Looking for the best rod for striper fishing?
I tested six of the best striper rod options around and found the Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Fishing Rod to be the best all-around.
Good luck breaking this rod, whether casting for stripers in the Northeast or trolling for them in the Sacramento River.
There are hundreds, or thousands, of rods and manufacturers out there, so deciding on which brand to go with can be daunting. It’s time-consuming and might even cost you money and lose fish if you choose the wrong option. I’ve been putting the best striper rods out there through their paces for years, and I have my go-to favorites, as do most seasoned anglers. I set my preferences aside for this test and went off sales, ratings, and performance on the water.
I chose the Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Fishing Rod because it provides fantastic versatility. Good luck breaking this rod, whether casting for stripers in the Northeast or trolling for them in the Sacramento River. I found this rod to be an outstanding balance between toughness and comfort. It’s lightweight enough to use all day and has the backbone to fight the biggest striper out there.
When I take clients out for a half-day of striper fishing, I often take along the Tiger Elite equipped with a Penn Battle II reel and some 40-pound braid. With gear like that, I don’t have to worry about any less experienced anglers breaking off at the boat or snapping a $500.00 rod that doesn’t have the give an Ugly Stik does. While they might not sound as fancy as some other brands, they put in the work, day in and day out.
The best striper fishing rods will last you multiple seasons. It will provide you with countless numbers of fish in your net, and it will ultimately prove worth every penny you spend on it.
Keep reading and check out the five best striper rods I tested.
The top five:
- Shakespeare Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Rod – Best Overall
- Okuma Classic Pro GLT – Best for the Price
- Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod – Best for Beginners
- Shimano Trevala Spinning, Graphite Saltwater Rod – Best Saltwater Rod
- Penn Carnage II Boat Spinning Rod – Best Boat Rod
Striper Rods Reviewed
Shakespeare Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Rod
What You Get
- Exceptional Durability
- Most Comfortable of Striper Rods Tested
- Easy to Use for beginners
The Ugly Stik brand is known for making sturdy, nearly unbreakable rods. The Tiger Elite is one of the best striper rods out there, with the added benefit of being an Ugly Stik. This rod had all the backbone you’ll need, with plenty of power. Use it for fresh or saltwater fishing, and you’ll be pleased to see your bait going on target time and time again.
The only drawback I found was with the casting distance you get with lighter lures. It doesn’t like to cast light lures, which is often an issue, but this rod in particular did feel good when doing so. They won’t go far. Slap a 3/8 oz Kastmaster on there, and you’re able to hit the other side of the lake. A 1/8 oz isn’t going 30 yards (0.03 km).
The construction of this rod is excellent. It carries a blank from the tip to the bottom of the reel seat, giving you supreme control and feel of everything that’s happening to the line. There are several line guides, each made of single piece machined stainless steel.
Overall, it’s a great rod that I use frequently and have recommended this striper rod for many years.
Okuma Classic Pro GLT
What You Get
- Great Flexibility
- Good Strength
- Several Styles and Lengths
The Okuma Classic Pro GLT Rod is a fantastic option for those looking to save some cash. Built of high-quality materials, these rods are durable and user-friendly for those anglers with a bit more experience with longer rods. They might be difficult for beginning anglers.
Available in medium and medium-heavy weights, and comes in a wide enough variety to cover most of the game fish you might want to target. Salmon, trolling, copper/lead core, and down rigger options are available in multiple lengths.
The overall takeaway from this rod is that it has the backbone to handle the big striped bass out there and the flexibility to still enjoy catching smaller striped bass along the way.
Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod
What You Get
- Great Flexibility
- Lightweight and Extremely Durable
- Great for Beginner Anglers
The Ugly Stik GX2 is the perfect option for the novice angler. Whether you’re targeting smaller stripers or the monsters in coming up for the spawn, this rod is going to have your back. Graphite and fiberglass are combined expertly to provide a high level of sensitivity without compromising any strength.
Choose from medium, medium-heavy, or heavy action, along with several lengths. Toss your lure across the lake, no matter the line you’re using. It’s not picky, so use what you need to get after those stripers.
Reliability is built-in. From the stainless-steel guides to the handle, avid anglers will find themselves coming away impressed with this rod and its high level of versatility.
Shimano Trevala Spinning, Graphite Saltwater Rod
What You Get
- Ultra-High-Quality Rod
- Perfect for Saltwater Fishing
- Great for Fishing Structure
The Shimano Trevala Spinning Graphite Saltwater Rod is one of the best saltwater rods out there and the very best striper saltwater rod on the market. Shimano has outdone themselves with this rod and designed it to work perfectly with butterfly jigs. The rod allows faster retrieves and faster action than others on this list.
Ocean and surf fishing are easy to target with the Trevala. Even the handle responds well to being out amongst the waves. It is just as comfortable in wet conditions like dry, so give it a try as a surf rod. You’ll be glad you did.
Penn Carnage II Spinning Boat Rod
What You Get
- Best Striper Rod for Boats
- Excellent Strength
- Near-Perfect Grip
The PENN Carnage II Boat Spinning Rod is a fantastic rod to take out on the boat. Each of these bad boys comes equipped with a gimbal mount, meaning you can place it in the rod holder and not worry about it flying out.
It’s made using a spiral-wrapped fiberglass/carbon process, which provides excellent reliability and an incredible backbone. The reel seat is machined aluminum, providing an even, smooth balance to the overall rod.
The only drawback of this rod comes with the guides. They are meant to use braided lines, though they require inserts, which aren’t provided. Keep that in mind when purchasing this rod.
Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Striper Rod
What size rod is best for striper?
It’s hard to pick just one size to claim as the best for stripers. You’ll want to keep in mind what size fish you’re going after, opting for a larger rod if targeting the bigger striped bass.
Ultimately, a 7-foot medium power rod will be best for most fishermen looking specifically for these kinds of fish.
What is The Best Rod For Striper Fishing From My Boat?
It’s also best to keep in mind that you’ll want to find a rod that works best with your boat. You’re looking for something that will be best for the size of striped bass you’re catching. Since you will most likely be reeling in more stout striped bass as opposed to shore fishing, opt for at least a medium-heavy power rod.
What is the best line for striper?
I go with 30 and 40-pound braided line when fishing for stripers spooled on 5000 or 6000 reels. I have a couple of light setups using 4000 class reels, and that’s when I’ll choose to use a 20-pound test line for those special occasions where you need it!
Which Kind of Rod Best for Striper Fishing?
When it comes to fishing for striper, there are three main types of rods used.
- Spinning Rod
- Surf Casting Rod
- Conventional Rods
Who makes the best rods for striper fishing?
Some of the best fishing rods come from top manufacturers, such as PENN, Shakespeare, or Abu Garcia. These companies have been in the business for a very long time and can be trusted to provide a good fishing experience.
I chose the Shakespeare Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Rod as the best rod for striper fishing I have used over the years. It has worked so well in multiple situations. I used it for several hours at a time while pier fishing and never tired of it. Catfishing with it has been great, and I’ve never felt like I was going after anything that was going to overpower the rod at all.
One of the things to focus on when choosing striper fishing rods is to ask what kind of terrain you will be fishing? If river fishing, be sure to focus on something that can handle bigger fish but will also be able to finesse in the little guys. Pier and saltwater fishing will require a meatier rod than a lake with fish that don’t see the saltwater.
Another question to ask is what type of reel do you want to use? Bait casting is the general go-to reel for rivers and lakes, while a trolling or conventional reel is used for ocean fishing. Others prefer a spinning reel. Be sure to match the rod to the appropriate reel.
The rods listed here offer you great options for when you want to target stripers, though be sure to do your own research.
Check out the rods I recommended, in particular, the Shakespeare Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Rod. It is a great rod and will not break the bank. If you decide on the Tiger Elite, you’ll be glad you did.
For more guidance on choosing your next fishing rod, check out these guides below:
- 14 Best Rod and Reel Combo’s and Why
- Best Rod and Reel Combo for Beginners
- 12 Best Spinning Rods Reviewed
- 10 Best Surf Fishing Rod and Reel Combo’s
- Best Fishing Rods By Category
Watch the video below for tips on striped bass fishing, like which lures to use and how to deploy them: