Best Cheap Fishing Rods 2020 (Under $50 / $100)

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Choosing a fishing rod that will satisfy all your needs for fishing can be a challenge. As enjoyable and relaxing as fishing is, if you lack the right gear, it can be a frustrating activity. You need a rod that can stand the pressure, and that will not disappoint you by letting your Instagram-worthy catch get away. Fishing rods come in a wide range of prices. They can run into thousands of dollars or cost less than 100 bucks. In this post, we will consider the best cheap fishing rods under $50 / $100. If you want to enjoy your fishing without breaking the bank, this article is for you.

We will also consider the crucial factors that determine a good fishing rod. Read on to find out more!

Features to Consider in Good Fishing Rods

In the hands of a good fisherman, a fishing rod that is cheap and meets the basic requirements is as good as a thousand dollar fishing rod. Therefore, do not think that buying a cheap fishing rod will reduce your performance. All you need are the essential functions, and you can catch even more fish than someone with a thousand-dollar fishing rod.

Before choosing a fishing rod, one vital factor to consider is the various types of fishing rods on the market.

Types of Fishing Rods

Fly Rods

Fly rods are designed for fly fishing. They are flexible rods that are differentiated from other rods by the lack of a butt piece after the reel.

Casting Rods

Casting rods are fishing rods made for accuracy. The rods allow you to cast your bait wherever you want. This makes it easier to lure fish. The reel is situated on the rod top.

Spinning Rods

Spinning rods are lighter and shorter versions of casting rods. Furthermore, unlike casting rods, spinning rods have their reel underneath the rod. They are easy to use.

Telescopic Rods

These rods are like telescopes in that they are extendable and retractable. When closed they can be as small as two feet in length, but when extended, they can reach distances of up to 20 feet. They are portable and are suitable substitutes for casting or spinning rods.

Ice Fishing Rods

As the name implies, these rods are designed for fishing in the ice. They are short in length, which is ideal for fishing in the ice, and they have no reels. Instead, two opposing hooks are wound by hand.

Best Cheap Fishing Rods 2020 (Under $50)

1. Ugly Stik Elite Fishing Rod

What we like about it
The Ugly Stik Elite rod is one of the most popular fishing rods on the market. And for a good reason! This rod is not only cheap, but it is durable, delivers a sensitive experience, and it flexible. We like the strength and durability this fishing rod displays.

Our rating:

Design
Ugly Stik is known for the quality of its products, and this fishing rod is one of the best products the company has made. This elite spinning rod comes with 35% more graphite than its counterparts. This increase means the rod retains its sensitivity, lightweight nature while gaining more strength and reliability.

The core of the rod is made of graphite and fiberglass. This lightweight fishing rod can be used for a variety of purposes and can snag even heavy fish.

Performance and Use
The material the rod is made of ensures it is lightweight and comfortable to use. As a result, you can spend hours fishing without getting fatigued. The handle is very comfortable, and the reel seat is sturdy. The cork rod handle offers an impressive grip that ensures handling is super-easy and comfortable. You can catch medium-heavy fish without any problems.

To prevent pop-outs, the rod uses one-piece stainless steel guides. We thoroughly enjoyed using this fishing rod. It is simply better than all the other fishing rods at this price.

Nevertheless, in spite of all the positives, it comes with its flaws. For example, we observed the rod to feel a bit unbalanced due to the slightly heavy handle. We were also not impressed with the stainless steel guides because they easily spoiled our braided lines.

Pros
  • The graphite body is durable and highly sensitive
  • The handle is quite comfortable
  • The clear tip design improves the fishing experience
  • It comes with a 7-year warranty
Cons
  • The steel guides damage braided lines
  • The handle makes it feel a tad unbalanced

2. UglyStik GX2 Spinning Rod

What we like about it
If you are invested in fishing and fishing rods, you will know that Ugly Stik is the top manufacturer of budget fishing rods. The GX2 comes with the trademark high-quality build from Ugly Stik products. We like the foam handle that reduces discomfort even after fishing for long hours.

Our rating:

Design
At some point or the other, almost every experienced fisher has used the Ugly Stick. The GX2 is a new model of the trusted Ugly Stick. It comes in a simple yet elegant design. With a lighter and stronger rod, it delivers excellent performance for anglers everywhere.

The new design fuses graphite into the fiberglass. This combination makes it look better than previous iterations. The matte black color adds a level of sophistication and makes the fishing rod quite attractive. The handle on the fishing rod is made of EVA foam.

Another design modification is the addition of a single-piece design on the guides. Furthermore, these guides are now made of stainless steel.

Performance and Use
With the modifications in design comes improved performance. Since the balance point of the rod has been moved to the rear, it feels very balanced and easier to use. During our test, we could easily feel the difference between it and other fishing rods. As a result of the change, you can fish for hours on end without feeling fatigued.

Despite the lightweight nature, the fishing rod is capable of catching heavy fish.

This rod has been designed with your convenience in mind. It is an attractive option for all looking for a fishing rod that delivers excellent performance and comes below $50.

Pros
  • It features a graphite and fiberglass combination that makes it very durable
  • It has a lightweight handle
  • It can catch medium-heavy fish
  • It is quite comfortable to use
Cons
  • The stainless steel guides damage braided lines
  • It isn’t ideal for aggressive waters

3. Shimano FXS 2 Piece Spinning Rod

What we like about it
Shimano is known for its high-quality, high-end rods, but they also make impressive budget fishing rods. We like the Shimano FXS because of its versatility. It might primarily be for spinning, but it can also be used for casting. Coupled with its durability and overall performance, this rod is a great catch.

Our rating:

Design
Despite being a budget choice, the Shimano FX features a splendid design. It features Shimano’s trademark aero glass construction which not only provides impressive durability but also makes the rod look really nice. The handle is made of EVA foam, which is light and easy to handle.

Unlike the Ugly Stik fishing rods above, the guides are made of aluminum oxide. It also features a graphite reel seat. The graphite offers two advantages; it’s lightweight and super-durable.

Performance
Since we had tested more expensive fishing rods from Shimano, we were not expecting much from a budget line. However, we were pleasantly surprised by the performance. Even at a low price, it is better than most competitors. We found the rod strong and sensitive.

If you are a beginner, this rod is an ideal option for you. It has a total length of 8″, a foregrip of 5″ and a rear grip of 13″. All of these come together to make up an impressive fishing rod. The EVA foam handles on the rod are easy to use, and you can use the rod for hours without being uncomfortable.

Pros
  • Aero glass construction makes the rod strong and durable
  • It is very comfortable to use
  • It has a two-piece construction that aids portability
Cons
  • It isn’t as flexible as the Ugly Stik rods above
  • Hooks are not attachable

4. Fenwicks Eagle Spinning Rods

What we like about it
Fenwicks have once again come up with an impressive fishing rod that stands the test of time and gives a great fishing experience. We like this line of fishing rods because of the lightweight, sturdy, and rust-resistant abilities. All of these benefits also come at a low price.

Our rating:

Design
This fishing rod is made of graphite, which is not only lightweight but also near-unbreakable. However, since it is made of just graphite, it doesn’t have the durability of the Shimano or the Ugly Stik. Those are made of stronger materials like fiberglass/graphite and aero glass. Nevertheless, the design is nice, and the rod is strong enough to meet your basic needs.

The B2 Burled Cork design on the handle is better than the foam handles on other fishing rods. The design gives the feel of traditional cork, and the company claims that B2 burled cork is more chip resistant and long-lasting than conventional cork.

The fishing rod is quite lightweight, and the graphite body is resistant to rust.

Performance
This rod is not made for aggressive waters or for catching heavy fish. It doesn’t have the required strength. Nevertheless, when used correctly, it is a strong, sturdy rod that will serve you well. The cork handle feels great. The fishing rod features stainless steel guides like the Ugly Stiks earlier reviewed.

Overall, the Fenwick Eagle is well-balanced, sensitive, and lightweight. Just don’t use it in aggressive waters or for catching heavy fish.

Pros
  • The B2 burled cork design is comfortable
  • It is lightweight and resistant to rust
  • It has relatively high sensitivity
Cons
  • It is too flexible
  • It feels really cheap

5. St Croix Triumph Spinning Rods

What we like about it
This fishing rod is one of the most comfortable rods at this price. We especially like the lightweight nature of the rod. The design makes it very sensitive, as well. Overall, it is an excellent choice for beginners and old hands alike.

Our rating:

Design
St. Croix rods are known for their lightweight, durable and strong nature. The Triumph rods come with an excellent design that continues this tradition. It has a graphite core that makes it lightweight and durable. With a two-layer flex-coat, the rod looks premium.

The guides are made of hard aluminum-oxide, and this makes the spinning rods quite great for your task. The main draw of this fishing rod is the weight. Folks have all positively commented on how great it feels. You will spend hours fishing without feeling tired due to holding the fishing rod. It is a four-piece fishing rod. As a result, it can be pulled apart and carried around quite easily.

In spite of the lightweight nature and the four-piece design, the rod is durable and will serve your needs for a long time.

Performance
Despite the slim appearance, we found this spinning rod capable of catching even 25-pound fishes. It offers power, even in tough situations. For example, it hooks the fish and doesn’t let go. We tried pike fishing using this rod, and we were pleasantly surprised by the power. The hook power makes it suitable in many fishing situations.

It is flexible as well, capable of bending up to half of the rod’s length without breaking. The fishing rod action belongs to the medium action category. You can rest assured that it will hold its own in a fight.

The cork handle is comfortable to use and coupled with the lightweight nature of the rod; you are guaranteed a pleasant experience for however long you use the rod.

This rod is quite sensitive as well, and it offers excellent accuracy.

The aluminum-oxide guides are durable and deliver efficient performance.

Pros
  • It is a four-piece rod which makes it easy to carry it about
  • It comes at a low price
  • The tip action is impressive
  • It is lightweight
Cons
  • It is not very durable

6. OKUMA Celilo Graphite Lightweight

What we like about it
The Okuma Celilo rod is one of the best rods that have been produced by Okuma. The rod is very light and has excellent sensitivity. We like how far the lines can be cast. This rod is ideal for experienced anglers.

Our rating:

Design
The Okuma Celilo comes with a core made up entirely of graphite. This design feature makes it very light and sensitive. It is a durable fishing rod that gives excellent performance and will meet your needs for a long time.

The aluminum-oxide guides on this fishing rod are perfectly lined. The reel seat is made of stainless steel. As a result, the rod is durable and efficient.

Performance
This is one of the most sensitive rods we have used. This is largely because the entire core of the rod is made of graphite. You can easily tell when a fish, even a tiny one, has been hooked. This feature makes it great for experienced anglers but might be a bummer for beginners. Beginners might get too excited and pull in too quickly, which will likely cause the fish to escape.

The handle of the rod isn’t made from foam but from cork. This makes it easy to handle and makes the rod lighter.
The rod is meant for non-aggressive waters. Hence, to get the best fishing results, it is better to use it in lakes that have small fish and no currents — using it in aggressive waters where there are bigger species of fish will lead to damage. It is not meant to catch heavy or medium-sized fish.

Pros
  • It is a very sensitive fishing rod
  • It is designed for trout fishing
  • It has a durable reel seat
  • The cork handles are very comfortable
  • It comes at a low price
Cons
  • It cannot handle medium-sized or heavy species

Best Cheap Fishing Rods 2020 (Under $100)

1. Tailwater outfitters Toccoa fly rod

What we like about it
This fishing rod is a highly rated rod that has received hundreds of positive reviews. We like it because it is a versatile rod that can be used in different waters. We also like the impressive construction and ease of use.

Our rating:

Design
This is one of the best-looking rods on this list. The rod comes with a durable design, and it is built to last. It is made of IM8 graphite that makes it durable and sensitive. The dark-grey color is classy enough without being distracting to fish.

The seat of the rod is made of aluminum and has twin lock ricks that ensure reel attachment is easy and secure. It is a four-piece rod and can be easily stored and transported.

Performance
Whether a newbie or an old hand, everyone can use this fishing rod. The Ceramic stripping guides on it provide smooth gliding fly lines. It has fast action and will hold its own admirably against the toughest fish.

The handle is made of cork and helps in two ways. Firstly, it helps you to make an accurate cast with the rod, and secondly, the lightweight nature ensures that you can use the rod for a long time without hand fatigue.
This multi-purpose fishing rod handles anything thrown it’s way, including heavy fish.

Pros
  • It is very durable and sturdy
  • It has high sensitivity
  • It is a four-piece rod that offers portability
  • It can be used to catch heavy fish
Cons
  • It is heavy

2. Eagle Claw Featherlight 3/4 Line Weight Fly Rod

What we like about it
The Eagle Claw Featherlight ¾ Line Weight Fly Rod is a fishing rod that provides superior durability, and feel that we like. It has less weight than previous iterations, and it is one of the best fishing rods you can purchase right now.

Our rating:

Design
To kick off this aspect, the Eagle Claw Featherlight 3/4 Line Weight Fly Rod is a 2-piece rod. This offers portability and makes the rod very easy to set up. AAs for the body, it is made of fiberglass material which is both lightweight and durable. The material ensures quick action while using the rod. The action makes it ideal for beginners because it prevents them from jerking the bait out of the mouth of the fish.

The rod is reliable and allows you to cast your bait in long distances without any hiccups. The rod blank is made of fiberglass as well. The reel seat is made of aluminum, and as for the guides, they are of ceramic.

Performance
As earlier stated, the action on this rod is exceptional. Beginners and experienced anglers will find it great to use. It is very easy to use, and you will find yourself using it for extended periods without fatigue. You can cast out to up to 50 feet.

The rod has superb sensitivity. As the rod is made of fiberglass, every jerk of the trapped fish is felt in your hands. You feel a shiver of excitement as the fish struggles to get away. Do not fret, though, the rod is sturdy yet flexible to hold its own in a fight.

During testing, we loved the cork handle. It is light and even retains heat. Therefore, you can fish comfortably in the cold or rain.

Overall, there is no beating the excellent construction and features of the Eagle Claw Featherlight 3/4 Line Weight Fly Rod.

Pros
  • It is easy to set up
  • It has a durable construction
  • It is easy to use
Cons
  • The rod is relatively heavy

3. Piscifun Sword Graphite Fly Fishing Rod

What we like about it
We like the Piscifun Sword Graphite Fly Fishing Rod for a couple of reasons. First, the overall durability of the rod makes it useful in different conditions. We like the chrome guides that provide smooth gliding. We also appreciate the AAA rating of the cork handle, which indicates how responsive they are.

Our rating:

Design
The rod itself is made of IM7 graphite. Thus, it is both light in weight and durable. The reel seat of the rod is made of aluminum. It is a great rod for all users but especially for beginners. It has a grip that we like because it can handle heavy weights rather easily.

It has a four-piece design. Hence it can be taken apart when you need to move around and assembled when you get to your destination. The tube of the rod is made of PVC, which is durable and light.

Performance
The rod is available in several weights. Therefore, you can choose the weight that will work best in the waters you will be fishing in. The sizes include the 9wt-9″ fast action great for saltwater, 4wt-8’6″ slow action for small streams, 7wt-9″ for saltwater, 6wt-9′ medium action for large rivers, and 7wt-9′ medium action for saltwater. Therefore, there is something for every type of water.

The rod is easy to use. The ceramic stripping guide inserts ensure that fly lines are even and very smooth.

Pros
  • The cork handle is easy to use
  • It is an ideal rod for newbies
  • It comes at a low price
Cons
  • The tip is susceptible to breakage
  • It is a tad heavy for some users

4. Cadence Spinning Rod

What we like about it
The main draw of the Cadence CR5-30 Ton Carbon Casting and Ultralight Fishing Rod is the level of versatility it offers. It can be used in different waters to catch varying species of fish. The line of products gives you up to 16 different lengths and action combinations to choose from.

Our rating:

Design
The lightweight Cadence CR5-30 Ton Carbon Casting and Ultralight Fishing Rod come with a 30-ton carbon core. This core makes the rod lightweight and strong. The line of products comes in a variety of lengths and actions you can choose from.

The steel guides are of stainless steel and are built to withstand stress.

Performance
The Cadence CR5-30 Ton Carbon Casting and Ultralight Fishing Rod deliver admirable performance during operation. As long as you choose the right length and action combinations, you can be sure of great fishing experience.

During testing, we observed how well-balanced the rod is. It will withstand a barrage of assault from the most stubborn fish. You do not have to be bothered about the rod breaking in half during your fishing. The handles are a mix of cork and EVA foam; hence, they are comfortable to handle for extended periods.

Pros
  • Lightweight and durable construction
  • Incredible action
  • It is available in up to 16 different lengths and actions
Cons
  • It has a one-piece construction which impairs portability

Guide to Buying the Best Cheap Fishing Rods

The review above has listed the ten best cheap fishing rods under $50 and $100. This list will help you in making the right choice by narrowing your options. However, you might not fancy any of the impressive fishing rods that we have recommended. Therefore, we have provided a buyer’s guide that will help you know the factors to consider when buying a cheap fishing rod.

Firstly, what are the benefits of buying a fishing rod under $50 or $100? Let’s see.

Benefits of a cheap fishing rod

An affordable escape

For most people, fishing is a pastime used to escape from the hustle and bustle of work. It is a stress-relieving activity to do during vacations or on the weekends. Unlike many other activities, it doesn’t have to be expensive before it can be enjoyed.

By owning a fishing rod under $50 or $100, you can enjoy exciting activities while spending as little as possible. Some families take fishing trips, and everyone needs to buy a rod. It is more economical to buy fishing rods that cost little than to spend thousands of dollars on rods that might never be used again. If you are any good at fishing or you choose a nice spot, you might even end up catching fishes that are more expensive than the rod!

They are easier to use

The more expensive a fishing rod is, in most cases, the more features and the more complicated it is. A cheap fishing rod usually comes with the basic things you need to have a great time. They are easy to assemble and use. The mechanism in a cheap fishing rod is more straightforward than those in more expensive rods.

Furthermore, if your fishing is in a small lake where you require more control, cheap spinning rods will help you.
Therefore, if you are a beginner learning the ropes, getting a cheap fishing rod might be the ideal choice.
Having seen the benefits of choosing a fishing rod under $50 / $100, let us now consider the vital factors that should affect your choice of fishing rods.

The type of fish

“There is plenty of fish in the ocean” goes the saying. This accurate statement applies even more so when choosing a fishing rod. You see, because of the numerous types of fish in the water, you have to choose a fishing rod that will easily catch the kind of fish you want. For example, if you’re going to catch a shark, you do not use a fishing rod (except you plan on being shark food).

You must consider the features of the fishing rod and compare it with the size of the fish you want to catch. Such features include the length of the rod, the action, and the strength.

The bigger the type of fish you want to catch, the stronger and heavier the rod should be. If you use a lightweight rod to catch a heavy fish, it is likely to break the rod or even yank it out of your hands.

Location

The location of your fishing expedition is another vital factor to consider. The smaller the body of water, the smaller the type of fish you will find in it. Conversely, fishing in a large body of water will yield bigger species of fish.

Aside from the fish in the water, the size of the water might affect the aggressiveness of the water body. Lakes, ponds, and small water bodies do not have strong currents. Hence, fishing in them with a lightweight fishing rod is not a problem. However, rivers and larger bodies of water have more aggressive currents, even whirlpools, which can rip away a flimsy fishing rod and damage it.

Thus, the larger the body of water you plan on fishing in, the stronger your fishing rod must be.

The material of the rod

The strength of the fishing rod is mainly dependent on the materials it is made of. In most cases, the core of fishing rods is made of either fiberglass or graphite. These materials offer excellent performance even though they are different from each other.

A fiberglass core is very durable and offers strength that is unrivaled in comparison to other materials. If you are after large fish or you are fishing in a large body of water where your main consideration is power, fiberglass fishing rods are ideal for you.

In contrast, graphite is not as strong or as durable as fiberglass. Graphite fishing rods are not recommended for use when catching big fish or fishing in large bodies of water. Since they are not strong, why do people use them? Well, this material offers far more sensitivity than fiberglass. If your goal is to feel the fish caught on the lure instantly, these fishing rods are ideal.

Due to the improvements in manufacturing, there are more hybrid fishing rods on the market. These fishing rods are “jack of all trades.” However, since they are a hybrid of fiberglass and graphite, they do not provide the specialized services of either material.

Comfort and Efficiency

Using a fishing rod for fishing is unlike using a net. When using a net, you can catch loads of fish with a single throw. However, with a fishing rod, you need to be patient. You might spend minutes, even hours without feeling the tug of fish on the line. Therefore, while you wait, you need to get comfortable.

Without a comfortable fishing rod, you will get tired and frustrated easily. To ensure your comfort while you wait, you need to consider the handle of the fishing rod. This is the portion of the rod you will be in contact with, and it has to be as comfortable as possible.

Many manufacturers use EVA foam or cork for the handle. The material that feels more comfortable is a matter of preference. EVA foam is not as durable as cork, but it is easier to clean and arguably more comfortable.

Furthermore, the fore-grip of the rod is another vital factor that will affect your comfort. The fore-grip affects your sensitivity. A lesser fore-grip will allow you instantly know when there is contact with the lure while a stronger fore-grip will make it more challenging to know when the prey has been caught.

The Reel and Reel Seat

The reel is the most important part of the fishing rod. Without the reel, you are simply holding a stick and a line. If the reel doesn’t work in the right way, you might as well give up fishing. A reel seat is what makes the reel work properly. If there is a problem with the reel seat, the reel will not work correctly.

Therefore, before choosing a fishing rod, inspect the reel seat. If it is possible to do so, test out different reels on the reel seat and ensure that they work correctly. As the reel seat is the stress point when the fish is caught, ensure it is sturdy and secure. Make sure that it can handle the stress and will last for a long time.

After inspecting the reel seat, you should get the perfect reel for your fishing rod. The right reel will fit your reel seat. It will also depend on the type of fishing rod. The heavier the rod, the bigger the reel you will require. The reel must also house the entire length of the line or else you might find your fishing experience uncomfortable.

Rod Action

In simple terms, rod action refers to where the rod bends under strain. Therefore, for an enjoyable fishing experience, you have to choose a fishing rod with the right rod action. Factors like the type of fish you are after, the location you will be fishing at, and the material of the fishing rod affect the rod action.
Rod action is divided into three styles.

Fast action rods bend in the top third of the blank. Medium action rods bend in the top half, and slow action rods bend in the lower third of the blank.

The fast action rods can withstand rough conditions and can be used in aggressive waters. Medium action rods are ideal for medium-sized fish while the slow action rods are easy going and will be ideal in gentle waters and small fish.

Rod length and weight

The longer the rod is, the more flexible it is. If you are fishing in calm waters for small species, then this type of rod will serve your needs.

If you are after medium-sized species, however, it will be ideal to choose a rod that is shorter and heavier. Choosing a long and lightweight rod in such cases will be disastrous as these rods don’t have the strength to reel in big fish.

Conclusion

Choosing the right fishing rod is not an easy task. There are more than five types of fishing rods and numerous brands. You need a lot of research before you can identify the right one. We have written this review and buyer’s guide to assist you in choosing the right one. We hope that it will help you in selecting the best cheap fishing rods under $50 / $100.