Best Spinning Rod for Bass: Our Top 9 Choices

best spinning rod for bass

Bass spinning rods have to be versatile – powerful enough to pull a fish out of structure, but sensitive enough to pick up a bite floating a light soft plastic and durable enough to cope with a few spills and thrills.

We’ve chosen our five best spinning rods to target America’s favourite sport fish to review for you below.

Choose one of these sticks and you can be confident you have got the right fishing rod to tackle trophy bass.

Best spinning rod for bass fishing: our top picks

Best overall

For those who like to cut straight to the chase, the St Croix Mojo is our pick as the best spinning rod for bass fishing – it’s purpose-built for targeting bass and you get a quality blank, handle and guides without totally breaking the bank.

Best value

And our best value spinning rod is the Fenwick HMG – another popular choice among bass fishermen and women, it has similar-grade components at a competitive price. There are cheaper options (such as the Ardent), but none are packed with this much quality and value.

Our top pick

St Croix Mojo

One of the highest quality spinning rods you can buy. Great performance, a solid warranty and excellent control.

Our best value pick

Fenwick HMG

Strong but sensitive this is a serious bass fishing rod at an extraordinary price. Outperforms more expensive brands.

Choosing a rod for bass fishing

Fishing rods come with variations in features, these variants excel at certain bait presentations, whether it’s jigs, crankbaits, jerkbaits or soft plastics – make sure you select a rod with the right specifications for the role you intend to use it for. Action, power, and rod length are all things to consider. Most spinning rods for bass tend to be fast action for the sensitivity of the tip and the ability to get a good hookset. With treble hooks or when longer casts are the norm, you might choose a medium fast rod. While all our choices are nominally fast action fishing rods, they are all capable of distance casting and are forgiving enough to not pull a small treble out of a bass’ mouth. About 7 feet is the optimum length and we prefer two-piece rods so we can travel easily with them.

Our top spinning rods for bass broken down

RodLengthActionLineOtherPrice
St Croix Mojo
MJS71MF2
7’1″Fast6-12lbPremium graphite blank
Fuji reel set
Purpose designed for bass
Cork handles
$$$$

Fenwick HMG
HMG70M-FS-2
7′Fast8-14lbFuji guides
Cork handles
Limited lifetime warranty
Carbon Bound blank
$$
13 Fishing Omen
Black 3
7’1″Fast6-12lbJapanese Toray Graphite blank
Stainless steel guides
Cork handles
$$$
Ardent Tournament Pro7′Fast6-12lbOne piece design
Graphite blank
Stainless steel guides
$
Daiwa Tatula TAT701MFS7Fast6-14lbBRAIDING-X technology
Top quality cork handles
Fuji Fazelite guides
$$$$
Shakespeare Ugly Stik7′Fast6-12lbBargain price
Cork grips
Stainless steel guides
$

RELATED POSTS: Best baitcasting rodsBest telescopic fishing rodBaitcaster combos


1. St Croix Mojo Bass Spinning Rods

St Croix is perhaps one the the most well known companies to create fishing rods and are known for making some of the highest quality spinning rods you can buy.

Using integrated poly curve tooling technology and premium high modulus SCIII graphite, these rods are made with some of the best technologies and materials in the industry. They feature a split grip made with premium grade cork handles. Fuji DPS reel seats. 2 coats of flex seal slow cure finish epoxy. One of the greatest features isn’t a physical one, it’s the 5-year warranty back by the St Croix Superstar Service. St Croix Mojo bass rods also feature a full array of technique specific variations depending on the fishing techniques you wish to employ with the rod.

St Croix have 10 different variants in 1 and 2 piece models to choose from.

2. Fenwick HMG Spinning Rod

Fenwick HMG rods have been around for decades, they were originally made from fiberglass, but now they offer them in Carbon as well. They are super strong, very rigid, while still being extremely sensitive. Featuring an excellent tip and backbone.

The HMG also features Fuji line guides and a AAA corked handle, And the price quite honestly is very hard to beat. Featuring lengths from 6’ to 7’6” and fast to moderate fast actions, and ultra light to medium heavy power, they have all of their bases covered. This is a great spinning rod for bass fishing.

3. 13 Fishing Omen Black 3

The most evolved and exceptional 13 fishing rod to date the Omen Black 3 features some amazing engineering. The rod blank is created using 36-ton Japanese Toray graphite blanks. And PVG (Poly Vector Graphite) technology, which aligns the graphite fibers at a micro level, creating tighter weaves and improving sensitivity while maintaining a precisely balanced fishing rod. Featuring ALPS guides with zirconium inserts, helping improve casting, and hand selected Portuguese split grip cork handles. The Omen Black 3 comes in 7 different variations from 6’7” to 7’5”, fast to extra fast tapers, and power from medium light to medium heavy.

4. Ardent Tournament Pro series

The Ardent Tournament pro series was designed with performance and affordability in mind, while excelling at everything that competitive anglers demand. Built with the ever popular IM7 graphite blanks, these rods offer exceptional strength and sensitivity. These rods also provide anglers with a wide range of finesse techniques and applications, eliminating the needs of different variants down to two selections.

The Tournament series also features golf style grips for unsurpassed comfort and stainless steel guides. The two variants of rod come at 7’ in length and have a medium and medium-heavy power to choose from.

5. Daiwa Tatula Spinning Rod

Combining Durability with a finesse inspired design, the Tatula design employs a range of advanced Manufacturing techniques and technologies. Using superior materials allows Daiwa to produce a spinning rod with exceptional sensitivity without sacrificing strength.

The Tatula features BRAIDING-X carbon fiber braiding technology which increases strength and drastically reduces issues such as blank twisting, giving the Tatula an excellent blend of responsiveness and power. Featuring top quality Portuguese cork handles and Fuji Fazelite tangle-free guides, this rod is sure to go above and beyond any anglers expectations. The Tatula comes in 8 model options from fast to extra fast tips, medium light to medium heavy power and lengths from 6’6” to 7’6”.

6. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

The Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite spinning rod is great choice for beginners on account of its cheap price and the value it provides at that entry-level price point.

We reckon the Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod is a good rod for bass fishers who are rusted on casting rod fans but run into trouble when they need to throw light lures or detect finesse bites. We get it – these guys don’t want to spend much on a bass spinning rod as it is just for emergency use in their eyes.

That’s where the Ugly Stik can fulfil that need and stored away in your boat, car or kayak when you are bass fishing it can be a saviour on those days when fish aren’t responding to the usual lure presentations and you need to downsize or throw lighter lures.

For this cheap price, you get stainless steel guides, cork grips, a recessed reel seat and a two piece construction in a bass fishing rod that casts well and has a sensitive enough tip to detect timid bites.

7. Lews Speed Stick Ultra Light

This rod is something a bit different – – it is a panfish rod that you can also use for bass fishing in some circumstances. In fact it is the ideal rod for fishing for bass in small creeks and ponds. You aren’t targeting monsters in these environments and the lightweight rod makes it easier to cast small lures all day with great accuracy and when you do hook a bass, it’s a better fight on the ultralight gear.

And when you hook a fish on such a lightweight rod, the fight they put up is a lot of fun, even if they’re on the small side.

The Speed Stick Ultra Light will cast lures of 1/20th or even 1.32th of an ounce. Having this rod in your arsenal means you’ve not only got a bass rod, you also have a decent trout and panfish rod.

The premium IM8 graphite blank used in the Speed Stick is fitted with a full length cork grip and a reel seat designed to put the reel in direct contact with the blank.

8. Okuma Citrix

We’ve included the Citrix in this line up not just as a solid low to medium priced rod, but also because it is a travel rod. The Citrix is a four-piece rod that packs down and can fit in a suitcase or backpack. It is far better quality when it comes to casting performance than a telescopic rod, but can be conveniently stored and carried on any trip.

It is built on a lightweight IM8 graphite with a split grip EVA handle. The Citrix has good sensitivity but has enough backbone to tackle decent sized fish. We think you’ll be surprised by the casting performance of this rod too.

9. Cadence Essence Spinning Rod

And finally – an ultra budget rod that earns it’s place in this line up. The Essence spinning rod is built from lightweight 24-ton carbon blank and is fitted with stainless steel guides and comes with a one-year warranty.

There are a variety of options in terms of length and action adn the choice of full length cork or EVA foam split grips.

The Essence is ideal for freshwater fish like bass, walleye and trout as well as popular inshore species like redfish, speckled trout, and flounder.

If you are looking to get a bass spinning rod for less than $50 there a few – if any – better options than the Cadence Essence.

best spinning rods for bass

Choosing a spinning rod for bass fishing

Rod length

The first thing you have to decide when buying a spinning rod is length. At the extremes, bass spinning rods will generally fall in the range of 6 to 12 feet.

For those starting out, or people who like to fish in tight structure (say with overhanging trees), a shorter spinning rod is better. A 7 foot spinning rod is a typical choice for bass fishing.

But casting range is proportional to length as a general rule, so when long range is necessary, choose a longer rod. Also, if you are casting light lures, longer rods will be more effective. And they offer a bit more cushioning ability to absorb leaps and runs from the fish.

Spinning Rod Grips for Bass Fishing

Probably the most important fittings to consider is the rod’s grip. Better spinning rods will generally have cork grips, although there are some good foam and composite grips too. For durability and feel, and performance in wet weather, it is hard to beat cork grips.
You will have also have to choose between a single grip and split grip. A single grip has a longer section of cork, foam or composite running from the butt of the rod up to near the reel seat.
A split grip has a “gap” in the middle of this section or two pads of cork, foam or composite. The result is a rod that’s a little lighter and possibly better balanced. By forcing the user to place their hands on the two grips, the rod is being used in the way the maker intended. The main drawback of split grips is the rod is not as comfortable to operate single handed.

Best spinning rod action and power for bass?

The other two things you will see mentioned in choosing a spinning rod is the action and power of the rod.

Action on a spinning rod refers to the location on the blank at which the rod bends. For example, a fast action rod will bend about 15% down the blank from the tip, whereas a medium action rod will bend to a point further down the blank and a slower action rod will bend right down the length of the blank. Here is a nice explanation of rod actions.

Power refers to the amount of force needed to make the rod bend – pretty straightforward.

Many bass anglers tend to favour fast action, medium power rods. However, different styles of fishing favour different actions. Where tip sensitivity in detecting bites is key, a fast action rod is good – jigging or fishing with soft plastics for example. Note though that these rods will be less forgiving on the surges and runs of the fish and need to be fished at a light drag setting.

A medium action rod is favoured for crankbait fishing. The softer action makes for a gentler hookset when you are using treble hooks and prevents the angler from ripping the hook through the thin membrane of the bass’ mouth.

As a general rule, a medium action rod can cast a light lure such as a small crankbait significantly further than a fast action rod.

Multi-piece spinning rods for bass?

Some anglers favour single or two-piece rods as they figure there is less to go wrong and they preserve their action better. We think, though, there are considerable advantages in two, three or even four-piece rods for reasons of portability. You can put these rods in your suitcase or backpack when travelling (you can always go for a telescopic travel rod if you want to go even smaller!).

The quality of modern carbon fiber rods is very high and are manufactured to tight tolerances meaning it is rare for sections to come apart while fishing.

There are many options available when it comes to the number of pieces in a bass rod.
While tournament guys go for a one piece spinning rod to eliminate all (or nearly all) chance of the rod coming apart on a cast, us mere mortals are more tempted by convenience.
Two piece bass rods are much easier to pack down to transport – both in a boat or in a backpack – and store and don’t suffer at all in terms of action or quality in our opinion.

As well as being more convenient, these rods are also cheaper than their single counterparts – another reason to go with a more compact rod.

Advantages over casting rods?

For a detailed run down of spinning rods vs casting rods, check out our article on this. But to summarise it in simple terms, spinning rods are easier to use for beginners as you don’t need to learn to brake the spool as you do with a casting rod to avoid birds’ nests. Spinning rods are also much better for casting light and ultralight lures. A spinning rod with reel spooled with braid will cast a light lure a long way further than a baitcasting rod. The ability to thumb the spool with a baitcasting reel, though, means baitcasting rods are better for precision casting into structure.

For those bass fishers with a bit more experience who are used to using baitcasting rods, don’t discount the importance of having a spinning rod or two in your arsenal too. Pros such as Mike Iaconelli often use spinning rods when bass fishing and it certainly doesn’t prevent them from winning tournaments. Where there is that need to long casts with small crankbaits or ultra light jig heads, you definitely need a spinning set up.

Rod materials

As a general rule, most quality spinning rods today are carbon fiber rods. Carbon fiber is the best material for sensitivity and casting distance, as well as fighting fish. The only drawback to it is that it is more brittle than fiberglass and therefore easier to break. If you are using it properly, it is rare to break a rod. But mishaps do happen – we’ve seen graphite rod tips broken by ceiling fans, car doors and misplaced boots.

Fiberglass is a tougher material, but is not as dynamic resulting in a slower action rod. Sometimes this is an advantage – that’s why many crankbait rods for bass are fiberglass. They are better for optimal hookset and the medium action means anglers can cast even the least aerodynamic crankbait a reasonable distance to get among the fish.

Fiberglass rods are pretty much impossible to break in normal fishing situations. This also makes them a great choice for a first rod for a child that’s just getting into fishing. They will soak up all the rough treatment that a kid can dish out – poking the tip into the ground, sitting on the rod or dropping it, none of this will cause a fibreglass rod to fail!

What’s the best cheap spinning rod for bass?

We recognise that not everybody has big money to spend on a fishing rod. Maybe you are just starting out in bass fishing, aren’t currently working or are a retiree who has to watch their pennies. Or maybe you are just tight with a dollar! No problems – the KastKing Crixus is a good solution for those wanting a rod at around the $50 mark.

The Crixus rods are built from powerful and sensitive IM6 graphite blanks and range in power from a light weight rod to heavy in 5’ to 7’6” lengths. Features include a superpolymer handle, stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts, split hadnle design with an EVA fighting butt.

All these rods are two piece models making them the perfect traveling companion.

How about some ultralight or finesse models?

We have a separate review of the best ultralight spinning rods on the market. See that article for a breakdown of the best choices. Some other rods to look at for lightweight bass fishing are discussed below:

The Lew’s Speed Stick Ultra Light is one to look at it. It is a great stick for casting lightweigh lures and is a great crossover rod between trout and panfish on one hand, and bass on the other. It is a lovely rod to use on those smaller species, but is good enough quality to not let you down if you hook a decent bass. If you need one rod to cover all these species, this is a really good option to consider. It is lightweight and has a quality full-length cork grip and comes in a variety of lengths and actions and is very competitively priced for what you get.

The other one to consider is Abu Garcia’s IKE Signature Finesse. Developed in collaboration with bass pro Mike “Ike” Iaconelli, the Finesse is a great rod to have when the going gets slow and bass require a delicate presentation of small lures. This rod can cast lures right down the 1/32oz weight range without difficulty and has enough sensitivity to detect the most timid of bites. This rod will cast these far further than a conventional bass spinning rod and further again than a casting rod. On a tough day, having a rod like this in your arsenal might mean the difference between going home fishless and a enjoying a day to remember.

Weight of line

For most bass fishing, lines in the 10 to 12lb range are ideal. This is strong enough to pull a big bass out of heavy structure and deal with scrapes and abrasions on rocks and tree branches. The rods listed here are all well suited to this weight of line, whether that’s braid, mono or fluoro.

Can you use a spinning rod jigging for bass?

For jig fishing many anglers favor a casting rod on account of the power needed. Jigs are often used to target big fish close to cover, and with a casting rod you can get the necessary accuracy (with the ability to thumb the spool) as well as the cranking power in the reel and the rod to pull a big bass out of heavy cover.
But with a strong fast action spinning rod you get pretty much all these characteristics bar the ability to stop the lure in flight. We recommend the Fenwick HMG as the best spinning for jigging for bass – it has got some serious backbone and it is very well priced.

Price and value for money

For the rods we have reviewed here, you are looking at between $50 and $200 with the median cost probably about $130, depending on configuration. All these rods pack an amazing amount of technology and performance in for that price and will deliver great service for a reasonable cost.

Conclusion

If we had to pick one out of these five rods as our best spinning rod, our pick would be the St Croix Mojo bass rods. They are amazing and the price is on point for what you get out of it. And you can’t beat the warranty. St Croix has some of the best customer service that we have dealt with in the fishing industry and in our books, customer service is a very big deal.

The other rods mentioned are also amazing and bring different features to the table. At the end of the day pick what best fits you, your style of fishing, and what tactics you want to employ with it (check here for our best crankbait rods and our best swimbait rods and baitcaster combos). In terms of reel pairings, the Shimano Stradic Ci4+ is the ideal choice of reel to match with these rods if you have a bit of cash to spend!

Author

  • Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He is a regular on fly fishing podcasts and appeared in the international fly fishing film Predator.

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