Today rods are made of space-age materials that mean they can last a lifetime, handle a wider variety of fish, and take a beating. But the best fishing rod brands for beginners aren’t just high-tech—they’re affordable, and built by anglers, for anglers. Here are the best fishing gear to buy before heading out to fish.
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 1-Piece Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo, 7 Feet
This is a do-it-all, beater rod, and anglers love it for a simple reason: you’ll catch a lot of fishing using it. Its graphic and fiberglass construction, with one-piece stainless steel guides, means it’s tough as nails. And if The Big One breaks it (or you somehow manage to snap it in half), a new one’s not gonna bust your wallet.
Shimano Solara Fishing Rod
The Japanese love bass fishing, and Shimano has made a damn fine rod for many years. Shimano’s Solara is a good alternative to Shakespeare’s Ugly Stik. Its two-piece construction helps with travel, and at twenty bucks, it’s a perfect beginner’s rod.
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 6’6″
Take the Ugly Stik GX2’s toughness, build quality, and low price—and then swap in a cork handle and more graphite for extra feel. You have the Elite, which costs just a little more than the GX2, and proves Ugly Stik’s dominance of the market.
Fenwick AETOS Fly Fishing Rod – 7ft 3wt
Fenwick’s been around since 1952; they were the first company to make an all-graphite rod. Their Aetos is an affordable fly rod option that outperforms its competition, with a fast-action blank that’s great for learning casting. The five-weight is perfect for a variety of species, from trout to bass, and it’s got a lifetime warranty.
St. Croix TRS70MF Triumph Graphite Spinning Fishing Rod with Cork Handle, 7-feet
When you’re ready for an upgrade, St. Croix offers some good options. Their rods are made in the US, and they have a great track record of quality. The Triumph is their top selling graphite rod, and comes in a variety of sizes.
Shimano Stradic CI4 2500FB HG Freshwater Spinning Reel
This do-it-all reel comes in eight sizes for everything from trout to sharks. Its handle and frame are infused with carbon fiber, for lighter weight and better strength, and Shimano’s proven, buttery smooth drag system.
Abu Garcia Revo SX Baitcasting Reel
Baitcasting rods are next-level—they allow far more control over casts and hookups. Abu Garcia’s Revo is a beautiful piece of machinery for the fisherman who’s looking to up his game—say, drop that next cast right to the edge of the lily pads, where a monster bass is waiting.
Orvis Clearwater Large Arbor Reels
In fly fishing, “large arbor” reels (literally, they’re just bigger) are all the rage these days. The Clearwater is a solid affordable option. It’s got a dependable drag system, from a trusted name in fly fishing, and with loads of room for extra backing so that the big one doesn’t get away.
These are the best fishing gear 2021 to invest in before you set out for fishing.