Top 7 Spinning Rods of 2018 – Buyer's Guide

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This Buyer’s Guide looks at the best rod and reel spinning combos in the “mid-range” category. We’ve already covered combos under $200 and High-End combos. This breaks down the best “bang for the buck” spinning rods on the market. The market is saturated with brands claiming to be the best, let us do the hard work and find the best rods at the best prices for you.

If you’re looking for a last minute holiday purchase, today is the last day that ground shipping will arrive before Christmas. Whether your rod budget is $200 or $500 there is an option here to give you the best quality, sensitivity, and responsiveness for the price point.

Below is a break down of the rods and reels discussed in this video. They are sorted by price from highest to lowest to make it easy for you to see the the best values based on our review.

Spinning Combos…

Rod- G Loomis GLX:
Reel- Shimano Exsence 3000:
Favorite Models… 852S JWR, 820S DSR, 853S JWR

Rod- Dobyns Champion Extreme:
Reel- Shimano Ultregra 2500:
Favorite Models… 742, 741

Rod- Daiwa Tatula Elite AGS:
Reel- Daiwa Tatula LT 2000:
Favorite Models… 7’6” ML, 7’4” medium

Rod- Shimano Expride:
Reel: Shimano Stradic CI4+ 2500:
Favorite Models… 7’ Light +, 6’10” Medium Light, 7’ Medium

Rod- Shimano Zodias:
Reel- Shimano Stradic CI4+ 1000:
Favorite Models… 6’8” Medium Light, 7’ Medium Light, 7’ Medium

Rod- Cashion Elite:
Reel- Shimano Nasci 2500:
Favorite Models… 7’ Medium Light, 7’ Medium, 7’ Medium Heavy

Rod- Dobyns Sierra:
Reel: Ultregra 2500:
Favorite Models… 7’ Light, 7’ Medium Light

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Equipment We Recommend…

Minn Kota Ultrex Trolling Motor:
Minn Kota Battery Charger:
Humminbird Solix 15 Electronics:
Minn Kota Talons:
Wireless Talon Foot Switch:

Favorite Pliers:
Favorite Split Ring Pliers:
Favorite Wire Cutters:
Favorite life jacket:
Favorite sunglasses:
Hero6 Camera:
ElectroSamson Scale:
Promar Net:

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Hans Martin says:

Oh man, you have no idea about spinning rods…the best spinning rods are all from majorcraft…..Shimano is shit and Daiwa is shit too….

Jeffrey Acosta says:

Thanks bro. Question. Witch rod combo. You think is best for under 60 bucks. Cant afford much. But I wanna get the best one I can get. Looking for a trout ultra light kind. Lease help

Brad S says:

like … I would be hard pressed to spend $150 on a rod and reel combo, preferably under $100, and the cheapest rod here is $160? … I'll just have to look for a guide for us peasants.

Brett says:

which Sierra are you throwing the ML or the Light??

freestyle yaaj says:

The Dobyn Sierra ML is a great spinning rod for me. It’s my first Dobyn rod and I used it for 2 season. This is my finesse rod and I used it mainly for bottom fishing. The sensitivity is great for me since I can detect Shellcrackers plus Bluegill. Pair it with a pflueger president 2500 and it’s a well balance combo that’s at $200. I’m planning to buy a 7ft light rod next due to my experience.

Jake Gray says:

You guys ever tried duckett rods or elite rods? I think you guys will be blown away by elite rods

Chocobullock says:

How would you guys rank the Expride vs the GLX and Champion Extreme HPs? I've used GLX and HPs but haven't touched a shimano rod

Anthony Ganczewski says:

What do you guys think about the foreword grips on the Tatula? More leverage? Is it more comfortable? I’d like to hear the take on different spinning rod handles and grips

ryan goh says:

Hello Matt and Tim,
noticed that the expride u guys mention is a Expride A
are there any difference between the latest and the past model of Expride?
Reason im asking cos i managed to get one Expride BFS but its the past season model
the model is 165L-BFS/2

kyle anderson says:

I love your Youtube show and keep up the excellent work guys. With that said i must disagree with your review of the Shimano Expride. Yes it is a really good rod that for the price appears to be a great deal in the mid range category. Unfortunately, Shimano changed their rod policy last year and do not have a limited warranty on their rods. I had 3 Crucials which were an awesome rod, but very brittle. Eventually they all broke from normal wear and tear. I talked to the regional rep and they didnt take care of me. So do yourself a favor and pick up Fenwick World Class rods with rival G-loomis NRX and have a lifetime warranty. Just my 2C's

cubbiemalone49 says:

If I order today will I still get it by Christmas?! 🎄


No mention of lines? Pound test/Brand?

Daniel Camposeo says:

Has anyone ever had issues with buying high-end fishing gear off amazon?

Kade Wesner says:

I've been using cashion rods for a couple years now and I absolutely love them

Jesse Statler says:

Hey Matt,Tim I was gona get a zodias spinning rod for finesse fishing and drop shotting. If you had to pick one rod from the zodias line what would it be? I'm trying to get more into finesse cuz power fishing doesn't work where I can fish

BassGeek says:

Man I love a Cashion rod. They are sweet.


Matt & Tim, I don’t know how much you learned growing up from In-fisherman back in the days when the TV show and Magazine weren’t Berkley infomercials but they were on the cutting edge edge of technique specific multi-species fishing. Probably 50% of my 45yr library of fishing knowledge comes from their seasonal science of fishing teachings. My greatest compliment to you both, is you are, this generations “in-fisherman” at least for bass, lol it amazes me with every video I watch, that you guys don’t have the largest number of subscribers in the fishing category. When this current generation, the one that’s bloated the combined googan subscriber #’s into the millions get serious about fishing and not just entertainment (nothing wrong with being entertained btw) there is going to be a mass migration to channels that will actually help them catch more fish…your numbers are going to explode. Keep up the great work…and lastly, can tell us if you guys have some Xtasy models on hand and trying them out? Thanks for 2 great back to back videos

Richard Bossman says:

What is the heaviest you guys use as far as spinning rods? Obviously there are much larger fish than even largemouth caught with spinning gear but aside from lure control are there any other disadvantages using them instead of a baitcaster?

Luke Howard says:

Just so everyone know the Sierra is on sale for 110 to 115 on tackle warehouse

Bank Beaters says:

Thank you I have been waiting for this keep it up 😁👍

Hunter Nixon says:

Getting a G Loomis E6X Drop shot rod for Christmas. I have read a lot of great reviews on it and how good it is for the price. What do y’all think of the E6X

Micky Latiolais says:

I literally don’t own any of the rods you guys ever talk about, except maybe a couple St. Croix, but I still appreciate the videos and info. Other than a couple St. Croix, the rest of my rods are literally all different brands. I like to put my hands on a rod with a reel mounted on before I buy it. I get funny looks at some shops when I pull a reel out with a full spool and mount it on a bunch of rods. Some I’ve purchased based on setups that friends have. We all have our own gear preference, and us older guys are stubborn lol. It’s gotta feel good in your hands, and have the sensitivity level you like, or it’s usually just gonna end up in the bottom of the rod locker and not get used much. Keep up the good work guys. I enjoy every video.

Weston Garey 2023 says:

I like more stiff rods, the st croix rods always break for me. I like the sensitivity of a more stiff rod. That’s just me tho

william gordon says:

I want get a champ extreme 742. Would you guys say it could it be used for a tube? When I’m a Co I like to pack light and I need something for drop shot, Ned and tubes.

WarEagleTheBest says:

WOW! Love those Buying Guides! Please expand the number of brands (Megabass JDM, Gamakatsu Luxxe JDM, Daiwa JDM in those guides (tired of you promoting just Shimano/Gloomis most of the time), and 95% of video's should be only about buying/selecting gear.

Seth Korb says:

Hey guys, I was wondering how much of a difference there is between an Expride and a Zodias? Is the Expride worth the step up? And are you guys familiar with the G.loomis IMX-Pro? Thanks

Brian Damboise says:

Hi Matt and Tim I fish here in Connecticut and up in Maine I have a hard time keeping small mouth on the line they seem to always spit the hook is my rod nuts flexible enough to keep them pinned i Fish a Ugly Stik gx2 rod 7 ft lite

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