive
  • Use a variety lures and techniques to attract them.
  • It’s affordable

Cons

  • At this price point, corners must be cut
  • OK guides
  • OK

Daiwa Tatula XT TXT731MHFB

Rod-TATULA XT, Sections= 1, Line Wt.= 10-20

Length7’3″
Power/ActionMedium-heavy/Fast
MaterialGraphite
Handle:Split EVA foam
Guides9/Fuji aluminum oxide
Size of the lure:1/4 – 1 ounce
Line weight:10-20 lb
Pieces1

Fishing is a hobby, so you should know Daiwa’s name. Their Tatula XT series of rods will add serious value to your fishing gear that won’t break the bank.

The Tatula 7’3″ medium-heavy rod with fast action is our favorite all-arounder. This versatile rod, similar to the Dobyns 703C is versatile and can be used for many techniques. It is extremely sensitive and will allow you to get the best action from your lures, whether you are jigging or topwater.

Excellent strike detection is also possible.

The Tatula series uses a graphite blank which is both light-weight and stiff. This provides enough backbone to allow for bass muscling out of cover. Hooksets with soft plastics such as senkos and other soft plastics also work well.

The guide quality is excellent, as you would expect from Fuji components. They are very small, which improves casting and feels. We’d love to have an additional guide, just like the St. Croix.

The Tatula XT series features a split EVA foam handle with a soft, comfortable feel that is both hardworking and tough.

This rod is a great all-rounder for freshwater fishing.

Pros

  • Amazing, just-in-all blank
  • Excellent guides
  • Excellent handle
  • Extremely sensitive
  • Use a variety lures and techniques to attract them.

Cons

  • Dobyns has two guides less

Lew’s Tournament Performance Speed Stick TP1

Lew's TP1 Speed Stick 6'10' Medium Heavy Spinnerbaits/Plastics Casting Rod

Length7’0″
Power/ActionMedium-heavy/Fast
MaterialGraphite
Handle:Winn Grip splits Dri-Tac handle
Guides8 + tip/American Tackle Guides for Microwaves
Size of the lure:1/4 – 7/8 ounces
Line weight:12-25 lb
Pieces1

Lew’s Speed Stick is similar to the Cadence CR7 and offers a lot for your money. It may actually offer the best price to performance ratio of all the products on our list. We are impressed by the product’s versatility and quality, as well as the blank.

The 7′ medium-heavy rod is recommended. The rod is strong enough to handle a large bass fighting, has a backbone that will ensure a strong hookset and a sensitive tip to help you use your lures like a pro. Although it’s not as good as some of the top rods on our list, we can’t complain about this rod for half the price!

The American Tackle Microwave guides, which include nine guides for casting, are incredibly smooth. Although they are small enough to improve casting distance, we would like to see a few more. This is more of a quirk than a complaint at this price.

The Speed Stick’s handle is truly distinctive. No matter what Winn’s Dri-Tac material is, it’s soft, grippy and very attractive. This rod’s split design allows for all-day comfort, regardless of how big or small your hands are.

Pros

  • Amazing, completely blank
  • Extremely sensitive
  • Use a variety lures and techniques to attract them.
  • Amazing handle
  • It’s affordable

Cons

  • It would be great to have a few more guides.

St. Croix Mojo MJC70MHMF

St. Croix Rods Mojo Bass Casting Rod

Length 7
Power/ActionMedium-heavy/Moderate-Fast
MaterialGraphite
Handle:Split cork
Guides8 + tip/Kigan master Hand 3D guides with aluminum dioxide inserts
Size of the lure:3/8 – 3/4 ounces
Line weight:12-20 lb
Pieces1

Like Dobyns and St. Croix is a favorite rod of our rod reviews. It’s because of their high-quality rods and attention to detail. It’s also because St. Croix seems “mojo” on the line’s blanks. This feeling will be shared with you the first time that you fish one.

The 7′ Mojo is an excellent all-rounder. The high-modulus graphite blank makes it strong and stiff. However, it is still capable of handling lures that are at or slightly below the recommended weights. This rod is medium-heavy and extremely sensitive, possibly edging out Dobyns.

I’d throw jigs, softplastics, and topwater with this rod!

Your line is in good hands with nine Kigan Master guides. These are the only true competitors to Fuji in terms quality. It’s worth noting, however, that Dobyns also uses them. They are also small and improve casting. We’d give the 703C the edge here, but we’d still recommend it for its additional guide.

The Mojo has a premium cork split grip. It’s well-designed, executed. This might be the right choice for you if split cork is your favorite.

Pros

  • Amazing, completely blank
  • Excellent guides
  • Excellent handle
  • Extremely sensitive
  • Use a variety lures and techniques to attract them.

Cons

  • The Dobyns 703C is perhaps not as versatile.

Baitcasting vs. Spinning Tackle

Baitcasting tackle is the most popular method of bass fishing. It’s rare to find a serious bass angler who has a spinning setup in their hand.

Television and YouTube are a major factor in the lopsided win for baitcasters. We fish what we see on TV and YouTube, and pros have been using baitcasters for decades. There are many reasons that they chose these tools and it is worth discussing.

Why do the pros prefer baitcasting rods and reels?

Let’s look closely at the reasons why baitcasting tackle is superior to bass fishing.

Our guide will show you the best bass baitcasting reels.

Heavy line –This is the main reason why the baitcaster is so popular among bass anglers. When lines exceed 10 to 12 pounds, spinning reels have trouble. Casting suffers, regardless of whether the line slips off the spool, or if it retains too many memories with fluorocarbon mainline.

Baitcasters, on the other hand, love heavy test and in-line spooling reduces memory problems.

Control –A baitcasting reel gives you greater control over your casting in all conditions except windy. Baitcasting reels allow experienced bass anglers to cast with greater accuracy and finesse because the spool turns freely. Once you have mastered the secrets of the casting reel, your thumb can also help you spot bites.

Drag –Baitcasting reels have superior drag systems. The star-shaped knob provides greater drag, precise settings and better smoothness than even the most powerful spinning reels.

Gear ratio –The high gear ratios on baitcasters are unbeatable for running buzz baits or other fast-moving presentations.

Stouter rods –Although not an absolute rule, baitcasting rods offer more backbone and are therefore ideal for single-hook applications such as worms or soft plastics.

What are the Weaknesses in Baitcasting Tackle

Baitcasters may not be superior in all respects, so it is worth looking at where they are lacking.

Easy-of-useWhile spinning reels are easy to use, there is a bit more work involved with baitcasters. You should expect to have bird’s nests until you get some serious thumb muscle!

Line Light –Spinners will outperform baitcasters if they are less than 10 pounds in line or its equivalent diameter. This is the sweet spot in their design, and what they are intended to do.

Light luresBaitcasting designs have a spool that spins, unlike a fixed spool on a spinning rod. However, physics is not a good judge of quality.

This means that no matter how many bearings are used, the viscosity or materials of the lubrication, friction will be generated by the spool. Casting will be affected by very light lures, which can weigh in at 1/32 of an ounce. This is why most ultralight and light rods have a spinning reel.

Braid –Contrary to popular belief, baitcasting reels can have braid problems, particularly in smaller diameters. Even with superlines as heavy as 10-pound mono, a firm snag, wicked fight or hard hookset can cause a braid problem and bury the first spool-wrap.

Wind –The spinning reel’s fixed spool spins freely while the baitcasting spool spins. This can cause problems when you cast a light lure in the wind. The lure will slow down when it encounters resistance in the air. However, the spool continues to spin vigorously.

What happens if the line is coming off of the spool quicker than the lure is moving? You’re in real trouble, that’s what it is!

We recommend Baitcasting Tackle for general bass fishing.

It’s easy to see why the majority of bass anglers prefer baitcasting tackle after weighing all the pros and cons.

A lot of people will want to use heavy line to pull large females out of heavy cover. This, along with the superior drag control, helps explain why this is a good choice.

Be sure to not bury your braid in the spool with hooksets. Instead, spend time mastering your thumb skills. A baitcasting reel can be your best friend once you have your skills mastered.

A spinning setup is ideal for finesse presentations in spring or high winds. We recommend this tackle as a general-purpose bass rod.

What we look for in a general-purpose bass rod

It’s difficult to find a rod that is able to master all the techniques involved in bass fishing. A good worm rod can be very different from a crankbait rod. This is why this article is about a “jack-of-all trades” type of rod.

A rod that is specifically designed for a particular technique will likely outperform other options, but any rod on this list can do most jobs well.

For a general purpose bass rod, I recommend using medium-heavy, quick-action blanks. This combination is versatile and will allow you to cast both weightless soft plastics and heavy crankbaits. It can be used in conjunction with a high speed reel to cover almost any situation on the water.

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 their length. Slow action rods, on the other hand, bend closer to their handle and reel seat and curve over a greater portion of their length.

The blanks of great bass rods are tailored to the technique and attract serious bass anglers to an arsenal of rods. It’s more than just the lure of more tackle. A rod that is great for pitching won’t work well for drop-shotting.

Most of us don’t have the money or ability to spend thousands on a bunch of rods. If you only have one good bass rod to use in as many situations, I suggest a fast action that is more in the area of crankbaiting and pitching than drop-shotting.

Why?

You probably already have a spinning setup. If you do, it can be used for drop shot rigs or swimbaits. These applications don’t require a slower action or a lower power level.

This is one reason. But the greatest is the fact that pitching is the most dominant technique in bass fishing. It is often paired with an attractive soft bait and has been proven to be effective with everything, from G. Loomis rods to cane poles.

To feel the “suck”, when a bass swallows your lure you will need to take quick action. A fast tip will allow you to pitch that worm every time.

Power

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

Bass rods that are dedicated to bass fishing tend to be heavier. They provide greater control and more control during a fight thanks to their stiffer, stronger blanks. This may seem like a small thing if you have ever fished panfish. But it can be heart-stopping to watch a large bass race toward trees and stumps or wrap his line around a piling. A stout blank is necessary to make that big lady turn.

Hookset certainty is another benefit of more power and faster action. A single hook is best, especially when pitching soft plastics and other soft materials. You will need a stiff rod and a low-stretch braid to drive the hook home with 20-30, 40 or perhaps 40 feet of line between your terminal tackle and you.

A medium-heavy power is recommended for a general-purpose bass rod.

Length

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

I recommend a length of 7 feet for a general-purpose rod. This will give you enough length to cast without sacrificing accuracy for pitching.

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.

We review rods that are between 10 and 20 pounds for line testing and 1/4 to 1 ounce for lures.

Guides

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

The guides divide the strain you experience fighting fish with your line by their number. The friction between your line and the guide material can become intense. If they aren’t made of high quality materials and designed to perform, guides will wear your 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 a sign to give up on that rod.

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

More is generally better. A higher guide count will mean that each one is less stressed, creating less friction at any given point.

A good rule of thumb is to have one guide per foot plus one.

John Crews, a Bassmaster pro, prefers microguides. “They give you a lot more feel and casting distance, because they funnel the casting energies in a straighter line,” he says.

We are in agreement. The rods that we reviewed were fitted with small guides.

Material

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

  • GraphiteIt is strong, stiff and light. It is a durable and strong choice for rods due to its stiffness.
  • FiberglassIt 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 fiberIt is the strongest, strongest, lightest and most expensive material for rod blanks. Its performance is unmatched, but so too is its cost!

High-modulus graphite and carbon fiber are good choices for a general-purpose, all-purpose bass rod. These materials provide the stiffness, sensitivity and durability you need to make soft plastics.

Handle

The decision about which handle you choose is personal. What’s easy for me may be difficult for you. There are generally two main handle materials: EVA foam and cork.

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

Price

It’s easy to get very expensive when bass fishing. However, more money will often lead to diminishing returns.

You may have heard the saying, “Enough is as good a feast as a rod.” This is just as true for rods than for any other item. A great rod is better than a poor rod, but an amazing rod is often not as good as a good one.

Crews states, “There is a huge difference between a low-end rod and a high-end rod.” It’s easy to see the difference. A medium-priced rod is less expensive than a high-priced rod. This difference can only be made by a very experienced angler. A super-expensive rod is not necessary for most anglers. Most anglers will find their best value in the medium price range. That’s the price range I use in my Bassmaster Elite Series.

This will be our guideline as we create our rod list. We want to find the middle ground where you get the best value for your hard-earned money.

Our Pick – The Dobyns Rods F 703C!

Each rod on this list makes a great choice and will serve you well. However, we think the Dobyns 703C is our favorite. If you ask serious bass anglers, they’ll agree.

Dobyns isn’t afraid to show their quality, and their Fury series is the perfect choice for a bass arsenal. The 703C’s heart is a stiff, sensitive blank that allows you to fish many lures. Although it is not suitable for drop-shotting or crankbaits, I would still use this rod for both. I also recommend it for soft plastics, topwater and spinners.

Casting performance and guide quality are both excellent. You also get a great handle for all-day comfort.

This is what I love about it.

Although the St. Croix Mojo may be a formidable competitor, it offers an astonishingly sensitive blank with lots of backbone to turn monsters and set hooks. Some might prefer this rod’s action and balance to the 703C. We are happy to say that these rods are neck-and-neck, with the exception of the Dobyns being able to handle heavier weights.

The Lew’s Tournament Performance TP1 speed stick is a good choice for budget-minded anglers. This stick delivers exceptional performance for a very affordable price, and is well worth the money.

We’d love to hear your thoughts as always! Leave a comment below

Lewis
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.