Best Bass Fishing Rods

When selecting the best bass rod for the style of fishing you plan to use it for, there is a ton information to consider. Bass rods have multiple ratings that make them different from one another, like the length of the rod, the power rating, and the action rating. All of these, and other ratings, play an important role in a rods performance.

But the most important thing to consider is what lures you plan to use with the rod. So important, that most rod companies make rods that print right on them what lure they are designed for. Every bass lure performs best when used with the right rod, and every rod performs best when paired with the right angler.

Just because a rod is ideal for a certain type of lure for one angler, doesn’t always mean that it’s ideal for another. The physical characteristics of an angler can play a big part in selecting the best rod for them, like their height, strength, or ability.

But before we really dive into bass rods, if you’re just looking for more info on a rod for fishing specific bass lures, then below you’ll find a list of pages that cover them individually. But if you want to learn more about bass rods and what to look for then keep reading this page. Hopefully this page and those pages will help guide you towards picking a rod that is perfect for you.

Best Rods For Bass Lures

We broke down the best bass rods for each style of bass lure listed below. Each page elaborates specifically on rods that are perfect for fishing those types of lures. If you want more information on multi-purposing your rods, or to learn more about bass rods in general, scroll past this list and let’s get in to it.

Bass Fishing Rods

Ideally, your boat would be loaded with a wide variety of rods, having a designated rod for every lure you fish. Like pro fisherman Kevin VanDam for example, who keeps at least twenty-four rods on his boat for a day of fishing.

This of course is not realistic for most fisherman, and for them there are certain lures that can be used with the same rod. On this page we are going to break down rods that can be used for multiple lure types. But there are some rods that you simply can’t multipurpose, for instance you would never fish a jig with a crankbait rod, or vice versa.

Not only do you have to consider the type of lure you want to fish, but you need to also consider the weight of the lure. Bass rods have a weight rating that is usually printed next to the handle grip of the rod, and will tell you the weight range of the lure that is recommended for that particular rod.

But bass anglers don’t carry multiple rods solely because they need a rod for every different lure, it’s also so they can put down one rod and pick up another one quickly to change lures. This is huge advantage when fishing from a boat, as you quickly approach different targets, cover, or depths.

Types of Bass Rods

There are two types of rods used for bass fishing: casting rods and spinning rods. Each is paired with different types of bass fishing reels. The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is casting rods have a trigger built in to the handle.

Spinning rods do not have a trigger, and will have a much larger guide first in line. This large guide is designed to help accept the line better as it spins around the spool in a wide revolution.

Since baitcasters come straight off the spool the first guide is not much different in size compared to the others. Most bass anglers own both styles, since each one excels more so with certain lures. Let’s take a closer look at each style of rod.

Spinning Rods

Spinning Rod

Spinning rods are ideal for novice fisherman, and of course are designed to be paired with spinning reels. Any bass angler just getting started should begin with a spinning combo.

Although easier to use, a spinning rod can be equally as useful to even professional fishermen. They’re especially known for the role they play in fishing finesse lures. Spinning rods are simply better for handling lighter lines and lighter lures.

Your typical spinning reel used for bass fishing will be one of three sizes: 2500, 3000, or 4000. These reels typically hold line in the range of two to fourteen pound test. Any of those three reels sizes are able to cast heavier line, but this when braid becomes a much better option.

Spinning rods work really well with the following lures, but preferably in smaller sizes. They also work really well for skipping baits, and are a much easier option for someone learning to skip.

Casting Rods

Baitcasting Rod

These rods are a little more advanced than spinning rods. They are paired with baitcasting reels, and require a little more skill to use than a spinning combo. These rods are more heavy duty, designed for heavier lures and heavier lines. You typically wouldn’t use lines less than ten pound test with these reels.

If you’re going to take bass fishing seriously you are going to own at least one baitcasting rod. These are the workhorses of bass fishing, built to handle bigger baits and heavier line.

In most cases, a bass fisherman will do the majority of their fishing with a baitcaster. Generally speaking, lures weighing three-eighths of an ounce and up are better handled with baitcaster.

Two Piece Rods

Two Piece Rod

For the most part on this page we will be talking about rods that come as one solid piece, or one-piece rods. But there are fishing rods that come in two pieces that connect to each other to make up a full length rod. Each piece of a two-piece rod will have either a male and female end so they can slide in to the other.

The advantage of having a two-piece rod is the ability to store it in tight places, like the trunk of your car. They are also easier to carry through the woods if you’re shore fishing, in your hand or even in a backpack.

The biggest disadvantage of a two piece rod is the massive loss in sensitivity. You lose a ton of feel where the two sections connect. This will cause you to detect less bites and have less of a feel of the bottom.

Rod Ratings

  • Length
  • Power
  • Action
  • Lure Weight
  • Line Weight
  • Additional Features

All of these factors play a role in selecting the best bass rod for the bass fishing you plan to use it for. Most, if not all of these attributes, should be listed on the rod handle. Each one should be carefully considered when spec’ing out a rod.

It should also be noted that these ratings can vary from one rod manufacturer to another. For example, G.Loomis’s medium-heavy is fairly different than St. Croix’s medium heavy. For that reason, it’s not a bad idea to stick with the same rod manufacturer for most of your rods if you can. It will make transitioning from rod to rod much smoother, and you’ll be much more in tune with their ratings when buying new rods from them.

Now let’s take a closer look at what the ratings on bass rods mean.

Length

Generally speaking, a longer rod will give you a longer cast, but if you don’t have the clearance to swing a long rod you are putting yourself at more of a disadvantage than you would with a shorter rod. A shorter rod will also give you a more accurate cast, so you need to first decided what is more important for this rod, distance or accuracy.

But what selecting the best rod length mostly comes down to is where and what you plan to do most of your fishing from, more specifically boat or shoreline. In most cases, shore fishermen that are fishing in tight quarters are better off using shorter rods. Trying to fish from a small clearing on a pond is going to be difficult with a long seven and half foot rod. This is when a rod in the range of five and half to six feet would be a better choice.

On the other hand, a fisherman fishing from the deck of a bass boat is in a much better position to use longer rods, anywhere in the six and a half to eight foot range. When fishing from a bass boat you’re standing at a higher elevation above the water, and have ample casting clearance for big swinging casts.

Fishermen fishing from small jon boats or kayaks are better suited with rods in between those two extremes. In these vessels you will usually be set lower, sometimes even even slightly below the water surface.

You might have the side casting clearance on these vessels, but try skipping, flipping, or pitching with a rod that is too long and you might find your bait hitting the water before you release it. Sticking around the seven foot range is usually a good bet.

But even with all that said, you need to consider the height of the angler as well. The taller the fisherman the longer the rod they should be using because of how much higher they stand above the water. A shorter fisherman would be better suited with a shorter rod, similarly to the way golf clubs are sized for golfers.

Power

The level of power a rod is rated for will tell you how much pulling power it has. Basically it’s a measure of how easily the rod will bend from the handle to about two-thirds of the way up the rod. You’ll often hear anglers refer to a rod with a lot of power having “a lot of backbone.”

While rods are made with a rating ranging from light to heavy, there are rarely times when you would use anything lighter than a medium power rating in bass fishing. Light power rods are mainly designed for crappie fishing, or fishermen just looking to have fun catching big bass with light tackle.

The majority of bass fishing is most often done with rods rated for medium, medium-heavy, and heavy power. Here is the complete list of power ratings for bass rods:

  • Micro Light
  • Ultra Light
  • Light
  • Medium-Light
  • Medium
  • Medium-Heavy
  • Heavy

As a general rule of thumb, medium power rods are better suited for baits with treble hooks, as well any bait with an exposed hook. These baits require less power to set the hook.

While other baits like texas rigs, jigs, frogs, and other weedless lures, require rods in the medium-heavy to heavy power range. When fishing in heavy cover you should lean towards a heavy rod, the extra power helps with pulling fish out.

Action

Rod action is often confused with rod power, because they both describe the amount at which a rod will bend. The difference is that power is the bending action for the lower two-thirds or more of the rod and action is the measure of bend at tip of the rod, whatever length is remaining.

Action is measured as a level of speed, ranging from slow to extra fast. Slow action tips start bending at a lower point on the rod, and as the speed increases the bend starts closer and closer to the tip. Here are all the rod action ratings you will see printed on bass rods.

  • Slow
  • Medium (Moderate)
  • Medium Fast
  • Fast
  • Extra Fast

Similar to power, moderate action rods are better suited for baits with treble hooks and lures with exposed hooks. These hooks are set more efficiently with the softer tip.

Faster tips, like fast or extra fast are better suited for texas rigs, jigs, and other weedless lures like these. The faster tip gives the rod better sensitivity for fishing these style lures and the stiffer tip helps for hooksetting past weedless rigging.

Lure Weight

Most bass rods have a lure weight rating printed on the handle, which is pretty self explanatory. It’s basically a weight range that tells you the lightest to the heaviest lure weight they recommend for that rod.

The weight of the lure you plan to use with a rod is actually really important. You need a rod that is going to handle the load. This can directly affect your casting, lure action, and your hooksetting power.

But luckily it’s also very easy to abide by, since most bass lures have their weight printed right on the packaging. Even with that aside, as soon as you pick up a rod that is under or overloaded it should feel pretty obvious.

Line Weight

It’s really important to use a line that falls within the weight range that is recommended for the rod. Fishing line strength is rated by a number of pounds, and the higher the pound capacity of the line the stronger the line is.

The weight of the line used with the rod is closely related to power rating of the rod. The more power a rod has the stronger the recommended line weight will be. Using too light of line on too powerful of a rod can easily snap your line on hooksets.

It’s not just the lines strength you need to consider, but also the type line you plan to use. Different fishing lines stretch more than others, so before you select a rod you should know what kind of line you plan to use with it. For example, monofilament and fluorocarbon have way more stretch than braid.

Other Features

There have been several rod variations and features that have become available over the years like different style rod handles, guides, handle materials. These features are all mainly targeted at making the rod lighter, and come down to the anglers personal preference.

Multi-purposing Bass Rods

This is a very basic guide, mainly geared towards someone starting out bass fishing and in need of a solid arsenal to get started with. Anyone that is going to take bass fishing somewhat seriously will need more than one rod.

Like we said before, not everyone is going to have a rod for each type of bass lure. That’s why a lot of anglers multi-purpose their bass rods. Not only is it much more economical, but it saves space in your boat and home.

And since ratings on rods will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, on some we list a short range of specifications for flexibility. This is also because some anglers just prefer stiffer rods than other anglers. Not everybody has the same strength, so hooksets power varies from angler to angler.

Like we said earlier, having multiple rods isn’t just for covering all the different lures you plan to throw. It’s also for being able to put down a rod and pick up another one quickly as the conditions and/or cover changes around you.

Follow Up Casting

Having multiple rods also allows you to quickly throw different lures and presentations to the same target. For example, you can run a spinnerbait along a dock and not get a bite, then follow up with a jig in the same spot and get bit.

Bass are tough to figure out, and having the multiple rods gives you a huge advantage in finding out what they are chasing that day. A bass hitting a jig and not a spinnerbait tells you bass may not be that active today. Something you would not have learned if you didn’t have the ability to throw two baits at the same target quickly.

Follow up casting is also very effective when you miss a fish on a short strike. Let’s say a bass hits a topwater lure but doesn’t get hooked. Following up with a jig or worm to the same area will often work better than casting the same topwater lure.

Most seasoned anglers have experienced this enough to where they won’t even attempt the topwater lure again. Instead they immediately just reach for the worm or jig rod. One lure you can almost always guarantee a bass won’t hit twice is a buzzbait.

Rod Selection Guide

Below is a list of six rods that would make up a really good set of rods that would cover all styles of bass fishing. They are in no particular order of importance, and you don’t necessarily need them all. You can just pick the ones you do need to cover the kind of bass fishing you plan to do.

To help you determine that, each rod has the lures it handles best listed below it. We also included the suggested line type and strength you should spool it with.

We didn’t include lengths because that is very angler specific. If you didn’t read the section on length, you can refer to that above if you need help picking the right rod length.

If you are just starting out, three rods make a really good set for a beginner. Two baitcasters and a spinning rod, we suggest Rod #1, Rod #2 or #3, and Rod #4.


Rod #1

Type: Baitcasting

Power: Medium-Heavy to Heavy

Action: Fast to Extra Fast

Line: 14-20 lb Fluorocarbon or 40-65lb Braid

Lures:

Our Rod Suggestion: Elite Black Series BLK72h


Rod #2

Type: Baitcasting

Power: Medium to Medium-Heavy

Action: Fast to Extra Fast

Line: 12-20 lb Monofilament, Fluorocarbon, or Braid

Lures:

Our Rod Suggestion: St. Croix Bass X BXC71MHF


Rod #3

Type: Baitcasting

Power: Medium

Action: Fast to Extra Fast

Line: 10-14 lb Monofilament

Lures:

Our Rod Suggestion: St. Croix Bass X BXC71MF


Rod #4

Type: Spinning

Power: Medium

Action: Fast

Line: 10-14 lb Monofilament

Lures: (Smaller in size)

Our Rod Suggestions:


Rod #5

Type: Baitcasting

Power: Medium

Action: Moderate

Line: 8-12 lb Fluorocarbon

Lures:

Our Rod Suggestion: Dobyns Glass Champion Series Crankbait Rod


Rod #6

Type: Baitcasting

Power: Heavy

Action: Fast to Extra Fast

Line: Monofilament or Braid

Lures:

Our Rod Suggestions: