Should You Buy a $200, $300, or $400 Fishing Rod?

Last Updated: 12.08.19


There are significant differences between cheaper fishing rods and those costing more than $100, but you should think about how you are going to use the rod before choosing between an Ugly Stik spinning rod or another model. However, high-end alternatives do a great job casting further away or accurately transmitting the feel of a hooked fish. 

One of the questions that many anglers ask themselves, especially if they are just getting started in this beautiful activity is whether an expensive rod is really necessary. Given that there are so many options that you can choose from the market, you can always find something within your budget. 

On the other hand, the prices can differ a lot, and you are able to spend anywhere from $20 to $100, all the way up to $500 on top fishing equipment. As some might say, these are not costs that wives are happy about. Jokes aside, such price tags can make some people wonder if the sport of angling is something they can afford altogether. 

The good news is that you can always go for something that fits your budget. However, it is true that more expensive items can make a difference in the overall fishing experience. It’s the same as if you would drive a luxury car or a cheaper regular one. But there are some questions that you should ask yourself before making any purchase, so let’s see what these are. 

How often are you going to fish? 

Of course, this factor is something that should determine the amount of money that you invest in fishing equipment. If you are only going to use it a couple of times throughout the season, and even then you are going fishing to spend some time with your friends, then you are probably better off with a regular-priced rod. 

However, if you spend a lot of time on the water and this is one of your main passions, then you should probably spend a bit more and choose a rod that can withstand as many fishing trips as you intend to take for a while. 

Rest assured, you will be able to enjoy some great fishing experiences with a $20 rod, especially since technology has evolved so much in the past years. You can surely get a lot more use from such a rod today than you would have from a $20 one from 40 years ago. 

Basic business and market experience have taught us that as technology improves, prices tend to come down, which actually makes high-quality equipment more affordable today. With this being said, if you do have more money than you can spend on this, then purchasing a more expensive rod from a well-known brand will surely bring you a lot of satisfaction. 


Investing in fishing equipment

Some anglers choose to spend a lot of money on various trucks and boats, but then feel that a rod that goes over a certain price is too expensive. On the other hand, anyone who is passionate about fishing should know that no vehicle is going to help you actually catch fish, but the rod, reel, and terminal tackle are crucial in achieving high performance in this case. 

Given these facts, you might realize that it doesn’t really make sense to invest a lot of money in boats, but a quality rod does make a difference. As we’ve mentioned, if you are only going to fish twice a year, then you probably shouldn’t buy a $300 rod. 

On the other hand, spending extra money on this means that you will enjoy more sensitivity, high-quality graphite construction, as well as longer rods that allow you to cast further. These can also help you control the game better and drop out lure with high accuracy for excellent results. 


Trying rods out 

This applies especially if you are still rather new to angling and you are not sure which type of rod you prefer for your fishing trips. Any rod is designed to meet certain needs, so you should try to match lures, species, as well as style of lures. There are multiple alternatives you can choose from, such as casting rods, jigging ones, or even those that perform with plastics. 

We know that it’s not always easy to test-drive a rod, but if you have friends that are passionate about this activity as well, you can try their units and see what feels good and comfortable. After all, you should be able to use a rod for an entire fishing day, so keep in mind that any model you choose needs to be comfortable as well. 

In terms of differences in prices, although experience counts a lot, even less experienced anglers can usually tell the difference between $20 or $500 rods. 

What species are you fishing? 

Of course, this is another aspect that you need to take into consideration. You won’t need to use a $300 fishing pole if you intend to catch bluegills. If you are not sure what works in your case and, more importantly, your area, then you shouldn’t forget that anglers form a strong community and these people are usually more than happy to share their experience. 

You can look for online groups and forums, but you can also go to a local specialized store and get expert advice from those who have already tested a lot of rods. This way, you don’t need to worry that even if you choose a more expensive model, the money is well-spent and that you will be able to enjoy many beautiful days fishing in your area. 

A piece of advice from more experienced anglers is that fiberglass rods should be used for casting crankbaits. These are somewhat more forgiving due to their tip construction which is softer and which will allow you to maintain a properly solid hookset. 


Some other tips & tricks 

We know that some of you might be concerned about spending too much or too little money on a certain rod. However, if the rod that you are using right now does its job well, then you shouldn’t worry about needing to upgrade it anytime soon. After all, the most important thing when it comes to angling is actually going out on the lake and having a great time. 

Many models claim that you will benefit from a better cast, enhanced sensitivity, increased fighting ability based on how they can flex, but you need to think about whether you need all of these. While it’s true that more expensive models do perform better, and these are not just some marketing tricks, you shouldn’t feel pressured into making a purchasing decision. 

As some have said, rods can be like wine, and not in that the older they get, the better they are, but in that differences don’t feel the same for every user. While some might feel that an expensive rod is what they need, for others a good regular one is just fine.

It’s true that in many cases, better rods do cast further and with more accuracy, and some also do a great job of transmitting the feel when a fish is hooked. Depending on what type of fish you are going to catch, the rod can affect how well you feel it fight. However, you shouldn’t hesitate to try out as many rods as possible and see which one feels better. 

This way, once you know what you are looking for, you will have more experience and maybe even build your own fishing rod based on your particular preferences. This is something that many anglers do, so you may want to think about it as well. Of course, it all depends on how much time you have on your hands and on how often you intend to fish as well. 



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