The 5 Best Casting Rods in 2021 [Buyer’s Guide]

Casting rods, also called spin cast rods, are the most popular among professional anglers for their strength and sensitivity. They handle heavy-duty use much more gracefully than other rods. They also cast much further than any other rod type. However, with many choices on the market, how can you know which is the best one?

So, without further ado, here is everything you should know about the best casting rods, what makes them good, and how to choose them.

Comparison Table

ModelPowerActionLength rangePieces
St. Croix Mojo BassMedium to heavyModerate to extra-fast6’8” to 7’11”1-2
St. Croix PremierMedium to heavyFast5’6” to 7’1-2
KastKing Perigee IIMedium to heavyFast6’ to 7’6”1-2-3
Ugly Stik GX2Medium to heavyFast5’6” to 7’6”1-2
Daiwa Tatula XTMedium to heavyFast and extra-fast6’6” to 8′1-2

The 5 Best Casting Rods in 2021

Here are the best casting rod options on the market and what makes them stand out among others.

1. St. Croix Premier – Premium Choice

St. Croix Premier

Most anglers are happy with whatever gets the job done at a reasonable price. However, some anglers have pretty high standards. If you don’t like settling for less, behold the amazing St. Croix Premier.

First things first, this rod boasts a premium construction. The blank is made of mid-modulus SCII graphite that makes it really strong without increasing the weight or reducing its impressive sensitivity. It’s so strong that St. Croix felt confident enough to back it with a 5-year warranty.

Also, the Kigan Master Hand 3D guides excel with their aluminum-oxide rings because of how strong yet lightweight they are; there’s no point in carrying unnecessary weight anymore.

We love how comfortable the cork handle is. It has a premium feel and looks. Seriously, other anglers will realize at first glance that your rod isn’t cheap.

The power of this premium-quality rod ranges from medium to heavy, which is more than enough from a casting rod. The size options lie between 5’6” to 7’, so although it makes a good option for medium-range fishing, it’s not that streamlined for long casting. Moreover, it comes in a one-piece or two-piece design so that you can choose the one you’re most comfortable with.

However, it’s not without disadvantages. Firstly, its premium price tag means that it won’t be affordable to everyone. Secondly, its limited options pale when compared to other options on the list, which offer more diverse choices.

Pros:

  • Premium cork handle
  • Strong Kigan Master Hand 3D guides
  • Mid-modulus graphite blank
  • Sensitive
  • 5-year warranty

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Not the most diverse in options

Final Verdict

The St. Croix Premier rod offers premium construction and performance to anglers that are hard to please.

2.  St. Croix Mojo Bass – Best for Bass

St. Croix Mojo Bass

Many manufacturers wax poetic about their rod’s capabilities but don’t specify what kind of fishing it’s for. So, anglers buy them enthusiastically and use them for bass fishing, only to be disappointed. St. Croix stepped up its game and gave us the St. Croix Mojo Bass, a rod that can actually handle catching bass.

This rod is meant for heavy-duty work, which reflects in its construction. The blank is made of high-modulus, high-strain SCIII graphite, which gives the rod superior strength and sensitivity. Like the previous model, St. Croix backs it with a 5-year warranty as proof of reliability.

Moreover, it’s 15% more lightweight than other casting rods and is highly sensitive to the tiniest bites, which helps you react better to the bites of small and game bass. The Strong Kigan Master Hand 3D guides are made of aluminum-oxide rings that are both slim and strong, which helps you focus more on catching bass than worry about a flimsy rod.

Bass fishing doesn’t just need durability; it requires long-term comfort, which is why the Mojo Bass has a premium split-grip cork handle so that you can spend all day fishing comfortably.

The Mojo Bass comes in medium to heavy varieties. Unlike most casting rods that are only fast, this one offers moderate to extra-fast choices. It also boasts a wide range of sizes from 6’8” to 7’11”. Plus, it comes in one-piece and two-piece options.

However, we can’t ignore the high price tag, yet it’s justified by the premium quality and performance.

Pros:

  • Sturdy graphite blank
  • Premium split-grip cork handle
  • Many diverse options
  • Sensitive
  • Strong Kigan Master Hand 3D guides
  • 5-year warranty

Cons:

  • More expensive than other choices

Final Verdict

The St. Croix Mojo Bass rod is the ideal choice for bass fishing, as it’s made with premium materials that bear bass fishing techniques and methods in mind.

3. KastKing Perigee II – Best Twin-tip Option

KastKing Perigee II

Ever regretted your purchase after finding out your rod’s power doesn’t match your fishing demands? Twin-tip rods offer anglers 2-in-1 options. So, if you’re looking for a casting rod with two different powers, we recommend the KastKing Perigee II.

The Perigee II blew us away with how affordable it is, which is great news for anglers on a budget that still look for a variety of options.

In terms of construction, this rod doesn’t mess around. It has a 24-ton carbon fiber blank that ensures the rod’s superior strength and sensitivity and puts other fiberglass rods to shame.

The Fuji O-Ring line guides are more lightweight than other guides yet more rigid. Plus, the reel seats are made of ergonomic, high-strength graphite to ensure that the reels stay in place. The Saf-T Keeper hook holder acts as an extra security measure as well.

This rod also impresses with how many models it offers. It comes in strengths that range from medium to heavy. If you get a twin-top model, you can pick not just one, but two powers, such as a medium-light with a medium-tip rod or medium with a medium-heavy tip.

Also, it comes in a variety of sizes, ranging between 6’6” and 7’6”, and you can have it in a one-piece or two-piece design, depending on whether you need a portable rod.

Yet, not everything is sunshine and rainbows. The lack of bend in this rod means that it’s brittle and can break if you’re not careful.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Diverse options
  • Twin-tips choices
  • Superior carbon fiber blank
  • Fuji O-Ring line guides
  • Sensitive
  • Saf-T Keeper hook holder

Cons:

  • Brittle

Final Verdict

The KastKing Perigee II rod is the best option with twin-top models, as it acts as a 2-in-1 rod.

Read also some of the Best Spinning Rods in 2021

4. Ugly Stik GX2 – Budget Choice

Ugly Stik GX2

If you’ve ever been in any fishing discourse, the names Ugly Stik or GX2 must have come up at some point. Ugly Stik has been around for a while, making affordable, high-quality fishing equipment that makes rivals tremble.

The Ugly Stik GX2 rod is the best budget-friendly casting rod, proving that you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get fishing equipment that lasts. Also, it’s pretty easy on the eyes.

Its blank construction is pretty innovative, as it combines graphite and fiberglass, with more graphite than previous models. This blend results in a rod that’s more lightweight and sensitive without compromising the durability we all know Ugly Stik for. In fact, the rod is backed by a 7-year warranty, so the manufacturer definitely believes in it.

The inclusion of a fiberglass clear tip adds to the sensitivity and strength of the rod. Also, we love the Ugly Tuff one-piece stainless steel guides because they last way longer than guides on similarly priced rods.

The rod comes in diverse powers, including medium, medium-light, medium-heavy, and heavy. Also, it comes in lengths that range between 5’6” and 7’6” with the option of being one-piece or two pieces.

While the one-piece guides are amazing on their own, we feel that the rod needs more guides for more accurate casting.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Sleek appearance
  • Lightweight feel
  • Sensitive clear tip
  • Sturdy composite rod
  • 7-year warranty

Cons:

  • Needs more guides

Final Verdict

The Ugly Stik GX2 rod is our favorite budget choice because it’s not just affordable, but also extremely durable, sensitive, and diverse.

5. Daiwa Tatula XT – Best for Game Fish

Daiwa Tatula XT

Daiwa is not new to heavy-duty fishing gear. If you’re on the run to catch some big fish species, you’ll find what you need in Daiwa’s rods, especially the Daiwa Tatula XT.

The rod stands out for its high-modulus HVF carbon blank that stands the test of time. The high-quality graphite is lightweight and sensitive, so you’ll feel the smallest nibble and the lightest attack.

The Fuji Guides are made of aluminum-oxide to withstand the elements and different types of fishing lines. We also love how comfortable and practical the split-grip EVA handles feel, which enables you to fish all day unbothered.

You can find the rod in powers ranging from medium to heavy, perfect for its target audience. Also, it offers fast and extra-fast actions. As for the size, it’s the longest model on our list, which allows you to cast as far as you like. Besides, you can find it in one-piece and two-piece constructions.

However, we can’t help but notice how expensive this rod is. Additionally, its length and actions make it unsuitable for catching small fish and using lightweight lures.

Pros:

  • High-modulus HVF carbon blank
  • Sensitive
  • Lightweight
  • Fuji aluminum-oxide Guides
  • Split-grip EVA handles

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Not for small fish

Final Verdict

The Daiwa Tatula XT rod is ideal for catching big fish, thanks to its durable construction, fast action, and long length.

How to Pick Casting Rods

Choosing a casting rod can be overwhelming with so many options out there, each claiming to be the right one for you. So, we’ve gathered the most important features that you need to consider before buying a casting rod.

Material

The material of a rod plays a significant role in how it performs and how long it lasts. Each rod you ever hold is probably made of graphite, fiberglass, a combination of both.

Graphite rods tend to be lightweight and offer different degrees of stiffness from which you choose, depending on your needs. Graphite rods also excel in sensitivity, meaning that they excel in transferring vibrations.

The downsides are that brittleness usually accompanies stiffness, so you need to be more careful not to break the rod. Also, graphite rods are more expensive.

On the other hand, fiberglass rods are the older option that’s been used for centuries. They’re affordable and durable, which makes them a great investment, especially for beginners. However, they lack sensitivity, and their heaviness can be a problem on long fishing days.

Composite rods, which include both graphite and fiberglass in their blanks, strike a practical balance between their advantages. They tend to be reasonably-priced, flexible, sensitive, and relatively lightweight. They’re the perfect choice for different applications.

Length

The rod’s length is measured from the tip to the handle. The majority of rods range between 5  to 14 feet. A rod’s length affects its accuracy and casting distance.

Short rods cast more accurately and work best with lightweight lures. Also, they’re more practical and manageable in close combat. Meanwhile, long rods cast further away. They’re also the ideal choice for heavier lures and deep-sea fishing.

Sometimes the height of the angler makes certain choices work better than others. Generally, most anglers gravitate towards medium-sized rods, usually 7’-10’ ones, to get the best of both worlds.

Power

Rod power rating refers to the amount of stress that you can put on the rod before it breaks. Powers range from ultra-light to extra-heavy. Most casting rods lie in the medium to heavy range. The heavier a rod is rated, the more pressure from lures, lines, and fish it can withstand.

So, go for light rods if you only catch small fish species, such as panfish, carp, and crappies. However, if your target fish are large and aggressive, stick to heavier ones. If you want an all-around option, go for medium rods.

Action

Rod action is an often ignored feature that can make or break your fishing experience. Like power, it describes how a rod reacts under pressure. However, it’s more about how much a rod bends and how fast it returns to its original position.

Actions are categorized into slow, moderate, fast, and extra-fast, with most casting rods being fast. Slow rods have smooth casting abilities, while fast rods are best when sensitivity or hook setting powers are needed.

Pieces

One-piece rods are the classic choice and provide the highest sensitivity and durability of all rods. Two and multi-piece rods are the best for traveling anglers or those who don’t have enough storage space for full-sized ones.

Final Thoughts

We hope that our list of the best casting rods helped you find the one for you. Here are the highlights.

The St. Croix Premier is your best option if you’re looking for durability, lightness, and premium quality in one rod. The KastKing Perigee II not only offers a variety of sizes and powers but also twin-tip constructions, which can benefit you can’t decide on one power. Finally, the Ugly Stik GX2 is the best affordable casting rod on the market.

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