2020's Best Fishing Rod Reviews

OUR TOP CHOICE: Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.0 Baitcast Rod and Reel Combo

A list of pro level features at a price any angler can afford. You would have to spend a lot more to get even fractionally better. Single piece aluminum frame—amongst other aluminum components—optimizes your weight and strength, while all the bells and whistles do everything but land the fish for you.

Fishing has been a part of our humanity since our primate ancestry. Many apes—great and small—still do in some measure or another.

For tens of thousands of years—maybe even hundreds—fish protein has been essential in propelling humanity’s cognitive function. We’ve used that incredible power, in part and quite rationally, to get far better at fishing.

And for a number of reasons, angling is the most popular form of this piece of human cultural furniture.

Because of our meteoric advancement in the fields of manufacturing, chemistry, metallurgy, et al, there is a fishing pole for absolutely any kind of fishing you’d like to try your hand at.

So toss on some waders, and we’ll fish you up a whole school of options in regards to the best overall fishing rod for you.

Best Fishing Rod Overall

Editor’s Choice: Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.0 Baitcast Rod and Reel Combo

A list of pro level features at a price any angler can afford. You would have to spend a lot more to get even fractionally better. Single piece aluminum frame—amongst other aluminum components—optimizes your weight and strength, while all the bells and whistles do everything but land the fish for you.

Top 8 Best Fishing Rods Reviews

The Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.0 Baitcast Rod and Reel Combo casts itself apart from other fishing poles in the speed and feel of cast and reel.

That speed makes it so easy to adapt on the fly to conditions and as such optimize all the time possible. Crucial to those with today’s hectic schedule.

The rod is built to give you the competitive edge, with its integrated carbon coil technology and double-helix reinforced RT4 Graphite blank for the perfect blend of strength and sensitivity.

The laundry list of pro-level features in the reel includes a rigid 1-piece aluminum frame, carbon fiber side covers, a machined-aluminum V-spool, aluminum crankshaft, brass main gear, premium 10-bearing system with double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings and Powerlock anti-reverse Dual Braking System, powerful 6-disc carbon fiber drag, and carbon fiber recurve handle with EVA Winn grips.

It’s no wonder this thing feels like reeling a silky waterfall made of sunshine through a cream pie made from sugar spun cream filled gold.

A unique Skeletonized Air reel seat maximizes sensitivity with massive blank exposure, and Cabela’s popular Line ID system helps you keep track of your rigging, both in the rod locker and on the casting deck.

In short, this is an artist’s tool, and it handles like one.

KastKing Speed Demon Pro Tournament Series Bass Fishing Rods start with an elite carbon blank that utilizes carbon nanotube resin technology. The STEM enthusiast in me can’t but revel. 

This reduces weight, increases breaking and lifting strength—allegedly by over 30%—compared to standard graphite rods. These proprietary blanks are not only strong and light but also might be the most sensitive rod one has ever had in their hands.

KastKing uses the finest Fuji guides and reel seats to ensure that reels stay firmly in place and that lines are never frayed or are slowed down. All casting models use Fuji LN model guides with alconite rings.

Handles and fighting butts are custom WINN golf style grips that provide comfort and a sure handshake in any conditions.

Everything from the rod weight, action and length of the handles are carefully considered in building your new favorite rod. It’s even a damn fine looking piece of equipment.

Because great function need not mean mundane form.

The High Altitude Brands Lightweight Portable Telescopic Spinning Reel Rod Combo was engineered to be ultra light and small in size so you can take it anywhere, including the most remote backcountry lakes, creeks, streams, rivers and ponds. Perfect for trout, bass, bluegill, panfish and more

This fishing set was purpose built with portability in mind. It is a perfect companion to keep in your back seat, toss in a saddle bag, tuck into a wheelchair, or chuck in your backpack. 

At only 6 ounces for the rod, 11.5 ounces for the case, and 9 ounces for the reel, you’ve got dynamite fishing potential at less than two pounds.

Many freshwater retractable telescopic rods have six or more collapsible sections, each presenting an extra junction—and the weakest point of any rod is the joints where the sections come together. High Altitude Brands poles are engineered with only five blanks but still maintain a small travel ready length of less than 18 inches. 

Making them heavy duty, lightweight, and highly compact.

The best travel fishing rod is the one that conserves weight and space, while still getting the job done.

The less rod between you and the fish, the more you’ll catch. That’s the premise on which Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Platinum Signature Casting Rod is built.

Air light, this pole is virtually an extension of your hand and arm, yet it can easily handle most heavy lifting. 

Casting, retrieving, feeling bottom, working the rod tip—they all seem as effortless as they do precise.

As delicate as it feels, this brute is still a workhorse. The Platinum Signature Rod’s cutting-edge construction utilizes innovative Fortified Multidirectional Fiber Alignment technology to join 5 layers of carbon sheeting with a core infusion of reductive resin. This forms an advanced RTX5 graphite blank with impressive sensitivity as well as power. 

According to BPS that makes for a fishing pole a full 15% lighter and 35% stronger than previous models.

A durable Fuji SiC guideset  provides a smooth line flow, and incredibly comfortable non slip Winn grips keep you in control in all conditions. 

Small touches such as a line-shedding hook keeper and a handy Line ID System make this a well-coordinated rod that’s perfectly equipped to fish like no other.

The Tailored Tackle Ice Fishing Rod Reel Combo is a versatile multispecies rod designed to work for Walleye, Perch, Trout and other Panfish like Crappie, Bluegill and Sunfish.

It’s an extra fast action fishing pole. Useful for indicating extremely sensitive bites.

A premium size 20 ice fishing reel with a 5 ball bearing system for a smooth feel even in freezing temperatures.  

A carbon fiber rod blank and base provide back bone and durability, while a classic cork handle on an ergonomic grip—designed by fishing guides at Tailored Tackle—gives you firm control in any situation.

This ambidextrous unit is dirt cheap too, so you can get your fishing in, without breaking the bank.

Since 1897, Ugly Stik has been a leader in quality, affordable fishing gear.

They claim inspiration from 115 years of passion and experience. Ugly Stik offers something for the whole family and at all levels of experience.

So it’s no wonder one of the least expensive fishing poles on this best of list is the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo. This next generation Ugly Stik offers all the strength and durability one would expect—considering that much manufacturing heritage behind it—with a lighter feel and more satisfying aesthetic thanks to improved materials and components. 

Each GX2 Combo features Ugly Tech construction, Ugly Tuff guides and the Ugly Stik Clear Tip design. All together it makes for one good looking, rugged and work ready fishing rig.

But I could very well be biased. I grew up slinging one of these bad boys predecessors along the red clay banks found all over Oklahoma. In fact, I think that 40 plus year old rod and reel likely work just fine to this day.

Because while they might be inexpensive, an Ugly Stik was always built to last.

Below the roiling surface of the sea exists a deluge of big game fish and their apex predators.

But few compare to the apex predator of a human being with the right tool at his disposal. Hell, if those smug fish would come fight us on land we wouldn’t even need the right tool.

With the PENN Battle II Spinning Fishing Rod and Reel Combo, even the Mighty Tuna will reconsider who the big boss of the water is. And little is as satisfying as beating the champ on his own home surf and turf.

The Penn Battle II makes that dream plausible. Its HT 100 carbon fiber drag system provides Nor’easter wind like power without sacrificing smoothness. Crank that reel fluidly thanks to 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings—featuring an instant anti-reverse bearing. 

Nobody wants to lose a hard fought game.

Its full metal body, side plate, rotor, and heavy-duty aluminum bail wire offer exceptionally rugged reliability, and the superline spool requires no backing, is braid ready, and conveniently has line capacity rings marked at 1/3, 2/3, and full capacity.

So if big game is your aim—from sturgeon to shark—the Penn Battle II is your great equalizer and one of the best surf fishing rods on the market.

Cabela’s Fish Eagle® Baitcast Combo boasts dependable pro-level strength and reliability alongside easy casting and retrieving. 

With a carbon frame and side-covers, lightweight anodized aluminum spool and quality controlled eight-bearing system that includes Powerlock instant anti-reverse, this combo delivers at every turn. Intuitive magnetic braking system pairs with a smooth, consistent drag with up to 10 pounds of drag power. 

The Fish Eagle Baitcast Rod features a rugged 54-million-modulus graphite blank that provides nigh unparalleled bending strength, reinforced with a carbon cross-wrap butt section for even greater resilience.

Exclusive stainless steel tangle-free guide frames with aluminum-oxide inserts help assure each angler that he spends more time angling and less untangling.

Premium cork handle and rubberized-cork trim offer a nonslip hold while the Mag Touch reel seat maximizes blank contact for outstanding feeling while casting and reeling.

Because of how simple, functional, and relatively inexpensive it is, this is one of the best beginner baitcaster combos. And it’s one that any expert could wield like a surgeon. 

Grip it and Rip it

One of the many reasons fishing has such a sacred place amongst almost all of human history—other than it’s obvious propensity to fuel us with healthy nutrients—is the pure bliss of the meditative act.

The lessons of patience and discipline rewarded every time with the harmony of the pursuit. 

The muscles working in synchronized order for each and every cast.

The intimate bond with our biosphere.

And again, them damned fine eats.

With Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.0 Baitcast Rod and Reel Combo, or any other fishing rod on this comprehensive list, you could step up your game, while standing on the shoulders of giants.

Connecting with legends of human history, so many of which were avid anglers.

And when you hold that grip, jig the tip, and reel time after time, you are taking a well earned respite with the person who deserves it the most. Yourself.

So order yours today, and give yourself the time you’ve earned. 

Best Fishing Rod Overall

The Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.0 Baitcast Rod and Reel Combo casts itself apart from other fishing poles in the speed and feel of cast and reel.

That speed makes it so easy to adapt on the fly to conditions and as such optimize all the time possible. Crucial to those with today’s hectic schedule.

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