Best Fishing Rods in 2023

fishing rod in action
Having the right fishing rod can make the difference between success and an empty cooler. Photo by Lenny Rudow.

If you’re into fishing and fishing boats, you probably want to make sure your gear is up to snuff. We’ve compiled our list of the top 10 fishing rods here to help you choose wisely the next time you’re at the tackle shop. We’ve judged these rods on criteria including construction quality, sensitivity, durability, special features, and price, and picked out the top contenders for a wide range of applications.

So let’s have a drumroll, please, as we call out these top 10 fishing rods:

Abu Garcia Zata

An award winner at the 2023 ICAST convention (for best new rod and reel combo), the Zata provides a reasonably priced way to step into a relatively high end freshwater rod that’s sold prematched with the reel. There are only two options in the lineup, a 7’1″ medium-heavy fast-action and a 7’3″ heavy moderate-action. Guides are stainless-steel, the grips are split with the blank exposed in the reel seat, and the blank is graphite. If you’re looking for a complete rod-and-reel rig that will get the job done without breaking the bank, this one’s a solid option.

Price: $229.

Visit Abu Garcia to learn more.

Cashion Element

We love Cashion rods because they’re 100-percent built in the US of A, they have high quality blanks and pieces, and they cost notably less than most high-end fishing rods. New for this year is the Element series, available in both freshwater and inshore models. The carbon fiber pre-preg CR4r blanks are incredibly light, grips are cork, and handles and grips are sized on a species-appropriate basis. The bottom line? Casting one you’ll feel like a million bucks, but the price-point for the Element is way, way lower than we would expect.

Price: $129.95.

Visit for more info.

Crowder Deep Drop

Certain types of fishing require rods designed from the ground-up for one mission and one mission alone, and that’s the case for deep-dropping. The weights needed to drop baits to depths of 1,000 or more feet and the tug of monster grouper, tilefish, and other unique bottom-dwellers found deep in the ocean require a rod immeasurably strong, yet still sensitive enough to detect bites from far below. The Crowder Deep Drop is one such rod, built with curved uni-butts and Aftco swiveling or Winthrop rod tips (so the rig can be fished from a boat’s gunwale holder). Lengths range from 5’0” to 6’0”, line classes range from 50 to 130, and Crowder proves how well they build Deep Drop rods by backing them up with a lifetime warranty.

Price: $449 to $699.

Visit to learn more.

lots of fishing rods
The owner of this boat is obviously struggling to answer that epic question: can you ever have too many fishing rods? Photo by Lenny Rudow.

Daiwa Team Daiwa Surf

Surf fishing takes a rod designed for uber-far casts, but it also has to be able to handle lots of weight for when the waves kick up. That’s exactly what the Team Daiwa Surf rods do, thanks to high-modulus carbon graphite backbone made with Daiwa’s exclusive HVF (high volume fiber) low-resin construction. While scaled-down versions (to 7’0” long, medium-light power) are available, the 12’0” long medium-heavy model can handle an eye-opening 16 ounces of lure and/or rig weight, and line up to 60 pound-test.

Price: $179 to $189.

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Falcon LowRider

Upon its introduction in 1995, the Falcon LowRider casting rod made some serious waves in the fishing world. With more compact guides placed closer to the blank and an increased number of guides, friction from line hitting the rod itself was reduced and casting distances were extended. In 2019 Falcon made multiple improvements to the rod, adding K-frame guides and switching to a higher grade of aerospace-rated carbon fiber in the blank, reducing its weight. Falcon has added two more versions of the LowRider and in 2023, there are 24 different models sized and tweaked for specific fishing methods.

Price: $129.

Visit falconrods to learn more.

G. Loomis NRX+ Inshore

Winner of Best New Saltwater Fishing Rod at the 2023 ICAST convention, the G. Loomis NRX+ Inshore rods are shockingly light, shockingly sensitive, and shockingly strong. Blanks are American-made with Spiral X technology, which includes a blank made of vertical fibers, and an inner layer and outer layer comprised of carbon tape wound around the blank diagonally. Net result? Added torsional rigidity without adding weight. Guides are Fuji titanium SiC, and the reel seat is CI4+. There are seven spinning models from 7’0″ to 7’6″ and three casting rods from 6’6″ to 7’0″ in the lineup. Be forwarned, however, that to get the best of the best sometimes you have to be prepared to spend big.

Price: $625 to $650.

Visit G. Loomis to learn more.

offshore fishing rods
A brace of fishing rods at dawn simply warms our hearts. Photo by Lenny Rudow.

Penn Carnage III Offshore Blade

The Carnage III Offshore Blade comes in 4’5″ and 4’11” lengths, in heavy to extra-extra heavy power. The critical element here (note those uber-short lengths) is that with this line, Penn opted to provide the top of the rod, only. These are designed to be mixed and matched with the Aftco butt option of your choice, so they can be short-butt, long-butt, or bent-butt as you desire. Guides are stainless-steel Fujis and Aftco rollers, the blanks are LS2 construction, and handles are heat-shrink tubes. If you’re looking for a customizable offshore rod that can handle everything from tuna to billfish, the Carnage III Offshore Blade will do the trick.

Price: $229 to $599.

Visit pennfishing to learn more.

Sage R8 Core 590-4

The Sage R8 fly rod line is designed for multiple applications and tremendous range. Available in three-weight to nine-weight, in 8’6″ to 10’0″ lengths, they feature a fast action for a wide variety of freshwater fly fishing. While there are plenty of options and we can’t say which is ideal for you, personally, dry fly anglers looking for trout will gravitate towards the 590-4. The grip is half-wells cork, it includes a hook keeper, and an aluminum tube and case comes with the rod for safe travelling. Warning: prepare your eyes for sticker shock before looking down one more line.

Price: $1,050.

Visit farbank for more info.

St. Croix Mojo Bass Trigon

St. Croix won the Best New Freshwater Fishing Rod award at the 2023 ICAST show with the Mojo Bass Trigon, which won’t surprise anyone who’s handled one of these fishing rods. SCIII carbon fiber blanks (and linear S-glass blanks for reaction-bait models) are capped off with stainless-steel and aluminum-oxide guides, handles are cork and EVA, and nylon reel seats are secured with machined aluminum nuts. There are 25 casting rods and nine spinners in the series, and the “Trigon” in its name comes from new handles which are designed to be more ergonomic than pre-existing models.

Price: $165 to $250.

Visit St. Croix Rods to learn more.

St. Croix Avid Surf Spinning

st. croix surf fishing rod
The St. Croix surf rod tamed this beast! Photo by Lenny Rudow.

When it comes to surf rods the St. Croix Avid Surf series will be tough to top. Made with high-modulus SCIII carbon in two pieces, this line of surf rods has amazing sensitivity and light weight for its size. Guides are Fuji K-series with Alconite rings, the reel seat is Fuji, and the butt section has 70/30 split grips with cork tape handles. Models are available in seven to 12 feet; power ranges from medium to medium heavy with moderate fast and fast actions. We love that St. Croix rods are American made in Park Falls, WI. We also love that these surf rods come with an eyebrow-raising 15-year warranty.

Price: $265 to $445.

Visit stcroixrods to learn more.

Are there other rods on the market you might prefer over the ones we’ve listed out here? Of course there are. Might your personal list of the top 10 fishing rods differ? For sure. But these 10 stand-outs deserve your attention, because each has earned its spot as one of the 10 best fishing rods an angler can own.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2020 and was last updated in August of 2023.