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.
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 - Top 3 Kayak Fishing Rods
Editor's choice for Kayak Fishing Rods
Fiblink Saltwater 1-Piece
Best Rated Kayak Fishing Rod
Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod
Best Budget Kayak Fishing Rod
Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod
Table of Contents
- Top 9 Best Kayak Fishing Rods in 2023
- Our Reviews of the Best Rods for Kayak Fishing
- Editor's Choice - Fiblink Saltwater 1-Piece
- Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod
- Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod
- Goture Travel Fishing Spinning Rod
- Fenwick AETOS Fly Fishing Rod
- Dobyns Rods Fury Series Casting Rod
- Daiwa Presso Ultralight Spinning Kayak Rod
- Shimano Trevala Spinning Rod for Kayak Fishing
- St. Croix Rods Mojo Inshore Casting Rod
- Factors to Keep in Mind when Selecting Kayak Fishing Rod
- How Do You Secure The Rods In The Rod Holder?
Top 9 Best Kayak Fishing Rods in 2023
Our Reviews of the Best Rods for Kayak Fishing
Editor's Choice - 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.
OVERVIEW: 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. It’s truly the best rods for kayak fishing!
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.
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. If you are a beginner, then this is one of the best kayak fishing rods for you!
- 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
- Handle material: EVA
- Grip: Split
- Power: Ultralight to Heavy
OVERVIEW: 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. These kayak spinning 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.
Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod
WHY WE LIKE IT: We like the Shakespeare Micro Spinning rod because it is lightweight, durable, and designed for multiple techniques. Its composition of blank and graphite reel seats is a great feature that provides strength and sensitivity.
OVERVIEW: 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 spinning rods for the price.
Goture Travel Fishing Spinning 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. To learn more about telescopic rods, check out our best travel fishing rods review.
- 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
- Handle material: EVA
- Grip: Split
- Action: Medium Fast, Fast
- Power: Medium, Medium Heavy
OVERVIEW: 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. If you want to find out more about matching saltwater lures, read our best saltwater lures review.
FEATURES: An agreeable handle grip and a good bend are the key features for kayak rods. Equipped with corrosion-resistant guides for perfect line performance, this ultralight telescopic rod has still not met its match!
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.
OVERVIEW: 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.
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.
OVERVIEW: 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.
Daiwa Presso Ultralight Spinning Kayak Rod
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 best baitcasting rods under $100 review to find more similar products.
OVERVIEW: 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.
Shimano Trevala Spinning Rod for Kayak Fishing
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.
OVERVIEW: 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.
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
- Action: Fast
- Power: Light to Extra Heavy
- Handle material: EVA and Cork
- Grip: Split
OVERVIEW: 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 gear trade!
If you are up for more coastal rods, read our best inshore fishing rods roundup.
Factors to Keep in Mind when Selecting Kayak Fishing Rod
Choose a size between 6 1/2 and 8 feet long. However, the type of fishing and fish species ask for a specific 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 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 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.
Usually the best kayak fishing rods are made from materials that are lightweight and durable. These include carbon fiber, graphite, and fiberglass. Most of them 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.
Unique Challenges of Fishing from a Kayak
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.
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 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.