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10 Best Spinning Rods Under $100 (Fresh and Saltwater)

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.

Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Spinning Rod

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.

Rod Length

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.

Rod Material

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.

Line Rating

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.

Lure weight

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.

Action

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.

Our Top 10 Spinning Rods Under $100

KastKing Crixus Fishing Rods, Spinning Rod 5ft 6in-Light - M Fast-2pcs

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.

Pros

  • The SuperPolymer handle is comfortable and slip-resistant so you can fish in all conditions
  • Stainless steel guides and Zirconium Oxide tips won’t fray your line and hold up to heavy use
  • Holds up to heavy use so you won’t have to be gentle with it

Cons

  • Since this is a two piece rod, if the piece are not secured it could break. Be sure to secure the two pieces before use
Eagle Claw PK555SP Pack-It Telescopic Spinning Rod, 5-Feet x 6-Inch (Pack of 2)

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.

Pros

  • This is a well-built rod for the price, it’s made out of a durable glass with ceramic guides
  • You can take this rod anywhere, great for camping, hiking and kayaking
  • Foam handles for comfort

Cons

  • Due to the pack-ability of this rod, it is on the shorter side
  • The telescopic design makes this rod a tad heavy when you cast it
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 7' - Medium - 2pc

Ugly Stick has been a trusted brand for tackle equipment since 1976. They are known for their durability and affordability.

Pros

  • This stick is made with more graphite so it’s extra strong enough to catch heavy fish but still lightweight
  • The handles are made with a cork material. Not only is it a good looking design, it’s comfortable to hold for hours at a time
  • The clear tip design is very responsive
  • Backed by a 7-year warranty

Cons

  • Product specifications state you can use any kind of line with this stick but some braided lines can create notches in the tip and guides
  • Guides are made with a lower strength material than the stick so they may wear out easily
SHIMANO FXS60MB2 FX Spinning Rod, 6' Length, 2pc Rod, 10-20 lb Line Rate, 1/8-1/2 oz Lure Rate, Medium Power

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.

Pros

  • Long-lasting rods with slight flexibility so they have just enough give while maintaining their strength
  • Eva grips are comfortable even for long fishing excursions
  • Graphite wheel seat and sleek black design
  • Under $30

Cons

  • Shimano known to change rod weights frequently so be sure to check the specifications if you’re trying to match the size of a previous Shimano you’ve owned
Shakespeare Micro Series Spinning 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.

Pros

  • This is made out of graphite composite for the lightest rod action you’ll ever see
  • Stainless steel guides with stainless steel inserts so you won’t fray your lightweight line
  • Conventional reel seat with cushioned hoods for a great reel fit

Cons

  • Could easily break if you store it improperly between uses or when transporting it to your fishing spot
  • Also due to the light weight of this rod, it will be difficult to cast very accurately
  • There’s a 6 pound weight limit on this rod
Okuma Celilo Graphite Lightweight Ultra Light Trout Rods, CE-S-662UL-1

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.

Pros

  • Made with sensitive graphite so it’s more responsive, you’ll be able to feel even the slightest nibble on your line
  • Aluminum oxide guides won’t fray your lines
  • Fore and rear cork grips are comfortable

Cons

  • Some online retailers will ship multiple orders in the same box and this could cause your rod to arrive damaged.
  • The hook sets on ultra lights can sometimes feel off
St. Croix TRS70MF2 Triumph 2-Piece Graphite Spinning Fishing Rod with Premium Cork Handle, 7-feet

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.

Pros

  • The Fuji reel seat adds to the ergonomic design of the rod, it contours to your hand so you can fish comfortably
  • Lightweight but durable rod makes casting easier
  • Very sensitive so you’ll feel everything
  • Can hold up to 18 pounds of weight
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • Better for use in smaller creeks and ponds as the flexibility of the rod makes setting the hook difficult if you have a lot of line out
Berkley INSHORE Spinning

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.

Pros

  • 24 ton graphite construction is durable and can handle heavier fish
  • The Fuji top guides won’t cut your line with you hook a fish
  • Ergonomic reel seat and rubberized cork grips for your comfort

Cons

  • Despite being ergonomic, the reel seat seems clunky and gave the rod an overall heavy feeling for some users
  • Due to durability, there is not a lot of flexibility in the rod
PENN Mariner II Boat Spinning Fishing Rod, 6'-Heavy-1pcs

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.

Pros

  • The triangular front grip gives the angler more control
  • You shouldn’t have difficulty reeling in heavy fish, the short but stout design gives you plenty of control
  • Good for saltwater and freshwater

Cons

  • Some users say you can really only use this on a boat
  • Eyelet quality may not be the best, users report eyelets breaking off with light use
FENWICK Eagle Spinning Rods

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.

Pros

  • Cork handle grip is comfortable and secure. It allows for more control and better consistency in your cast
  • Graphite rod with stainless steel inserts won’t corrode and retains some sensitivity without sacrificing durability
  • Can be used in fresh water and saltwater

Cons

  • Medium/light still has a stiff feel when casting. You can size down if this is important to you
  • Many customers report receiving a broken rod. Be sure to order from a retailer you trust with a good return policy

Final Thoughts

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”.

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