Best Baitcasting Rod 2018 (Buyer’s Guide)
The Best Baitcasting Rod
Finding the best baitcasting rod is not always easy. If you don't match your rod and reel to the weight of line you intend to fish with then your casting will suffer. And its not just your casting that might pose problems, you may also have either too powerful or too weak a rod for your intended fish species.
A good rod is a great investment, the wrong rod however can be a big waste of money and a great cause of frustration. A great rod won't make you a better angler however a bad choice of rod can hold you back.
A baicasting setup is usually used when you need to cast heavier lures on heavier line than a traditional spinning outfit. That's not to say that a baitcasting rod and reel combo cannot throw smaller lures, they can but for that scenario a lightweight spinning rod is probably better.
Baitcasting on freshwater lakes and rivers is usually used by bass, crappie, musky and walleye fishermen. For trout the majority of anglers will use spinning gear or if trolling on a lake they will use a rod and reel combo suited to trolling. A good bass rod may not just be a baitcasting rod. Each type of rod has a particular profile. So a good crankbait rod,or a frog rod will have a different action to a good spinning rod etc.
Baitcasting Rod Buyer's Guide
Baitcasting rods are generally longer in length than a spinning rod. The extra length allows you to get more power out of the rod as it acts as a bigger level. To get more power out you have to put more power in so and if you are casting with fairly large lures you will need to give it a bit more muscle to load the rod blank and get the power out of its natural spring.
A good length is usually for an intermediate setup is somewhere from 7 feet upwards. If you are using a lighter setup then you can go a little smaller. The bigger length of rods are reserved for much heavier tackle anywhere around the 9 foot mark.
Power is generally referred to how much strength the rod blank has. This will have a direct effect on how big a fish you can play. It also affects the choice of line strength to a lesser degree. Fishing rod power is usually described in the following way:
- Ultralight - used for very light tackle and lure applications
- Light - a step up in terms of tackle from the ultra.
- Medium - medium can be a good all round choice if you can only afford one rod
- Medium/Heavy - bigger freshwater species
- Heavy - Larger species particularly saltwater
The action of a fishing rod describes how sensitive and how the power is distributed down through the rod blank from the tip to the butt.
- Fast action - The majority of the bend in the rod happens in the top one third closest to the tip. A fast action rod will allow for much greater sensitivity and quicker hook sets at the expense of casting distance.
- Moderate action - the moderate actioned rod will start to bend in the middle third of the rod. They are a good all round choice. Usually used for cranbaits and slightly longer casts.
- Slow action - Slow action rods are good for casting distance as you can get all the power out of the full blank. They tend to start bending lower down than the other two are are good for using when fishing with natural bait.
Handles can come in either cork, EVA foam or rubber. Each fisherman will have their own preference. A cork handle will be softer but might retain a bit of heat in the winter.
A split grip rod is best suited to casting as you can use the full rod length to generate the swing.
The materials that a rod blank is built from is usually either fiberglass or graphite and occasionally you will see a blend of the two.
A fiberglass rod are generally more durable than and can take a bit more abuse before they will break. Fiberglass rods are also less sensitive.
Graphite rods tend to be much more sensitive and lighter than fiberglass. The majority of high end fishing rods are built from graphite or some exotic blend with carbon fiber.
Line guides are usually built from a metal frame and can have either ceramic inserts of a aluminum oxide. The most famous line guide manufacturer is probably Fuji. Line guides on a baitcasting rod tend to be smaller than on a spinning rod.
When casting a spinning rod and reel the line will come of the reel spool in a big arc, this requires that the first few line guides are quite wide.
A baitcasting reel however will let the line out almost parallel to the rod blank especially if it is a low profile baitcaster.
So what is the best baitcasting rod ?
Our choice would be the Scott Martin concept rods from Okuma. A close second would be the Daiwa Tatula. Both rods offer great casting performance are of very high build quality for the money.
Best Baitcasting Rod
Okuma Scott Martin Concept Rods TCS Review
Our top choice as best baitcasting rod is the Okuma Scott Martin Tournament Concept. Designed with the tournament bass angler in mind they are still usable by just about anyone.
Just because the Concept TCS is aimed at tournament fishermen doesn't mean that they are reserved for them only. Any fisherman can take advantage of the balance, casting accuracy, power and strike sensitivity that is built into these rods.
The addition to detail on these baitcasting rods is considerable. The handle features a split EVA/cork design which combines great gripping action and really contributes to the stylish overall design.
The guides frames are built from ALPS stainless steel meaning improved strength and durability. Whilst the aluminum oxide inserts are specifically designed for use with braided fishing line. On the casting models the guides are sized in a medium giving better knot clearance.
There is a considerable choice across the range with a choice between casting and spinning variations. For each type of rod there is then further choice of length and power. The casting range starts at 6'6" and goes up 7'11". You then have a choice between medium, medium-heavy or extra-heavy so if you plan on throwing some heavier lures for bigger species then there is a suitably actioned rod available for up to about 2oz lures..
- 30-Ton carbon, ultra sensitive blank
- C-40X carbon reel seat
- Aluminum oxide guide inserts
- EVA split grip
- ALPS stainless steel guide frames
Daiwa Tatula Casting Rod Review
The Daiwa Tatula Casting rod line of baitcasting rods is built with one thing in mind being as lightweight as possible. Built using Daiwa's X45 Bias construction the Tatula lower levels of resin the blank which is usually what contributes to the weight of most modern fishing rods.
This reduction in weight however does not come at the expense of power, precision or sensitivity.
The Tatula is one very capable rod coupled with a suitably light weight baitasting reel it can throw some very small lures with in point accuracy and very subtle presentation. The Fuji Alconite guides are some of the best available and combines with the custom lightweight reel seat the hardware on these rods match the rod blanks perfectly.
Available from 6'10" up to 7'7" in length and with a nice range of powers and actions the Tatula is suitable for a range of freshwater lure fishing applications.
- SVF Super Volume Fiber graphite
- Fuji alconite ring guides
- Micro pitch blank finish
- Bias graphite fiber construction
The Veritas combines great tip sensitivity with exceptional strength and durability, capable of handling some pretty big bass and the lures needed to catch them.
Like any baitcasting rod you would expect the Veritas to perform well when setting the hook and fighting fish in and around heavy grass. The Veritas has all the backbone you would need for handling larger fish and yet the tip action is has just enough power in it to make delicate and accurate casts. Abu says it has 2.5 times the resistance to impact as other graphite rods thanks to the construction methods used.
For improved casting performance the line guides frames are made from titanium and the inserts are SIC. The reduced weight from the guides on the rod blank give a very lightweight feel for a rod this strong yet it feels very well balanced.
Just bear in mind the Abu Garcia Medium Veritas is not meant for throwing smaller weighted lures and like any medium/strong rated rod it will struggle if pair with a line that is too light and a lure that is not heavy enough.
- 30 ton graphite
- Titanium alloy guides with sic inserts
- Spiral carbon core construction
- Micro click reel seat hood
St Croix Mojo Bass Rod Review
The Mojo bass aims to combine the power needed to cast heavier lures and jigs and the finesse required for lightweight pinpoint flipping applications. This combination gives the user the best of both worlds and makes for a truly versatile rod.
You could probably only fish this rod all season, so if you are on a restricted budget and are looking for a great all rounder for your baitcasting then this could be it. Not many rods can combine lighweight presentation techniques with sufficient casting power when it is needed.
The blank is built from SC-II graphite which is ST Croix's premium graphite material used on all their top rod ranges. The blanks have been manufactured using St Croix's proprietary process known as Integrated Poly Curve. This process aims to eliminate the natural transition points that you find in the curve of any rod. Eliminating these points helps to deliver much greater sensitivity from tip to handle and results in a higher strength and smoother actioned rod.
- High modulus SC-II graphite
- Kigan Master Hand 3D guides
- Aluminum oxide inserts
- Fuji ECS reel seat
- 5 year warranty
Abu Garcia Vengeance Rod Review
The Vengeance from Abu Garcia is like a little brother to the Veritas 2.0. At roughly half the price you get a lot of rod for the money and if you are on a tight budget it would be a perfect choice.
A nicely balanced rod that tends to have a fairly fast action so it's quite suitable for when you need a bit more sensitivity at the tip. If you are looking to use it with slightly larger lures or big lipped cranbaits then it is best to stick to the larger lengths.
Available from 6'6" up to 7'6" in a variety of different strengths.
- Constructed from 24 ton graphite
- EVA high density foam handle
- Guides coated in Zirconium
- Texas-rigged hook keeper
St Croix Triumph Rod Review
The Triumph from St Croix come with an outstanding rod action that is supper sensitive. These rods are billed as being medium/heavy in power but I would say the end more to the medium side of things. You are getting a lot of quality components at a fairly affordable price point plus the added bonus of a five year warranty.
- SCII graphite construction
- Fuji reel seat
- Aluminum oxide guides
- Five year warranty
- Fast action
The Elite series of rods from Ugly Stik are all generally very fast action so be aware of this before you make your decision. The one piece design will give a very special feel to these rods as the blanks are always very sensitive when there is no join.
The rage is only available in a few lengths but there is a variety of actions available. The 7 footers are actually quite capable inshore rods and they are usable with some fairly heavy lures. One of the best baitcasting rods if you are on a budget.
- Graphite construction
- Ugly Tuff guides
- Ugly Stik Clear Tip design