9 Best Spinning Rods Reviewed

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Best Spinning Rods

Hey there, if you’re looking for the best spinning rods, you’re in the right place!

Spinning rods and spinning reels are more versatile than any other type of rod and reel. Not only can they take on the largest fish in the ocean, but they can also cast lightweight lures a good distance with light lines. With so many spinning rods on the market, we figured you could use some help finding the best ones. After 19 hours, these were the 9 best spinning rods we found. They were judged based on durability, strength, sensitivity, and lightness.

If you’re in a rush and just want our number one recommendation, it’s the St Croix Premier. This incredible rod is tough, super strong, sensitive, and most importantly, affordable.

If that wasn’t what you’re looking for, or you just want less pricey options, fret not, we’ve got you covered with 8 other spinning rods.

Let’s begin!

Our Top 9 Picks

  1. St Croix Premier (Best Splurge) (Best Saltwater)
  2. G.Loomis Classic (Best For Trout)
  3. Shimano Teramar (Best For Bass)
  4. Abu Garcia Veritas (Best Sensitivity)
  5. Fenwick Eagle (Best Overall)
  6. Okuma Rockaway (Best For Surf Fishing)
  7. Ugly Stik GX2 (Best Rockaway Alternative)
  8. Ugly Stik Elite (Best Budget Sensitivity)
  9. Cadence CR5 (Best Customer Service)

The 9 Best Spinning Rods

As you read on, if you see a rod you fancy but aren’t a fan of its price, keep reading, because we’ve included cheaper alternatives to some of the more expensive rods.


Best Splurge

Best Saltwater

1. St Croix Premier

  • Blank Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Guides: Aluminum Oxide
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Power: Ranges from Ultra Light to Extra Heavy
  • Action: Ranges from Moderate to Fast

Handcrafted in the USA, the St Croix Premier stands at the pinnacle of spinning rods. This amazing spinning rod is durable, responsive, and unmatched in power and lightness. Furthermore, it’s backed by a 5-year warranty and comes with a Kigan hook-keeper.

First off, this rod features aluminum oxide guides and a cork handle. Aluminum oxide is one of the most corrosion-resistant and smooth materials for guides. Cork has a natural lifespan of more than 50 years. Combine these and you’ve got a rod that you’ll likely still be using 10 years down the road.

Crafted with SCII carbon, the St Croix Premier is also extremely sensitive, with a fast action rating. You can even fish panfish if you’d like.

Since SCII carbon has a higher strain rate than normal carbon, it’s a lot stronger. But that’s not all. This rod also incorporates St Croix’s Fortified Resin System (FRS) technology. To explain FRS would take too long, but all you have to know is that rods built with FRS consistently turn out to be 33% stronger than rods built with standard resins and curing methods. Together, the FRS and SCII carbon combine to produce a rod that has no equal in strength. As a matter of fact, the St Croix Premier has an extra heavy power option, which is the strongest power option there is. This means you can confidently go after the biggest monsters in the ocean without worrying about whether your rod can handle the load.

As for weight, at 2.1 ounces, there’s no lighter spinning rod on the market. This is thanks to the strength-enhancing technologies that allow less material to still achieve phenomenal strength. The Fuji reel seat also contributes to the lightness as the Fuji reel seat is one of the lightest reel seats around. This lightness makes casting and fishing with this rod a breeze.

To top it all off, St Croix even covers you with a 5-year warranty. They also added a Kigan hook-keeper to keep your hook from damaging your rod during transportation or storage on your fishing trips.

There’s just one flaw with the St Croix Premier – the price. It’s not exactly the most affordable rod around. Still, it is worth every cent you pay, what with its outstanding qualities and 5-year warranty. If you’re looking for the best of the best and have the money to spare, look no further.


Best For Trout

2. G.Loomis Classic

  • Blank Material: Graphite
  • Guides: Fuji Alconite
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Power: Ranges from Ultra Light to Medium
  • Action: Ranges from Moderate Fast to Fast

Up next is the best trout spinning rod on the planet – the G.Loomis Classic. Though not the strongest, this rod is unsurpassed in durability, and possesses exceptional sensitivity and lightness.

Let’s start with durability. The G.Loomis Classic is armed with Fuji Alconite guides and boasts a Multi-Taper Design. While aluminum oxide guides are certainly nothing to scoff at, Fuji Alconite guides are not only significantly sturdier, but also lighter and smoother. Then, the multi-taper design makes the rod even tougher. It does so by targeting the points under the most pressure when fishing and reinforcing them. This makes the rod able to take more abuse and last a great deal longer. In addition, the handle is made from premium cork. The result? Unparalleled durability and a rod that will last for years to come. And yes, the G.Loomis Classic is tougher than even the St Croix Premier.

The multi-taper design also gives this rod exceptional lightness. How so? Well, by concentrating material on areas that need it the most, less material can be used on areas that aren’t put under so much pressure. This precise method of allocating material uses as little material as possible for a strong enough rod. It also helps that the material used is graphite, the lightest rod blank material. You’ll be able to fish all day with the G.Loomis Classic and still feel fresh.

That said, the G.Loomis Classic is rather lacking in muscle. Its highest power rating is medium. Safe to say, you won’t be snagging any trophy sized fish, although medium power will more than suffice for even the biggest trout.

The G.Loomis Classic is also remarkably sensitive because of its handle design. The handle is split into two sections. This exposes the reel seat and increases sensitivity. Add that to the fact that graphite is the most sensitive rod blank material and you’ve got yourself an excellent rod that can feel the pull of the tiniest trout.

All in all, the G.Loomis Classic is the cream of the crop of trout fishing rods. While the St Croix Premier can take on just about any fish, when it comes to trout, there’s no better rod than the G.Loomis Classic.


Best For Bass

3. Shimano Teramar

  • Blank Material: Composite
  • Guides: Fuji O-Ring
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Power: Ranges from Medium Light to Medium Heavy
  • Action: Fast

Coming in at number 3 is the best bass fishing rod – the Shimano Teramar. If the previous two rods were out of your means and you just need a bass fishing rod, you’re in luck.

The Shimano Teramar is priced considerably lower than the previous two rods and yet doesn’t cut any corners.

As a glance at the features would tell you, this bass rod has a cork handle and Fuji O-Ring guides. O-Ring guides are made with aluminum oxide. This, coupled with the long-lasting cork grip, guarantees many years of service for this rod.

Moving on to strength, this rod’s strongest power rating is medium heavy.  Bass don’t grow to be too big, so this is already more than enough muscle for the big bass.

Now on to responsiveness, the Shimano Teramar is pretty sensitive, with a fast action rating. Once again, you’ll have no trouble detecting even the smallest bass.

Finally, in terms of weight, the fiberglass in the composite blank makes the Shimano Teramar a tad heavier than the past two rods. However, its perfect balance helps counter the extra weight. This makes the Shimano Teramar still feel like a super lightweight rod.

In short, the Shimano Teramar may not have the St Croix Premier’s muscle, but it has enough for bass. As bass spinning rods go, you could do a lot worse than the Shimano Teramar. It’s also cheaper than the St Croix Premier by roughly 20 bucks. For bass anglers that are only going after bass, the Shimano Teramar is a smart way to have 20 bucks more in your wallet.


Best Sensitivity

4. Abu Garcia Veritas

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

As the name suggests, the Abu Garcia Veritas is the most sensitive spinning rod we could find.

Constructed with Abu Garcia’s Powerlux 100 resin system, this rod is impressively robust and light. The Powerlux 100 resin system evenly distributes nano particles between each carbon fiber, which greatly enhances rod strength and durability.

Equipped with titanium alloy guides, this spinning rod is also impervious to rust. Unlike aluminum oxide and alconite which are only resistant to corrosion, titanium alloy is completely rust-proof. With the Powerlux 100 resin system and titanium alloy guides, this rod is as sturdy as the St Croix Premier.

The Powerlux 100 resin system also grants the Abu Garcia Veritas impressive strength, as is shown by the medium heavy power rating.

And of course, this rod is unbelievably sensitive, with an extra fast action rating.

As for weight, this rod is relatively light, with its lightest option weighing just 3.8 ounces.

Sensitivity may be the star of the show with this spinning rod, but clearly, it’s not the only reason to buy it. Aside from its extraordinary sensitivity, the Abu Garcia Veritas is also very robust and light. For those looking for a good all-around sensitive spinning rod, this is it.


Best Overall

5. Fenwick Eagle

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

Next on the list, the Fenwick Eagle doesn’t excel in any aspect, but performs fairly well in every area.

Durability-wise, its stainless steel guides are a bit less hardy than the past four rods.

Strength-wise, this rod’s stiffness goes up to medium heavy, which is pretty decent. When I was fishing with it, it felt slightly stiffer than the stated rating. So you can expect your rod to be somewhat stronger than the power rating you get. 

Action-wise, this rod’s responsiveness is also a little faster than listed. With a fast action rating, the Fenwick Eagle also does quite well in this area.

Weight-wise, the Fenwick Eagle is marginally lighter than average, albeit still heavier than the previous four rods.

Overall, despite not being the best in any one aspect, the Fenwick Eagle delivers adequately on all fronts. It’s also a much more economical choice than the past four higher-end rods. If you don’t need the outstanding qualities of the previous rods and just need a high-quality rod for casual fishing, this is the best spinning rod for you.


Best For Surf Fishing

6. Okuma Rockaway

  • Blank Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Guides: Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: Rubber Shrink Tubing
  • Power: Ranges from Medium Light to Medium Heavy
  • Action: Ranges from Moderate to Moderate Fast

Designed for beach fishing, the Okuma Rockaway comes in every rod length you need for fishing in the surf.

No matter how far out into the surf you need to cast, the Okuma Rockaway will have the right rod length. Beach fishing calls for rods no shorter than 8 ft. And when fishing for the giants far away from shore, it’s not uncommon to see surf anglers with a 12 ft rod. Knowing this, Okuma made sure to include every rod length from 8-12 ft for the Okuma Rockaway.

You’ll also notice that this rod’s handle is different from all the rods before it. Rubber shrink tubing provides the most secure grip among all the different rod handle materials and maintains this grip even when wet. This makes it ideal for fishing in the surf, where your rod will undoubtedly be in contact with water often and for long periods of time.

By now, it should be clear why the Okuma Rockaway is the best fishing rod for fishing in the surf.

As for its other aspects, it’s outfitted with stainless steel guides, medium heavy power, moderate fast action, and is lighter than most other surf rods.

You’ll also be glad to hear that the Okuma Rockaway is quite wallet-friendly at approximately $100.


Best Rockaway Alternative

7. Ugly Stik GX2

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

Cheap but long enough for catching fish in the surf, the Ugly Stik GX2 was made for anglers who want to go fishing at the beach on a budget.

Although you’ll see quite a few different lengths on the product page, the 9 ft option is the only one you can take fishing in the surf. That’s why we only listed the power and action for that option. 

9 ft of leverage allows you to cast just past the breaking surf, where the panfish and moderate sized fish are. This means the medium power is just enough to take them in hand. And the fast action will enable you to feel the tugs of the small panfish.

You’ll be able to get all these for a mere 50 bucks. The catch is, the Ugly Stik GX2 is markedly heavier than the Okuma Rockaway. That’s why I would advise you not to get this unless you really have to.

The thing is, this is the only bargain surf rod that won’t fall apart after a few casts. As such, if you want to fish in the surf on a budget, this spinning rod is your best bet.


Best Budget Sensitivity

8. Ugly Stik Elite

  • Blank Material: Composite
  • Guides: Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Power: Medium
  • Action: Extra Fast

This next spinning rod is all about sensitivity. The Ugly Stik Elite is the best alternative to the Abu Garcia Veritas for those on a tight budget.

Like the Ugly Stik GX2, the Ugly Stik Elite Spinning has only one option that’s extra fast. Look for the 6.5 ft 2-piece medium power option on the product page. That’s the only one that’s extra fast, and the only one whose specifications we listed.

Similar again to the Ugly Stik GX2, the Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod is much heavier than most other rods, and will cost you just $50. To acquire the sensitivity of the Abu Garcia Veritas at less than half the price, I’d say the extra weight is a fair price to pay.

Anglers hunting for extraordinary sensitivity on a shoestring budget might want to give this spinning rod a shot.


Best Customer Service

9. Cadence CR5

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

Last but not least, the Cadence CR5 has by far the best customer service out of all the fishing brands.

Its specs won’t blow anyone’s mind, and that’s why its price is in the neighborhood of 58 dollars.

What impressed me though was that in spite of the modest price, Cadence treated me like a VIP when I contacted their support team.

For those wondering why I even had to contact their support, it’s because my hook got stuck in a tree, and I pulled too hard, causing the rod tip to snap. I then emailed them and got a prompt reply asking for more details. After I sent them a picture, they immediately sent me a replacement.

Cadence truly cares about its customers, no matter how much (or little) they spend. You won’t have to face long waiting times for their replies or back and forth emails trying to convince you that your damaged rod is your fault (although it was lol).

What’s more, although the Cadence CR5 is no St Croix Premier, it’s good enough to get the job done for most fish, which is why it made the list.


Things To Consider When Buying A Spinning Rod

With so many good spinning rods around, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to get. We feel you.

Here’s what to look for to thin the herd and distinguish the finest spinning rods from the rest.

Power

Rod power refers to how stiff your rod is, i.e. how much force is required to bend your rod. This will tell you a lot about how your rod will perform when put to the test.

The different rod powers are ultra light, light, medium light, medium, medium heavy, heavy, and extra heavy.

Obviously, the larger your target fish, the heavier your power will need to be.

Rods with light power and below are meant for panfish.

Medium and medium light power are intended for moderate sized fish like bass 

Anything above medium will enable you to take on big fish like muskies or striped bass.

Also, if you’re fishing in saltwater, note that offshore species are much larger than inshore species. Do adapt your rod power accordingly.

Action

Rod action is determined by how low down your rod bends when pressure is applied to the tip.

The closer to the handle your rod bends, the less sensitive it is, and the slower the action.

Similar to power, you’ll need to choose the right action according to your target species. 

Smaller fish have softer bites and you will need a more responsive rod to detect when they take the bait. Vice versa, you can settle for less sensitive rods for big fish.

Length

The longer a rod is, the more leverage you’ll have and the further you’ll be able to cast with it.

Most fishing styles don’t call for long casts, so you won’t have to worry about rod length unless you’re going beach fishing.

Surf rods range from 8-12 ft in length.

8 ft rods will allow you to cast just out of the breaking surf to reach panfish.

10 ft rods grant you enough casting distance to reach moderate sized fish.

12 ft rods are for reaching the monsters far out in the sea.

Guides

Guides are a key component of fishing rods.

While the quantity does matter, guide quality is a better indicator of whether a rod is good. Ranked from top to bottom, the best materials for high-quality guides are titanium alloy, alconite, aluminum oxide, and stainless steel.

If you’re still not sure whether your guides are good, there’s a simple way to find out. 

Thread some fishing line through one of your guides. Then, holding the line with one hand on each side of the guide, imagine you’re trying to saw through the guide with the line and pull the line back and forth. 

If the guide breaks, it’s time to get a better rod.

Handle

The handle plays an important role in your fishing experience. Your rod handle should be comfortable and at the same time, provide a secure grip.

Among the different spinning rod handles, cork handles are the most aesthetically pleasing, but also the least durable.

EVA handles are more long-lasting and secure than cork handles. They’re also the most comfortable among the various grip materials.

Rubber shrink tube handles are tough and provide the firmest grip. They’re also the most affordable.

Materials

There is a wide variety of materials for spinning rods. However, the main ones are carbon fiber (aka graphite), fiberglass, and composite.

Graphite rods are the weakest, but also the lightest and most sensitive.

Fiberglass blanks are the most robust, but also the heaviest and least sensitive.

Composite is a mix of graphite and fiberglass. This translates to a lighter rod than fiberglass that has the lightness and sensitivity of graphite and the muscle of fiberglass.

Lines And Lure Weight

All rods will have designated line and lure weights near the reel seat. These will give you a good idea of the range of fish your rod will be able to handle.

While there’s nothing stopping you from exceeding the stated values near the reel seat and going for bigger fish, try not to do so as your rod may not stand up to larger fish than it’s intended for, regardless of your fishing skills.

My Verdict

To conclude, with their ability to fit most fishing styles, spinning gear are a must-have for any angler. Sure a casting rod can do some things better, like casting heavier lures more accurately, but the more versatile rod will always be the spinning rod.

We’ve included a wide array of great spinning rods for you to choose from though, which might give you some trouble in making a decision. As such, if you really can’t make up your mind, I’d suggest that you get the St Croix Premier. With its unrivalled strength, incomparable lightness, ruggedness, and responsiveness, you can’t go wrong with the St Croix Premier.

Now that you’ve (hopefully) found your dream spinning rod, you’ll need a suitable spinning reel worthy of being your rod’s partner. Here are the best spinning reels to pair with your spinning rod.

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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.