UglyStik Elite Casting Rod Reviewed

Shakespeare’s UglyStik is known for its bomb-proof toughness. If you’ve ever felt the pain of a rod breaking, you will understand how important this can be.

They also price their rods to make it easy for anglers to access them.

However, inexpensive rods are often not worth the effort. Below $60, you’ll find more trash than treasure.

UglyStik’s Elite is a bid to offer good quality at a reasonable price. In this review, I will be testing their 7-foot casting rod.

What is its performance relative to the rest?

Continue reading to learn more!

UglyStik Elite Casting Rod Review


Length 7
Blank material: Composite graphite/fiberglass
Power/action medium-heavy/fast
Size of the lure: 1/4 oz. 1/4 oz. to 3/4 oz.
Line weight: 10-20#
Handle: 15.15 ” continuous cork
Guide material 8+1/stainless Steel
Pieces 1


The heart of any rod’s blank is the core, and Shakespeare chose to replace their fiberglass with graphite.

It is the idea of combining the toughness fiberglass UglyStiks have become well-known for the increased sensitivity and stiffness of graphite.

This blank was slightly bent towards the tip after it had been removed from the shipping tube. This is not a problem: Most blanks will have some form of warp during manufacturing, and fiberglass rods will often straighten over time.

This blank performs better than I expected for a rod at this price.

It is very sensitive at its tip, which you can expect from UglyStiks in general. This will enable you to detect all strikes, as well as the sucking sound of a bass that engulfs your Worm.

See also  How To Get Fish in a Bucket?

If you hook a large fish, the blank will find its backbone approximately 1/3rd of the way from the tip. You’ll be amazed at your muscle mass and strength. I quickly tested this by putting it to the test with Stren mono 20-pounds and a 5kg (11-pounds) weight.

I didn’t intend to damage the rod or make any mistakes, but to see what the dead weight would tell us about the blank. I felt the rod take the strain well, with the rod bending in a nice, parabolic arc for about half an hour. It left me with plenty of power on my end.

What does it tell me?

You’ll have plenty of control when you hook a true brute. You won’t be outmuscled by a large bass, but a big pike, big red, or small shark will have to deal with this blank.

I would not hesitate to use the rod on any fish that my line can catch.

When the rod arrived, I wasn’t sure what I would think. I prefer graphite blanks but I can see the benefits fiberglass has for crankbaits.

Having broken one rod, it’s clear that this is one tough stick. The rod’s sensitivity and backbone are impressive, especially when compared with other rods.


The quality of guides is often affected by rods that are reasonably priced. This is a fact.

Rod manufacturers have cut corners on the quality of their guides to keep costs low. They decided not to include the Fuji name brand and silicone oxide inserts to reach a price point that anglers can afford.

This is certainly the case. You get eight guides including the tip. However, they aren’t as strong as rods with higher-end rods such as those made by G. Loomis and St. Croix.

See also  Best Fish Scalers for 2021

You can expect polished, one-piece stainless steel–what Shakespeare called Ugly Tuff technology. They are extremely strong and well-wrapped. They will withstand a beating and remain put.

You can see that they are not perfectly aligned. However, this is purely cosmetic. It doesn’t matter if alignment is really bad.

They are better than you might think, according to my testing.

  • Many guides can help you evenly distribute your weight and stress.
  • They are small enough to increase sensitivity, which is always a good thing.
  • They are tough enough to take it on the water, in your boat, and your truck’s bed.
  • I sawed at the biggest guide with 6-pound mono. I could not get the friction line to break, no matter how hard I tried.

Do you think it’s pretty? No. They are ugly.

However, on the water, I would have complete confidence in these Ugly Tuff guides to get the job done and protect my line in a tough fight.

I am both surprised and impressed.


Shakespeare may have cut corners with the cork handle. I don’t know where. It measures 15 inches long (with some …) extra), so there is plenty of space to cast and fight. This rod is important for its intended purpose, and I can’t fault it in any way.

This rod was tested with heavy deadweight. I found enough territory for two hands and plenty of room to insert the end into my abdomen. It pulled well.

Split handles or EVA foam are not recommended. However, the cork looks great and the contours are a nice touch.

Although the trigger looks cheap, it feels solid and smooth in my hands.

See also  How To Use A Fish Stringer With Technique?

The UglyStik Elite in the Shimano Curado HGK.

My verdict: Better than you would expect!

Reel Seat

The reel seat of the UglyStik Elite’s UglyStik Elite Elite is made out of plastic. Some parts are dressed up to look like polished metal.

Trust me, I was not impressed at first glance. However, when I added my Shimano to the mix and turned it down, there was not a wiggle.

Although it may look cheap, the interior is as safe and secure as any other I have used. It’s obvious that Shakespeare is trying to reduce the cost of this place, but Shakespeare himself said, “All’s well, that ends well.”

I am impressed again.

Last Thoughts

The UglyStik Elite is not a high-end rod. But, then again, your wallet won’t be mistaken for one.

Let’s face it, many of us, including myself, are on a tight budget and can’t afford to spend a few hundred dollars on a rod. A bargain-priced rod can be a great option for anglers looking to purchase a lot of rods.

I was unsure how the Elite would perform until I tried it out, but I can honestly say that I am a fan.

It’s worth a try.

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.