Kayak fishing is one water-based activity that’s fast gaining popularity with fishing enthusiasts. Just like kayaking in general, a successful kayak fishing expedition involves selecting your gear carefully. These include everything from fish finders to ice coolers to stow away your catch. However, one of the most important pieces of gear you need to have are fishing rods. The right kind of kayak fishing rod and reel will bring you closer to that haul you want to catch, or at least dinner. Not only should the rod be strong enough to hold the weight of the fish, but also the reel is basically what’s used to cast your target. Plus, the type of fishing reel depends on the kind of fish species and water as well.
Thus, it’s fair to say that if you want to have a successful fishing session, you need a decent fishing rod. However, given the mind-bending number of choices available in the market, even the most experienced anglers can struggle when it comes to choosing this gear. So, we’ve not only listed the best options for rods and reels in the market today but also whipped up a handy guide to buying them. To that end, here are the best kayak fishing rod and reel options for anglers today.
How To Choose The Best Kayak Fishing Rods?
Like we mentioned before, there’s a lot of careful thought and consideration that needs to be put in while investing in fishing gear. Whether it’s the Best Kayaking Fish Finders, the Best Kayak Fishing Nets, or the best kayak fishing rod and reel options, there are a fair number of aspects you need to consider. Besides the usual ones such as weight and size, you also need to focus on the features that make the best products among them the best. So, what are these features? Read on.
While you’re checking out fishing rods, you might also want to check out the Best Kayaking Fishing Rod Holders. They’re what will help you fish in a hands-free and hassle-free manner.
Action refers to the curvature of a fishing rod when it’s under force. When under pressure, a fast action tip bends only within the first third length of the road, while a slow action one typically bends the entire rod’s length. What’s more, the action is also tied to the sensitivity of the kayak fishing rod and reel. For instance, you wouldn’t be able to catch a largemouth bass fish with a slow action rod, would you? Generally, a good place to start is going for a moderate or a medium action fishing rod.
In fishing rods, power is the ability of a rod to resist the force of the fish. Thus, it’s referring to the spring back, that is how much a rod will jerk back when the force is released. High power rods have a higher tensile strength, so the lure jumps forward before dragging again. Similarly, when it comes to low power rods, you need to move the entire rod since they aren’t as responsive. So, if the fishing reel were to snap under high pressure, a low power rod would spring back slowly, rather than in a jerky movement.
The “test” basically refers to the weight capacity of the fishing line, but it’s so much more than that. Under fishing rod specifications, “test” more commonly refers to the recommended line test rating that you should use as opposed to the rod’s rating. Generally, the load capacity of a fishing rod depends on a combination of the drag settings of the reel along with the line test. Moreover, there is really no industry standard when it comes to “test” ratings on fishing rods.
- Rod length – There are two “length” aspects you need to check out when it comes to choosing kayak fishing rods and reels. The first and most critical aspect is the length of the fishing rod. Generally, kayak fishing rods are slightly shorter as compared to other rods because they need to be more manoeuvrable. Furthermore, sitting low in water comes with its own set of challenges. Firstly, you need a rod that’s long enough to extend past your kayak’s bow when a fish swims under the kayak, but short enough to fit in your kayak and remove fish from. While most short fishing kayaks are no trouble, the longer ones certainly have this issue.
- Rear grip length – The second “length” you need to consider is the rear grip length on a fishing rod, which is commonly known as the “butt.” It’s basically the length of the fishing rod below or behind the fishing reel, or the handle. Ideally, go for fishing rods with a shorter rear grip as longer ones get in the way of whatever little room you have on board your kayak. Long grips also require you to keep your arms held higher, thus leading to exhaustion and fatigue.
Two of the commonest materials used in fishing rods are fiberglass and graphite. While graphite is more sensitive and less stiff, fiberglass is the exact opposite – it’s more flexible and has less sensitivity. Fiberglass is perfect for using crankbaits, while graphite is more ideal for using live bait or jigging. High-quality rods are typically made of layers of both fiberglass and graphite, while budget rods usually use solely fiberglass. However, in most cases, the resin is what is used to seal or bind, with cheaper rods using more resin and less material.
Is a one-piece fishing rod better or a two/more piece one?
Whether it’s a car, a computer, or even a fishing rod, the lesser the number of components, the better it is. So, if you have no issues with space, then always go for single-piece rods. However, if you’re less on space, then a two or a more piece rod will definitely take up less space or ca be stashed away anywhere easily.
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod And Spinning Reel Combo
We start the list with what is not only the best kayak fishing rod but also one of the Best Fishing Rods with Reel – the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod And Spinning Reel Combo. This remarkable combination is designed from a mix of fiberglass and graphite, making it ultra-sensitive, durable, and lightweight. At the same time, the split EVA grips lend you all the reprieve you need on an extended or multi-day paddling and fishing excursions. Moreover, the Ugly Tuff guides help move along the lines sans any interruption.
Going further, the reel is made from aluminum and glass-filled nylon, along with a one-way clutch and a trio of ball bearings. Together, they all do an excellent job of preventing line reversals and ensure a smoother experience. Thanks to the aluminum construction spool, you’re also guaranteed durability. Finally, what really stands out is the rod that comes in different lengths – five, six, and even seven feet long.
- Clear fiberglass tip.
- Fiberglass/graphite blank is durable.
- Split EVA handles are ideal for multi-day excursions.
- Virtually unbreakable spinning reel.
- Long-distance casting is slightly difficult.
High Altitude Lightweight Portable Telescopic Fishing Pole
If a portable fishing rod is what you’re looking for, then look no further than the High Altitude Lightweight Portable Telescopic Fishing Pole. The 5.5-feet long rod features five durable and retractable blanks that convert into one ultra-compact 16-inch bundle. What’s more, the rod even comes with a travel case, allowing you to neatly stash all fishing gear in one small package. Six backpack mount points, a padded reel pouch, and a hard rod tube protect the rod’s most vulnerable parts from being damaged. Despite its small size, the rod is perfect for catching everything from bluegill to bass and trout.
What you’ll really like about the rod is its M6 graphite and 24-ton Toray carbon fiber construction, which is the perfect blend of sensitivity and strength. Plus, the rod boasts a gamut of performance-enhancing extras such as an aluminum reel seat, removable butt cover, and the onboard hook keeper, all of which lengthen the rod’s life.
- A durable aluminum reel seat.
- Removable butt cap for keeping telescoping sections clean.
- Very portable.
- Slightly rigid.
Fenwick Travel Spinning Rod
Even the best kayak fishing rods are heavy, which is why we love the Fenwick Travel Spinning Rod for its lightweight quality. The three-piece spinning rod makes for the perfect fishing rod on inflatable kayaks or kayaks with limited storage space. To begin with, the rod is made up of multiple detachable segments, which makes it highly portable. Secondly, it comes with a rather useful storage bag, which makes it easy to store, carry, and use. At the same time, the carbon-bound blank lends the rod lots of fighting power as well as a precise action.
When you pair this rod with a reliable rod leash, then you’re practically assured of never losing your rod-and-reel combo, thanks to the one-piece cork grip. Finally, the Alconite and stainless steel guides perform extremely well when you pair them with 6-12 lbs lines.
- Retractable and easy to store and carry.
- Carbon threat exterior is durable and long-lasting.
- Reel seat has a positive lock system.
- Includes a hard plastic liner and a canvas case.
- The small top guide could cause freeze-ups and friction.
Okuma Nomad Spinning Fishing Rod
One of the best dual-action rods on this list is the Okuma Nomad Spinning Fishing Rod. The fishing rod boasts a highly responsive and durable carbon and graphite blank that breaks into three easy-to-pack and store sections. Since most rods come with two top actions, this Okuma one might just be one of the most space-saving rods on the market today. Besides the above, there’s a lot to like about this rod. For one, the rod feels like a one-piece pole thanks to the European spigot ferrules. Adding to that are the non-slip grips that make sure that this rod stays securely in your hand while you’re on the water. Furthermore, the EVA foam rear and fore grips ensure that this pole doesn’t get slippery when it becomes wet.
Going further, the well-made zirconium guide liners and aluminum tightening rings and reel seat ensure that friction doesn’t cause wear and tear on the line. Perfect for beach and boat casting, this versatile rod is ideal for you to keep changing targets while angling.
- EVA grip and butt.
- Super-smooth zirconium guide inserts.
- Two different tips with varying actions.
- Three discrete sections for easy storage and travel.
- Some users said that the ferrule connections are slightly stubborn.
Ugly Stick Elite Spinning Fishing Rod
Are you on a mission to buy the best kayak fishing rod that also sits within your budget? Behold the Ugly Stick Elite Spinning Fishing Rod, one of the most favorite budget rod setups with anglers. However, don’t let the “budget” tag of this product fool you, for it comes with a high-quality graphite construction. This is what gives you oodles of sensitivity on the reel sans adding any extra weight or space to your cockpit. What’s more, the stainless steel guides and the cork handle are also well-designed and a rather nice perk on such a budget setup.
Moreover, even the pole also breaks into two pieces, of which the top blank has all the guides. So, this makes for an absolute hassle-free packing, especially when you have limited space. Overall, the responsive and rugged rod even comes with a seven-year warranty, holding up well even in rough environments.
- Has all features of high-end rods.
- Comes with a seven-year warranty.
- Split cork grip with an etched logo.
- Exposed blank reel seats.
- Cannot be rigged with a braided line.
Falcon Coastal Casting Rod
Are you indulging in a fishing expedition off the coast? Then go for the Falcon Coastal Casting Rod, which offers both novice and professional anglers an absolute premium fishing experience. Thanks to the super-sensitive graphite blank, you immediately know when a fish has aught your bait, allowing you to tug almost immediately. Furthermore, the exposed blank Fuji reel seat and the Fuji guides lend this rod substantial backbone and rigidity. If that wasn’t enough, the rod’s double flex-coat finish holds up great in saltwater environments, which are otherwise absolutely harsh and unforgiving.
If you’re interested in kayak-based distance casting, then you have the right fishing rod in hand. The rod’s medium action is strong enough to hold its own against the strongest and most ferocious of fish species such as snooks, trouts, and reds. Moreover, the pole is available in a plethora of models, right from the 6.5-feet long Wade Fisher to the 8-feet long Outtasight. Finally, the split cork handles ensure reliable grips in even the most turbulent of saltwater environments.
- Fuji reel seat locks in the reel.
- 100 percent graphite blank is durable.
- Double flex coat finish is great in saltwater.
- Some users mentioned epoxy defects, but that is very subjective.
St Croix Mojo Inshore
If you don’t mind spending slightly more on your fishing rod, then the St. Croix Mojo Inshore is one of the best kayak fishing rods you can lay your hands on. The highly responsive and lightweight spinning rod is ideal for saltwater fishing inshore and a particularly good upgrade if you want to do more than just randomly bait and hook targets. The SCII graphite blank build is as premium as it gets and is the perfect foundation for this durable yet lightweight rod. Plus, your line will have absolutely no problem winding through the aluminum oxide guides.
But, that’s not all. This rod is one of the only rods that experienced anglers trust when it comes to wrangling large freshwater targets. You won’t have any trouble whipping the line from your kayak’s cockpit, while the split-grip cork handle offers tons of slip-resistance in wet conditions.
- Fuji reel seat with a black hood.
- Premium graphite blank with aluminum oxide guides.
- Classic cork handle.
- Covered by a five-year warranty.
Daiwa Presso UL Spin Rod
Daiwa products need little introduction in the world of fishing gear, and the Daiwa Presso UL Spin Rod is no different. one of the best kayak fishing rods and reels around, the ultra-lightweight fishing rod is crafted from premium synthetic material, and can be retracted and broken down into four pieces for easy storage and transportation. This superior ultralight build comes in a variety of lengths up to eight feet. Plus, it combines light lures-shock absorbing action for handling strong fish on ultra-fine lines with casting power.
Going further, the blank is micro-pitch taped during curing, assuring even distribution of graphite and resin for maximum sensitivity and power. The minimal reel seat with woven graphite and machine clamp nut offers additional security. Plus, the lightweight split-grip cork handles offer both control and comfort. Overall, this is one excellent fishing rod for kayak fishing.
- Comes with a travel bag.
- Highly portable.
- Micro-pitch blank taping.
- Hook keeper.
Another excellent kayak fishing rod is the Shimano Trevala, which is designed to work with nearly any shallow butterfly jig contraption. That said, it’s also received many plaudits for being an excellent trolling setup too. The fishing rod boasts the brand’s proprietary CS4 blank, which reduces the rod’s weight. Thus, it also allows you to play off the behaviors and movements of your targets. What’s more, the unmatched sensitivity of the material also lets you capitalize on every little tug on your line. The single-piece pole is 6.25 feet long with a medium-fast action that can be paired with 3 lbs lures and 30-40 lbs braid. Despite being lightweight, the rod can jig well in both deep and shallow water and offers plenty of power.
Furthermore, the rod features Alconite-lined Fuji guides that prevent frays and snags by reducing line friction, while the Fuji reel seat prevents the reel wobble. Even if the environment is slimy and moist, the pole’s split EVA grips make it comfortable to handle. So, no matter how long your fishing expedition lasts, the Trevala will definitely keep you comfortable.
- Covered by a limited lifetime warranty.
- Fuji reel seats prevent wobbling.
- Split EVA handles gives you more control.
- Lightweight CS4 construction offers responsiveness and power.
- Slightly pricey.
Berkley Lightning Spinning Rod
Another world-class kayak fishing rod and reel is the Berkley Lightning Spinning Rod. The highly versatile, all-purpose spinner rod is the perfect addition to your fishing gear, practically ensuring you a good catch at the end of the day. The rod boasts not one but many 24-ton graphite blanks that offer just the right amount of sensitivity for lightning-fast hook setting. That’s how the fishing rod’s name came about. Plus, it’s also durable enough to last you for many kayak expeditions to come.
There’s a lot more to like about this rod, such as the stainless steel guides with aluminum-oxide inserts for smoothly casting and retrieving your line and keeping it free from corrosion. In addition, the double-locking reel seat offers a solid foundation for keeping your reel secured throughout the entire day. Finally, a good choice of well-balanced lengths and actions makes this an all-rounder worth every cent.
- Great for crankbaits.
- Rubberized cork handle.
- Great price point.
- None, really.
Shimano Solara Freshwater Spinning Rod
Shimano makes yet another appearance on this list of best kayak fishing rods with the Shimano Solara Freshwater Spinning Rod. The brand is amongst the world’s most famous names for fishing and other outdoor activity gear, and their Solara fishing rod and reel is no different. This 6.6 feet long spinning rod is very reasonably priced and is targeted at beginner anglers and novices. Made using a reinforced Aeroglass blank, the fishing rod offers excellent sensitivity. Moreover, the aluminum-oxide guides ensure that your line casting and retrieval is as smooth as it gets.
You know you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck with this rod, which comes with a solid graphite reel seat and comfortable cork handles. With medium-heavy action, a sold, non-slip grip and durable build, this fishing rod offers a lot of value for money.
- Excellent size for kayak fishing.
- Portable and compact.
- Practically none.
KastKing Blackhawk II Telescopic Fishing Rods
The famed Blackhawk II from KastKing is not only an excellent kayak fishing rod and reel but also one of the best telescopic rods on the market. Available in a whopping 14 lengths, the rod features a 24-ton carbon matrix blank which, along with a solid glass tip section delivers inimitable sensitivity, performance, and durability. The six-piece telescopic design offers solid one-piece performance while the multiple floating line guides improve casting performance. What’s more, the snug-fit ferrules provide full-length power transition, allowing the telescopic rod to work like one.
The multi-purpose fishing rod is perfect for everything from saltwater fishing and kayak fishing to bass and trout fishing. Rounding up this rod’s many amazing qualities is the quick and easy assembly, overall superior quality, and convenient packing and storing capabilities.
- Great price point.
- Super-quick assembly.
- EVA handles.
- None, really.
Abu Garcia Pro Max Rod and Reel Combo
We finally come to the top of the list of best kayak fishing rods, a spot that’s occupied by the Abu Garcia Pro Max Rod and Reel Combo. Designed by Swedish fishing stalwarts, this lightweight rod and reel offer excellent, all-round performance. The rod is crafted from 24-ton graphite that offers balanced sensitivity and responsiveness, even if all you’re interested in is a nibble. On the other hand, the reel with a power disk system makes sure that the drag is smooth throughout the entire range.
In fact, the fishing rod has been engineered for silky-smoothness throughout. That is evident in the MagTrax brake system for the accurate long-range casting of crankbait. Additionally, the one roller and seven stainless ball bearings offer even more smoothness, making this one of the kayak fishing rod and reel combos out there.
- High quality.
- Smooth, balanced, and responsive.
- Better suited for professionals.