The Best Fishing Rod Brands That You Should Know

Kristian Ole



Everyone has a favorite fishing rod brand that is their go-to brand. However, knowing the best fishing rod brands will enable you to choose the right rod for different fishing scenarios and techniques. That way, regardless of where you want to go for fishing and what you want to catch, you will always have the right fishing rod at your disposal.

Trying to research and find the best fishing rod brands can be tedious and time-consuming. That is why I have done the legwork and research for you so that you do not have to spend time finding the best fishing rod brands from the numerous brands that are available online. So, without much ado, here are the best brands that you should take a closer look at:

Brand Founded Our Rating
Berkley1937, USA★★★★☆
Shimano1921, Japan★★★★☆
Okuma1986, Taiwan★★★★☆
Penn1932, USA★★★★☆
St. Croix1977, USA★★★★★
Ugly stik1976, USA★★★★☆
Daiwa1958, Japan★★★★☆
Hardy1872, UK★★★★★
Orvis1856, USA★★★★★
Lew’s1949, USA★★★★☆

Why You Can Trust Us

At FishingKris, our credibility is built on:

  • 35+ Years of Fishing Experience: Decades of angling expertise inform every review and recommendation.
  • Expertise of a Marine Biologist: Led by Kristian Ole Rørbye, whose scientific background brings a deep understanding of the marine world.
  • Hands-On Product Testing: We thoroughly test fishing gear under real-world conditions, ensuring honest and practical reviews.

Learn more about our testing process here.

Top 10 Fishing Rod Brands

1. Berkley Fishing

From humble beginnings, Berkley Fishing has become one of the most popular fishing rod brands in the world. Its high-quality fishing rods are designed for saltwater fishing but you can also use them in freshwater.

This brand has a choice of spinning and baitcasting fishing rods. You can purchase the rods with or without the reel. It also has rods that are specifically designed for surf fishing, ice fishing, and big game fishing. The rods come with a range of actions, right from moderate and moderate fast to fast and extra fast. The fishing rods are also available in a variety of lengths so you can choose the length based on what you want to catch and where you intend to fish.

If you are looking for a good fishing rod in the mid-price range, Berkley rods are a great choice. You may find that fishing for bass is easier with Berkley as this fish species can be aggressive during strike and retrieval. You will find that the rods are sensitive and durable enough for bass fishing, especially if you want to hook smallmouth bass.

2. Shimano

Shimano logo

Shimano is a Japanese company and it is listed on the stock market. That itself evokes reliability. This brand has a large variety of different types of fishing rods. Hence, you can select a type based on your casting, budget, and experience among others.

The brand is renowned for its excellent customer service so you will be able to get the right assistance to choose the fishing rod that is perfect for your fishing needs. You will get your money’s worth by selecting Shimano fishing rods. The brand has a good selection of spinning rods that fall in the lower-mid price range, and these rods are the most popular out of all the different rods that Shimano offers.

This brand has a few fishing rods designed for professional fishermen. Their Sojourn spinning rods are a good example of that. Many professional anglers use this rod for competitions. However, these rods are expensive and as a recreational angler, you may not want to spend that kind of money.

3. Okuma Fishing

Okuma Fishing is a Taiwan-based fishing rod and reel manufacturer. The brand ensures that anglers and fishermen have access to high-quality fishing rods that are not just lightweight but also accurate. That helps to increase your catch ratio.

You can get all types of fishing rods from Okuma Fishing, including fly rods, baitcasting rods, spinning rods, and more. The quality is amazing and the brand strives to provide anglers with the best fishing experience when they use Okuma fishing rods with Okuma reels.

The rods are dynamically designed using best-in-class materials. If you enjoy trout fishing, you may want to check out the Okuma Celilo. It is affordably priced, performs as well as some of the more expensive trout fishing rods. The brand has other more expensive rods that are also a great choice.

4. Penn Fishing Tackle Company

Penn has been around for more than 75 years and excels in saltwater fishing rods. When you use a Penn rod, you will be able to enjoy a seamless saltwater fishing experience. The rods are designed to tackle game fish with ease and many professional anglers use Penn rods. In fact, Penn has the distinction of holding more than 1,400 International Game Fish Association world records.

The brand sells fishing rods as well as a combo of rods and reels. You will find great deals if you are looking for combos and they are more affordably priced compared to what you would pay if you buy the rod and reel separately.

One of the most popular Penn fishing rods is Squadron II Inshore Rod that you can use for inshore fishing. However, even the brand’s spinning rods are great and you may want to check the Carnage II Boat Spinning Rod.

5. St Croix

St Croix should be your go-to fishing rod brand if you are looking for high-end rods for different types of fishing. Not only does St Croix make rods for freshwater and saltwater fishing but you can also get rods for ice fishing as well as surf fishing.

In all probability, this brand makes the best fishing rod for surf and pier fishing. The Triumph Surf may not be the most advanced fishing rod for surf and pier fishing but it is a high-performance rod that is built to last and come at an affordable price.

Even trout and panfish anglers will find a fine selection of fishing rods to help you catch the fish you want and the accuracy of these rods helps you increase your catch ratio. You can be certain that St Croix will have the rod you are looking for and you will not be disappointed by your purchase.

6. Ugly Stik

Ugly Stik offers fishing rods that are durable and performance-oriented and you do not have to worry about emptying your bank account to buy them. If you are new to angling, Ugly Stik is the right choice. You can use the fishing rod to hone your technique.

Unlike other cheap fishing rods, Ugly Stik rods are sensitive and also strong. In fact, their baitcaster rods, like the Elite, are not just sensitive and durable but also affordable. You will find that the Elite is a good bargain if you are in the market for baitcasting rods for under $50.

The best part about Ugly Stik fishing rods is that they are built using a combination of graphite and fiberglass. Hence, the rods are strong and durable and you will find that the tips are quite sensitive because of the fiberglass. That makes them a worthwhile investment.

7. Daiwa

Daiwa makes a wide variety of fishing, be it rods for freshwater fishing, trolling, fly fishing or even travel fishing. You will find that this brand offers cheap rods and does not undermine quality. The rods are well built and made to last.

Did you know that you can easily find a spinning combo by Daiwa for about $40? And, you do not have to worry about the performance. All spinning rods, be it with or without the fishing reel, work beautifully and effectively.

While Daiwa is a Japanese rod and reel manufacturing company, it has its production unit in North America. Hence, you can rest assured knowing that the fishing rods are quality products. In fact, many pro anglers use Daiwa rods and that should give you peace of mind when you invest in them.

8. Hardy

Hardy is our top brand choice for multiple reasons. Based in England, Hardy specializes in fly fishing rods. So, if you are a fly fishing enthusiast, you cannot ignore Hardy fishing rods. It is renowned for its high-quality and innovative fly fishing rods that will not disappoint anglers.

Hardy is one of the few fishing rod manufacturing companies in the world that excels in making double-handed fly rods, like Zenith Sintrix. These rods come with a lifetime guarantee and are designed to last.

In case you are looking for an ultra-light fly fishing rod, you cannot go wrong with Zephrus. It is made from 3M nanoparticles and is considered the strongest and the lightest fly fishing rod on the market. It has a superior finish and offers fly fishers the ultimate experience. It is highly accurate and performance-oriented. You will be amazed how far you cast with this rod. Hardy Zephrus is often used by anglers for saltwater fly fishing due to its durability, extremely fast line retrieval, and superior butt action.

9. Orvis

In case you are looking for another great fly fishing rod brand then take a look at Orvis. It offers affordable rods, making it the apt brand for beginners. Even if your technique is poor, you can hone it using Orvis fishing rods.

The cheapest line of fishing rods is the Encounter. It is the right choice for beginners. While you will find that the Encounter line is more expensive than baitcasting and spinning fishing rods, do not let that deter you. Encounter rods help you to gain better traction that most other brands do not offer.

On the other hand, if you are looking for high-quality and premium fishing rods, Bamboo and Helios rods will not disappoint you. They boast superior craftsmanship and are designed to be quick, accurate, and performance-oriented.

10. Lew’s Fishing

Whether you are a seasoned angler or a beginner, you will find numerous options when it comes to Lew’s fishing rods. These rods are engineered to be durable, light as well as sensitive. Lew’s Fishing has a variety of collapsible fishing rods aimed at beginners. For the more experienced anglers, Lew’s offers a wide range of spinning and baitcasting fishing rods that you can easily pair with the right fishing reel.

The baitcasting and spinning fishing rods are lightweight and easy to use. You will find that they have great action and sensitive tips. You will be able to cast the line far and with accuracy, and the high speed of retrieve enables you to fish faster and more during your fishing trip.

Lew’s Fishing is about innovation and performance. The brand’s fishing rods make it easy to handle feisty bass or catfish and you will be able to pull crappie onto the deck with relative ease. What more does an angler want?

What to Look for When Buying a Fishing Rod?

When you are looking at the best fishing rod brands, being able to find the right rod for your fishing needs is a must. Here are a few things that you should look for when you want to buy a fishing rod.

Related read: The best fishing reel brands


The length of a fishing rod can be anywhere from 4ft to 14ft. It is essential to match the length to your fishing. The length determines how far you will be able to cast the line. Longer rods allow you to cast farther than shorter rods. However, longer rods are more difficult to control and maneuver compared to shorter rods. If you are a beginner, a 7-foot rod should suffice your fishing needs.

Rod Material:

Fishing rods can be made from fiberglass, graphite, or composite. The performance of the rod will be dependent on the material that is used to make the rod. Fiberglass rods are durable and long-lasting. They are a good choice for beginners. While fiberglass rods are flexible, they are not that sensitive. So, you may find it hard to detect when a fish takes the bait. Also, you may find that fiberglass fishing rods are heavy and it can be tedious if you have a feisty fish.

On the other hand, graphite fishing rods are lighter and come with different degrees of stiffness. The stiffer the fishing rod, the lighter it will be. Graphite rods are sensitive and their lightweight makes casting a breeze. However, these rods are not as long-lasting as fiberglass rods and can also be more expensive.

A composite rod is a mix of fiberglass and graphite. It allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds and you can use a composite fishing rod for freshwater or saltwater fishing. However, these rods are expensive and if you don’t mind paying for them, they are worthwhile.

Rod Action:

The rod action can be slow, medium, or fast. That is determined by the shape of the rod and the material used to make the rod. The action affects the handling of the rod. If you are a beginner, choose a rod with slow action. You will find it easier to handle. Slow action rods are considered ideal for trout and panfish fishing.

Rod Power:

Rod Power refers to the ability of the rod to withstand pressure. So, the heavier the fishing rod, the more pressure it will be able to withstand. That is why heavier fishing rods are ideal for catching large fish while lighter fishing rods are meant for catching smaller fish species. Rod power can be ultralight, light, medium, medium-heavy, heavy, and ultraheavy.

The Verdict

These are the best fishing rod brands you will find on the market. Out of these, our top choice is Hardy Fishing. It is the best brand choice for fly fishing enthusiasts and you will find that each rod is designed to last, has superior performance, and offers value for money.


What are the best fishing rods made of?

Fishing rods are commonly made of materials such as graphite, fiberglass, or a combination of both. The best fishing rods are typically made of high-quality graphite, which offers a good balance of sensitivity, strength, and lightness.

What is the best all round rod?

The best all-round fishing rod will depend on the type of fishing you plan to do, as well as your personal preferences. However, a medium-heavy power, fast action rod between 6 to 7 feet long, made of high-quality graphite, can be a good all-around option for a variety of fishing techniques.

Does a good rod make a difference?

Yes, a good fishing rod can make a significant difference in your fishing experience. A high-quality rod can offer better sensitivity, casting distance, accuracy, and overall performance. It can also help you to detect more subtle bites and reduce fatigue during a long day of fishing.

More useful articles about fishing rods:


About Kristian Ole

Kristian Ole Rørbye, a marine biologist and seasoned angler, shares his fishing adventures and expertise on FishingKris. Join him as he explores the world's waters, one cast at a time.

Leave a Comment