The Best Baitcasting Rods of 2018 – Review Before You Buy

So you’re in the market for a new baitcasting rod. Whether you’ve owned baitcasting rods your entire life, or you’re looking to get started, you’ve come to the right place.

Here, we’ll go over the difference between baitcasting and spinning rods, things to look for when buying a baitcasting rod, as well as several of the best baitcasting rods on the market right now.

We’ll also take a look at an informative video that walks you through the basics of baitcasting. It can be pretty tedious to compare and contrast so many different fishing rods, so with this article, we hope to take some of the sting out of it for you.

Best Baitcasting Rods Comparison Chart 

Product

Our Rating

Price

​Entsport Camo Legend 2-Piece Carbon Fiber Baitcasting Fishing Rod

Entsport Camo Legend 2-Piece 7-Feet Casting Rod 24 Ton Carbon Fiber Baitcasting Fishing Rod with 2 Tips - Medium and Medium Heavy Portable Baitcast Rod Baitcaster

​UglyStik GX2 Casting Rod

UglyStik USCA662MH Casting Rod

​Entsport Sirius 2-Piece Graphite Portable Baitcast Rod

Entsport 2-Piece Casting Rod Graphite Portable Baitcast Rod Inshore Baitcasting Fishing Rod Freshwater Baitcaster Rod Baitcaster (8-20-Pound Test) (7' Medium)

​Berkley Cherrywood HD Casting Rod

Berkley Cherrywood HD Casting

​Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Rod

Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Rod Portable Two piece Casting Rod Fast Action Baitcast Rod Baitcaster (6-Feet 6-Inch, Medium)

Baitcasting vs. Spinning Rod – How Are They Different?

What’s the difference between baitcasting and spinning rods anyway? Well, there are quite a few differences, actually. The two rods work in very dissimilar ways, so it is important to match your type of fishing to the appropriate rod in order to get the best out of your fishing experience.

Baitcasting rods, while not necessarily easier to cast, allow the angler to make smoother casts and to achieve a greater distance with their cast. Because the reel and guides on a baitcasting rod face upwards, the line is held against the rod when taught, protecting the guides from breaking.

Baitcasting also reduces line friction when casting, as the line itself comes directly off of the spool instead of unwinding around the top of the spool as is the case with spinning reels. This lack of friction allows for further, smoother casts.

If you intend to fish from a boat, whether you’re trolling or down rigging, baitcasting rods are usually the way to go. As we mentioned, you’ll be able to make further casts and have better control of the amount of line that is released.

Casting rods also fit well in rod holders. It can be more difficult for a beginning angler to get the hang of baitcasting rods, however. Typically, spinning rods are a bit more intuitive and easier to cast than baitcasting rods.

Baitcasting vs. Spinning (Source)

The learning curve may be less intimidating, but spinning rods just don’t provide the smoothness and distance of baitcasting rods.

Using a spinning reel on a baitcasting rod, or vice versa compromises the functionality of the rod and can lead to a lot of angler frustration. For this reason, it is important to know whether you are buying a casting rod or a spinning rod when shopping for your preferred fishing style.

When you’re faced with rows and rows of rods at the store, it can be tricky to figure out which rods are which. There are, however, some subtle ways to tell which type of rod you’re looking at.

For example, many baitcasting rods will have a trigger-looking projection near the reel seat. Spinning rods will not. Baitcasting rods will have eyelets that lay along the top of the rod.

Spinning rod eyelets will face downward, underneath the rod, just the like the reel. Casting rods will have a “C” in the model number while spinning rods will have an “S.” When in doubt, the product description should be a dead giveaway.

Buying Guide: How to Select the Best Baitcasting Rods

If you’ve settled on buying a baitcasting rod, there are a few considerations to make before purchasing. The first thing to take note of is the rod’s action.

Action refers to the speed of the rod, or how much bend you see in the rod as you cast. Slow action rods are quite bendy and require more time to set the hook. This is beneficial in that by the time the hook is set, the hook is further in the fish’s mouth, making it less likely to spit the hook out or have it break off.

This makes slow action rods ideal when fishing with live bait. Fast action rods set the hook faster and offer the most sensitivity. In determining the most appropriate rod action for your style of fishing, understand the types of lures you’ll be using as well as the species that you’ll target.

Along with rod action comes rod power. Power refers to the weight of the rod, ranging from ultra-light to heavy, and is fairly straightforward. Lighter rods don’t offer quite as much power as heavier rods.

Smaller fish don’t require as much power as large fish. An angler should choose the power of the rod based on the species and size of fish he or she will be targeting.

Another important consideration is the material with which the rod is made. Graphite rods tend to be more lightweight and do well to withstand shock.

Fiberglass rods, on the other hand, tend to be just slightly heavier but very durable. They are quite flexible, which can compromise rod action. For this reason, buyers tend to go for graphite rods when they want a fast action casting rod.

Most rods on the market today employ both fiberglass and graphite when making the rod blank, so there isn’t too much to compromise.

As we discussed previously, the guides, or eyelets, on a baitcasting rod are also important. The linings of these guides are made of a variety of different materials, but only some are worth spending money on. Inserts made of nickel-titanium alloy or ceramic are the best. Plastic inserts should be avoided, as they are a sign of a low-end rod.

Quick Take - The Best Baitcasting Rods

Review of the Best Baitcasting Rods

With all of these factors to think about, how does one choose the best rod? We’ve taken some of the guesswork out of it by highlighting the best baitcasting rods below. Take a look through and see which rods might suit your fishing style the best.

1. Entsport Camo Legend 2-Piece Carbon Fiber Baitcasting Fishing Rod

Entsport Camo Legend 2-Piece 7-Feet Casting Rod 24 Ton Carbon Fiber Baitcasting Fishing Rod with 2 Tips - Medium and Medium Heavy Portable Baitcast Rod Baitcaster

First up is the Entsport Camo Legend 2-Piece Carbon Fiber Baitcasting Fishing Rod. This two-piece rod is made of lightweight but durable carbon fiber and comes with two interchangeable tips -- a medium weight and medium-heavy weight.

This allows an angler to change up the rod’s power in a variety of different fishing scenarios. The enhanced reel seat increases line-to-blank contact and sensitivity when reeling and setting the hook.

Corrosion resistant guides stand the test of time and improve casting performance by drastically reducing line friction. The camouflage handles are made of high-density EVA which maximizes comfort and control.

Pros

  • Fantastic Sensitivity
  • High-Quality Materials and Feel
  • Comfortable, High-Quality Handles
  • Comment Check
    Durable and Well-Positioned Reel Seat
  • Comment Check
    Interchangeable Tips Instantly Change the Power of the Rod

Cons

  • Tips Can Break Without Excess Pressure
  • Pieces Have Been Known to Not Fully Seat Together

Bottom Line

The Entsport Camo Legend two-piece rod offers a moderate action, versatile, and stylish option for baitcasting anglers. Its sensitivity allows for easy, fast hook sets, and it’s enhanced reel seat ensures your reel won’t budge while you’re fighting your fish, providing a great deal of confidence.

While the carbon fiber is lightweight and easy to cast and transport, it lacks the durability of a graphite rod. This issue has been resolved well, however, through customer service when replacements may be needed.

2. UglyStik GX2 Casting Rod

UglyStik USCA662MH Casting Rod

Next up is the  UglyStik GX2 Casting Rod. This rod is made from a blend of graphite and fiberglass, making it extremely durable, lightweight, and sensitive. The guides are made from a strong stainless steel and the handles are made of durable EVA.

There are many different purchasing options for this rod, depending on the desired length, action, weight, and even how many pieces an angler prefers. The rod can be ordered in either 5’6”, 6’0”, 6’6” or 7.”

Depending on the length, the rod comes in weights ranging from medium-light to heavy. And if those options weren’t enough for you, the rod can be made in either one solid piece or broken down into two pieces for storage and travel.

Pros

  • 7-Year Warranty
  • Great Sensitivity
  • Durable Blank Material
  • Comment Check
    Comes in Many Different Lengths, Weights, and Actions

Cons

  • Guides Tend to Rust Even With Diligent Rinsing After Fishing
  • Casts a Little Heavier Than it Claims To (Medium Feels More Like Medium-Heavy)

Bottom Line

The UglyStik GX2 casting rod offers such a wide variety of ordering options that every angler is sure to find one that works for their preferred style of fishing. Its graphite and fiberglass make-up offers dependable strength and fantastic sensitivity.

The guides do need some care and may need replacements, but these are covered under the company’s 7-year warranty. Anglers will also want to make sure that they order their desired weight and ensure that it is appropriate for their needs as the rod does cast a bit heavier than advertised.  

3. Entsport Sirius 2-Piece Graphite Portable Baitcast Rod

Entsport 2-Piece Casting Rod Graphite Portable Baitcast Rod Inshore Baitcasting Fishing Rod Freshwater Baitcaster Rod Baitcaster (8-20-Pound Test) (7' Medium)

Our next featured rod is the Entsport Sirius 2-Piece Graphite Portable Baitcast Rod. This Entsport rod, like its aforementioned brand sibling, is also made from carbon fiber and is therefore lightweight and very sensitive.

The guides are made from stainless steel with ceramic inserts, reducing friction and preventing corrosion. It breaks into two pieces for easy transport and sports the same sturdy EVA handles. Its enhanced open reel seat allows for direct contact with fingers and is corrosion resistant.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Excellent Sensitivity
  • Comfortable EVA handles
  • Comment Check
    Virtually Frictionless Guides
  • Comment Check
    Casts Accurately and With a Decent Amount of Distance

Cons

  • Lacks Durability in Certain Situations
  • Reel Has Been Known to Wiggle Loose From the Seat From Time to Time

Bottom Line

While the carbon fiber make-up of this rod isn’t quite as durable as its graphite and fiberglass counterparts, it does make for a lightweight rod that is a pleasure to cast. The ceramic guide inserts help cast further and more accurately by reducing line friction. The rod itself looks sharp and its EVA hand grips make long fishing days that much more comfortable.

4. Berkley Cherrywood HD Casting Rod

Berkley Cherrywood HD Casting

Next, we’ll take a look at the Berkley Cherrywood HD Casting Rod. This rod also comes in a variety of lengths ranging from 5’6” to 7’0” and different weights -- from medium-light to medium-heavy.

Most models come as one piece with the exception of the 6’6” rod breaking down into two pieces if ordered as such. The rod blank is a graphite through-handle construction, making it one of the strongest and most dependable rods out there.

The guides are made from chromium, contributing to this well-balanced rod.  Casting is comfortable and stylish thanks to a classic cork handle.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Very Sensitive
  • Strong, Durable Construction
  • Comment Check
    Cork Handles Give it a Classic Feel

Cons

  • Short Butt Section Can Take Some Getting Used to
  • Works Best in Freshwater as Guides Tend to Corrode
  • One-Piece Rod Design is More Difficult to Travel With

Bottom Line

This rod has been redesigned over the last 30-years as it has remained an angler favorite. With all those tweaks and perfections, the Berkley Cherrywood HD casting rod is a valuable addition to any freshwater angler’s rod quiver. While most of the models can’t be broken down into two pieces, this rod is incredibly durable and won’t let you down even when fighting large fish.

5. Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Rod

Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Rod Portable Two piece Casting Rod Fast Action Baitcast Rod Baitcaster (6-Feet 6-Inch, Medium)

Rounding out the best baitcasting rods, we have the Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Rod. This is a two-piece, 6’6” fast action, casting rod made from a graphite/fiberglass composite.

Its tip section boasts impeccable sensitivity for well-timed hook sets. The guides are made of stainless steel with Zirconium inserts and the handles are made of high-grade EVA. Buyers can choose to purchase either the medium weight or medium-heavy weight option.

Pros

  • Unbelievably Strong
  • Two Pieces Fit Well Together
  • Looks and Feels High-Quality
  • Comment Check
    Casts a Variety of Lures and Weights Very Well

Cons

  • Guides Can Bend Under Pressure
  • Slightly More Flexible Than Advertised

Bottom Line

The Piscifun Torrent baitcasting rod handles large, hard-fighting fish with strength and dependability. The construction is durable and the joint between the two pieces does not serve as a point of weakness.

Because of its strength, anglers will be satisfied by the rod’s ability to cast a wide variety of lures and baits. It does feel a little lighter in weight and more flexible than one might expect, but this does not compromise the rod’s durability.

How to Use a Baitcasting Rod: The Basics

The following video is a great how-to guide to baitcasting for beginners. As you read, baitcasting rods are more difficult to get the hang of compared to spinning rods.

If you’re new to baitcasting, watching a few videos will help put you in the right mindset for learning how baitcasting works.

This video does a great job of explaining the basics of a baitcasting rod. Dave discusses several essential aspects of baitcasting:

  • The anatomy of a baitcasting reel (1:05)
  • How to adjust the tension on the spool of the reel in order to best suit the lure you are using. This is important for preventing “birds nests,” or line tangle, from forming within in the spool as you cast. (2:00)
  • How to set the breaks on your baitcasting reel to prevent the “birds nest” (3:56)
  • Dave’s favorite things about baitcasters and why he fishes them (7:42)
    • They Fish Quicker
    • You Can Cover More Water
    • They Offer More Versatility
  • The types of lines and line materials that he recommends (8:05)

Conclusion

When it comes to buying a baitcasting rod, there are quite a few variables at play. Buyers should be aware of what the rod was designed for (is it designed for baitcasting or spinning?) What materials go into making its parts?

And the types of lengths, weights, and actions they need or want for their style of fishing. It can be a dizzying experience when there are so many options out there, but we’ve hopefully made the process a little less painful by providing detailed descriptions of the best baitcasting rods on the market today. 

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