Best Casting Rods – Top 3 Guide

When you watch the pros on television, the vast majority of them are fishing with baitcasting reels. Some of them use spinning reels, but the majority of them are using conventional, baitcasting reels. This is because of the advanced features and options available to baitcasting reels. And like a good reel, a casting rod that matches its reel in quality and craftsmanship is essential in order to work for you. The best casting rods all carry similar characteristics, which we’ll go over below. As we continue our series of Top 3 Guides, this one focuses on the Best Casting Rods available on the market today. Take a look at our Top 3 and then we’ll go over what it is to look for in a casting rod.

NameLengthWeightActionLine-Test RatingLure-Weight RatingPriceShop
St. Croix Legend Xtreme Casting Rods Model: LXC72MM (7' 2", M)
7'2"4.5 ozMedium8-14 lb1/4-5/8 oz$$$$
Boyd Duckett Fishing Macro Magic Rod DFMA66MC 6'6" Medium
6'6"n/aMedium12-14 lb3/16 - 3/4 oz$$$
Daiwa Sweepfire Medium Cast Rod, 2 Piece (6-Feet 6-Inch, Black)
6'6"4.8 ozFast10-20 lb1/4 - 1 oz$

LEGEND: $ = $1.00 – $50.00, $$ = $51.00 – $100.00, $$$ = $101.00 – $150.00, $$$$ = $150+

What to look for in a casting rod

There are several things to consider when deciding on a casting rod. First and foremost, consider what type of fish you’ll be catching with this rod and reel. Will you be targeting large fish? You may want a rod made from fiberglass. Small, delicate-mouthed fish? Then a graphite rod with slow action is necessary. It all depends on what fish you’d like to target. Beyond that, here are several features to compare when selecting a rod. Additionally, you can review this resource for excellent explanation of rod characteristics.

Line Guides

If this is your first time purchasing a casting rod, you’ll notice the guides are much smaller compared to a spinning rod. Firstly, their orientation is now on the top of the blank. Secondly, they’re much smaller because the line pays out more evenly due to the nature of the reel. You wouldn’t be able to use a spinning rod with a baitcasting reel and vice-versa. As for the material guides are made from, anglers have consistently preferred ceramic. They’re ultra durable and do not wear, especially when using braided or super lines. Usually ceramic is installed in stainless steel guides. More recently, anglers have professed their love for RECOIL© nickel-titanium guides. Ceramic seems to be the odds on favorite, however.

Action

When it comes to action ratings, there is a simple rule of thumb. The faster the action, the more sensitive and stiff the rod. This is great for feeling the faintest bite and having the blank reset to bring the power into fighting a fish. A fast action rod bends at the top 1/3 of the rod, whereas a slow action rod bends almost through the entire length of the rod. You’ll see most flyfishing rods set as slow action, because it allows the angler to keep tension with the fish and brace for abrupt changes in direction. A moderate, or medium action, embraces the best of both worlds, giving the angler a great rod for power and finesse.

Blank Construction

Most casting rods are made from fiberglass, graphite, or a mixture of both. Determining which makes the most sense for you is rather easy to comprehend. There’s a simple rule of thumb; big fish, use fiberglass. Small fish, use graphite.

Fiberglass is much more rigid, durable, and better equipped for lengthy fights with large fish. Think saltwater fishing or large lake fishing. The downside to fiberglass is it deadens the action on the rod, losing some sensitivity. But, they very rarely break and can do their job under extreme stress. Because of it’s exceptional durability, a fiberglass rod is a great starter rod for a new baitcasting angler.

Graphite is ideal for freshwater fishing or small saltwater fishing. It gives you total control and feel of the action on the line. There are varying compositions of graphite rods, each with their own benefits, but all you really need to understand is that graphite will give your rod more bend.

Some rods are made as a combination of fiberglass and graphite. They’re mostly similar to carbon fiber, which gives the rod extra strength without sacrificing too much sensitivity.

Handle/Grip

Casting rods vary a little in handle shape. One of the more common designs is the pistol grip design. It’s a shorter handle with a “trigger,” meant to sit comfortably in your hand as you cast. Many anglers prefer the pistol grip. For additional leverage in the fight, and for two handed casting, a rear grip rod is recommended.

Grips are skinned primarily with cork or EVA. There are no obvious advantages between either option, with the exception of EVA being more stain resistant than cork. They also tend to be more durable over time, but high quality cork is still very durable. The best cork is imported from Portugal, so be sure to look for that if you’d like a cork handled rod.

Reel Seat

A reel seat is where the reel is secured to the rod. This area is important as a lot of the stress from a fight applies torque to this component. Stainless steel is a great material for reel seats, but you may find many rods with graphite reel seats.

A new trend is reel seats with part of the blank exposed. This gives anglers even more sensation to detect with even the faintest of bites.

Now that you understand what we looked at when selecting these rods, let’s go over our Top 3.

Best Casting Rods – Top 3

St. Croix Legend Xtreme Casting Rods Model: LXC72MM

St. Croix Legend Xtreme Casting Rods Model: LXC72MM
St. Croix Legend Xtreme Casting Rods Model: LXC72MM

Made from super high modulus SCVI and high modulus SCV graphite blanks, the St. Croix Legend Xtreme is the best all around casting rod. Loads of proprietary technologies are packed in this great casting rod, providing you with an exceptional fishing experience! At 7’2″ this rod will give you great casting distance without sacrificing the sensitivity you need for finicky bites. At 4.5 oz, the LXC72MM is one of the lightest rods in its class. With Taper Enhancement Technology, the blank design has curved patterns for improved action and increased sensitivity. Armed with Fuji K-R Concept Tangle Free Guides to prevent tangles before they get in your way. These guides are perfect for braid, mono carbon, and fluorocarbon line. Also, the Xtreme-Skin handle cleans easily and dries quickly when wet.

Boyd Duckett Fishing Macro Magic Rod DFMA66MC 6’6″ Medium

Boyd Duckett Fishing Macro Magic Rod DFMA66MC 6'6" Medium
Boyd Duckett Fishing Macro Magic Rod DFMA66MC 6’6″ Medium


Get your hands on one of famous bass angler Boyd Ducketts’ favorite casting rods! The Macro Magic Rod is 6’6″ and built for precision casting for big bass. With medium action, you get good sensitivity as well as strength to pull lunkers from structure. Designed similarly as Ducketts’ Micro Magic line, with the only main differences being size and number of guides.

Made from multi-modulous pre-pregs, the Macro Magic is extremely lightweight and durable. Balanced to reduce angler fatigue and increase sensitivity. Cork grips and Fuji comfort grip reel seats for comfort, sensitivity, and lightweight feel. Made for heavier line, 12-14 lbs and heavier lures. Any bass tournament angler would want this in their arsenal!

Daiwa Sweepfire Medium Cast Rod

Daiwa Sweepfire Medium Cast Rod
Daiwa Sweepfire Medium Cast Rod


Our surprise entrant to our Top 3 has to be the Daiwa Sweepfire. At 6’6″ length it’s designed for accurate casting. A durable fiberglass blank is great for any angler just learning how to use a baitcaster. What you sacrifice in sensitivity, it more than makes up for it in durability and strength. Conveniently seperated in two pieces, this rod can travel virtually anywhere.

Cut-proof aluminum oxide guides line the blank in a descending fashion from handle to tip. The grip is made from all natural cork. Keep your reel securely in place with a nice stainless steel hooded real seet. This rod is meant for heavier lines and lures and is our best casting rod for under $100.

Honorable Mentions

NameLengthWeightActionLine-Test RatingLure-Weight RatingPriceShop
Abu Garcia Veritas Cast Rod (1 Piece)
7'6"4.8 ozFast12-25 lb3/8 - 1 1/4 oz$$$$
Okuma Cedros Jig Casting Rod
6'6"3.6 ozFast30-65 lb1 - 5 1/2 oz$$$
Abu Garcia VNGC66-6 Vengeance Casting Rod with Medium-Heavy Power Rating, Fast Action, 6-1/2-Feet
6'6"n/aFast12-20 lb1/4 - 1 oz$
Wright and McGill Skeet Reese Shaky Head/Senko Fishing Rod
6'11"7.2 ozMedium-Fast6-12 lb1/16 - 1/2 oz$$$
Berkley Cherrywood HD Casting Rods

7'5.6 ozFast8-17 lb1/4 - 3/4 oz$
Shimano FXC Heavy 2 Piece Casting Rod (6-Feet 6-Inch, Medium)
6'6"n/aFast10-20 lb1/4 - 5/8 oz$
Abu-Garcia Vendetta Series Casting Rod
7'n/aMedium-Fast8-17 lb1/4 - 5/8 oz$$
St. Croix Legend Xtreme Inshore Casting Rod XIC70MHF
7'5.2 ozFast10-20 lb1/2 - 1 1/4 oz$$$$
Falcon Rods Mike McClelland Cara Micro Casting Rod7'2"n/aMedium10-20 lb1/4 - 3/4 oz$$$$

LEGEND: $ = $1.00 – $50.00, $$ = $51.00 – $100.00, $$$ = $101.00 – $150.00, $$$$ = $150+