Hey there fellow fisherman, let me tell you something – finding a good spinning rod at an affordable price can be harder than catching a fish with your bare hands. But fear not, my fishing friend, for I have some exciting news for you.
Gone are the days where you had to shell out up to $400 for a decent quality graphite or fiberglass fishing rod. That’s right, I said it – you can save your hard-earned money and still get a great fishing rod.
Thanks to the genius minds at Ugly Stik, Shimano, Berkeley, and a few other fishing equipment manufacturers, affordable fishing rods are now accessible to everyone.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Bill, I don’t want to compromise on quality just to save a few bucks”. And trust me, I hear you loud and clear. That’s why I’ve done the dirty work for you and tested ten spinning rods under 100 dollars.
But, hold your horses there, cowboy. Just because these fishing rods won’t break the bank, it doesn’t mean you should skip out on doing your due diligence. We all know what happens when you don’t do your research – you end up with a dud.
So, sit back, relax, and let me take you on a journey of affordable fishing rods. I’ll break down the pros and cons of each rod, so you can make an informed decision and catch that big fish you’ve been dreaming about.
So Let’s start…
Table of Contents
Best Spinning Rods Under $100
1. Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod
When it comes to buying fishing equipment such as spinning rods, it is always good to go local. Ugly Stik is a South Carolina-based fishing equipment manufacturer.
It is known for quality products and prompt customer service. The Ugly Stik Elite is available in a variety of sizes (from 4.6-feet to 7.6-feet).
The spinning rod is precision-engineered to help you catch even bigger fish like Jack’s, Snapper, and Sharks.
The makers of this product have added graphite reel for lightweight and increased sensitivity.
The one-piece constructed stainless steel guides provide the stability you need when standing on a wobbly boat or fishing in unstable waters.
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod is Suitable for:
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod works best for fishermen who catch fish weighing from one pound to hundred pounds.
The graphite laced fishing rod handles bigger fish with ease.
It will never fail you.
Also, this is one of the best fishing rods for professional anglers who travel cross-country for fishing. It is lightweight and compact.
- Available in a variety of sizes
- Can handle bigger fish without breaking
- The tip is sensitive and flexible
- Lightweight design
- The rod is not designed for a braided line
2. Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod
The GX2 is another spinning rod from Ugly Stik. This is the right fit for those seeking an ultra-lightweight and robust spinning rod under 100 bucks.
Unlike the Elite version, this one does not come with varying sizes to choose from. The 7-feet two-piece rod is made to the exacting specifications required for productive fishing.
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This faithfully crafted spinning rod is made with a combination of graphite and fiberglass. Graphite is sensitive and lightweight, whereas the addition of a flexible material such fiberglass makes the rod virtually indestructible.
Just like the Elite version, this product is equipped with smooth and one-piece constructed stainless steel guides.
Furthermore, the Ugly Stik GC2 also comes with a sharp and sensitive tip.
Graphite rods are known for their high-sensitivity. It notifies you the moment a fish comes in contact with the lure.
Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod is Suitable for:
A lightweight and ruggedly built spinning rod makes angling a larger fish easy.
The Ugly Stik G3 bends, so the fish does not have an opportunity to break free from the hook. As a result, you can easily catch fish as massive as 100 pounds.
- Lightweight and sensitive
- Suitable for larger fish
- The two-piece rod is made from durable graphite and fiberglass
- The locking mechanism needs improvement
3. Shimano FXS 2 Piece Spinning Rod
Shimano is a well-known Japanese fishing tackle and rowing equipment manufacturer. The company is headquartered in Osaka, Japan, and it was founded in 1921.
Moving on to the product, the Shimano FX is a two-piece spinning rod made with durable Aero Glass. The guides are made with aluminum oxide for maximum sensitivity.
This is one of those rods that slings without any effort— you don’t need to swing it into the water. 1-3 ounces of lure is perfect for this spinning rod.
Unlike the Ugly Stik Elite, this product works perfectly fine with a braided line.
The aluminum oxide guides are capable of withstanding the frequent rubbing of a braided line. Even after two years of use, you won’t notice any wear.
Shimano FXS 2 Piece Spinning Rod is Suitable for:
This rod is perfectly suitable for anglers of all ages and skill levels.
Whether you are planning to enjoy your weekend fishing in the nearest lake or head out to the sea, you must have a versatile spinning rod made for all applications.
Shimano recommends a 25 pound tested plain fishing line, but a braided line tested for 30 pounds would work fine. You can easily catch a large catfish or crappie.
- Affordable and versatile
- Suits best for cat and crappie fishing
- The aluminum oxide guides do not wear when used with a braided line
- Need to be more flexible
4. Berkley Big Game Spinning Fishing Rod
Berkley is a US-based fishing equipment manufacturer. The company operates with old-fashioned American values. Hard work, dedication, and the ability to take risks have made it a household name in the country.
The Berkley Big Game spinning rod is shaped by skilled hands to give you the fishing experience as no other product can.
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This 8-feet, two-piece rod works well with a 20-30 lb braided fishing line.
Do not go by the low price of this product; the rod is strong and flexible enough to withstand a bent more than 180 degrees— you don’t know when the fish might slide under the boat.
Furthermore, the guides are made from titanium— a low-density material used in the construction of aircraft and missiles.
Berkley Big Game Spinning Fishing Rod is Suitable for:
This product is perfect when casting plastic or live baits.
You can use this rod to catch large fish in all types of water bodies. This rod is meticulously crafted to match the high standards of anglers who like to fish in a raft to a small tug boat.
When fishing in the deep sea, there is always a chance of the rod breaking due to the intensity of the water and weight of the fish. With this product in your arsenal, you don’t need to carry a back-up rod.
- The handles have a soft and comfortable cushion
- Affordable product
- Perfect replacement for vacations and fishing trips
- Can be a little heavy for shore or dock fishing
5. Okuma Celilo CE-S-461UL-1
Are you into steelhead trout fishing? Are you looking for a spinning rod made to the exacting specifications for trout fishing?
In the past few years, trout fishing has had a downfall due to the lack of fish in the Northwestern rivers— it is in their nature to avoid overfished areas.
But due to the conservation efforts, the trout and salmon seem to be returning back.
This is the perfect time to get back to steelhead trout fishing.
Okuma is a Japanese fishing equipment manufacturer. After researching for years and conversing one-on-one with American trout fishermen, Okuma came with the Celilo series.
The CE-S-461UL-1 model is equipped with a graphite rod and aluminum oxide guides.
The reel seats are made with stainless steel.
Okuma Celilo Graphite Trout Rods is Suitable for:
The rod on the CE-S-461UL-1 model is made entirely of graphite.
A highly sensitive graphite rod makes shore fishing in freshwater easy as pie. You get to the fish before it gets away.
This product is developed in coordination with leading trout fishermen in the Northwestern part of America. Within a few hours of use, you will feel an elevation in your trout fishing game.
- Sensitive rod, you can feel the fish pecking at the lure
- High-grade hook holder
- Smooth cork handle
- The graphite rod is delicate and needs extra care
6. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2
Earlier, we discussed two products from Ugly Stik.
This one is a combo-set of a fishing rod and a spinning reel. The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is available in a variety of sizes, and not all come with a two-piece rod.
The 4’8″ ultralight, 6′ 6″ medium-heavy, and 7′ medium heavy are one-piece, and the rest are two-piece.
The rod is made with an alloy of graphite and fiberglass; hence it is sturdy, sensitive, and flexible in the right proportion.
Furthermore, the “clear tip” design makes it easy for the angler to detect pecking or nibbling of the lure.
The cushioned handles feel very smooth and soft. They help you fish for more extended periods and also eliminate fatigue.
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is Suitable for:
The two-piece spinning rod reel combo is ideal for couples wanting to begin their fishing journey together.
Also, the affordability of the combo makes it perfect for vacations.
You and your partner can catch fish in rivers, lakes, or saltwater creeks without worrying that the rod is ever breaking. Just make sure you use a 20-pound fishing line— do not exceed the weight limit.
- The handles are cushioned
- Lengthy enough for shore or dock fishing
- The quality of the spinning reel may not suffice for professional fishing
7. St Croix Triumph Med-Lt/Fast 2pc
St Croix is a Wisconsin-based fishing equipment manufacturer. The Med-Lt/Fast 2pc spinning rod is a premium quality product for anglers operating at the highest level.
This product is precision-engineered to offer you the perfect balance between sensitivity, strength, and flexibility.
The rod is made with SCII mid-modulus graphite fiber. This product is known to be lightweight, durable, and ultra-sensitive.
Further, the aluminum-oxide guides are suitable for both plain and braided fishing lines. The black frames are faithfully crafted and tested to perfection using laser beams.
The adjustable handle is made the old-fashioned way. It also has a dip in between for better grip— most of the handle is made of wood.
St Croix Triumph Med-Lt/Fast 2pc is Suitable for:
The Med-Lt/Fast 2pc model is meticulously handcrafted.
Incredibly, the company can deliver such a precision-tooled product at an affordable rate. This is by far one of the best rods under 100 bucks for those who appreciate fine craftsmanship.
- Classically styled and solidly built
- Ideal for professional anglers
- Available in two sizes (6′ .6″ feet and 7′ .0″ feet)
- Not approved for saltwater usage
8. Penn Battle II 4000
The Penn Battle II 4000 is an American-made product. Otto Henze, the founder of Penn Fishing Tackle, started this company in 1932.
Penn is one of the most revered names in the fishing community in North America and Europe.
The package includes a spinning reel and rod combo. The 7-feet, medium power rod is made from an alloy of graphite and fiberglass. It is flexible, lightweight, and sensitive.
The full metal body reel is equipped with a heavy-duty aluminum bail wire.
When buying the best fishing rod, one should know that rods do not— by default— come with a spinning reel.
The word “combo” suggests that a spinning reel is included in the package.
Penn Battle II 4000 is Suitable for:
This product is fabricated to assist in catching big saltwater gamefish.
With a high gear ratio of 6.2:1, the spinning reel makes it easy to recover the fishing line with a large fish hooked on one end.
A high gear ratio lets an angler slow down a retrieve, so the fish has little chance of getting away.
- The spinning reel comes with high-grade components
- The gear ratio of the “reel superline spool” is sufficiently high
- The “superline spool” is suited for both plain and braided fishing line
- The packaging of the product needs improvement
9. Cadence Spinning Rod CR5-30
Cadence is a South Caroline-based fishing equipment manufacturer. Famous for being charitable, it is a well-known name in the American fishing community.
They have donated thousands of dollars so children and young adults can enjoy free of cost fishing.
The Cadence CR5-30 fishing rod is one of the popular products from their Carbon Blank series. It is 7’0″ feet long and comes in one-piece construction.
The rod may appear steel-like, but it is made from a 30-ton carbon matrix graphite blank.
It gives the best chance to catch your favorite fish with features like SIC guides, stainless steel frames, and a Fuji reel seat.
Furthermore, you can choose between two handle configurations: carbon split grip and EVA (rubber-like material).
Cadence Spinning Rod CR5-30 is Suitable for:
The Cadence Spinning Rod CR5-30 comes with a stainless steel frame; hence there is no chance of corrosion or similar issues within the parts.
The manufacturer has approved it for seawater fishing. You can also use the same rod to catch freshwater fish like bass, walleye, and trout.
- Corrosion and rust-free stainless steel frames
- Suitable for both saltwater and freshwater fishing
- You get a chance to contribute to the young fishing community
- The handle could be thicker
10. Daiwa Laguna LAG662MFS
Daiwa is one of the most influential tackle companies in the world.
It is headquartered in Cypress, California, and has sales offices all over the world. The Daiwa Laguna LAG662MFS spinning rod is 6′ .6″ feet long.
This two-piece constructed rod can be detached when fishing in lakes or rivers with dense plantations. This rod comes in the medium-light power category.
However, with the right fishing line, you can easily catch an oversized red drum or black drum fish.
The entire reel seat is made with stainless steel. This makes the rod suitable for both saltwater and freshwater.
Furthermore, the Daiwa Laguna LAG662MFS is also equipped with hyper-sensitive aluminum oxide guides.
The handle may not be the best feature of this product, although it has a thin split foam grip.
Daiwa Laguna LAG662MFS is Suitable for:
Daiwa Laguna LAG662MFS is one of the most affordable spinning rods available in the market. This product is perfect for students or beginner anglers who need a trainer rod.
It should be noted that this rod is used with a 15-20 lb line.
- Affordable product
- Suitable for catching large fish
- Stainless steel reel seat
- The handle could be thicker
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Spinning Rod Under $100
According to Britannica, there are five primary methods of angling: bait fishing, fly-fishing, bait casting, spinning, and trolling.
Depending on the part of the world you reside in, you might be fishing with any of the above methods.
Experts suggest you pick a spinning rod based on the fishing technique you plan to implement and the type/species of fish you wish to catch.
Below I have mentioned a few more factors that will help you choose the right fishing rod.
The more sensitive the rod, the better you will feel the pecking or nibbling of the lure by fish. Rod sensitivity may not be a big deal when fishing in an ocean with stronger waves.
Regardless of the rod sensitivity, you are not going to feel the fish— as you are relying on the waves to catch fish.
When shore fishing in a small lake or a river, you need to fix your eyes on the bait all the time. A sensitive rod can make fishing easy and fun.
Length is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a fishing rod. Fishing rods are made with a lightweight and flexible material.
By selecting a rod of the correct length, you can make fishing safe, effort-free, and effective.
Shorter rods are ideal for vernal ponds or a lake with dense plantation. On the other hand, longer rods (7′ .0″ feet and greater) are well-suited for deeper waters.
When fishing in an ocean or a river, you want more grip and purchase over the fish.
Before choosing a fishing rod, you might want to take a look at the material the core or shaft is made from. Typically, modern fishing rods are made from a graphite and fiberglass alloy.
However, in some cases— depending on the manufacturer— the rod can be made either from graphite or fiberglass alone.
Graphite is a lightweight and sensitive material, whereas fiberglass adds flexibility and strength to the rod.
Graphite rods are perfect for shore fishing. And fiberglass rods are used by professional anglers who catch large saltwater game fish. The graphite and fiberglass alloy material makes the rod more versatile.
Most people fish as a part of tradition or sometimes for leisure. When you are out in the water for hours or even days, you want to be as comfortable as possible.
Hence, it is important to choose a rod handle that is not only soft but also grippy.
Typically, rod handles are either made from a soft EVA rubber or natural wood. A rod handle comprises three parts: top section, casting handle, and a butt section. Some rods come with a spinning handle instead of a casting one.
Lastly, it is crucial to choose a fishing rod with the right type of a reel so you can retrieve the fish as fast as possible.
In some cases, you also want to make the retrieval as smooth and jerk-free as possible. A spinning reel is a cylindrical device attached to the base (just above the handle) of a fishing rod.
Whether you are fishing to compete, for leisure or just to catch enough for dinner, you must pick one of the following types of reels:
Spinning (Fixed-Spool) Reel
What is the Difference Between a Spinning Rod and a Casting Rod?
A fishing rod is identified with the type of reel you attach to the base.
Essentially, there is no structural difference between a spinning rod and a casting rod. But the spinning rod has fixed spool reels (also known as egg beaters), whereas a casting reel comes with a baitcasting or revolving-spool reel.
What is a Spinning Fishing Rod?
Spinning rods (also known as spin casting rods) are designed to accommodate a fixed spool reel.
A few years ago, spinning and casting rods respectively were marketed as separate products. However, modern rods are versatile.
Depending on the fishing technique or style, you can attach different types of reels on the same rod.
How to Take Care of a Spinning Rod?
Taking care of a spinning rod is a lot more challenging than most people think.
Not only do you need to clean it periodically but also store it in the right environment and space.
Further, when transporting the rod from your home to the fishing venue, you need to make sure that the rod doesn’t repeatedly bang on the floor or other fishing equipment.
Spinning rods aren’t just about affordability and quality, but there is a lot more you need to check and verify.
Gone are the days when fishing rods were made with organic materials such as ash, hickory, and bamboo.
Precision-engineering ensures that you have optimum fishing experience.
From the above list, Berkley Big Game Spinning Fishing Rod has all the attributes required for effective, safe, and enjoyable fishing.
You will be glad to know that it is one of the least expensive US-made rods on the market.