8 Best Musky Rods Reviewed

Last Update:

* If you purchase through the links in this post, we may receive a small affiliate commission, at no extra cost to you.

Best Musky Rods

Greetings fellow angler, you’re about to read my review of the best musky rods. If that’s what you’re looking for, jump right in!

Muskies are no joke. These ferocious fish grow to be much bigger than even your largest bass. Not only does your musky rod have to be up to the task of taking the monster muskies in hand, but it also has to be light enough that you won’t get tired after just a few casts. Furthermore, you’ll need your musky rod to be sensitive enough to feel their bites and set the hook in time. Lastly, you’ll want a high-quality rod that won’t fall apart after a few uses.

With my 20 years of fishing experience, I found the 8 best musky rods and put them all into this list. During research, another factor that I took into consideration was affordability.

Based on these criteria, my number one recommendation is the St Croix Premier Musky Casting Rod. Strong enough for the biggest muskies, light enough to cast with ease, and made with first-rate materials to be sensitive, it’s got everything you’ll need for musky fishing. Sure there are better muskie rods that are lighter and tougher, but those are wants, not needs. This musky rod contains all the necessities for musky fishing at a modest price. 

Otherwise, if you’re looking for less expensive rods to suit your means, let’s begin.

Our Top 8 Picks

  1. St Croix Premier Musky Casting (Best Overall)
  2. Abu Garcia Veracity Casting (Best For Beginners)
  3. Ugly Stik GX2 Casting (Best Budget Strength)
  4. St Croix Legend Elite Musky (Best Splurge)
  5. St Croix Legend Tournament (Best Legend Elite Musky Alternative)
  6. Okuma EVx Musky (Best Telescopic Rod)
  7. Shimano Sojourn Casting (Best Budget Sensitivity)
  8. Abu Garcia Veritas Toro Casting (Best Lightness)

The 8 Best Musky Rods

If you’re still reading, I’m guessing the St Croix Premier Musky Casting Rod wasn’t what you’re looking for. Or maybe you want to read the review first before making a decision.

Either way, if you don’t like it, there’re 7 other awesome musky rods for you to choose from. Let’s get started!


Best Overall

1. St Croix Premier Musky Casting

  • Blank Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Guides: Aluminum Oxide
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Power: Medium Heavy

Starting off with the St Croix Premier Musky Casting Rod, this high-quality rod is everything a musky rod should be. Not only is it light, but it’s also tough, sensitive, and has a nice extra feature.

Boasting a premium SCII carbon blank, this material has a higher strain rate than normal carbon fibers. This means that it’s stronger than the usual carbon fibers. As such, your fishing rod will be stronger than other carbon fiber rods even with lesser carbon fiber used. While fiberglass has always been known to be stronger, this remarkable carbon fiber gives the musky rod enough muscle for even the biggest muskies. With less carbon fiber, you’ll also be able to effortlessly make casts all day.

On top of the premium SCII carbon fiber, the aluminum oxide guides and cork handle further enhance the rod’s durability. Aluminum oxide is one of the smoothest and most durable materials for guides. And cork has a natural lifespan of 50+ years, not to mention the strong grip it provides too. Needless to say, this musky rod won’t be leaving your side anytime soon.

In terms of sensitivity, this fast action rod for muskie fishing is able to feel even the bite of small muskies. This is once again thanks to the carbon fiber, which is the most sensitive material for fishing rods.

As if all these weren’t enough, it comes with a sweet Kigan hook-keeper that I’m sure most of you have never seen. Hook-keepers are rarely seen on rods, so to have them is a cool luxury. They keep your fishing rod safe from being damaged by your hook during transportation or storage.

All in all, the St Croix Premier Musky Casting Rod won’t let you down whenever a musky is at the end of your line. It delivers everything you could ask for – and then some more. The best part is that this great musky rod is modestly priced so you won’t have to worry about breaking the bank.


Best For Beginners

2. Abu Garcia Veracity Casting

  • Blank Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Guides: Titanium Alloy
  • Handle Material: Cork + EVA Foam
  • Power: Ranges from Medium Heavy to Extra Heavy

Next up is the best beginner’s musky rod – the Abu Garcia Veracity Casting Rod. We rated this the best musky rod for beginners because it provides everything you need to fish musky – at a more affordable price than our best overall pick.

It boasts a Powerlux 300 blank. This means Powerlux resin is baked to surround the carbon fiber core. Since this Powerlux resin is lighter than carbon fiber, this makes the fishing rod lighter than if the carbon fiber had been surrounded by more carbon fiber instead. 

And don’t worry, this doesn’t make the fishing rod any weaker or have slower action. On the contrary, the Powerlux 300 actually increases the stiffness and responsiveness of the rod. 

The other components of this muskie rod are no slack either. Although the focus is on the Powerlux 300 blank, let’s not forget that the core of the blank is carbon fiber. If you remember from the past few muskie rods, carbon fiber blanks are the lightest and have the best action. The titanium alloy guides are also super lightweight and have a long lifespan.

As such, the Abu Garcia Veracity Casting Rod is a robust rod that can take a beating and stand up to even monster muskies. Its lightness makes casting it a piece of cake and with its fast action, you’ll be able to feel timid tugs.

I also really like its cork and EVA foam grip. The cork will last for years to come, and the EVA foam gives you a firm but comfortable grip.

It’s really quite comparable to our overall best musky rod but falls just short of it in every aspect. It’s a bit less sturdy, a bit less robust, a bit heavier, and a bit less able to feel tiny bites. But the price justifies it. It’s roughly $25 cheaper and you’ll still have everything you need to fish musky. Beginners who are looking for a less costly but still top-notch rod for muskie fishing, look no further.


Best Budget Strength

3. Ugly Stik GX2 Casting

  • Blank Material: Composite
  • Guides: Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: EVA Foam
  • Power: Heavy

On to our next rod, the Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod is for those on a shoestring budget. This budget rod will have you jumping for joy because it’s less than a quarter of the price of any of the muskie rods before this. And yet it somehow still has enough muscle to handle the largest muskies.

Let’s start off with its sturdiness. Ugly Stik is well-known among anglers for making indestructible rods. While it’s obvious that this is an exaggeration, you get the point. Among all the brands, Ugly Stik makes the sturdiest and longest-lasting rods. They do this through their unique Ugly Tech Construction that results in much stronger and more durable rods. It also helps that they integrated fiberglass on top of graphite into this musky fishing rod. Since fiberglass is stronger than graphite, this grants the fishing rod even more strength

The powerful combination of the Ugly Tech Construction and the fiberglass results in a musky rod that can withstand the test of time and handle lots of abuse. 

You’re also getting an EVA foam grip for all-day comfort and a secure grip even when it gets wet.

So what’s the catch? How the heck is this musky rod only a quarter the price of the past few rods? 

Well, this musky rod is much heavier than the higher-end rods. The extra rod weight comes from the heavier fiberglass, as well as having to use more materials to achieve the same amount of force since it doesn’t have those strength-increasing technologies. 

This is definitely a drawback that can be a deal-breaker for some people. However, you get what you pay for. And while this downside isn’t exactly minor, for a musky rod that’s more than 4 times cheaper, I’d say it’s a fair deal. At the most, you’ll get tired quicker using this musky fishing rod.

This musky rod will still enable you to reel in monster muskies, which is what any angler wants. If you’re on a really really tight budget, you might want to consider getting this rod.


Best Splurge

4. St Croix Legend Elite Musky

  • Blank Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Guides: Fuji Titanium
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Power: Ranges from Medium Heavy to Heavy

Handcrafted in the USA, this legendary rod is truly deserving of the name St Croix Legend Elite Musky. Crafted to be the strongest and most durable rod on the market, this fishing rod also has amazing sensitivity and lightness. It even comes with an upgraded version of the Kigan hook-keeper.

Here’s how St Croix created this incredible rod. 

St Croix is a brand that’s been around for 70+ years now. Throughout this time, they’ve relentlessly pursued perfection in their rods. Their research yielded 4 exclusive technologies – FRS, ART, TET, and IPC. This musky rod contains all 4 of those technologies.

The Fortified Resin System (FRS) and Advanced Reinforcing Technology (ART) strengthen the rod to unprecedented levels – while maintaining lightness. FRS is an advanced manufacturing protocol that produces rods 33% stronger than rods built with the standard resins and curing methods. ART is an exceptional carbon fiber that makes your rod 10 times sturdier than normal carbon fiber rods. With these technologies, you’ll need substantially lesser material to achieve way more strength than other rods. The result is a musky rod that’s unparalleled in durability and power.

As for the Integrated Poly Curve (IPC) tooling technology and Taper Enhancement Technology (TET), they’re responsible for the unbelievable sensitivity of the rod. IPC eliminates all transitional points in the rod, boosting both its sensitivity and power. TET works as a team with IPC to bring the rod’s responsiveness to even greater heights through the latest computerized pattern cutting machine. These make the St Croix Legend Elite Musky one of the most sensitive musky rods on the market.

Weight-wise, the 8 ft option stands at a mere 6.9 ounces. For those who aren’t aware, this is lighter than the majority of rods out there at the same length. This lightness was made possible by the carbon fiber blank and the technologies. Carbon fiber is the lightest material for fishing rods. And the technologies strengthen the rod so that less material can be used to achieve greater amounts of strength. 

Finally, it’s equipped with a Kigan titanium hook-keeper that’s even tougher than the previous Kigan hook-keeper. This’ll fully protect your muskie rod from damages during storage or transportation.

In short, this state-of-the-art rod is the best musky rod that money can get you. Of course, the previous St Croix Premier Musky is all you’ll ever need, which is why it’s our overall best musky rod. But if you’re looking for only the absolute best and have the money to spare, this is it. As a bonus, it’s also covered by a 15-year warranty so you can buy it with peace of mind.


Best Legend Elite Musky Alternative

5. St Croix Legend Tournament Musky

  • Blank Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Guides: Fuji Alconite
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Power: Ranges from Medium Heavy to Extra Heavy

If you liked the Legend Elite Musky but it was out of your means, you’re going to love this next recommendation. The St Croix Legend Tournament Musky Rod is also handcrafted in the USA. It’s every bit as strong and durable as the Legend Elite Musky, and impressively light and sensitive. 

Featuring the FRS and ART technology, this rod, like the Legend Elite Musky, stands at the peak of strength and toughness. In addition, IPC adds to the rod’s toughness and stiffness and at the same time makes it more sensitive. Another contributing factor to the responsiveness is the carbon fiber, which is the most sensitive material for rod blanks. Together, the 3 technologies and carbon fiber bring you a musky rod that’s powerful and long-lasting without compromising on the rod action.

And as mentioned earlier, those 3 technologies make the rod extremely light too. You’ll also be glad to hear that this fishing rod comes with a Kigan hook-keeper.

In essence, this musky rod has all the technologies of the Legend Elite Musky except TET. Its hook-keeper is also a tad less resilient to damage.

Aside from those though, it’s alike in all other aspects and the price is also a whopping $200 lower. Moreover, this is still a futuristic rod that stands above all other musky rods except the Legend Elite Musky. There’s no better alternative to the Legend Elite Musky than this. If you’re looking for something less pricey but that still excels in all areas, this is the rod for you.


Best Telescopic Rod

6. Okuma EVx Musky

  • Blank Material: Graphite
  • Guides: Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Power: Extra Heavy

Telescopic fishing rods are notorious for breaking easily. But the Okuma EVx Musky Rod is one of the few that don’t. 

Built with IM8 graphite, this fishing rod is pretty light and responsive. IM8 is the highest grade of graphite. Graphite ranges from IM6-IM8, with IM8 being the strongest, lightest, and most sensitive. In fact, this musky rod even goes up to extra heavy power. It’s also lighter than all the St Croix rods thus far. 

The best part about this musky rod is its portability. Its extended length is 8.5 ft, but it can be shortened to just 16 inches. This means it can fit in your office suitcase or your backpack for maximum convenience.

If you’re looking for a telescopic musky rod, this is your best option. Light, responsive, and robust, you won’t find a better telescopic rod for muskies.


Best Budget Sensitivity

7. Shimano Sojourn Casting

  • Blank Material: Composite
  • Guides: Aluminum Oxide
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Power: Medium Heavy

Coming in at number 7 is the Shimano Sojourn Casting Rod. Like the Ugly Stik GX2, this is also a budget rod. The difference is that it’s way lighter.

Whereas the GX2 Casting Rod was a good deal heavier than the other rods on this list, the Shimano Sojourn weighs around the same as them. What this means is that you can cast the Shimano Sojourn with the same ease as the other light rods on this list.

It performs well in other aspects too, with fast action to detect subtle tugs on the fishing line, and medium heavy power to take on almost the entire range of muskies.

Do note that its biggest flaw is that it can take on big muskies, but not monster muskies. The medium heavy power just isn’t enough, so if you have a prize musky at the end of your line, be prepared to lose it.

Essentially, it’s priced the same as the Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod. So if you want a musky rod that’s able to take on gigantic muskies but is heavier, get the Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod. If you want a lighter rod that isn’t as sturdy, then you’ll want to get this fishing rod.


Best Lightness

8. Abu Garcia Veritas Toro Casting

  • Blank Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Guides: Titanium Alloy
  • Handle Material: EVA Foam
  • Power: Ranges from Medium Heavy to Extra Heavy

When it comes to lightness, this fishing rod is unbeatable. Designed to be rugged and light as a feather, the Abu Garcia Veritas Toro Casting is for those who prioritise lightness above all in a rod.

Weighing in at a phenomenal 5 ounces at 7 ft, this musky rod is the only rod you’ll find at this weight for muskies. It’s more than 2 ounces lighter than any of the St Croix rods and 1.8 ounces lighter than the next lightest rod on this list.

Surprisingly, this musky rod still has enough stiffness to face down the largest muskies. This can be credited to its Powerlux 100 blank. It strengthens this muskie rod and makes it lighter. And the light carbon fiber further contributes to the rod’s lightness.

To sum it up, this is a well-rounded rod that’s incomparably light but still very robust. If you value lightness the most in a rod, this is the musky rod for you.


Buying Guide

There are many terms used in this list that may sound foreign to new anglers, such as action and power.

This buying guide will clear up any confusion, and more importantly, teach you how to judge a musky rod.

Rod Length

Usually, rod length matters because it affects casting distance.

Longer musky rods will be able to cast further.

But in this case, we’re focusing more on strength because rod length also affects the strength of the rod. The longer the rod, the more powerful it’ll be.

Your musky rod length should be 7-9 ft.

This is because a 7 ft rod is the minimal musky rod length to get the strength you’ll need for musky fishing. A shorter rod won’t be sturdy enough.

And you shouldn’t go above 9 ft since you won’t need that much strength for muskies, and a longer rod will only add unnecessary weight to the rod. 

I find the best musky rod length to be 8 ft because it provides enough strength and the rod weight is just right. You’ll also be able to catch musky the most easily with this length.

Rod Power

Rod power refers to how stiff your rod is. In other words, how much force is needed to bend your rod.

A flimsy rod will break when up against bigger fish, so you’ll need a stiffer rod for larger fish.

Heavier power rods will take more force to bend, so they’re better for large fish species like muskies. 

When musky fishing, you’ll want to get at least a medium heavy rod.

A medium heavy rod will give you enough power for at least big muskies, though it won’t suffice for monster muskies. For catching musky like those, you’ll need minimally heavy power. 

Also, note that heavier power rods are better for heavier lines too.

When against muskies, you’ll need heavier line, so you’ll also need at least a medium heavy rod to complement your heavy line.

I prefer heavy power rods for muskies so that I can take on prize muskies. But if you don’t intend to go after such big muskies, feel free to go with a medium heavy power rod.

On the other hand, if you want to be able to use your rod for fish species that are even bigger than muskies, go for an extra heavy power rod.

As such, the range of rod powers you should be looking at is medium heavy to extra heavy.

Rod Action

Rod action refers to which part of your rod bends when you apply pressure on the rod tip.

The higher up your rod bends, the faster your rod action. The faster your action, the more sensitive your rod will be. 

The good news is that muskies’ bites aren’t that weak. Even smaller muskies have a relatively strong bite, so you won’t need that sensitive a rod to feel the smaller muskies’ bites. That said, I wouldn’t recommend getting a slow action rod as you’ll still miss out on many of the smaller muskies.

Another thing to consider when choosing your rod action is the lures you’ll be using.

For heavier lures, a moderate action rod is best. For lighter lures, fast action rods are better.

I like to get moderate fast action rods that can work well for both heavier and lighter-weight lures. However, since musky lures tend to be bigger, you can get a slower action rod.

I recommend sticking with the moderate to extra fast range. You’ll want to get an extra fast action rod if you want to snag even the tiniest muskies.

Line Weight

As mentioned earlier, muskies are on the bigger end of the spectrum of fish species.

Your lines will need to be heavier or they just might break.

When we say line weight, we’re not talking about the weight of the line if you were to put it on a weighing scale per se. We’re referring to its pound test, which is how much weight the line can hold without snapping.

For fishing musky, try to get no less than 65-pound lines.

Any lighter and you’ll find your line snapping very often against muskies.

I recommend an 85-pound line to make sure you cover the enormous muskies. You can always go higher than this though, just make sure not to go below 65 pounds.

Lure Weight

Imagine you were a lion. Would you rather go after a zebra or a mouse? Obviously, the zebra is more appealing because it’s a bigger meal.

Similarly, as one of the bigger fish species, bigger lures will be more tempting to muskies.

This is one of those vague criteria as there isn’t a minimum weight that you should hit to be more attractive to muskies. Rather, it depends on the lure’s action, colour, etc etc. 

In general, you’ll be using heavy lures, so your musky rod has to be able to accommodate this.

But fret not, because as long as you stick to the guidelines I’ve provided, you’ll pick the right rod.

Durability

This is perhaps the most important factor of all because the last thing you want is to splurge on a high-end rod only to have its components start falling apart after a few uses.

Look out for first-rate materials that are durable.

For your guides, this means stainless steel, alconite, titanium, and other hardy metals like that.

For your rod blank, this means fiberglass rods or high-quality carbon fiber (carbon fiber is also known as graphite).

Another reliable way to tell whether a rod will last is by looking at its brand.

This isn’t to say that rods from new and unheard-of rod manufacturers are going to be trash.

But rods from established brands like St Croix and Abu Garcia have a much lower chance of being low-quality.

Warranty

The last factor to consider is warranty. This is another one of those vague factors because there isn’t a “fixed” answer.

However, my personal rule of thumb is that the more expensive the rod, the longer the warranty should be.

It’s only fair if you’re paying more that your money won’t just go down the drain if there’s a defect with the fishing rod after some time.

My Verdict

To reiterate, muskies can grow to huge sizes and thus call for only the best rods in your tackle box.

Every single rod on this list is a great rod in its own right. But for the majority of people, the best musky rod would be the St Croix Premier Musky Casting Rod. It’s got everything musky anglers look for in musky rods, and cuts out other nice-to-have but unneeded features to remain affordable.

Now that you’ve found your new musky rod, best of luck in your freshwater fishing ventures!

Photo of author

AUTHOR

Reuben went on his first fishing trip when he was 9. That's when he fell in love with fishing. When he's not fishing, he's searching for new gear and ways to fish better.