Best Fishing Pole – Getting Your Reeling Game On

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It can’t be overstated how integral fishing is to our life.

It’s been a part of our humanity since our primate ancestry. Heck from macaques to orangutans, many still do in some measure or another.

For tens of thousands of years—maybe even hundreds—fish protein has been essential in propelling humanity's cognitive function. We’ve used that incredible power, in part and quite rationally, to get way the fudge better at fishing.

I mean. If it’s working, amirite?

And for a number of reasons, angling is the most popular form of this piece of human cultural furniture.

Because of our meteoric advancement in the fields of manufacturing, chemistry, metallurgy, et al, there is a fishing pole for absolutely any kind of fishing you’d like to try your hand at.

So toss on some Wellington’s, and we’ll wade through a whole school of options in regards to the best possible fishing pole for you.

Our Best Choice

Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.0 Baitcast Rod and Reel Combo

  • Most features
  • Excellent feel
  • Looks great

A list of pro level features at a price any angler can afford. You would have to spend a lot more to get even fractionally better. Single piece aluminum frame—amongst other aluminum components—optimizes your weight and strength, while all the bells and whistles do everything but land the fish for you.

12 Best Fishing Poles - The Fishy Dozen

1. Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.o Baitcast Rod and Reel Combo - Best Fishing Pole and Reel

The Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.0 Baitcast Rod and Reel Combo casts itself apart from other fishing poles in the speed and feel of cast and reel.

That speed makes it so easy to adapt on the fly to conditions and as such optimize all the time possible. Crucial to those with today's hectic schedule.

The rod is built to give you the competitive edge, with its integrated carbon coil technology and double-helix reinforced RT4 Graphite blank for the perfect blend of strength and sensitivity.

The laundry list of pro-level features in the reel includes a rigid 1-piece aluminum frame, carbon fiber side covers, a machined-aluminum V-spool, aluminum crankshaft, brass main gear, premium 10-bearing system with double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings and Powerlock anti-reverse Dual Braking System, powerful 6-disc carbon fiber drag, and carbon fiber recurve handle with EVA Winn grips.

It’s no wonder this thing feels like reeling a silky waterfall made of sunshine through a cream pie made from sugar spun cream filled gold.

A unique Skeletonized Air reel seat maximizes sensitivity with massive blank exposure, and Cabela’s popular Line ID system helps you keep track of your rigging, both in the rod locker and on the casting deck.

In short, this is an artists tool, and it handles like one.

Pros

  • Most features
  • Excellent feel
  • Looks great

Cons

  • Most expensive on this list.

2. KastKing Speed Demon Pro Tournament Series Bass Fishing Rods - Best Fishing Pole for Bass Fishing

KastKing Speed Demon Pro Tournament Series Bass Fishing Rods start with an elite carbon blank that utilizes carbon nanotube resin technology. The STEM enthusiast in me can’t but revel.

This reduces weight, increases breaking and lifting strength—allegedly by over 30%—compared to standard graphite rods. These proprietary blanks are not only strong and light but also might be the most sensitive rod one has ever had in their hands.

KastKing uses the finest Fuji guides and reel seats to ensure that reels stay firmly in place and that lines are never frayed or are slowed down. All casting models use Fuji LN model guides with alconite rings.

Handles and fighting butts are custom WINN golf style grips that provide comfort and a sure handshake in any conditions.

Everything from the rod weight, action and length of the handles are carefully considered in building your new favorite rod. It’s even a damn fine looking piece of equipment.

Because great function need not mean mundane form.

Pros

  • Tres stylish
  • High tech and modern components
  • Strong for days

Cons

  • Higher price tag than most

3. High Altitude Brands Lightweight Portable Telescopic Fishing Kit - Best Pole for Hiking

The High Altitude Brands Lightweight Portable Telescopic Spinning Reel Rod Combo was engineered to be ultra light and small in size so you can take it anywhere, including the most remote backcountry lakes, creeks, streams, rivers and ponds. Perfect for trout, bass, bluegill, panfish and more

This fishing set was purpose built with portability in mind. It is a perfect companion to keep in your back seat, toss in a saddle bag, tuck into a wheelchair, or chuck in your backpack.

At only 6 ounces for the rod, 11.5 ounces for the case, and 9 ounces for the reel, you’ve got dynamite fishing potential at less than two pounds.

Many freshwater retractable telescopic rods have six or more collapsible sections, each presenting an extra junction—and the weakest point of any rod is the joints where the sections come together. 

High Altitude Brands poles are engineered with only five blanks but still maintain a small travel ready length of less than 18 inches.

Making them heavy duty, lightweight, and highly compact.

The best backpacking fishing pole is the one that conserves weight and space, while still getting the job done.

Pros

  • Less segments = more rugged
  • Exceptionally light weight
  • Full kit fits in case that can go anywhere

Cons

  • Not as rugged as some rigid one piece rods

4. Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Platinum Signature Casting Rod - Best Freshwater Fishing Pole

The less rod between you and the fish, the more you'll catch. That's the premise on which Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Platinum Signature Casting Rod is built.

Air light, this pole is virtually an extension of your hand and arm, yet it can easily handle most heavy lifting.

Casting, retrieving, feeling bottom, working the rod tip—they all seem as effortless as they do precise.

As delicate as it feels, this brute is still a workhorse. The Platinum Signature Rod's cutting-edge construction utilizes innovative Fortified Multidirectional Fiber Alignment technology to join 5 layers of carbon sheeting with a core infusion of reductive resin. This forms an advanced RTX5 graphite blank with impressive sensitivity as well as power.

According to BPS that makes for a fishing pole a full 15% lighter and 35% stronger than previous models.

A durable Fuji SiC guideset provides a smooth line flow, and incredibly comfortable nonslip Winn grips keep you in control in all conditions.


Small touches such as a line-shedding hook keeper and a handy Line ID System make this a well-coordinated rod that's is perfectly equipped to fish like no other.

Pros

  • Extremely light and natural feel
  • Impossible strong
  • Useful utilities

Cons

  • High end for a pole alone.

5. ODDSPRO Kids Fishing Pole - Best Kids Fishing Pole

The ODDSPRO Kids Fishing Pole, Portable Telescopic Fishing Rod and Reel Combo Kit is an all-in-one fishing combo with line and tackle box—including a selection of crankbaits, float bobbers, jig heads, soft lures, swivels and sinkers—suited to a range of different fishing situations.

Perfect for teaching a new and youthful angler as much as possible.

Engineered for a sure grip in tiny hands—even when wet thanks to EVA ergonomic handles. This allows kids to play in the water with less risk to their gear. And even then, the extremely low market point at which one finds this fishing pole—particularly when compared to the value gained by fishing with the next generation—makes losing the occasional rod to that lesson an easy part of doing business.

The 3 or 4 guide construction on the body of the rod guides the line with less risk of tangles, and allows for accurate casting.

And since the pole is telescopic and it's a full light carrying kit, the kiddo can carry their own gear in and out. Those are good habits more kids could afford to build.

Pros

  • Brightly colored—which makes a dropped rod easy to find
  • Inexpensive—which makes a dropped rod an easy loss
  • Light enough for most any kid to carry

Cons

  • Smaller size can be awkward for an adult cast—like an adult riding a tricycle

6. Tailored Tackle Ice Fishing Rod Reel Combo - Best Ice Fishing Pole

The Tailored Tackle Ice Fishing Rod Reel Combo is a versatile multispecies rod designed to work for Walleye, Perch, Trout and other Panfish like Crappie, Bluegill and Sunfish.

It’s an extra fast action fishing pole. Useful for indicating extremely sensitive bites.

A premium size 20 ice fishing reel with a 5 ball bearing system for a smooth feel even in freezing temperatures.

A carbon fiber rod blank and base provide back bone and durability, while a classic cork handle on an ergonomic grip—designed by fishing guides at Tailored Tackle—give you firm control in any situation.

This ambidextrous unit is dirt cheap too, so you can get your fishing in, without breaking the bank.

Pros

  • Wildly inexpensive
  • Sensitive enough to read cold fish
  • Useful for many ice fish species
  • Ambidextrous

Cons

  • No bells and whistles

7. Ugly Stik GX2 Baitcast Combo - Best Cheap Fishing Pole

Since 1897, Ugly Stik has been a leader in quality, affordable fishing gear.

They claim inspiration from 115 years of passion and experience. Ugly Stik offers something for the whole family and at all levels of experience.

So it’s no wonder one of the least expensive fishing poles on this best of list is the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo. This next generation Ugly Stik offers all the strength and durability one would expect—considering that much manufacturing heritage behind it—with a lighter feel and more satisfying aesthetic thanks to improved materials and components.

Each GX2 Combo features Ugly Tech construction, Ugly Tuff guides and the Ugly Stik Clear Tip design. All together it makes for one good looking, rugged and work ready fishing rig.

But I could very well be biased. I grew up slinging one of these bad boys predecessors along the red clay banks found all over Oklahoma.

In fact, I think that 40 plus year old rod and reel likely work just fine to this day. Because while they might be inexpensive, an Ugly Stik was always built to last.

Pros

  • Cheaper than dirt
  • Still well made
  • Reliable company

Cons

  • You get less features when you pay less

8. KastKing Centron Spinning Reel - Best Fishing Pole for Trout

KastKing Centron Spinning Reel – Fishing Rod Combo feature a sensitive and light-weight Toray IM6 Graphite blank engineered to offer exceptional value and performance for any angler.

All combos are 2 piece and six foot long. This ideal length makes this one of the best fishing rods for trout, or Bass, or other panfish.

Practical stainless-steel guides are used on all models with premium O-ring inserts that perform perfectly with either mono or braided lines. The lightweight stainless frames look sharp and keep the weight down for a perfectly balanced rod blank.

KastKing finishes the rods with contoured EVA handles and fighting butt, so the rods are ergonomic and provide all day comfort and grip on an otherwise airweight fishing pole. 

Each combo includes a mated KastKing Centron spinning reel that is matched to the rod and the type of fish that it is intended for. 

In our case, clearly bass, trout, and panfish. Each reel has a 9+1 Maxi-Dur ball bearing design, anti-twist line roller, lightweight graphite frame, and aluminum spool. Giving this reel super smooth action that is complemented by a powerful triple disc felt drag system.

Pros

  • So many ball bearings
  • Dynamic performer
  • Complete and inexpensive combo

Cons

  • Not saltwater compatible

9. Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Rod And Reel Combo - Best Fishing Pole for Northern Pike

Below the roiling surface of the sea exists a deluge of big game fish and their apex predators.

But few compare to the apex predator of a human being with the right tool at his disposal. Hell, if those smug fish would come fight us on land we wouldn’t even need the right tool.

With the PENN Battle II Spinning Fishing Rod and Reel Combo, even the Mighty Norther Pike will reconsider who the big boss of the water is. And little is as satisfying as beating the champ on his own home surf and turf.

The Penn Battle II makes that dream plausible. Its HT 100 carbon fiber drag system provides Nor’easter wind like power without sacrificing smoothness. Crank that reel fluidly thanks to 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings—featuring an instant anti-reverse bearing.

Nobody wants to lose hard fought... ground? Line? Water? Whatever. You get it.

Its full metal body, side plate, rotor, and heavy-duty aluminum bail wire offer exceptionally rugged reliability, and the superline spool requires no backing, is braid ready, and conveniently has line capacity rings marked at 1/3, 2/3, and full capacity.

So if big game is your aim—from sturgeon to shark—the Penn Battle II is your great equalizer.

Pros

  • Full metal body reel is both durable and responsive
  • Versatile and affordable
  • Five sealed stainless steel ball bearings and Instant anti-reverse bearing
  • Can use braided line without a monofilament backing
  • Good for both inshore and offshore saltwater fishing

Cons

  • It’s not the lightest rod, but this is to be expected—it has to be sturdy for those big catches!

10. St. Croix Premier Split-Grip Spinning Rod - Best Basic Fishing Pole

Cabela's partnered with the top U.S. rodmaker to develop the St. Croix Premier Split-Grip Spinning Rod.

This modern material update on a trusted design offers you the proven performance of the Premier Series in an even lighter and more precisely balanced split-grip construction.

Crafted on St. Croix's premium SCII graphite blank, the rods in this series are well known for their finely tuned actions and precise tapers. Finished with 2 coats of proprietary Flex-Coat cure, the Split-Grip Premier features black-frame Kigan Master Hand 3D guides with slim aluminum-oxide inserts and a Fuji DPS reel seat.

Premium-grade cork handles provide a firm, comfortable grip in all weather.

Odds are you’ll never need the manufacturer's 5-year warranty, but it’s always comforting to know it’s there.

And for those looking to shop local, St. Croix Fishing Poles are made in the USA.

Pros

  • Five year warranty
  • Made in America
  • Extra Rugged
  • Two piece travels easy

Cons

  • Only the market point on a single pole would ever deter one from choosing this fishing pole

11. Cabela’s Fish Eagle Baitcast Combo - Best Fishing Pole for Beginners

Cabela's Fish Eagle® Baitcast Combo boasts dependable pro-level strength and reliability alongside easy casting and retrieving.

With a carbon frame and side-covers, lightweight anodized aluminum spool and quality controlled eight-bearing system that includes Powerlock instant anti-reverse, this combo delivers at every turn. Intuitive magnetic braking system pairs with a smooth, consistent drag with up to 10 pounds of drag power.

The Fish Eagle Baitcast Rod features a rugged 54-million-modulus graphite blank that provides nigh unparalleled bending strength, reinforced with a carbon cross-wrap butt section for even greater resilience.

Exclusive stainless steel tangle-free guide frames with aluminum-oxide inserts help assure each angler that he spends more time angling and less untangling.

Premium cork handle and rubberized-cork trim offer a nonslip hold while the Mag Touch reel seat maximizes blank contact for outstanding feeling while casting and reeling.

Because of how simple, functional, and relatively inexpensive it is, this is one of the best beginner baitcaster combos. And it’s one that any expert could wield like a surgeon.

Pros

  • Best cost benefit analysis
  • Rugged construction
  • Excellent feel

Cons

  • Not flashy at all

12. LEW’S FISHING Mach Crush Speed Spool SLP Combo - Best Fishing Pole for Lakes

LEW'S FISHING Mach Crush Speed Spool SLP Combo is as crammed full of features as you will be fish once you get the swing of this beauty. 

This fishing combo features a tough and lightweight, Super Low Profile (SLP) graphite frame with side plates, a machined, double anodized aluminum U-shape 32mm spool, with a rugged solid brass main gear and crankshaft.

Premium 10-bearing system with double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings and Zero Reverse one-way clutch bearing, along with an externally-adjustable dual cast control system—utilizing both an external click-dial for setting the magnetic brake, plus 4 individually disengageable disk-mounted internal brake shoes that operate on centrifugal force—make this technological wonder a dream to handle.

This is one of the best fishing poles for saltwater and freshwater alike.

The baitcasting rod features a one-piece IM8 graphite blank with Nano technology and American Tackle Airwave guides, all easily controlled from LEW'S exclusive SoftTouch graphite skeletal reel seats and Winn advanced polymer Dri-Tac split-grips.

Honestly, this thing might be from the future. And if it isn’t, it would still fit in nicely with yours.

Pros

  • Absolute luxury fishing rod
  • Winn Dri-Tac Split grips good for any condition
  • Low profile and aesthetically pleasing

Cons

  • Under 200 but not by much

Shake Hands With Your New Best Friend

One of the many reasons fishing has such a sacred place amongst almost all of human history—other than it’s obvious propensity to fuel us with healthy nutrients—is the pure bliss of the meditative act. The muscles working in synchronized order for each and every cast. The intimate bond with our biosphere. The lessons of patience and discipline rewarded every time with the harmony of the pursuit. And again, them damned fine eats.

Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.0 Baitcast Rod and Reel Combo

With Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.0 Baitcast Rod and Reel Combo, or any other fishing pole on this comprehensive list, you could step up your game, while standing on the shoulders of giants.

Connecting with legends of human history, so many of which were avid anglers.

And when you hold that grip, jig the tip, and reel time after time, you are taking a well earned respite with the person who deserves it the most. Yourself.

So order yours today, and make the time you deserve.