Best Rods For Striped Bass: Top 6 Picks and Buying Guide

September 1, 2021

Our editors at Finn’s Fishing Tips independently research, test, and recommend the best products to help you make purchase decisions. You can learn more about our review process here. We sometimes get a commission through purchases made via our links.

In the market for a reliable fishing rod to catch those stubborn striped bass fish? Then this article is for you!

Today, we’re reviewing the 6 best rods for striped bass and offering a comprehensive buying guide to help you choose the right rod for your unique fishing needs.

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks

Reviews of the 6 Best Rods for Striped Bass

1. GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod from Ugly Stik

Kicking off our list with a quite popular rod, the GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod by Ugly Stik is a terrific choice for somewhat experienced anglers looking for a reliable spinning rod that offers great performance but doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

For its features vs price tradeoff, the Ugly Stik GX2 has awesome value for money. Not to mention, it’s a good option for beginners in bass fishing (or any sort of fishing really) because of the high quality and affordable cost.

The Ugly Stik GX2 is designed to deliver a remarkable balance between flexibility and durability thanks to its construction that uses a combination of graphite and fiberglass. Additionally, this rod is available in a range of multiple lengths starting from 4 feet 8 inches to 9 feet.

We recommend opting for the 7-foot 2-piece model because it’ll let you cast for a longer distance while still being hassle-free to carry and transport.

What’s more, the GX2 spinning fishing rod is fitted with a fabulous handle wrapped in EVA grips that aren’t only durable, but also lightweight. When we compare the GX2 handle to other rods’ handles of a similar price point, it’s clear that the former is a lot more improved. We even think it’s superior to some of the handles on more expensive options!

Factoring in all the outstanding features on this striped bass fishing rod and pairing them with the company’s hefty 7-year warranty, we can definitely see why the GX2 is a hit among so many anglers.

Specs

  • Rod type – spinning
  • Length – 4’8″ to 9′
  • Action – fast
  • Strength – medium
  • Guide – Ugly Tuff stainless steel (one piece)
  • Handle – EVA grip

What We Like

  • Casts well
  • Pretty affordable
  • Offers great value for money
  • Very sturdy
  • Comfortable, lightweight grip
  • Backed up by a 7-year warranty

What We Don’t Like

  • Sensitivity may not be up to everyone’s preference

2. KastKing Krome Crixus IM6 Fishing Rod

If you need a fishing rod for striped bass that adopts the most recent technologies in terms of design and build, then the KastKing Krome Crixus IM6 Fishing Rod could be exactly what you’ve been searching for.

The body on this rod is made out of graphite blanks, more specifically, the KastFlex IM6. As such, you get the best of both worlds when it comes to power, weight, sensitivity, and sturdiness. The tough yet lightweight construction offers a lot of versatility both in freshwater and saltwater that every angler’s gearbox should have.

Additionally, the graphite core is reinforced with two layers of durable carbon tape to increase the resistance of the rod, allowing you to engage with larger striped bass.

Another thing that impressed us is the super polymer handle since it offers excellent slip resistance besides great durability and comfort to grant you maximum control over the rod no matter the conditions you’re fishing in. The handle is also fitted with EVA grips for extra security and comfort.

What’s more, the Crixus fishing rod is equipped with stainless steel guides and zirconium oxide rings to ensure long and smooth casting whether you’re using monofilament, braided, or fluorocarbon line.

Made in the United States, this rod is a beauty to look at with a sleek black finish that minimizes staining and the build-up of dirt. It comes in a variety of lengths ranging from 5 feet 6 inches to 7 feet six inches.

Each length option is available in multiple action and strength levels. But all of them come in a 2-piece configuration to help you carry and store the KastKing Krome Crixus easily.

Specs

  • Rod type – casting, spinning
  • Length – 5’6″ to 7’6″
  • Action – fast
  • Strength – medium
  • Guide – stainless steel and zirconium oxide rings
  • Handle – super polymer

What We Like

  • Graphite IM6 blanks construction
  • High-quality super polymer guides
  • Can handle larger fish
  • Has a stunning look
  • Easy to clean
  • Amazing price

What We Don’t Like

  • The reel seat needs to be a bit smaller

3. Okuma Celilo Spinning Fishing Rod

For hundreds of anglers and fishing enthusiasts, hearing the name Okuma rings a lot of bells. As one of the most established brands in the business, Okuma is known for building some of the best-performing fishing gear over the last few decades.

Today, we’re once again reviewing one of our all-time favorite fishing rods, the Celilo Graphite Fishing Rod. Despite the mention of steelhead fish in its name, we found that this rod performs superbly when it comes to catching striped bass.

The Celilo is one of the company’s best releases, with lots of anglers considering it a staple in their spinning rods collection. Its popularity doesn’t only come from its impressive quality but also being priced at a rather affordable range. This is a huge plus if you’re a newbie or simply on a budget.

The Okuma Celilo is mainly constructed out of graphite composite to ensure a reliable level of durability and plenty of sensitivity. Additionally, being medium action and medium power comes in pretty handy when attempting to catch striped bass fish.

This Celilo series rod is available in a variety of lengths including 8 feet 6 inches, 9 feet 6 inches, and 10 feet. You get to pick the length you prefer using, although we recommend the first option.

In line with construction, we really like the featured guides because they’re made of aluminum oxide that’s highly corrosion-resistant so it can take a beating in saltwater without issues. We also noticed that the reel seats are made of stainless steel, which helps secure the reels in place for extended periods.

Finally, the Okuma Celilo fishing rod comes fitted with cork foam grips, which is a very common material in manufacturing affordable rods’ handles. Still, they offer decent support that we can’t complain about.

Specs

  • Rod type – spinning
  • Length – 8’6″, 9’6″, and 10′
  • Action – medium
  • Strength – medium
  • Guide – aluminum oxide
  • Handle – cork foam grip

What We Like

  • Lots of sensitivity
  • Impressive quality for the price
  • Rugged materials
  • Good grip

What We Don’t Like

  • Some users reported quick tip breakage (very likely due to a poor choice of line and lure)

4. Elite Spinning Fishing Rod by Ugly Stik

Another great option from Ugly Stik is the Elite Spinning Fishing Rod. Not only is this striped bass rod constructed out of a very durable combination of fiberglass and graphite materials like many of the company’s other creations, but it’s reinforced with 35% more graphite to ensure exceptional strength.

Besides being super tough, the Ugly Stik Elite is also very sensitive and lightweight. It’s even equipped with a clear tip to boost the responsiveness of the unit.

What’s more, this Elite bass rod is fitted with a premium-quality cork handle to make sure you have a comfortable grip during long fishing sessions. The handle also sports an etched-in Ugly Stik logo to guarantee its authenticity.

No matter the length you choose, we recommend opting for the 2-piece configuration because it’s less hassle to carry around and transport.

Additionally, this graphite rod features one-piece Ugly Tuff guides made of stainless steel. These are some of the most resilient guides on the market, offering incredible durability and vibration transmission.

Specs

  • Rod type – spinning
  • Length – 6′, 6’6″, and 7′
  • Action – fast
  • Strength – medium
  • Guide – Ugly Tuff stainless steel (one piece)
  • Handle – EVA grip

What We Like

  • Exceptional strength
  • Premium handle
  • Noteworthy sensitivity and responsiveness
  • Very lightweight

What We Don’t Like

  • Could use more length options

5. BERRYPRO Striper Killer Fishing Rod

Next up, we have the Striper Killer Fishing Rod from the popular brand BERRYPRO. Just observing its name, it’s obvious that this rod was specifically designed to help you catch striped bass.

Rocking a light yet tough construction, this unit is built using IM8 X-Carbon technology. These blanks give the rod a superior level of power and sensitivity that’s ideal for bay and surf fishing.

The Striper Killer is available in a couple of lengths: 9 feet and 9 feet 6 inches. They’re both light action to accommodate your light tackle needs when targeting a variety of inshore fish such as striped bass, halibut, and perch. As for power, you get to choose between medium and heavy.

We particularly love the guides on this BERRYPRO rod. Like on many of the company’s creations, they’re made of stainless steel and paired with ceramic rings to decrease friction and make sure that your line casts smoothly.

What’s more, the guides are aligned accurately so that the action travels efficiently from the line to your hands when you cast for a long distance.

The ergonomic design of the Striper Killer makes it easier to grasp, whereas the fitted cork grip promotes the comfort of the handle for prolonged use.

The BERRYPRO Striper Killer Fishing Rod is backed up by a 1-year warranty to give you peace of mind.

Specs

  • Rod type – spinning
  • Length – 9′ and 9’6″
  • Action – light
  • Strength – medium
  • Guide – stainless steel with ceramic rings
  • Handle – cork grip

What We Like

  • Upgraded cork grip feels more comfortable
  • Very strong
  • Easy to handle
  • Premium guide materials
  • Budget-friendly cost

What We Don’t Like

  • Can be a bit too heavy for some users

6. TRS66MF Triumph Spinning Fishing Rod by St. Croix

Last but not least, we’re looking at the TRS66MF Graphite Spinning Fishing Rod from the Triumph series by the established brand St. Croix.

The first thing that caught our eye, as well as most users’, is how incredibly lightweight this rod feels. This is a big advantage for anglers who often go on long fishing trips as it reduces arm fatigue.

Additionally, the TRS66MF Triumph fishing rod provides outstanding sensitivity to take your fishing to the next level. Construction-wise, it’s made out of grade-A graphite to offer you a level of strength that you can depend on in any condition.

Length-wise, today we recommend you choose the 6 feet 6 inches version with medium power and.

We know it’s a 1-piece configuration and this may sound like a hassle to transport and store, but portability and storage shouldn’t really be problems because the rod isn’t very long. Not to mention, this setup delivers maximum strength and sensitivity.

The St. Croix TRS66MF Triumph Graphite Fishing Rod is a bit on the expensive side, which is why we were expecting something better for the handle than the average cork foam grip. This is typically featured on budget options.

Specs

  • Rod type – spinning
  • Length – 6’6″
  • Action – fast
  • Strength – medium
  • Guide – aluminum oxide 
  • Handle – cork grip

What We Like

  • An impressive balance of power and sensitivity
  • Reduces arm fatigue for extended fishing trips
  • Long-lasting, reliable performance

What We Don’t Like

  • A bit pricey

How to Choose the Best Rods for Striped Bass

When shopping for the best fishing rods for striped bass, there are a few points you need to consider first:

Type

There are several types of fishing rods out there, the most common ones being spinning and casting rods.

The main purpose of both types is to catch fish (duh!). But they differ in style, technique, and mechanism. To put it as simply as possible, spinning and casting rods have different guide placement and reel positioning.

  • In spinning rods, the guides and the reel are on the bottom of the rod.
  • In casting rods, the guides are on the top of the rod while the reel is near the handle.

Action

If you’re a newbie in the fishing world, you’re probably not familiar with the term “rod action”. This is a crucial factor to consider when selecting a fishing rod for striped bass since there’s a proper action for different fish species and sizes. So, you should understand what rod action is all about.

Rod action is an indication of how easily a rod bends when you apply pressure to its tip. In general, the action of a rod can be determined by examining the distance between the “bend” point of the rod and the tip.

The longer this distance, the slower the action. The result is that the rod will take a longer time to go back to its neutral position.

On the other hand, the shorter the distance, the faster the action. This means the rod will return to its neutral position more quickly.

When shopping for a striped bass fishing rod, you’ll see that each rod comes with a certain action rating. The most common ratings here are fast, medium, and slow 

Additional action ratings fall at varying levels between each two of the ones just mentioned. For example, medium-slow, extra-slow, medium-fast, extra-fast, and so on.

Power

Now that you’re familiar with the rod action concept, let’s move on to the rod power, also known as weight rating. These terms indicate how strong a fishing rod is.

A fishing rod’s power or strength refers to its lifting capacity and its extent of bending at the point closest to the handle.

The higher the power rating, the more strength of the rod and the less it can bend. On the other hand, the lower the power rating, the less strength it can offer and the more bending it can accommodate.

When looking through rods for striped bass, you’ll notice that each rod comes with a certain power rating. The most common ratings are heavy, medium, and light.

Additional power ratings fall at different levels between each two of the ones mentioned above. For example, medium-light, extra-heavy, ultra-heavy, ultra-light, and so on.

The heavier/larger the fish you’re hoping to catch, the higher the power rating you should opt for. This way, the rod will be able to put up a fight against bigger, more stubborn fish.

Sensitivity

Finally, keep an eye out for the rod’s sensitivity. This refers to how efficient the energy storage is across the whole length of the rod, as well as how fast it can release this stored energy upon casting.

A lot of anglers prefer rods with higher sensitivity because they allow them to cast farther with less effort.

Wrap Up

Choosing the best rods for striped bass can be a tricky task, especially with so many features to think about such as type, action rating, power rating, and sensitivity.

This is why we made sure to include only the top-performing options on the market to guarantee you end up with a reliable product.

That being said, we recommend the GX2 Spinning Fishing Rod by Ugly Stik as today’s winner thanks to its impressive castability, strength, and flexibility.

Happy Hunting!

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