Updated June 2022
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Buying guide for Best casting rods

Anglers spend a lot of time trying to pick the right fishing hole, the right bait, and even the right lucky fishing hat. It all contributes to your success.

The type of rod you use plays a role in the success of your fishing trip, too. For those looking to catch fish of different sizes, a casting rod allows you to precisely control the location of the cast while also being able to reel in strong fighters.

We at BestReviews have collected all of the key information you need to know before purchasing a casting rod. Our shopping guide can help you pick the best rod for your next fishing trip – no luck required.

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Casting rods made for saltwater fishing are typically made of fiberglass, which is tough enough to handle the larger fish.

What is a casting rod?

A casting rod is a type of fishing rod that can accept a casting reel, which sits on the top of the rod. Because of the way it works, a casting rod is a better choice for those people who have a bit of fishing experience. When you reel in a fish, the casting rod bends in such a way as to leave the eyelets and guides facing upward. For novices, this looks and feels a little strange, but by having the guides facing up, it’s easier to maintain control over the fish as you land it.

Casting rods vs. spinning rods

The other common type of fishing rod is a spinning rod, which uses a reel that mounts on the underside of the rod, allowing for long casts with little friction from the line in the spinning reel.

It’s important to understand this difference between a casting rod and a spinning rod because you don’t want to fix a casting reel to a spinning rod, and vice versa. With the wrong type of reel attached, the fishing line won’t match up well with the rod’s eyelets, and the line could tangle or snap.

Depending on what you want to fish for and your level of experience, casting rods have a number of pros and cons:


  • Precise casting: When you need to maintain control over the hook and bait while casting, the casting rod delivers.

  • Less likely to break: When landing a large fish, the fishing line pushes downward on the rod and the eyelets. This is the opposite of the spinning rod, where the line pulls upward on the eyelets, sometimes causing them to break.

  • More control: You’ll have more control over the line as you reel in large fish.

  • Good for learning: Most people can become very accurate casters after a few practice sessions, but mastering a spinning rod takes a lot longer.


  • Line tangles: Casting rods are more prone to tangles because the casting reel doesn’t operate as smoothly as the spinning reel.

  • Tougher for novices: The first few times you try to cast with a casting rod could be challenging. Beginners tend to struggle more with a casting rod than with a spinning rod, but the casting rod is easier to master over the long term.
"Very flexible light casting rods should have more line guides to keep the line in the proper location."

Casting rod features to consider


The interior of the rod (sometimes called the blank) may contain a few different types of materials. You’ll want to choose the type of material that best matches the type of fishing you want to do.

  • Graphite: A graphite rod is made of a type of carbon fiber that’s perfect when you want just a little bit of flexibility. This material flexes when a fish strikes, allowing the angler to feel the bite. It then returns to its original shape immediately after the pressure is removed. In the past, graphite casting rods were considered too fragile for large fish, but recent improvements in the manufacturing have made these rods better for all types of fishing.

  • Fiberglass: Fiberglass casting rods don’t have quite the sensitivity of graphite rods. This makes it tougher to feel a light-striking fish on the line. Fiberglass rods are more durable, which means they can handle big fish and you don’t have to worry about the rod snapping. But because graphite rods have become more durable in recent years, fiberglass no longer has a significant advantage in this area. Fiberglass rods weigh more than graphite rods, which can be tiring if you’re casting all day long. However, if you’re fishing from a boat with the rod in a holder, the toughness of the fiberglass makes it a nice option.

  • Blend: Some manufacturers use of a combination of graphite and fiberglass to try to make their rods a bit more flexible than fiberglass rods and a bit tougher than graphite rods. Some people who normally fish with fiberglass casting rods will appreciate the sensitivity of a combination rod.

Line guides and eyelets

The line guides are the parts attached to the rod that contain the eyelets. The fishing line passes through the round eyelets. With a casting rod, the eyelets are slightly larger in diameter near the handle and slightly smaller near the tip of the rod. On a spinning rod, the eyelets are all the same diameter and are larger than on the casting rod. Because you can control the line’s movement better on the casting rod, it can use smaller eyelets.

  • Plastic: Plastic line guides are the least expensive and the least durable. These can pull away from the rod or snap when placed under the extreme stress.

  • Metal: Those looking for a tougher, more durable set of line guides will want metal that resists corrosion or rust.

  • Ceramic: Ceramic line guides and eyelets are very durable, but ceramic doesn’t offer quite the sensitivity of other materials when you have a light-biting fish.

Casting rod prices

Casting rods prices range from $20 to $200, depending on the materials. You’ll typically find casting rods without reels, although some beginner kits contain both the rod and reel.

Novice: You can find a beginner-level casting rod for $20 to $40. These rods are not made for heavy fish, but they work well as an inexpensive starter option. Beginners can find some kits that include a casting rod and reel. Understand that these are only aimed at novices. They cost from $40 to $100. Experienced anglers will want to purchase a separate reel to get the specific features they want.

Intermediate: Most anglers will want an intermediate-quality casting rod, usually about 6.5 to 8 feet long. These rods cost $40 to $100 and can usually adequately handle fish of average to large size.

Advanced: The highest-quality casting rods made for advanced anglers run from $100 to $200. These rods are for those who need maximum control for very large fish. Like intermediate rods, these rods are about 6.5 to 8 feet long, but these are made of the highest quality materials to stand up to high levels of stress.

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Select a lightweight graphite casting rod if you’ll be casting dozens of times per day.


Q. What is the best type of fishing to do with a casting rod?

A. Because the eyelets and guides sit on the top of the rod, you’ll have success with any size fish, including larger species, with this type of rod. The positioning of the eyelets will stand up to the stress of a large fish without breaking. A casting rod will also give better performance if you’re fishing in shallow water where your line could get snagged on weeds.

Q. What happens if I use a spinning reel on a casting rod?

A. If you use a spinning reel on a casting rod, the fishing line will not feed through the eyelets properly. This negates some of the advantages of using the casting rod for larger fish. Additionally, a spinning reel on a casting rod will reduce your casting accuracy and distance because of the way the line improperly feeds through the eyelets.

Q. What type of rod should I use from a boat with a trolling motor?

A. A casting rod works especially well for trolling because it easily handles the stress of the hook continuously moving through the water. The casting reel provides a measured release of the line, too, which is important while trolling. Additionally, if you’re using a rod holder on the boat, the casting rod fits the holder better than a spinning rod does.

Q. What is the difference between light and heavy casting rods?

A. A casting rod designated as light or ultralight will have a lot of bend or flex to it. This makes the rod great for fish that don’t hit the hook hard and require some finesse to land. A medium-heavy or heavy casting rod works better when you need a stiffer rod that can handle larger, heavier fish.

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