Whether you’re a seasoned angler or you’re just starting out (or looking to get a rod for a child or grandchild), a spinning rod is an excellent addition to your tackle.
If you like fishing inshore, rivers, lakes, and ponds chances are you’re already a fan of the spinning rod. It has become a favorite amongst anglers, and for a good reason. With this kind of rod, you can cast a lighter lure for a reliable approach (especially in situations where multiple casts are required).
They’re great rods for less experienced casters (you’re much less likely to tangle) or even experienced casters who just like trolling, panfishing and more.
In this article, we have reviewed 10 of the best spinning rods under $100. You won’t be sacrificing performance quality with these trusted brands.
Spinning rods come in different weights, lengths and materials so it’s important to know what you’re looking for before you choose a rod. The rod specs are always conveniently located on the rod, close to its grip.
Here are some essential things to keep in mind when choosing a spinning rod.
The right rod length will allow for precision in your casting. An inconsistent cast could cause you to scare away the fish! A basic rule of thumb for rod length is how far you want to cast. This may seem obvious, but a shorter rod will cast shorter distances, and a longer rod will cast longer distances.
Shorter rods can be better for larger fish as they aren’t as flexible, so heavier fish can’t put up as much of a fight. A shorter rod is also handy when you’re camping, or kayaking and space is an issue, sometimes a long rod just isn’t something you want to pack and carry around.
Longer rods, on the other hand, are great for longer casting and covering more distance. They can also absorb some of the pressure from a fighting fish. A longer rod (6 to 6 ½ feet) is suitable for jigging and trolling. Saltwater and bass anglers tend to prefer a longer rod.
Spinning rods are typically made of graphite, fiberglass or some combination of the two. A graphite rod is stiffer and lightweight, which is more suitable for precision. They are also very sensitive, some anglers find it difficult to get used to feeling every snag (and you definitely don’t want to reel in too early and spook the fish) but others like the sensation. On the downside, graphite rods are prone to breaking more easily.
Fiberglass rods are pretty much durable, and they have lots of flexibility. The downside is they tend to be heavier, which can be uncomfortable for casting.
Combination rods are ideal if you like fishing in different locations, they can be the best of both worlds as you get some flexibility and less weight with more durability.
The line rating is its normal breaking strength. This doesn’t necessarily mean the weight of the fish you can safely reel in, you also have to factor in the water current, the power of the fish and other environmental factors.
A line rating of 6-12 pounds is sufficient for larger fish, while a rating of 2-6 pounds works for smaller fish.
The weight of the lure will impact the castability and presentation of the line. For spinning rods, keep the lure weight low unless you are considering a heavy action rod. Heavy action rods will typically need a heavier lure.
Always keep your lure weight within the parameters of the rod label. A lure weight of 1/4 to 3/8 ounce is recommended for larger fish while a lure weight of 1/8 ounce is suitable for a smaller fish.
The amount of give in a rod is called the rod action. A slow action rod will bend in the lower third while a fast action rod has a bend in the top third.
A medium action rod tends to allow for the greatest casting distance.
The Crixus spinning rod is our number one choice. KastKing graphite rods are high-performance and durable at a fantastic price. Anglers can choose multiple sizes for use in freshwater or saltwater. You’ll be able to cast further while remaining in control.
Check out our best budget pick. At under $20 you can’t go wrong with the Eagle Claw. The unique yellow telescopic design means you don’t have to worry about a two-piece rod failing or snapping at the enclosure.
Our favorite feature (other than the price) is that you can easily pack this rod right in your tackle box or bring it on a hiking trip if you think you might have a chance to fish.
Ugly Stick has been a trusted brand for tackle equipment since 1976. They are known for their durability and affordability.
Shiman’s FX spinning rod is so versatile, you can use it for lake, river or stream fishing as well as light saltwater fishing.
The body is made with aeroglass and the guide is reinforced aluminum oxide. With multiple sizes and weights to choose from, anglers of any age and experience level will enjoy this rod.
This Shakespeare isn’t called the Micro for no reason, it is ultra-light weight. The full cork handles are attractive and comfortable. You’ll enjoy using this spinning rod with lighter lures and lines and at around $20 (depending on the size) you really can’t go wrong.
This U.S. made Celilo series was developed with input from fishermen in the tumultuous Northwest rivers. These rods are designed for bottom bouncing and catching salmon and trout and the design means you’ll look good while catching them.
Made from premium SCII graphite, with custom fine-tuned actions and tapers, the Triumph is a sleek rod that’s also high-performing.
St. Croix is a trusted premium brand. For over 70 years their research and development department has combined technology with fishing to provide anglers with the highest performance fishing tools at a reasonable price.
This one piece rod and all its parts are tested for saltwater use, so you won’t have to worry about wear whether you fish freshwater or saltwater.
Founded in 1937 in Iowa, Berkley brand has been around a while and they know their fishing equipment.
PENN is another trusted brand on this list, they’ve been in the game since the 1930s and they like keeping their fishermen equipped with the best quality, advanced gear.
The Mariner is a one-piece boat rod. It is heavier than many of the other rods reviewed here but it can withstand a lot more weight. If you like a shorter rod, this is a great choice for you.
Fenwicks’ Eagle series has built on the traditional design and components of the fishing rod and modernized it only where necessary.
The strong but lightweight design is comfortable and sensitive.
A spinning rod is an outstanding complement to your tackle, whether you’re a seasoned angler or just beginning. There are certainly many other spinning rods in the market to choose from. We believe our selection of rods provides the best quality at the best price making them a good choice for yourself or as a gift for that “special” person.
We hope this guide has provided you with enough information to assist you in choosing the perfect spinning rod at a reasonable price to make your fishing experience that much better.
As the quote goes “If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing rods”.