spinning rod in kayak

TOP 12 Best Kayak Fishing Rods Reviewed 2019 for a Bigger Catch from Kayak

Kayak fishing is quickly gaining popularity throughout much of the world. With new, high-quality kayaks, anglers can access lakes, rivers, and just about any other type of waterway in an entirely new way.

Plus, with all the different new accessories coming out, like the specific fish finders for kayaks, this popularity will increase even more.

Selecting a good kayak fishing rod, and understanding the benefits or setbacks of each rod, is key if you plan to be a successful kayak angler.

Let’s begin by looking at some of the characteristics of a good kayak fishing rod.

We’ve put together a list of some of the best kayak fishing rods for 2019 to help you select the right one for your kayak fishing adventures.

TOP 12 Kayak Fishing Rods 2019

Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod

Review: If you’re looking for a great starter rod for your kayak set-up, this is it. The Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod has everything you need to learn the tricks of the kayak fishing trade but won’t cost you a fortune.

Since it’s available for a fraction of the cost of most good kayak fishing rods, the quality is not quite the same as the premium options chosen by the pro’s. Made from graphite material and a 2 piece construction, the Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod gets the job done when it comes to kayak fishing.

Some of the drawbacks on the Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod are the stainless steel rod guides, and the reel seat, which could be prone to loosening due to the cork handle construction.

Pros

  • 2 piece construction.
  • Affordable pricing.

Cons

  • Cork handle could be prone to cracking or breaking over time.
  • Reel seat could loosen due to cork handle construction.
  • Shorter length in 6’6.

Takeaway

This rod is perfect for beginner kayak fishermen who are just getting into the sport and don’t want to spend too much on a good fishing setup.

Abu Garcia IKE Signature Spinning Rod

Review: This rod’s 7’ length and fast action make it great for kayak fishing rod for anglers looking to target smaller fish, but it does have the strength to deal with a heavy fight. Ideal pound test lines for the IKE Signature Spinning Rod are generally 6-12 pound test and lighter lures are recommended.

This rod is ideal for catching trout, smaller bass, and panfish. At 3.8 pounds, the IKE Signature Spinning Rod is perfect for light-action fishing but can provide some muscle if you hook into anything bigger than expected.

These rods are well-known for their high quality and the cost will reflect that.

Pros

  • Long Length, which makes it ideal for larger kayaks.
  • Graphite material.
  • Sensitive rod tip for faster hook sets.
  • Lightweight design.

Cons

  • Single piece construction makes it harder to pack and transport.
  • Lightweight design means less durability for the hardcore kayak fishermen.

Takeaway

The IKE Signature Spinning Rod is great for an all-purpose kayak fishing rod that won’t break the bank. You’ll be able to catch a wide variety of fish on this rod and it’s ideal for the intermediate level kayak angler.

Cadence Spinning Rod CR5-30

Review: The Cadence Spinning Rod CR5-30 is 7’ in length and features a fast-action material. Cadence Spinning Rod CR5-30’s are well-known for their durability and are one of the best kayak fishing rods on the market today

With a medium-strength rating, this is a good all-around rod to target both small fish and those that will put a strain on your tackle.

This lightweight rod is designed for kayak fishing and should be in every kayak angler’s arsenal. Featuring a Fuji reel seat and silicone carbide rings, the Cadence Spinning Rod CR5-30 can hold up to the toughest of fights.

The Cadence brand is well-known for high-quality rods and the CR5-30 is no exception. This rod is somewhat more expensive than most of the best kayak fishing rods.

Pros

  • Super lightweight design for kayak fishing.
  • Long length.
  • Quality-made rod guides help protect the line.

Cons

  • Cork handle is prone to breaking or falling apart over time with much use.
  • Reel seat has a tendency to loosen due to cork handle.

Takeaway

The Cadence Spinning Rod CR5-30 is great for smaller game fish. The components are well-made and this rod is one of the top picks for trout, smallmouth, panfish, and many other smaller catches.

Shimano Solara 2 Piece Spinning Rod

Review: Perfect for the kayak fishing enthusiast on a budget, the Shimano Solara offers decent strength and fast action. This is another 7’ rod made with the typical kayak angler in mind.

The Shimano Solara only features 6 guides that are constructed using reinforced aluminum oxide, which is slightly less in quality than silicone carbide rings.

This rod is great for the beginner kayak angler or someone looking for a decent rod for a more favorable price. The Shimano Solara is not quite as durable as the other rods listed in this article, so it should be used with caution in tough-fishing environments and against heavier fish species.

One of the best things about the Shimano Solara is that it breaks down into a 2-piece rod. This is ideal for kayak fisherman looking to pack this one as a spare rod or on a camping trip.

Pros

  • 2-piece construction.
  • Good all-around rod for most kayak fishing.

Cons

  • Cork handle is prone to cracking or breaking against heavy pressure.
  • Slightly heavier than premium kayak fishing rods.
  • Rod guides are more prone to breaking against heavy pressure.

Takeaway

The Shimano Solara is great for kayak anglers looking to pack a solid rod in with their gear on longer, overnight trips. This one isn’t terribly expensive, but still offers loads of quality for those harder fights and longevity.

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

Review: Don’t let the name fool you. The Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod might seem like a cheap rod at first glance, but the details prove that this is a high-quality fishing rod for the serious kayak angler.

With a 7’ design and medium action, this rod is one for the kayak angler looking for a fight. The Ugly Stik Elite is also no slouch when is comes to overall toughness. Made from graphite and fiberglass material, the Ugly Stik brank is well-known for making rods that are virtually indestructible.

Despite its toughness, the Ugly Stik Elite is designed for more lightweight fishing action. This rod is on the medium-high side in pricing and does have a few flaws. The stainless steel rod guides are strong enough to take on most smaller fish, but will not stand the test of time, or withstand a fight against larger prey.

Pros

  • Top-notch durability.
  • Long Length.
  • Fast action.

Cons

  • 1 piece design.
  • Stainless steel rod guides are prone to breaking or cutting line when facing heavy pressure.

Takeaway

The Ugly Stik Elite is practically indestructible. If you’re looking for one of the toughest rods on the market, this is it. The action isn’t quite what most kayak anglers want in a top-notch rod, but this one will get the job done just about anywhere.

Fenwick Eagle Spinning Rod

Review: This rod is 7’ in length and features medium-fast action. The Fenwick Eagle Spinning Rod is one of the best kayak fishing rods on our list and should be part of every real kayak fisherman’s tackle.

The Fenwick Eagle can be purchased in single or 2-piece construction, which allows for better packing or going on longer fishing and camping trips. The Fenwick’s tough graphite design allows for fighting larger fish while using smaller pound test line.

This lightweight rod is slightly expensive and made for kayak fishing anglers who want to target fish of all sizes. The Fenwick Eagle Spinning Rod does have eight rod guides, but they are made from stainless steel, which is less desirable than some of the premium kayak fishing rods on the market today.

Pros

  • Versatile design for one or 2-piece construction.
  • Known for toughness against larger fish.
  • Long Length.

Cons

  • Stainless steel guides.
  • Cork handle is prone to cracking or breaking under heavy pressure.

Takeaway

The Fenwick Eagle is designed for durability against tough-fighting fish. The rod will provide good sensitivity and should stand the test of time for the serious kayak angler.

Hurricane Redbone Inshore Spinning Rod

Review: If you’re looking for the ultimate kayak fishing rod, here it is. The Hurricane Redbone Spinning Rod is the definition of quality and toughness when it comes to kayak fishing.

Featuring a graphite design that is able to withstand the toughest fights, the Hurricane Redbone Spinning Rod is made for heavier line—and heavier fish. While many kayak anglers choose to target smaller species of game fish, the Hurricane Redbone is strong enough to handle inshore fishing against larger prey.

With 7’ in length, the Hurricane Redbone features eight rod guides made from aluminum oxide material, which means they will withstand even the toughest fights and line pulls. The Hurricane Redbone can be fished with 6-12 pound test line, making it a great all-purpose fishing rod.

As you might have guessed, the Hurricane Redbone Spinning Rod is more expensive than most kayak fishing rods, but is a true, premium fishing rod.

Pros

  • Long Length.
  • Lightweight design.
  • Aluminum oxide rod guides for heavier line pulls and longer lasting lines.
  • Graphite material for increased toughness.

Cons

  • Cork handle is prone to cracking or breaking under heavier pressure.
  • Single piece design makes it harder to pack or carry on longer trips.

Takeaway

The Hurricane Redbone is a rod that most kayak anglers would put at the top of their list. This one offers high-quality components for a reasonable price that most fishermen can afford. This rod would make a great gift for any kayak angler.

Daiwa Beefstick Saltwater Conventional Rod

Review: A heavier rod means you’re able to reel in heavier catches. The Daiwa Beefstick lives up to its name as one of the tougher rods made for a larger prey. This rod is widely used by saltwater kayak anglers as it is able to handle heavier fights and is capable of withstanding salty seawater.

At 7’ in length, the Daiwa Beefstick offers enough size to handle some of the biggest fights you’ll encounter as a kayak angler. The Daiwa Beefstick features aluminum oxide rod guides which means your line will be safe in those intense fights with bigger fish.

This rod is moderately expensive and is only designed for the kayak fishermen with big fish on their minds.

Pros

  • Long Length.
  • Tough design for heavier fights.
  • Aluminum oxide rod guides to withstand the toughest fights.

Cons

  • Single piece design.
  • Bulky construction limits this rod to only larger fish.

Takeaway

If you’re planning a kayak fishing trip anywhere inshore targeting larger game fish, this rod is the one you want. The Daiwa Beefstick is designed to be solid enough to withstand the heaviest fights and, yet still nimble enough to be compatible with most kayak reel and lure setups.

Daiwa Presso Ultralight Pack Spinning Rod

Review: The Daiwa brand is not to be outdone by other companies and there is good reason why we feature two of their products on this list of the best kayak fishing rods. The Daiwa Presso Ultralight Pack Spinning Rod 4-Piece is aptly named with extreme versatility.

Available in 6’6, or up to 8’, the Daiwa Presso Ultralight highly adaptable and is no slouch on quality. Designed with graphite material for tough fights and solid durability, the only weakness on the Daiwa Presso Ultralight is the rod guides, which are made from stainless steel.

The best feature of the Daiwa Presso Ultralight is it’s 4-piece breakdown design which makes it perfect for the kayak fisherman needing a quality, yet compact rod. The Daiwa Presso Ultralight is moderately expensive and is worth the cost for anyone looking for a rod that can be easily packed on longer trips.

Pros

  • 4-piece design for compact travel.
  • Short or long length options.
  • Carrying case.

Cons

  • Stainless steel rod guides.
  • Cork handles are prone to cracking or breaking under heavy pressure.

Takeaway

The Daiwa Presso Ultralight is one for the serious kayak angler looking for a compact fishing rod that can be taken along with a load of other gear. Planning a trip that will take a few weeks down a large river? This is the rod you’ll want to go with.

Falcon Rods Coastal Split Spinning Rod

Review: Perhaps one of the most appealing all-around options on our list of the best kayak fishing rods is the Falcon Rods Coastal Spinning Rod.

The Falcon Rods Coastal Spinning Rod is crafted from FXB graphite carbon-fiber material and is available in multiple lengths from 6’6 up to 8’ long for anyone looking for superior length. The Falcon brand is known for durability while also offering some of the most sensitive rods on the market.

The Falcon Rods Coastal Spinning Rod features medium action and between 9 and 11 rod guides depending on length. One of the only drawbacks to this one is the cork handle. However, the Falcon brands proudly feature Fuji exposed blank reel seats for toughness and durability.

The Falcon Rods Coastal Spinning Rod is on the expensive end of the spectrum, but the extra cost is worth it for anyone looking for a good all-purpose rod.

Pros

  • Varying lengths for customized options.
  • Fuji exposed blank reel seat.
  • Increased sensitivity due to FXB graphite carbon-fiber material.

Cons

  • Cork handle is prone to breaking or cracking under heavy pressure.

Takeaway

Falcon rods are well-known for quality design and components. The Falcon Coastal Spinning Rod is one of the toughest on the market, but still offers superior sensitivity for use targeting smaller game fish.

St Croix Mojo Inshore Spinning Rod

Review: The St Croix brand is known for the highest quality fishing products and the St Croix Mojo Inshore Spinning Rod is no exception. This rod is ideal for any kayak fishing situation, either inshore or on freshwater lakes and rivers.

This rod has superior length as it is 7’6’’ long and constructed from graphite material. The St Croix Mojo is a medium, fast action rod that offers premium quality feel and outstanding toughness.

The St Croix Mojo Spinning Rod’s main feature is the zirconium aluminum oxide rod guides, which means your line is safe from even the most intense fights. The rod also has a Fuji reel seat and custom X-wrap handle for better durability and sensitivity.

The St Croix Mojo Inshore Spinning Rod is expensive, but for the angler looking for a solid selection, this one is one of the best rods for kayak fishing on the market today.

Pros

  • Superior length.
  • Medium, fast action.
  • Aluminum oxide rod guides.
  • X-wrap handle for better durability and sensitivity.

Cons

  • Somewhat heavier action due to length.

Takeaway

The St Croix Mojo Spinning Rod is arguably the best on our list thanks to its superior design and unbeatable toughness. This rod is for the angler who lives to kayak and fish all over the world and will be one that lasts many years under a wide variety of conditions.

Okuma Nomad Inshore Graphite Travel Rod

Review: This rod is the cream of the crop and offers exceptional quality in every aspect of what a kayak fisherman wants and needs.

The Okuma Nomad is aptly named as this is the best traveling kayak rod you’ll find on the market today. The Okuma Nomad Inshore Graphite rod offers superior length at 7’, as well as a long rear grip for intense fights and longer casting.

This medium, multi-action rod is your go-to all-purpose fishing tool that can be taken literally anywhere and used in a variety of situations. The rod breaks down into 3 sections and stores nicely in a waterproof bag featuring a comfortable shoulder strap. The rubberized ferrule connection system means the Okuma Nomad won’t lose any strength despite being a multi-piece rod.

The Okuma Nomad is also likely the toughest rod on the market since it is constructed with graphite and an outer carbon wrap for increased durability when bending under heavy pressure. The only drawback on this rod is the price, but for many serious kayak anglers, the cost is well worth its value.

Pros

  • Long length.
  • Multi-action rod.
  • Breaks down into 3 sections for easy travel.
  • Waterproof carrying case.
  • Rubberized ferrule connection system.
  • Graphite body featuring carbon wrapping.

Cons

  • Price. This rod is for those committing to the sport of kayak fishing and who want the absolute best quality.

Takeaway

The Okuma Nomad is clearly the top choice for serious kayak anglers who are willing to spend top-dollar for the highest quality rod. This rod is used by many professional kayak anglers for good reason. There are almost no drawbacks as the Okuma Nomad can virtually go anywhere and catch anything.

How to Choose the Best Kayak Fishing Rod

Choosing the right kayak fishing rod begins with understanding what specific kind of game fish you intend to catch. Of course, keep in mind the specifics of your kayak as well and is they don’t match, maybe it’s time for a new kayak? Take a look at the best fishing kayaks as well.

As with any other kind of fishing rod, you’ll need to select a rod that will withstand the toughest fight and help you reel in your catch without losing fish.

If you’re going after large fish, you’ll need a rod and reel that will handle heavy weights and hard pulls on your rod and drag. If you’re going after smaller species of fish, you’ll want a rod that will be more sensitive and allow you to adapt to the particular kind of bait or lure the fish are biting.

Many kayak anglers like to go with an all-purpose kind of rod and reel that isn’t too heavy, but strong enough to withstand a tough fight with a decent-sized fish.

spinning rod in kayak

FAQ’s

Why Does Length Matter?

Kayaks don’t offer much room to move around, which means decreased maneuverability of kayak anglers. A rod that is too long will limit your casting and retrieving abilities. Most kayak fishing rods are 6’6 to 7’ long as anything longer would be tough to handle on the water.

With this in mind, it’s also very important that a kayak fishing rod is not too short so as not to limit your ability to play the line over the front of your kayak when reeling in your catch.

What is “Action” and Why is it Important?

“Action” simply means your rod’s ability to bend, which is the rod’s level of curvature under pressure. Slow action rods are meant for heavier fish and will bend the entire length of the rod. Fast action rods will closer to the rod’s tip, making it much better for fighting fish on a kayak in many circumstances.

“Action” also denotes your rod’s sensitivity and how easily you’ll feel the fish hit the lure. Some fish are ferocious feeders and you’ll have no problem realizing you have a bite, but other fish like to “play” with the bait before biting. A slower action rod is better for these kinds of fish as you will be able to feel the fish’s gentle tugging on the line.

man fishing in kayak at evening

What is Rod Power?

A rod’s power refers to its ability to resist pressure and spring back into form once the pressure is released. Low power rods will not bend quickly under pressure and are more “stiff” than high power rods. High power rods bend more easily and are retrieved with more drag against the water.

What Pound Test Line Should I Use?

Pound test is simply the amount of weight your fishing line is able to hold. Be sure not to go too heavy with some rods as this will hamper the reel’s ability to retrieve line properly.

Pay attention to the capacity of line test your rod and reel are rated for and which combinations are best for the type of lure you’re using.

Why Are Some Rod Materials Better Than Others?

Most rods are made of graphite, but some lower quality options include fiberglass for more strength. However, rods with more fiberglass material are not as sensitive as their graphite counterparts.

Some premium quality rods are made with carbon sheathing to prevent breaking or cracking under extreme pressure.

Summary

Some rods are fine for beginners who are just getting into the sport of kayak fishing, but once you become accustomed to what it takes to truly be a great angler, you’ll want to reach for the more expensive options that offer superior quality.

Excited to get out there and start fishing. We are too, just keep in mind safety and if you don’t already have one, take a look at the best kayak fishing pfds and find yours.

We hope this article serves as a handy guide to anyone looking to better themselves on the water and become better fishermen and kayak anglers.