8 Best Kayak Fishing Rods Reviewed

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Best Kayak Fishing Rods

Hola, if you’re on the hunt for the best kayak fishing rods, you’re in the right place!

Those completely new to fishing might not even know how to find a good rod for fishing on land, much less a kayak fishing one. When fishing from a kayak, there’s constant rocking, instability, and limited movement space. Thus, the rods required are naturally different from fishing on land or even on boats. Not only does your rod have to be lighter, but also more compact. Taking these into account, along with all the usual criteria of a good fishing rod, these were the eight best kayak fishing rods on the market.

Of course, even among these eight, there are some that stand out. The one that stood out the most was the Abu Garcia IKE Signature. With its top-of-the-line materials, strength, and sensitivity, there’s no better kayak fishing rod out there.

Don’t worry if that option didn’t quite fit your needs though. You’ve got seven other awesome choices to pick from. There’re kayak rods for those looking to splurge, budget options, and even travel rods.

Let’s get started!

Our Top 8 Picks

  1. Abu Garcia IKE Signature Spinning Rod (Best Overall)
  2. St. Croix Mojo Inshore Spinning Rod (Best For Large Fish)
  3. Dobyns Rods Fury Series Spinning Rod (Best Lightness)
  4. Fenwick Eagle Spinning Rod (Best Variety)
  5. Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod (Best Budget Strength)
  6. Shimano Solara Spinning Rod (Best Budget)
  7. Okuma Nomad Inshore Graphite Travel Rod (Best Portability)
  8. Cadence CR5 Spinning Rod (Best Budget Lightness)

Buying Guide

As you look through the best kayak fishing rods, scrutinise each one carefully.

Remember that the best option depends on what you want. You’ll need to spend some time comparing the options and understanding what you’re looking for. Doing so may take more time and research, but it’ll help you find the right rod.


The length will decide your casting distance. The longer your rod, the more leverage and casting distance you get.

With that in mind, the ideal length depends on the water you plan to fish in. For example, kayak anglers planning to fish in a lake or similar body will want longer rods to cast farther. Similarly, shorter rods will work better for rivers or smaller areas.

In most cases, a 6-7 ft rod will work best. A longer rod will be harder to control, and a shorter rod might not provide you with enough casting distance.

If you don’t know what to choose, I recommend a 6.5-foot fishing rod. You’ll get a good balance of distance while minimizing the challenge and maneuverability limitations.

Power and Action

Power refers to the rod’s strength while action refers to the rod’s sensitivity. Power is measured by how much force it takes to bend the rod. Action is measured by how high up the rod bends when you apply pressure to the tip.

Rod power ranges from ultra light to extra heavy while rod action ranges from slow to extra fast.

What you choose depends on the fish you want to catch. Larger fish will call for a stronger and heavier power rod. Smaller fish will call for a more sensitive and faster action rod.

However, since a kayak isn’t the most stable platform, it’s not a good idea to go after larger fish. And don’t forget that your kayak fishing gear also takes up space, leaving less space to store larger fish. As such, your target size should be small to medium sized fish. So for strength, you’ll only need a medium power rod.

For sensitivity, if you intend to go after tiny species, you’ll need a more sensitive rod, i.e. fast or even extra fast action. In contrast, if you’re targeting only big fish, even slow action rods will do.

I usually use a medium power rod with either fast or moderate fast action. Still, it’s fine to get a heavier power rod as it just means you’ll have more strength. If you end up only going after medium sized fish, you still won’t regret having that extra strength. The same goes for sensitivity. A more sensitive rod just means you can feel softer fish bites.


The three main fishing rod materials are fiberglass, graphite (aka carbon fiber), and composite.

Fiberglass remains the cheaper material overall. This makes it great for people who don’t want to put too much money into fishing. Fiberglass rods are more durable, so they hold up well in harsher environments.

Graphite is lighter, and so tends to be better for kayak fishing. Graphite rods are also more sensitive, making it easier to notice when a fish takes the bait.

Composite is for those who want something in between the two. You’ll get a fairly sensitive, light, and strong rod.

Ultimately, power and action are larger factors. For example, a fiberglass rod could be lighter, have faster action, and have less power than a carbon fiber rod too. 


As for the handles, you have EVA foam, cork, rubber shrink tubing, and stainless steel. There’s also single handle or split, which means the handle has one connected material or has a gap between it.

EVA foam holds up well and is low-cost. However, it doesn’t offer the best grip. Stainless steel is more durable, allowing it to hold up in various situations. But like EVA foam, its grip isn’t the most secure.

Even though cork doesn’t have outstanding durability or water resistance, it offers excellent grip. Many seasoned anglers go with cork to make fishing easier, though the other options have their place for beginners.

Rubber shrink tubing offers the most secure grip, but is also the least durable.

As for the handle types, that comes down to preference. The single design suits someone who puts one hand over the other or keeps their hands close together. The split design works better for people who like to keep their hands apart while they fish and also provides a bit more sensitivity.


The guides refer to the loops along the fishing rod. The fishing line goes through the guides to prevent it from tangling or coming undone while you fish. As for guides, most of them will fall into two materials: stainless steel and aluminum oxide. 

Stainless steel has excellent durability and holds up well against water. You won’t have to worry about damaging the rod since it won’t deteriorate. Plus, it doesn’t easily bend or lose its shape against strong fish, so it’ll last longer than other options.

For aluminum oxide, it’s naturally not as durable as stainless steel but works as a lighter material. That means you’ll be able to cast further with it.

It comes down to durability and weight, making stainless steel better for beginners and aluminum oxide better for casting distance.

Reel Seat

The reel seat refers to the part of the rod that keeps the reel in place.

You have graphite and aluminum materials for reel seats. Aluminum tends to be cheaper and more durable. That’s why it’s ideal for beginners or people who worry about durability and breaking their fishing rods.

Graphite offers excellent lightness to reduce fatigue. And even though it’s not as durable as aluminum, it’s still pretty strong.

Both can work well based on your needs, so it comes down to preference. If you don’t know which one to choose, start with aluminum. This way, you’ll have more durability until you become comfortable with fishing.

Reel seats can also vary in size, though you usually don’t have to worry about the size since most products match the reel seats to the fishing rod’s size. That said, you should check the size if you need to purchase a replacement to avoid mismatching them.

Saltwater Fishing

Saltwater and freshwater fishing mostly remain the same. The main difference is saltwater corrosion. If you don’t have a durable rod, the saltwater can oxidize the material and corrode your rod.

You will also come across different fish species based on where you fish. Saltwater species tend to be larger, though as mentioned earlier, you should avoid going after larger fish.

You should also note fishing license differences based on where you fish. For example, some states may offer a general fishing license. Others may have fishing licenses for saltwater and freshwater, so get your permits before you start fishing.

Do also note that water conditions will vary. For example, saltwater tends to have rougher waves and conditions, so you’ll want a more durable fishing rod.

The 8 Rods

Now that we’ve gone through the buying guide, you can go through these eight best kayak fishing rods with the buying guide in mind.

Let’s begin.

Best Overall

1. Abu Garcia IKE Signature Spinning Rod

  • Blank Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Guides: Stainless Steel
  • Power: Medium
  • Action: Fast
  • Handle Material: EVA Foam

First up, the Abu Garcia IKE Signature Spinning Rod offers excellent durability. The EVA and stainless steel are tough and will hold up even against the roughest conditions.

This kayak rod possesses excellent durability, with stainless steel guides and an EVA handle. I also like the Powerlux 300 blank that provides excellent sensitivity. I was able to feel even the bites of smaller fish like trout.

The medium power is enough for medium sized fish, and the fast action enables you to go after smaller fish too.

You should also note that the fishing rod is quite lightweight. This is due to the resin it incorporates, which also helps boost sensitivity. Having said that, due to the high quality and features this fishing rod offers, it’s on the higher-end cost-wise.

Nevertheless, this is a well-rounded option, making it a jack-of-all-trades and a great kayak fishing rod for those who plan to fish at multiple locations. It offers impressive sensitivity and a durable design that will hold up even in harsh conditions.

Best For Large Fish

2. St. Croix Mojo Inshore Spinning Rod

  • Blank Material: Composite
  • Guides: Aluminum Oxide
  • Power: Ranges from Medium Light to Extra Heavy
  • Action: Ranges from Moderate to Fast
  • Handle Material: Cork + EVA Foam

Next on the list is the St. Croix Mojo Inshore Spinning Rod.

I appreciated how I could choose from the wide array of actions and strengths and pick the perfect size. It’s also nice that there are longer options for those who want to fish in larger bodies of water.

On top of that, the handle is a mix of cork and EVA, giving it more durability while maintaining comfort. It also has a seven-foot length, letting me cast the line relatively far out, especially since I sometimes like to fish in deeper waters.

However, perhaps the most impressive part of this rod is its power. You’ll notice the extra heavy power, which is literally as strong as rods go. This, coupled with its light weight and overall high-quality materials and build, makes it the best kayak fishing rod rod for going after bigger fish.

Best Lightness

3. Dobyns Rods Fury Series Spinning Rod

  • Blank Material: Graphite
  • Guides: Alconite
  • Power: Medium Light
  • Action: Fast
  • Handle Material: Cork

Coming in at number 3 is the Dobyns Rods Fury Series Spinning Rod, which utilises graphite as its primary material to improve sensitivity. The rod offers a split handle, allowing you to hold it while using the Fuji reel seat to keep your reel stable as you fish comfortably.

This incredibly light rod only weighs a mere 0.3 pounds. This lightness enables you to fish the whole day without becoming fatigued.

It’s also worth noting that the alconite and cork handle are long-lasting and top-notch.

You can also comfortably grip it thanks to the cork and split-handle design. And the fast action translates to great sensitivity for catching fish that are smaller in size, though the medium light power is slightly lacking in strength. It will only allow you to catch smaller sized fish as you’ll have trouble with medium sized fish.

I wish it was available in different rod lengths too, so I’d have more choices.

This is the best kayak fishing rod for you if you want a lightweight rod for fishing smaller sized fish.

Best Variety

4. Fenwick Eagle Spinning Rod

  • Blank Material: Graphite
  • Guides: Stainless Steel
  • Power: Ranges from Ultra Light to Medium Heavy
  • Action: Ranges from Moderate to Fast
  • Handle Material: Cork

As you continue through the list, the Fenwick Eagle is an excellent choice, offering multiple different pieces. The stainless steel and aluminum oxide maximizes its durability and will hold up as you fish.

I loved how this graphite rod came in two pieces, making it easy to take the fishing rod apart for transportation and storage.

In addition, the split cork handle is durable and comfortable.

However, since the rod can come apart, it may crack, break, or loosen depending on how large of a fish you try to catch.

If you’re a kayak angler looking to get a multi-piece rod and want to choose from many different numbers of pieces, this is the rod for you. It also works well for people who want to maximize their casting distance and plan to go fishing in larger bodies of water.

Best Budget Strength

5. Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

  • Blank Material: Composite
  • Guides: Stainless Steel
  • Power: Ranges from Ultra Light to Medium Heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Handle Material: Cork

The Ugly Stick Elite spinning rod, which incorporates 35% more graphite in the design to improve the strength while boosting the sensitivity. In addition, the cork splits in the middle, allowing you to comfortably grip the fishing rod at two points.

On the positive side, I appreciated the various sizes available, allowing me to pick my favorite combination. I also liked the cork handles and split grip, since I sometimes find it more comfortable to separate my hands while I fish.

But what really sets this rod apart is its price. It may not be the cheapest, but it offers great quality for its price. Plus, it has a medium heavy option, so for those on a budget but also looking for strength, this is worth considering.

Best Budget

6. Shimano Solara Spinning Rod

  • Blank Material: Composite
  • Guides: Aluminum Oxide
  • Power: Ranges from Ultra Light to Medium
  • Action: Fast
  • Handle Material: Cork

Next up, the Shimano Solara Spinning Rod includes four size options at a reasonable price. Interestingly, the blank has an aero glass design, offering more sensitivity in exchange for durability, though it does offer a graphite reel seat.

I enjoyed the sensitive design of the fishing rod alongside the durability it maintains, thanks to the aero glass construction. You’ll also be glad to hear that it’s super inexpensive, allowing me to buy the fishing rod for a quick trip without committing to a more expensive option.

I did notice the fishing rod didn’t cast as far as other choices, so that may pose a problem for some users. I also found the two-piece design inconvenient at times since the fishing rod could come undone and required me to make adjustments.

With those points in mind, many people will appreciate the cork handles and split design, making it more comfortable and easier to grip. It also has excellent guides designed to make the line casting smooth while making retrieving easier compared to other options.

Pick this fishing rod if you’re on a budget or don’t want to spend too much on your first fishing rod. With its balance of materials and overall benefits, you could do a lot worse than this on a budget.

Best Portability

7. Okuma Nomad Inshore Graphite Travel Rod

  • Blank Material: Composite
  • Guides: Stainless Steel
  • Power: Medium Light
  • Action: Moderate
  • Handle Material: EVA Foam

If you want an excellent option, you can choose the Okuma Nomad Inshore Graphite Travel Rod, which has fast action and multiple materials. It has a blend of graphite and EVA to offer you sensitivity while improving durability, offering an excellent balance.

I loved how the fishing rod split into two pieces, making it easy to break it down and travel with it. I also noticed it was great for catching smaller fish thanks to the fast action, while also having more durability from the blended material.

I didn’t like how the fishing rod only came in one size though, so I didn’t have more options to get different strengths and actions. In addition, the action is only moderate, so you won’t feel soft bites.

Still, it’s got a split cork design, allowing them to grip the fishing rod at different points based on their needs. The seven-foot fishing rod length also means it has a solid casting distance if you want to go into larger bodies of water.

If you plan to travel often, you should pick this rod since it can come apart to make transportation easier.

Best Budget Lightness

8. Cadence CR5 Spinning Rod

  • Blank Material: Stainless Steel
  • Guides: Stainless Steel
  • Power: Ranges from Medium Light to Medium Heavy
  • Action: Fast
  • Handle Material: Cork + EVA Foam

Last on the list is the Cadence CR5 Spinning Rod.

I was blown away that the fishing rod only weighed just 0.1 pounds, making it easy to carry around and take with me on kayaking trips. I also appreciated how I could buy the fishing rod in one or two-piece varieties, giving me stability with one or ease of transportation with two.

The handle uses an exciting blend of cork and a standard grip, allowing you to make it more comfortable while also offering good durability. The graphite blank also makes it excellent at balancing weight, durability, and sensitivity.

Sharp-eyed anglers will notice it’s lighter than our “best lightness” pick. The reason for this is because this rod isn’t as durable and well-rounded. That’s why we decided the slightly heavier but much better quality rod was more deserving of the title of “Best Lightness”.

My Verdict

As you go through the best kayak fishing rods, always keep our buying guide in mind. Check the materials, guides, and other points to get a feel for what you want. Then, and only then should you start assessing each of these rods for kayak fishing based on your preferences.

We highly recommend the Abu Garcia IKE Signature for its balance and high-quality design if you can’t decide what you want. It may be a bit pricey, but it’s worth every penny.

Also, in case you don’t have a fishing kayak yet, we’ve got you covered with this comprehensive list of the best fishing kayaks. Best of luck!

Photo of 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.