Best Kayak Fishing Rods for the Money

Best Kayak Fishing Rods on the Market

We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Products or services advertised on this page may be offered by an entity that is affiliated with us. Learn more about our process here.

Ernest Grey

I love to test new fishing gadgets and share my opinion.

Welcome, fellow kayak fishing lovers! With novice anglers joining us every day, we wanted to shed some light on how to get the best kayak fishing gear and enjoy it while you do it. Also, since kayak fishing can get dangerous, we wanted to share some tips on how to be prepared for any challenge you might face.

This review of the best kayak fishing rods on the market will help you choose your gear for your target fish and find an option that’s light on the wallet. Keep on reading to find helpful information that’ll help you prepare for your next adventure!

Comparison Table - The Best Fishing Rods for Kayaks

Editor's choice

Fiblink Saltwater 1-Piece

Fiblink Saltwater 1-Piece

Best Rated

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod

Best Value

Shakespeare Micro Spinning

Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod

Table of Contents

Top 12 Best Kayak Fishing Rods in 2023

1. Fiblink Saltwater 1-Piece – Editor’s Choice
2. Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod – Best Rated Kayak Fishing Rod
3. Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod – Best Value for Kayak Rod
4. Goture Travel Fishing Rod – Best Travel Rod for Kayak
5 Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite – Best For Dragging
6. Fenwick AETOS Fly Fishing Rod – Best Budget Fly Rods
7. Dobyns Rods Fury Series Casting Rod – Best All-Around Bass Rod
8. Daiwa Presso Ultralight – Best Kayak Rod for Panfishing
9. Daiwa Beefstick – Kayak Rod For Bottom Fishing
10. Shimano Trevala Spinning Rod – Best Kayak Rod for Vertical Jigging
11. St. Croix Rods Mojo Inshore Casting Rod – Best Kayak Casting Rods

Our Reviews of the Best Rods for Kayak Fishing

Fiblink Saltwater 1-Piece

WHY WE LIKE IT: We love the complete well-thought framework of carbon and glass fiber reinforced with stainless steel, which makes this an excellent kayak fishing rod. Among other things, we also love the elegant casting and fast action this rod provides.

  • Material: Carbon, Fiberglass
  • Size: 6 ft – 30-50lb; 6 ft – 50-80lb; 6 ft – 80-120lb
  • Color: ‎Black, Blue
  • Fishing technique: Casting
  • Action: Fast
  • Handle material: ‎EVA
  • Grip: Split



BUYING ADVICE: We took this beautiful carbon and fiberglass rod for a day out in open waters for sea fishing. We matched it with 2-5oz lures prepared for heavy lifting. We liked the coziness of the handle and the long smooth cast.

After several hours on the water, we brought in a 5-8 pound mutton that gave us a good fight for 30 minutes. So if you are looking for heavy open-water fishing and targeting the big leagues, this rod will help you catch your desired fish! You can also check our list of the top saltwater fishing rods.

FEATURES: Refined craftsmanship combined with ultra-sensitive yet strong crafting materials that provide a lot of heavy lifting makes this rod different from other medium-heavy rods.

#2 Best Rated Kayak Rod - Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod is an excellent choice for novice anglers and pros since it is easy to use. It is lightweight yet robust and features a graphite and fiberglass construction that gives it extra strength and sensitivity.

  • Material: Graphite, Fiberglass
  • Color: Black, Ladies’ Pink
  • Size: 6 ft Double check, I see sizes till 6’6 and a larger colour selection
  • Size: 4 ft 9 in, 5 ft, 5 ft 6 in, 6 ft, 6 ft 6 in, 7 ft
  • Fishing technique: Spinning
  • Handle material: ‎EVA
  • Grip: Split
  • Power: Ultralight to Heavy



BUYING ADVICE: We first liked that this rod is easy to transport and fits almost in any bag since we had a lot of stuff to take. Also, it was easy to assemble, and the two pieces matched flawlessly. We paired it with a Shimano spinning reel and a 10lb test line.

The cast was excellent, even with light lures, and the sensitivity of the tip was unbelievable. We could feel every strike. This kayak rod caught us several average basses and an 8-pound Northern pike. It’s a reliable and proven rod that can handle everything you throw at it!

FEATURES: Unlike most rods, the Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod offers many fishing experiences, including light surf fishing. It is one of the best fiberglass rods with a well-thought-out design and unique Ugly Stik tech that distinguishes it from other rods.

#3 Best Kayak Fishing Rod for the Money - Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod

Shakespeare Micro Spinning

WHY WE LIKE IT: We like the Shakespeare Micro Spinning rod because it is lightweight, durable, and designed for multiple fishing techniques. Its composition of blank and graphite reel seats is a great feature that provides strength and sensitivity.

  • Material: Graphite Composite
  • Size: 4 ft 6 in, 5 ft, 5 ft 6 in, 6 ft 6 in, 7 ft, 7 ft 6 in
  • Color: Grey, Cork
  • Fishing technique: Spinning
  • Power: Ultralight, Light
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Grip: Split



BUYING ADVICE: We paired the Shakespeare Micro Spinning rod with a 500 fishing reel series and decided on a 1/16 oz jig lure. The cast and retrieve were effortless due to the beautiful craftsmanship and lightness of the rod. 

We also decided to mix spinning and jigging, which resulted in a great catch. We highly recommend the best kayak fishing rod for anyone who wants to go out on their kayak, sit and enjoy, and let the rod do all the work

FEATURES: Stainless steel guides with stainless steel inserts keep the line in control. The fast action makes this lovely rod one of the best kayak rods for the price.

#4 Best Travel Rod - Goture Travel Fishing Rod

Goture Travel Fishing Rod

WHY WE LIKE IT: What we like about these telescopic rods is that you can take them everywhere. You can assemble and disassemble them many times, and they’ll still function properly like a one-piece rod.

  • Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Size: 6 ft 6 in, 7 ft, 7 ft 6 in, 8 ft, 8 ft 8 in, 9 ft, 10 ft, 12 ft, 13 ft
  • Color: Black
  • Fishing technique: Casting
  • Handle material:‎ EVA
  • Grip: Split
  • Action: Medium Fast, Fast
  • Power: Medium, Medium Heavy



BUYING ADVICE: You can fit this rod in a medium case, and it’s easy to assemble, so we recommend it for all anglers that do a lot of traveling! The casting is accurate, and the rod has a solid stance that can hold up to 15 lb.

We got saltwater lures for snook and tarpon to see how the rod works on saltwater species, and the results looked good.

FEATURES: An agreeable handle grip and a good bend are the key features of the best kayak fishing rod. Equipped with corrosion-resistant guides for perfect line performance, this ultralight telescopic rod has still not met its match!

#5 Best For Dragging - Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite

Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite

WHY WE LIKE IT: Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite rods are great for beginners and experienced fishers because of their durability and affordability. The rods are powerful, lightweight, and have excellent responsiveness that helps anglers detect even the slightest nibble. What we liked the most was the option to choose a variety of lengths and actions to suit any angler’s style and needs.

  • Material: Graphite and Fiberglass
  • Size: 5 ft, 6 ft, 6 ft 6 in, 7 ft
  • Color: Black, Cork
  • Fishing technique: Spinning
  • Handle material: Cork
  • Grip: Split



BUYING ADVICE: We must say outright that the Ugly stick is one of our favorite rods for kayak fishing. We went for the 6’Medium Heavy size and an 8-17 lb mono line, and we were surprised at how easy it was to use it from a kayak.

The cast was good, even though it is a shorter rod. However, the best kayak fishing rod proved quite useful around the cover. Great backbone and smooth drag that brought us plenty of crappie and bluegill. Overall, if you want a steady, reliable, and solid backbone for a rod, Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite, the best kayak fishing rod, will help you achieve that and more!

FEATURES: What makes this rod different is the popular Ugly Stick design that provides structure and sensitivity simultaneously. Also, it gives you a touch of lightness and comfort when you are spending long hours on the water.

#6 Best Budget Fly Rods - Fenwick AETOS Fly Fishing Rod

Fenwick AETOS Fly Fishing Rod

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Fenwick AETOS Fly Fishing Rod is an excellent choice for fly fishing enthusiasts looking for a top-quality rod. This rod has a fast to medium-fast action and is constructed with a powerful yet sensitive, lightweight graphite blank. We also like the attractive design featuring a beautiful color scheme and bronze-colored accents for an eye-catching look.

  • Material: Nano Composite Technology
  • Size: 6 ft, 6 ft 6 in, 7 ft, 8 ft 6 in, 9 ft, 10 ft, 11 ft 1 in
  • Color: Gray
  • Fishing technique: Fly
  • Handle material: Cork
  • Action: Fast



BUYING ADVICE: We tried the Fenwick AETOS on a medium-sized river, matched it with a 20lb backing line, and tried spey casting. We found that it has a very accurate cast and an easy retrieve, which allowed us to cover a lot of water. So, if you are looking for a rod that’ll give you the best value for money, take the Fenwick AETOS on your next fly fishing adventure!

FEATURES: The rod is suitable for fresh and saltwater environments and is fitted with quality components like Fuji guides and an anodized aluminum reel seat. Plus, it has remarkable casting accuracy.

#7 Best All-Around Bass Rod - Dobyns Rods Fury Series Casting Rod

Dobyns Rods Fury Series Casting Rod

WHY WE LIKE IT: The modulus graphite blank is solid and lightweight, making it easier for anglers to cast for longer distances. Also, Kevlar wrapping adds extra strength and permanence to the rod and helps it withstand the rigors of fishing. What we love the most about this baitcasting rod is the precise casting, allowing you to get the most out of your fishing experience.

  • Material: Graphite
  • Size: 6 ft 6in, 7 ft, 7 ft 3 in, 7 ft 6 in, 7 ft 9 in
  • Color: Black, Green
  • Fishing technique: Casting
  • Action: Medium Fast
  • Handle material: Cork
  • Grip: Split



BUYING ADVICE: We got an 8.1:1 bait-casting reel with a 10 lb mono-filament line and paired it up with the baitcasting Dobyns rod. The rod and reel combo felt ok, and we added 1/4 oz lures. The cast was adequate, and we liked the medium fast action. The rod proved to be strong and bent quite easily. So, we recommend it to anglers looking for a light fly-fishing rod that can deliver fish to the boat!

FEATURES: This baitcasting road ultimately contrasts with others in the retail business because it is explicitly built to pair up with Senkos, Jigs, Flukes, Texas-rigs, and Spinnerbaits.

#8 Best for Panfishing - Daiwa Presso Ultralight

Daiwa Presso Ultralight

WHY WE LIKE IT: Charming lightweight cork handles for a nice feeling after so many hours of fishing are one of this rod’s best characteristics. Also, what is unusual is that the rod can bend almost to the handle without breaking. But most of all, it’s a quality baitcasting rod for the price. And since we are talking about costs, look at the baitcasting rods under $100 review to find more similar products.

  • Material: Resin
  • Color: Black
  • Size: 4 ft, 5 ft, 5 ft 6 in, 6 ft, 6 ft 6 in, 7 ft, 7 ft 6 in, 8 ft, 9 ft, 11 ft
  • Fishing technique: Casting
  • Handle material: Cork
  • Grip: Split
  • Action: Fast



BUYING ADVICE: We tested the Daiwa Presso on a local pond and decided not to change the rod-line combo but only add 1/32 oz jigs. The cast was accurate, landed in the strike zone, and the sensitivity was also on point. We could feel the movements of the lure, and the rod showed a solid backbone when reeling in the panfish to the kayak.

FEATURES: Daiwa’s advanced HFV carbon fiber technology adds more strength without making the rod heavier, making it the best kayak fishing rod you certainly won’t find anything like in the industry. Thus, we highly recommend this rod to anglers of all skills that want to experience baitcasting and spinning fishing in all its forms.

#9 Rod For Bottom Fishing - Daiwa Beefstick

Daiwa Beefstick

WHY WE LIKE IT: One of the fascinating features of the Daiwa Beefstick is the Fuji reel seat and aluminum oxide guides for a more precise and effortless cast. It is a dependable rod made for the toughest of challenges.

  • Material: Fiberglass
  • Size: 6 ft 6 in, 7 ft, 8 ft
  • Weight: 0.55 lb
  • Color: Black
  • Fishing technique: Spin, cast, surf, and boat rods
  • Action: Fast
  • Handle material: Stainless steel



BUYING ADVICE: We wanted to try a heavy-duty rod long ago, and now that we saw a chance, we took it. We got in the kayak and went straight to a small pond where the river widens. We noticed that this beautiful rod casts far and deep. Even though there was some cover, the cast was precise, and we managed to drag some large fish without any problems.

It is a well-made, robust rod with a great backbone that can withstand a fight with larger fish. So, if you are a fan of bottom fishing, this rod will give you an adventure you will always remember!

FEATURES: This newer model of Daiwa has a very solid construction and is made explicitly for various fishing styles. You will not find that among the competition.

#10 Best for Vertical Jigging - Shimano Trevala Spinning Rod 

Shimano Trevala Spinning Rod

WHY WE LIKE IT: One of the things that we enjoy with this rod is its outstanding responsiveness, and you can feel every single bite on the lure. Solid and durable, it is perfect for fighting tough fish. Good fishing rod for saltwater fishing that will help you win every battle.

  • Material:‎ Graphite
  • Size: 5 ft 8 in, 6 ft, 6ft 6in, 7 ft
  • Power: Light to Extra Heavy
  • Action: Moderate Fast
  • Handle material: ‎EVA
  • Grip: Split



BUYING ADVICE: We matched this light power rod with a 4000 reel series and lightweight jigs and started our testing trip on the big blue ocean. The cast was accurate, but not that far. The rod and reel combo felt excellent and had frictionless line management, and the fishing line was enough for this combo.

Overall it is a stiff road that can bring you some giant fish and still feel like you’re holding a feather in your hands. We recommend it to any kayak angler that wants heavy action!

FEATURES: The unique design makes this rod extraordinarily light and powerful at the same time. It bends very well and is strong enough to reel in big fish, which makes it one of the best kayak fishing rods.

#11 Best Casting Rods - St. Croix Rods Mojo Inshore Casting Rod

St. Croix Rods Mojo Inshore Casting Rod

WHY WE LIKE IT: What’s great about this rod is that it is one of the versatile spinning rods meant for more than kayak fishing—all in all, a great rod with unparalleled strength, responsiveness, and casting. Regarding smooth casting, read our best baitcasting rods for bass review if you want to find more similar products.

  • Material: SCIII carbon with FRS
  • Size: 6 ft 6 in, 7 ft, 7 ft 6 in, 7 ft 9 in, 7 ft 11 in
  • Color: Deep Aquamarine, Cork
  • Fishing technique: Spinning
  • Action: Fast
  • Power: Light to Extra Heavy
  • Handle material: ‎EVA and Cork
  • Grip: Split



BUYING ADVICE: This is not the first time we have tried the St. Croix rods that have proven reliable, and this Mojo series is no exception. We decided to try it in the Gulf of Maine for bass action and matched it with the 3000 series, live worm bait, and some soft plastics.

The rod had a wide cast and beautiful bent motions. So, if you are looking for a proven rod that can handle different fish species, this is the fit for you!

FEATURES: Hard aluminum-oxide guides with corrosion-resistant black frames, robust construction, and a Fuji reel seat for a better experience make the St Croix Mojo one of the best kayak fishing rods in the fishing gear trade!

Factors to Keep in Mind when Selecting a Rod for Kayak Fishing


Choose a size between 6 1/2 and 8 feet long to get the best kayak fishing rod. However, the type of fishing and fish species ask for a specific rod length. Short, heavy rods are suitable for thick covers, while a longer rod is usually used for longer casts on open water.


Good kayak fishing rods are usually under 2 pounds. Depending on the rod power, the line can be 1-12 lb for lighter rods and 20-100 lb for medium-heavy power to heavy ones. You can use additional weights if you want to try bottom fishing techniques.


When selecting a rod’s power, you must consider your target species. Light or ultralight rods are best for panfish; medium power is suitable for medium-sized fish, and heavy power rods are used for catching trophy fish. Generally, it would help to have a durable rod with medium light to medium power for best results.


Many kayak anglers choose fast to medium fast action rods to feel the movements of the fish. The sensitivity of the fast action rods gives you greater control over the lure when the fish start attacking it. However, if you decide to go kayak fishing in places like docks, thick trees, or vegetation, you will need a stiff rod with moderate to slow action.


Kayak fishing rods are made from materials that are lightweight and durable. These include carbon fiber, graphite, and fiberglass. Most fishing rods are constructed from graphite because it is a solid, robust, and light material. Fiberglass is a bit heavier but quite flexible, and there is a graphite and fiberglass composite that is also very tough and lightweight.


The handles are usually made from cork or EVA foam because they are sturdy materials but soft and gentle on anglers’ hands. Depending on the design, they can be split, full-grip handles, or long handles.


Ferrules are the application points that allow you to assemble and disassemble rods so you can transport them. Generally, they are made from metal, such as brass or aluminum, and are available in various sizes and shapes.


Guides are metal rings attached to the fishing rod in a line pattern from the handle to the tip. They have aluminum oxide inserts that keep the line from tangling and reduce friction as it is cast and retrieved. Often manufacturers use ceramics like silicon carbide and metals such as aluminum oxide and stainless steel for the guides.

Reel Seat

The reel seat is the fixation point for the reel, with a collar that needs to be tightened to secure the reel. It’s usually made of metal or graphite and can be either fixed or sliding. It is essential to choose a reel seat that’s comfortable to use and is designed to fit your reel correctly.


Considering that all premium quality products are expensive, this also applies to fishing gear. However, there are decent kayak fishing rods at an affordable price too. With a bit of research, you can find low-priced, reliable fishing rods.

Unique Challenges of Fishing from a Kayak

Size Matters

Size does matter when fishing from a kayak. But not just that, the environment you fish in also impacts the rod’s length. So generally, rod sizes vary from 6’6″ to 8′, considering your kayak length and personal fishing style.

Target Species

Since you can kayak fish in freshwater and saltwater, you can catch a wide range of fish. The most common fish species that kayak anglers target are bass, red drum, pike, walleye, bluefish, etc. You can also target spotted sea trout, king mackerel, cobia, and great barracuda.

Frequently asked questions

A good kayak fishing rod should be 6 1/2 and 8 feet long. You must optimize your fishing gear to match a kayak fishing gear for better performance. Kayak anglers tailor their equipment based on where they plan to fish. So, the optimal rod length varies if you are fishing near heavy cover or in open waters.

Many experienced anglers choose 7′ – 7.5′ rod lengths to have the ability for a good cast and not too long so they can function in a more closed environment. But if you prefer to sit in the kayak, choose shorter rods, 6 – 7′, to enhance their performance. Also, an 8 to 9 ft kayak fishing length will be a good match if you plan to fish offshore in more open waters.

The most popular fishing rods are under 2 pounds because you need a lightweight rod that is easily manipulated in a small kayak. You will also need to consider the rod’s performance and strength if you plan to target larger fish.


You will need a bit of cord with a shark clip to stop the rods from bouncing out of holders. Select a 0.23-inch cord, or buy strong stretching ropes like bungee ones and tie them to the boat. Place a loop over the reel handle, and the rod will stay still.