• Fishing & Tech

The 3 Best Fishing Rods for Freshwater in 2022

Updated: Apr 27

These are my top choices for freshwater spin fishing under 200 dollars


If you are anything like me, picking a good fishing rod can be more challenging than deciding what vehicle to buy next. That's not such a surprise when you consider that there are over 200 companies making rods and that the worldwide sport fishing tackle market is worth a cool $13 billion. In other words, there are a ton of choices featuring a wide range of technologies and large marketing budgets to confuse the heck out of you.


That's what I'm here for. Let me help you sort through the crap and get to the cream of the crop. Based on my own experience fishing with dozens of rods priced under $200 dollars, without further ado, here are my picks for spin fishing for everything from largemouth bass to rainbow trout. These rods pack a lot of value for the price.


The Top 3 Spinning Rods in 2022:


1. St. Croix Premier Spinning Rod (priced around $165)

2. Daiwa Black Widow Carp Rod (priced around $140)

3. Ugly Stik Tiger Elite (priced between $80-$120)


Top Rods that are Significantly Cheaper but still Great:


1. Daiwa Laguna ($40)

2. Ugly Stik Elite ($60)


1. St. Croix Premier Spinning Rod

Pros:

  • Great sensitivity

  • Excellent casting

  • Quality handle

  • Awesome guides

  • Beautiful all-around performance

Cons:

  • On the expensive side

  • Not the most durable if you are particularly rough on rods


St. Croix rods are generally awesome. I consider them the Lexus of rods - premium, but within reach - definitely on the more expensive side, but not so much that my gf makes me sleep on the couch for the next week.


My favorite all around is the St. Croix Premier 6’ 6” which runs around $165 - it's well-balanced, very sensitive, and plenty strong for smaller species. It has 8 Fuji aluminum oxide guides which makes it smoother on the line, resulting in better casting, more control a


nd less tangling; also good guides are critical for overall rod performance, especially under the strain of a big fish (or that giant tree that your cast, and only your cast, managed to find).





2. Daiwa Black Widow Carp Rod

Pros:

  • Strong backbone

  • Light for it's length

  • Quality materials

  • Great for big baits and big fish

Cons:

  • Too much rod for everyday fishing

  • Pricey

  • Sensitivity is average

If you are after carp or monster cats in the Merrimack, or even stripers at the Lawrence Dam - this has to be your go-to piece. At 12 feet, it's long, strong and lightweight. I used this beauty to catch multiple 20lb carp in the Merrimack, and even a few keeper stripers soaking clams. While it's not made for every time of angler, or type of fishing, if you need something to bring in the big boys - I highly recommend the Daiwa Black Widow. It runs about $140.00.







Looking for something shorter, cheaper and better suited for all around fishing? I recommend the The Daiwa Laguna


3. Ugly Stik Tiger Elite

Pros:

  • Durability is amazing

  • Light, Sensitive, Yet Powerful

  • Utility for all around fishing is excellent

  • Great for big baits and big fish

  • Cheap for how much rod you get

Cons:

  • Pricey, for an Ugly Stik

  • Guides aren't the best

Ugly Stik rods are well-known for their unique designs and features that employ state-of-the-art technology to provide maximum comfort and convenience. The Tiger Elite is the top shelf offering from Ugly Stik and it's easy to see why. In terms of bang for the buck, honestly, it's hard to beat an Ugly Stik - most of their rods are fantastic and this one is no different. The Tiger Elite has added graphite which makes it tougher, but doesn't mess with the sensitivity or weight. I love how this one feels when I'm casting plugs for pike or fishing other heavy rigs or lures. It comes in three lengths: 6' 6", 6' 9" and 7'0 and runs between $80-$120 depending on the action and size.





Looking for something that you can fit more easily in your car? I recommend the Ugly Stik Elite, a fantastic, but lighter fishing rod with impressive power that breaks into 2 pieces for easier hauling in the average sedan. Also, this rod pairs really well with small vessels, like this amazing inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboard made for fishing.



From the Manufacturers:


St Croix


St. Croix’s R&D department is the most advanced in the business. They've invested millions into the latest composite materials and manufacturing techniques. Over the years, they have introduced many of the industry’s biggest performance breakthroughs, and they continue to look for ways to make their rods lighter, stronger, and more responsive.


INTEGRATED POLYCURVE TECHNOLOGY

Developed exclusively by St. Croix, Integrated Poly Curve® (IPC®) tooling technology has rapidly become the engineering leader in rodmaking. Designed to eliminate all transitional points in the rod blank, IPC-engineered rods feature smoother actions, increased strength and greater sensitivity.


ADVANCED REINFORCING TECHNOLOGY™ (ART™)

Advanced Reinforcing Technology™ (ART™) is an exotic carbon fiber material that adds a magnitude (10X) of strength with virtually no increase in blank diameter or weight. ART significantly improves the hoop strength of the blank by preventing it from deforming or “ovaling” under a severe load, such as a powerful hook set or fish battle. ART is also a critical part of their slim-profile ferrule design.


FORTIFIED RESIN SYSTEM

St. Croix once again breaks new ground in premium rod manufacturing technology with the development of a new Fortified Resin System (FRS), which combines a fortified super resin with new computer operated curing ovens that provide improved temperature and time management through all stages of the curing cycle. FRS prevents microbuckling by keeping the carbon fibers in proper alignment. Blanks manufactured using this advanced manufacturing protocol test out consistently to be 33% stronger than those built with standard resins and curing methods.


TAPER ENHANCEMENT TECHNOLOGY

After several years of R&D and testing, St. Croix has perfected an innovative new Taper Enhancement Technology (TET) that begins with precision-cut, curved blank patterns made possible by a state-of-the-art computerized pattern cutting machine. When combined with IPC-mandrels, these unique patterns create blanks with better actions and improved sensitivity. This pattern design and cutting technology is a dramatic departure from traditional straight-line patterns cut by hand.

SUPER HIGH MODULUS NEXT GENERATION CARBON FIBER FOR HIGH PERFORMANCE TECHNIQUE SPECIFIC APPLICATIONS
  • Technique specific iACT SCIV+ and linear S-Glass

  • FRS, ART, IPC and TET Included

  • Hybrid carbon fiber enhanced with new IACT Glass Technology.



FOR EXOTIC PERFORMANCE
  • Super high-modulus, high-strain graphite fiber

  • Efficient material adds power with minimal weight

  • Used only to complement other graphite materials, as it is too high in modulus to be used as primary material

  • Includes FRS Technology


MADE FOR THOSE WHO OUTFISH THEIR BUDDIES AND USE THEIR RODS TO DO IT.
  • High-modulus, high-strain graphite fiber with carbon-matte scrim

  • Produces lightest, most sensitive and strongest rods

  • The finest blank material, exclusive to St. Croix

  • Includes FRS Technology


IDEAL FOR THE ANGLER WHO INSISTS ON FISHING ONLY WITH TOP-GRADE RODS.

High-modulus, high-strain graphite fiber Produces extremely light and sensitive rods Similar to the SCV, without the carbon-matte scrim Includes FRS Technology


A FINE CHOICE IF YOU ARE A SERIOUS ANGLER WHO DEMANDS HIGH-PERFORMANCE AND VALUE.

High-modulus, high-strain graphite fiber Produces sensitive and lightweight rods with great durability.



FOR ANGLERS WHO APPRECIATE HIGH-PERFORMANCE WITHOUT HIGH COST.

Mid-modulus graphite fiber with a higher strain rate than fibers commonly used by others. Most popular material that is lightweight, durable and sensitive, like you would expect from a St. Croix rod

FOR ANGLERS WHO APPRECIATE HIGH-PERFORMANCE WITHOUT HIGH COST.

Mid-modulus graphite fiber with a higher strain rate than fibers commonly used by others. Most popular material that is lightweight, durable and sensitive, like you would expect from a St. Croix rod



Daiwa Black Widow

Daiwa Black Widow carp rods are based on the same blanks as their highly successful predecessors but have been adapted to the latest requirements of modern carp fishing regarding their design. The handle section below the reel seat is completely covered with a black shrinking tube and features a very high grip. The slim blanks offer high power reserves, which catapult your rigs to long distances and tire also large specimen securely. Equipped with titanium oxy double leg guides. The model 11579-362 features a 1.97 inch starter guide.


Features include:


  • Lightweight carbon blank

  • Screw in reel seat

  • Slim profile full shrink handle

  • LS ceramic rings

  • 50mm butt ring on most 12 and 13ft models

  • Aluminum butt cap


Real Reviews from Customers: Eileen Keegan 4.0 out of 5 stars Great rod wish the but end was longer. Reviewed in the United States on June 18, 2020 The rod is better than I had hoped for. My star left from best was due to the shorter but end. Most surf rods would have a longer but end from reel seat to end would cast better if 4 “ longer below the reel seat. Kevin Saunders 5.0 out of 5 stars Nice and light Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 5, 2019Recommend to by my fishing partner Really pleased light weight and good casting accuracy achieved Had a couple of 14lbers first use of them and although was a bit worried by the curve in the rod by 1 fish in the first instance Got to say yes so far so good Alex 5.0 out of 5 stars Great Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 17, 2020 Very strong and very light seems like it’ll last years and years Mr Stephen Cumberlidge 5.0 out of 5 stars Super lightweight Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 10, 2020 Super lightweight rod, now have a matching pair. Great all round carp rod Dave 5.0 out of 5 stars Very good Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 7, 2020 Very good value all round nice action

 

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