What Is The Best Spinning Rod For Bass Fishing?
UPDATED 12 MAY 2023
by Robert Ceran
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Are you looking for the ideal bass spinning rod that combines lightness and sensitivity with sufficient backbone to set the hook and handle big bass?
My team and I tested the most popular bass spinning rods on the market, and evaluated them based on their sensitivity, power, ability to throw a range of lure sizes, and overall performance when fighting largemouth and smallmouth bass.
Based on our testing, here are our picks for the best spinning rods for bass in 2023:
- Best overall: St Croix Mojo Bass
- Best budget option: Ugly Stik Elite
- Best for beginners: Abu Garcia Vendetta
- Best for drop shot: Enigma Fishing HPT
- Best for crankbait: St Croix Legend Glass Crankbait
- Best lightweight option: Lew’s Speed Stick Ultra Light
- Best for topwater: St Croix Premier
- Best finesse option: Abu Garcia IKE Signature Finesse
- Best for jigging: G. Loomis GLX Spin Jig
Best spinning rod for bass in 2023
The table above summarizes the most important specs of the 12 best bass spinning rods that we tested.
In addition to testing them and comparing their specs, we also give our recommendation on what each of these 12 rods is best suited for, ranging from the top all around performers to the best crankbait, topwater, and finesse rods.
We hope this will help you choose the best fishing rod for your specific purposes.
Now let’s dive into the details and take a closer look at each of these spinning rods.
1. St Croix Mojo Bass spinning rod
St Croix rods are famous for their quality, and are a favorite brand for many anglers.
The Mojo Bass was specifically designed for bass fishing, and is built with a mix of St Croix’s top of the line technologies.
The high-modulus graphite blank is strengthened with some of the most advanced St Croix technologies, including Advanced Reinforcing Technology (ART) as well as a Fortified Resin System (FRS), and our testing revealed that this makes it more powerful and durable than most carbon fishing rods currently on the market.
In addition to raw power, the blank of the Mojo Bass is made with Integrated Poly Curve (IPC) technology, which generates a high degree of sensitivity and smoothness of action.
When we put it to the test , we found that the Mojo Bass combines both strength and sensitivity in a unique balance that’s ideal for bass fishing, which makes it our top choice as the best all around spinning rod for bass.
These rods are proudly made in the USA, and come with a 15 year warranty. The ergonomic split grip cork handle contributes to the lightness of weight, which is perfect for fishing with lures all day long.
- Fuji reel seat with built-in hood
- Ergonomic split grip
- High grade cork handle
- Fuji K tangle-free line guides
- 15 year warranty
2. Dobyns Fury spinning rod
This is the runner up best overall performer, coming in close second behind the St Croix Legend Tournament.
Based on our testing, it’s a great choice if you are looking for a great all round rod, but the Legend Tournament is outside of your budget. It retails at less than $130, and provides excellent quality and top features at this price point.
When we tested it, we found that the high-modulus blank combines strength with lightness, and is reinforced with kevlar wrapping. The high grade AA cork handle contributes to the lightness of weight, combined with a high-density hypalon butt, as well premium Fuji reel seats.
Depending on which size fishing rod you choose, you can use it for a range of fishing applications, although it’s strength undoubtedly lies in more lightweight fishing techniques.
We recommend the 7 foot length fast action rod with medium light power.
- High modulus graphite blank
- Ergonomic split grip
- Fuji reel seat
- AA cork handle
- Kevlar wrapping
3. Ugly Stik Elite spinning rod
This is a classic spinning rod that has been a favorite among anglers for many years, and forms an integral part of most bass anglers’ fishing rod arsenal.
It combines a high degree of durability with a very affordable price, which makes it the best budget option on our list.
The secret of Ugly Stik strength and durability lies in the composite graphite/fiberglass blank made with “Ugly Tech” building technology.
The fiberglass ensures greater strength of the blank, while graphite makes it lighter than pure fiberglass fishing rods. Compared to other Ugly Stik rods, the Elite is made with 35% more graphite, making it a lighter rod, which is ideal for lightweight fishing applications.
During our testing, we found that the high grade cork handle is a pleasure to hold, while the clear tip pure fiberglass tip delivers maximum strength in the part of the fishing rod that takes most of the strain from hard hook sets.
We recommend the 7 foot fast action rod with medium power.
- Highly durable Ugly Tech blank construction
- Increased lightness due to 35% more graphite
- Clear tip fiberglass tip
- Premium cork handle
- Stainless steel guides
4. Abu Garcia Vendetta spinning rod
This is another affordably priced rod on our list, and combined with its reliability, versatility, and ease of use, this makes it our top choice for novice anglers.
If you’re planning to fish for bass with a spinning rod for the first time, this fishing rod is a great choice. And if you decide to stick with it, the Vendetta will continue to serve you well for years.
The blank is built with 30 Ton graphite, which makes it a very lightweight rod. And while our testing shows that carbon tends to have the weakness of being more brittle (and hence easier to break under stress) than fiberglass, the Vendetta is strengthened by Abu Garcia’s IntraCarbon technology.
This is basically a mesh of criss-crossing carbon fibers that results in much higher durability without increasing weight, and enables the Vendetta to handle higher loads than conventional graphite rods.
The thick EVA handle is built with Contour Curve design, and while testing it we found that this makes it highly ergonomic, and caters to those anglers who prefer EVA over cork.
In fact, some anglers swear that EVA helps to make the rod more sensitive when detecting subtle bites.
While testing it, we also found that the sensitivity of the Vendetta is enhanced by its Extreme Exposure reel seat, which allows the angler’s hand to contact the blank backbone directly, and thereby to feel even the slightest vibration.
We recommend the 6’9” fast action rod with medium light power.
- Lightweight 30 Ton graphite blank
- Increased strength provided by IntraCarbon technology
- Stainless steel guides with Zirconium inserts
- Extreme exposure reel seat
- Split grip EVA handle
5. St Croix Legend Glass Crankbait spinning rod
This is another impressive fishing rod from St Croix that has been specially designed for bass fishing. In fact, it’s specifically built for fishing with crankbaits.
Since crankbaits are generally larger than other lures, and generate a lot of resistance during retrieval due to their diving shovel, we found that it’s better to use a fishing rod with slower action for this type of fishing.
During our testing we found that the extra flex of the Legend Glass Crankbait helps to cast crankbaits farther, and it also helps when you’re setting the hook on a fish.
Crankbaits usually come with 2-3 treble hooks, and when you set the hook on a hard bass mouth with a fast action rod, the hooks can easily come out of the mouth without actually penetrating the fish mouth.
When we put it to the test, we found that a moderate action rod cushions some of the force when you set the hook, which helps to drive the treble hooks home into a hard fish mouth.
Because of this, the Legend Glass Crankbait is the only rod with moderate action on our list, while all other rods have fast action (for more details on these classifications, check out our guide on fishing rod action).
The Legend Glass is built with SCI fiberglass technology, which makes it more flexible than carbon fishing rods, and generates its moderate action, which makes it feel ‘softer’ when you set the hook.
Also, the extra flex of the blank helps to fight big fish, since it absorbs the energy of their forceful lunges and jumps.
- Built with premium SCI Linear S-Glass Fiber
- IPC technology enhances smoothness of action
- Fuji line guides with alconite inserts
- Fuji DPS reel seat
- Split grip cork handle
6. Lew’s Speed Stick Ultra Light spinning rod
This is the lightest rod on our list, and is in fact designed for panfish fishing.
However, the lightness of this fishing rod also makes it ideal for fishing in small creeks and ponds, where the average size of bass you can expect to catch hardly exceeds 1-2 pounds.
And when you hook a fish on such a lightweight rod, the fight they put up is a lot of fun, even if they’re on the small side.
Due to its lightness of weight, our testing revealed that the Speed Stick Ultra Light is also ideal for casting very small lures, since it can handle lure weights all the way down to 1/32 oz.
Another advantage of this fishing rod is that we discoverd while testing it is that it can double as a trout and panfish rod when you’re not fishing for bass.
Built with a premium IM8 graphite blank, the Speed Stick combines lightness of weight with strength and durability.
The full length cork handle gives it a highly ergonomic grip, while the skeletal reel seat enhances sensitivity by enabling direct contact with the blank backbone.
We recommend the 6’8” fast action rod with ultra light power.
- Blank built with premium IM8 graphite
- Full length cork grip with duracork inlays
- Fuji line guides with aluminum oxide inserts
- Graphite skeletal reel seat
7. St Croix Premier spinning rod
The Premier is one of the most popular St Croix rods, as it combines exceptional quality with an affordable price. Most anglers buy a Premier for their rod collection at some point in their fishing career.
In this review we’ve chosen the Premier as the best topwater spinning rod.
The reason for this is that it comes in extra short sizes, starting at 4’6”, and the length that we recommend for topwater fishing based on our tests is 6’0”, which is shorter than any other fishing rod size recommended on this list.
Our testing showed that 6’0” is ideal for fishing with topwater lures, since you need to point the rod tip down to the water for this fishing technique to work effectively (such as ‘walking the dog’ type lure retrieval).
Depending on how tall you are, you may want to choose a slightly longer or shorter rod, so you can point the tip down to the water surface comfortably during lure retrieval.
For more details on choosing the right length, check out our guide on fishing rod length.
We found that the Premier combines lightness with strength, due to advanced reinforcement technology used by St Croix that meshes carbon fibers to increase blank strength by a factor of 10.
The extra strength means that you can readily handle trophy sized fish with this fishing rod. We recommend the 6 foot fast action rod with medium power.
- High modulus graphite blank
- Enhanced strength due to carbon fiber mesh reinforcement technology
- Fuji reel seat
- Full length cork grip handle
- Stainless steel guides with aluminum oxide inserts
8. Abu Garcia IKE Signature Finesse spinning rod
Abu Garcia developed the IKE Signature Finesse in close collaboration with legendary bass pro Mike ‘Ike’ Iaconelli.
Finesse fishing for bass is one of the specialties of Mike, and according to him, it has enabled him to win many tournaments when other pros went home without catching anything.
Finesse techniques are most productive when the bass bite is slow. This can happen for several reasons, but the most common one is a change of weather (especially when a cold front moves in).
During conditions like that, the bass don’t feed aggressively, and need to be enticed to bite with lightweight finesse presentations.
Based on our testing, we found that spinning rods are ideal for finesse fishing applications, since they can readily cast lightweight lures much farther than casting rods. Also, the sensitivity of lightweight spinning rods helps to detect subtle bites.
The IKE Signature Finesse is built with 36 Ton Graphite, which helps to make it much more lightweight compared to most other fishing rods, and also increases sensitivity.
We recommend the 7’0” rod length with fast action, since this helps to cast lightweight lures farther.
If you compare the IKE Signature Finesse to the Lew’s Speed Stick Ultra Light, you’ll notice that the former is a little heavier than the latter.
For example, the optimal lure size of the IKE starts at 1/16 oz, while that of the Speed Stick starts at 1/32 oz. This is because the IKE is intended to handle bigger fish, since finesse fishing techniques can produce big bass.
And if you do hook into a lunker with a finesse lure, you want to be able to handle the powerful fight that it puts up, and when we put the IKE to the test, we found that it is definitely equipped to do so.
- Lightweight 36 Ton graphite blank
- Tournament grade performance
- Fuji reel seat
- Ergonomic split grip EVA handle
- Stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts
9. G. Loomis GLX Spin Jig spinning rod
Jigging is probably the most popular and also the most effective way to catch bass, which is partly due to the extreme versatility of jigs, which come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from tiny micro jigs to oversized models.
While most anglers prefer to use casting rods for bass jigging (for example, check out our review: what is the best jig rod for bass?), spinning rods can also be used for this fishing technique, which is great news for beginners, who don’t want to spend countless hours learning to master a baitcasting setup before hooking their first fish.
During our testing we found that the G. Loomis GLX Spin Jig is ideal for this type of fishing, since it has a medium heavy power rating, which is heavier than any other spinning rod on this list.
The reason for this is that jigs are often used to catch bass right next to cover, such as sunken trees or lily pads.
And when you hook a big fish close to cover, you need sufficient power to haul it away from there as fast as possible, before it can dive into the cover and get your line snagged.
When we tested it, we found that the GLX Spin Jig combines extra power with sensitivity, due to its high modulus graphite blank construction.
As such, it’s ideal for fishing smaller jig sizes than you would use on a casting rod.
We recommend the 7 foot fast action rod with medium heavy power.
- High modulus graphite blank
- Split grip high grade cork handle
- Custom G. Loomis reel seat
- Fuji line guides with zirconium inserts
10. Enigma Fishing HPT Gen2 spinning rod
The Enigma HPT Gen2 was built to provide a perfect balance of sensitivity and power for bass tournament anglers, and was designed with the help of three well known bass pros John Murray, Aaron Martens, and Jesse Tacoronte.
And while the HPT Gen2 was designed as a high performance tournament fishing rod for professionals, its affordable price makes it readily accessible to any bass angler willing to pay just a little over one hundred dollars, which means even a beginner can get started with tournament quality gear.
During our testing we chose the Enigma HPT as the best rod for drop shotting, since it has the required sensitivity necessary for this fishing tactic.
It’s built with extremely lightweight 40 Ton Japanese Toray graphite, and the skeletal reel seat design allows direct finger contact with the blank backbone, which is essential to feel even the slightest vibrations resulting from subtle bites. We recommend the 6’11” fast action rod with medium power.
- Built with super light Japanese Toray carbon
- Ergonomic split grip Portuguese cork handle
- Skeletal reel seat allows direct contact with blank
- Hand wrapped line guides
11. Okuma SST Travel spinning rod
Most of the fishing rods on this list are two piece rods, and some are even one-piece, which makes them bulky and awkward for traveling.
Because of this, we included the Okuma SST Travel, since it can be taken apart into 3 pieces, and stowed away in a handy travel bag.
And while our testing showed that most travel rods have lower quality blank performance, the Okuma SST was one of the top performers in this category when we put it to the test, which makes it our top choice whenever it comes to traveling on a plane, hiking with a backpack, or other situations where you can stow a lot of bulky gear.
The slender blank is built with lightweight IM8 graphite, and the split grip EVA handle further contributes to reduced weight.
When taken apart, it fits into a convenient tube made of hard plastic that can be slung over the shoulder, or easily stowed in a backpack or suitcase.
We recommend the 6’6” fast action rod with medium light power.
- Built with IM8 graphite blank technology
- Ergonomic split grip EVA handle
- Minimal reel seat for reduced weight
- Stainless steel hook keeper
- Stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts
12. Cadence CC5 Spinning Combo
If you’re a beginner planning to buy a spinning rod as your first bass fishing rod, then you’ll need a suitable spinning reel to go with your rod.
And while there’s no problem buying both separately, this can be a little challenging for beginners, since it’s not always clear what specs to look for in a fishing rod and reel, and how to make sure they are compatible with each other.
Because of this, we included a high quality rod and reel spinning combo, to make it easier for beginners to get started with bass fishing.
The Cadence CC5 combo is also very affordably priced, which is another reason why it’s attractive for beginners.
Both rod and reel together cost less than $100, which is very hard to beat if you buy the components individually.
In case you want to buy this combo, we recommend the CC5-2000-66ML size.
This includes a 6’6” fast action rod with medium light power, and a 2000 size spinning reel, which together make a perfect size combo for bass fishing.
- Built with 24 Ton lightweight carbon
- Includes CS5 spinning reel with 9 ball bearings
- Ergonomic EVA handle
- Stainless steel hook keeper
- Stainless steel guides
What is the best all around bass spinning rod?
Based on our testing, the St Croix Mojo Bass is the best all around bass rod that can be used for a wide range of lures, rigs, and fishing techniques.
It is currently the best bass fishing rod used by professional anglers to win tournaments with finesse tactics, and is therefore also priced accordingly.
Due to its advanced reinforcement technology, the St Croix Mojo combines sheer strength with high sensitivity, which makes it ideal for catching big bass with small to medium sized lures.
This is exactly why bass pros like to keep a Mojo handy on their boat – when the bite is slow, they switch out their casting rods with spinning rods, and throw smaller lures, while using more subtle presentations to entice strikes from sluggish fish.
The sensitivity of the Mojo is perfect for this approach, while it also has enough backbone to haul in big fish without problems.
Based on its combination of power, sensitivity, balance, and smoothness of action, there is no doubt in our minds that the St Croix Mojo Bass is the best spinning rod for bass in 2023.
What is the best bass spinning rod for the money?
During our testing, we found the Dobyns Fury is the best value for money in this category.
While it doesn’t quite match the quality of the St Croix Legend Tournament, it retails at just under 130 dollars, which is extremely impressive pricing considering its high quality.
And, especially if you choose a 7 foot Dobyns Fury, this will serve as an excellent all round spinning rod for bass.
You can readily throw micro jigs or split shot rigs with this rod, as well as bigger lures and heavier rigs.
Because of this versatility, almost every angler who uses spinning rods has at least one Dobyns Fury in their collection.
Notwithstanding its competitive pricing, the Dobyns Fury can easily hold its own when compared to more expensive rods, such as G. Loomis or St Croix rods.
Most anglers love it because it combines strength with sensitivity, and pairs well with a 2000 size reel, which is ideal for bass fishing.
The designers spent a lot of time and effort on balancing the lightweight rod with the split cork handle and the high-density hypalion butt, and as a result it feels great to hold it in your hand.
Overall, its high end quality combined with affordable pricing make the Dobyns Fury one of the best bass fishing rods for the money.
What is the best spinning rod and reel combo for bass?
Based on our testing, we found the Cadence CC5 Combo is the best spinning combo for bass.
We recommend choosing the 6’6” rod with a 2000 size reel, which is an excellent rod and reel combination for throwing light to medium sized lures and rigs.
If you’re a beginner in a rush to catch your first fish, you may not want to spend a lot of time researching which rod and reel models and sizes should be paired together.
In that case, a great option is to buy a high quality rod and reel combo which is already optimally paired, and ready to go right out of the box.
The Cadence CC5 combo works well for a wide range of common lures and fishing tactics, which makes it a good entry level choice, as well as a back up choice for more experienced anglers.
In addition to its versatility, it also retails at an extremely competitive price well below $100, making it even more attractive for beginners who don’t want to spend a fortune on expensive gear, without being sure they’ll commit to the sport for the long haul.
Overall, based on its combination of versatility, ease of use, and affordability, the Cadence CC5 is our choice of the best spinning rod combo for bass.
What is the best bass spinning rod under 100?
During our tests, we found that the Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite spinning rod is the best budget spinning rod for bass.
Retailing at less than $80, it provides a high quality versatile performance that is an excellent choice for beginners who want to try out fishing, or for experienced anglers who usually prefer to use casting rods, but want to add a spinning rod to their rod collection.
It’s well known that many bass anglers prefer to use casting rods over spinning rods, based on their superior performance when it comes to casting accuracy and distance (for more details on this, check out our article on the pros and cons of casting rods vs spinning rods).
But on the other hand, spinning rods have the upper hand when it comes to throwing lightweight lures, and for using finesse fishing tactics. These qualities can be essential when the bite is slow.
Since spinning rods have superior performance for fishing with lightweight lures, many bass anglers like to keep one or two of them in reserve, for those days when the fish just don’t react to more conventional lures and presentations.
In case you’re one of those who likes to keep a spinning rod as a backup option, the Ugly Stik Elite is an excellent choice, since it provides a lot of bang for buck at a very attractive price point.
What is the best finesse fishing rod for bass?
If you’re interested in using finesse techniques, then our testing revealed that the Abu Garcia IKE Signature Finesse is the best bass fishing rod for you.
Developed in years of close collaboration with legendary bass pro Michael Iaconelli, this rod is specifically designed to provide optimal performance for finesse lures and presentations.
According to Mike Iaconelli, one of the main advantages that allowed him to win many tournaments is his ability to switch to finesse tactics whenever bass aren’t feeding aggressively.
And while this style of fishing is much more than just using smaller lures and lighter tackle, it does depend critically on having the right kind of lightweight gear to pull it off successfully.
And since casting rods don’t perform well with finesse fishing tactics, spinning rods are essential if you want to master this fishing technique, and complete your fishing skills.
The IKE Signature Finesse provides an ideal balance of strength and sensitivity, which makes it the best bass fishing rod for this purpose.
On the one hand, its sensitivity allows you to use very lightweight lures or rigs, and it also enables you to feel subtle bites that are common when fish are lethargic.
On the other hand, the strength of the IKE Signature Finesse provides enough backbone to handle big fish weighing more than 5 pounds.
It’s quite ironic that finesse fishing tactics work better with lighter rods, but at the same time often produce big fish that then end up snapping your rod if you’re using one that’s too light.
What is the best jig spinning rod for bass?
After testing it, we found that the G. Loomis GLX Spin Jig is the best option for jigging for bass. We recommend the 7 foot length with Medium Heavy power.
The increased power is essential when fishing jigs close to cover, since it’s very common to hook into some big fish in locations like that, and you need enough rod backbone to force the fish away from the cover, so they can’t dive into it and get your line tangled.
Jigs are by far the most popular type of lure for bass fishing, and this is understandable, since they are extremely effective, and can produce bites in almost all conditions.
The preferred fishing rod type for jigs is usually a casting rod. This is because jigs are often used to catch big fish close to cover, and casting rods provide an ideal combination of casting accuracy (needed to place your jig right next to the cover) and lots of backbone (needed to haul big fish away from the cover before they can snag your line).
However, spinning rods can definitely be used for jigging, though you need to make sure to react very quickly when you hook a sizable fish.
This is why the G. Loomis GLX Spin Jig comes with Medium Heavy rod power, which provides plenty of backbone to haul a big fish away from the danger zone (for more details on choosing appropriate rod power, check out our guide on fishing rod weight).
What is the best length fishing rod for bass fishing?
The best length to choose depends on the specific fishing technique that you want to use.
A seven foot spinning rod is a great all around fishing rod for bass fishing, since it provides an ideal balance of the advantages of short rod length (greater casting accuracy) with long rod length (greater casting distance).
Rod length is also important for the type of lure presentation that you want to use.
For example, topwater fishing rods are generally shorter, since the angler needs to point the rod tip down to the water surface during retrieval (for more information on this, check out our review: what is the best topwater rod?).
And due to this, we selected the 6’0” St Croix Premier as the best topwater spinning rod in our selection.
You may also want to use a shorter rod if you’re fishing in creeks with lots of overhanging trees and bushes along the bank.
The shorter length enables you to cast underneath the vegetation without getting your hook and line snagged on the branches.
This wraps up our review of the best spinning rod for bass fishing.
All of the rods reviewed here are among the best bass fishing rods, and no matter whether you’re a beginner or an advanced angler looking for a specific solution, we hope one of the rods reviewed here is a good bass spinning rod for your purposes.
Gear and methods used for testing
For consistent testing results, we tested these rods under similar conditions on Lake Tarpon. We paired all of the rods with the same reel, a Shimano Stradic 2500HGFL, spooled with 12 lb test Berkeley Trilene Fluorocarbon. We tested each rod with jigs and swimbaits in the 1/8 to 3/8 oz range.